Psycho-Babble Faith Thread 882

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Re: Christianity... easy way out? Robin

Posted by madison88 on September 8, 2002, at 18:53:52

In reply to Re: Christianity... easy way out? madison88, posted by Robin David John on September 7, 2002, at 22:58:41

i want to let you know that i agree that there are wolves of all sorts in any group. there are selfish Christians and selfish Buddhists who will take advantage of the fact that others are seeking knowledge, if not truth, on how to live life to the fullest.

i would like to hear your testimony if you are allowed to share it. not that you can convince me that Christianity is the way to go, but to show me how spirituality in general can change someone's life for the better. i supose that is really what i am interested in. it just happens to be the case that i am bitter about Christianity's dark side, of which i have seen so much. I suppose it is there for any religion, though.

 

Re: ?s about the big ?

Posted by madison88 on September 8, 2002, at 19:23:15

In reply to The 10,000,000 Dollar Question, posted by fachad on September 8, 2002, at 1:31:39

>
> I specialized in Epistemology, which is the branch of philosophy that addresses how we know what we know, what knowledge is, what truth is, and how you distinguish truth from falsehood. In the end, I concluded that there is no way to choose one faith over another based on empirical evidence or rational analysis. So any choice is purely arbitrary.

I am not sure a choice can be completely arbitrary because there always is a gut level reaction involved. Also, the nature of truth is a bit cloudy for me. For there to be truth and falsehood there must exist something that dictates it, usaully which takes the form of God. How can you evaluate truth outside of a religious system? Perhaps i am confusing the terms with good and evil.
>
> This is great, as long as people keep that in mind. The problem is when people treat religious doctrines like they were literally true.
>
So what happens when they do declare their doctrines true? Do we not have a right to challenge such beliefs? Does it not impede the religious rights of others to have someone say that only their way is the right way?


> I honestly don't see how anyone can seriously consider this question, with an open mind and true self honesty, and come out anything other than agnostic. That's not to say they won't have faith or spirituality - just that they won't insist that it's the "only true religion".
>
But if you conclude that you don't know something to be true, it doesn't mean that you have to believe that it is false. Again, the categories of truth and falsehood seem so artificial to me. When we impose the question of validity or invalidity on a system that refuses to conform ot such notions, we will certainly get an answer, but it may not accurately describe the system.

For example, suppose you are trying to determine whether nature or nurture contributes to personality development. You can't say yes it is either b/c there is always some aspect of the other's influence. It is both nature and nurture. You can neither prove both false, both true, or one false and the other true. Your truth and falsehood indicator breaks down. So the answer is you don't know.

Spirituality seems to work the same way as a complex system. Yes, spirituality helps people. No, it is not the only thing that helps people. It seems like there is something to it, we just can't explain it yet. I think that agnostics have to have something to react against. I suppose thay are reacting against what they can't understand. For others of us, we have more freedom to go with our gut feelings. What are these things called gut feelings anyway? My head hurts. Bye.


 

that must be really difficult for you madison88

Posted by judy1 on September 8, 2002, at 21:18:33

In reply to Re: Christianity... easy way out? Robin, posted by madison88 on September 8, 2002, at 18:53:52

I've known people who have had very negative experiences with a particular religion, and find it very difficult to recover their spirituality. Is this something you work on with your therapist or someone else you trust? take care, judy

 

But Whose Scripture for Backup? Robin David John

Posted by fachad on September 9, 2002, at 21:25:02

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question...Fachad Dinah, posted by Robin David John on September 8, 2002, at 13:28:30

>I think I may be able to keep it breaf..with scripture backup Robin.

Robin,

Which or whose "scripture" are you going to use to back up your answer? The Vedas? The Koran? The Tao Te Ching? The Torah? The Bible? The Book of Mormon? Aleister Crowley's "The Book of The Law"?

How can you make a case for any one of these purported holy books, that it is The Only True One?

