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Source: (consider it) Thread: Which Came First: Philosophy or Theology?
Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Sorry. My tongue was very firmly planted in my cheek.

And I’m sorry I didn’t catch that. I should know better than to post after A Long Day.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I think it is important realize that there is an unconsciously applied notion of the cultural superiority of Europe and Asia because they colonized and conquered other peoples, and thus the tendency to use this as the frame of reference. Which we should realize and not just unmindfully accept.

You have fallen into the same trap as Golden Key. I ask which of two department stores came first, and you conclude that I think department stores are superior to mom and pop operations. I'm not talking about what is superior. I am merely looking at two phenomena and asking which is the elder.
Don't think you have the right unit of comparison. I'm talking about the warehouse where the foundations came from: The thousands of generations which came before the 150-300 generations which started farming, created nations, made war, translated their connections with nature and tribal god images into formal religions and philosophies. They did both if we take any idea from the peoples who most closely resembled them within the last 200 years to present.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Don't think you have the right unit of comparison. I'm talking about the warehouse where the foundations came from: The thousands of generations which came before the 150-300 generations which started farming, created nations, made war, translated their connections with nature and tribal god images into formal religions and philosophies. They did both if we take any idea from the peoples who most closely resembled them within the last 200 years to present.

Evidence?

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Russ
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I'd argue that theology is no more than philosophizing about God. And therefore a subset of philosophy.

There are thus two possibilities:

- that the first philosophy in the world was about God, and so philosophy and theology arrived at the same time.

- that the first philosophy in the world was not about God.

Theology could only conceivably come first if there were a type of theology that isn't part of philosophy.

My guess would be that God (maybe in plural aspect) was the answer to the first philosophical question, which was about everyday reality (such as "why is this good to eat but that isn't?".

Whether a "God made it that way" answer is sufficient to qualify that as theology is a matter of how tightly you define "about God".

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Marvin the Martian

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The message I'm getting from this thread is that theology is what happens when really clever people think about God, and when less clever people think about God then it's storytelling or myth or something else.

I don't subscribe to that view.

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TomM
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The message I'm getting from this thread is that theology is what happens when really clever people think about God, and when less clever people think about God then it's storytelling or myth or something else.

I don't subscribe to that view.

I agree - it seems to be a long way from the marvellous definition of a theologian given by Evagrius, especially the second part:

quote:
If you are a theologian, you will pray truly. And if you pray truly, you are a theologian.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The message I'm getting from this thread is that theology is what happens when really clever people think about God, and when less clever people think about God then it's storytelling or myth or something else.

I don't subscribe to that view.

I'm a less clever person and I really value theology, especially existential, open, postmodern, liberal theology.

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Love wins

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Barnabas62
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The free online dictionary provides a useful definition.

the rational and systematic study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truth.

I think where mousethief is coming from is pretty much the same place as Bertrand Russell was coming from i.e. that the key parts of the definition are the words rational and systematic, whether applied to theology or philosophy.

Going back to the earlier discussion about Genesis 1-3, I agree with Josephine that the authors (however inspired they may have been according to particular theological understandings of the inspiration of scripture) were telling stories. Theologians have spent millions of words seeking to find rational and systematic explanations for the key elements of the stories. Whether you regard the stories as myths, myths illuminating truth, truth per se, etc, the basic material is story.

To illustrate the difference further, here is the online definition of mythology.

myths collectively; the body of stories associated with a culture or institution or person.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The message I'm getting from this thread is that theology is what happens when really clever people think about God, and when less clever people think about God then it's storytelling or myth or something else.

I don't subscribe to that view.

That's nice. I suppose you think that when not so clever people think about how to cure disease, they're doing science-based medicine? How dare we insult them by insisting otherwise.

This really isn't about egalitarianism. At some point you and the slow but sensitive people you are defending here are going to have to admit that there are fancy intellectual things that some people can do, and others can't. Just as there are things that really coordinated people can do, or musically talented people can do, or that really strong people can do, that others can't.

The world is just that way. And all the egalitarianism in the world isn't going to turn storytelling into systematic theology.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
That's nice. I suppose you think that when not so clever people think about how to cure disease, they're doing science-based medicine? How dare we insult them by insisting otherwise.

That's an interesting example.

There are medical researchers who are looking for new treatments and there are doctors who are using the available treatments on patients to the best of their ability. Are they both not "practicing medicine"? I don't think either group are unintelligent or somehow less scientific than the other.

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arse

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The message I'm getting from this thread is that theology is what happens when really clever people think about God, and when less clever people think about God then it's storytelling or myth or something else.

That's nice. I suppose you think that when not so clever people think about how to cure disease, they're doing science-based medicine? How dare we insult them by insisting otherwise.
I'm not sure that the analogy with medicine helps. It's clear that cultures with evidence-based medicine have something that they're better off for having. I'm not so sure about formal philosophy and theology. An analogy might be economics or history. Most cultures engage in trade and many have money; but only a few make trade and money the object of study in their own right. India, unlike China or post-classical Europe or the Islamic world, doesn't have much attempt to recount the past for posterity (outside lives of Buddhist saints). That doesn't make it inferior; just different.

Likewise, storytelling and poetry can be sophisticated. That doesn't make them directly philosophy or theology (Dostoevsky's novels are profound; his explicit attempts at philosophy and theology outside his stories are awful).

[ 25. December 2017, 09:14: Message edited by: Dafyd ]

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
That's nice. I suppose you think that when not so clever people think about how to cure disease, they're doing science-based medicine? How dare we insult them by insisting otherwise.

That's an interesting example.

There are medical researchers who are looking for new treatments and there are doctors who are using the available treatments on patients to the best of their ability. Are they both not "practicing medicine"? I don't think either group are unintelligent or somehow less scientific than the other.

1. Ask Marvin; he's the one who brought intelligence into it.

2. I don't see what group you're comparing those researchers and doctors with? Who do you think I'm saying *IS* using science? But certainly someone who uses the results of science isn't "doing science." Unless they are using scientific methods themselves to further their knowledge. There's a difference between someone who is just following rote instructions -- even if those rote instructions were created by scientific geniuses using the best scientific principles -- and someone who is evaluating evidence and drawing scientific conclusions.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I don't see what group you're comparing those researchers and doctors with? Who do you think I'm saying *IS* using science? But certainly someone who uses the results of science isn't "doing science." Unless they are using scientific methods themselves to further their knowledge. There's a difference between someone who is just following rote instructions -- even if those rote instructions were created by scientific geniuses using the best scientific principles -- and someone who is evaluating evidence and drawing scientific conclusions.

Mmm. I don't think this follows in medicine. Doctors who are not involved in the research are still medical practitioners, they're still engaged in a process which is clearly a scientific evidence-based process - in contrast to homeopathy or some other nescience.

A chemist who is following a proceedure - even if he hasn't don't the initial research himself - is still a scientist, I'd argue.

A person who operates within a specific philosophical framework is similarly, I think, engaged in philosophy.

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arse

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Martin60
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Advantage cheesy.

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Love wins

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
A chemist who is following a proceedure - even if he hasn't don't the initial research himself - is still a scientist, I'd argue.

A person who operates within a specific philosophical framework is similarly, I think, engaged in philosophy.

Someone operating within a framework may have a philosophy; to be engaged in philosophy they must be asking questions about the framework.

I think that's different from chemistry, in which there are incontrovertibly correct answers and a proper understanding of the subject requires only knowing why they answers are true.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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mousethief

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I'd like Marvin to explain why he thinks it takes more cleverness to chop logic than to write stories. Good stories require a heck of a lot of mental horsepower (or BTU's across the pond) to create.

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Brenda Clough
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I'd like Marvin to explain why he thinks it takes more cleverness to chop logic than to write stories. Good stories require a heck of a lot of mental horsepower (or BTU's across the pond) to create.

If you will accept the testimony of a storyteller born, I will confide that they are quite different things. Apples and oranges, but mutually useful. You need both. Sometimes the apple juice is just what that orange cake needs.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Martin60
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'strewth, it's a doubles match. Deuce.

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Love wins

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I'd like Marvin to explain why he thinks it takes more cleverness to chop logic than to write stories. Good stories require a heck of a lot of mental horsepower (or BTU's across the pond) to create.

If you will accept the testimony of a storyteller born, I will confide that they are quite different things. Apples and oranges, but mutually useful. You need both. Sometimes the apple juice is just what that orange cake needs.
Well put.

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I'd argue that theology is no more than philosophizing about God. And therefore a subset of philosophy.

There are thus two possibilities:

- that the first philosophy in the world was about God, and so philosophy and theology arrived at the same time.

- that the first philosophy in the world was not about God.

Theology could only conceivably come first if there were a type of theology that isn't part of philosophy.

My guess would be that God (maybe in plural aspect) was the answer to the first philosophical question, which was about everyday reality (such as "why is this good to eat but that isn't?".

Whether a "God made it that way" answer is sufficient to qualify that as theology is a matter of how tightly you define "about God".

Theology, philosophizing about God is only philosophy when it derives from philosophy.

[ 26. December 2017, 12:19: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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