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Passions in Poetry

Is Religion a Virus of the Mind?

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Brad
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25 posted 02-13-2004 12:22 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
In essence, Dawkins says all religions exist on blind faith, reject science and appeal to the mentally challenged.


Where does he say mentally challenged?

quote:
Apparently all religions are lumped together along with rabies and aids which are lesser evils.


Where does he say 'lesser evils'?

quote:
He seems to say pretty much all the evils of the world are caused by religion.


Even he cursory reading of Dawkins would show this to be false. I don't think you have to read Dawkins to participate, but why jump to such wild conclusions? Is it not enough that he's saying what he's saying.

quote:
If religion is a virus, why are not ideas also viruses?

Ideas are memes, viruses are those memes that are parasitical.

quote:
Dostoyevsky -  If God is dead, everything is permissible.


D. was wrong. Everything is already permissible with God. Dare I use the most glaring, recent example. I'll give you one guess.  


Essorant
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26 posted 02-13-2004 01:36 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

For all the seeming concern and heat shown for Religion on this side and in Nature on that it strikes  me as too odd  we end up basically very detached from both in the more general pressing of social and worldly living.  Are these things only meant to be chiefly theorized and contemplated on and then not chiefly acted for?  Where do you see naturalness or religiousness being the chief pursuits today?   If you still believe that civilization exist with human or that humans are pursuing civilization: where do see living more intimatly and balancedly with nature, or living more honourably with religion or both naturally and religiously with honour?  It really doesn't seem to me right now either are being pursued that much in the overall generalness and effect.   I simply don't see people  pursuing civilization.  Civilization is out of fashion it seem.  People forgot about it many ages ago and now it we quite excessivly only ourselves and the human world and a destination of a human city for the whole world, and things that have come to define a city--men don't seem to even consider the city itself may be in excess and the direction back TO something a bit more agreeable with nature, a bit more rural, and with ability to choose "less" sometimes, rather than toward more city and more of everything that makes a city may be the wiser answer because I don't think wee can expect to use "more" of anything well if we can't cultivate and edify well what we already have, and especially may not on hastermaker's acre, the citystructure that will take over and put Nature and the Spirit last, for "more" and "beyond."
berengar
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27 posted 02-13-2004 07:32 AM       View Profile for berengar   Email berengar   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for berengar

Hello Essorant

Methinks this thread has more to do with the conflict (illusionary or otherwise) between the worldviews of supernaturalism and naturalism - NOT nature, which is something completely different.  Liked your mead/mud alliterative analogy though.  LOL.
jbouder
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28 posted 02-13-2004 01:44 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

quote:
This is similar, perhaps, to what Jim means by "all religions are not created equal".

As long as we stay with that general dichotomy, you play right into Dawkins' hands.


What's interesting, Brad, is that the Christian Gospel writers seem to have anticipated your point in recording the account of Jesus' healing of the man who was paralyzed:

quote:
Matthew 9:2 And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? 6 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he then said to the paralytic--"Rise, take up your bed and go home." 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. 9


Mark's Gospel also records the event in Chapter 2.

Jesus' declaration that the man's sins were forgiven was no more verifiable than a medium's claim that he/she is channeling the spirit of Elvis.  But as we see, Jesus was the first Christian evidentialist - and knew that, in order for His spiritual claims to be believed, that a physical manifestation of His spiritual authority was necessary.

Perhaps rather than seeing the spiritual and natural as being in conflict, it is more correct to say that the spiritual cannot be ascertained by the natural without initiative being taken on the spiritual end - the spiritual is not in conflict with nature, it is outside of nature.  So, in order for us to have more than an intuitive knowledge of the spiritual, there must be some manifestation of the spiritual in space and time.

Also, earlier you wrote:

quote:
I would add one more: Reproduction

8) I am compelled to convert you.


Call it what you like, but I would prefer that the evidence convert you, my friend.  You can correct me if I'm wrong, but it does seem that our expectations of religion are not all that different.

