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  1. #221
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    There's an important difference: one can readily demonstrate how each of the examples you cite were nothing more than the veneer of "ration" at the service of irrational ideologies. Because religion, at some level, asks that we dispense with ration and rely upon "faith", the same cannot be said of supposed "fringe" interpretations.

    In other words, when we dispense with ration, we can assert anything, so who are we to say the suicide bombers are wrong?


    Yeah, you got to be joking, I'm not recognising your false dichotomy at all, needless to say I'm unconvinced that rationalism is any less susceptible to abuse than revelation/religosity.

  2. #222
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post


    Yeah, you got to be joking, I'm not recognising your false dichotomy at all, needless to say I'm unconvinced that rationalism is any less susceptible to abuse than revelation/religosity.
    Either a philosophy is based upon demonstrable premises and sound logic, or it is not. I don't believe any of the philosophies (and their subsequent results) you cite were founded on demonstrable premises and sound logic.

    Revelation and faith, by their definition, dispense with demonstrable premises.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

  3. #223
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    I think its interesting how this thread has meandered about, it began as a consideration of biblical/scriptural literalism versus other explanations, developed a turn which considered salvation by faith or by faith and works, took on an athiest/rationalist vs. religosity/revelatory susceptabiliy to abuse turn for a bit.

    Any of which have the makings of excellent threads all by themselves. I'm not creating them though, I'm surprised I've yet to get a warning for killing bandwidth with creation of thread upon thread.

  4. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    Either a philosophy is based upon demonstrable premises and sound logic, or it is not. I don't believe any of the philosophies (and their subsequent results) you cite were founded on demonstrable premises and sound logic.

    Revelation and faith, by their definition, dispense with demonstrable premises.
    And yet it moves.

    Your definition of philosophy is so narrow as to make for the eradication of the discipline altogether, the reality is that there are certain perrenial human needs which philosophy has arisen in consequence of.

    The reality is that logic and demonstrable premises matter not when you consider the complete personality, persona etc. they are concepts which have a limited and limiting understanding of humankind and are very easily exhausted.

    As a frame of reference for even daily interaction neither would provide for a satisfactory guide, as Spock was fond of saying life can be "highly illogical".

    Revelation and faith do not despise evidence either, I would suggest, although you will no doubt disagree, that this perspective is born of prejudice, blinkers and mental filters. Most illogical. Not a demonstrable premise either.

  5. #225
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    Most scholars seem to agree Mark was written around AD 70, following the the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. Wouldn't this suggest it was written based on hearsay, not first-degree, or even based on earlier religions and allegory? How would that affect reliability?

    Also, scholars say the gospels are anonymous and that the titles didn't get added until the 2nd century. Mark, John etc.. weren't necessarily real people.
    My understanding is that Mark was traditionally attributed to a disciple of Peter's (named Mark, unsurprisingly). This is challenged by some contemporary scholars, but there isn't sufficient evidence against it so far as I am aware to overturn the opinions of those much closer to the actual event, at least in my judgement. In any event, 30-40 years between Jesus' death and gospel authorship isn't that long, particularly if you're talking to Peter and have many other people still living who saw Jesus themselves (as would clearly be the case). The existence of such people, explicitly mentioned in one of Paul's letters IIRC, makes me think these texts at least couldn't have been too far off to have been taken seriously, though I admit crazier things have happened.

    As for Mark, John etc., I'd say it's unlikely that they weren't real people, but I agree that whether those real people actually wrote those gospels is questionable.
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  6. #226
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    And yet it moves.

    Your definition of philosophy...
    I certainly wouldn't try to deny that philosophy is born of the human need to understand. If you look into the subject, however, you'll find that most of the great philosophers of the past two-plus centuries have taken great pains to base their philosophies on premises which could be demonstrated to be the case, and to draw conclusions from these premises on the basis of sound logic. (Allowing for the exceptions of Nietzsche and a few others, of course.)
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

  7. #227
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    OK then so the French Terror, Stalin's Gulag and Nazi Holocaust was representative of reason, science and Athiesm.
    You misunderstood me. I am not saying that we can justifiably claim that any kind of an ideology or behavior is representative of the true Christian moral framework. What I am claiming is that in order for us to know what true Christianity is we ought to conduct a careful analysis of the text. Up until this point this method has not endowed us wit a precise understanding of the Bible and therefore we can't claim that people who spread violence in the name of Christianity are not Christians.

    After all, there is some scriptural defense in the name of their views; especially if we consider some very old and obscure old testament passages. By some wild stretch of imagination we could interpret the abominations of the French revolution as Biblical justifiable. However, doing so is certainly more difficult than finding the defense for deviant behavior of Christian terrorists.

    Can the same apply to 'science, atheism and reason'. I would say no because neither of these entities consitute a worldview and even more importantly none of those entities have a book describing how the adherents of science, atheism and reason should behave. In short, it is possible to construct many mutually incompatible interpretations of the Bible because the book is very obscure and because virtue of its ambiguity does not yield to a singular plausible interpretation.

