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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Surely religion exists still because we as a people wish it to. If we ceased to wish it to exist then it would cease to exist. Simple really.

    Kinda like politics, it's based on human desires and as long as it is propped up by those desires it will continue.

    ~Apologies to anyone religious but I prefer to be transparent about my position. To do otherwise could be deemed patronising.
    Xander,

    While I would tend to agree with you in that religion exists because people want it to, that could be said about any number of things and ultimately says nothing about the objects and content of religion itself. Surely science, as a discipline, exists only because we wish it to, but that does not make it any less true, i.e. that does not mean that it does not show us the truth about nature. Likewise, this does not mean that there is not a political ideal we should be trying to live up to. Of course, neither does it mean that there is such an ideal. How is this different in religion? So yes, I can't think of a way that you would not be right in what you say, but what is the significance of your comment?

  2. #62
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnpl0011 View Post
    Solitary Walker,

    In reading your posts, I have noticed a recurring problem with your argumentation style. Namely, your style is not argumentative. You have a tendency to want to jump to give answers for the sake of supplying answers and not for the sake of creating a dialogue with others in an attempt to try to unravel reality and, bit by bit, come closer to the truth regarding a given topic (which is why everyone else is here, I imagine). You often make hasty generalizations that may partially be true in your desire to supply an answer, but your desire for immediate definiteness is your undoing. You seem to be very ambitious in your desire to capture reality, but this is as problematic as it is noble. You tend to want to systematize, but as you know, this has been the major fault of all too many philosophers throughout the ages. You just need to be sure that you are meticulously supplying reasons for everything you say and be careful when you are making generalizations about bodies of knowledge and intellectual traditions that you may not have an encyclopedic knowledge of.

    You also like to use very general words that can mean many, many, many things, and thus you end up saying very little in the eyes of others, even though the ideas that you seem to be trying to express can sometimes be insightful. For example, the word "cosmology" means different things in different contexts. And when you speak of "religion's task", it is difficult to know if you mean that this is what religions actively "try" to do as a means of control or something else, or whether it is a conglomeration and coming together of, among other things, people, history, and ideas in order to collectively come to an agreement on what seems to be true about "the beyond" in a world historical context because of the desire of people to feel a connection with something that transcends the sensble world. There is so much meaningful content that you leave out in trying to really understand the essence of a given thing when you give a one sentence answer to a complicated question.

    No, it is difficult to say that there are "two types of religion", no matter how you qualify that. Certainly, so-called theological religions are not mutually exclusive of "mythology" and legends and vice versa. I certainly don't think that you would count Buddhism as a theological religion or a mythological religion, but then again, that depends on your definition of theological and mythological religion. You do not clarify this to the degree you should. Buddhism is rich with legends and stories, but there is much deep thought that has been made in this tradition. Roman and Greek paganism is usually counted as what you would like to call a mythological religion, but on the other hand, there is much evidence in the philosophical literature and even in poetry and so forth, to show that roman paganism was much more involved and intricate than the average person gives it credit for. Plato and Epicurus wrote on the nature of the gods (as well as the "good and the beautiful" that is often equated with a Christian conception of God). And most classicists agree that they did not see the gods as tangible people or entities, but rather as natural forces in reality. It is likely that most did not really even believe the stories to be literal, but rather stories that helped to grasp the nature of these forces in reality. A final example is the Roman Catholic church, which I would imagine you would be quick to call a theological religion, though this is only an assumption. The Catholic church has much dogma and systemized thought, but it is extremely rich with legends and "fairy-tales" and stories that are not part of the official church canon. Especially in hagiography. So, what is your definition of an "absurd" fairy tale if the purpose of fairy tales is not to dictate truth, but to help one understand an aspect of reality by means of fictional accounts?

