Sunday, July 29, 2012

Matt McCormick on the meaning of faith

The meaning of the word "faith" is complex. Do you think McCormick understands it correctly? Just click on the powerpoint.
Every time you use the word "faith" in a discussion with an atheist, they are going to declare victory. They will presume that you are believing for no reason, and that you are are admitting that the evidence is against you.

But Lewis saw it quite differently?

114 comments:

cl said...

Of course McCormick doesn't understand it. That much is obvious from the "myths" on his sidebar. For "freethinkers" and atheists like McCormick, faith = the rejection of evidence and reason. One big false dichotomy, like many of the other issues surrounding (a)theism. And nevermind the fact that atheism requires faith, too. Hell, almost any belief system requires faith. Can anyone think of one that doesn't?

Ilíon said...

"But Lewis saw it quite differently"

So did Paul ... and Jesus.

Papalinton said...

"If one has Faith, knowledge is lacking. If one has knowledge, Faith is unnecessary."—David Eller.

Victor Reppert said...

That depends on the how you define faith, which is precisely the issue here. Your quote begs the question.

Papalinton said...

"Hell, almost any belief system requires faith. Can anyone think of one that doesn't?"

Atheism is not a belief system, as much as you would wish it so. Atheism is a state of mind fashioned by the congruence of skepticism and empiricism. One might argue that 'naturalism' is a form of belief system. But it is diametric to that of religious faith in that naturalism is not an a priori condition. One arrives at naturalism by doing science. Naturalism is a consequence of due diligence and the substantiating practice of applying scientific methodology.

'Faith' is primarily socio- or culturo-centric. There is not one believer on this site, not even Victor, who would ever consider for one moment that they might be wrong, and that Hinduism is indeed the one true religion, or even the Baha'i faith, a faith that emphasizes the essential oneness of humankind and of all religions and seeking world peace. How ecumenical is that? No, the fundamentally ethnocentric and polemical nature of christian faith simply does not have the capacity nor the honesty and integrity to introspectively contemplate such a proposition. It would be deemed, in the old and superstitious tradition, a 'heresy'.

BeingItself said...

Words do not have inherent meanings.

I know many Christians who when they use the word 'faith' they mean 'belief without evidence'. Other Christians use the word to mean something else.

Victor Reppert said...

Yes, it is not the case that McCormick is arguing against nonexistent persons. There are certainly fideists.

However, there is no acknowledgement here that the word is used very differently by others, such as C. S. Lewis.

cl said...

Seriously Paps, bugger off back to lala-land already. If you're *TRYING* to get attention to test us on the challenge thing, well... you've just won a small battle, but you'll lose the war. I'll ignore your lame rants, but when you state straight-up factual errors you're going to get called.

Atheism is not a belief system, as much as you would wish it so. Atheism is a state of mind fashioned by the congruence of skepticism and empiricism.

Patent nonsense. Atheism *IS* a belief system. You just described it as such. You endorse the belief systems of naturalism, determinism, etc. Quit being such a patsy, man up, and admit you have a belief system.

There is not one believer on this site, not even Victor, who would ever consider for one moment that they might be wrong,

This just confirms what a bigot and closed-minded person you are, Paps. I wrestle with my faith, that's for damn sure, and I resent some pompous New Atheist hater like yourself implying that I don't. Like BeingItself, Dawkins, Harris, Myers et al., you *REEK* of intellectual chauvinism.

On the contrary, where have you ever given any indication that *YOU* might be wrong? Seriously man. I've seen you on this site for a well over a year, and it's *ALWAYS* the same: thumbing your nose at believers because you think we're intellectually superior to you, gabbering on about the virtues of science when really you don't know squat about it.

You're a man of soundbites, Paps, and you do not strike me as a critical thinker in the least.

Papalinton said...

"Patent nonsense. Atheism *IS* a belief system."

Sorry, cannot agree with you. Atheism simply means there are no good substantive reasons for belief in a god, period. Nothing more, nothing less.

Atheism is not a belief system. With atheism there is no doctrine, no ubiquitous 'good' book, no dogma, no catechism, no organised tradition, no institutional body or theological administrative organisation underpinning essential ritual and ceremony; there is no  procedural observance; no service, no sacrament, no liturgy, no organised and regular worship; no custom or atheistic tradition, and there are no formalised conventions, procedures or established protocols for atheism. There are no 'church' officers, no hierarchy of promotion of clergy/ministers, no administrators or CEOs of centralized management arrangements, there is no career service in atheism analogous to those of religious belief systems. 

These are the emblematic characteristics of a belief 'system'.  Atheism is not, in and of itself, a systematized process through which direct support for, and the administration of, such a belief system is appropriate or required.  There is no dedicated requirement for infrastructure, no grand atheist houses of worship, nor infrastructure support to maintain, co-ordinate and administer the various components of a belief system as is clearly evident in the global Roman Catholic organisation, or the Southern Baptist Convention, or any of the myriad mega-church industries. 
 
Atheism is not an industry.  By contrast, all religions are in the 'eternal insurance' industry. Customers (the congregants) buy immortality insurance to cover travel and entry visas into the next world [putatively heaven], following their passing in this one.  The clergy are ostensibly insurance salesman.  [Benny Hinn is a religious insurance hawker/insurance loan shark of a particular religious stripe that readily comes to mind.]

I am reminded of Joseph Lewis, American author, writer, who noted:  "Religion is all profit.  They have no merchandise to buy, no commissions to pay, and no refunds to make for unsatisfactory service or results  .... Their commodity is fear;  their inventories are lies ..... their deferred tax assets are guilt and self-abasement."

B. Prokop said...

There is not one believer on this site, not even Victor, who would ever consider for one moment that they might be wrong, and that Hinduism is indeed the one true religion.

Busted! I, for one, have spent mega-hours in pondering whether or not Hinduism had merit, to include long discussions with practitioners of the faith, and reading half a library of books on the subject (to include the Mahabharata - and believe me, that took longer than "one moment" to read).

I've put a similar (though less extensive) effort into Daoism, Buddhism, and Yoriba - and, for that matter, into atheism, which I do consider to very much be a belief system.

And by the way, here is where I would agree (in the tiniest way) with Loftus. It's a good idea to stack one's own faith against others. In my case, the result was a deeper appreciation for Christianity, and the discovery that its claims really did hold up to objective investigation and analysis quite well.

Papalinton said...

Bob
" ... and the discovery that its [christian] claims really did hold up to objective investigation and analysis quite well."

And how did the Hindi and Daoists, Buddhists, and Yoriba react to your findings? Were they overwhelmed by the evidence that they, particularly the Hindi, have subsequently converted to christianity? Is that the substance of your claim?

I am very interested in the constituent parts that make up the atheism belief system. What does it look like, Bob?

Cale B.T. said...

Papalinton,

1. You have repeatedly (On January 18 4:20 on the the post titled "Tim McGrew's reply to Drange's Argument from Confusion", on February 5th at 1:29 on the post titled "Is Reasonable Faith an Oxymoron?" and in several other posts) described Ganesh as "an elephant" or an "elephant god". This is incorrect. Ganesh is not an elephant, but has an elephant's head. The Hindus have stories about how this came to be. Nota bene: before you try to use comparative religion to show how people like Prokop, myself and others are parochial and deluded, perhaps you ought to have some knowledge of the examples you invoke which extends beyond popular cliche.

With regards to, "There is not one believer on this site [no, not one], not even Victor, who would ever consider for one moment that they might be wrong, and that Hinduism is indeed the one true religion." all I can say is, I consider myself a Christian believer and do not think this statement accurately describes me.

2. Similarly, when you wrote earlier in this comment thread, "By contrast, all religions are in the 'eternal insurance' industry." this is simply untrue. Many religions do not have a concept of a life after death. Now, I called you out on a similarly erroneous comment some time ago, in which you said, "Here is a question: Since christians claim that the three persons are one divine being, how is it that the father and the holy spirit did not also die on the cross/stake when the son died?

Victor, you really must be sardonically smiling at the ease by which you can spin any kind of story on this site and the chumps lap it up as if it were 'gospel'. And 5 of the seven billion people out there in the world couldn't give a rat's.... about the christian trinity. To them its all hokum.

To which I replied:

"As I understand it: On the cross Jesus Christ died in his human nature, not his divine nature. Neither the Father, Son, nor Holy Spirit ceased to exist.

[and regarding the Trinity]
"And 5 of the seven billion people out there in the world couldn't give a rat's.... about the christian trinity. To them its all hokum."

Surely a significant number of those persons would know very little (if anything) about the idea of the Trinity.

To which you replied: "You're right. I love the grandeur of hyperbole. I learned it when I was a bible crazy."

You just like everyone else, are not immune to the temptation of getting carried away with rhetoric, and speaking unwisely. You have also said, "How does one have a substantive discussion on any theological idea? ...For me there is no value to be had from holding an elongated discussion on theological tripe, such as 'Father, Son and Holey ghost'. That would simply legitimate an already fraudulent and unsubstantiated proposition and derail a process now in train in which the great inconsequences of the failed jesus program in now being quietly put out to pasture."

But, this raises the question papalinton, why do you even bother to ask questions like, "how is it that the father and the holy spirit did not also die on the cross/stake when the son died?" if you sincerely believe that no substantive discussion can be had on this topic?

I call your bluff papalinton, far from being, "affronted by your questioning" because we are "believers in supernatural superstition" some people, at least, are willing to engage you in dialogue.

