My article “Local truth and revelation” has been published on The Transfigurist, the blog of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.
Some excerpts are pasted below, and I invite you to read the full essay on The Transfigurist.
I found a comment from a respected friend to my essay “Religion Fiction Inspires Real Religion” very interesting, and worth replying to in detail.
“Sadly, the message I get from this piece is that truth doesn’t matter at all. Religion might as well be fiction! [T]ruth matters.”
In reply, I say that fiction, philosophy, art, and science may be inspired by God just like religious revelations.
Perhaps God speaks to us via our minds, and His revelations are filtered and interpreted by our own thoughts, which would explain the differences between the local truths of revealed religions. Of course, our interpretation of God’s message is also colored by cultural influences. In the time of Joseph [Smith], revelations from God were culturally acceptable, but that isn’t always the case today. Therefore, in our time, a person who receives a revelation encoded in thoughts, feelings and vivid intuitions, may not consider it as a revelation and describe it in a philosophical essay – or maybe a science fiction novel. The “Words of God” in Douglas Preston’s scientific thriller Blasphemy, described and praised in my previous essay, might have been inspired by the voice of God after all.
I prefer to refrain from speculating about Truth, because science and engineering don’t need it – they work perfectly well with local, knowledge dependent models of reality that have proven good enough FAPP (For All Practical Purposes, ref. Bell) in a well defined scope. When a model is unable to cope with an extended scope (e.g. very small, very big, very fast…), scientists look for a more accurate model and engineers use it. That’s good enough for me. Also, there is the possibility that the process of model discovery never ends (truth is an ever receding infinitely zoomable fractal.
Read the full essay on The Transfigurist.