    Why are your "theological religions" unacceptable just because of their reliance on scripture? You make it sound as if a tradition or system of thought is "illegitimate" and bereft of value if it does not base itself on epistemologically verifiable principles. If you ask any theologian of any tradition or even any aware believer, the person will tell you that his or her choice to believe was not epistemologically based, leading one to believe that there may be other possibilities for grounds for belief other than stark epistemologically verifiable grounds. For example, it is usually a quality of life decision that leads people to belief. When that is coupled with rational traditions (for example, the Platonic and Aristotelian traditions in Christianity, especially in Christian ethics), one may actually have strong reasons to believe, depending on exactly what is counted as a strong reason, in which case, a leap of faith is not as "wild" as you seem to think, especially when belief does not contradict reason, but rather supplements it. But you do not clarify your position on this.


    You have not pointed out a single statement that I said that you suspect is false. If you'd do that, then I'd provide a reason.

    Much of my posts may be difficult to understand because they rest on the foundation of writings of Kierkegaard and Kant (concerning religion). These assertions really are not wild or arbitrary and are careful grounded in their ideas which I've accepted with much genuine reflection. Had you been aware of where I stand in relation to them, my reasoning for those statements would be a lot more clear. I do think through my claims very carefully, yet the Ne poisons the image, as it has tendencies towards polemical statements. With the INTJ it is the other way around the equivalent of the Ne is on the inside and their more careful/reflective side is on the outside. Nonetheless, I certify that I've thought through my claims very carefully and their foundation is difficult to see because I've pressupposed acquaintance with Kierkegaard and Kant, and also have presupposed their rectitude. Their ideas are not set in stone, but for the sake of this argument I've assumed they were right, and again I've thought them through before accepting their doctrines.

    As far as my seemingly careless use of words is concerned, I follow Popper's epistemology. This is how it goes: words can have many meanings that is true, but for the sake of the dialogue, we should fall back on the Conventional meanings, yet if they dont allow us an opportunity to express what we have in mind, we should be at liberty to tweak their meanings up if necessary, so long as others know what we mean when we do this. It is even ok to make new words up, as Popper himself did . IE (historicism, falsification).


    Please do ask whatever questions that may come to mind in regards to many of the ambitious claims that I've made in this thread. Yes for now just in this thread, we dont want to shift our focus too far out.

    But for now I will go through the few that I've noticed.

    Kant asserted that he put an end to speculative theology and theistic rationalism, for this reason I claim that theological religions are not valid. His distinction between the noumena and the phenomena posits that certain things are outside of our understanding and God is one of them. Therefore if God speaks to us, we will not be able to see what he says for its face value we will automatically translate it into what we can understand. Theism can only be justified through testimony, as for example if we do a good inquiry into metaphysics, we may find 'proof' for the way God works, we may even come to believe that there is a force that the Bible calls God, but we can never discover that its name is God.

    Hence Theology can not use reason to prove that God exists and because it has to rely on Scripture, it commits the falacy of an appeal to authority.

    As far as the Theology/Mythology distinction is concerned, it is much simpler than it looks. Some religions try to philosophize about eschatology. Like for instance, some Christians would argue that the problem of evil is a complex issue within human nature that happened in a way that is difficult to depict, so the story of Genesis is allegorical, others would mythologize and say that it is literal. I am pointing out that mythology and anthropomorphism are closely linked.

    Buddhism is just an abstraction, not a whole theology in itself. Some Buddhists will have a mythology, and those of them who are more reflective will be more philosophical. In other words they would take for the scriptures to tell us something about how things are and what we must do, but would not interpret them literally.

    As far as Fideism is concerned, you're right that it does not have to be wild, but again the point is believing in God having conceded that you can not use reason to prove his existence. (To show why we cant use reason to prove his existence and why fideism is necessary, we need to referr back to Kant and Kierkegaard).

  3. #63
    Senior Member Alienclock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyrdsister View Post
    In our age of scientific discovery I would like to pose the question...

    Why is religion still relevant in out time?

    Obviously in past centuries it was a form of mind control and personality cults. Myths and legends to explain our Earth and the Universe and why we were here and to be good people or we shall rot in hell or be reborn as amoebas... but now in the year 2007, why is religion still relevant?
    I think that people haven't changed. There are new ideas about how we got here etc... scientific ideas, but fundamentally humanity has not changed. Religion plays many roles, giving people direction, sense of purpose, sense of self... and besides, why should religion move aside and leave all the mind control and personality cults to non-theistic systems?