I realise the structure of this comment leaves a lot to be desired, but I will end by saying: Papalinton, please, please, please throw away your overblown rhetoric and work towards engaging those on the other side of the debate in a productive manner. Start a blog, separate your ideas into blog posts where your ideas can be separately addressed, and confine your comments here to the topic at hand.

B. Prokop said...

This exchange has only demonstrated that the "Papalinton Challenge" was a Good Idea, and really ought to be extended.

Papalinton, with your every word are simply providing more evidence of your willful blindness and total disconnect from reality. I am not about to presume to lay out the particulars of another person's belief system, but for you to deny that it is such is either supremely humorous or just sad. I can't decide which.

And as for your excellent question, "And how did the Hindi and Daoists, Buddhists, and Yoriba react to your findings? Were they [so] overwhelmed by the evidence that they, particularly the Hindi, have subsequently converted to christianity?", I will respond with a question of my own:

How did the Hindi and Daoists, Buddhists, Yoriba, and Christians react to your atheist arguments? Were they so overwhelmed by the evidence that they subsequently renounced their faith and embraced atheism?

And on that note, no more comments from me today. I'm off to my new position at Howard Community College, teaching astronomy (ahh, retirement!). First day on the job - wish me luck!

cl said...

Paps,

I could care less about trying to change your mind on anything. You are a rude, snide man who is only interested in exalting your own perceived intellectual superiority above other human beings. You come here not to understand, but to mock and insult while reassuring yourself that you have the TRUE BELIEFS we all lack. In short, I find you a terrible bore and I have never seen anything positive result from any exchange with you on this blog, with perhaps the sole exception of seeing so many people swat your illogic back down your throat (with Neil Shenvi being the latest example, the way he completely dismantled your irrationality regarding objective values).

You need to apologize for the way you've stereotyped us. Best of luck should you ever meet your maker. You are going to need it.

B. Prokop,

This exchange has only demonstrated that the "Papalinton Challenge" was a Good Idea, and really ought to be extended.

Yep, I should have known better. That whole thing about a dog returning to it's vomit.

Cale B.T.,

"Start a blog, separate your ideas into blog posts where your ideas can be separately addressed, and confine your comments here to the topic at hand."

I *LOUDLY* second that idea.

HyperEntity111 said...

cl: Atheism is a belief.

Papa: No. Atheism simply means there are no good substantive reasons for belief in a god.

Me: Do you believe this Paps?

(Since you all broke the Paps challenge I couldn't resist that one. Oh well..back to ignoring him now.)

Papalinton said...

Cale B T

A couple of points:

1. Yes, yes, yes. I knew all that. Whether Ganesha is an elephant, or an elephant god, or a god with an elephant head is simply beside the point. In picking the low-hanging fruit of semantic nit-picking, the critical point seems yet again to have eluded you. Ganesh is a 'god' in the same revered sense that jesus is a god, with the usual attributes of a god, you know, all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful, etc etc. These are no different to the subscribed attributes for many other gods worshipped throughout human history, just as your jesusgod has these attributes. Those same overarching omni-max attributes have been accorded by believers to their particular suite of gods ever since they were invented by humans since the dawn of time. And even if it is eventually confirmed historically [and I remain agnostic on the possibility] there was a real charismatic, insurrectionary David Koresh-style rebel that lived in Palestine in 100CE, that would no more prove the existence of an omni-max entity than it does for Ganesha. That is the salient point I make, which no believer seems to have the courage to address without falling over themselves to smite those that ask the question and seek a reasoned response that doesn't stink of apologetics.

2. Your comment, "all I can say is, I consider myself a Christian believer and do not think this statement accurately describes me.' Is this one of those, 'because', responses akin to 'god willed it that way' that at bottom is inexplicable? If that is the case, then why not simply be honest and truthful and say, 'I don't know'.

3. ""By contrast, all religions are in the 'eternal insurance' industry." this is simply untrue." I agree with you. A touch of christian hyperbole got the better of me. Mindful of your objection to the word 'all', and to rightly reflect that some religions do indeed have no concept of a life after death, I have rewritten the parody to reflect a more accurate relationship:

"By contrast, many religions, and particularly christian theism, are in the 'eternal insurance' industry. Customers (the congregants) buy immortality insurance to cover travel and entry visas into the next world [putatively heaven, though the final destination might just as easily be hell for all one knows. But at bottom, just another insurance scam], following their passing in this one. The clergy are ostensibly insurance salesman. [Benny Hinn is a religious insurance hawker/insurance loan shark of a particular religious stripe that readily comes to mind.]"

There. That's better, isn't it?

4. You say, "You just like everyone else, are not immune to the temptation of getting carried away with rhetoric, and speaking unwisely." I don't recall ever pretending I was perfect. What I don't do is describe myself either as a sinner or a saint. They are purely inconsequential religious concepts. As an atheist, I cannot be either. Just someone trying to scratch through the encrustation of centuries of accreted and hyperbolic embellishments that constitute the christian mythos. Something you are not prepared to do and others on this site have not the strength to even consider.

CONT.

Papalinton said...

CONT.
5, You say, "I call your bluff papalinton, far from being, "affronted by your questioning" because we are "believers in supernatural superstition" some people, at least, are willing to engage you in dialogue." What bluff, Cale B T? This is not a poker game. And few, if any, of the responses have dealt with the issues I pose. Just for this thread alone:

a. The issue of faith. Is it socio- or culturo-centric or is it by divine intervention. Why would christianity not embrace Baha'i with its wonderfully universal appeal?
b. Believers tell me atheism is a belief system. Provide me with a model of an atheism belief system. The operative word here is 'system'.
c. The Prokop and cl analogues in the olden days use to simply garrot or barbeque those that questioned their faith. Today, no longer privy to the benefits of burning heretics at the stake, they are curtailed to resorting to playing 'no speakys' whenever their beliefs are challenged or bruised.
d. You seem to be under the misapprehension that I had gone off topic. "Papalinton, please, please, please throw away your overblown rhetoric and work towards engaging those on the other side of the debate in a productive manner." Nothing could be further from the truth and it is egregious that your rather self-serving piety should suggest so. Please review my comments and the contexts in which they have been made:

- My very first in response to McCormick's meaning of faith, began with a general aphorism, perfectly in line with the OP.
- My second comment fleshed out both atheism not being a belief system, and provided a far less theologized version of the definition of christian faith; each in direct response to cl's, "One big false dichotomy, like many of the other issues surrounding (a)theism. And nevermind the fact that atheism requires faith, too. Hell, almost any belief system requires faith. Can anyone think of one that doesn't?"
- My third combox defined the requisite elements of a 'belief system' by comparing atheism to the catholic, Sthn Baptist Convention and megachurch behemoths of today, and once again, in direct response to the utterly paltry and unsupported claim of atheism as a belief system espoused by cl.
- My fourth response was a question to Bob. To which he replied by asking a question of his own.

5. All in all, my contribution has been a genuinely challenging one. I cannot be held responsible for your feelings of being aggrieved or sensitive to the challenges I have mounted. I have directly engaged and refuted each purported claim made by believers. If that is not considered 'productive' then you operate with a definition that is alien to the conventional meaning of the word. However, should you be conflating productivity with compliant deference, that is, considering my robust challenges to christian theism as synonymous with unproductive activity, then you are sadly mistaken. To baulk at criticism and bag it as unproductive is somewhat a coward's defense redolent of a self-imposed victim mindset. In terms of a separate blogsite? No. DI suits me fine. I used to comment at the arch-Calvinist site, Triablogue. But I was banned. Funnily enough, each OP that I engaged over there ended up with heaps of debate and commenting as Calvinists came out of the woodwork to protect their sacred. Since the enforced retirement, general commenting at Triablogue has fallen to an all-time low, one comment here, two comments there, no comment on another OP; dead as a doornail. If Victor wishes to ban me, he has that prerogative.

CONT.

Papalinton said...

CONT.

I am giving you first hand, an atheist's insight, one that you can hone your apologetic skills on, rather than rely on talking amongst yourselves what an atheist might be like. You don't seem to appreciate the opportunity handed to you, one who is prepared to remain in the lion's den [so to speak]. You should see this as a blessing from god. Isn't that how christians view the world? Or are they selective about what constitutes a blessing from god or not? A monocultural website is a dead website.

HyperEntity111 said...

So what was the last movie you guys watched?

physphilmusic said...

Since Papalinton has commented that the "issues" which he has raised have not been adequately responded, let's give it a try:

The issue of faith. Is it socio- or culturo-centric or is it by divine intervention.

In my opinion, most likely both. As a Christian I do not discourage study of the sociology or anthropology of religion. Special, supernatural divine intervention probably occurred only once in a while (e.g. the kind of thing where God speaks from the clouds and hands humanity the 10 commandments, or when Jesus actually lived, died, and rose from the dead). Other than that I think sociology played a huge role. That doesn't mean that God didn't; Christians believe God can work in "natural" means as well.

Why would christianity not embrace Baha'i with its wonderfully universal appeal?
It's obviously true, as you have pointed out but also insisted that everyone here keeps denying it, that many Christians would reject other faiths simply due to cultural prejudice and lack of willingness, ability, or time to go outside their comfort zone and give the Baha'i faith a complete rational examination. However, this is true of I think the majority of people in the world, theist or non-theist notwithstanding, and this concerns not just religion but also political and ethical beliefs.

That being said, many Christians have indeed studied other religions and belief systems before deciding to commit to the one they hold on to now. There are a multitude of reasons why someone would reject the Baha'i faith. DISCLAIMER: I don't claim to know much about the faith, so I'm just postulating reasons based on your limited presentation of it as a "world peace" kind of faith in your comments so far.

