- Axiology, Aesthetics and Ethics
Each section provides the simplified details of how the American Worldview answers these questions.
The Cosmology of the American Worldview
The Cosmology of the American Worldview answers the questions of Origins for all of space, time, and matter. It includes answers related to the ultimate cause of existence and the nature of time and the laws that seem to govern the behavior of all matter.
The Core Beliefs
- There is a God who is creator of all material existence.
- The Cosmos consists of both material and immaterial.
- All material existence has a beginning, and therefore, has an ultimate cause.
- Time is a measure of living in existence, has an ultimate reference point, and is not traversable.
- All of nature operates in consistent patterns that can be described and are called natural laws.
- These natural laws are merely descriptions of what consistently occurs to our knowledge.
- The same God who created all material existence also governs and sustains it.
Cosmology has become an area of philosophical study that attempts to answer the questions regarding the origin and nature of existence. While there have been many discoveries over the years that have increased our awareness of the behavior of matter and energy, the body of facts still remains inconclusive to many regarding the origin of all things. However, a consensus has retained its position that there was in fact a beginning to the universe. The AWV holds to this position that all material existence has a beginning, and therefore, has an ultimate cause. While the AWV does not hold to any unique position on how the cause brought things into being, and is open to the discoveries of future experiments, it maintains the position about which there is the greatest evidence, that being an ultimate beginning and an ultimate cause to the observable cosmos.
Throughout human experience, there has been the recognition that nature is more than mere material existence. While there are many views regarding the nature of this other substance, it has come to be identified as the immaterial. While material is used to refer to all physical matter and space, the immaterial is commonly referred to as the spiritual. The AWV holds to the belief that the Cosmos consists of both material and immaterial existence. The immaterial is found in the nature of humanity’s essence and is also extended to all living things. It is also used to identify a realm that is beyond physical existence, or that transcends mere physical bounds.
Given that all material existence has a beginning, we must have some means of understanding what it is to begin. All existence seems to flow through a series of events. There seems to be a constant state of motion in all things. Due to this sense of matter and space in motion, we come to perceive the concept of time. The AWV holds that time is a measure of living in existence, that has some ultimate reference point, and is not traversable. Time can be measured using seemingly arbitrary reference points but comes to depend on the relationship of motion between objects. Just as humanity measures time in relation to the motion of the earth through its orbit around the sun, there can be some other reference point that could be used upon which even this measure can depend. Furthermore, once an object has moved, it is no longer where it was. This points to the understanding that yesterday is not a thing which exists, neither is tomorrow. As such, we cannot “go back in time,” but we can only move forward through a series of “now,” and we cannot “go into the future.”
As we observe the nature of the motion of all material things, we come to identify consistent patterns of behavior. When we isolate certain behaviors, we come to discover that different material objects will behave in certain ways so long as nothing interferes. We can use the tool of mathematics to communicate these behaviors and to predict what an object will do given certain conditions. This seems to apply to all of existence. The AWV accepts that all of nature operates in consistent patterns that can be described and are called natural laws. These laws are intelligible, and capable of being understood in the abstract (mathematics) and can be used to the benefit of living beings capable of controlling them. Even human behavior operates within the confines of certain laws (the “Natural Law Order”) and can identify these laws and make the choice to work within those laws or against them.
Since humanity is limited in its capacity to retain knowledge, there is only so much of the behavior of the cosmos that it can come to understand. While we observe what consistently occurs in the material world we seem to be limited more so in our ability to understand the immaterial world’s impact on the material. The AWV holds that these natural laws are merely descriptions of what consistently occurs to our knowledge and thus accepts that such laws cannot be of the material they describe. There can be events which occur that are anomalies, detectable in the overall apparent natural course of things. Whatever the immaterial may be, it appears that it has the capacity to interfere with these consistencies and alter the course of events. Without knowledge or understanding of the immaterial, to human senses such events would merely appear to be some natural occurrence not yet discovered.
These natural laws then do not have the capacity to create anything. Our ability to predict the behavior of material objects using mathematics lacks the capacity to bring anything about. Instead, they are simply descriptions of what has already occurred, and it is the intelligent human agent manipulating material that alters the course. Coming to know that any material object in motion was put in motion by some other thing, it is accepted that there must have been something which set everything to motion. Since all the material universe had a beginning, and from that beginning have been set in motion, there must have been something other than material which brought it all to be and which put it in motion.
Given that there is the experience of the immaterial (regardless how little we understand of it) there must be something immaterial which initiated all things into existence and motion. Whatever the immaterial is, given that time is something which is strictly applied to the motion of the material, it can be accepted that the immaterial, possessing no material reference point, cannot be described as being limited to time, though it is involved in the motion that creates the perception of time. Therefore, the AWV holds that only the immaterial can be infinite or eternal, while all material existence is finite or temporal. Indeed, there must be some eternal framework within which all things have their temporal existence in relation to those of all others to conceive of their being some beginning and as such, an end.
