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Mathematics and Theology: A Stroll through the Garden of Mathaphors

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Mathematics has long been considered the language of science and has even been acknowledged as the universal language of the future. Yet mathematics also plays a less-recognized religious role in that metaphors drawn from mathematics ( mathaphors ) can influence our spiritual perspectives by helping us to entertain new religious ideas and to challenge old ones. Mathaphors are therefore useful tools in matheology (the study of mathematics and theology). This essay explores ten ways in which contemporary mathaphors affect our spiritual lives. Specifically, mathaphors are: changing our metaphors for God; challenging our human role in the universe; helping us accept ambiguity; revamping our understanding of the one and the many; revising our thoughts about free will and determinism; moving us toward pluralistic, multi-world views; pushing the envelope on what consciousness is; altering our expectations for afterlife; offering the hope of a more compassionate future; encouraging faith perspectives that are always incomplete and in process.
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Keywords: Changing spiritual perspectives; Mathaphors (mathematical metaphors); Matheology (mathematics and theology)

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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