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Source: (consider it) Thread: Is belief in God about whom you know nothing directly worth having?
anteater

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I think I am getting close to this.

I have long been drawn to the much quoted Feuerbach saying that "Statements about God can always be reduced to statements about man" and whilst I am cautious of it, it makes a lot of sense.

My main reason for holding back is the similarity of saying "Statements about other people can be reduced to statements about our sensory experience" which makes the same sort of sense but which my instinct tells be is radically mistaken.

But I am drawn to it particularly now, as my wife is studying a theology course and is engaging with view of providence, and people imagining God ordering his decrees, or running possible scenarios on a celestial super computer. And that's before you get to problems about God being "outside of time" (whatever that means) which seems to make foreknowledge a nonsense concept. All the books she has which once I would have valued (as an ex-Calvinist) just strike me as verbiage, which I can't even be bothered to read. (Partly, of course because I've heard it all before).

In practice it leads to a religion in which all you can say about God reduces to what can be said about Jesus, and I would include other religious leaders, such as the OT prophets. And I believe it was Schleiermacher who wanted to redefine theology as the study of religious experience, because at least we can study that. What we can't do is study God.

So why not just be an atheist and have done with it? And I think that is because I find explanations of experience that leave out God are incomplete and unsatisfactory. There is something else worth seeking after, but I don't think we can obtain direct knowledge of him. Perhaps, as with art, seeking a theoretical framework is the wrong response.

Is it only me?

[ 29. January 2017, 17:45: Message edited by: anteater ]

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Raptor Eye
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I disagree with you on two counts:

The first, in that I think there is more to be said about God than can be said about Jesus, especially if you are limiting this to what is said in the gospels. Other scriptural, traditional, and reasoning sources add to what we might say about God.

The second, in that we can have direct experience of God, and many do. I do, for example, through the contemplative route - 'Be still, and know that I am God'.

Naturally talk and thoughts about God are from a human perspective: as God is revealed to us, we can only use our own language, intellect and imaginative interpretation to describe and translate it.

We can study God, through the lens of our and others' experience of God, and through all that God has created.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
... In practice it leads to a religion in which all you can say about God reduces to what can be said about Jesus, ...

Why is that shocking? Haven't you just made a profound theological statement? Col 1:15, of Jesus, (this from the WEB to avoid copyright issues)
quote:
"who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation".
In Christian theology, if one wants to try to find out anything about the nature of God Is there anywhere else to start? Why insist on looking elsewhere? Anything else would be working from one's own speculations. What value would that be? What prospect would there be that way, of getting anywhere worth going to?

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anteater

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Raptor Eye:
quote:
Other scriptural, traditional, and reasoning sources add to what we might say about God.
Well of course, I see that in principle, and used to be dedicated, to the point of obsession, at understanding God. I just lost confidence in it all, as it became less and less meaningful to me. I assume that is not true of you. Maybe it means something to you to say "God is outside of time". To me, now, it is just words. Confession: I have been influenced a lot by logical positivism and linguistic philosophy, and this colours my thought.

quote:
The second, in that we can have direct experience of God, and many do.
I agree we can interpret our experience in this way, which is what converts are taught. But I don't know how you tell whether a feeling of, say, ecstatic calmness and oneness with the world, is any more that simple that, and needing no interpretation. Rather like Metson's remark about Christians who can't walk through a beautiful countryside without going on about God "as if there's something wrong with religion" (to quote him). What does it add to bring God in? Most recorded theophanies made the recipients feel bad. How often do you hear: God drew close to me, I know because I felt like shit?

Enoch:
quote:
Why insist on looking elsewhere?
I would say because of an extremely strong desire to understand God so as to be able to predict how things will turn out, and/or cope with the way things do. So for many, it is vitally important to still believe the God is all-powerful and then somehow to square this with the messiness of the world. Hence theories of providence.

They've lost their appeal to me, not because I no longer would like to know, but because I have just ceased to find that sort of discourse at all relevant.

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Schnuffle schnuffle.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
... I would say because of an extremely strong desire to understand God so as to be able to predict how things will turn out, and/or cope with the way things do. So for many, it is vitally important to still believe the God is all-powerful and then somehow to square this with the messiness of the world. Hence theories of providence.

They've lost their appeal to me, not because I no longer would like to know, but because I have just ceased to find that sort of discourse at all relevant.

Has it occurred to you that that might be progress?