Thomas Paine, a notable founding father of the United States, wrote a book called "The Age of Reason" in which he leveled devastating arguments against EVERY book that claims to be a revelation from God.

His argument ran that even if such an unlikely event did occur (God reveals himself to a person thru a book), it would be a revelation to THAT person only, and second-hand hearsay to anyone else. And I don't choose to base my spiritual beliefs on second hand information.

Paine then went on to document hundreds of contradictions and factual errors in both the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible.

But the real point is that you cannot use scripture (any scripture) to back up the truth of religion (any religion), because that tactic begs the question. The argument is circular, and does not prove anything.

-fachad

> Dinah ..May I answer this question to fachad respectfully and truthfully and do you really think really that they are looking for the truth???I do have the answer and the backup with the sword, the truth and the way . I think I may be able to keep it breaf..with scripture backup Robin

 

Agnostic vs. Non-Dogmatic, Knowledge, Your Fit Dinah

Posted by fachad on September 9, 2002, at 21:56:43

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question fachad, posted by Dinah on September 8, 2002, at 3:05:48

Dinah,

Thanks for the well thought out post. I think I might have been clearer if I had used "non-dogmatic" instead of "agnostic".

And as to where you fit in my conclusion, well, you fit into the non-dogmatic spiritual category.

Non-dogmatic because you thought it out and don't try to force one religion on everyone. And spiritual because you "believe in the Lord, my God, with all my heart, mind, and soul".

I really did mean agnostic, by your dictionary definition of agnostic, but only with a technical definition of "to know".

We use the word "know" pretty loosely in ordinary language. I know that it is raining outside. I know how to make scrambled eggs. I know Joe Blow, he's a great guy. I know that force equals mass times acceleration. I know that Led Zeppelin is better than Deep Purple.

Some of those uses of the verb "to know" are knowledge of matters of fact, ("know that"). Others are knowledge of technique, ("know how"). There is familiarity (know a person). And there is self knowledge of a personal preference.

And when I say I am agnostic, I mean I do not believe that knowledge of religious matters is possible; and I mean that in the very strict sense of knowledge of matters of fact.

Knowledge of matters of fact can be tested, and either verified of falsified. You can look out the window, and determine, "yes, it is in fact raining" or "no, you are mistaken, it is not raining."

You can design and conduct tests for any thing that can be known in that sense, and your hypothesis can be found true of false.

Now that is not to say that someone cannot have faith in God, even if they cannot have knowledge (in the technical sense) of God. This is, after all, the Faith Board, not the Knowledge Board.

So when someone says, "I know that my Redeemer Liveth", they could be just repeating dogma, but if they are sincere they are making a statement about how they relate to or experience the universe.

The real problem comes when people confuse "I know that God loves us and has a plan" type knowing with "I know that water boils at 100 degrees centigrade at sea level" knowledge. One is a matter of fact, and one is a personal experience.

That confusion, which may seem minor and pedantic, is what lights the torches and fuels the inquisition. That mistake has caused so much suffering and death throught human history, and that is why I feel so strongly about it.


> >
> > I honestly don't see how anyone can seriously consider this question, with an open mind and true self honesty, and come out anything other than agnostic. That's not to say they won't have faith or spirituality - just that they won't insist that it's the "only true religion".
> >
> Chuckle. Glad you clarified that. I assure you that I have seriously considered that question with an open mind and true self honesty, and while I went through a period of being agnostic, I am now definitely *not* agnostic.
>
> I wanted to make sure I had the definition of agnostic right so I checked Merriam-Webster on the internet and found this definition:
>
> : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and prob. unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
>
> I do not hold this view and so am not an agnostic. I believe in the Lord, my God, with all my heart, mind, and soul. And I see more than enough evidence in the workings of the universe to justify my belief.
>
> However, I would never insist on my religion (which I would categorize as a nonspecific Judeo-Christianity) as the "only true religion". So where does that leave me in your conclusion? :)

 

?s about the big ? (Some Answers for Your ?s pt.1) madison88

Posted by fachad on September 10, 2002, at 0:49:34

In reply to Re: ?s about the big ?, posted by madison88 on September 8, 2002, at 19:23:15

>>...So any choice is purely arbitrary.
>
> I am not sure a choice can be completely arbitrary because there always is a gut level reaction involved.

