How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 Philosophy 101
 Critical States   [ Page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  ]
 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Transferred from The Alley Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Critical States

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


75 posted 11-12-2002 03:07 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"If you want to leave it at " I just believe this way", that's fine."

~ Hee, hee. One could assume by this statement that I am going to believe in something that can be disproven by you, just because I am stubborn and want to believe that way.

I am not leaving this at "I just believe this way."    
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


76 posted 11-12-2002 03:19 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Opeth and Stephan:

Excellent exchange.

Opeth:

One thing I am trying to figure out is what flavor of agnostic you are.  When you say "I find no evidence ..." are you suggesting that, if the evidence presents itself to you, you are willing to change your thinking?  Or is the matter closed to your consideration regardless of the evidence?

I think hard agnostisticism is a tenuous position to hold.  It suggests that a person cannot know whether or not God exists and cannot ascertain His/Her/Its nature.  If you are a fan of logic, then you know the impossibilities of proving a universal negative.

If you are more of a soft agnostic, that is to say you simply state that you do not know rather than cannot know that a personal Creator exists, then I think your mind is free to consider evidence for or against His/Her/Its existence with some measure of objectivity.

If you are open to the possiblity that a creator exists, then I think an important next step is to try to establish some criteria for measuring what is true or likely and what is not.  Professor Simon Greenleaf, for example, was a 19th century Harvard Law professor who wrote a three part treatise on evidence that served as a primary legal authority on the subject through the turn of century (19th to 20th, that is).  A lesser know work of Greenleaf's is "The Testimony of the Evangelists" wherein Greenleaf applies the accepted laws of evidence to "cross-examine" the writers of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) in an attempt to break down their "testimony" of what they claimed to have witnessed regarding the life, death, resurrection and ascention of Jesus.

What he found was that there was no discernable deception or fatal inconsistency in the testimony of the "evangelists" that would raise question as to the truth of their statements in a court of law.  This was enough to satisfy Greenleaf.  Your standards may be higher than his.

That is one example of a criteria for measuring evidence.  Others, far more capable than anyone here, have been convinced of, at least, the possibility that God exists and that He interacts with His creation.  Greenleaf's is a good example because he applies principles of law that are still widely relied upon today to determine the reliability of witnesses.

Don't get me wrong ... doubt can be extremely healthy as long as it prompts us to delve deeper to root out as much meaning as we possibly can in the short time we have to do so.  Doubt becomes dangerous when it no longer allows us to believe that anything is true or verifiable.  That kind of doubt leads to nihilism and profits no one.

In my opinion, of course.

Jim
Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


77 posted 11-12-2002 03:54 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Jim,

"When you say "I find no evidence ..." are you suggesting that, if the evidence presents itself to you, you are willing to change your thinking?"

~ Yes and no. I am always willing to listen to evidence and with an open and unbiased mind and then come to a logical and rational conclusion. However, I have already ran that gamut. For years,  I studied the Bible in relation to the doctrines of Christianity and its credibility. The more I investigated, the more I found Christianity to be nonsensical.  

"If you are open to the possiblity that a creator exists, then I think an important next step is to try to establish some criteria for measuring what is true or likely and what is not."

~ Yes. I have done so.

"Professor Simon Greenleaf, for example, was a 19th century Harvard Law professor who wrote a three part treatise on evidence that served as a primary legal authority on the subject through the turn of century (19th to 20th, that is).  A lesser know work of Greenleaf's is "The Testimony of the Evangelists" wherein Greenleaf applies the accepted laws of evidence to "cross-examine" the writers of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) in an attempt to break down their "testimony" of what they claimed to have witnessed regarding the life, death, resurrection and ascention of Jesus."


~ For every Greenleaf there is another scholar who has found the opposite to be true with regards to this particular matter.
Being that he is from Harvard makes no difference to me. In fact, Christ, in the same sense was not a Harvard graduate, yet the scribes and pharisees of his day were Harvard graduates - in context of your example of Greenleaf compared to an unknown, that is.

"What he found was that there was no discernable deception or fatal inconsistency in the testimony of the "evangelists" that would raise question as to the truth of their statements in a court of law.  This was enough to satisfy Greenleaf.  Your standards may be higher than his."

~ I don't know exactly what Greenleaf found to be true or not. Nor how he arrived at his conclusions, but I know this, I proved to myself that Christianity is not the true religion. And I did this with a completely objective and unbiased mind.

"That is one example of a criteria for measuring evidence.  Others, far more capable than anyone here, have been convinced of, at least, the possibility that God exists and that He interacts with His creation."

~ Who is to say that no one here is less capable than Greenleaf?
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


78 posted 11-12-2002 05:07 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Jim,

quote:
For years,  I studied the Bible in relation to the doctrines of Christianity and its credibility. The more I investigated, the more I found Christianity to be nonsensical.


No wonder you think the way you do!  Historically, "practical" Christianity has divorced itself from its roots more often than I dare to count.  If your standard for the sensibility of Christianity is ensuing Christian doctrine, then God help you (whomever He, She or It may be)!

Just curious ... whose doctrines did you study?  

quote:
Yes. I have done so [established a criteria].


