1. Idealism and Christian Dogma:
I had a conversation with an idealist about if it can be reconciled with Christian thought. I figure I’d ask around and see what some more informed Christian’s thoughts about it. Here are his thoughts:
Those are incompatible. If idealism is true, then physical death is an illusion, the Incarnation is an illusion, the Resurrection is an illusion, &c.
If, moreover, God is timeless, and God is the source of what we imagine, then history is an illusion. No creation. No Exodus. No Parousia.
According to absolute idealism, there is no “physical world.” At best, there’s a dream-like simulation of a physical world. Physicality is an illusion. If, moreover, we are simply divine ideas, a psychological projection of God’s timeless mind, then time is illusory, too. This is systematically contrary to Biblical creation, history, and eschatology.
On an idealist construction, mundane reality is like a collective dream. When we dream we have simulated bodies, although the dreamer doesn’t normally see his own body. Other dream characters have simulated bodies. The dreamscape is simulated.
That renders the Incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection illusory. In theory, there could be a hypostatic union just between the Son and a human soul. But the “body” would be imaginary. The death of the body would be imagery. The resurrection of the body would be imaginary. The only thing that could “die” under that scenario would be the soul. That would temporarily dissolve the hypostatic union.
Likewise, all of Bible history would be illusory. Like a video game.
It filters the Bible through a radical hermeneutical grid, like Gnosticism or ufology.
If idealism is true, why do we suffer from excruciating physical conditions, when–in fact–there’s no physical cause? What does it mean to die if physicalism is true?
Idealism is philosophically interesting the way some skeptical thought-experiments are philosophically interesting. But that’s not a reason to think it’s realistic.
i) Why would God create a situation in which humans evidently suffer the affects of cancer cells when in reality they don’t have physical bodies with cancer cells?
ii) Idealism filters Biblical narratives through an extraneous hermeneutical filter that screens out the physical dimension. The “events” never happened as described. That’s certainly not how the Bible was meant to be understood.
It’s like ufological interpretations. Jesus was really a space alien, viz. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
That superimposes an artificial lens on the text. That’s surely not how Scripture was intended to be read. Same with idealism.
2. Freedom of the Will:
The issue of libertarian freedom was the topic of the conversation and I think that it is incompatible with idealism. He was arguing that Calvinism is not orthodox because it is tied with determinism. For example, take the statement from Dr. Bruce Gordan:
On this view, then, what we take to be material objects are mere phenomenological structures that we are caused to perceive by God and which have no non-mental reality. They exist and are given being in the mind of God, who creates them, and they are perceived by our minds as God “speaks” their reality to us. What we perceive as causal activity in nature is always and only God communicating to us—as immaterial substantial minds whose bodies are also phenomenological constructs—the appropriate formally structured qualitative sensory perceptions.
On the idealist scheme, the world is contained in the mind of God. I think this leaves no room for categories we use such as the distinction between actual and possible worlds and contingency and necessity. Each world are necessary and each world exists necessarily. Each world is equally in the mind of God. So, God conceives us acting in hypothetical timelines and we have no causal power of our own. It seems to be very conducive with determinism. Each moment is as necessary as God’s thoughts are necessary. Creatures can’t choose otherwise than they are thought of acting. Any ability to do other than God thinks is impossible. There is no openness or indeterminacy in the mind of God.
3. Scientific realism:
The person I was speaking to tried to argue that Quantum Mechanics implied that no material things exist. From my understanding is that they ignore the issue of underdetermination. QM has infinite possible interpretations that are consistent with a material world exists. We distinguish models further by the metaphysical and epistemological assumptions that go into them. We can build a model around false assumptions but create an adequate model. From my understanding is that this interpretation of QM is based on two assumptions that are metaphysical and cannot be proven QM. Individuals like Inspringphilosophy assume that prior to observation objects exists in a mathematical joint superposition. Another assumption was that if the properties of an object cannot be measured or ascertained then doesn’t exist. Those are unstated assumptions behind Copenhagen interpretation that aren’t proven.
The other issue was that he was a scientific realist. But that seems problematic for the issue that scientific realists are not idealists:
Metaphysically, realism is committed to the mind-independent existence of the world investigated by the sciences. This idea is best clarified in contrast with positions that deny it. For instance, it is denied by any position that falls under the traditional heading of “idealism”, including some forms of phenomenology, according to which there is no world external to and thus independent of the mind. This sort of idealism, however, though historically important, is rarely encountered in contemporary philosophy of science. More common rejections of mind-independence stem from neo-Kantian views of the nature of scientific knowledge, which deny that the world of our experience is mind-independent, even if (in some cases) these positions accept that the world in itself does not depend on the existence of minds.
Now, they wish to maintain that the illusory world in which God simulates us in is able to be studied and so forth. The issue with that is that they have conceded that the world is illusory or is a simulation that doesn’t reflect ultimate reality. But then why should we trust it when QM is interpreted in defense of idealism? The idealist finds himself in the old problem of appearance and reality.