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Faith of a Rationalist

The_Liquid_Laser

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What is 'divine'?

A divine character would be righteous. It would be virtuous and compassionate...along those lines. Since we are talking specifically about the Christian Son of God, then he would fit the character requirements of the Bible. (Things like the ten commandments, and "God is love".)

Jennifer said:
I think the problem with miracles is that people are jaded. I don't see people being inclined to believe and follow someone honestly, just because they can do miracles.

This is why Jesus basically wouldn't do miracles sometimes, wasn't it?

I suppose that this ultimately depends on the miracle and the person observing it. I tend to think that if a person were dying of AIDS, and then someone miraculously cured them, then that would definitely get their attention. I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree on this point.

As for the pharisees you have a point, and as to why that is somewhat of a mystery to me. The people who were supposed to accept him rejected him instead...and vice versa. I guess why that is, but I don't really know why. I know I like this song:

YouTube - Franz Ferdinand - the fallen

IlyaK1986 said:
Christianity: To me, Jesus was a loudmouth that got whacked by the Romans. A nice guy, sure, but remember, 2000 years ago, in addition to believing in divine shenanigans, people also thought the world was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.

People knew the world was round 2000 years ago. That knowledge was lost during the Dark Ages (among all the other lost knowledge).
 

SolitaryWalker

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Faith? As in religion? My review of them:

Judaism: I was born a Jew, but I do not believe in the notion of a divine all encompassing god. Sorry. I still will wear the title of Jew proudly, because I was born one, and I support the Jewish people. And I believe according to Jewish law, if your mother was a Jew, then so are you.

Christianity: To me, Jesus was a loudmouth that got whacked by the Romans. A nice guy, sure, but remember, 2000 years ago, in addition to believing in divine shenanigans, people also thought the world was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.

Islam: Read up some history on Mohammed. It's not pretty. And of course, you have a LOT of people that simply kill others for not believing in their invisible man. I happen to think they're symptoms of the religion itself like coughing and fever are symptoms of the flu, not extremists.

Shinto: I find the beliefs of this religion interesting. From what I do know, there are spirits everywhere, and from what I've heard, there are shrines in Japan set up in extremely out of the way places that one can ask for a blessing in from the local spirits. Sure, it's improbable, but it's never hurt anyone, and it seems those that practice it achieve some lucidity and other decent states of living.

Buddhism: Ehhh...completely flies in the face of human nature.

Scientology/Zoroastrianism: don't know enough about them.

Belief in the force: believe it or not, some people allegedly started a religion based on Star Wars. Use the force, doods!

Frankly, though, I think George Carlin said it best.

"But in the bullshit department--in the bullshit department, a businessman--can't hold a candle...to a clergyman.

Because when it comes to bullshit...big time, major-league BULLSHIT, you have to stand in awe...in awe of the all time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims...religion. No contest. No contest. Religion.

Religion easily has the biggest bullshit story ever told. Think about it! Religion has actually convinced people...that there's an invisible man...living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day.

And this invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and burn and suffer and choke and scream and cry forever and ever until the end of time!

But he loves you.

He loves you. He loves you, and he needs money! He always needs money! He's all powerful, all perfect, all knowing, and all wise, somehow...just can't handle money!

Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story...

HOLY SHIT

You can see the rest of it here...

YouTube - George Carlin - Religion is Bullshit - HQ

You're in the wrong thread. This essay was not at all religious, if anything anti-religious. Your expository remarks with respect to the prominent religions in the world were almost altogether irrelevant.
 

SolitaryWalker

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A divine character would be righteous. It would be virtuous and compassionate...along those lines. Since we are talking specifically about the Christian Son of God, th).

Suppose we have an account of Jesus acting like the most ethically sound man possible.

How is this a proposition in favor of the truth of the Christian religion?
 

Evan

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Do you believe there is such thing as a premise that cannot be questioned? If not, doesn't faith come into play in every single argument?