Out of curiousity, what is your preferred standard?

quote:
For every Greenleaf there is another scholar who has found the opposite to be true with regards to this particular matter.
Being that he is from Harvard makes no difference to me.


True.  But Greenleaf's accomplishments were not measured by the height of his credentials, but by the quality of his work.  Harvard or no, the man knew evidence and could write on it authoritatively.  That HE, once an agnostic like yourself, would reach the conclusion he reach after examining the historical evidence (NOTE: without the burden of 2000 years of theologians to muddle it up) is compelling to me.  It challenged me enough to read Greenleaf, anyway.  It took me a little longer to agree with him.

quote:
In fact, Christ, in the same sense was not a Harvard graduate, yet the scribes and pharisees of his day were Harvard graduates - in context of your example of Greenleaf compared to an unknown, that is.


My bets would be on the Son of God ... even against a nation of Harvard graduates.  Son of God aside, history offers plenty of examples of "normal" people who, either through natural genius or tenacity and will, accomplished much WITHOUT a formal education.

My intentions were not to offer a "best in field" argument.  My intentions were to demonstrate that there are well established means of discerning truth and error that others have used to reach different conclusions than you have. I don't think it is fair to dismiss their methodology as irrelevent without investigating it for yourself.

I don't care who developed the method.  I only care about the method.  I think Greenleaf's book is available on Amazon.com, by the way.  Its worth the read.  Even if you have already made up your mind.

quote:
I don't know exactly what Greenleaf found to be true or not. Nor how he arrived at his conclusions, but I know this, I proved to myself that Christianity is not the true religion. And I did this with a completely objective and unbiased mind.


You're assuming here that your investigation was comprehensive.  For me, for now, Greenleaf's arguments are more compelling than those of others I have read.  Being interested in method as I am, I would very much like to know how you arrived at this proof.

"Who is to say that no one here is less capable than Greenleaf?"

Trying to lure me into that universal negative, huh.   I can safely say that there are very few here who would rival Greenleaf ... certainly none in his field (unless there happens to be an expert in the legal rules of evidence lingering out there).

Jim
hush
Senior Member
since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


79 posted 11-12-2002 05:30 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Stephan:

Based on that quote, Bertrand Russell's full of it.


Okay... I read a reader's digest article maybe a year or so ago, which I only remember vaguely, that pertains to this discussion. It was about recent scientific evidence supporting the idea that humans are actually physically predisposed to a belief in a higher power- that the makeup of our brains leads us to belief.

Now, your argument that God made humans with the "knowledge of God" is supported by this.

But I think it also supports the idea that we invented the idea of a creator because belief in a higher power was necessitated by our human nature/physical makeup.

Earlier in this thread, I think I said something about the similarity of events in the Bible when compared to historical events/doctrines of other religions.

When people use this as proof that the Bible is true, I usually bring up the point that, yeah, of course they'd write a flood into the Bible. The religious explanation is, in my opinion, different in no way whatsoever from the Indian stories I read in Jr. High that explain things like how the seasons change, or how nature works, etc. We consider those stories myths... but, hey- tigers do eat other animals... and While we learned the story of Persephone and Hades and Ceres as make-believe... y'know... there is the season of winter...

I said that the Bible doesn't dictate reality; rather, reality dictates the Bible (and all toher religious texts). I still stand by that.

To take that one step further: Do a little role reversal. God didn't make man in His image; Man made God in his (man's) image.

What better way to create a God we can relate to? The Greeks did the same thing- their Olympian gods and goddesses were very human, and interracted in very human ways.

Christianity consolidates polytheism into one all-powerful God.

I don't know... it's just that I know a lot of Christians who claim that religions (like the polytheist Greek/Roman myths) are ridiculous... and I don't see what makes Christian myth any more compelling or believable.

I was raised in a very secular household. I was not assailed with dogmas and beliefs. So when I learn about Christianity and the Bible, it is with the same mindset with which I learned Greek and Roman myths. The only difference is that everyone around me believes in these myths. What should make me think this is anything more than a social conditioning, the same type that led Greeks and Romans to believe in their Gods?

Mahatma Gandhi said he believed that there is inherent truth in any religion. This implies a value in anyone's quest for god.

I'm kind of in the 'soft agnostic' category Jim was talking about. I don;t know if any higher power exists.

If it does, I think Gandhi's probably right.

I think that that places inherent value on all quests for information about God and the afterlife. It places value on Opeths denial thereof, and my "I don't know but I'm still looking" mindset.

And if Gandhi's wrong, and you're right- if Heaven is an exclusive club for people who do the right stuff- then I'm probably out, because I don't feel a strong enough need to belong to any club that it would cause me to compromise my ideals, quite a few of which run in opposition (or along the same lines but with a different flavor) to Christian belief. Because, y'know... when I was in about 4th grade, my desire to fit in with other kids led to misbehavior, dressing in uncomfortable clothes that were "cool," and pretending I wasn't as smart as I am because smart kids aren't popular. And while I know it isn't the same thing, it smacks of grade school to me, and I'm not going there again.

