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a higher power

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The Great Onion
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0 posted 06-23-2008 11:30 AM       View Profile for The Great Onion   Email The Great Onion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for The Great Onion

This week's topic will be on gods and such like ganesha, god obviously, baal, Quetzalcoatl, and ect.. in other words, do you believe in a higher power? and even so, did the higher power have any choice in creating us? remember that people have their own opinions, and you have yours. stick to those opinions because this thread is a debate battleground; don't let others convince you of their own opinions (though we have many ideas that others agree on).

also if you dont feel comfortable debating on this topic, see my other thread on predestiny at the poetry challenge board and debate on that.
The Great Onion
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1 posted 06-23-2008 11:31 AM       View Profile for The Great Onion   Email The Great Onion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for The Great Onion

P.S. i will debating as well.
Stephanos
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2 posted 06-23-2008 04:58 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Onion:
quote:
remember that people have their own opinions, and you have yours. stick to those opinions because this thread is a debate battleground; don't let others convince you of their own opinions (though we have many ideas that others agree on).


Not to peel your skin but why is it necessary to encourage inflexibility at the outset?  Some would argue that convictions / beliefs of a religious nature tend to go that way anyhow.  (Though I would say that this is not only characteristic of religious belief, but of human belief in general, religion simply being particularly subject to excessive zeal by nature of its weightiness).  So I would rather see you encourage consideration of the respective strengths of different arguments, and allow that to be the essence, rather than bolstering some kind of a priori tenacity.  If there are beliefs let them be weighed and considered by all.

What I'm trying to say is that I think you may be encouraging something that is already in over-supply, like selling refrigerators to Eskimos.  Not that firmness of conviction isn't a good thing.  There is certainly a need for it.  But usually it is already dominate;  So I think it's better to simply let argumentation (not in the negative sense of 'contention') speak for itself.  A firm openness, or an incredulous openmindedness is what I'm suggesting.  (lol, I know those seem contradictory, but I don't think they need be)

quote:
do you believe in a higher power? and even so, did the higher power have any choice in creating us?



Okay, I'll start.  Though the word 'choice' for God is way simplistic, my answer is Yes and Yes.


Stephen
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This reminds me a lot of a thread I started two years ago where I spurred a debate about a "higher being" by questioning God. And now, at this time, I can answer my question and yours.

So,I guess I'll throw my gloves into the proverbial ring.

My answer to your question posed is...no and no-
which really makes my beliefs rather conflicting now in comparison with my family's. So fun... *rolls eyes*

**I understand believers and their faith as a baptised Catholic, but I just can't bring myself to belief in similar concepts anymore.  

~Jill

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"I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you."-WW

Essorant
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4 posted 06-23-2008 09:15 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I believe in many representations of a "higher power", for there are many representations that are admireable and beautiful, regardless of how warped the mirror may be or how homely or heavenly the being or object is of which there is such a unique reflection.  Who may say for sure who or what the being or thing actually is?  Not I.  But when the reflection is very admireable and beautiful, I can't help but believe in it.


The Shadow in Blue
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5 posted 06-23-2008 09:58 PM       View Profile for The Shadow in Blue   Email The Shadow in Blue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit The Shadow in Blue's Home Page   View IP for The Shadow in Blue

With regards to your previous statement then yes I would believe in a higher power of sorts, but not the typical definition of higher power (ie: Allah, God, etc.)

I don't know. I'm skeptical. But their has to be something spurring the world on, be it of a more earthly nature or not. Hmmph.
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6 posted 06-23-2008 11:42 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Although, I have wavered in my convictions from time to time, all I need to do is to hear my daughter say I Love You as she wraps her arms around me to say thank you for something I did or a present I gave her, and my crisis of faith is over.
All I have to do is to remember the times where, as an EMT/firefighter, I was able to pull of stunts that I was not good enough to pull, or the times I saved patients that were dead by any other name, and who were injured beyond my capabilities to heal, and I know I get trhe credit for someone else's work.
Thinking of the day my father died, and I had to explain to his grand daughter, and the video "The Circle Of Life" comes on VH1 (which my ex-wife NEVER watched) to help me explaion- and having a single white cloud on an otherwise comepletly clear day where she could wave at her Grandfather (after being told that he joined the Greatr Kings In The Sky...) proves to me that I am not totally in control of the world around me... and that priveledge is saved for someone of much greater intelligence.

Yes, I believe (although, my belliefs do not really coincide with any major organized religion).

What would you attempt to do...if you knew you could not fail?.
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Stephanos
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7 posted 06-24-2008 12:59 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
yes I would believe in a higher power of sorts, but not the typical definition of higher power (ie: Allah, God, etc.)

I don't know. I'm skeptical.


Shadow in Blue, if I may use your quote to illustrate a general statement, that may or may not describe your own personal beliefs ...

It seems to me that the second question this thread asks "did the higher power have any choice in creating us", depends upon the question of whether God is in some sense personal.  Unless the word "God" refers to a mind of sorts (albeit different than ours superlatively) then there is no further discussion about whether or not there is/was choice for God.

I am glad that many have an awareness of a "higher power".  However, I would like to ask them to consider whether it is tenable to think that an impersonal force could give rise to thinking choosing beings as ourselves.  If these qualities (in some sense) are not first present in the Creator then where do they come from and why?  Or more importantly for this thread, in what sense could such a power be called "higher" if not personal?  What does "higher" mean?  I would have a hard time thinking of the sub-personal as being "higher".  The Judeo-Christian belief that God is in some superlative sense personal does not ignore the problems introduced by a transcendent God being personal.  But the problems faced here are less profound than the problems of living in a universe where the living products (we) are seemingly greater and more interesting than the nature and destiny of the impersonal whole.  Could a mannequin create music?  Is the Telos all a sham, or something we've projected from some kind of doomed subjectivity fraught with wish fulfillment?  

I would suggest that it is far more wise to not hastily toss out our own inferential insights, even if we've found it helpful to question assumptions in our search for Truth.  For I have observed that even most of our objections to believing in a personal God have been themselves based upon the trust of rationality that otherwise we would be forced to part with.  Statements like "Religious people have not been moral", or "God does not seem just", or "I've been hurt too many times", or "This doesn't make sense" are all firmly rooted in a Telos that is much more at home in a worldview that accepts a personal God.  It reminds me of what Nietzsche was getting at when he wrote "I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar."

At any rate, I hope that those of you who recognize something more may be open to idea that God is in some sense personal.  Once one comes to this conclusion, the process of determining what is tenable among the few main headings of this kind begins.  Is it not reasonable to think a personal God might speak in some fashion.  And if so how?  Is there any evidence that he has / does?  


More later,

Stephen                    
Grinch
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quote:
"did the higher power have any choice in creating us", depends upon the question of whether God is in some sense personal.


Surely the question "did the higher power have any choice in creating us" ultimately depends on whether a higher power actually exists.

I have a problem with the second question because I canít answer no without lending some credence to the proposition that a higher power exists, so Iíll just answer the first question.

No, I donít believe in god(s).

Stephanos
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9 posted 06-25-2008 12:57 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch,

The original dual question was "do you believe in a higher power? and even so, did the higher power have any choice in creating us?".  You are right in saying that the applicability of the second question is wholly dependent upon how you answer the first.  The sentence might have read better with "if so" rather than "even so".  

I, however, was addressing those who say yes to the first question.

Stephen
Essorant
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10 posted 06-25-2008 03:14 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

But by saying "God" and "he" you are already trying to move this to the particular representation that you believe in, the Christian representation.  But not all of us partake in that representation, or only or wholly in that one.  For there are many others, and in which "she", "they" or even "it" may bespeak more accurately a "higher power".

Stephanos
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11 posted 06-25-2008 12:56 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

Since I believe in the God of the Bible, I would naturally speak that way.  That doesn't forbid anyone else from speaking of what they consider to be their own "higher power" in whatever terms they choose.  I'm quite sure (though the author can tell me if I'm wrong), the point of this thread was that a discussion about comparative religion would ensue, which would naturally involve the discussion of particular deities.  I certainly won't protest anyone's language concerning this (I'm not exactly sure why you would want to either), though I may challenge ideas, make statements, and ask questions in a manner suited to this type of topic.  

My pointing out the tension in attributing "choice" or the epithet "higher" when talking about an impersonal force, as opposed to a personal God, flows naturally out of the questions this thread asked at the beginning.  This thread is very broad and open-ended thus far, and I'm not sure where "The Great Onion" wanted to go with this.  Kind of waiting on his input as well.

Stephen
Essorant
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12 posted 06-25-2008 01:23 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I see what you mean.  But I am not sure we may share a common discussion about a higher power in general if we speak in specifications.  For the moment I or anyone else specifies "God" (capitalized) or "he", how is it still relevant for those that don't believe in (the Christian) God or that the higher power is a "he"?  The only thing that is common is that we both believe in a higher power, but once we make different specifications, such as "he" , "she", "God", "Venus", are we still "on the same page"?  

I also question the virtue of "comparativeness" between "higher powers".  For example, If God and Venus are compared, and as I imagine you shall demonstrate how "God" represents much more authority and depth, nevertheless, "Venus"  may simply be a much more nurturing part of my life, like the influence of a mother, and therefore, no matter how powerfuller "God" is, I still cherish, and believe, and care about Venus more.  In fact, that may be the only higher being I wish to speak about.   Therefore, the comparativeness, that usually seems about proving this or that as "better" or "worse" may not mean much.  For in the end, whether one "higher power" has more power or does better things than another, it is still the one that we are closest and most sentimentally attached to that we usually believe in most.  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (06-25-2008 02:51 PM).]

Stephanos
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But unless specifications are made about what "higher power" means, then there is nothing to talk about.  I can't think of a more vague phrase.  And yet it might be a good phrase to commence a discussion of comparative religion.  And remember Ess, that even in the Judeo-Christian revelation, it is suggested that the attributes of other gods (strength, wisdom, virility, etc...) are not so much wrong in themselves, but attributed to the wrong source.  My point is, there may be commonalities even when particulars are discussed in detail.


quote:
I also question the virtue of "comparativeness" between "higher powers".


But aren't you already partaking of "comparative religion" yourself?  You are comparing the Judeo-Christian concept of God who is said to be Lord over all, and of whom all other gods are broken reflections, with the beliefs of ancient Roman polytheism which involved an entirely different concept of deity.  The Roman Venus was never believed to be a transcendent deity who created the Cosmos and humanity.

As much as you may not relish such comparisons, (and no one is bound to such discussions) you are already participating in it.  


PS

From Ess the wordsmith, powerfuller?  
  
Stephen
The Great Onion
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14 posted 06-25-2008 11:03 PM       View Profile for The Great Onion   Email The Great Onion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for The Great Onion

when i mean by a higher power, i mean by a god or someting like that. basically a supernatural being that has control over humans and everything lower of superiority to humans, sorry i didn't clarify that for you people
Essorant
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15 posted 06-26-2008 01:39 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

quote:
But unless specifications are made about what "higher power" means, then there is nothing to talk about.


But arguing about specifications doesn't seem to make much sense when we don't/can't know the specifications.  No one's argument is more or less supported by the specifications, for none of them may be proven.  For example, if this " higher power" were a "world", how do we prove whether it is round or flat, close or far, big or small, the elements of it, the weather conditions, etc? It may be more fruitful to try to describe the weather of a planet on the other side of the universe.  At least we could use the evidence of the weather on our planet as distant likeness of what the weather of another may be.  But what do we use as a "basis" for trying to make specifications about a higher power?
quote:
But aren't you already partaking of "comparative religion" yourself?
  

This thread was opened for debate, so if we debate about comparativeness I have no doubt that it is more or less going to be about people arguing their religion or "higher power" as being more legitmate or worthy than others.  But as far as that goes, that is such as different people from different houses bringing different suppers to one house, so instead of enjoying their own suppers in their own houses, they can argue about the differences of their suppers in one house.  Wouldn't it be healthier just to stay home?  I guess I am losing my lust for these kind of threads and arguments.  

quote:
From Ess the wordsmith, powerfuller?


I find "powerfuller" eloquentior than "more powerful".  

Ron
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16 posted 06-26-2008 03:53 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
But what do we use as a "basis" for trying to make specifications about a higher power?

The same thing we use for a basis when exploring all the other things in this universe that can't be directly observed. Seen the nucleus of an atom lately, Essorant? Or an electron? How about a quark or a lepton?

Don't feel too bad, Ess. No one else has ever seen them either.

The existence of many, many, many things can only be observed indirectly, through the effects those things have on the rest of reality. In my opinion, religion is no different. If your current hypothesis makes you happy and a better person, and it doesn't contradict other observable phenomenon, then you're good to go. If not, your hypothesis needs to be adjusted. Science is constantly discovering new truths about electrons and quarks and leptons in large part because it is willing to adjust to new observations. Of course, in spite of that there is absolutely no proof (of the sort you seem willing to accept) that atomic particles actually exist. We have inferred their existence and built a better world on the back of that inference.

So long as religion is founded on cause and effect, it should be approached no differently.


Grinch
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quote:
I, however, was addressing those who say yes to the first question.


Sorry to be pedantic, however the second question, even with your edit, is no better.

It still begs the question, allowing no alternative that avoids the presumption that the higher power created man. Anyone who answers yes or no to the second question has automatically accepted that the higher power created man.

In that case doesnít the question also depend on whether the higher power actually created man?

quote:
a supernatural being that has control over humans


Do you mean a single non-natural being or do multiple non-natural beings apply, also does the being, or beings, in question have to control humans or is free will allowed?

Stephanos
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Essorant:
quote:
But arguing about specifications doesn't seem to make much sense when we don't/can't know thespecifications.


We can't?  That we can know nothing of God, or that God cannot make himself known you seem to take for granted.  But there are reasons to think otherwise.

quote:
No one's argument is more or less supported by the specifications, for none of them may be proven.


To me it sometimes seems that an absolute egalitarianism (and therefore an absolute leveling) of all views seems to be part of your philosophy, moreso than a conclusion born of weighing arguments.  But I could be misreading you.  The nice part about it is that you want to extend honor and admiration to most points-of-view.  And I myself recognize much truth in other religions, and am sure that I may learn from them.  And cordiality (even in debate-style talks) should be the rule.  But the usual difficulty in our talks is that there seems to be for you no room for exclusivity, no admittance of forks in the road, or ontological divergence.  It's like the light and darkness argument, where you have had a hard time admitting that absolute darkness can never be light.  I appreciate the greys, but we can't have them without some degree of black and white.    

quote:
For example, if this " higher power" were a "world", how do we prove whether it is round or flat, close or far, big or small, the elements of it, the weather conditions, etc? It may be more fruitful to try to describe the weather of a planet on the other side of the universe.  At least we could use the evidence of the weather on our planet as distant likeness of what the weather of another may be.  But what do we use as a "basis" for trying to make specifications about a higher power?


Well now you're asking the right questions.  But they can't (or shouldn't) be rhetorically asked as if it were blatantly true that God and nature do not intersect.  The Christian affirmation is that God has acted in Space/Time.  Therefore the question would naturally arise concerning historical evidence.  Are there any good reasons to think that it is true?  Not only so, but the creation itself, including humanity, holds properties which bear some resemblence to God as art may bear some kind of resemblance to an artist (the weather on this planet, to use your analogy).  There is evidence of design, evidence of determinate law (physical and moral) which speaks of intelligence.  Arising from these laws are philosophical considerations which also are signposts to God.  And these are only a few considerations.

But you're right in saying these are not strict proofs, in a once-for-all laboratory sense.  But there are so many things we accept and believe without that kind of proof.  Proofs and evidences are two different things altogether.  Discussions are fitting for evidences, but only controlled tests are fitting for proofs.  

quote:
But as far as that goes, that is such as different people from different houses bringing different suppers to one house, so instead of enjoying their own suppers in their own houses, they can argue about the differences of their suppers in one house.  Wouldn't it be healthier just to stay home?  I guess I am losing my lust for these kind of threads and arguments.


Then by all means, feel free to "stay home" as regarding threads like this.  But not everyone interprets or experiences such discussions as unhealthy or even unpleasant.  Argumentation and debate (actually one of the major historical forms of philosophical dialogue from Socrates forward) need not be unfriendly or unprofitable.  


quote:
I find "powerfuller" eloquentior than "more powerful".
  

In my neck of the Gawgia woods this kind of eloquenter talkin' is much mo' common than you might think, along with a few double negatives.        


Stephen
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Grinch:
quote:
doesnít the question also depend on whether the higher power actually created man?

You've got a point.  It does seem that Onion's conception of a "higher power" is quite defined in some ways from the outset.  For example, the Greek/Roman deities were never credited with transcendent creation ex nihilo.  They seemed to be as much bound in space/time/nature as we are, with the cosmos itself as the only absolute.

Stephen
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Ron:
quote:
So long as religion is founded on cause and effect, it should be approached no differently.

But isn't the foundation of your religion (God) the very thing without a secondary causal agent?       Religion may proceed on the track of cause and effect (because that track was provided for mortals and nature itself), but I'm less sure about applying such to the foundation.  What are your thoughts here?


Stephen
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Ron,

quote:
The existence of many, many, many things can only be observed indirectly, through the effects those things have on the rest of reality.


I agree. But for some reason the question still seems to stay almost the same:  For how do we specifiy which specific "effects" indicate a higher power?   What do we go by as indicating "higher power" or "god", or to say something specific about god, "he", "she", "it" "personal" "impersonal" "omnipotent" etc.  

There are things that people scientifically go by for distinguishing "proton", "electron" etc.  More importantly there are things we go by to describe much more obvious things, but which are the things/points/effects that we go by for distinguishing a higher power and things about a higher power?  

It seems to me it is just coming to the same point again:  there is no effect that we know of that we may prove as distinguishing a higher being from anything else.  What stops anyone from pointing at anything and calling it "an indication of a higher power/god"? May not one basically point at anything and call it god?   What thing/point/source, etc, proves or disproves it?   Point at a rock, a tree, a star, point at your arse.  What is stopping everything and anything from being called the "higher power"?   Probably only the limitations of our preferences.  We don't usually prefer everything but prefer some things over other things, and therefore also prefer fancying some things as indicating a higher power more than other things.  


Stephanos,

quote:
To me it sometimes seems that an absolute egalitarianism (and therefore an absolute leveling) of all views seems to be part of your philosophy, moreso than a conclusion born of weighing arguments.


Well, how can I weigh arguments when they have no weight?  Or else, when I am not sure where and what exactly is the weight?  I may weigh morals based on how they help life, artisticness based on how it helps the art.  But how or by what do I weigh what a higher being or what someone says about a higher being?   How may I weigh the accuracy of saying "a Fairy created the universe" as more or less accurate than saying "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"?

[This message has been edited by Essorant (06-27-2008 03:48 AM).]

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Essorant,

excuse me for taking liberty to respond to questions you asked of Ron.  I figure its better to ask forgiveness than permission.  This is a public forum;  I hope you don't mind.  

quote:
There are things that people scientifically go by for distinguishing "proton", "electron" etc.  More importantly there are things we go by to describe much more obvious things, but which are the things/points/effects that we go by for distinguishing a higher power and things about a higher power?


Essorant, do you see any evidence for intentional design in something like a DNA molecule which is more complex than any automobile and contains a myriad of encoded information?


quote:
What stops anyone from pointing at anything and calling it "an indication of a higher power/god"?

May not one basically point at anything and call it god?



These two questions are quite different.  


To answer the first, anyone may call anything they want as evidence for God.  But naturally some things would be more compelling and striking than others.  For me, anything made of atoms speaks of a designer, since atoms obey complex physical laws raising the question of how complex laws became part and parcel of the universe.  But things like the additional complexity of a certain double-helix molecule packed with encoded instructions for building a human being, capture my attention even more.  It's easier to ignore the atoms in an arid expanse of desert, chalking their laws up to some kind of distant and innate property of nature.  Of course, anyone can do that with DNA too, if for no other reason than not caring about the implications.  And that brings us to your point which I have already conceded, that nothing is "proof" in a strict sense.  There is only inference to the best explanation.


The second question is simpler to me.  Not many ascribe intelligence or consciousness to a rock, therefore it is much more difficult to think of it as a "higher power".  This goes back to what I said about the difficulty of sub-personal deities.  How can something which is sub-personal reasonably be thought of as a higher power?  And more importantly, a rock is itself a finite physical object bound in space-time that will one day pass away.  In short, it is a part of nature.  But it is nature itself which so poignantly invites the question of origin or creation.  A mere part of nature (an impersonal unintelligent part at that) cannot be credited with the whole.

quote:
I may weigh morals based on how they help life, artisticness based on how it helps the art.  But how or by what do I weigh what a higher being or what someone says about a higher being?


Some of the things that people say about a higher being can only be measured by going beyond what theologians have called "natural theology" into the realm of revealed theology.  For example, God's name YHWH as revealed to Moses at the burning Bush.  That is something one would have to take on authority as a matter of revelation.  But there is a long way that inference may take a person as well in the area of natural theology.  Inferring that the universe requires a transcendent and intelligent maker is one of them.  Once a person is thinking along the lines of natural theology, they may become more open to special revelation as well.  (But it is important to note that special revelation is not antithetical to reason, it just can't be reached by reason alone).  For example, the belief in the ressurrection of Jesus Christ is a matter of revelation.  And yet it is also the most historically sound regarding the data we are left with.  On rejecting that premise, historical revision gets pretty "inventive" and no less incredible than what was reported.              

quote:
How may I weigh the accuracy of saying "a Fairy created the universe" as more or less accurate than saying "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"?


Well that's easy if you think about it for a moment.  Our understanding of a fairy is as a mythical creature.  And even in cases where believed in, she is within space-time.  No matter how enchanting or wondrous she is, she is a creature, real or imagined.  I've never even heard of a claim that a fairy is the transcendent creator of the universe ... which would be a radial redefinition of "fairy" wouldn't it?  It's the problem again of attributing the whole of nature to something within nature itself.  Even Big Bang cosmology attributes the beginning of the Universe to something outside it ... not within the continuum of space-time.  It is highly interesting that the Judeo-Christian worldview is the only one that has affirmed the very same thing since ancient times.  Again, not strict proof, but the inference to the best explanation.


Gee, you sure do ask a lot of questions for someone tired of these threads.  


Stephen      
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quote:
Essorant, do you see any evidence for intentional design in something like a DNA molecule which is more complex than any automobile and contains a myriad of encoded information?


I don't know.   You may talk about DNA, but basically anything looked at from exceedingly small aspects is complex in various manners.    Considering how common complexity is in nature, one may just as well say it is inherent in nature itself, rather than instilled by any supernatural power.  
  
Likewise, if one believes in a supernatural being, he may may just as well say that a supernatural being is within nature too, rather than outside or beyond it.  

Therefore, just in these sentences, we may find three equally possible possibilities:

-Nature has complexity because complexity is inherent in Nature.

-Nature is complex because a higher power from beyond instilled the complexity.

-Nature is complex because a higher power is inherent in Nature and instills complexity.

How do you prove that one is more legitimate than the other?  Arguing one as better or worse doesn't make any sense.  I think it is better just to admire them in their own spheres and appreciate them for their artistic virtues and how people deal with them, rather than try to make them out as if they any of them are anything such as saying "the Earth is round" compared to "the Earth is flat".  We simply don't have anything we know for sure about a "higher power" that we may judge any statements or specifications people make (or make up) about him/her/they/it.


Stephanos
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Ess:
quote:
I don't know.   You may talk about DNA, but basically anything looked at from exceedingly small aspects is complex in various manners.


Right.  That's why I said that the atoms of sand would warrant the idea of design also;  It's just that DNA is of greater interest concerning the question of design since it is complexity added on top of complexity, with the added phenomenon of coded information and instruction.  A small scribbled note might be a sign of real romantic love, but a ring would be more indicative wouldn't it?  Whenever there is coded informational systems, in our day to day encounters, we normally think intelligence.  I don't see support for thinking differently in this field.  That doesn't mean that you can't think of it otherwise as you've pointed out.  The veracity of thinking so is another matter.

quote:
Considering how common complexity is in nature, one may just as well say it is inherent in nature itself, rather than instilled by any supernatural power.


The question would then arise, is nature then intelligent / personal?  If the answer is "no", then I would ask whether attributing complex informational systems to non-intelligence is reasonable.  If the answer is yes, then one would have to examine Pantheism (Everything is God) as a whole and to ask whether it is reasonable.  The problems that arise from a Patheistic outlook are more profound than those of a Theistic outlook.  I know you would disagree based upon your belief that there can't be an answer, or that we can't know an answer (oddly enough an absolute statement).  But is that belief a result of your earnest consideration of the answers, or of some kind of tacit philosophical agnosticism?  You grant that mathematical answers may be either correct or incorrect.  I see no reason why religious answers (though they are of a different sort than math) cannot reasonably fall into the same categories of truth and error.  I would be willing to discuss the strengths/ weaknesses of the options you've presented if I felt that agnosticism wasn't a first-principle with you; or that your motto regarding these questions isn't "I know that I know that we cannot know".  

quote:
How do you prove that one is more legitimate than the other?  Arguing one as better or worse doesn't make any sense.  I think it is better just to admire them in their own spheres and appreciate them for their artistic virtues and how people deal with them, rather than try to make them out as if they any of them are anything such as saying "the Earth is round" compared to "the Earth is flat".


They key to this is that you "think it is better just to admire them in their own spheres and appreciate them for their artistic virtues and how people deal with them rather than try to make them out as if they any of them are anything such as saying 'the Earth is round' compared to ...'...flat'.


In that statement you are placing religion wholly in the realm of "art" (the same root of the word artificial), and thus removing it from the world of Space/Time/History.  Either Christ rose from the dead or he did not.  Either God put reasonable evidence of his handiwork in creation or he did not.  I bring up specifically Christian ideas to suggest to you that not all religion is in the world of ideas.  If God acted/acts in history, then your entire assumption about not being able to know for sure, and of religion being wholly in the realm of art is suspect.  The most telling fact is that you are not exactly excited about discussing particulars, but of expressing your philosophy about what religion must be, ie totally subjective.


But until you at least question that view, then no amount of evidences, or discussion of them, will matter.  But that doesn't mean that there is no good reason behind the arguments.  You said that argumentation about these things makes no sense.  But I am suggesting to you that it makes no sense only in view of a certain agnostic philosophy which says it can't.  


I love to discuss evidential apologetics, as much as I am able, but before I would begin I'd like to ask you if it is true that to you religion can only be subjective like art, a contrived thing rather than an objectively true situtation, intersecting time/space/history?  I'm not denying the subjective element (there is a strong subjective element in science as well);  It's just that I would like to address your philosophy first, or it's not worthwhile to talk about things like history and evidences.  In short, your philosophical leaning seems almost prima facie.  


Stephen
 
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