Well, by arbitrary I meant not decided by rational or evidence based methods.

>Also, the nature of truth is a bit cloudy for me. For there to be truth and falsehood there must exist something that dictates it, usually which takes the form of God.

Yes, the nature of truth is somewhat problematic, and that problem is formally addressed by epistemology.

The most common, and common sense, answer to that question is known as the "Correspondence Theory of Truth", where truth is taken to mean an accurate representation of something in the world. True statements are statements which correspond to with things in the world.

So the objective world or shared perceptions can help us dictate what is truth without appeal to any supernatural being.

>How can you evaluate truth outside of a religious system?

Truth can be evaluated by empirical testing. For example, if I say that water boils at 75 degrees C at sea level and you say that water boils at 100 degrees C at sea level, we can deterimne our altitude to be at sea level, set up two pots, get callibrated thermomoters, and heat up the water, and see at what temperature it boils.

When the test is done, my statement will be found to be false, and your statement will be found to be true, and no appeal was made to God or any religion.

This simple sounding idea is the basis of the scientific method, and is the method by which civilization was lifted out of the dark ages that were dominated by religious dogma, and moved into modernity.

>How can you evaluate truth outside of a religious system? Perhaps I am confusing the terms with good and evil.

Yes, there is a major difference between determining true vs. false and determining good vs. evil. Whereas the nature of truth is examined by epistemology, the nature of goodness is examined by ethics.

You are correct that both involve evaluative judgments, but ethics is a whole different beast. But for the record, there are tremendous ethical systems that have been constructed without any appeal to god or an afterlife.

> So what happens when they do declare their doctrines true? Do we not have a right to challenge such beliefs?

You bet we do. I have a strong tendency to leave people to themselves as long as they are not bothering anyone...but when they come out pushing their dogma as "truth", and speaking of their BS (that's Belief Systems, I'm still being civil) as if it were scientific fact, I do challenge those beliefs.

No one is compelled by empirical evidence or rational argument into believing in any religious dogma. If they choose to believe it in spite of the lack of evidence, well, I guess that's what faith is.

But faith should well up from within you, not be forced on you by someone else. That's why proselytizing is so distasteful to me, and probably why it is forbidden on this board.

 

Re: Agnostic vs. Non-Dogmatic, Knowledge, Your Fit fachad

Posted by Dinah on September 10, 2002, at 13:09:34

In reply to Agnostic vs. Non-Dogmatic, Knowledge, Your Fit Dinah, posted by fachad on September 9, 2002, at 21:56:43

Thank you, Fachad, for the well thought out reply. I can tell you have studied philosophy. Your meaning is much clearer now. And non-dogmatic spiritual is more or less how I think of myself as well.
>
> That confusion, which may seem minor and pedantic, is what lights the torches and fuels the inquisition. That mistake has caused so much suffering and death throught human history, and that is why I feel so strongly about it.
>

I'm glad you can separate out the misuse of religion and spirituality by man (and a lot of things other than religion have also been so misused) and religion and spirituality itself.

Thanks for clarifying.

Dinah

 

Re: Christianity... easy way out? madison88

Posted by Chris A. on September 11, 2002, at 15:57:26

In reply to Christianity... easy way out?, posted by madison88 on September 7, 2002, at 19:06:35

Is there anything easy about taking up your cross daily, dying to self, counting all things loss, turning the other cheek? I listened to a retired general speak this morning. He said there are no atheists or agnostics in foxholes fighting for freedom, liberty and justice for all - that is for ALL people in the world. I don't equate faith with polictics, but it takes a strong faith to do the right thing, despite the cost.