I think that there is "something" to life- whether that something is an outside element of God, or an inner element of "soul," I don't know. But I feel that the only way to get to it is to follow what you feel ,think, and believe. I don't feel a connection to jesus Christ or a Christian God that pulls me, and to act as a Christian and try to adhere to codes and express beliefs I don't truly believe would be a terribly selfless act- in the sense that I'd be betraying myself and what I truly wanted. If what I want/feel changes and ends up in accordance to Christian belief, I'd be more than happy to act on that.
The Napkin Writer
Member
since 06-28-2002
Posts 72


80 posted 11-12-2002 05:57 PM       View Profile for The Napkin Writer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for The Napkin Writer

An unbiased mind, logical conclusion and rational thinking does not work with the bible, it never did!  If it did work, there would be no confusion as to what is written in the bible and this conversation would not be taking place!

Rather we like it or not, Gods people have been chosen, everyone else is just here with an opportunity.  I wouldnít blow my opportunity by riding to hell on someone elseís coattail.  At least, I would come and go and think and believe or disbelieve on my own accord with my own heart and mind.  

And if it came to a question of who, what and why I should believe a certain way or choice, I would be asking myself questions like;

Who paid the thirty pieces of silver for Jesus to be betrayed?

And if I know who paid the money, then why would I follow those men in any century?

And why donít I have my own opinion?

And if I did, why isnít that opinion strong enough to stand on its own?

The Napkin Writer
Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


81 posted 11-13-2002 07:45 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

If one is to search for a truth, one must be able to do so without prejudice; free from all biases and with a completely opened and objective mind.

At this point, the majority of those who seek a truth will fail. They will fail before they even begin their search.

Not even a Harvard degree, nor the highest IQ will do those searchers any good.

I take pride that I was not one of them, and was able to begin my search without the automatic failure. In fact, if I had any biases, it would of been slanted towards the Christian side, for I was at that time a "born-again" Christian. So, Greenleaf began his search as an agnostic, I began mine as a Christian.

The criterion

With regards to fundamental Christian beliefs...

1. The nature of man
2. Heaven & Hell
3. Bible Infallibility
4. The nature of the Christian God
5. Other religion influences
6. Origins of beliefs (encompassing)

There may be more, but I am going from the top of me noggin. But even if I missed any, these are the critical ones.

Now, using sound reasoning and logic in studying historical facts and the Bible itself, I determined 2 possibilities...

1. Christianity is not the true religion, just as all the others.

2. God showed me the truth, and only me, the same truth that Christ taught.

To believe that God has shown only me the truth...well, there would be an opening for me in the New Bedlam Hospital. So, logically, it had to be possibility numero uno.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-13-2002 07:48 AM).]

jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


82 posted 11-13-2002 01:53 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Opeth:

quote:
If one is to search for a truth, one must be able to do so without prejudice; free from all biases and with a completely opened and objective mind.


This sounds a little idealistic to me.  How we respond to information is very often determined by our past experiences.  This is how human beings are wired.  A bad religious experience will tend to instantly evoke negative thoughts and feelings when the subject arises again.

quote:
I take pride that I was not one of them, and was able to begin my search without the automatic failure. In fact, if I had any biases, it would of been slanted towards the Christian side, for I was at that time a "born-again" Christian. So, Greenleaf began his search as an agnostic, I began mine as a Christian.


You've just given me a couple examples of a bias. (1) that freedom from automatic failure requires complete objectivity (I would argue that, if complete objectivity is a prerequisite to success, then we are all doomed to automatic failure); (2) the assumption that we are capable of complete objectivity.

quote:
The criterion

With regards to fundamental Christian beliefs...

1. The nature of man
2. Heaven & Hell
3. Bible Infallibility
4. The nature of the Christian God
5. Other religion influences
6. Origins of beliefs (encompassing)


Herein lies part of the problem.  If your criticism of Christian truth-claims rises from your understanding of statements of belief by various Christian factions, then I think you are looking in the wrong places for answers to your questions.  Theology is a fine tool in developing your worldview, but it is often a tool that offers insight into the possible understandings of various Biblical texts.

Acknowledging the historicity of the Resurrection, for example, is one thing.  Discovering what the resurrection of a Palestinian Jew 2000 years ago means to us in the 21st century is another matter.  If you are discounting the former because of inadequacies of the explanations of the latter, then I submit that you haven't completed your logical exercise or your investigative work.

Doctrines that deal with the nature of man, details of Heaven and Hell, Biblical infallibility, the nature of the Christian god, other religious influences, and the origins of faith are often very speculative.  They can serve to guide us toward a systematized understanding of our faith, but they do not always deal directly with the historical events that serve as the focal piece of orthodox Christianity ... namely the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

As you know, the writers of the Bible said themselves that, if there was no resurrection, their faith was valueless.  If you are truly concerned with knowing whether or not the claims of Christianity have merit, I think the matter of the Resurrection is of utmost importance.  Authors have written books on both sides of the argument.  In my opinion "Testimony of the Evangelists" is more convincing than "The Passover Plot", but if I had not read them both, I don't think I would hold my position as firmly as I do.

quote:
Now, using sound reasoning and logic in studying historical facts and the Bible itself, I determined 2 possibilities...