There tends to be an understanding that in all existence, there must be something which is Eternal. While the material universe has a beginning and as such a likely end, there must be something which always was, is, and will be. Given this, there must be something immaterial which existed prior to the coming into existence of all material things. In addition, humanity itself consists of an immaterial component, yet every human being has a definitive beginning. So, while there is some immaterial constant, there are also immaterial beginnings (i.e. human life). Thus, there must be some immaterial infinite that exists, and some eternal immaterial existence. The difference between the infinite and the eternal for the purpose of this article is that the infinite has no beginning or end, and the eternal has a beginning, but may or may not have an end.
All of these beliefs and accepted positions of the AWV compel a conclusion to be reached. All material existence had a beginning, is finite, and as such, had some ultimate cause. Since there can be no material prior to material coming into existence, something else must be the cause of its coming into being. Given our sense experience of the immaterial, and the understanding that it can be infinite, whatever caused the material universe to come into being must have been infinite (or necessarily outside of material perception of time, the sense of beginning and end).
Since material objects alone do not possess the capacity to choose to do or not do, but merely do whatever they do (which natural laws describe), and that these objects tend to behave according to intelligible patterns of behavior, something had to set them into that behavior. This suggests that whatever the immaterial cause, it must itself be an intelligent agent. Thus, the AWV holds that there is a God who is the creator of material existence. Given that there is also eternal immaterial beings, God must be the infinite being from which all eternal beings are brought into existence.
The perceptions we have of order, structure, and intelligibility to the material universe also points to the existence of this ultimate creator. Given that all things are sustained by some underlying infinite sustainer, and that all material objects have a cause, it can only be concluded that this creator is the only possible infinite that could sustain the material existence. Therefore, the AWV also holds that the same God who created all material existence also governs and sustains it. This points us to the additional conclusion that all of the consistent behaviors we observe in the material universe were initiated by this creator. Given that human behavior also seems to follow (or refuse to follow) certain patterns of behavior, it can be accepted that the creator also set certain laws over humanity but gave them a certain freedom not found in other material objects. As such, this points us to further conclude that there is some immaterial existence to human nature tied to this creator that allows humanity to operate outside of the normal natural order of things.
The American Worldview holds to the belief that all the cosmos is comprised of both the material and the immaterial. The immaterial is infinite or eternal, and all material is finite or temporal. As such, all material existence has a beginning as all experimentation continues to point to. All material existence seems to be in some state of motion and from this motion humanity is able to sense time. Given that time is directly tied to the motion of material objects (think of space-time), the immaterial can be called timeless. Since all material existence had a beginning and at that point was set into motion, no material thing could be responsible for the existence of all material things. In addition, all material existence appears to behave in consistent patterns and humanity can describe these patterns as natural laws. Since natural laws are nothing more than descriptions of material behavior, they cannot be responsible for bringing about material existence. Given that our measures of chance and probability are themselves based on certain abstract laws governing the behave of objects, this means that chance has no capacity to impact anything, but is itself also not more than a description about the capacity of material to do anything, identifying its limits.
Given that the material universe is intelligible, and can be described by intelligence via mathematics, something intelligent must have brought about material existence. While we can communicate the behavior of material objects using mathematics, these mathematics lack any capacity to do anything as it they merely a tool to put material behaviors to use. Given this, and that all the material universe had a beginning, there must have been a cause responsible for bringing all things into existence, setting it into motion, and making it intelligible via perception of time and mathematics. Thus, the AWV holds that the material universe has a creator. Since humanity can comprehend and make use of the intelligibility of the material universe, there is something inherent in every human being which is shared with this creator.
Since there is no material motion within the immaterial world, there is no time that can be applied to it. There must be something which is infinite upon which all material existence is sustained. Given that this creator is an immaterial intelligence which brought all material existence into being this immaterial intelligence must be the infinite thing which sustains all material existence. Also, since all this material existence is intelligible, and can be used by humanity for its own purposes, humanity must share in some quality with this infinite creator. This points to the conclusion that humanity must be not only material, but also immaterial. However, humanity has an end in death, yet a sense of there being more than just a material existence. As such, human life is of an eternal nature, having a beginning in the material universe, but may have either a definitive end or no end at all. Also, since even humanity seems to follow natural laws (though it has a unique freedom to refuse them) there appears to be a connection between humanity and the creator. Thus, the AWV holds to a unique Cosmological belief that sees humanity as something tied into a relationship with the creator through its creation.