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  1. #21
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antimony View Post
    Religion isn't inherently logical. However, religion is not practiced by only illogical members of society.

    What makes people religious? Are logical folk more likely to shun religion than those who are more illogical? Or less prone to using logic as their guide?

    I'd like to hear opinions and experiences concerning logic and religion.
    Organized religion provides a convenient way to find people who hold similar beliefs and congregate. The more cohesive a group of people, the more they tend to ensure their own survival.

    The philosophies and concepts provided by many religions solve existential dilemmas, which mitigates feelings of being lost, empty, or meaningless. Many religious beliefs follow logic while others rely more upon sentiments and intuitions. If they weren't created in narratives of some logic, nobody could make sense of them. On the other hand, if religious ideas didn't hold any emotional content, they would lose appeal.

    Any system of beliefs requires ingredients of faith and reason, at the bare minimum.

  2. #22
    Sniffles
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    Alright then. I'll try to answer as best I can without resorting to writing extended tomes here. People of faith are called upon to use reason to help better understand what exactly they have faith in("faith seeking understanding" is the classical expression for such). Faith is not contrary to reason, but it does operate above and beyond reason. Reason after all is a faculty given to us by God, so to use it properly as a means of seeking truth is well within religious means. This is a very crude summary of the rational theist crowd.

    The irrational theist OTOH tends to believe reason is more a hinderance than an aid to understanding and knowing God or divine truth. Whether or not reason is altogether rejected depends. A common view is that reason can tell you little if anything about matters of faith precisely because they are above and beyond reason. And of course there are those who simply despise reasoning altogether, aka Misology.

    So which perspective is the correct one? I guess that depends on whom you ask. I tend towards the former perspective for the record.

    However, this raises many further questions - particularly what on earth is reasoning to begin with - or as MacIntyre has termed it Whose Rationality? Whose Justice? According to his thesis, we have three main mutually exclusive traditions of rational thinking: the older Classical-Christian tradition, the Encyclopedists of the Enlightenment, and Nietzscheans. So those who claim that religion and reason are compatible or incompatible, they're usually arguing from different traditions which have different starting points.

    And this is where things really get interesting or boring depending on one's perspective.

  3. #23
    Just a statistic rhinosaur's Avatar
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    Tradition, comforting feelings, a sense of belonging in a group, 'answers' to difficult and/or unanswerable questions. I myself am not religious, but I can understand how someone might find comfort there. Even logical thinkers have emotional needs, which religion is a common way of satisfying.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    So those who claim that religion and reason are compatible or incompatible, they're usually arguing from different traditions which have different starting points.
    Probably the most famous demonstration of this was the debate between Copleston and Russell on God's existence. Both men were operating from different traditions of what actually constitutes rational thinking, thus this influences their approaches to the question of God's existence - and Copleston finally admitted it just lead them both into an impasse.
    Last edited by Sniffles; 01-23-2012 at 01:35 AM. Reason: removed boring parts.

  5. #25
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    I do shun a lot about religion, and don't care for anything to do with organized religion, or congregating with other people.. but I accept some mysteries about the general idea strictly on faith. It's just a choice. At a certain point, there's nothing to be known or analyzed (like the existence of God or gods, the nature of gods, etc.). I'm only critical about things that have more to do with humans than gods.

  6. #26
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Te-dom here and vehemently reject religion for myself. It's fine for other people who want to believe, as long as they don't try to "save" others by influencing political decisions. Then, it pisses me off to no end when the religion governs what adults do in their own bedrooms and homes that hurts or harms no one.