1. Christianity is not the true religion, just as all the others.

2. God showed me the truth, and only me, the same truth that Christ taught.


I'm still interested in seeing the reasoning.  I can get a vague idea of your processes from your conclusions, but if you are interested in my comments on your methods, it would be much easier for me to respond accurately to your circumstance.

How about this one:

1.  After a careful review of the Biblical texts, non-Biblical historical texts, documentary evidence, and generally accepted scholarly resources arguing for and against the resurrection, I have determined that there is a strong likelihood that the Resurrection occurred in history.

quote:
To believe that God has shown only me the truth...well, there would be an opening for me in the New Bedlam Hospital. So, logically, it had to be possibility numero uno.


I disagree.  I don't think you've stated all of the possibilities ... or at least you haven't convinced me that you have.

Jim

P.S. Is Bedlam nicer than Harrisburg?  


[This message has been edited by jbouder (11-13-2002 01:58 PM).]

The Napkin Writer
Member
since 06-28-2002
Posts 72


83 posted 11-13-2002 02:32 PM       View Profile for The Napkin Writer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for The Napkin Writer

____________________________________________
If one is to search for a truth, one must be able to do so without prejudice; free from all biases and with a completely opened and objective mind.  
____________________________________________


When one goes searching, one does the search with prejudice and/or bias to prove or disprove a fact or event.  It is also generally later that the investigators mind is open to objectivity whether than before.  And, it is also generally because of the prejudice and/or bias that the search is taking place.

The only other instance is where an individual may have no prior knowledge of the subject being researched, such a class assignment or wonderment of knowledge of a subject, but even in these cases, it is a search for the opinion which often encase the prejudice and/or bias.

The Napkin Writer
Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


84 posted 11-13-2002 02:37 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"This sounds a little idealistic to me.  How we respond to information is very often determined by our past experiences.  This is how human beings are wired."

~ The only person that knows how I am wired is me. You may not believe it, but I possess that ability.

"You've just given me a couple examples of a bias. (1) that freedom from automatic failure requires complete objectivity (I would argue that, if complete objectivity is a prerequisite to success, then we are all doomed to automatic failure);"

~ That is your opinion. In my opinion, complete objectivity is possible.

"the assumption that we are capable of complete objectivity."

~ I know that I am capable of it, so it is not an assumption.

jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


85 posted 11-13-2002 03:13 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

quote:
The only person that knows how I am wired is me. You may not believe it, but I possess that ability.


I wouldn't say I don't believe it.  I would say that I remain unconvinced.  Regarding the wiring thing, if you ever have the opportunity to read Skinner, I think you'd be amazed at how similar our wiring actually is.

quote:
That is your opinion. In my opinion, complete objectivity is possible.


Fair enough.  But I alluded to a behaviorist example that many (if not most) patterns of behavior we exhibit today were shaped by past events.  I don't know what complete objectivity looks like, having never seen it for myself so, if it exists, I want to understand it.  So enlighten me.

quote:
I know that I am capable of it, so it is not an assumption.


And I know you THINK you are capable of it.  But I won't know you actually are capable of this unless you give me good reason to believe so.  Until you explain it, all of us here will be forced to assume it true in order to agree with you.

Give me some substance to chew on.  I don't want you to tell me you can do it again.  I want you to give me a glimpse of what your talent looks like.

Jim

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


86 posted 11-13-2002 03:36 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hush

you wrote: "Based on that quote, Bertrand Russell's full of it. "


You know that I agree with you here.   But my question remains as to why, supposing that his worldview of atheism is true, should I not believe also his logical conclusion of nihilism?  Given an impersonal / irrational origin of the universe, everything is necessarily  matter in motion.  This unavoidably issues in meaninglessness, in the sense that all real purpose is arbitrarily invented just to make us feel better while we await annihilation.  Even our debate here in this forum is reduced to the exchange of molecular "white noise".  And even someone's choice to become an axe murderer, or a philanthropist (and such choices are really made, both ways) becomes trivial.  One just happens to be an outplay of atoms that we "hate", and the other, one that we "admire".  But don't you see that even "hate" and "admire" become mere outplays of atomic energy in the cranium, with each really  having nothing by which to commend itself over the other?

I happen to feel very strongly that the nihilists are examples of the most logically coherent and honest of the atheist mindsets, concerning their worldview.  I don't feel, however, the same adherence to honesty and logic were followed in their choice of worldviews.  For they use universal standards and uniformities which their creed cannot account for, in order to defend it.  Borrowing from one worldview (Theism) in order to refute it.  No offense here but you'll have to do more than just say that Bertrand Russell was "full of it."  Given atheism, why is his nihilism an unreasonable conclusion?  


"I said that the Bible doesn't dictate reality; rather, reality dictates the Bible (and all toher religious texts). I still stand by that."