Rather than trying to explain God, as though one can only believe if he can fit within what we expect of him, perhaps the next step might be to accept him on his own terms, irrespective of whether one can make sense of him.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Rather than trying to explain God, as though one can only believe if he can fit within what we expect of him, perhaps the next step might be to accept him on his own terms, irrespective of whether one can make sense of him.

Good thought. If we are using God as an index at the back of the book to understand the book, we really have the bull by the wrong end of the horns*. God isn't an explanatory principle but a person to be in relationship with. Using God to explain things is a God-of-the-gaps kind of use. Not really what God is "for".

___________________________
* (no metaphors were harmed in the production of this sentence)

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Martin60
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Excellent question, anteater. And no. For you and me no one has had 'direct' experience of God for two thousand years. I'm happy with God in Christ as 99.9% of all the most direct human experience of the divine. Surely all we can do is seek a (theoretical) framework?

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Love wins

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
Well of course, I see that in principle, and used to be dedicated, to the point of obsession, at understanding God. I just lost confidence in it all, as it became less and less meaningful to me. I assume that is not true of you. Maybe it means something to you to say "God is outside of time". To me, now, it is just words. Confession: I have been influenced a lot by logical positivism and linguistic philosophy, and this colours my thought.



As others have suggested, this is progress. It means very little to me to say that God is outside of time, but that is OK. Once I too would have worked on it mentally. Now I hold many ideas and possibilities about God as questions without answers. It is important to shed the images of God we have often held in our minds since childhood, and to approach God with as open a mind as is possible.

quote:
I agree we can interpret our experience in this way, which is what converts are taught. But I don't know how you tell whether a feeling of, say, ecstatic calmness and oneness with the world, is any more that simple that, and needing no interpretation. Rather like Metson's remark about Christians who can't walk through a beautiful countryside without going on about God "as if there's something wrong with religion" (to quote him). What does it add to bring God in? Most recorded theophanies made the recipients feel bad. How often do you hear: God drew close to me, I know because I felt like shit?


I haven't heard anyone say that it was a bad experience when God drew near to them. Rather, it is an experience of joy.

Ecstatic encounters happen, but there is a caution in that this is the area in which some might be manipulated. I suggest that if there is a 'low' afterwards, perhaps the 'high' should be questioned.

I would extend your 'ecstatic calmness and oneness with the world' to include God simply because God is also there in the oneness of the world, in and through it all.

We human beings are limited by our own capacity, but the capacity of God is boundless and worth opening ourselves up to, even though we will not comprehend it.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Martin60
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An unequivocal yes to the OP of course. The no was to your being alone.

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Love wins

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
What does it add to bring God in? Most recorded theophanies made the recipients feel bad. How often do you hear: God drew close to me, I know because I felt like shit?

Okay, this cracks me up. [Big Grin] I'll say it, if you like: Though I've had the occasional ecstatic experiences, I've also had the "oh shit" ones. Mainly because it became clear that the reason he was drawing near was to tell me something I didn't want to hear.

One case happened when I was in the hospital a couple of years ago and feeling fairly unnoticed and ignored by God. I was also in a tight spot as far as an obligation I had badly neglected. When the person I had, er, never mind, called and I had to face the music, I did what I've never (well, very very rarely) done before: I used my skill with words to spin doctor the situation.

THAT got me a divine eye swiveling in my direction faster than a very very VERY fast thing (shudder). Oh dear. Oh shit, rather. Yes, I wanted his attention, but not THAT way.

I'll spare you all the details of my divine spanking, but it was memorable. And I knew what was going down ahead of time, and sure enough... If I'd been in any mood to get into further trouble, I could have played the prophet.

Definitely an "oh shit" experience of God's drawing near.

Another (less painful to my tush) was when I made the mistake of asking him what he wanted me to do with my life (you know, the usual thing you're wondering when you're trying to pick a college and a major). Yes, I had an experience of his nearness on that occasion; I got one word, too: "Missions." To which my answer was literally "OH SHIT!" and I spent the next two hours walking round the backyard and trying to argue him out of it. Behold my lack of success.

Seriously, I think a lot of people have had "oh shit it's him again" experiences when they feel him breathing down their necks. Because if you pick up that phone (to mix a metaphor) you might get something you just don't want to deal with. And so we (well, I) ignore him. Until my cowardice becomes too unbearable.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
I have long been drawn to the much quoted Feuerbach saying that "Statements about God can always be reduced to statements about man" and whilst I am cautious of it, it makes a lot of sense.