Possible Reason 1: You said that the Baha'i faith emphasizes the "the essential oneness of humankind". Hmm, why would someone not agree with this? Well, someone could believe that this is utterly fantasized bullshit. Someone who has actually lived through actual horrific inter-ethnic conflict (you know, the part where they rape your mother and chop your father to pieces just because you're a certain race) and lost faith in humanity. People who don't hold to child-like views about the "harmony of all races" and all that.

Possible Reason 2: You said that the Baha'i faith also emphasizes the "the essential oneness...of all religions". Similar to the above, there are people who have experienced significant inter-religious conflict, who have appreciated the fact that Muslims say all non-Muslims will go to hell, and Christians say the same things with regards to non-Christians. You know, people who realize that religions make exclusive claims and have very little in common with each other.

Possible Reason 3: "...and seeking world peace". Who would disagree with this? Those who think that "world peace" is just the last in the endless series of meaningless tropes perpetuated by beauty pageant organizers and people like you. The people who think that the idea of "world peace" is unrealistic and incoherent. Hell, Papalinton, I think you could come up with these OBVIOUS reasons by yourself, no?

So those are the possible reasons why a Christian could reject the Baha'i faith. Their are also several positive reasons why someone would choose Christianity though: for example, because Christianity claims to be a religion based on an empirically verifiable fact of history, that is, the resurrection of Christ. You might disagree that there is good evidence for that, but there are people who are simply impressed that Christianity is willing to wager its truth on that fact.

physphilmusic said...

Believers tell me atheism is a belief system. Provide me with a model of an atheism belief system. The operative word here is 'system'.

Well, personally, I don't think atheism simpliciter is a "belief system", any more than theism simpliciter is one It's simply a a belief about the existence or non-existence of God. However, I think it practically impossible for one to JUST be an atheist. Do you have an ethical system, Papalinton? How is it justified? What are your views on humanity? You seem to be sympathetic to the "oneness" and "world peace" aspects of the Baha'i faith. Surely that is part of a "belief system", because if you do believe in some kind of common humanity, then you would reason your further actions and beliefs (political, ethical, etc.) from it. A belief system is not the same as a religion. Naturalism and secular humanism are not religions (yet) in my view. As you pointed out, there is no holy book nor temples for naturalism. But they are certainly belief systems, because they are essentially worldviews: they involve a particular set of beliefs about how the universe (including humanity) is and should be.

And you wrote:
One arrives at naturalism by doing science. Naturalism is a consequence of due diligence and the substantiating practice of applying scientific methodology.
And that's exactly the point, Papalinton! It doesn't matter at all what were the SOURCES for a certain belief system/worldview. A belief system can be the result of any combination of the following: cultural influence, social pressure, indoctrination, reason... That does not change the fact that naturalism involves certain beliefs about the world, and is hence a belief system, or worldview.

To take yet another example: You probably think religious "indoctrination" of children is a bad thing. You probably think that genocide is wrong. You probably think teaching intelligent design in schools should be forbidden. You think that ethics can be based on a non-divine source. You may think Obama is a better president than Bush. All of these beliefs are tied, directly or indirectly, to your belief that there is no supernatural, that their is no God, ergo atheism and naturalism. That's why they are all symptoms of a belief system. You might respond, "But all of these beliefs common sense that any rational person should accept. That's why those damned Christians are so deluded and I'm not! We don't need no stupid 'belief system'!!" Well, OK, fine, but that's what you think. That's your belief system. Try to put yourself in our shoes. Then you'll understand why other people say that "atheism is a belief system" (or rather, naturalism, but I've gone through that already).

Papalinton said...

physphilmusic

That is a brilliant response. It is the type of reasoned reply that must form necessarily the basis for discussion between people regardless of their predisposition to superstition [like you] or not [like me]. Such discussion also provides a grounding for communication between people with competing forms of supernaturalism. It focusses primarily on their being people first rather than their varying beliefs.

Much of the style and content of my writing is purposely a counter-argument of the assumed nature given over to supernatural claims. Your response is refreshing because not for one moment did you invoke the supernatural as an explanation. This would be a conversation stopper not only to me but to any person that might have a differing religious belief system to yours.

The trick now is how does one begin to approach the more tricky aspects that guide people's worldviews, such as supernaturalism, spiritworlds, putatively live and interventionist entities that do not inhabit the natural world, the issues of miracles? How can respect be accorded to an atheist or a theist on such diametric and antithetically held positions? Or are they best left unsaid? Or are we free to hammer each other over the nonsense each sees of the other's perspective?

Do we leave it to the marketplace of ideas that waxes and wanes over time? I understand that the 'nones' in the most recent ARIS survey of 2011 have significantly increased from 6% in 1990, 16% in 2008, to just under 20% in 2011, of the American population that elect not to be identified with religion.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-07-19/no-religion-affiliation/56344976/1

You make some very telling observations:
"Well, someone could believe that this ["the essential oneness of humankind"] is utterly fantasized bullshit. Someone who has actually lived through actual horrific inter-ethnic conflict (you know, the part where they rape your mother and chop your father to pieces just because you're a certain race) and lost faith in humanity."

and,

"Similar to the above ["the essential oneness...of all religions"], there are people who have experienced significant inter-religious conflict, who have appreciated the fact that Muslims say all non-Muslims will go to hell, and Christians say the same things with regards to non-Christians. You know, people who realize that religions make exclusive claims and have very little in common with each other."

I say, all the more reason why we should be seriously questioning 'faith', wouldn't you? Is the aggressively competitive proselytizing campaign for the numbers of Muslim and christian souls in Africa the proper strategy for peace in the continent? Is the bloody battle and the deep religious divide between the Sunni rebels and the Shi'ia Allawite sect of President Bashir al-Assad in Syria to be regarded as a justified reason for maintaining religious exclusivism?

Surely we an do better than this. Or do we continue to bury our heads in our respective theistic sandpit?

As an atheist, or more philosophically correct, a methodological naturalist, I have no more insight into how one can resolve this issue. But I do not see any one religion being any answer. It hasn't in the past and it is unlikely to do so into the future. So if religion cannot bring us peace, what use is it? As Professor Morris Cohen, American philosopher and professor of Law at City College of New York noted: "If religion cannot restrain evil, it cannot claim effective power for good."

Cale B.T. said...

Papalinton

“even if it is eventually confirmed historically [and I remain agnostic on the possibility] there was a real charismatic, insurrectionary David Koresh-style rebel that lived in Palestine in 100CE, that would no more prove the existence of an omni-max entity than it does for Ganesha.”

I agree that showing that Jesus is an historical figure does not prove the existence of God, and I suspect that many other Christians would agree.

“Just someone trying to scratch through the encrustation of centuries of accreted and hyperbolic embellishments that constitute the christian mythos. Something you are not prepared to do and others on this site have not the strength to even consider."... “And few, if any, of the responses have dealt with the issues I pose."

I am prepared to comment on every one of your ideas you put forth if they are in the format of blog posts. If you are really interested in having your questions and ideas debated, I can see no reason why you wouldn’t take me up on my offer. That was what my comment about calling your bluff addressed.

After summarising several mistakes that you’ve made, I wrote that you should throw away your overblown rhetoric and you replied:
“Nothing could be further from the truth and it is egregious that your rather self-serving piety should suggest so. Please review my comments and the contexts in which they have been made"

But that’s just the thing! I do try and review your comments and the contexts in which they have been made and you yourself admitted that you got carried away “on all religions being in the eternal insurance business”!!?

I wonder how can you, at one moment, admit that you are making mistakes, and then claim that, “nothing could be further from the truth” and hurl abuse at me for suggesting that you need to change your style of engagement?

“I am giving you first hand, an atheist's insight, one that you can hone your apologetic skills on, rather than rely on talking amongst yourselves what an atheist might be like.”

Papalinton, I was an atheist from the ages of 15-21, I grew up in a non-religious home, my brother and mother are eliminative materialists, I never went to Sunday School as a child and I was educated in public schools.

“I have directly engaged and refuted each purported claim made by believers. If that is not considered 'productive' then you operate with a definition that is alien to the conventional meaning of the word.”

I don’t think this is true. There have been many times when others’ questions directed to you have gone unanswered, just as many of your questions have gone unanswered. Far from baulking at your question of whether the Father and Spirit died on the cross, I attempted to answer it, and you gave no reply. I realise that this comment does not address all of your previous comments, but I hope you will reply.

physphilmusic said...

Before I begin replying to your latest post, I note two things:
1. You have accepted as valid my list of possible reasons why Christians can reject other faiths, including the Baha’i faith, even if they have studied many of these different religions extensively.
2. You have not replied to my exposition on why atheists like yourself can be said to have a “belief system” just like any religious person.
Hence I take it that you grant these points, no? Your questions have been answered. This must be clear. I would be very disappointed if in a few weeks you pop up and recite the same accusations again about belief systems. That would be dishonest of you.
The trick now is how does one begin to approach the more tricky aspects that guide people's worldviews, such as supernaturalism, spiritworlds, putatively live and interventionist entities that do not inhabit the natural world, the issues of miracles? How can respect be accorded to an atheist or a theist on such diametric and antithetically held positions? Or are they best left unsaid? Or are we free to hammer each other over the nonsense each sees of the other's perspective?
Beliefs in supernatural entities are usually difficult to prove or disprove. They are practically unverifiable. The same goes for religious experiences – only the experiencer has exclusive internal access to the experience, and so it is impossible for other people to judge fairly on what is really happening. As such, we steer away from petty debates like “my religious experiences are superior to yours”. When we debate about religion and belief systems, we focus on the rational aspects which are readily expressed and analyzed. Personally, I try not “hammer” other people concerning how stupid their religious beliefs are, especially when we are concerned with private religious experiences and miracles. After all, many of these are unverifiable. How can you convince someone that his religious experience is “fake” or “false”, when you have no complete scientific theory of consciousness, and have not solved the majority of philosophical problems of the mind? And especially when the majority of the proposed ideas about them come from the West?
On the other hand, there is opportunity to compare the truthfulness of various religions by assessing the falsifiable claims which they make. For example, one can assess whether Jesus did rise from the dead. One can assess whether the Bible has been extensively corrupted and changed (as Muslims claim), or not. One can debate the coherence of the Christian view of God’s attributes. These are issues which we can rationally debate about. It is possible to respect another person even if their conclusions are diametrically different from yours.

physphilmusic said...

I say, all the more reason why we should be seriously questioning 'faith', wouldn't you?

Indeed, Papalinton, indeed. We should analyze what our religions and faiths say about the universe and mankind. And the fact is that in many cases, people have done that and selected Christianity as the religion which best expresses the situation we are in. Many are attracted to Christianity because it gives clear answers and guidance on who we are, what condition we are in, and especially what we should do to be saved. For example, Christianity teaches that all mankind have fallen. This might appeal to a person who has seen and experienced a lot of that “fallenness”. If Christianity makes a claim about humanity which is widely unrealistic, then it should be reassessed. As my pastor father has repeatedly said, “If I find a better expression of and solution for situation of mankind, I will leave Christianity.”
All the same, this idea of questioning “faith” must be applied to all belief systems/worldviews, including that of naturalism and secular humanism. I am sarcastically sorry to say that many people have analyzed naturalism of various kinds and also found it wanting, deciding that Christianity is superior. How can it be? Are they just clinging to their need for religion as a psychological crutch? Perhaps yes, perhaps not. But just like there are various possible reasons for accepting or rejecting Christianity or the Baha’i faith, there are various possible rational reasons to reject naturalism, too. For example, many people do not think that naturalism can provide an adequate grounding for morality. Many people are unsatisfied with the statement that “the universe just is, and there’s nothing more to find out about apart from how it works.” Many people think secular humanism is the naïve product of well-sheltered, privileged Western intellectuals in ivory towers.

You see, Papalinton? There are many possible rational reasons why one might reject naturalism and embrace a certain belief system and religion other than it. Of course, you would disagree and contest the above list of reasons. That’s unsurprising, and that’s why we have debate. But the fact remains that the points above are issues of reasoned debate, and are not merely symptoms of an emotional clinging to superstition.

Is the aggressively competitive proselytizing campaign for the numbers of Muslim and christian souls in Africa the proper strategy for peace in the continent? Is the bloody battle and the deep religious divide between the Sunni rebels and the Shi'ia Allawite sect of President Bashir al-Assad in Syria to be regarded as a justified reason for maintaining religious exclusivism?
Surely we can do better than this. Or do we continue to bury our heads in our respective theistic sandpit?


The answer to most of these questions is “I don’t know” from my point, Papalinton, because these are questions to be asked of a political analyst. But I make two notes: firstly, your questions reek of Machiavellian pragmatism, that the ends justify the means. Even if proselytizing can cause tensions and conflict, does that justify the government prohibiting it? Do you not know what “rights” are? How would you react if we were to adopt an “inclusivist” attitude towards those who advocate female genital mutilation, for example? Secondly, your questions reek of naiveté, because it is impossible to suddenly stop maintaining an important doctrine such as religious exclusivism without inciting additional conflict along the way.

physphilmusic said...

As an atheist, or more philosophically correct, a methodological naturalist, I have no more insight into how one can resolve this issue. But I do not see any one religion being any answer. It hasn't in the past and it is unlikely to do so into the future.

Nobody thinks that merely forcefully imposing one religion on the entire world is going to solve the world’s political, social, and economic problems (unfortunately, many liberals seem to think that imposing their ideology on the world is going to do so). Do you think state-sponsored imposition of “no religion” is the answer? We’ve gone through that in the Soviet Union, Papalinton – with disastrous results. But religious exclusivism, if you are disturbed by it, is a truth. You know this from logic and philosophy. It is not a pragmatic claim about solving all the problems of the world. I’ve noticed that at this point you have somewhat diverted the conversation from being one about reason and religion to one about religion and the problems of the world.

So if religion cannot bring us peace, what use is it?

Look at your own words, Papalinton, and behold your own narrow-mindedness, your own naiveté and ingenuousness. This kind of talk is useless, because even if we can establish that religion is useless, what are we to do? Are we to eradicate it? How are we to go about doing that? Do you seriously think the bile and spleen emanating a John Loftus, a Paul Myers, a Richard Dawkins, or an Australian former secondary school teacher like you helps the world at all? Oh yes, why don’t we bring Dawkins to Syria to convince all Sunnis and Shias that their Islam is deluded, and that everything will be better if they all become atheists like himself. Indeed, indeed! The beauty of secularism! That all those acid-throwers, those suicide bombers, all those intolerant fundamentalists – how they will see the light of Science and Reason, and fight no more!

In short, I expected much more from a man claiming not to be predisposed to superstition, a man of reason and logic.

This talk is also false. I might ask the same questions – if democracy cannot bring us peace, what use is it? If morality cannot bring us peace, what use is it? If government cannot bring us peace, what use is it? If rational debate cannot bring us peace, what use is it? First, there are many uses of religion, even if it does not usher in world peace. I don’t need to suggest possible ones. Secondly, religion didn’t set out as a solution to world peace anyway, so assessing it by this factor would be categorically wrong.

As Professor Morris Cohen, American philosopher and professor of Law at City College of New York noted: "If religion cannot restrain evil, it cannot claim effective power for good."

And what is the rationale behind the utterance of this person? What does he really mean, anyway? Does he mean that if there is even a single iota of evil caused or not solved by religion, that effectively destroys all its other contributions of goodness? Or simply that the net result of religion must be goodness, not evil? Why isn’t it impossible for religion to be both a force of good and evil, which depends on the people professing it?

cl said...

Cale B.T.

PAPS: “I have directly engaged and refuted each purported claim made by believers. If that is not considered 'productive' then you operate with a definition that is alien to the conventional meaning of the word.”

Cale B.T.: "I don’t think this is true."

Why should you? In stark contrast to all that lipservice about rationality, evidence, etc., Paps failed to provide any evidence to support his claim. Therefore, a rational person is under no compulsion to accept.

However, here is evidence of Paps clearly dodging points, refusing to address issues, and obfuscating. Sure, Paps responds to each of Neil's comments, but a response isn't the same as a cogent rebuttal.

Papalinton said...

physphilmusic

Wow!. From such an auspicious posting that I regarded as a cogent and valuable discussion point, I am a little off-put by the balance of your input.

I'll come back to your Points 1 and 2 in a moment.

You say,"Beliefs in supernatural entities are usually difficult to prove or disprove. They are practically unverifiable." Yes I agree with you. But the more profound and deeper philosophical question is not whether a thing is possible, such as supernatural entities. many false things are possible. The question is whether there is any reason even to seriously consider the thing in the first place. if not, its possibility means nothing. The burden in on those that claim the existence of supernatural entities. And as you claim they are unverifiable they are therefore unknowable. But the unknowable and the non-existent are indistinguishable. Supernatural entities can be conceived [and we have countless examples] but they cannot be perceived.

You say, "But the fact remains that the points above are issues of reasoned debate, and are not merely symptoms of an emotional clinging to superstition."

This is where believers run off the rails. None of the issues you raise result from reasoned debate, and indeed they are classic cases of emotivism underpinned by superstition. The concept of 'fallen' is theological nonsense. If this were universally true the concept would be reflected in most if not all other religious experiences. Clearly that is not the case. And so that is a peculiar christian contrivance to explain Adam and Eve's expulsion from the garden of eden. Bu as the A&E story is just allegory, the notion of 'fallen' is just allegory. It is all an imagined construct.

You say, "Secondly, your questions reek of naiveté, because it is impossible to suddenly stop maintaining an important doctrine such as religious exclusivism without inciting additional conflict along the way". Obviously, the Baha'i have done so. Religious exclusivism is the most dangerous of human concepts. Such tribalism, sectarian gang mentality is the fundamental reason religion poisons everything. There will be no ecumenism or common good for humanity while ever this toxic predisposition remains.

You say, "Do you think state-sponsored imposition of “no religion” is the answer?" No. Not at all. But governments should remove itself from all religious activity. No more tax concessions, grants, property tax exemptions, stamp duty release. This would remove any potential conflict of interest in seeing religion having its snout and trotters in the public purse.

"So if religion cannot bring us peace, what use is it?' I see you agree with me, religion can never bring us peace, and I note that you inform religion was never in the business of bringing us peace. And because 'religious exclusivism' is a fundamental tenet of religious faith, you are telling us that we should all be prepared to continue as we are, having wars, christian ethnic cleansing crimes against humanity in Yugoslavia, etc etc. I can see how this scenario would suit you down to the ground, physphilmusic, because it seems to fit very well with your apocalyptic nihilist perspective.

CONT.

Papalinton said...

CONT.
You go on, "This talk is also false. I might ask the same questions – if democracy cannot bring us peace, what use is it? If morality cannot bring us peace, what use is it? If government cannot bring us peace, what use is it? If rational debate cannot bring us peace, what use is it? " Has it ever occurred to you that religion is the singular significant factor in all of these? This If governments and more broadly democracy is represented by George Bush:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/oct/07/iraq.usa

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOTkVhfMWcw

Morality cannot give us peace because of its christian [religious] underpinnings. How does one have a rational debate with adherents of superstitious supernaturalism?

Yes, christian theism is clearly the last vestigial remnant of the infancy of our prehistoric past. Once humanity makes that gradual step and set asides old boogey-men and ghosts and things that go bump in the night, there is no question that progress in the betterment of the human condition will not only continue but accelerate.

Now back to points 1 and 2. Your list of possible reasons why Christians can reject other faiths, including Baha'i, and that atheism is a belief system, are in one word, asinine. You see, physphilmusic, an atheist is not a person who knows too little about religion. An atheist is a person who knows too much about religion. In terms of your religious exclusivism, physphilmusic, the historical record of christian theism has clearly demonstrated that the first reaction to human difference is usually conversion or extermination. The second reaction is segregation. Only the last reaction is toleration. Christian theism has a long and rocky road to reach unconditional toleration. That is what I work towards.

physphilmusic said...

The question is whether there is any reason even to seriously consider the thing in the first place. if not, its possibility means nothing. The burden in on those that claim the existence of supernatural entities. And as you claim they are unverifiable they are therefore unknowable. But the unknowable and the non-existent are indistinguishable. Supernatural entities can be conceived [and we have countless examples] but they cannot be perceived.

You would do good to read my post, Papalinton. I was clearly talking in the context of interfaith discussion. I meant that if Muslims believe the Quran came directly from Allah, and Christians believe Jesus was born of a virgin and did miracles, these are points which cannot be debated rationally (have you tried talking to a Muslim?). Of course for an atheist, these claims would be ludicrous, so a religious person would not point to them to argue for the plausibility of his religion. Instead, a religious person would point to more definite, arguable points which his religion says about the universe and humanity.

The concept of 'fallen' is theological nonsense. If this were universally true the concept would be reflected in most if not all other religious experiences. Clearly that is not the case.

OK, Papalinton, you’ve got an argument here. Let’s examine it.

You’re basically arguing:
1. If A is true, A would be reflected in all religions.
2. A is not reflected in all religions, but only in one religion (Christianity).
3. Hence A is false.

May I ask what’s the justification for premise 1? Why would a universal truth be perceivable by all religions? How about we modify A to A’, where A’ is “The supernatural exists”. So the arguments goes like this:

1. If A’ is true, A’ would be reflected in all religions.
2. A’ is reflected in all religions (i.e., virtually all religions teach that the supernatural exist, although they may disagree about its content and rules).
3. Hence A’ is true (i.e., the supernatural exists.)

Would you accept the second argument about A’? Why or why not?
It’s also possible that you think 2) is a necessary but insufficient criterion, but I have yet to hear any good reason for that. Please enlighten us.

Obviously, the Baha'i have done so. [rejected religious exclusivism]

Yes, Papalinton, they have. And there are a whopping 5-6 million Baha’i adherents in the world. Christianity has, hmm, almost 2 billion? Not to mention over 1 billion Muslims. As I’ve strongly implied before, we MUST realize that there is a great difference between:

1. It would be better if everyone in the world were to adopt a set of beliefs C and reject their currently held belief D.

and

1’. It is actually feasible that everyone in the world were to adopt a set of beliefs C and reject their currently held belief D.

These are two very simple matters which you seem to conflate consistently. Which leads us to your next sentence:

physphilmusic said...

Religious exclusivism is the most dangerous of human concepts. Such tribalism, sectarian gang mentality is the fundamental reason religion poisons everything.

Yes, yes, Papalinton. By your thinking, many things “poison everything”, because they all encourage tribalism. Religion is just one factor. Government is another one, much more significant. Race, ethnicity, ideology, even intellectual positions – these all “poison everything”! Essentially, Papalinton, you have just observed that differences of any kind between groups have the possibility of creating tension and even conflict. This is reflected even in the in-house discussions of the Gnu atheists: Myers and Coyne often have “tribal tension” with the so-called accommodationists. Now, these people are for the most part ivory tower academics living off federal funds. Imagine if they were given power, money, and an army – I do not think violence would be far off. Don’t you agree with me that if no one in the world was Christian, Muslim, or atheist, but all adherents of the peaceful Baha’i faith, the world would be a much better place?

Sadly, that is not feasible, Papalinton, because many people like me, are convinced of the truth of their religion after examining it. Not because we just like to piss people off. But because I happen to think the truth is more important than nebulous goals such as "world peace".

There will be no ecumenism or common good for humanity while ever this toxic predisposition remains.

That’s probably true, Papalinton. The question is, is it possible for “this toxic predisposition” to ever be eradicated? What evidence do you have to support this, Papalinton? Seven thousand years of human history are behind me in seeing that humanity will always be in one kind of conflict or another. No, education will not “lift” the world from superstition – even at this very moment, the number of Christians and Muslims in the world is growing by the tens of thousands daily. The only places where atheism and secularism is growing are in European countries – countries with low birth rates, which are welcoming hordes of religious immigrants from the Third World. I do not see atheism has much future, even if we grant for the sake of argument that its adoption can solve a lot of problems.

So Papalinton, based on evidence and reasoned argument, I think the more rational position to take is “There will never be full ecumenism or common good for humanity, ever.”

And because 'religious exclusivism' is a fundamental tenet of religious faith, you are telling us that we should all be prepared to continue as we are, having wars, christian ethnic cleansing crimes against humanity in Yugoslavia, etc etc. I can see how this scenario would suit you down to the ground, physphilmusic, because it seems to fit very well with your apocalyptic nihilist perspective.

That’s right Papalinton, because I’m realistic and rational. Again, I emphasize: there is a difference between wishing that A were true, such that the world would be a better place, and actually coming up with feasible strategies to make A true. The latter is often impossible, especially in the fantasy known as world peace. Seriously, what difference would it make if I were to agree with you, and declare that religion must be eradicated? Even if you managed to make it so that the government (of Australia, I suppose) “removes itself from all religious activity”, that would be no closer to solving the problems you mentioned. I do not think the terrible power of Islam would be dulled at all if governments were to restrain from supporting it – after a certain critical mass of conservative Muslims, they will simply take over the government by force.

physphilmusic said...

Has it ever occurred to you that religion is the singular significant factor in all of these? This If governments and more broadly democracy is represented by George Bush
No, Papalinton, religion is NOT the “singular, significant factor” in ALL of these. That is simply proven false by numerous examples. Such as: Stalin and Trotsky had a bloody conflict, despite the fact that neither were particularly religious. Mao Zedong warred against Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, with the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution as its bright, red results, despite that both were non-theistic communists. If you have studied history, Papalinton, you should know that there is usually no “singular, significant factor” to most events of history – even the Crusades and the Inquisition was not solely motivated by religious fervor. Yes, Papalinton, even 9/11 was not motivated by only religious fervor. The only real common factor is probably that they are all humans, and they had power and means.

…there is no question that progress in the betterment of the human condition will not only continue but accelerate.
Evidence, please. Argument. This is just a fantasy, Papalinton. The countries of northern Europe are decidedly more irreligious compared to America, yet their science output per capita is much lower.

Your list of possible reasons why Christians can reject other faiths, including Baha'i, and that atheism is a belief system, are in one word, asinine.

With regards to the “possible reasons why one can reject other faiths”, it does not matter the least bit if they are asinine. That is your opinion, after all – the opinion of someone who has a surprisingly dogmatic faith in matters like how to better humanity. What I was trying to achieve was simply to show that it is possible for one person to choose a religion and belief system over another due to apparently rational reasons, as opposed to subjective religious experiences and cultural pressures. The keyword is apparently rational, because of course you and I will disagree whether those reasons are good or not. What’s important is that you and I will agree that that person is not basing his decision on simply his transient feelings.

With regards to the second matter of whether “atheism is a belief system”, I’m sorry Papalinton, but a mere assertion that my arguments are foolish, and that you, as an atheist, “know too much about religion”, is not enough to defeat it. You actually have to examine my arguments and show me where they are wrong. Weren’t you a school teacher? Didn’t you teach your students to do this? Or did years of working for the federal government dull your intellectual capabilities? I don’t know, perhaps in Australia one can rebut arguments by simply asserting that they are asinine, but that will not do here.

You see, physphilmusic, an atheist is not a person who knows too little about religion. An atheist is a person who knows too much about religion.

They seem to know too much, but not enough to realize that “world peace” and “oneness of humanity” are as imagined constructs as any other ideas. Do you not realize how religious you sound in asserting your faith in the betterment of humanity? You dare call my reasons “asinine”? You, an Australian man who has lived in a first world country for most of your life, whose worst experiences of “oppression” are probably just fundamentalists trying to get government funds?

Christian theism has a long and rocky road to reach unconditional toleration. That is what I work towards.

We all work towards that, Papalinton. It’s just that I am more realistic about what to expect. Which is to say, I don’t think that 1) the elimination of religion is feasible at all, nor that 2) the elimination of religion will solve most of the world’s problems. Clearly you should seek to eliminate government and power first, if that’s even logically possible.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Alan Watts, a writer on eastern and western spiritualities noted somewhat poetically:

Faith is an openness and trusting attitude to truth and reality, whatever it may turn out to be. This is a risky and adventurous state of mind.

Belief, in the religious sense, is the opposite of faith-because it is a fervent wishing or hope, a compulsive clinging to the idea that the universe is arranged and governed in such and such a way.

Belief is holding to a rock; faith is learning how to swim-and this whole universe swims in boundless space.

B. Prokop said...

"You see, physphilmusic, an atheist is not a person who knows too little about religion. An atheist is a person who knows too much about religion."

Here's a great example of what's so screamingly funny about most of Papalinton's postings. He never seems to have the faintest clue that they are mostly himself looking at himself in the mirror. In this case, it is all to easy to say, You see, Papalinton, a theist is not a person who knows too little about atheism. A theist is a person who knows too much about atheism.

But even funnier is the following: "Once humanity makes that gradual step and set asides old boogey-men and ghosts and things that go bump in the night, there is no question that progress in the betterment of the human condition will not only continue but accelerate. Now where have I heard something like that before?... Let me think... Oh, right! I think it went something like this! "Once the proletariat gain control of the means of production, then Mankind will enter in a Golden Age of peace and prosperity!"

physphilmusic said...

Oh, I'm fine with Papalinton gushing platitudes affirming his strong belief that religion is the main obstacle to human progress. It doesn't matter if they evoke ghastly memories of communism. The important thing is whether he has evidence and good reason to support this belief. Even showing that religion is no more than false superstition is not enough to establish that. Otherwise Papalinton will have to admit that his belief is just another form of that dreaded f-word - FAITH.

Papalinton said...

"The question is whether there is any reason .... "
I agree with you No interfaith discussion can ever be rational with the obstinacy of competing mythologies. And you are correct, to an atheist they are ludicrous, But not as a result of being an atheist. Most atheists came to the realisation of the insupportable nature of christian theism when they were practicing believers. The more definite arguable points you allude to but not exemplify, about the universe and humanity of those I am familiar, have largely been as theologically founded as the balance of the mythos. Here, I think of Kalam, theologized Big Bang, 'fallenness', creationism, the god-tweaked cosmological constants, and theologized evolution, the wedge of intelligent design, irreducible complexity etc etc. none of which have ventured as a prospective hypothesis beyond the confines of religious philosophy.

"The concept of 'fallen' is theological ...."
Yes, and a good argument, though you inflate my argument little; though I do recal saying, 'most if not all religions' rather than 'all' religions. The justification for Premise 1? It would account for the universality, or close to, the concept of 'fallenness' of humankind about which you seem convinced afflict all of humankind. The idea of transposing 'fallenness' with 'supernaturalism' contributes nothing to mitigating my claim. Rather lends support for my contention as one would be hard-pressed to cite a religion that dos not universally include supernaturalism as a fundamental tenet. Though some say Lao-Tzu-ism and Buddhism do not deal with the supernatural. However, the concept of rebirth and reincarnation depending on Karma depends on how generous or miserly one defines 'supernaturalism'.
Simply the claim all humans are 'fallen' on the say-so of an ancient manuscript, on which other manuscripts make no mention or a re contra, is sufficient to reject the claim as provincial as best.

"Obviously, the Baha'i have done so. [rejected religious exclusivism] "
"And there are a whopping 5-6 million Baha’i adherents in the world. Christianity has, hmm, almost 2 billion? Not to mention over 1 billion Muslims" So might is right? The bigger the righter, right? Then the point is sadly missed. My suggestion is that a successful ecumenical model, one fashioned on tolerance and which acknowledges differences, [I know the concept of tolerance is a very difficult one for christian believers as yourself] that perhaps a genuine glimpse at the model may indeed help humanity to explore ways of circumventing the bloody tribal characteristics of the various dogmas. Surely that would be in the interests of society, no?


"Religion is just one factor. Government is another one, much more significant. Race, ethnicity, ideology, even intellectual positions - these all “poison everything""

No. Each of these are underwritten by a worldview, which in most cases is ostensibly 'rationalized' through religious content. For example, Black Africans were rationalized as Sons of Ham, to be forever identified following Yahweh's displeasure. The question of differences should never be a justification for sectarian intransigence and belligerence. Such religious mentality will surely consign human relations to the lowest levels of pious insouciance.

CONT.

Papalinton said...

CONT.
"So Papalinton, based on evidence and reasoned argument, I think the more rational position to take is, “There will never be full ecumenism or common good for humanity, ever.”
So your argument, 'better to propagate sectarian exclusivism' rather than mitigate that which divide us, seems not so much a reasoned argument but a capitulation or surrender to perpetual separatism as public policy. Hardly a reasoned ethical, moral stance or an appropriate policy choice I would have thought, and hardly evidence for justifying the status quo.

"And because 'religious exclusivism' is a fundamental tenet ... "
It seems to me that the pursuit of the 'fantasy known as world peace' as you call indifferently call it, is an orders-of-magnitude more honorable goal to strive for rather than unholy global competition in a race to the bottom with Islam.

"Has it ever occurred to you that religion is the singular significant factor ..."
All that stuff about Stalin and Mao, is irrelevant and hyperbole. And are you seriously suggesting the inquisition, Crusades and 9/11 was not motivated by religious extremism? I think you have been reading to many Apologetical comics.

"Christian theism has a long and rocky road .... "
You say,"We all work towards that, Papalinton." No. All that you write indicates either, religious exclusivism is a fundamental right that supersedes the striving for 'world peace' and by inference, world peace can only be achieved by the universal acceptance of the christian mythos. I would hardly call your effort a striving for world peace at all. In fact it isn't even a call of any sort of peace at all while ever the christian mythos is unable to achieve world domination. That is what you are perpetuating, championing primitive tribal religious exclusivism at the expense of broader human well-being. And just to reiterate your sentiment, christianity [religion] was never about finding world peace. How can I argue with that. It is precisely the message I have been debating all along.

Papalinton said...

Sheesh! I should proofread with a little more concentration.

Papalinton said...

Ed
"Belief, in the religious sense, is the opposite of faith-because it is a fervent wishing or hope, a compulsive clinging to the idea that the universe is arranged and governed in such and such a way. "

I reiterate< "If one has Faith, knowledge is lacking. If one has knowledge, Faith is unnecessary."—David Eller.

Papalinton said...

Bob
" I think it went something like this! "Once the proletariat gain control of the means of production, then Mankind will enter in a Golden Age of peace and prosperity!"

Richard Dawkins - The Magic of Reality
http://www.boreme.com/posting.php?id=30731

(At 8:39) "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man" The quote is attributed to founder of the Jesuits, St Francis Xavier and is unfortunately, pretty accurate. It's how religion, however daft the claims, maintains its existence. Richard Dawkins' new book "The Magic of Reality" counters the stories and myths we feed our kids with facts, just in case they don't grow out of them when rational thinking kicks in.

physphilmusic said...

Most atheists came to the realisation of the insupportable nature of christian theism when they were practicing believers.

Another smug unsupported assertion, Papalinton, but one that is irrelevant, so I will ignore it.

Here, I think of Kalam, theologized Big Bang, 'fallenness', creationism, the god-tweaked cosmological constants, and theologized evolution, the wedge of intelligent design, irreducible complexity etc etc. none of which have ventured as a prospective hypothesis beyond the confines of religious philosophy.

Again, this is actually irrelevant, if I were to strictly stick to what I had set out to prove in the first place – simply that it is perfectly possible, conceivable, and feasible for a Christian to reject other religions based on apparently rational reasons. The actual veracity of those reasons doesn’t matter.

But still, the statement above, depending on what you mean by “religious philosophy”, is either a tautology or blatantly false. If by religious philosophy you mean the philosophy of religion, then your statement is a trivial tautology which adds nothing to the debate, since any discussion of those ideas you mentioned would by definition fall into the “confines of religious philosophy.” If on the other hand, by religious philosophy you mean philosophy as practiced by Christians, that is false, because at this very moment there is a considerable number of atheistic philosophers such as Michael Martin, Michael Tooley, and Quentin Smith, all of whom have built careers attempting to refute those arguments. The fact that a large number of atheist academics are willing to debate William Craig instead of dismissing him as a crackpot shows that there are people who do think seriously about those arguments, even if they may reject them, or think that they are not good arguments at all.

The justification for Premise 1? It would account for the universality, or close to, the concept of 'fallenness' of humankind about which you seem convinced afflict all of humankind.

You’re being muddled here. You use a bait-and-switch in the meaning of the world “universality”. There is a difference between “Universality of the fallenness of mankind” and “Universality of the concept of the fallenness of mankind”. Premise 1 is the general proposition that

1. If A is true, A would be reflected in most religions.

which in this particular case is that “A” is the proposition “All mankind are fallen and depraved.”
You seem to be saying that premise 1 is justified in the case of this special A, because if mankind are fallen and depraved they would all know it. But is there any good reason why this should be true? After all, you believe that the supernatural does not exist and those who believe in it are deluded. By your same standard, all religions should be aware of this “universal deludedness of mankind” and start rectifying it. Yet that does not happen. There is no reason to think that the only truths to be found in religion are those which are common to all religions, any more than to think that the only moral truths are those accepted by all civilizations and all ethical systems.

physphilmusic said...

Simply the claim all humans are 'fallen' on the say-so of an ancient manuscript, on which other manuscripts make no mention or a re contra, is sufficient to reject the claim as provincial as best.

No. Who said anything about justifying the concept of fallenness by pointing to the Bible? Strawman. And by the way, even if all religious manuscripts in the world share some common teachings, that is not sufficient reason to declare that those common teachings are true. We have to examine them case by case.
What I said was that a person reads that Christianity teaches that “mankind is fallen”. Such a person also learns that the Baha’i faith teaches something about “world peace” and the “oneness of humanity”. The said person observes the world around him, is convinced that the Baha’i faith is fantasy, and then decides that it is more rational to become a Christian.

So might is right? The bigger the righter, right? Then the point is sadly missed.

No. Again you misunderstand me. I meant that the Baha’i faith has been a whopping failure in the quasi-Darwinian race of religions to gain adherents, and it doesn’t seem to be succeeding any time soon. Thus any claims of theoretical superiority on the part of the faith is irrevocably dulled by the fact that the faith doesn’t seem to be appealing to most people, and so it is impotent as a “solution” to the “problem” of religious exclusivism.

the model may indeed help humanity to explore ways of circumventing the bloody tribal characteristics of the various dogmas

This is again irrelevant, Papalinton. Your model doesn’t “help humanity” at all (how pretentious!), because it’s not practical. Of course the world would be a much more peaceful place if everyone held hands together and sing Kumbaya. (It would also be a very idiotic one too). The bad news is, the world just isn’t like that. We have to achieve “tolerance” in different ways, not by pressuring everyone to adopt the Baha’i faith.
And religions adopt their dogma because they really believe their God teaches it. Even atheists have dogma – you probably believe in dogma such as “torturing babies is wrong” or “patriarchy is evil”. Everyone I know, including myself, like to delude themselves that they are "open-minded".

No. Each of these are underwritten by a worldview, which in most cases is ostensibly 'rationalized' through religious content.

Yes, but rationalization happens both ways. A person can hate black people, and lead him to accept interpretations of the Bible which endorse racism. In fact I believe this kind of rationalization happens more often. Furthermore, a worldview is often influenced much more by tribalism, lust of power, sense of intellectual superiority, etc., just as much as it is by religion. Religion is just one factor.

And by the way, congratulations for acknowledging that worldviews exist. So I suppose Stalin’s body count of tens of millions of people was the product of a worldview which was surely influenced by atheism? Great.

physphilmusic said...

For example, Black Africans were rationalized as Sons of Ham, to be forever identified following Yahweh's displeasure.

It is stupid to suggest that racism-endorsing interpretations of the Bible were the main factor in perpetuating slavery of Africans. Really stupid. It probably was a secondary factor, but more than offset by the legions of people who adamantly believed that the Bible was against slavery. The slave traders DID NOT open the Bible, saw the bit about the Sons of Ham, and said “Hey John, the Bible says black people are to be punished! Let’s stop taking Russian slaves and take African ones instead!” Rather people had traded African slaves for a long time and then tried to use anything in the Bible to justify it.

So your argument, 'better to propagate sectarian exclusivism' rather than mitigate that which divide us, seems not so much a reasoned argument but a capitulation or surrender to perpetual separatism as public policy.

If you think that the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world will openly embrace the Baha’i faith once the Great Enlightened Australian Prophet Papalinton preaches it to them to enlighten their minds, then by all means, go on deluding yourself…
It seems to me that the pursuit of the 'fantasy known as world peace' as you call indifferently call it, is an orders-of-magnitude more honorable goal to strive for rather than unholy global competition in a race to the bottom with Islam.

Trying to build a perpetual machine is also an honorable goal, Papalinton. Only that it’s stupid.
I don’t object to world peace per se – I just think your implicitly proposed methods of achieving it (i.e. by making everyone convert to the Baha’i faith, or maybe by making them atheists if that fails), are not realistic. Diplomacy is a better bet.

And are you seriously suggesting the inquisition, Crusades and 9/11 was not motivated by religious extremism?

Homework: Read the history of the Crusades. I don’t even profess to be particularly well-read about it – I just learned enough about it in high school to appreciate that religious extremism is more often than not merely a veneer, pawn, or catalyst to justify and satiate lusts of power and glory. Even if it were a significant factor, there is a whole set of other factors which more than offset any need to bash religion in particular.

Islamic fundamentalism played a huge role in 9/11, but it is not the only factor. You’re sounding like a neocon now.

That is what you are perpetuating, championing primitive tribal religious exclusivism at the expense of broader human well-being.
Religious exclusivism is a truth claim, and so first and foremost I am utterly unconcerned about its effects, because I care about the damned truth. Surely you would understand this, as an atheist – would you believe in a religion, even if psychologists say doing so will make you feel better? No, because you sincerely believe that religion is false. Secondly, it is better to champion things which are realistic and supported by a wealth of historical evidence rather than to work towards a nebulous, fantastical idea of world peace which might actually result in more deaths and suffering “for the greater good”.

physphilmusic said...

Lastly, I remind you Papalinton, that basically the two original assertions I argued for, namely:
1. Almost all atheists have a belief system just like any non-atheist

2. It is possible for a Christian (or any religious person) to reject or accept a belief system based on apparently rational reasons.

have not been contested. I take it that I have satisfactorily answered your original complaints about


a. The issue of faith. Is it socio- or culturo-centric or is it by divine intervention. Why would christianity not embrace Baha'i with its wonderfully universal appeal?
b. Believers tell me atheism is a belief system. Provide me with a model of an atheism belief system. The operative word here is 'system'.

Papalinton said...

physphilmusic
I have enjoyed our little discussion. It is thoroughly disappointing that my rebuttals of your two original assertions:
1. Almost all atheists have a belief system just like any non-atheist, and

2. It is possible for a Christian (or any religious person) to reject or accept a belief system based on apparently rational reasons,

remain uncontested. While ever one continues to imagine faeries at the bottom of the garden and of things that go bump in the night, it seems one will never possess the intellectual capacity to appreciate that religion is just another domain of human culture, not a superhuman one and not even an independent one. Religion [christianity] is the dependent variable to the independent variables of everyday social and physical reality. The seminal German philosopher, Ernst Cassirer, in "An Essay on Man", premises his analysis of religion on its self-evident falseness and contingency: "Religion claims to be in possession of an absolute truth; but its history is a history of errors and heresies. It gives us the promise and prospect of a transcendent world - far beyond the limits of human experience - and it remains human, all too human." [1954: 97-8]

Dr Suzanne Langer, American philosopher and educator who wrote extensively on linguistic analysis and aesthetics, particularly on the use of symbolism and myth throughout the bible in her seminal "Philosophy in a New Key", ends up in the same place. Of myths she writes, "No sane human being, however simple, could easily 'suppose' such events to occur; and clearly, in enjoying this sort of story nobody is trying to 'suppose' anything" [1942: 140]. Myth, "this remarkable form of nonsense," is not to be taken literally but to be interpreted symbolically. It is a kind of language emitted by a kind of mind, but a non-rational, non-discursive, and certainly not 'true' kind of language. Myth or religious language in general is metaphorical, metaphor being "the law of growth of every semantic."[119] She quotes Cailliet who called mythical thinking "vegetative thought", that overgrowth of images and meaning which she characterizes as "a rampant confusion of metaphorical meanings clinging to every symbol, sometimes to the complete obscurance of any reasonable literal meaning" [120-1].

I am reminded of Dr David Eller on the social imperative of religion, it appears that , "when you believe, you believe together, but when you think, you think alone."

I cannot respond further to your version of pop theism as it is simply too taxing to sort the nonsense from the nonsense.

Cheers

B. Prokop said...

"Simply the claim all humans are 'fallen' on the say-so of an ancient manuscript, on which other manuscripts make no mention or a re contra, is sufficient to reject the claim as provincial as best."

Sorry, guys, but I cannot resist answering this one.

Papalinton, I've posted on this topic previously. I will here reiterate. The Fall of Man is possibly the one Christian doctrine that can be empirically demonstrated. One does not have to refer to an "ancient manuscript" to perceive its truth - all one has to do is look around.

Papalinton said...

"Papalinton, I've posted on this topic previously. I will here reiterate. The Fall of Man is possibly the one Christian doctrine that can be empirically demonstrated. One does not have to refer to an "ancient manuscript" to perceive its truth - all one has to do is look around."

I look around and I see the human condition, natural, physical, painful and joyous. I discern no 'fall of man'. And as you are clearly demonstrating the act of looking around is not an empirical demonstration of the 'fall of man' no matter how hard one squints one's eyes. If it were empirical I would see it as you see it, but i don't. Should I ask a Hindi or a Buddhist, or a Rosicrucian about the 'fall of man', I'll wager they won't even know what the hell I or you'd be talking about. So much for the empirical claim.

No, Bob, the 'fall of man' is an exclusively parochial and illiberal christian religious concept with no empirical justification whatever. It is fully an unadulterated appeal to abject emotivism of the most unsophisticated kind. There are innumerable ideational concepts, the 'fall of man' being just one example, that can be conceived [history is replete with them] but can never be perceived. As the name suggests, concepts are conceived but they cannot be perceived without causal stimulation of the senses. Believers tell me their god is unknowable. But the unknowable and the non-existent are indistinguishable.

I am reminded of the original epigraph from Cicero, De natura deorum I.30 and reads, in rough translation: "How much more fitting it would have been, Velleius, for you to have confessed your ignorance of the things of which you were ignorant, than to have spouted the nonsense you did, and aroused your own disgust." For a discussion of the epigraphs and their significance see Stephen Buckle, ‘British Sceptical Realism: A Fresh Look at the British Tradition’, European Journal of Philosophy 7 (1999), 1-29.

physphilmusic said...

While ever one continues to imagine faeries at the bottom of the garden and of things that go bump in the night, it seems one will never possess the intellectual capacity to appreciate that religion is just another domain of human culture, not a superhuman one and not even an independent one. Religion [christianity] is the dependent variable to the independent variables of everyday social and physical reality.

That’s fine for you to believe. I wasn’t trying to prove the veracity of the supernatural elements of religion. I’m not interested in your monologue of the intellectual superiority your own worldview, which by the way sounds just as intolerant, condescending, and exclusivist (“Only I’m rational! You religious people all don’t have the INTELLECTUELL CAPACITEH!”) as any other religious worldview you criticize.