No disagreement here.  It is not the Bible which Christians believe dictate reality, but the God whom the Bible is about.  It is his revelation, and the circumstances of reality and history which dictated the writing of biblical texts.  Nor have I found sufficient evidence that reality itself, in a historical, psychological, or spiritual way, contradicts what is written in the Bible.  Rather, it confirms the Bible.  An example of this is Greenleaf's book mentioned by Jim, among many others.  I admit I do not base my faith on these works soley, but upon my own relationship with God, and his revelation to me.  I never liked imaginary friends, especially ones which pursued me and made me aware of their omnipotence ...  My salvation experience with God was not a desire for religion, or self-improvement,  I literally could not shake his persistence in my life to show  me that he is the Lord.  It is nice however that these works and those like them show that what I know to be true comports with reality ... historically and philosophically.  In contrast, reality contradicts atheism at every turn.  The way we think, reason, argue, and live, are counterpoised with the atheistic worldview.  Because we don't and can't live life in the full implications of what atheists like Bertrand Russell so eloquently and frightfully express.  The reason we can't now (even in unbelief) is because of the restraining grace of God to everyone.  But even grace has a limit.


"I was raised in a very secular household. I was not assailed with dogmas and beliefs. So when I learn about Christianity and the Bible, it is with the same mindset with which I learned Greek and Roman myths. The only difference is that everyone around me believes in these myths. What should make me think this is anything more than a social conditioning, the same type that led Greeks and Romans to believe in their Gods? "

Secular, meaning without a belief in God?  I think, then you were constantly though perhaps subtley "assailed" with positive  dogma and belief, though few will call it that.  We cannot escape presuppositions no matter which view we hold.  The atheist worldview, which I am assuming your parents held before you, holds naturalism in an a priori fashion.  It is firmly established that ANY cause beyond nature herself cannot be used as an explanation for nature.  Isn't it interesting though that this "dogma" was not aquired through any empirical means?  Who said that a cause beyond nature must be ruled out and why?  What if there IS a cause beyond nature which is the cause of all things?  Then this a priori assumption will always lead to the wrong answer.  It will always lead to the acceptance of conclusions based on the fact that the others are not even allowed.  A prime example in my opinion is the teaching of macro-evolution, where gaping holes are slurred over because after all it "has to be true".  If naturalism is presupposed, there is simply no other explanation on the shelf.  Certain things must be believed despite apparent absurdities or inconsistencies, because naturalism cries "Foul" if we seek outside of an autonomous nature for answers.  So no, I don't believe that your secular upbringing was free of dogma and belief.  Sure it wasn't taught in sunday school, but it was taught.  Is this not also social conditioning?

Admittedly a belief (or a tendency for belief) in God involves presuppositions also.  The Judeo-Christian worldview is founded upon, "In the beginning, God..."  And the whole teaching of Bible is that it is correct and proper to assume the existence of God.  It is actually presented in such a way that suggests it is normalcy to believe this.  Anything else must bear the burden of proof.  That's why scripture says things like, "A fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'".  This isn't base name calling.  It's the assertion that any world view that is not founded upon the reality of God himself leads to absurdity and futility of thinking.  (remember Russell?)  Views that reject the foundation stone of the existence and rule of God, end up either  plauged with internal inconsistencies (as in the hopeful humanistic view), or fallen into distasteful pessimism and nihilism.  The former holding on to the "goodies" of theistic reality while denying their source, the latter abandoning these to the logical conclusions of atheism.  So there is no question of presuppositions... They are unavoidably on both sides of the argument.  No one can really in this sense prove anything.  I cannot prove God.  He is presupposed for me.  He is the glass through which I view reality.  My assertion is that God proves himself incessantly everyday and cannot fail to do so.  This is evident to the atheist whether he or she accepts it or not.  He will prove himself further in the consummation, the second coming of Christ.  So the question is not which view is presupposed, but which presupposition, if accepted, will give a coherent view of reality.


"And if Gandhi's wrong, and you're right- if Heaven is an exclusive club for people who do the right stuff- then I'm probably out"

Take some time to study apostolic Christian doctrine concerning Heaven and salvation and you will see that it is not a "club" for those who do the right stuff.  It is a matter of being, not merely doing.  In fact salvation is for those who are humbled to know that they can't do enough of the right stuff to make it.  Those who trust in Christ recieve his free gift and then his nature through being sanctified internally.  It is hardly a works club.  Heaven is more comparable to those who love the outdoors.  Where will you usually find them?  In the mountains, on the rivers, in the forests, in God's world.  Heaven is just God's renewed world.  It sounds like you have ethical problems with the narrowness of certain religious situations and don't want to be a cookie cutter christian.  I think this is a noble view.  I want to avoid the same myself.  But everyone is different and beautiful in God's Kingdom.  I think ultimately this is no reason not to trust Christ.  What he creates you to be will be more thrilling and more acceptable to even you, than what you now are... the same goes for me and for us all.  


"I think that there is "something" to life- whether that something is an outside element of God, or an inner element of "soul," I don't know. But I feel that the only way to get to it is to follow what you feel ,think, and believe."


You are right that there is "something" to life.  But does the atheistic worldview really have the capacity for such an ideal "something"?  Does it allow in philosophic sense any real ideals?  If someone says "yes", it rings hollow next to the yawning abyss of naturalism.  