Certainly does! I would go further and say that all ‘statements’ about god are statements about what people believe God to be.[
quote:
But I am drawn to it particularly now, as my wife is studying a theology course and is engaging with view of providence, and people imagining God ordering his decrees, or running possible scenarios on a celestial super computer. And that's before you get to problems about God being "outside of time" (whatever that means) which seems to make foreknowledge a nonsense concept. All the books she has which once I would have valued (as an ex-Calvinist) just strike me as verbiage, which I can't even be bothered to read. (Partly, of course because I've heard it all before).
I shall be interested to hear if anyone on such a course comes up with any claim to have actual knowledge of God, or whether there is a tacit understanding that they are always studying what humans have said.
quote:
In practice it leads to a religion in which all you can say about God reduces to what can be said about Jesus, and I would include other religious leaders, such as the OT prophets. And I believe it was Schleiermacher who wanted to redefine theology as the study of religious experience, because at least we can study that. What we can't do is study God.
No argument from me there! I would say we can study human experiences which are considered to be religious, but that is, I acknowledge, unnecessarily picky with the wording.
quote:
So why not just be an atheist and have done with it? And I think that is because I find explanations of experience that leave out God are incomplete and unsatisfactory. There is something else worth seeking after, but I don't think we can obtain direct knowledge of him. Perhaps, as with art, seeking a theoretical framework is the wrong response.
I think it is because we humans are so accustomed to finding answers to questions, that we find it a little harder to be able to say ‘we don’t know’ without addinga ‘but’ at the end!
That was a very interesting OP.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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SusanDoris

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Missed edit time - I should have said 'all posts' not just OP.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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anteater

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LambChopped:

Well maybe I've got too cynical about Christians, being around too many who equate God's presence with woozy kinda' nice feelings, and have overlooked than many realise that (as with Peter) contact with the divine can be unpleasant (those who have achieved perfection excepted).

I can can see a lot of sense in interpreting these type of "Oh shit, not that!" moments as a truer encounter with God than floaty ecstasy.

But getting back to what you can say, it does affect how one talks to those interested in the faith and those in need of help to cope with what happens to them. Maybe the best response to "why did God allow that" is to admit that you've not got a clue, but can think of half a dozen nostrums which are useless.

It is often said in sermons, that the only time Job's comforters were administering the comfort of God was when they kept quiet.

But as a self-critique of the dangers of liberalism, I am now in a position of being able to see a life of purely natural happiness, which sadly does include material resources, and where other demands get in my way. This could be the practical removal of the fear of God, and there is a danger. At present, a cynic might say from my conversations and fads, I've got more fear of carbohydrates than God.

Room to improve?

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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My unlearned take.

Extremity. Violence, death, terror. No rescue, no answer, no nothing. Comfort later. I am a child about it.

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We must learn to live in harmony with nature. If we don't cease believing we can master and dominate it, life on Earth may be crippled or destroyed.
(formerly known more succinctly as "no prophet"), either way not be taken seriously. \_(ツ)_/

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
LambChopped:

Well maybe I've got too cynical about Christians, being around too many who equate God's presence with woozy kinda' nice feelings, and have overlooked than many realise that (as with Peter) contact with the divine can be unpleasant (those who have achieved perfection excepted).

I can can see a lot of sense in interpreting these type of "Oh shit, not that!" moments as a truer encounter with God than floaty ecstasy.

Yeah, well, maybe the problem is that it's embarrassing to talk about most of the "oh shit" moments, since they are so often hooked up with "I fucked up" causes. (Though I have to say that being a good Lutheran, I get extremely embarrassed about any talk of woozy emotions either, maybe more so, because we're the kind of people who shake hands politely instead of kissing at our weddings. (just kidding!) [Razz] )

Also, it seems to me that the floaty ecstasy moments come to certain personality types a lot easier than others--certainly the admitting of them does, anyway--and while I think God is capable and likely to produce either "oh God" or "oh SHIT" feelings in us, the "oh SHIT" feelings are easier for me to trust, because they're not the sort of things I'd likely manufacture myself. But other people's mileage may vary, particularly if they're prone to false guilt.

quote:
Originally posted by anteater:


But getting back to what you can say, it does affect how one talks to those interested in the faith and those in need of help to cope with what happens to them. Maybe the best response to "why did God allow that" is to admit that you've not got a clue, but can think of half a dozen nostrums which are useless.

