We will be meeting at 3:00 PM for our regular meeting. Bring questions that you would like to have us consider discussing.
Here are some big questions to keep in mind.
Ten Big Questions
1-- What is the essential character of the universe? Where does it come from? Of what is it made? How did it come to exist? What is its purpose? By what process does it change? Is it evolving or devolving? Does it function by itself or would it degenerate to chaos without some kind of intelligent control?
2-- Is there a Supreme Being or God? If so, what is His/Her/Its nature? Did He/She/It create the universe? Does He/She/It continue to control it personally and if so, at what level? What is His/Her/Its relationship with man? Does God intervene in the affairs of man? Is this Supreme Being good? If this Supreme Good is all-powerful, how can evil exist?
3-- What is the place of man in the universe? Is man the highest being in the physical universe or is he just an insignificant speck in infinite space—or something in between? Does the soul of man descend into matter from higher spiritual realms, is it created by God, or has it evolved from matter? Is the universe sensible or insensible of man? If it is aware, is it warm and welcoming to him, or cold and uncaring, or even antagonistic?
4-- What is reality and truth? How do I know the difference between brute facts and illusions? Can we know what truly exists? How do we tell the difference between truth and false ideas? What is the nature of truth? Is there one reality for everyone or can we have different realities for different people?
5-- What determines the fate of each individual? Is humanity a creator and mover of life, or does humanity live as the effect of forces over which they have little control? Does free will exist or are our lives determined by outside factors—and if so, what are those factors? Is there a God that intervenes in our lives; or is everything physically pre-determined from the beginning of time; or is life just random, full of coincidence and accident?
6-- What is good and what is bad or evil? What is moral? What is ethical? Who decides good and bad, right and wrong; and by what standard? Is there an absolute definition of good and bad beyond one’s the individual opinions? Should good and bad be determined by custom, by rational law, by who has the most power, the majority of voters, or by the situation? What if the choices of others (society, authorities, laws, etc) determining good and bad are conflicting to one’s personal beliefs or freedoms? Furthermore, if we do not have free will but are reigned by outside dynamics, what difference does good and bad make—if we have no choice.
7-- What is the good life—for the individual and for the many (society)? Why are is society the way it is? How should things be preferably? What would a Utopian society, a heaven on earth, be like? Is it even conceivable to create a Utopia? If so, how? Would a Utopia assure personal freedom? What, then, should you do with those who don’t collaborate to make the world perfect?
8-- What is the ideal relation between the individual and the state? Should the citizen serve the state or the state serve the citizen? What is the best system of government and what is the worst? When is a man reasonable in fighting against the established order and creating a new government?
9-- He who controls education controls the future. What is education? How should children be educated—what is significant and what not? Who should design education: the parents, the student, the society or the state or a combination? Should learners be taught to think for themselves or to adopt the values of the society? Should human beings be educated to be free and live for their own interests; or to suppress their desires for the common good, God, or the state?
10-- What happens at death? Is death the finish of everything or is there a soul in human beings that continues to exist beyond death? If so, is that soul eternal or does it too eventually cease to exist? If the soul does continue after death, what is the character of that existence? If there is an life after death, is “good” rewarded and “bad” punished? If so, how do you reconcile this with the concept of predestination?
As always we will have food to help us think.