As to your assertion that you don't feel compelled to live like a Christian.  This is commendable if you are not yet a Christian.  It would be hypocritical to play the part without the heart.  I believe that all people follow a general morality based upon God's revelation in the heart.  And I see very well that you have moral values and follow them.  But I agree, how could you live as a Christian if you are not one?  I am not even suggesting that.  I vehemently opposed this when I was not yet a Christian.  That would be mere religious conformity.  And like you, I never did have the stomach for it.

Stephen.  

  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-13-2002 03:53 PM).]

Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


87 posted 11-13-2002 04:14 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"I wouldn't say I don't believe it.  I would say that I remain unconvinced.  Regarding the wiring thing, if you ever have the opportunity to read Skinner, I think you'd be amazed at how similar our wiring actually is."

~ I am sure we are similar in our wiring, but without a doubt our wiring is not exact.
As for reading Skinner, I have too many textbooks to read...maybe after I finish grad school, I'll have some extra time to read his work.

"Fair enough.  But I alluded to a behaviorist example that many (if not most) patterns of behavior we exhibit today were shaped by past events.  I don't know what complete objectivity looks like, having never seen it for myself so, if it exists, I want to understand it.  So enlighten me."

~ That puts every aspect of life into one "pot." You are already getting "in too deep." The issue at hand is whether Christianity touts the true God. With regards to this issue, I can remain objective regardless of the past events of my life.

True objectivity on every single issue is something one must constantly work on, if they desire to, but we are talking about one issue here, let's keep it to that one issue.

"And I know you THINK you are capable of it.  But I won't know you actually are capable of this unless you give me good reason to believe so.  Until you explain it, all of us here will be forced to assume it true in order to agree with you."

~ "Us?" I guess we have an audience.

"Give me some substance to chew on.  I don't want you to tell me you can do it again.  I want you to give me a glimpse of what your talent looks like."

~ You want a glimpse of my talent? That will cost you (lol)   Plus, I don't think my wife would like that very much.  But seriously, what do you want me to do to prove to you that I can remain objective on this subject matter. To me, it is rather simple. I look at both sides of an issue without caring if either one is correct, because I have no reason to want one side to win. Every single Christian that I have met, accept a very few, maybe one or two out of hundreds of whom I discussed religion, did not want to change their ways, even when proof was right in front of them.  

Where would you like me start? The bible is even inconsistent on the ressurection of its own saviour. It can't even get the day correct. This came to me with such ease, that I could not believe it. I had to read and reread it over and over, but still could not believe what I was reading. But that example is merely one small piece of the giant puzzle, looking at that piece alone, most Christians would quickly dismiss it. Why? Because they don't want their "world rocked." They don't want some Interent Opeth showing them that their religion is based on pagan philosophy, older religions, charismatic authrors, and pompous nationalists. Their subjective minds would quickly dismiss me. They would seek shelter from a learned person of their religious beliefs, so they can sigh and say see, we are correct after all.

So many people cling to the belief that their loved ones are in heaven after death. And that there is a reward for you upon death. Are they going to listen to someone like me?

Give me a break Jim.

Subjectiveness will prevail.

It has through all out history.

This is what I am talking about.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-13-2002 04:32 PM).]

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


88 posted 11-13-2002 04:31 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

you wrote to Jim, "Us?" I guess there is more than one reader reading this."

This is a forum right?  There are many readers following this thread.  And all of us to some degree are required to qualify what we say, not just say it.  I think Jim is within fair grounds here in stating that the claim to objectivity needs more than "It is so".

Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-13-2002 04:36 PM).]

Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


89 posted 11-13-2002 04:34 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Logic 101

This is a forum with many participants, but that statement alone does not mean that many are reading this, yes?



Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


90 posted 11-13-2002 04:38 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

would it take a show of hands to convince you?  Is it illogical to assume that at least a few readers are likely perusing this  thread?  Hardly.

Stephen.  
Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


91 posted 11-13-2002 04:39 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth


Utilizing logic, the "us" statement would mean that Jim actually knows that members of this forum are following these replies. Not only that, that those who are following these replies are of the same in belief.

I would not assume this, myself. Jim may indeed know, but I don't know that. However, if he doesn't know, it would of been much more grammatically correct to replace the "us" for an "I."

Agreed?
Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


92 posted 11-13-2002 04:42 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

You are talking of those reading who are concerned about being convinced one way or another - the contextual usage of "us." Now, Stephan, if you know this, fine. I don't.
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


93 posted 11-13-2002 05:11 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Semantics.  Geeze.  Truth be told, I assumed hush, Napkin Writer, and Stephan were also following the thread because of their recent replies.

quote:
But that example is merely one small piece of the giant puzzle, looking at that piece alone, most Christians would quickly dismiss it.


As they should, while they consider weightier issues that lead the inquisitive mind to believe (e.g., the empty tomb, eye-witness accounts, willingness for all surviving disciples to suffer and die for what they witnessed, etc.).

quote:
Why? Because they don't want their "world rocked."


Some, maybe.  I'd like to think that the direct and circumstancial evidence supporting the resurrection far outweighs the doubt created by an apparent inconsistency.  Stephan is probably a better authority on this than I am, but I believe the inconsistency had something to do with the differences the respective audiences of the Gospels had in measuring days.

quote:
They don't want some Interent Opeth showing them that their religion is based on pagan philosophy, older religions, charismatic authrors, and pompous nationalists.