It is often said in sermons, that the only time Job's comforters were administering the comfort of God was when they kept quiet.

Yes, my usual first response to "I've got cancer" or the like is "Oh fuck. That sucks." and then a ton of listening. When it comes to theological explanations I don't go there unless the person begs me to (ha, like that's likely), and then I stick to "We don't really know, God hasn't told us" and focus on Christ crucified (which is God experiencing all of our shit along with us). We really don't know much more than that--well, and his promises to love us, be with us, etc. which are only of comfort to a believer, and not them in certain moods. It's far more helpful when I get off my ass and start calling the foreclosure people or whatever, making soup or driving them to the doctor. God in action through his people--not yaffling about what we don't understand.

quote:
Originally posted by anteater:


But as a self-critique of the dangers of liberalism, I am now in a position of being able to see a life of purely natural happiness, which sadly does include material resources, and where other demands get in my way. This could be the practical removal of the fear of God, and there is a danger. At present, a cynic might say from my conversations and fads, I've got more fear of carbohydrates than God.

Room to improve?

Dude! (excuse the out-of-date Californianism) You've found a life of purely natural happiness? Do tell! [Devil]

Seriously, I've never been able to keep my head above the shit long enough to find more than brief periods of natural happiness, and the same seems to be true of the people around me. Well, color me jealous. [Snigger]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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How does someone "do" sorrow without something other than "just this here"? Maybe I'm deluded. But I prefer delusion to the alternative.

Didn;t someone day that if God didn't exist, we'd have to invent God, and look! we did!

I could philosophically support the notion that we did invent God, and then we follow the teachings of <name guru or founder of religion here> as a moral example of how to live a good life. I can't realistically support it though. I've tried rather vigourously. It doesn't work for me.

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anteater

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SusanDoris: Will we ever shop-meet again?

Maybe in the next life? [Smile]

But seriously, how do you handle my anti-Feuerbach saying that all statements about other people can be reduced to statements about myself and my sensory experiences?

I think intuition comes in somewhere.

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Schnuffle schnuffle.

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
I have long been drawn to the much quoted Feuerbach saying that "Statements about God can always be reduced to statements about man" and whilst I am cautious of it, it makes a lot of sense.

Certainly does! I would go further and say that all ‘statements’ about god are statements about what people believe God to be.
All statements about anything are about what people believe that thing to be. Two of the questions to ask are is it a fruitful or meaningful statement (or merely a truism*), and what is the basis of the belief? What evidence is it founded on - historical, eyewitness, experiential, scientific etc.

(*This may vary with context - the law of gravity tends to be a truism in general human discourse, but comes freighted with much meaning and many questions in relation to quantum physics, relativity etc.)

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SusanDoris

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Thank you for your reply. I'll have a think or two and come back!

... and to Bro James.

[ 30. January 2017, 15:39: Message edited by: SusanDoris ]

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
I have long been drawn to the much quoted Feuerbach saying that "Statements about God can always be reduced to statements about man" and whilst I am cautious of it, it makes a lot of sense.

Certainly does! I would go further and say that all ‘statements’ about god are statements about what people believe God to be.
All statements about anything are about what people believe that thing to be. Two of the questions to ask are is it a fruitful or meaningful statement (or merely a truism*), and what is the basis of the belief? What evidence is it founded on - historical, eyewitness, experiential, scientific etc.

(*This may vary with context - the law of gravity tends to be a truism in general human discourse, but comes freighted with much meaning and many questions in relation to quantum physics, relativity etc.)

Yes, it's not really a harsh criticism of religion to say that it's about what people believe. Humans are not going to have access to the noumena, or objective reality. They have to make do with inter-subjective stuff, which is testable, (phenomena). Or in the case of aesthetics and religion, subjective stuff.

But then you could only criticize religion if you expected it to be like science. I suppose some religionists treat it as if it is.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
SusanDoris: Will we ever shop-meet again?