    My main point is that we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the violent people who claim to be Christians as heretics as its possible to construct an interpretation of scripture that deems their behavior permissible. Pay close attention to this idea: we can claim that a certain view either is or is not compatible with true Christianity by showing how it can or cannot be justified by scripture.
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  8. #228
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Secondary Point
    "Effective methods are based on true principles. Ineffective methods are based on false principles.".
    Let me try to address this issue. First of all I want to know what a 'true principle' is. The use of the word principle seems to be out of place. Do you mean by 'true principle' the same thing as a 'truth about the world'. Hence, your point is that if you are looking for an effective method of changing the way people behave, your method must be based on true beliefs.

    In most cases it is certainly helpful to have true beliefs as doing so allows you to organize your activities around the facts. In other words, you will be able to discover what the problem is that you're dealing with and shall know how to solve it.

    However, I think that your thesis is false because we can find at least one counter example. It is possible for a person who is fundamentally self-serving to improve his behavior by falsely believing that he will receive a payment of a milliond dollars in the event that he regards others with extra-ordinary kindness. Even a sociopath would behave in a saintly manner had he or she harbored such a false belief.

    Your statement, however, could be rendered true with some modifications. We could plausibly say that in most cases if a social change is to be implemented, it is imporant for the implementer to be aware of the facts (or truths) surrounding his circumstances.


    ----------------------------------------------

    Regarding your first point: a Christian who does believe in miracles is more likely to improve his behavior than a Christian who does not.

    I find this doubtful. A Christian who does not believe in miracles would be pressured to follow the guidance of his own reasoning and the laws of society as he could not count on a miracle or God to tell him how he should live. Such a person would not be pressured to be narrow-minded and hostile to the views of those who disagree with him as he or she would be inclined to believe that there are many possible tenable ways to live rather than just one way prescribed by God.

    The Christian who does believe in miracles would be pressured to be hostile and narrow-minded to all who do not share his faith as he would be tempted to deem others as enemies of God and His own path to salvation. The difference between a Christian who does believe in miracles and one who does not is that the former is more likely to accept the Bible as authoritative than the latter. In short, he or she is much more likely to take it very seriously. This is so because the teachings of the Bible appear absurd to a person who relies primarily on reason, yet a person who believes in miracles is free to believe that anything is possible and that God decrees that the stories of the Bible are indeed actual.

    Can you cite a sociological study where thousands of Christians were surveyed and those who claimed to believe in miracles have displayed greater moral virtue than those who claimed not to believe in them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post


    Yeah, you got to be joking, I'm not recognising your false dichotomy at all, needless to say I'm unconvinced that rationalism is any less susceptible to abuse than revelation/religosity.



    In principle, rationalism is neither good nor evil, its simply an activity of avoiding errors in reasoning. A self-serving person who has a goal of harming others for his own benefit will construct a rational plan to do so which will help him greatly in the regard of acheiving his goals. A kind person would be able to do the same if his reasoning abilities are good. To abuse 'rationalism' in the strictese sense means to make reasoning errors: this has nothing to do with doing evil or abusing an ideology in a similar vein that the terrorists may abuse Islam or Christianity.

    In short, 'rationalism' and religion are simply incommensurable and don't belong in the same discussion, the prescriptions of reason are scholarly and most akin to how people should act when they are doing academic work and prescriptions of religion are the most relevant to how people should behave in a social and ethical contexts. Rationalism in itself has no moral or social prescriptions the abuse of which entails evil. Many corrupt politicians claim to be informed by 'rationalism' or 'reason' and use this to justify their evil deeds, however, in this case they are abusing some other moral ideal than reason in itself as reason in itself is purely hypothetical, unlike the Bible it simply cannot tell people how they should behave. It could only be used by a person to justify his pre-existing moral aims. In recapitulation, a person who intends to do evil and has good reasoning abilities will construct a plausible seeming defense of his ambitions and a person who intends to do good could perform the same action with respect to his own ambitions.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  9. #229
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    SW, I have to disagree with your separation of ration and behavior. To cite an extreme example, if the suicide bombers' premises were indeed correct -- that is, God indeed exists, considers nonbelievers infidels, wishes infidels destroyed, and grants a special place in the afterlife to martyrs -- suicide-bombing would be an obvious, rational course of action. As it is, they cannot provide a sound basis for any of these premises, and as a result their actions are not rational.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

  10. #230
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    SW, I have to disagree with your separation of ration and behavior. To cite an extreme example, if the suicide bombers' premises were indeed correct -- that is, God indeed exists, considers nonbelievers infidels, wishes infidels destroyed, and grants a special place in the afterlife to martyrs -- suicide-bombing would be an obvious, rational course of action. As it is, they cannot provide a sound basis for any of these premises, and as a result their actions are not rational.
    My main point was irrelevant to your idea in this post: it was merely that an action is to be deemed rational or irrational strictly in accordance to how well it advances one towards fulfillment of his goals or desires. In this case if a person wishes to go to heaven suicide bombing is irrational as it does not entail salvation.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

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