It is well established that, in the attempt to "Christianize" early pagan culture, pagan festivals were adopted as Christian holy days.  Still a celebration ... yet with a different object of worship.

quote:
Their subjective minds would quickly dismiss me. They would seek shelter from a learned person of their religious beliefs, so they can sigh and say see, we are correct after all.


Or they will say with me that Opeth has continuously refused to make substantive statements ... that he states opinions without supporting them and claims a special gnosis when divining the truth and falsity of Christianity.  

quote:
So many people cling to the belief that their loved ones are in heaven after death. And that there is a reward for you upon death. Are they going to listen to someone like me?


I'm not going to avoid listening to you because I fear eternal punishment.  Eventually, I will avoid listening to you if you continue to avoid being specific.

So ... just curious ... what brand of evangelicalism led you to disallusionment?  Pentacostalism by any chance?

Jim
hush
Senior Member
since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


94 posted 11-14-2002 09:51 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Opeth- I'm reading. And I have to agree with Jim on the semantics thing- you devote several posts to arguing about whether or not people are reading this thread... and avoid getting specific with how you think- rather, touting 'logic' without explaining it. I'm not going to get into the arguement of subjective vs. objective... but I will say that you aren't convincing me of objectivity by nitpicking.

Stephan:

On atheism, I'm really not armed well enough to argue what is or is not the realistic conclusion to their worldview. I'm not an atheist. Not a theist, either... but in any case, I'm really not qualified toget into that, because I haven't read much on the subject.

'Given atheism, why is his nihilism an unreasonable conclusion?'

Because, I think that the world is a reason in and of itself to give weight to our decisions. The issue of God aside- I think people recognize that there are things in the world that appeal to them, and things that don't. By 'things,' I mean ideals, actions, feelings, knowledge, physical/material things, pretty much anything... and in order to acheive/gain these things, people will act accordingly. Back to that pleasure principle that we argue about so much- I think people will act in a way that best benefits them. Whether the motivation is extrinsic (money) or intrinsic (personal dedication to a cause) is secondary.

People do this regardless of their beliefs about God.

'Secular, meaning without a belief in God?'

No. Secular, meaning God was a non-issue. My mom (who I lived with) never brought it up, being a Catholic who, as my father put it, "turned her back on her religion." More appropriately, my mother, raised Catholic, was (still is) very disillusioned with that institution, its teachings, and the way they were taught to her. So I never really went to church as a child, I wasn't taught anything about God- either his existence or non-existence. Think about it this way: My mom never felt the need to tell me about geometry when I was growing up. It just wasn't seen as practical to her lifestyle, and since, as her child, I was inevtiably patterned into her lifestyle, it wasn't important to me. I didn't learn how to cook or put on makeup either- because those things aren't important to my mom. Neither was religion. Neither was 'naturalism' or any other explanation for the way things are. So, no, in my household, there truly was no dogma, no emperical techings.

On the flip side of this, though- my mother always told me I could go to church if I wanted- that she would take me, that what I did with my faith was my business. But, to me, why bother? I was happy just accepting that, hey, the sky is blue and grass is green and the world is good... I didn't have to ask why, because if it's not broke, then don't fix it.

Obviously, the difference now is that my worldview has extended to encompass quite a few things in the world that are broken. I don't think a belief in God is necessary to provoke my compassion on these issues- but both interconnection between different religions, and between religion and politics, probably are pretty vital to a world understanding and (maybe?) solution for problems like poverty, violence, and oppression. That's why I think it's important to understand other points of view, even if I don't believe them. That's why I'm even replying to this thread- because aside from that, why should I care what you think- and conversely, why would you care what I think?

'And the whole teaching of Bible is that it is correct and proper to assume the existence of God.  It is actually presented in such a way that suggests it is normalcy to believe this.'

But, see, it's not normal to me.

You know, most Christian missionaries failed unless a.) the local religion was poorly established or corrupted, or b.) force was employed to 'convert' peoples.

My point here isn't the flaws of Christianity, but rather to say that there's obviously something very fulfilling to toher religions and faiths since so many are flourishing in the world.

I don't think faith is exclusive. I understand that 'do the right stuff' was a very oversimplified way of making my point- but you clarified it for me. It's not so much a matter of works, but of faith- and I can't will my faith over to something that just doesn't call to me. And as much as you felt God calling to you... I don't feel that. Same thing with people who feel the call of other faiths... I feel that if there is a God and an afterlife, Jesus Christ is not the only means of getting there. It's not something I think, it's something I feel- simply because I feel that it is ineherently wrong to condemn people who live good lives by most standards just because they believed in the wrong form of God. I feel that it's wrong to have so many choices available to confuse people, and expect them to know which faith to choose. It's an eeny-meeny-miny-moe, and I refute that as cruel and ridiculous.
Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


95 posted 11-14-2002 10:24 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"Opeth- I'm reading. And I have to agree with Jim on the semantics thing- you devote several posts to arguing about whether or not people are reading this thread... and avoid getting specific with how you think- rather, touting 'logic' without explaining it. I'm not going to get into the arguement of subjective vs. objective... but I will say that you aren't convincing me of objectivity by nitpicking."