Maybe in the next life? [Smile]

 I wish I was good at light, witty comments!!!
quote:
But seriously, how do you handle my anti-Feuerbach saying that all statements about other people can be reduced to statements about myself and my sensory experiences?
I went to Wikipedia and read the page on Ludwig Feuerbach. Not having studied Philosophy, I had not heard of him before. He sounds like a person I'd like to have Met! Finding enough like minds in his time must have been hard, and the likelihood of finding international correspondents with similar views and maintaining good communication with them even harder.
!
As far as reducing all statements about other people to statements about myself and my experiences, I suppose one could do that, but it would seem to be rather a pointless exercise, if done more than a few times to see how it works.
quote:
I think intuition comes in somewhere.
Quick check for definition of intuition:
quote:
the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning
Since our instincts have evolved and persist and are mainly for survival, I would say that all other 'intuitions'’ are learned from the adults who keep us alive when small, the environment and general ethos we grow up in and are the reason for what we call our 'intuitions'. We know from the knowledge gained by scientists and researchers in more recent times that many things we believed were intuitive are in fact the opposite , so it is more important than ever to be clear about what are facts and what come under the 'don't know' heading, rather than trust intuition. In my opinion we can then better enjoy the non-fiction and all the Arts much more satisfactorily.
Because of the information available to us we can be confident about a great deal for which we do not have personal experience.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Martin60
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Back to counting my days again in the face of only physical reality that needs no explanation beyond the infinite eternal open thermodynamic universe coalescer.

In the morning gloom I'd forgotten that last night's retaken Pascal's wager is quite a good deal. Suffering ends either way. And, if, unbelievably, there is something, a transcendent spirit reality beyond this breath, it will be, as Dave says to Hal at the end of 2010, something wonderful.

What lies before us is restitution for all loss.

[ 18. March 2017, 10:44: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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rolyn
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There is always going to be a feeling or claim that mankind created a straw god and, as religion became increasingly complex, came to more and more put his/her own head on it's shoulders.
That's if I've got the OP right.

The earliest development of the Homo Sapien intellect, and how religion came to be a part of that intellectual experience is where the rational answer must lie. That is presuming one is seeking a scientific explanation as opposed to simply accepting God as God which, having willingly excluded all evidence to the contrary, happens to be what Faith actually is

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Martin60
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Both. As I was writing my defense of Pascal's wager as a response to the OP, it occurred to me that Platinga, I would imagine, in the tradition of Aquinas (To the Thomist God is. God is an unavoidable, obvious given.) would say that it is illogical, meaningless to propose a non sapient supra-physical, open thermodynamic, universe making entity, predicated on, or being, something as bizarre as because null, then non-null. Stuff exists. Because it can. That is the first (in layer terms, not time) cause.

Such statements are empty tautologies?

Therefore the only logical explanation is that stuff exists because an entity that depends on nothing, no layer, just is, wills it?

The trouble is, that is still dependent on logic being inferred beyond physics.

Cuh, I dunno.

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Love wins

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rolyn
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You've lost me a little there Martin, although I do concur with the "Cuh, I dunno" bit.

It is the overwhelming irrationality of a Godless Universe that prevents me trying to claw my way back to secularism.
Faith can be weak, it can be groaning of the Spirit aplenty, but a vast incomprehensible Cosmos with --splat-- us on a planetary pinhead for no purpose other than to scratch our butts? Nah, can't see it.

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Martin60
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That's the trouble, I can. But for Jesus.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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It seems I'm just recapitulating an 'O' level version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Which I feel less dismissive of now. Despite William Lane Craig!

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Love wins

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
You've lost me a little there Martin, although I do concur with the "Cuh, I dunno" bit.

It is the overwhelming irrationality of a Godless Universe that prevents me trying to claw my way back to secularism.
Faith can be weak, it can be groaning of the Spirit aplenty, but a vast incomprehensible Cosmos with --splat-- us on a planetary pinhead for no purpose other than to scratch our butts? Nah, can't see it.

Could you say more about why you think it is so irrational for there to be a universe without a God?
Apart from the fact that the universe does not have to be 100% explicable to us - our species has been around for only a milli-second of the time this planet has had life onit - and that present-day scientists are gradually building up a fairly good understanding of things, as soon as some agency is conjectured which put us here, a whole new set of questions opens up!
It is our human personal incredulity which thinks there must be a purpose because we live our lives with purpose most of the time, and it is very hard to remind oneself that there isn't or wasn't one. We happened to evolve with an ability to ask why, which though as helped our species to survive - one might say, far too successfuly!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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quetzalcoatl
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Yes, Susan, I think the universe is not so incomprehensible as formerly, is it? We no longer think that Thor produces thunder, for example, or that God tinkers with epicycles, although ironically they were attempts to produce comprehensibility.

Also, the issue of purpose seems very confused to me. I have a purpose right now, which is to write this post; I don't extrapolate this to the universe however. This used to be called ultimate and proximate causation, I'm not sure if these terms are now defunct.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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quetzalcoatl
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Missed the post - you could argue that the universe does seem rational, in the sense of having regularities in it, which can be described. However, if by 'rational' you mean 'having a purpose or design', I'm not sure why that is particularly rational.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Yes, Susan, I think the universe is not so incomprehensible as formerly, is it? We no longer think that Thor produces thunder, for example, or that God tinkers with epicycles, although ironically they were attempts to produce comprehensibility.

Also, the issue of purpose seems very confused to me. I have a purpose right now, which is to write this post; I don't extrapolate this to the universe however. This used to be called ultimate and proximate causation, I'm not sure if these terms are now defunct.

I googled it - interesting read.
quote:
example of a contrastive explanation is a cohort study that includes a control group, where one can determine the cause from observing two otherwise identical samples. This view also circumvents the problem of infinite regression of why's that proximate causes create.
I'd dig my heels in a bit here because, yes, I have quite often found that people avoid facing up to the infinite regression question! [Smile]

In s

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quetzalcoatl
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Does that say 'infinite regression of why's'? That sounds a bit odd, but it looks like it means that one can go on asking 'why does gravity exist?', and so on.

But 'why' itself is an ambiguous word, as in the famous example of the kettle boiling - why? Because water boils at 100 degrees, or because I want a cup of tea.

I suppose you might end up with 'why does the universe exist?', to which various replies exist, e.g. don't know, or 'why should there be a why?' But I don't think it's irrational to say that the universe has no apparent explanation.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:

It is the overwhelming irrationality of a Godless Universe that prevents me trying to claw my way back to secularism.

This is mental. Virgin birth, walking on water and raising the dead.* How is any of that rational? Atheism is far more rational. Though, TBH, agnosticism is the most rational position. Here is what can observe, here is what we theorise based upon this, here is where conjecture leads and why. And the rest we don't know.
I would argue that a rational person could indeed fit their religious views into this. But that doesn't mean that every bit of what that religion professes is rational.
And simply because the universe cannot, and may not ever, be completely explained doesn't make atheism irrational.
And as has been mentioned countless times, atheism as a designation merely means one doesn't believe in god(s).
No explanation of, or belief in, anything is necessary.

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And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had

- Roland Orzabal

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lilBuddha
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A tl;dr version of my post:
A religious person must accept the irrational.
An atheist doesn't have to.*
An agnostic person shouldn't.

* They might, but there is no requirement.

[ 20. March 2017, 12:46: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had

- Roland Orzabal

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quetzalcoatl
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Also, there's nothing wrong with the irrational, in fact, we are irrational and rational animals.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Also, there's nothing wrong with the irrational,

Not saying there is. My own behaviour would appear to indicate support for the irrational.
But ISTM, rolyn wasn't using it that way. I suppose it is understandable, the walls of his argument are so transparent that he does not see them?

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And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had

- Roland Orzabal

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quetzalcoatl
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I can't say that I can follow the argument, except that, as Susan says, it's a joyful celebration of incredulity. But incredulity does not an argument make, except:

I don't understand things, therefore God.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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Garden Hermit
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My own belief is that if you don't accept the probability of a Supreme Ruler in the Universe, then your own Ego will enlarge to fill the vacant spot.
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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
My own belief is that if you don't accept the probability of a Supreme Ruler in the Universe, then your own Ego will enlarge to fill the vacant spot.

Very nice. Of course, Freud argued that it was your supreme ego which pictured itself as ruler of all, by one of those curious infantile yet ubiquitous feats of projection. In fact, not just the ego, but also the super ego (which punishes you for your sins), and the id (which fills you with unbearable desires, which the super ego convinces you are sins).

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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quetzalcoatl
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Sorry, I missed a bit off there. This whole psychodrama then gets projected onto religious symbols.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I suppose you might end up with 'why does the universe exist?', to which various replies exist, e.g. don't know, or 'why should there be a why?' But I don't think it's irrational to say that the universe has no apparent explanation.