  4. #64
    Senior Member wyrdsister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alienclock View Post
    I think that people haven't changed. There are new ideas about how we got here etc... scientific ideas, but fundamentally humanity has not changed. Religion plays many roles, giving people direction, sense of purpose, sense of self... and besides, why should religion move aside and leave all the mind control and personality cults to non-theistic systems?
    Indeed I may well prefer to belong to the personality cult of the Buddha than that of Posh and Becks.

    Wyrd is a concept in Anglo-Saxon and Nordic culture roughly corresponding to fate. It is ancestral to Modern English weird, which has acquired a very different meaning.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    You have not pointed out a single statement that I said that you suspect is false. If you'd do that, then I'd provide a reason.
    No, that isn't how it works. I have good reason to suspect everything to be false that you do not provide reasoning for. Whenever you make any kind of positive assertion, the burden of proof is on you, not me. That is how it works in law and in philosophy. Otherwise, all is to be doubted. The first thing I want to say when you make these claims is "Show me. Prove it to me." You have not done this.

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Much of my posts may be difficult to understand because they rest on the foundation of writings of Kierkegaard and Kant (concerning religion). These assertions really are not wild or arbitrary and are careful grounded in their ideas which I've accepted with much genuine reflection. Had you been aware of where I stand in relation to them, my reasoning for those statements would be a lot more clear. I do think through my claims very carefully, yet the Ne poisons the image, as it has tendencies towards polemical statements. With the INTJ it is the other way around the equivalent of the Ne is on the inside and their more careful/reflective side is on the outside. Nonetheless, I certify that I've thought through my claims very carefully and their foundation is difficult to see because I've pressupposed acquaintance with Kierkegaard and Kant, and also have presupposed their rectitude. Their ideas are not set in stone, but for the sake of this argument I've assumed they were right, and again I've thought them through before accepting their doctrines.
    Yes, I am quite familiar with Kant and Kierkegaard and I understand your posts quite well, having been through all of this as a philosophy graduate and having taught classes in philosophy and contemporary logic. The point is that you are spouting these assertions in such a way that much is taken for granted. Though you have accepted their ideas with much genuine reflection, that does not mean that others have and therefore you must be careful in this setting if your desire is to have an actual conversation with anyone which has any bit of intellectual integrity. Of course, if your desire is to try and take over all debates and sophistically try to supply answers without supplying your reasoning for others who are not psychic and unable to understand your thought processes, keep on doing as you are. However, I like to have faith in the human element and hope this is not the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    As far as my seemingly careless use of words is concerned, I follow Popper's epistemology. This is how it goes: words can have many meanings that is true, but for the sake of the dialogue, we should fall back on the Conventional meanings, yet if they dont allow us an opportunity to express what we have in mind, we should be at liberty to tweak their meanings up if necessary, so long as others know what we mean when we do this. It is even ok to make new words up, as Popper himself did . IE (historicism, falsification).
    And Karl Popper was a very smart man. Unfortunately, you are not following his advice. There are very many conventional meanings for many of the words you have used, such as the cosmology example, and so invoking Karl Popper gets us nowhere, especially taken to extremes that he did not intend (by the way, are you working with the essays or which text? Are you working with a translated work?). Cosmology is a philosophical concept and a scientific concept. I deduced that you were talking about the philosophical concept (which I should not have had to do) but cosmology is still to general, as it can mean a number of things dealing with a number of different areas of reality, such as the physical world, the so-called spiritual world, and it is even sometimes used in a much more general psychological context. This is not a matter of being too picky about word choice, it is a matter of the material you have presented not being specific enough. Fortunately, if I recall, this particular instance was not extremely significant to the overall meaning of the proposition you were positing, but you leave much room for confusion and misinterpretation.


    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Please do ask whatever questions that may come to mind in regards to many of the ambitious claims that I've made in this thread. Yes for now just in this thread, we dont want to shift our focus too far out.

    But for now I will go through the few that I've noticed.

    Kant asserted that he put an end to speculative theology and theistic rationalism, for this reason I claim that theological religions are not valid. His distinction between the noumena and the phenomena posits that certain things are outside of our understanding and God is one of them. Therefore if God speaks to us, we will not be able to see what he says for its face value we will automatically translate it into what we can understand. Theism can only be justified through testimony, as for example if we do a good inquiry into metaphysics, we may find 'proof' for the way God works, we may even come to believe that there is a force that the Bible calls God, but we can never discover that its name is God.

    Hence Theology can not use reason to prove that God exists and because it has to rely on Scripture, it commits the falacy of an appeal to authority.

    As far as the Theology/Mythology distinction is concerned, it is much simpler than it looks. Some religions try to philosophize about eschatology. Like for instance, some Christians would argue that the problem of evil is a complex issue within human nature that happened in a way that is difficult to depict, so the story of Genesis is allegorical, others would mythologize and say that it is literal. I am pointing out that mythology and anthropomorphism are closely linked.

    Buddhism is just an abstraction, not a whole theology in itself. Some Buddhists will have a mythology, and those of them who are more reflective will be more philosophical. In other words they would take for the scriptures to tell us something about how things are and what we must do, but would not interpret them literally.

    As far as Fideism is concerned, you're right that it does not have to be wild, but again the point is believing in God having conceded that you can not use reason to prove his existence. (To show why we cant use reason to prove his existence and why fideism is necessary, we need to referr back to Kant and Kierkegaard).
    These are not rebuttals to my problems with your post. You are trying to explain something to me that I understand quite clearly and it is not helping the situtation. Again, I have read more than my share of Kant in the original. The problem is not necessarily with the material you are dealing with in your posts or your education in philosophy, but with the style and method. And one is not more important than the other if you honestly seek to have a dialogue with the other people here. This is what I said at the beginning of my first criticism. It was a critique of your argumentative style. The method is as important if not more important than the ends when you are publicly stating your opinion.

    Also, the very word "theology" in your Buddhism comment is problematic because many people use this word in many different ways. Some use it to mean systematized dogmas, some use it to mean the body of work that has been written down or passed down through the ages, depending on the tradition you are working with. It can be a very specific word or a very broad one. You leave too much to the imagination, and that was the problem I was addressing, if you go back and read my post. The point is that you could make more meaningful contributions if you would simply be more careful about your methodology.

    And by the way, what is Buddhism to you? You've said that it is not a theological religion, so, unless you are saying that Buddhism is not a religion at all, you are saying that it is one of your "mythological religions" because you said that all religions can be pigeon-holed into one or the other. Either is difficult to argue, I would imagine. Seeing as how it deals with the mystical and is always in the religion section of the book store (ha ha) and most do not take the stories literally. And again, saying that Buddhism is an abstraction is another unclear use of words. Abstraction can mean many things and there is not one clear-cut ordinary use of the word, especially not in philosophy. Abstraction in the platonic sense? Abstration as in a single notion or idea? The point was that there are too many fine points to make the claim that all religions fall into one category or the other in a clear cut manner.

    To try to pigeonhole all world religions like this is probably more ambitious than I trust you are qualfied to make unless you have spent your life work studying this very topic and have the encyclopedic knowledge and evidence to back up the claim. If you indeed have this knowledge, again, you need to present your evidence. The first thing everyone wants to do when you say this is find exceptions to your rule, and there are many. Historical religions are very heterogenous and complex things that are hard to pigeonhole, especially when you look at them not as systems, but as historical and social conglomerations of phenomena and ideas. Religions, just like all social constructions, are very non-static in nature, even if they claim to have principles and doctrines. For example, I have heard that Benedict currently has a research team out on the condom issue and the Humanae Vitae.