Chris A.

 

Re: Christianity... easy way out? Chris A.

Posted by fachad on September 11, 2002, at 21:29:05

In reply to Re: Christianity... easy way out? madison88, posted by Chris A. on September 11, 2002, at 15:57:26

I don't think the original post meant to imply that Christianity, consistently followed as you have described, is easy.

What the poster was speaking out against is people whose MAIN reason for being Christian is that Christianity is the most prevalent major religion in this country at this time.

Those same people would have been Muslims if they had been born in Saudi Arabia, or Shinto if born in Japan, or Hindu if born in India...they are just creatures of custom, and their spiritual practice (so called) is nothing but what everyone else is doing.

They do not have the ability, or the inclination, to think for themselves, and choose their own spiritual path. It is much easier to go along with what everybody else is doing than to question the sacred assumptions of your culture.

> Is there anything easy about taking up your cross daily, dying to self, counting all things loss, turning the other cheek? I listened to a retired general speak this morning. He said there are no atheists or agnostics in foxholes fighting for freedom, liberty and justice for all - that is for ALL people in the world. I don't equate faith with polictics, but it takes a strong faith to do the right thing, despite the cost.
>
> Chris A.

 

Re: Is that really so terrible? fachad

Posted by Dinah on September 11, 2002, at 21:54:31

In reply to Re: Christianity... easy way out? Chris A., posted by fachad on September 11, 2002, at 21:29:05

Following the faith of your fathers and their fathers before them? Maintaining the family heritage. Honoring the faith of your family?

It's not the choice for everyone, but I see nothing wrong with it either.

 

Re: Christianity... easy way out?

Posted by madison88 on September 11, 2002, at 22:10:27

In reply to Re: Christianity... easy way out? madison88, posted by Chris A. on September 11, 2002, at 15:57:26

but we all do that, fachad. we all feel like we are fighting for our beliefs and that others are fighting against us. to put others before oneself can be done whether you are a Christian or not. it is because we all feel estranged with our religious beliefs that i want people to admit there is more than one way to live religious lives. if we are allowed to believe what our intuition and logic point to is the truth w/out being condemned to hell, then we have the freedom to tolerate the views of others, then we won't feel suppressed. where is this freedom in Christianity? All i see is a dogma that requires we believe or go to hell. it's not much of a choice.

 

Re: Christianity... easy way out?

Posted by madison88 on September 11, 2002, at 22:15:18

In reply to Re: Christianity... easy way out? madison88, posted by Chris A. on September 11, 2002, at 15:57:26

above for Chis A. Ooops!

 

Christian Dogma is not Pluralistic madison88

Posted by fachad on September 12, 2002, at 1:35:39

In reply to Re: Christianity... easy way out?, posted by madison88 on September 11, 2002, at 22:10:27

No, Christian teachings, especially Bible based Christian teachings are NOT pluralistic or tolerant of any other beliefs.

The teachings of the Bible are very clear. Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. It is a very straightforward either/or situation. Either accept Christ, or be dammed to eternity in Hell.

I've already provided a Bible based description of what happens to those that stray from the path:

The Fate of Spiritual Off-Roaders:
http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/faith/20020715/msgs/685.html

There is no room whatsoever for following the faith of your fathers, or to believe what intuition or logic point toward.

If anyone thinks I am making this up, or making it out worse than it really is in the Bible, just ask and I will provide ample documentation from the Bible.

-fachad

******************************************

fachad's standard Babble Faith Disclaimer:

My familiarity with religious ideas should not be mistaken for religious belief. I am an agnostic.

I not a Christian, I do not believe the Bible is the Word of God, nor do I believe in ANY revealed religion (i.e., religion that was revealed by God to some person or through some purported holy book.)

I am especially disdainful of religions that take mythological material, which is beautiful and meaningful in that it tells us about our collective unconscious, and claims that it is historical rather than mythical in nature.