(Don't know if you covered this in your original essay.)
 

SolitaryWalker

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Do you believe there is such thing as a premise that cannot be questioned? If not, doesn't faith come into play in every single argument?

(Don't know if you covered this in your original essay.)

Every premise can be questioned. When I say I accept premise X, I do not mean its unquestionable, I mean that based on all that I know so far, it seems the most likely to be true. Though indeed, this may change in the future.
 

Evan

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So the faith of a rationalist is basically the faith in their premises. So the best argument, it seems, is the one with the fewest premises, yeah?
 

SolitaryWalker

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So the faith of a rationalist is basically the faith in their premises. So the best argument, it seems, is the one with the fewest premises, yeah?

I do not understand.

There is no faith here. It would of been faith if I said that although I have only good reasons to believe in a proposition and it is far from apodictic, I will take a leap of faith and assume it is apodictic or unquestionable. This is not what I am doing.

Faith of a Rationalist is an oxymoron. Faith implies belief without due evidence, rationalism means exclusive adherence to reason. This leaves no room for faith as everything a rationalist believes in, he believes because he sees objective reasons for doing so. 'Creed of a Rationalist' would have been more descriptive of the essay as a title. I have only used the term faith to show that such a creed offers us all that religions promise to give us in vain.
 

Evan

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Hmm. Well the jump I made without explicitly stating it is this: a premise is unprovable. To believe in the soundness of your argument is to believe in the truth of your premise. That belief is faith. To have no faith in your premises is to have no belief in your argument, essentially.

Maybe our definitions of faith don't match?
 

SolitaryWalker

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Hmm. Well the jump I made without explicitly stating it is this: a premise is unprovable. To believe in the soundness of your argument is to believe in the truth of your premise. That belief is faith. To have no faith in your premises is to have no belief in your argument, essentially.

Maybe our definitions of faith don't match?

Soundness of an argument is synonymous with an argument we have good reasons to believe to be true. Not arguments that we can prove with absolute certainty to be true.

Faith: An acceptance of a proposition based on personal will not reasoning.

Again, it would have been faith if I maintained that I know my arguments are true for certain despite that I have no reason to believe in them with full certainty. You can believe in the truth of your premises to the extent that they are warranted, there is no gap to fill in here.
 

Evan

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Soundness of an argument is synonymous with an argument we have good reasons to believe to be true. Not arguments that we can prove with absolute certainty to be true.

Faith: An acceptance of a proposition based on personal will not reasoning.

Again, it would have been faith if I maintained that I know my arguments are true for certain despite that I have no reason to believe in them with full certainty. You can believe in the truth of your premises to the extent that they are warranted, there is no gap to fill in here.

How do we know what "an argument we have good reasons to believe to be true" looks like? How do we know if our premises are warranted? People disagree all the time about this. The problems with argument don't come from incorrect logical steps (in most cases), but from different premises.

Some thoughts:
1) There is no absolute soundness of an argument, since there are no absolute premises.
2) We pick premises based on personal will, because we have no absolute ways to know their truth value. (You will probably disagree here)
3) According to your definition of faith, we use it in 2.

To explain 2 further: To defend our premises, we make logical arguments with those premises as the conclusion. We can continue this recursively forever. But at no point will we find anything that can't be questioned. If you continue this process long enough, you will eventually just state personal opinions of how the world works.
 

The_Liquid_Laser

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Suppose we have an account of Jesus acting like the most ethically sound man possible.

How is this a proposition in favor of the truth of the Christian religion?

Because one of my requirements was that he claim to be the Son of God. If he were the most ethically sound man possible, then he wouldn't lie about something like this.
 

Totenkindly

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Do you believe there is such thing as a premise that cannot be questioned? If not, doesn't faith come into play in every single argument? (Don't know if you covered this in your original essay.)

There is a smidgen of doubt (at the very least) in every confident statement we might make.

However, we make countless tangible decisions as if they were 100% accurate on a daily basis... and they pan out as expected. iow, on a practical level, this sort of assumption allows for a close approximation of reality.

When we start talking metaphysics and the divine, however, that seems to be a different area than practical tangible daily observable life. Many of the truth claims being made are NOT obvious or not really falsifiable.

And that is the sort of topic we are discussing here.

Because one of my requirements was that he claim to be the Son of God. If he were the most ethically sound man possible, then he wouldn't lie about something like this.

lots of assumptions:
1. Define "most ethically sound" -- the term is defined differently depending on the speaker.
2. When I see someone say, "If... then he wouldn't..." my Assumption meter goes off.
3. "One of my requirements..." again, we deal with assumptions.

These discussions usually don't go far because people operate from different assumptions.
 

SolitaryWalker

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Because one of my requirements was that he claim to be the Son of God. If he were the most ethically sound man possible, then he wouldn't lie about something like this.

Yet he still could have been mistaken. Being ethically sound does not preclude the possibility of error, being intellectually sound does.
 

SolitaryWalker

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How do we know what "an argument we have good reasons to believe to be true" looks like? How do we know if our premises are warranted? People disagree all the time about this. The problems with argument don't come from incorrect logical steps (in most cases), but from different premises.

Some thoughts:
1) There is no absolute soundness of an argument, since there are no absolute premises.
2) We pick premises based on personal will, because we have no absolute ways to know their truth value. (You will probably disagree here)
3) According to your definition of faith, we use it in 2.

To explain 2 further: To defend our premises, we make logical arguments with those premises as the conclusion. We can continue this recursively forever. But at no point will we find anything that can't be questioned. If you continue this process long enough, you will eventually just state personal opinions of how the world works.

Just use your head a little. Some premises are better than others. For example, the premise that I have a hand in front of me cannot be deduced or proven altogether, but its a well warranted one as I observe it with my senses. Same is to be said for a complex problem that we can work out with a rigorous logical or mathematical algorithm.






A premise that there is a God is not observed in the external world nor is it a derivation of any complex notion with the faculties of objective reasoning.

We cannot deduce all things because we do not know the first premises to the world as in order to know them we must observe all things. Yet with all that we know about the world we can establish some premises tentatively. I don't think I need to explain the reliability of the premise that there is a hand around me or that principles of mathematics and logic represent the proper ways of reasoning.
 

Evan

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So, many of our personal opinions about the world overlap. When two people agree on a premise, deductive logic is great.

I'd still say we all have a little bit of faith, though. We have faith that other people think. We have faith, basically, in what we consider probable.

From a pragmatic standpoint, not having this faith would probably make us less evolutionarily fit than having it.

I said this before, maybe you're using faith differently than I am?
 

SolitaryWalker

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So, many of our personal opinions about the world overlap. When two people agree on a premise, deductive logic is great.

I'd still say we all have a little bit of faith, though. We have faith that other people think. We have faith, basically, in what we consider probable.

From a pragmatic standpoint, not having this faith would probably make us less evolutionarily fit than having it.

I said this before, maybe you're using faith differently than I am?

Again, many of the things we know we have reasons to believe we know. We do not need faith or our personal will to magnify the level of our confidence in our views as they are warrantable in their own right.
 

The_Liquid_Laser

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Yet he still could have been mistaken. Being ethically sound does not preclude the possibility of error, being intellectually sound does.

How would you detect such a mistake? What action would reveal a false Son of God from a real Son of God if both followed my three premises?
 

SolitaryWalker

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How would you detect such a mistake? What action would reveal a false Son of God from a real Son of God if both followed my three premises?

Bottom line is, if he is the Son of God or intellectually sound, he should be making true utterances about the world which could be proven in terms of objective reasoning. If he knows what he is talking about he should be able to defend that rationally.

It doesn't matter if he is the Son of God, it only matters that he makes true utterances.
 
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