Jim

P.S. Berengar - interesting choice of names.
jbouder
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29 posted 02-13-2004 01:55 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Ess:

I think you'd like L. E. Modesitt's "Recluse" series.

Regarding your post, and a bit off topic, I hear what you're saying about the need for balance, but I've always found the term exceedingly self-conscious and its definition more than a bit elusive.  Civilization and technology, although potentially destructive to nature, are not necessarily in conflict with nature - in many ways they are an ordering of nature.  The trick is sustaining the increasing demands of civilization while minimizing or decreasing its adverse impact on nature.

Since good things - including this forum - are the results of technology, I don't think the answer lies in reducing technology, but rather in decreasing the adverse impact technology has on our natural environment.

Jim
Essorant
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30 posted 02-13-2004 01:57 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I deleted my post because I thought it was getting a bit too off topic.

Thank you though for your point.
Essorant
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31 posted 02-13-2004 02:13 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

The reason I think we need less of business and technology in living right now is because I think we are in an age excess of many of them--many that we don't need.  But I don't have the willpower to attempt to mention these areas; for previous endevours here have left me forspent.
One has to look at the generalness that comes out of the specific things we are doing; if the general picture is not prospering, I think there must be something wrong in the more-specific areas, perhaps because they have not looked faithfully enough at  in a view that tries to comes more to look at all society and all the world at the same time. rather than only "here and now" or predominatly only the "humanworld" or for a specific "business" of the human world.  
Brad
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32 posted 02-13-2004 06:33 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Actually, Jim, that reminds me of something Stephan said earlier:

quote:
You've taken him out of context.  Usually what Plantiga says is that the Christian may be justified in his belief without empiricism or rationalism ... that's quite different than no reason and no evidence.


I don't really understand the distinction. It's certainly true that I may have taken him out of context (I was getting a little irritated by that time at some of the, what seemed to me, an almost intentional misreading of Dennet).

I don't believe that science and serious theology are in contradiction either. I was talking to berengar the other day and realized that if something like the multi-verse turns out to be correct, it wouldn't be a disproof that some sentient being didn't get that started.

On the other hand, when Dawkins states that God is not an explanation of complexity (As God would be as at least as complex as the complexity attempting to be explained), he's got a point. As a disproof of God, it's certainly not very persuasive. As an explanation of what evolution theorists are trying to do, it makes perfect sense.

    
Brad
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33 posted 02-13-2004 09:55 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, if this is a thread that deals with supernaturalism and naturalism, I suppose we have to be clear on the kind of naturalism I subscribe to:

quote:
Both functionalism and verificationism imply an interest in relations rather than in properties, or, stronger, properties turn out to be relations.  Functional roles are relational structures, and evidence are phenomena related to what they are evidence for.  Such a relationism will reject the idea of intrinsic properties and all notions of "direct" experience of phenomena, of acquatintance with qualia, or intuition of intrinsic properties. It will deny us the possibility of "grasping" an object, or "entertaining" an idea, at least in the sense of having it present in its totality, in favor of a structuralist, holistic position, according to which an object always refers us to other objects, and can only be apprached though its relations to others.


--Bo Dahlbom, introduction to Dennet and his Critics , p. 5.

An example of this involves a Dennet 'intuition pump':

quote:
There was once a chap who wanted to know the meaning of life, so he walked a thousand miles and climbed to the high mountaintop where the wise guru lived. "Will you tell me the meaning of life?" he asked.

"Certainly," replied the guru, "but if you want to understand my answer, you must first master resursive function theory and mathematical logic."

"You're kidding."

"No, really."

"Well then . . . skip it."

"Suit yourself."


In other words, TANSTAAFL.

So let's see, let's divide the supernaturalists and naturalists up here:

1. supernaturalists: berengar, serenity blaze, Stephanos, Denise, Essorant, Tim, and jbouder

2. naturalists: Brad

It would be fun to play W. Churchill, "Very well, then alone." But, from my standpoint, it really ain't that big a deal and all the rests of the supernaturalists will disagree with each other anyway.
Ron
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34 posted 02-13-2004 10:20 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
It will deny us the possibility of "grasping" an object, or "entertaining" an idea, at least in the sense of having it present in its totality, in favor of a structuralist, holistic position, according to which an object always refers us to other objects, and can only be apprached though its relations to others.

Which is just the old "we can never really know anything" saw, with a subtle twist; i.e., the only way to know something is to know everything. I'm not too sure how helpful that is?
berengar
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35 posted 02-13-2004 10:21 PM       View Profile for berengar   Email berengar   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for berengar

never in the field of human conflict etc etc...c'mon brad, you know you secretly prefer it that way, it makes you feel more righteous, no?
Another Churchillian quote (in reference to El Alamein)...
"this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
Brad
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36 posted 02-14-2004 12:18 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

berengar,

Sure. Of course, I could just hang out at the JREF forums or Internet Infidels, be in the majority, and still disagree with everyone.

Ron,

Sure. Though I would say that, while most of our beliefs are true, we can't tell which ones are true for sure.

Ron
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37 posted 02-14-2004 01:39 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Half agree, Brad.

I know which of my beliefs are true. It's the "for sure" that throws a wrinkle in the pattern. ANY pattern.
Essorant
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38 posted 02-14-2004 02:13 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Beliefs are as true as they are believed in.
Brad
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39 posted 02-14-2004 11:54 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

You know, I think the real war between naturalists and supernaturalists won't be fought over evolution(Honestly, I think, most arguments are "scraps from Longshanks table").

I suspect the next battle will be fought over consciousness.
Essorant
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40 posted 02-14-2004 01:30 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

All things that are believed are ever part living and learning; there is not one thing that one may summon in his imagination that does not have some truth and possibility.  
All the aspects of the dragon exist.  Fire, poison, coldbloodedness, greed; scaley beasts, ferociousness; and all the evidences of dinosaurs give them even that much more support.
If there is a God that is absolute, I don't think we may possibily create something imaginary or by hand that he may not have created in anyway; nor if evolution may produce the mingling of elements to produce all the attributes that make us imagine  such beings when we only know one world of the whole universe intimatly, why out of the whole universe it may not compound to such things most likely in greater completenesses.  But I don't judge existance or truth by how physical things are.  If it may be held in any manner, by any sense, thought, fancy, whim, etc it is there.  I don't believe there are pockets of things that are not really there.  Things are simply there sometimes more spiritually or sometimes more physically.  But I am inclined though to believe that all spiritual bodies and physical bodies are always still interwoven into each other and are never severed either from other completly.  Those who believe the absolute physical-dependency, or absolute spiritual dependency are both right, but provably never on their own.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (02-14-2004 02:38 PM).]

Ron
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41 posted 02-14-2004 04:00 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Ess, it seems you're suggesting that anything that can be imagined must exist, in part or in whole, else we would be unable to imagine it. And I agree.

That doesn't mean, however, that we are freed from the need to make distinctions.

The food I might imagine eating for dinner tonight might well exist, but it will not sustain me as well as the food in my refrigerator. Maybe Zeus and Ra Ammon exist in the sense you describe, or even in some larger and undetermined sense, but existence doesn't equate to sustenance. Without further distinctions, we face the danger, both physically and spiritually, of starving to death.
serenity blaze
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42 posted 02-14-2004 05:18 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Maybe Zeus and Ra Ammon exist in the sense you describe, or even in some larger and undetermined sense, but existence doesn't equate to sustenance.


Wouldn't this apply to mainstream world religions as well? And further, who else besides our selves could best determine what sustenance our spiritual body needs? Isn't it possible to have an allergy to some tenets, just as certain individuals have food allergies? Perhaps Islam makes me break out in spiritual hives. Perhaps the same misogynistic tendences espoused by most mainstream religions make it impossible for me to digest those teachings and methods of worship--how can one embrace a religion that denies self worth?
serenity blaze
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43 posted 02-14-2004 06:05 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

and yikes--didn't mean to sound hostile or anything--I was just in a hurry.

be back later.
Ron
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44 posted 02-14-2004 08:02 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
And further, who else besides our selves could best determine what sustenance our spiritual body needs?

Excellent question!

The good news is I think there's an equally excellent answer. The bad news is that answer just lead us back to the same circular question.

IMO, a good spiritual diet, just like any good physical diet, should lead to health rather than disease. If you develop hives or bad gas or spend too many nights sleepless and miserable, it might be a good idea to eliminate the lactose or spices or caffeine from your diet. In a very similar vein, if all the luck in your life seems to be the bad kind, it might be a good idea to examine and perhaps eliminate the choices that lead to those things most people call luck. A spiritual diet, after all, should lead to good choices. Good choices should lead to good results.

Unfortunately, while hives are fairly easy to recognize, not all feelings of physical malaise are. Back around 1993, I dated a girl who refused to eat red meat, and out of respect for her, I refrained from eating beef, too. At least, mostly. Six weeks into our relationship, I noticed a real difference in the way I felt every morning. I honestly can't say it was the change in diet, but the point is, I didn't actually realize I felt crappy until I started feeling good.

Which is where we get back onto the circular track. A spiritual diet with sustenance should lead to a good life. But as you put it, Karen, who besides ourselves can best determine what is a good life? And maybe that should really be who, including ourselves, can best determine a good life?

Ain't no easy answers. Except, maybe, I really do believe that when one starts feeling well again, THAT is both recognizable and a dang good sign.
serenity blaze
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45 posted 02-14-2004 08:13 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Sheesh.

Stephanos
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46 posted 02-14-2004 10:22 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
I suspect the next battle will be fought over consciousness.



What particular form do you think the battle will take?  


Stephen.
Brad
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47 posted 02-14-2004 11:09 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, two hundred years ago (I think), the question was whether the exinction of species was possible.

Is there anybody who doubts extinction today?

And or at least I've tried to show that evolution is really the common sensical position, but when it comes to a naturalized description of the mind, well, I think it will strike most as counter-intuitive.

Because it is an attempt to explain intuition itself. Take your Cartesian stance, "There has to be an I in order to ask the question, do I exist." On the face of it, what could make more sense? Unfortunately, the descriptions (at this point, still speculations) can easily be seen to attempt to show that that 'I' doesn't exist. In fact, it shows that that 'I' isn't really what you think it is.  

What could be stranger than someone else telling you you don't know who you are? History, society, language are filled with this basic assumption:

"We are made in God's image."
Local Rebel
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48 posted 02-14-2004 11:16 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Preponderance is a luxury though.  Logic didn't exist until the Greeks invented it.  We're emotional beings....we make our decisions based on what we want -- not on logic -- then supplement our decision with a logical construct.  

Individuality is almost as recent a development as logic.

In the past there was no I... in some cultures there is still little individuality.

I write in response to the entire thread -- not just Brad's latest postings... which are -- interestingly logical assumptions.

Stephanos
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49 posted 02-14-2004 11:21 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Stephan's abstract naturalism v. supernaturalism is too general to do his own beliefs any good.



Echoing Jim, I never did intend the philosophical / metaphysical argments against naturalism to provide proof of a distinct form of Supernaturalism, such as Christianity.  But there are some who cannot even begin to ask which theistic belief system may be right, until they begin to believe that there can be one, or there might be one, or begin to suspect that naturalism has considerable problems of it's own.


I think from there, the comparison of Poytheistic, Pantheistic, and Monotheistic religions would be helpful.  Which is tenable?  Then a comparison of Monotheistic religions, and their claims, would ensue.  By study and process of elimination, the most likely candidate can be ascertained.


Even then, personal experience of God is paramount.  There is an element of Faith, and personal revelation that must push one from probability, onward to assurance.  I think that even Jim would agree with that.


Stephen.
 
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