If you haven’t been able to read Robert Wright’s book The Evolution of God, and probably won’t have the time to do so, then I strongly urge you to view or listen to the interview of him by Krista Tippett, on her Speaking of Faith program. The interview gives the essence of this very provocative, and for me encouraging, book.
Wright offers a kind of (I stress “kind of”) scientific rationale for the possibility of speaking of God in a way that correlates with what I was trying to suggest in my Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian. It’s a non-dualistic understanding of the relationship between the Infinite and the Finite — an understanding of how both of these realities — Created and Uncreated — CO-INHERE in each other. I suggest such an understanding based on experience and the witness of the mystical traditions in various religions. Wright proposes it on the basis of scientific and historical study.
For Wright, a symbol of God might be the algorithm that seems to be working within all of reality by which, or because of which, evolution is moving from a dynamic of clashing (zero-sum) to a dynamic of cooperation (non-zero sum). Creation is not programed to work this way — that is, to move toward greater cooperation. But it is endowed with the possibility of doing so. Wright finds evidence for this “evolution of God,” which is part and parcel of the evolution of humanity and the world, in biological evolution, in cultural history, and in the history of the monotheistic religions (the topic of his last book). “Evidence” is not “proof,” he makes clear. But there is evidence.
The way I like to put it is that when we look into our individual lives, but also when we look at evolution (both biological and cultural), it seems that “something is going on.” It’s not just a blind process. But neither is it a programed process.
And now, at this point of globalized interaction, we’re at a point where if we humans don’t keep this “something” going on, it’s not going to go on. Cooperate or disintegrate!