~ My comment about "us" was taken out of context, but then the Internet is a new way of communicating, and is certainly not my best medium. I prefer "I" statements when communicating with a specific person. For sure, I was not clear, but I was working on many different things at the same time, and my train of thought was derailed.

About not explaining...think of what I wrote as a preface to a book. I haven't reached the first chapter yet. That is why I have not been convincing. However, after reading the latest replies, I really don't think it would do me or anyone else here any good to expound upon my findings.

I would like to answer one retort. No brand of evangelicalism led me to disallusionment. When I went on my truth finding mission. I did so with a completely opened-mind and heart, asking God for guidance. I had no negative feelings for any denomination, nor for any other religion, or belief. Objectivity prevailed.    
Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


96 posted 11-14-2002 10:51 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

SIDEBAR

"I feel that it's wrong to have so many choices available to confuse people, and expect them to know which faith to choose. It's an eeny-meeny-miny-moe, and I refute that as cruel and ridiculous."

This is a tangent of the topic...An acquaintance of mine wrote this and I found it to be funny and sensical.

"God is insanely egocentric and creates people for the primary purpose of kissing its a*s, even christians acknowledge this fact, it's one of the most basic tennants of the religion. However if god were truly "god", why would it give a sh*t if these little mortal humans, most of whom have the intelligence of peanutbutter, spend their lives licking it's holy butt crack? It doesn't make any sense. Also, if the intent of humanity is to act as a self-replicating a*s-kissing machine for the dictator, why did god make humans so damn defiant and logical? That completely defeats the primary a*s-kissing purpose. If I wanted a dog to sit with me and be still I'd get a golden lab, I wouldn't get a jack russell terrier. Apparently this logic is lost on the almighty dictator."

lol, but think about it.

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


97 posted 11-14-2002 10:57 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hush

you wrote, "it is ineherently wrong to condemn people who live good lives by most standards just because they believed in the wrong form of God. I feel that it's wrong to have so many choices available to confuse people, and expect them to know which faith to choose. It's an eeny-meeny-miny-moe, and I refute that as cruel and ridiculous."


I hate the eeny-meeny-miny thing as much as you do.  However, I don't think we can really blame God for it.  He is the only God there is, the source of all being for everything.  Scripture tells us (and in our more honest moments we agree) that we have lived at enmity with God.  We are separated from his life because of sin.  We are in trouble and are fallen into judgement and death.  Scripture also tells us that he provided a solution, a salvation from our disease.  But he didn't just give a treatise on human behavior, or send someone to expound on morals.  He came himself, incarnate as a man, and died a cruel death on the cross in order to save us, and rose again from the dead.  He himself showed up!

Now, out of all the doctrines of religion and spirituality, ways to be right, and self improvement programs, here is the only thing in History where God actually showed up as a man.  It is well documented, historically.  It could have easily been disproven from the start if it weren't true.  Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh.  And as C.S. Lewis asserted, we must either call him a liar, a lunatic, or Lord.  A mere good moral teacher, he was not.  A man who said the things he said, would be worse than immoral if they weren't true... a megalomanic.  Now in the final analysis, I am sorry for all of the false solutions that people have contrived to solve the problem of sin, but God is the only one who actually did.  So the maze of beliefs stands as a dim homogeneous blur, next to Jesus Christ.  It is not God's fault that there are so many choices.  We created the choices!  Jesus said the road was broad that leads to destruction.  However, we all need to do a little homework and find out who is telling the truth.  I think God is just, and if there are those in the world who sincerely think their relgion is the right way to seek God, they will be given oportunity to know the truth.  I'm not worried about all of the sincere seekers in other religions because I trust that God is just.  But that doesn't mean we stop telling the truth.


Stephen.


  
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


98 posted 11-14-2002 11:11 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

Jesus Christ, innocent, and yet willingly crucified for our rebellion and sin, to save us and share with us eternal life, makes absurd the claim that God is egocentric.  Tell that to a man who died for you, if you can look him in the eyes.  If that's our reason for not loving God, we'll have to tell him that one day.

Stephen.  
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


99 posted 11-14-2002 12:41 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Opeth:

To say that you have only been submitting your "Preface" so far and have not yet reached "Chapter 1", then to say ...

quote:
I really don't think it would do me or anyone else here any good to expound upon my finding


... suggests to me that you cannot expound on your finding.  If it exists, I want to know what your "finding" is.  If the information is useful to you then perhaps one day it will be useful to someone else as well.  How are any of us to know whether your "finding" is meritorious if you refuse to share it?

Jim

P.S. It is okay to say that your "finding" still requires work.  I am the first to admit that that my worldview is incomplete and subject to frequent change and adjustment.  I EVEN VOTED FOR A DEMOCRAT FOR GOVERNOR THIS YEAR, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

The Napkin Writer will be notified of replies
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> Philosophy 101 >> Critical States   [ Page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  ] Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors