This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
That ... was devastating.
Yes, Mr. Hart is usually quite good.
Not so sure people here would want to buy into his view that naturalizing religion isn't a problem for religion. Do people really believe the following is fine for Christianity:"Certainly the Christian should be undismayed by the notion that religion is natural “all the way down.” Indeed, it should not matter whether religion is the result of evolutionary imperatives, or of an inclination toward belief inscribed in our genes and in the structure of our brains, or even (more fantastically) of memes that have impressed themselves on our minds and cultures and languages. All things are natural...Nor should the Christian expect to find any lacunae in the fabric of nature, needing to be repaired by the periodic interventions of a cosmic maintenance technician. God's transcendence is absolute: He is cause of all things by giving existence to the whole, but nowhere need he act as a rival to any of the contingent, finite, secondary causes by which the universe lives, moves, and has its being in him."Starts to sound empirically indistinguishable from pantheism, which is empirically indistinguishable from atheism...
Starts to sound empirically indistinguishable from pantheism, which is empirically indistinguishable from atheism...Considering "atheism" has no content other than "there is no God or gods", and the Christian God is not subject to strictly empirical examination, "empirically indistinguishable" means little. Going by the physical facts alone, a YEC world is "empirically indistinguishable" from an atheistic world.And let's include the part ellips'd out, shall we, and see if it's still all that close to atheism:But nature itself is created toward an end—its consummation in God—and is informed by a more eminent causality—the creative will of God—and is sustained in existence by its participation in the being that flows from God, who is the infinite wellspring of all actuality.Why, he's channeling Dawkins right there!I do like his suggestion, though, that if one wants to study religion, perhaps one should pray.
OK, so religion is a natural phenomenon like a tornado, and miracles are not needed, and this shouldn't bother Christians. Got it.Adding that this tornado has some purpose is interesting, but for someone that agrees with the above, how would you convince them of the teleological addendum? (And then you get questions about the purpose of bubonic plague and the like).
I was not all that impressed with the article's content. I was very impressed with his vocabulary and rhethoric against Dennett. Not sure what specifically people think is so damaging. I enjoyed reading it, though, for its style. And I always like seeing folks criticize Dennett's theory of consciousness.His blithe dismissal of cargo cults as utterly of no concern seems disingenouous frankly. And the stuff I quoted above is hard to distinguish from Spinozian pantheism with some unjustified teleological language thrown in quoted by anonymous. Good writer, great vocabulary. A philosopher, no doubt.
frankly, the only possible tension i see and have ever seen between evolution (broadly construed) and Christianity is the problem of animal suffering (in animals of relatively higher sentience - i'm not concerned with insects or bacteria here). we Christians believe that the Fall is what caused all the misery we see around us. but human beings weren't around before animals, and animals must have been suffering predation, extinction, diseases, etc., before any sort of human Fall could have occurred. and evolution *makes no sense* without the ideas of predation, extinction, and so on. so how do we account for those millions of years of animal misery? it must be satisfactorily answered somehow, because as it stands i think it extremely problematic to say that God directly willed this savagery and declared it "good."
OK, so religion is a natural phenomenon like a tornado, and miracles are not needed, and this shouldn't bother Christians. Got it.Where exactly are you getting the idea that religion and religion belief has to be "miraculous" on Christianity, or even theism? Spell it out for me, please. That man "naturally" yearns for God is a threat? That nature produced men who naturally yearn for God, or see God, is a threat?Hart does not argue against the existence or reality of miracles. He believes in them. He's noting that religion in and of itself does not need to somehow be miraculous.Adding that this tornado has some purpose is interesting, but for someone that agrees with the above, how would you convince them of the teleological addendum? (And then you get questions about the purpose of bubonic plague and the like).The very fact that establishing that something is natural leaves questions of final causality untouched does help to drive home some of Hart's point. That the teleological question remains strikes at Dennett's goal instantly. As does highlighting the genetic fallacy of "natural explanation of religion".
Mr. Hart does what many do at different times in the history of an argument. The person overemphasizes something.Here it is the transcendence of God. Perhaps he feels it necessary to do so because the nearness of God is focused on too much by many writers in theological circles. I have in mine the discussion about the dangers of the emphasis on God's nearness or immanence in David Wells works.In one of his larger works, I believe Mr. Hart makes the point that since God created the natural why can't religion have some naturalistic aspects to it?Perhaps he goes too far in this respect.His discussion about the miraculous is somewhat on thin ice as Jesus clearly demonstrated the power of God and did the early church through the miraculous.
His discussion about the miraculous is somewhat on thin ice as Jesus clearly demonstrated the power of God and did the early church through the miraculous.Hart is talking about "religion" in the abstract having natural origins. He's manifestly not rejecting miracles. Religion did not start with Christ, even by Christian reckoning.
BDK,A couple of points for your consideration. Actually BDK a Thomist could say the same as Hart.One must not conflate the natural with naturalism.Of course religion can be natural if God in fact created our natures & gave us a natural disposition toward religion even if it was done threw evolution guided via Divine Providence.Religion has a natural component and manifestation. It doesn't follow religion is purely natural. Aquinas taught us there are religious truths that can be known from Reason Alone.One can have natural religion based on reason alone.I can Know a Classic Theistic God exists via reason alone. However I can't know He is a Trinity apart from Divine Revelation.
Love this part of the Article:" Moreover, the task of delineating the phenomenon of religion in the abstract becomes perfectly hopeless as soon as one begins to examine what particular traditions of faith actually claim, believe, or do. It is already difficult enough to define what sort of thing religion is. But what sort of thing is the Buddhist teaching of the Four Noble Truths? What sort of thing is the Vedantic doctrine that Atman and Brahman are one? What sort of thing is the Christian belief in Easter? What is the core and what are the borders of these phenomena? What are their empirical causes? What are their rationales? Grand, empty abstractions about religion are as easy to produce as to ignore. These, by contrast, are questions that touch on what persons actually believe, and to answer them requires an endless hermeneutical labor—an investigation of history, and intellectual traditions, and contemplative lore, and so on and so forth—which ultimately requires a degree of specialization that few can hope to achieve; even then, the specialist's conclusions must always remain open to doubt and revision."Great Comment Ben:I can Know a Classic Theistic God exists via reason alone. However I can't know He is a Trinity apart from Divine Revelation.
Great Summation from the article:All Dennett knows is that something he dreads haunts the world, something intolerant and violent and irrational, and he wants to conjure it away. This, of course, raises the now quite hoary-headed question of how, in the wake of the twentieth century, the committed secularist dare wax either sanctimonious toward faith or sanguine toward secular reason, but Dennett is not one to pause before doubts of that sort. He is certain there is some single immense thing out there called religion, and that by its very nature it endangers us all and ought as a whole to be abolished. This being so, it is probably less important to him that his argument be good than that, for purely persuasive purposes, it appear to be grounded in irrefutable science-which it can never be.
By noting this:He's noting that religion in and of itself does not need to somehow be miraculous. I get that but I would still argue that Hart is somewhat on thin ice because religion does deal with this. Truth is revelational and experiental. So I do not see how one can get away with trying to claim that religion can in and of itself not have a miraculous to it.The miraculous has to be there and be part of the definition.John 5 -- 36 “But I have a testimony greater than that from John. For the deeds that the Father has assigned me to complete – the deeds I am now doing – testify about me that the Father has sent me.
I get that but I would still argue that Hart is somewhat on thin ice because religion does deal with this. Truth is revelational and experiental. So I do not see how one can get away with trying to claim that religion can in and of itself not have a miraculous to it.Religion deals with the miraculous, but why does religion itself - Hart's focus - need to be "not natural"? Really, what would that even mean in this context? That religion is a miracle?
Hart's rendition of christianity as being 'natural' is correct in one sense. It is practiced in the here and now and in a natural world. The rituals, the songs, the writings are all products of the natural world. And that's where it stops. Any allusion to the supernatural simply shifts the focus of the natural world to the operations and workings of the brain, mind and mind-states. We know that consciousness and thinking are simply machinations of the physical brain. It is the end-point of all the senses with which we make contact with our world. It is also the locus through which humans can conjure analogous ideas and imaginings that can perceive various outcomes and scenarios. This process in and off itself are very much a part of the natural world. Even the conjuring of a supernatural world is simply the metaphysics of the agency projection capability of the brain state, itself a full-fledged derivative of the natural world.This is the best explanation for the myriad ways humans have formed the concept of god[s] to meet local village requirements as various as the number of villages extant.All Dr Hart has done is provide another model, among the many thousands that are constantly being discussed in churches all round the world to this day, through which christians attempt to make their god relevant to today's society and community. It fits well with the continual search by the many christians who shop around for a church and a community of believers that match their particular style of christianity. And this shop-around 'mall crawl' is not limited to the plethora of protestant offerings available, it also influences believers of the catholic bent to shop around.These range from Ecs, YECs, OECs, Thomists, meliorists, traditionalists, universalists, non-trinitarians, you name it, there is one 'just for you'. Hart is presenting a pantheist model, but then pantheism has always been an unstated option in the christianities, pretty much as the early church fathers noted that the god christians present is not different than the sons of Jupiter that the pagans worshipped.
Paps you are still here? Jumping up and down shouting "PAY ATTENTION TO ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!" with you inane blatherings.Really you need a hobby son.
I like Papalinton's postings...
You are a nicer person then me BDK.
Hi Ben Yachovyou say, "Paps you are still here? Jumping up and down shouting "PAY ATTENTION TO ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!" with you inane blatherings."I wouldn't mind a reasoned response to my comment on Hart's piece. That would be a good start.Cheers
>I wouldn't mind a reasoned response to my comment on Hart's piece. That would be a good start.You sir are like the guy who kills his parents then pleads to the judge to show him mercy because he is an orphan. You have a lot of Chutzpah. You haven't given any reasonable responses to what I wrote in the past. Just a ton of snark & a lot of fundamentalist drivel. Anything I labor to write you just dismiss with more snark? So why should I bust my hump for the likes of you? Besides as per usual your post has no point. It's just snark. There is nothing intelligent there to respond too.
Hi Ben Yachov"So why should I bust my hump for the likes of you? "Then you're conceding defeat?Thanks. It is somewhat of a surprise that you acknowledge you have reached the limits of your level of intellection and stamina. Usually 'traditional theistic' fundies are a good deal more rabid than that and the bell for round 2 hasn't even been rung yet.Oh Well
>Then you're conceding defeat?Thanks. It is somewhat of a surprise that you acknowledge you have reached the limits of your level of intellection and stamina. I reply: How is acting like a willful idiot who refuses to engage in good faith intelligent discussion a victory?So I guess I concede "defeat". In a contest to see who is most clueless idiot you are clearly my superior. Thought why you are proud of it remains a mystery.You are a real piece of work Paps. I am thankful you no longer (mis)shape young minds.>Usually 'traditional theistic' fundies are a good deal more rabid than that and the bell for round 2 hasn't even been rung yet.Well I am not a Fundamentalist(unlike some of us).
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