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Source: (consider it) Thread: belief or non-belief or no idea
Unum Solum
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# 18904

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What does it mean, or maybe it means nothing if your answer to the question on belief in God/Jesus, is ‘I don’t know’.

If you just don’t know if you believe or not, is that uncertainty defined as unbelief? In some ways I feel like my desire to believe is more consuming than my desire to know the One to whom the question pertains.

My behaviour/action is little guide as it is all over the place, and I sense that our actions are the ultimate guide to our beliefs?

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I will not say do not weep for not all tears are an evil. - Gandalf

Posts: 53 | From: Auckland, New Zealand | Registered: Jan 2018  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

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I’ve given up trying.

I hope there is a God behind all this, I think there might be. Occasionally I get a glimpse of a love I can’t explain, but I’ve given up striving to know Her or believe in Her.

I still go to Church as I like it and my friends are there. I find singing the hymns I’ve known since childhood comforting, a special continuity with times gone by. It’s also an excellent place for training my GD puppy (lots of people, noise AV etc etc)

It’s easy to say ‘I follow Jesus’ because I do. He embodies inclusive equality and self-giving love.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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jacobsen

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To quote Madeleine L'Engle, I believe, with all sorts of doubts. And they all fluctuate. And that's OK. The God, if there is one, who knows and sees all, isn't fooled, so I might as well relax and enjoy the journey wherever it takes me.

Reckon that places me alongside you, Boogie.

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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I'm just a step further away from belief, or rather, right outside it!! It would take some enormously comprehensive and objective evidence to convince me that there is any god anywhere or ever has been! I always allow that - increasingly vanishingly small - gap for one to appear one day, but at my age, it certainly is not going to happen before I die!

However, as always, I continue to enjoy the discussions here and learn more about human nature every time I click on Ship of fools, and that is very important.

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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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I believe despite my unbelief. I can't not believe in Jesus but I can't believe in transcendence.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
RdrEmCofE
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quote:
If you just don’t know if you believe or not, is that uncertainty defined as unbelief?
Probably not, judging from Jesus' comment to Nathaniel. Jesus seemed to accept even dejected cynicism as an attribute.

quote:
Philip found Nathaniel and told him,"We have found the man about whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets wrote-Jesus, the son of Joseph, from Nazareth."
Nathaniel asked him,"Out of Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?"

Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward him and said about him,"Look, a genuine Israelite, in whom there is no deceit!"



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Love covers many sins. 1 Pet.4:8. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not holding their sins against them; 2 Cor.5:19

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Raptor Eye
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It's good to say 'I don't know' or 'I want to believe' as it is the truth.

I like the 'I believe. Help me in my unbelief' verse (Mark 9:24).

Our beliefs affect our actions, and our actions our beliefs. We might read the scriptures because we believe, and take action as a result. We might meet and speak to someone who is clearly full of the Holy Spirit, through whom our faith grows.

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

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leo
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Nobody KNOWs for certain.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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L'organist
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Of course there is a difference between "I don't know" and "I don't believe": don't know leaves room for doubt, not believing is a positive statement.

Do I believe? I don't know. I find it increasingly hard to think that I share belief in the same supreme being with people who can behave so unfeelingly, and who are so thoughtless of others. On some issues I'm moving towards being a definite non-believer if only to escape being lumped-in with people who stridently proclaim views that are, IMO, cruel and inhumane.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Unum Solum
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
I believe despite my unbelief. I can't not believe in Jesus but I can't believe in transcendence.

Martin what do you mean when you say you can’t believe in transcendence. I certainly understand the first part of your response.

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I will not say do not weep for not all tears are an evil. - Gandalf

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Martin60
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I cannot imagine existence above, beyond the physical, between it, that level of, panentheistic in, God, of His thinking, and God as God. I cannot imagine the physics of heaven, anything more real than the material. Glory. The ultimate holodeck? However quantum entanglement is real, in some way it's as if indeterminate spin particle pairs are unlocalized, so add another dimension or so to the 11-17 that the physical needs and there it all is I'm sure.

The Plains of Heaven. Where a trillion sparrows never fall.

[ 11. February 2018, 17:48: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
hatless

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Does God exist is a difficult question. What is God like is easier and much more important.

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My crazy theology in novel form

Posts: 4531 | From: Stinkers | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
jacobsen

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I don't expect an eternal Being to be within the scope of my imagination. How could it be? We are finite creatures.

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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Martin60
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Agreed guys. I like the how God is, hatless. The extremes make sense. The poles. God the ineffable other and us. It's the stuff in between I can't envisage. How it can possibly be.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Of course there is a difference between "I don't know" and "I don't believe": don't know leaves room for doubt, not believing is a positive statement.

Gough Whitlam, Prime Minister here 1972-5, a well educated and very intelligent person, was attending the funeral of a colleague at Sydney's high temple of Anglo-Catholicism. Milling around afterwards, he said that he wished he believed but he could not.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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rolyn
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I was faced with the choice as to whether to believe in God or not at the age of 40. Maybe it wasn’t even a choice in hindsight.
There are many reasons for a cynic like myself not to believe. But in the words of Abraham Lincoln, when asked why he had got down from his horse to put a stranded fledgling back in it’s nest — “I feel the better for it”.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
I was faced with the choice as to whether to believe in God or not at the age of 40. Maybe it wasn’t even a choice in hindsight.
There are many reasons for a cynic like myself not to believe. But in the words of Abraham Lincoln, when asked why he had got down from his horse to put a stranded fledgling back in it’s nest — “I feel the better for it”.

Perhaps it is a pity he didn't say, 'I am a human and that is what humans do because they feel the better for it.' But he did not have the benefit of the knowledge we have today; in particular the knowledge of how we have evolved to be the way we are.

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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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mr cheesy
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Susan, do you think there is ever any value in a comfortable lie rather than an uncomfortable truth? Do you not see that many people think that unbelief is bleak and that lives with no ultimate purpose are hard for many to live with?

In reality it isn't even as clear a choice between an obvious lie and an obvious truth - it is about comprehension, interpretation and perception.

So making it all about "truth" verses "lies" seems to downplay and ignore a whole lot of other context about human psychology and how individuals justify their own existence.

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arse

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jacobsen

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Not to mention that the language of religion is in our psyche. How many people swear by God, or Christ, who would say that they themselves are non-believers? Yet these words come out of their mouths. Somewhere they have meaning, though it may not be conscious belief.

As I read somewhere, "Man is a praying animal." It seems that our various cultures through the ages have needed religion, even if it had another name, such as Communism.

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But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Perhaps it is a pity he didn't say, 'I am a human and that is what humans do because they feel the better for it.' But he did not have the benefit of the knowledge we have today; in particular the knowledge of how we have evolved to be the way we are.

Susan, I'm not sure what is the knowledge which we now have which Lincoln lacked? I don't understand how evolution in general can fill that gap.

[ 12. February 2018, 08:49: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Susan, I'm not sure what is the knowledge which we now have which Lincoln lacked? I don't understand how evolution in general can fill that gap.

I suppose it must be true that we've got more complicated ideas about human evolution and psychology than Lincoln had. And it is probably fair to say that modern scientists try to explain behaviours (even their own) dispassionately rather than simply saying "I do it because it feels good to me" and so on.

And yet I don't think even Richard Dawkins really lives personally as if his species-wide theories are the only truth and the only thing that is important. If he did, then he wouldn't think that anything he'd done had any lasting importance. If he has a disabled child, I'm sure he would love and care for them and try to protect them from the "inevitability" of survival of the fittest. He's a scientist, but he's still a human being.

The reality is that only Nazis behave as if there are inevitable natural laws that cannot be fought - which inevitably mean disabled (and other "less fit") people can be thrown on a literal scrapheap.

Everyone else accepts that the developed ideas about human evolution only apply across many many generations and can't be used as a guide for individual human behaviours. Similarly, whilst a developing understanding of human psychology might help explain behaviours, it can't normally be used as a guide to how one should seek to behave.

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arse

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Perhaps it is a pity he didn't say, 'I am a human and that is what humans do because they feel the better for it.' But he did not have the benefit of the knowledge we have today; in particular the knowledge of how we have evolved to be the way we are.

Susan, I'm not sure what is the knowledge which we now have which Lincoln lacked? I don't understand how evolution in general can fill that gap.
I think Susan is getting close to scientism here. If I fall in love, or enjoy a walk, I don't really need a scientific explanation of it, assuming that there is one. The experience is enough. Same with Lincoln.

Then again, I'm not convinced that we need an ultimate purpose, whatever that is. I find being without one rather refreshing, and well, alive.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I think Susan is getting close to scientism here. If I fall in love, or enjoy a walk, I don't really need a scientific explanation of it, assuming that there is one. The experience is enough.

I disagree. From a Dr who studies the chemistry and neurology of love -


quote:
People ask me if what I know about love has ruined it for me. Not at all. You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, but then sit down and eat that cake and feel the joy. What I do understand and respect is the power of love. For example, I met someone a while back and really felt attracted to him. But when I discovered that he was madly in love with someone else, I gave up then and there. People who don’t understand the power of love might have continued to pursue. In short, I’ve learned a lot about love – but it has never spoiled the grandeur of it.


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Garden. Room. Walk

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:


Then again, I'm not convinced that we need an ultimate purpose, whatever that is. I find being without one rather refreshing, and well, alive.

Right. But there is obviously quite a difference between an individual saying that they get on fine without needing an ultimate purpose and being Evangelical and insistent that nobody needs it.

That former is a perfectly fine observation. The latter ignores the normal experience of many many people.

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arse

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I think Susan is getting close to scientism here. If I fall in love, or enjoy a walk, I don't really need a scientific explanation of it, assuming that there is one. The experience is enough.

I disagree. From a Dr who studies the chemistry and neurology of love -


quote:
People ask me if what I know about love has ruined it for me. Not at all. You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, but then sit down and eat that cake and feel the joy. What I do understand and respect is the power of love. For example, I met someone a while back and really felt attracted to him. But when I discovered that he was madly in love with someone else, I gave up then and there. People who don’t understand the power of love might have continued to pursue. In short, I’ve learned a lot about love – but it has never spoiled the grandeur of it.

So you are saying that you like to research scientific explanations of your own experiences? Fair enough. I've just enjoyed a nice ham sandwich, but according to what you are saying, it would be improved by reading up about my digestive system. And then I could read up about how reading works in the brain. I was going to have a nap, but oh bother, there is the physiology and psychology of sleep to consider. Help.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Boogie

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I didn’t say improved, I said not worsened or made any less joyful.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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quetzalcoatl
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OK, fair enough. That was the old canard that dissecting a butterfly would spoil your enjoyment of them flying around. Can't see why.

I'm still not sure what you were disagreeing with then. That I said that the experience is enough for me, and I don't need scientific explanations?

[ 12. February 2018, 14:16: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Boogie

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Because scientific explanations are so useful and informative and not to be dismissed as ‘scientism’ imo

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Garden. Room. Walk

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quetzalcoatl
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Well, I don't think scientific explanations are scientism at all. It's how they're used.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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mr cheesy
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Seems to me there are several options:

1. Extra (scientific) information is a distraction and is unhelpful. Detailed medical information might not actually help a patient if they're unable to process what it means.

2. Extra information gives an extra appreciation of something. One might be amazed at the shape of deep-sea organisms, but it might well be the case that extra information about them (their organs, life, habitat etc) heightens the interest beyond what can be seen in a picture.

3. The "extra" information somehow discounts the ordinary experience of a thing. An understanding of human evolution leads one to believe that certain human behaviours are meaningless.

It is only this third option which can be called Scientism, in my opinion.

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arse

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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Oh dear, all those really interesting posts, and I haven't got time to join in and respond this evening!
Definitely back tomorrow though!!

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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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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Then again, I'm not convinced that we need an ultimate purpose, whatever that is. I find being without one rather refreshing, and well, alive.

Before becoming a Church-goer, (while going through a particularly low point), I was kindly offered a correspondence with a someone who was a believer. At no point did this person try and convert me or offer religious comfort as such. However, one thing which has since resonated was this person's conviction that each of us is here for a specific purpose, a purpose which might take a lifetime to be made apparent.
I was sceptical at the time, yet the more life goes on the more I get the feeling there might be something in this, over and above self-fulfilling prophecy that is.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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Belief unbelief
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Susan, do you think there is ever any value in a comfortable lie rather than an uncomfortable truth?

That may be so for many – not for me.
quote:
Do you not see that many people think that unbelief is bleak and that lives with no ultimate purpose are hard for many to live with?
My lack of belief in any god, spirit, etc is the very opposite of bleak; I feel deep sorrow for those caught in wars, nnatural disasters, addictions and all the terrible things that we know are around us, and I do what I can in my small way to help, and I have no metaphorical blinkers on to shield me from them. I know I am lucky to be where I am and where all the things I believe and have faith in are backed up by knowledge. I have no reason at all to suppose that all the myriad don’t-knows can be answered by an entirely faith belief.
quote:
In reality it isn't even as clear a choice between an obvious lie and an obvious truth - it is about comprehension, interpretation and perception.
Comprehension, interpretation. And perception of what?
quote:
So making it all about "truth" verses "lies" seems to downplay and ignore a whole lot of other context about human psychology and how individuals justify their own existence.
I’m not sure which words of mine imply that I think that way- i.e. in terms of truth versus lies.