    And by the way, Kant only put an end to positive theology (if you follow the Kantian tradition), and not apophatic theology. Huge distinction. Given, apophatic theology is limited in it's scope, but that's nothing new.
    Last edited by jnpl0011; 04-27-2007 at 07:56 PM.
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  6. #66
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnpl0011 View Post
    No, that isn't how it works. I have good reason to suspect everything to be false that you do not provide reasoning for. Whenever you make any kind of positive assertion, the burden of proof is on you, not me. That is how it works in law and in philosophy. Otherwise, all is to be doubted. The first thing I want to say when you make these claims is "Show me. Prove it to me." You have not done this.



    Yes, I am quite familiar with Kant and Kierkegaard and I understand your posts quite well, having been through all of this as a philosophy graduate and having taught classes in philosophy and contemporary logic. The point is that you are spouting these assertions in such a way that much is taken for granted. Though you have accepted their ideas with much genuine reflection, that does not mean that others have and therefore you must be careful in this setting if your desire is to have an actual conversation with anyone which has any bit of intellectual integrity. Of course, if your desire is to try and take over all debates and sophistically try to supply answers without supplying your reasoning for others who are not psychic and unable to understand your thought processes, keep on doing as you are. However, I like to have faith in the human element and hope this is not the case.



    And Karl Popper was a very smart man. Unfortunately, you are not following his advice. There are very many conventional meanings for many of the words you have used, such as the cosmology example, and so invoking Karl Popper gets us nowhere, especially taken to extremes that he did not intend (by the way, are you working with the essays or which text? Are you working with a translated work?). Cosmology is a philosophical concept and a scientific concept. I deduced that you were talking about the philosophical concept (which I should not have had to do) but cosmology is still to general, as it can mean a number of things dealing with a number of different areas of reality, such as the physical world, the so-called spiritual world, and it is even sometimes used in a much more general psychological context. This is not a matter of being too picky about word choice, it is a matter of the material you have presented not being specific enough. Fortunately, if I recall, this particular instance was not extremely significant to the overall meaning of the proposition you were positing, but you leave much room for confusion and misinterpretation.




    These are not rebuttals to my problems with your post. You are trying to explain something to me that I understand quite clearly and it is not helping the situtation. Again, I have read more than my share of Kant in the original. The problem is not necessarily with the material you are dealing with in your posts or your education in philosophy, but with the style and method. And one is not more important than the other if you honestly seek to have a dialogue with the other people here. This is what I said at the beginning of my first criticism. It was a critique of your argumentative style. The method is as important if not more important than the ends when you are publicly stating your opinion.

    Also, the very word "theology" in your Buddhism comment is problematic because many people use this word in many different ways. Some use it to mean systematized dogmas, some use it to mean the body of work that has been written down or passed down through the ages, depending on the tradition you are working with. It can be a very specific word or a very broad one. You leave too much to the imagination, and that was the problem I was addressing, if you go back and read my post. The point is that you could make more meaningful contributions if you would simply be more careful about your methodology.

    And by the way, what is Buddhism to you? You've said that it is not a theological religion, so, unless you are saying that Buddhism is not a religion at all, you are saying that it is one of your "mythological religions" because you said that all religions can be pigeon-holed into one or the other. Either is difficult to argue, I would imagine. Seeing as how it deals with the mystical and is always in the religion section of the book store (ha ha) and most do not take the stories literally. And again, saying that Buddhism is an abstraction is another unclear use of words. Abstraction can mean many things and there is not one clear-cut ordinary use of the word, especially not in philosophy. Abstraction in the platonic sense? Abstration as in a single notion or idea? The point was that there are too many fine points to make the claim that all religions fall into one category or the other in a clear cut manner.

    To try to pigeonhole all world religions like this is probably more ambitious than I trust you are qualfied to make unless you have spent your life work studying this very topic and have the encyclopedic knowledge and evidence to back up the claim. If you indeed have this knowledge, again, you need to present your evidence. The first thing everyone wants to do when you say this is find exceptions to your rule, and there are many. Historical religions are very heterogenous and complex things that are hard to pigeonhole, especially when you look at them not as systems, but as historical and social conglomerations of phenomena and ideas. Religions, just like all social constructions, are very non-static in nature, even if they claim to have principles and doctrines. For example, I have heard that Benedict currently has a research team out on the condom issue and the Humanae Vitae.