>if we are allowed to believe what our intuition and logic point to is the truth w/out being condemned to hell, then we have the freedom to tolerate the views of others, then we won't feel suppressed. where is this freedom in Christianity? All i see is a dogma that requires we believe or go to hell. it's not much of a choice.

 

Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question

Posted by FredPotter on September 16, 2002, at 20:22:40

In reply to The 10,000,000 Dollar Question, posted by fachad on September 8, 2002, at 1:31:39

Religions say general empirical things about existence. This means they can't even in principle be falsified and are therefore lower in status than theories. Neither of course can they be proved. One interesting religion is Atheism which states the null hypothesis as being true. You can never know this as you can never be sure you've looked everywhere. So Agnosticism seems the only sensible belief for the very reason that it doesn't believe anything

 

Re: Agnostic vs. Non-Dogmatic, Knowledge, Your Fit

Posted by FredPotter on September 16, 2002, at 20:36:05

In reply to Agnostic vs. Non-Dogmatic, Knowledge, Your Fit Dinah, posted by fachad on September 9, 2002, at 21:56:43

In "I know that my Redeemer liveth" the word "know" is used because the author doesn't know. "I know that water boileth at 100 deg C" says something about me rather than water

 

Critical vs. Default Atheism FredPotter

Posted by fachad on September 16, 2002, at 21:30:46

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question, posted by FredPotter on September 16, 2002, at 20:22:40

FredPotter,

I really enjoyed your post. It's nice to see that you have thought thru these issues. Here's a few additions to the dialogue:

> Religions say general empirical things about existence. This means they can't even in principle be falsified and are therefore lower in status than theories. Neither of course can they be proved.

Yes, that was the point I was trying to show.

>One interesting religion is Atheism which states the null hypothesis as being true. You can never know this as you can never be sure you've looked everywhere.

Not necessarily so. Atheism does not necessarily assert the null hypothesis as being true. Atheists merely claim that the burden of proof is on the party making the claim.

Theists are claiming that there is a god. The burden of proof is on them. If they fail to produce proof, the argument defaults to the atheist.

So atheism is not really asserting anything, it is simply what is left when theism collapses due to lack of evidence. This is sometimes refered to as "default athiesm".

The other way of looking at atheism is that because the concept of god is not rational, and proof or disproof are impossible, it is certain that there is no god. This stronger flavor of atheism is known as "critical atheism".

 

Re: Critical vs. Default Atheism fachad

Posted by FredPotter on September 16, 2002, at 21:46:21

In reply to Critical vs. Default Atheism FredPotter, posted by fachad on September 16, 2002, at 21:30:46

I'm glad you've pointed out the difference between critical and default atheism and I agree the burden of proof is with the theists. I don't understand the reasoning of the critical atheist though. I know one who is evangelical about it. Default I can understand. It's like in Statistics we have the null hypothesis. It's a stance we take. But we don't believe the null hypothesis is true as it stands

 

Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question FredPotter

Posted by Ritch on September 18, 2002, at 0:26:50

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question, posted by FredPotter on September 16, 2002, at 20:22:40

> Religions say general empirical things about existence. This means they can't even in principle be falsified and are therefore lower in status than theories. Neither of course can they be proved. One interesting religion is Atheism which states the null hypothesis as being true. You can never know this as you can never be sure you've looked everywhere. So Agnosticism seems the only sensible belief for the very reason that it doesn't believe anything

Hi,

I was going through a text for a Philosophy of Science class I was thinking about taking for an elective while I was in college twenty years ago. Anyways, I think the author was Karl Popper. From what I understood, he said that religious arguments were "unverifiable" or "unfalsifiable" in the world of senses and logic we use as humans. So, his conclusion was that religious arguments may not be *scientific* arguments, but that didn't make them *invalid arguments*.

any comments?

Mitch

 

Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question FredPotter

Posted by Cam W. on September 18, 2002, at 5:14:16

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question, posted by FredPotter on September 16, 2002, at 20:22:40

Those who practice secular humanism believe that one can be moral without breaking the laws of physics or having to believe in an insecure, vindictive, invisible old guy. - Cam

> Religions say general empirical things about existence. This means they can't even in principle be falsified and are therefore lower in status than theories. Neither of course can they be proved. One interesting religion is Atheism which states the null hypothesis as being true. You can never know this as you can never be sure you've looked everywhere. So Agnosticism seems the only sensible belief for the very reason that it doesn't believe anything

 

Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question

Posted by Dinah on September 18, 2002, at 6:33:18

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question FredPotter, posted by Cam W. on September 18, 2002, at 5:14:16

> Those who practice secular humanism believe that one can be moral without breaking the laws of physics or having to believe in an insecure, vindictive, invisible old guy. - Cam
>

My Lord and Creator is certainly not insecure, is merciful, and I'm not quite sure about invisible.

Don't want to start anything here, it just felt disrespectful to my God and my faith to say nothing.

Dinah

 

Re: Sorry, above meant for Cam (nm)

Posted by Dinah on September 18, 2002, at 6:33:50

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question, posted by Dinah on September 18, 2002, at 6:33:18

 

Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question Ritch

Posted by FredPotter on September 18, 2002, at 16:05:22

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question FredPotter, posted by Ritch on September 18, 2002, at 0:26:50

I'm reading Confessions of a Philosopher by Bryan Magee in which he says (from Popper or Wittgenstein or someone like that) you can make untrue statements, meaningful but untrue statements and finally true statements. The last seems to be unverifiable so I would think religious statements can be meaningful and unverifiable. But I think life would be pretty dull if we were allowed only to make statements of the above three types

 

Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question FredPotter

Posted by Ritch on September 19, 2002, at 0:39:15

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question Ritch, posted by FredPotter on September 18, 2002, at 16:05:22

> I'm reading Confessions of a Philosopher by Bryan Magee in which he says (from Popper or Wittgenstein or someone like that) you can make untrue statements, meaningful but untrue statements and finally true statements. The last seems to be unverifiable so I would think religious statements can be meaningful and unverifiable. But I think life would be pretty dull if we were allowed only to make statements of the above three types

Thanks for responding!

It seems, that you could sum up those three possiblities as
1) A LIE (willful and conscious)
2) BELIEF (meaningful, but OBJECTIVE "truth" not verifiable)
3) TRUE statement (only a purely logical assertion, or a subjective *consensus* arrived at-"*that* rose is red".

What is really interesting is, what would be an example of a 'fourth' statement that wouldn't be a dull one?

Mitch

 

Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question Ritch

Posted by FredPotter on September 19, 2002, at 18:04:24

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question FredPotter, posted by Ritch on September 19, 2002, at 0:39:15

You're right, there aren't any worth considering. One possibilty is "meaningless". Here we would have things like tautologies and people do enough of that without encouraging them. Incidentally last night I caught Bryan Magee tautologising in this book I'm reading. He was talking of Hume and said something like, "when we say A causes B we mean B happens because of A"

 

Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question FredPotter

Posted by Ritch on September 20, 2002, at 9:03:42

In reply to Re: The 10,000,000 Dollar Question Ritch, posted by FredPotter on September 19, 2002, at 18:04:24

> You're right, there aren't any worth considering. One possibilty is "meaningless". Here we would have things like tautologies and people do enough of that without encouraging them. Incidentally last night I caught Bryan Magee tautologising in this book I'm reading. He was talking of Hume and said something like, "when we say A causes B we mean B happens because of A"

I like that possibility a lot somehow-"meaningless"! Could that be an example of a lot of everyday language? Was it Wittgenstein that said something like "the mystical has to be shown", or something like that? The stuff that falls through the logical cracks or that doesn't have a name.....


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