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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

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by jacobsen:
[QB] Not to mention that the language of religion is in our psyche. How many people swear by God, or Christ, who would say that they themselves are non-believers? Yet these words come out of their mouths. Somewhere they have meaning, though it may not be conscious belief.[QB]

I quibble a bit over the phrase ‘in our psyche’! They are in our vocabulary because of the long history of beliefs and the words associated with them.
By the way, I personally have never sworn using God or Christ. That is primarily because when I was a child one did not 'take the Lord's name in vain' and mostly because I'm just not a swearing person!!

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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

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Perhaps it is a pity he didn't say, 'I am a human and that is what humans do because they feel the better for it.' But he did not have the benefit of the knowledge we have today; in particular the knowledge of how we have evolved to be the way we are.

Susan, I'm not sure what is the knowledge which we now have which Lincoln lacked? I don't understand how evolution in general can fill that gap.
Maybe not the idea of evolution in general, but the knowledge of the well-tested Theory of Evolution, vastly increased knowledge of the universe, medicines, etc were not available to Lincoln, were they.

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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.

Posts: 3079 | From: UK | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I think Susan is getting close to scientism here. If I fall in love, or enjoy a walk, I don't really need a scientific explanation of it, assuming that there is one. The experience is enough. Same with Lincoln.

One thing I have learned over the past few years is that ‘scientism’ appears to be a word invented by believers to try and weakern the words of non-believers!!
quote:
Then again, I'm not convinced that we need an ultimate purpose, whatever that is. I find being without one rather refreshing, and well, alive.
Agreed. All purposes we may have in our lives are ones we create ourselves. The underlying purpose, if there is one, is to pass on genes for survival.

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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.

Posts: 3079 | From: UK | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
From a Dr who studies the chemistry and neurology of love -
quote:
People ask me if what I know about love has ruined it for me. Not at all. You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, but then sit down and eat that cake and feel the joy. What I do understand and respect is the power of love. For example, I met someone a while back and really felt attracted to him. But when I discovered that he was madly in love with someone else, I gave up then and there. People who don’t understand the power of love might have continued to pursue. In short, I’ve learned a lot about love – but it has never spoiled the grandeur of it.

Yes, and I always think of Richard Feynmann’s pointing out that understanding how a rainbow is formed does not halve one’s appreciation and pleasure at seeing it, the understanding more likely doubles such appreciation.

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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.

Posts: 3079 | From: UK | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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I don’t think explaining anything can be called ‘scientism’ especially if that explanation and exploration leads to progress.

Scientism is -

quote:
scientism
ˈsʌɪəntɪz(ə)m/Submit

thought or expression regarded as characteristic of scientists.
excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.

But what does ‘excessive belief’ mean? I think ‘scientism’ is often just used as a snarl word to stifle debate or keep it in ‘safe’ territory.

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Garden. Room. Walk

Posts: 13028 | From: Boogie Wonderland | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Seems to me there are several options:

1. Extra (scientific) information is a distraction and is unhelpful. Detailed medical information might not actually help a patient if they're unable to process what it means.

Agreed – it is an individual choice. Personally, I want to know all the facts, since then I can deal with the situation.
quote:
2. Extra information gives an extra appreciation of something. One might be amazed at the shape of deep-sea organisms, but it might well be the case that extra information about them (their organs, life, habitat etc) heightens the interest beyond what can be seen in a picture.
Definitely agree.
quote:
3. The "extra" information somehow discounts the ordinary experience of a thing. An understanding of human evolution leads one to believe that certain human behaviours are meaningless.
Well, yes, they are probably meaningless in the whole scheme of things, but I expect they could be psycho-analysed in detail if necessary! [Smile]
quote:
It is only this third option which can be called Scientism, in my opinion.
Interesting post, so I will not be requesting a definition of scientism!!

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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.

Posts: 3079 | From: UK | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
I don’t think explaining anything can be called ‘scientism’ especially if that explanation and exploration leads to progress.

Scientism is -

quote:
scientism
ˈsʌɪəntɪz(ə)m/Submit

thought or expression regarded as characteristic of scientists.
excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.

But what does ‘excessive belief’ mean? I think ‘scientism’ is often just used as a snarl word to stifle debate or keep it in ‘safe’ territory.
It's the rationalist delusion.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged


 
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