    And by the way, Kant only put an end to positive theology (if you follow the Kantian tradition), and not apophatic theology. Huge distinction. Given, apophatic theology is limited in it's scope, but that's nothing new.

    I agree that Kant has only put an end to positive theology and not apophatic. If I have understood apophatic to be for what you had in mind, Kierkegaardian fideism should be one of that breed. Essentially it is irrefutable because it is immune to criticism.

    You are correct to say that I should have clarified what I meant when I used potentially ambiguous terms like cosmology. In this case I meant a comprehensive system about how the world works that thoroughly addresses the question from metaphysical, ethical and epistemic perspectives.

    I was not trying to place all religions into two categories, all I was saying is that the more reflective theologians will try to use reason to justify their faith and the less reflective will be very literal in the interpretation of the Holy Text. This is more of a comment concerning human nature than philosophy of religion. Yet again, Hume had insights concerning the connection of theology and mythology in his History of Natural religion which can be expected to stand up to criticisms.


    As far as Popper is concerned I have only read his works in English. (Open Society and its Enemies, I,II. Poverty of Historicism, Unended Quest, All of Life is Problem Solving, and the Open Universe). I believe all of these were written in English originally besides all of Life is Problem Solving. Although his method is best depicted in Conjectures and Refutations and Logic of Scientific Discovery. The first, I have not even touched, the second I only have read approximately 110 pages of.


    As far as Kant is concerned I've only covered Religion within Limits of Reason alone, Prolegomena to any Future metaphysics and Groundwork for Metaphysics of Morals. Still have not read his Critiques, although I got to know him reasonably well through Schopenhauer, of whom I've read every word. (''In general , I make the demand that whoever wishes to make himself acquainted with my philosophy shall read every line of me. For I am not a prolific writer, a fabricator of compendiums, an earner of fees , a person who aims with his writings at approbation and assent of a minister; in a word, one whose pen is under the influence of personal ends. I aspire to nothing but the truth, and I write as the ancients wrote with the sole object of preserving my thoughts, so that they may one day benefit those who know how to meditate on them and appreciate them.'')

    And I've read everything by Kierkegaard besides the Philosophical Fragments and the New age along with his journal entries which I do not consider important.


    I am usually much more careful with the philosophical claims I make, especially with the more polemical ones, my Ne got too much of a go this time.

  7. #67
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnpl0011 View Post
    Xander,

    While I would tend to agree with you in that religion exists because people want it to, that could be said about any number of things and ultimately says nothing about the objects and content of religion itself. Surely science, as a discipline, exists only because we wish it to, but that does not make it any less true, i.e. that does not mean that it does not show us the truth about nature. Likewise, this does not mean that there is not a political ideal we should be trying to live up to. Of course, neither does it mean that there is such an ideal. How is this different in religion? So yes, I can't think of a way that you would not be right in what you say, but what is the significance of your comment?
    The significance is that if this is a human construct then unless we find in the objective world a reason to have it then it is purely a human construct and not true.

    Some people do find the presence of the divine in the world and it is those people who have faith. We know that our experience of the world is relative to our own mind so therefore the existance of religion can be directly tied to those who have faith and their interpretations of the world.

    I am pointing out such simple things because basically most things can be reduced down to a central point which is as close to the truth as we can get it. To expand from such a point is to go further from the truth, as far as can be measured.

