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Towards a Logico-mathematical Formalization of Sin: Fundamental memetic organization of faith-based governance strategies


Towards a Logico-mathematical Formalization of "Sin"
Confusing variety of sins
Sins and logical fallacies
Sins in relation to axes of cognitive bias
Sins as catastrophes
Sins and the mathematics of harmony
Sins as disruptions of the seamlessness of the cosmic plenum
"Sins" understood through the drama of psycho-social dynamics
"Sinful questions"
"Sins" in the light of number theory
Trigrams: a coding system for "sins"?
Enneagram of sin
Sins inherent in value polarities
"Sins" in the light of a Theory of Everything
"Wrongness": as "sins" of structural design and aesthetic composition
Statistical indicators of "sin"
Social process triangles as a potential framework for "sins"
Vector equilibrium as a dynamic configuration of tendencies to disorder or "sin"
Day of Judgement: multi-dimensional accounting for sin?
"Redemption of sins" and "healing"
Implications for faith-based governance
Role of mathematics in support of faith-based governance

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Originally prepared as an annex to Seven Deadly Sins of Fundamentalism assessing memetic weapons capability of neoconservatism (2004). See selected comments


The relatively limited number of explorations of relationships between mathematics and theology do not appear to indicate that any formalization of "sin" has been considered (see Philip J. Davis. A Brief Look at Mathematics and Theology; I Grattan-Guinness. Christianity and Mathematics: Kinds of Link, and the Rare Occurrences After 1750; Brendan Kneale. God and Mathematical Infinity, 1998; Bibliography of Christianity and Mathematics, 1983). The literature indicates that many renowned mathematicians have however been deeply religious, as well as being inspired in their mathematics by spiritual insights -- like Isaac Newton and Georg Cantor. Religious considerations have, for instance, spurred some kinds of mathematical creation and practice. Nicolas of Cusa (1450) believed that the true love of God is amor Dei intellectualis and that the intellectual act through which the divine is revealed is mathematics. There is an extensive literature on "sacred geometry". A web-based organization, has articulated a Mathematics for Ethics as a guide to the use of mathematics in ethics, inspired by Jeremy Bentham's felicific calculus.

Sarah Voss (What Number Is God?, 1995; Zero: Reflections about Nothing, 1998), mathematician and minister, has responded to increasing recognition of mathematical metaphors: " I call such metaphors mathaphors; when they apply to the spiritual realm, I call them holy mathaphors. Ideas drawn from mathematics can greatly extend our spiritual worldviews" (Mathematical Theology, 2003). Voss then notes regarding Cantor, a deeply religious mathematician, that:

In the Cantorian world there also exists an entity that is infinitely many yet simultaneously infinitely sparse; the infinite both is and is not infinite; incompleteness is intrinsic to the structure of the system. What happens if something like Cantorian set theory applies to an area other than mathematics? Could it describe a theological or spiritual truth as well? When confronted by the variety of religious traditions in the world, people tend to ask, "Whose faith is right?" The religious exclusivist says, "Mine is." The inclusivist says that lots of religions appear to be right, but that they are all included in one "real" way to salvation or liberation. The pluralist says, "You can have yours and I'll have mine, and that's just fine." A Cantorian perspective offers another option: The part may have the power of the whole. When we use Cantorian set theory as a metaphor for thinking about contemporary religious pluralism, we find a wonderful precedent for accepting what might appear to be unacceptable contradictions between religions. In other words, many different religious traditions may independently be "equivalent" to the one whole truth.

As a mathematician, Hermann Weyl has speculated that the presence of the infinite in mathematics runs parallel to religious intuition. Like mathematics, religions express relationships between man and the universe. Religious views of the world have posited mathematics as a paradigm of Divine thought. (cf Philip J Davis and Reuben Hersch. The Mathematical Experience, 1981).

The main purpose of the following is to point to resources and their relevance to more integrative approaches to engaging effectively with "sin". This would appear to be an important undertaking at a time of a strong emerging emphasis on faith-based governance, whether from a Christian or a Muslim perspective.

It could be argued that a more appropriate approach than focusing on "sin" would be to focus on "virtue", or at least on a more fruitful relationship between "sin" and "virtue". A focus on "sin" would necessarily be perceived as "negative" by fundamentalists. Unfortunately their focus on "virtue" can easily be deceptive and avoid effective focus on "sin". In an earlier exercise on human values (Human Values Project), an extensive study addressed the relationship between positive and negative values as value polarities and the possibility of their configuration (see Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential).

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