For the moment the answer is ‘don’t know’, and I agree it is rational to say that the universe has no apparent explanation.
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Atheism is far more rational. Though, TBH, agnosticism is the most rational position. Here is what can observe, here is what we theorise based upon this, here is where conjecture leads and why. And the rest we don't know.

Agree of course! However, the ratio of atheism to the agnostic obligatory position is, as far as I’m concerned, 99/1.
quote:
I would argue that a rational person could indeed fit their religious views into this. But that doesn't mean that every bit of what that religion professes is rational.
Agree. All aspects which apply to human co-operation and mutual, altruistic help are beneficial. It is, in my opinion, a pity that an extra non-human element is believed to exist and brought into things.
`

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SusanDoris

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For ratio I should have put 99:1, shouldn't I!!

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
My own belief is that if you don't accept the probability of a Supreme Ruler in the Universe, then your own Ego will enlarge to fill the vacant spot.

Can you give examples of this? Personaly, when I erased from my mind the very small remaining belief in God, I had already known for a long time that I was responsible for all that I did and all decisions I took. The space occupied by belief in God was so tiny that even if my ego had enlarged to fill the space, you'd have needed a magnifying glass to see it!!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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SusanDoris

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Oh dear - that was back to front. I listened to the thread title and thought it was advice you have been given. However, I've said it to quite a few people because it is good advice.

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
All aspects which apply to human co-operation and mutual, altruistic help are beneficial. It is, in my opinion, a pity that an extra non-human element is believed to exist and brought into things.

I've just read a book called Sapiens in which the author argues that the success of homo sapiens derives from our inclination to believe myths - and to act on those beliefs.

That we'd still be in small tribes of 150 or so people, competing with other apes and animals if we hadn't eveolved the capacity to tell stories. He gives many examples of myths which work for us and which allow us to live in enormous groups - religion, money, democracy etc.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Could you say more about why you think it is so irrational for there to be a universe without a God......
It is our human personal incredulity which thinks there must be a purpose because we live our lives with purpose most of the time, and it is very hard to remind oneself that there isn't or wasn't one. We happened to evolve with an ability to ask why, which though as helped our species to survive - one might say, far too successfuly!

It isn't easy to say why one should think, feel or believe there is a God. And I can see why people don't consider the content of the Bible, at face value, to offer much convincing evidence as it is pretty off-the-wall.

I get what you say about 'purpose' in our everyday lives and not really wanting to think about any greater purpose. Many who come to Faith via the emotional route can find it disquieting and uncomfortable rather than the other way round. What I mean is a person in that position can end up thinking in a way they'd rather not.

Faith doesn't work with tangible evidence so it is impossible to argue it on that basis. Don't get me wrong I'm not talking about religious dogma which is of little real value in acknowledgement of God, a lot of that is a complexity of man-made rules which are easily broken.

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quetzalcoatl
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Maybe we'd have been better off in small tribes, competing with other apes.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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Martin60
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Then that's all we'd be. We wouldn't be human.

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Maybe we'd have been better off in small tribes, competing with other apes.

The writer of 'Sapiens' thinks so too ...

"The forager economy provided most people with more interesting lives than agriculture or industry do. Today, a Chinese factory hand leaves home around seven in the morning, makes her way through polluted streets to a sweatshop, and there operates the same machine, in the same way, day in, day out, for ten long and mind-numbing hours, returning home around seven in the evening in order to wash dishes and do the laundry. Thirty thousand years ago, a Chinese forager might leave camp with her companions at, say, eight in the morning. They’d roam the nearby forests and meadows, gathering mushrooms, digging up edible roots, catching frogs and occasionally running away from tigers. By early afternoon, they were back at the camp to make lunch. That left them plenty of time to gossip, tell stories, play with the children and just hang out. Of course the tigers sometimes caught them, or a snake bit them, but on the other hand they didn’t have to deal with automobile accidents and industrial pollution."

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Luigi
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
All aspects which apply to human co-operation and mutual, altruistic help are beneficial. It is, in my opinion, a pity that an extra non-human element is believed to exist and brought into things.

I've just read a book called Sapiens in which the author argues that the success of homo sapiens derives from our inclination to believe myths - and to act on those beliefs.

That we'd still be in small tribes of 150 or so people, competing with other apes and animals if we hadn't evolved the capacity to tell stories. He gives many examples of myths which work for us and which allow us to live in enormous groups - religion, money, democracy etc.

Great book - one of the best of past 10 years.
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