    So the answer to why is there religions is based perfectly upon the involvement of humans. As such that is where you will find the answer for why it exists. If it was a reality outside of humans then it would be logical to assume that other species would also have faith (there is the argument of how would we know as we can't communicate with them but as far as we can tell they do not) and also there would be a reflection in the objective world which those with faith could point to and say there it is. So far I have found no person able to do such a thing and hence my agnosticism.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

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    Xander,

    I would be careful and make a few distinctions there. While I think you are right to say that unless we find a reason or evidence to believe, religion is a mere human construction, first off, that does not prove falseness. It makes a case for the increased probability that a given creed may be false, but it is not proof of falseness. However, one would be reasonable to reject religion if this were the case. And making a distinction between the value of evidence in the objective world (by the way, what kind of evidence would this be, hypothetically?) and evidence from other sources, say, from religious experiences, is not one I would be quick to make. Also, as I have noted elsewhere, I think, notice that most religious people are not concerned entirely with objective world evidence and proof when they make arguments for belief--at least not the more educated persons. They are also concerned with reasonable values and life-value, giving them, in their eyes, reason to give religion the benefit of the doubt. I assure you that not all deeply religious people need to carry around a handkerchief to wipe up their own drool. Many intelligent people make this decision, fully aware that they do not have the kind of objective evidence that many thinkers (especially in the UK and the US) take to be more valuable. Others have religious experiences that I would imagine it to be difficult to explain away as meaningless, even if you are prone to reduce the experience down to brain science. There is nothing to say that "brain science" is not a medium for true religious experience. It just cannot be proven either way.

    I have to admit, I am a little confused by your explanation. You say it would not be true if it were a human construction, and yet you are an agnostic. Do you mean to say that we cannot know if the divine is true or not? If it is not true, I would imagine you to be an atheist.

    And when you talk about other species having faith, I am completely puzzled. There are alot of things that animals (I assume you are not talking about Mr. Spock or his little green friends) can't do because, well, they are dumb, sensory creatures for the most part with little ability to reason and make abstractions. Unless, of course, you are keeping Mr. Ed in your stable, in which case I guess I would have to relent. You make the mistake of not paying attention to what the word "faith" means. It defeats the purpose of the concept to say that sensory creatures would have faith when faith is by nature non-sensory (meaning that it goes beyond sense, even if sensual evidence is used by some as a starting point). What did you mean to say here? This is not making sense to me.

    I would imagine that there are alot of things that exist without us knowing, as we are discovering new things everyday. Just because we have not found something does not mean it does not exist and just because we cannot detect something does not mean it is not there. So what were you actually trying to say here? Are you trying to make a case for agnosticism or for atheism? With a little tweaking, you could pull off a good argument for the former, but you can only make a case for the probability of there not being a God if you were shooting for the latter.

    Epistemologically and empirically, I think we are for the most part forced into religious agnosticism, but surely that is not the whole story? If you believe so, I think you are cutting the inquiry short and ignoring a world of material and thought that has been done on this topic.
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  9. #69
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnpl0011 View Post
    I would be careful and make a few distinctions there. While I think you are right to say that unless we find a reason or evidence to believe, religion is a mere human construction, first off, that does not prove falseness. It makes a case for the increased probability that a given creed may be false, but it is not proof of falseness. However, one would be reasonable to reject religion if this were the case.
    I cannot proove reliably that I'll die if I jump off a building. I am however unwilling to test the theory because it is irrelevant to my life at the moment. The same remains true of religion. Hence I am agnostic because I do not believe that the presence or absence of a deity has anything to do with my continued existance.
    Quote Originally Posted by jnpl0011 View Post
    And making a distinction between the value of evidence in the objective world (by the way, what kind of evidence would this be, hypothetically?) and evidence from other sources, say, from religious experiences, is not one I would be quick to make. Also, as I have noted elsewhere, I think, notice that most religious people are not concerned entirely with objective world evidence and proof when they make arguments for belief--at least not the more educated persons. They are also concerned with reasonable values and life-value, giving them, in their eyes, reason to give religion the benefit of the doubt. I assure you that not all deeply religious need to carry around a handkerchief to wipe up their own drool. Many intelligent people make this decision, fully aware that they do not have the kind of objective evidence that many thinkers (especially in the UK and the US) take to be more valuable. Others have religious experiences that I would imagine it to be difficult to explain away as meaningless, even if you are prone to reduce the experience down to brain science. There is nothing to say that "brain science" is not a medium for true religious experience. It just cannot be proven either way.
    I make no accusation that people who see the divine in life are any more or less possessed of sense, reason and logic than I. I am certainly not going to judge people's intelligence via whether they are religious or not.