  7. #27
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    There is also a difference between focusing on working out the logic within a system, and questioning the underlying assumptions of a system. There are a great many systems of thought, religious, political, or philosophical that have a lot of internally logical connections based on a given set of assumptions. A logical thinker can master the system without questioning its foundational assumptions. Ideologies of all sorts are constructed with strong internal logic with unquestioned assumptions. This is what makes them so powerful because the person subscribing to it can reach a point of thinking that internal logic of a system itself validates the foundational assumptions. That is a false assumption - the most perfect system can be based on false premises and therefore not map to reality at all.
    Great post. When I look at most religions, after you've cut through a lot of the 'tenets' 'principles' 'the story' there are inherent (sometimes even UNSAID) major assumptions you just HAVE TO believe. And to be honest, I've realized that for most people these "assumptions" fall under what Kant would have called the "synthetic a priori" -- its beyond experience. Its completely up to your personal understanding of reality that leads you to accept or reject these. It has almost nothing to do with "logic" at that point. I've also made peace that this is just fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Whose Rationality? Whose Justice? According to his thesis, we have three main mutually exclusive traditions of rational thinking: the older Classical-Christian tradition, the Encyclopedists of the Enlightenment, and Nietzscheans. So those who claim that religion and reason are compatible or incompatible, they're usually arguing from different traditions which have different starting points.
    Would you mind expanding on what specifically contrasts between the three traditions? thanks.

  8. #28
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andante View Post
    Te-dom here and vehemently reject religion for myself. It's fine for other people who want to believe, as long as they don't try to "save" others by influencing political decisions. Then, it pisses me off to no end when the religion governs what adults do in their own bedrooms and homes that hurts or harms no one.
    I agree with that, for sure. I'm pretty against any religious dogma aimed at the general public. Even if it's small things. Like some areas used to have "blue laws" in America, for example.. where people couldn't work on Sundays. That's complete bullshit. I'm not even sure how something like that was allowed. It's not justifiable by any reasoning except religious ones.

    This goes without mentioning people who want to sanction more serious issues. It has no place in the public.

    I'm not against any specific belief either. It's more of an irritation about people who like to meddle with others. Is their religion not good enough for their own selves or something? It's like some people can't be happy unless they drag everyone else into it.

    /rant

  9. #29
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    There is also a difference between focusing on working out the logic within a system, and questioning the underlying assumptions of a system. There are a great many systems of thought, religious, political, or philosophical that have a lot of internally logical connections based on a given set of assumptions. A logical thinker can master the system without questioning its foundational assumptions. Ideologies of all sorts are constructed with strong internal logic with unquestioned assumptions. This is what makes them so powerful because the person subscribing to it can reach a point of thinking that internal logic of a system itself validates the foundational assumptions. That is a false assumption - the most perfect system can be based on false premises and therefore not map to reality at all. So much damage has been done with this thinking especially in the 20th century, but it is the way that a logical mind can believe just about anything.
    This is a critical distinction. The assumption of factual/historical veracity comes to mind especially. How does one know whether the basic assumptions are valid? Logic has a role to play here as well, in analyzing the assumptions of faith. This is not to say that faith must be logical. Logic is just one of the tools that can and should be brought to bear in considering one's faith.
    Quote Originally Posted by Antimony View Post
    Religion isn't inherently logical. However, religion is not practiced by only illogical members of society.

    What makes people religious? Are logical folk more likely to shun religion than those who are more illogical? Or less prone to using logic as their guide?
    People are religious for a wide variety of reasons. I would suspect that "logical folk" are more likely to shun religions that appear to them substiantially illogical. I am continually amazed, however, to find otherwise. I know many people working in technical fields who appear in most respects very logical, but cling to the most illogical beliefs. Granted, most of these are colleagues and we don't often discuss religion explicitly. Perhaps they have found adequate logic in their faith, for instance by starting from fundamental assumptions that are metaphorical rather than factual. All this just seems like so much mental gymnastics to me. The worst is a faith that claims to be logical, but isn't. It should at least admit its contradictions and paradoxes openly.

    Speaking for myself, I am quite logical, but also have faith. It took me many years, however, to find a faith I could believe in without feeling like a hypocrite. I arrived at it largely through peeling away the illogic of the faith of my childhood, and related belief systems. Yes, there is still that "suspension of disbelief" as someone put it; that assertion that cannot be proven, but only accepted. But it has the combination of internal logic based upon what I consider to be a sound set of fundamental assumptions.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  10. #30
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Faith is not contrary to reason, but it does operate above and beyond reason.
    What is the difference between 'above' and 'beyond' here?

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