    I do however see that people join religions for various reasons and not commonly for the same experience (I can't say I have done extensive research as I often end up in arguments with religious persons but it is an area of interest to me). I draw from these observations that it is increasingly unlikely that there is an objective real world thing which promotes religious behaviour and hence I deem it subjective. I am not however saying that such subjective judgements are any less valid than persecuting a person for murder. All such decisions are subjective and many are very intellectual and detatched decisions. As such the decision to be religious is as valid as any other decision based on internal interpretations of external stimulae.
    Quote Originally Posted by jnpl0011 View Post
    I have to admit, I am a little confused by your explanation.
    It's a common occurance. The key is that I'm not particularly arguing for a specific point just a particular approach.
    Quote Originally Posted by jnpl0011 View Post
    You say it would not be true if it were a human construction, and yet you are an agnostic. Do you mean to say that we cannot know if the divine is true or not? If it is not true, I would imagine you to be an atheist.
    An aetheist decrys religion where as an agnostic merely shrugs. I prefer to allow others to make up their own minds.
    Quote Originally Posted by jnpl0011 View Post
    And when you talk about other species having faith, I am completely puzzled. There are alot of things that animals (I assume you are not talking about Mr. Spock or his little green friends) can't do because, well, they are dumb, sensory creatures for the most part with little ability to reason and make abstractions. Unless, of course, you are keeping Mr. Ed in your stable, in which case I guess I would have to relent.
    Hmm yes animals are such lower beings they should all be shot. I apologise but this is one of my bones of contention with most thinkers. Why the hell would a dog need maths? How is the ability to think abstractly, which is a human constructed concept, any definition of universal intelligence. That's not talking about which creatures are sentient and our equals, that's on about what species are more human like than the others with the prejudice that humans are the best of them all. how nice we can judge others by our own standards and yet nicely forget to do the same in the other direction. For example compared to most animals, if not all, we destroy more of the environment than they ever could and yet we're the "developed" ones?
    Quote Originally Posted by jnpl0011 View Post
    I would imagine that there are alot of things that exist without us knowing, as we are discovering new things everyday. Just because we have not found something does not mean it does not exist and just because we cannot detect something does not mean it is not there. So what were you actually trying to say here? Are you trying to make a case for agnosticism or for atheism? With a little tweaking, you could pull off a good argument for the former, but you can only make a case for the probability of there not being a God if you were shooting for the latter.
    Failing to find something as untrue does not make it true, it merely makes it possible as far as we know. Hence agnosticism.
    Quote Originally Posted by jnpl0011 View Post
    Epistemologically and empirically, I think we are for the most part forced into religious agnosticism, but surely that is not the whole story? If you believe so, I think you are cutting the inquiry short and ignoring a world of material and thought that has been done on this topic.
    I ignore most of the material brought up by "developed" thinkers because often they ignore the core point and get more caught up in the details of their own focus than actually getting to grips with the subject as a whole.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

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    Senior Member Langrenus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushranger View Post
    It is not unique to religion, but nevertheless it is a large part of its purpose.
    Then what drives some people to religion and others away from it? The tendency towards religiousity is not confined to any demographic or psychological group (although interestingly Dawkins comments that an enormous proportion of the Royal Society define themselves as atheists). What is it about religion that provides common values over, say, civic society?

    I would also expect people to prefer 'positive' common values (as opposed, say, to the 'you were born into sin and will burn in hell' type).

    Genuinely interesting thread by the way. Although if I'm honest with myself I still cannot see past my atheist blinkers.

    Edit: I'd also add, the 'common values' argument assumes homogeneity where there is none. Two people sat next to one another in a church may actually share very little common ground (one might be pro-life, the other pro-choice, et cetera).
    Last edited by Langrenus; 04-28-2007 at 12:33 PM. Reason: Addition
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