Furthermore, your comment that religion is merely part of human culture kind of weakens your original idiotic assertions that it somehow plays a disproportionate role in causing evil in history.

"No sane human being, however simple, could easily 'suppose' such events to occur; and clearly, in enjoying this sort of story nobody is trying to 'suppose' anything"

Quoting random intellectuals talking in the 1940s who happen to think religious people are “insane” without justification doesn’t really help your case in this debate, Papalinton, other than to help you reassure yourself in your own faith that you are intellectually superior to all religious people. Dawkins, by the way, begs to differ from purely mythical interpretations of the Bible – he thinks the Bible should be interpreted literally.

I am reminded of Dr David Eller on the social imperative of religion, it appears that , "when you believe, you believe together, but when you think, you think alone."

Again, this statement is nothing more than vacuous, nebulous self-reassuring bullshit. It only acts as a platform for people to start their bait-and-switch of what constitutes a “belief” and what constitutes a “thought”. I suppose you would consider your atheism a “thought”? How about your moral realism? Your belief that the Baha’i faith is the answer to all of the world’s problems?

I cannot respond further to your version of pop theism as it is simply too taxing to sort the nonsense from the nonsense.

And this is where you lift up your hands in defeat because you’re unable to deal with a person who actually takes each of your points and rebuts them seriously. This is fighting withdrawal. You call it “pop theism” and think you’ve won some kind of little rhetorical victory there? Let me remind you that you have still yet to justify several of your main points, such as the premise that “If A is true, A must be reflected in most religions.”

Your belief that religion is the singular, significant factor in historical events such as slavery and the Crusades has been exposed as wrong and idiotic. But I think your motivation for persisting in believing such unsophisticated nonsense is your deep-seated hatred towards anything religious. I try my best not to make my sympathies towards religion to affect my reasoning – for example, I accept that religious factors have often exacerbated divisions and incited conflict – but on the other hand, you seem to be content with hammering your belief that “Christians have difficulty understanding the idea of tolerance” and the underlying current that “You’re all just blindly clinging to your psychological tendencies for believing in ‘things that go bump in the night’”.

physphilmusic said...

You offer the Baha’i faith as a “model” for ecumenical harmony. I don’t necessarily reject that – it’s just that your model is nothing more than an idealized construction in your own mind, since religious exclusivism has always been a feature of many religions, and indeed it seems that exclusivism is a very important factor in determining success in the Darwinian competition of the religious marketplace. Nobody wants to adopt the Baha’i faith, probably because not everyone share its ostensibly rosy and superoptimistic view of the universe.

If it were empirical I would see it as you see it, but i don't. Should I ask a Hindi or a Buddhist, or a Rosicrucian about the 'fall of man', I'll wager they won't even know what the hell I or you'd be talking about. So much for the empirical claim.

Papalinton, humanity is not a dead, simple thing like an atom or pseudoscalar boson – it is a complex object for which we don’t have yet a rigorous scientific tool to examine it with. Hence it’s nothing outrageous if people disagree, even sharply, about the nature of humanity. A Hindi or Buddhist would not agree with the “fall of man”, for the reason that they are Hindi or Buddhist. Why did they not see the “fall of man” and adopt Christianity? Maybe because their life experiences are different, more positive. Maybe because that person happens to be more optimistic in general. It doesn’t matter where the belief came from: the fact is that we draw different conclusions about the universe based on our everyday common sense and reasoning which directs in deciding which belief system to adopt.

Believers tell me their god is unknowable. But the unknowable and the non-existent are indistinguishabl

Christians don’t say that their god is unknowable. Christians believe that you can know the Christian god through various means, including natural theology.

physphilmusic said...

It is thoroughly disappointing that my rebuttals of your two original assertions remain uncontested.

This is blatantly dishonest, Papalinton. First of all, you have never “rebutted” my explanation of why atheists have a belief system like any other religious person – all you did was offer vacuous quotations such as

You see, physphilmusic, an atheist is not a person who knows too little about religion. An atheist is a person who knows too much about religion.

Quotations like these are literally worthless, because 1) You haven’t any empirical, statistical support for your assertion, and 2) Even if your statement were true, it is unclear how it would work towards defeating my contention. You’ve falsely accused me of justifying a proposition by quoting ancient manuscripts, yet you’ve relied a lot yourself on quoting random professors to try to make a point.

Secondly, I have rebutted your attempt to justify your belief that basically “Only universal religious truths are true”. You have not answered that adequately at all. To put it simply, universal truths are not necessarily universally grasped by all humans. For example, most of the world’s cultures have thought that there is nothing wrong with enslaving other people, and so it is a nearly-universally held belief, and yet you wouldn’t dream of affirming that as a truth. The same goes for human rights – only the Western world seems to really believe in it, and yet you wouldn’t regard it as some kind of fantasy. This is a point you cannot escape from.

Papalinton said...
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Papalinton said...
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Papalinton said...

In weighing up the discussion between two participants, one needs to ask, who would it be that is more sensible and rational with their explanations? One who believes in the practice of superstition or one who lives through practical naturalism?

You seem to forget, physphilmusic, it is you, not me, that states as fact a dead putrescent corpse rotting in the desert sun got up and walked around. It is you that claims that parthenogenesis is a fact, despite the mountain of contrary evidence since recorded time. It is you that tells me talking snakes exist and a burning bush can talks. It is you that states for a fact that a person can walk on water. It is you that states for a fact that a 3-in-1 unnatural entity exists. Tell me again about the fact of the five fishes and loaves, or the factual claims of an Exodus of some 600,000 people wandering over Sinai for 40 years, the parting of the Red Sea, levitation, walking through wall, bedeviled swine running off into the sea, the withering of the cured fruit tree? etc etc.

These are the existential foundations of your beliefs. Without these you would be nothing, right?
I can only reiterate:

Dr Suzanne Langer, American philosopher and educator who wrote extensively on linguistic analysis and aesthetics, particularly on the use of symbolism and myth throughout the bible in her seminal "Philosophy in a New Key", ends up in the same place. Of myths she writes, "No sane human being, however simple, could easily 'suppose' such events to occur; and clearly, in enjoying this sort of story nobody is trying to 'suppose' anything" [1942: 140]. Myth, "this remarkable form of nonsense," is not to be taken literally but to be interpreted symbolically. It is a kind of language emitted by a kind of mind, but a non-rational, non-discursive, and certainly not 'true' kind of language. Myth or religious language in general is metaphorical, metaphor being "the law of growth of every semantic."[119] She quotes Cailliet who called mythical thinking "vegetative thought", that overgrowth of images and meaning which she characterizes as "a rampant confusion of metaphorical meanings clinging to every symbol, sometimes to the complete obscurance of any reasonable literal meaning" [120-1].

On the basis of the above information I further ask myself, how do I ague against a delusional stance? How can I argue with an interlocutor who is unable to differentiate between fact and fiction? How can I engage in discourse with one who cannot distinguish between metaphor, allegory, symbols, myth and reality, and the necessity to make those distinctions clearly in the interest of reasoned and logical exchange? I am unable.
CONT.

Papalinton said...

CONT.
physphilmusic, you have failed miserably to cogently put together an argument that could be considered with merit. Your original response to me was a promising glimmer of reasoned analysis and apposite query with some good questions. It speedily descended into pious drivel where proofs, evidence and fact were consigned to the Apologetical waste bin. For that I am deeply disappointed.

I am reminded of the spurious and destructive nature of 'christian faith' by W T Root, American professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. In a survey of 1,916 prison inmates, Root found that almost none were nonreligious. (According to the US Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1997, 0.2% of the inmates were atheists. The 2011 the American Religious Identification Survey found that just under 20% of the US population were nonreligious.) It seems 'faith', christian faith in this instance, has no influence on personal moral and ethical governance. Indeed, one can seriously question and ask, "If religion worked, would the religious sin?" On the basis of his research he is famously noted for inferring, and correctly I say, "Indifference to religion, due to thought, strengthens character."

I add this material about Roots, physphilmusic, because it is emblematic of the very wide and substantial research sources available which add relevance to the notion that 'faith' [the focus of this OP], a faith, based on the fundamental elements of the christian mythos as I outlined above, cannot be a sustainable platform on which to ground your arguments. It is far too amorphous too indeterminate, too indiscriminate, to be of much value in support of your opinions. Your resort to pop philosophy and theological mysticism is much manifested throughout your subsequent responses.

Cheers

physphilmusic said...

Congratulations, Papalinton. You've finally cracked under the pressure and decided to take the "you're a deluded religious person, why should I argue with you?" You've degraded yourself to a mere polemicist who can do nothing but shout "You're stupid! You're stupid! You're stupid! You're stupid!"

These are the existential foundations of your beliefs. Without these you would be nothing, right?

Nothing? Nothing? By no means, Papalinton. You hardly even know me or how my beliefs work together. These are not the "foundations" of my beliefs. I hold to some version of Biblical infallibility, but it is not the cornerstone of Christianity.

On the basis of the above information I further ask myself, how do I ague against a delusional stance?

By employing logic and reason, of which you seem to have a limited capacity of.

How can I argue with an interlocutor who is unable to differentiate between fact and fiction?

I might ask the same question to you, since you've persistently refused to differentiate between idealized scenarios and practical solutions.

How can I engage in discourse with one who cannot distinguish between metaphor, allegory, symbols, myth and reality, and the necessity to make those distinctions clearly in the interest of reasoned and logical exchange? I am unable.

We HAVE NOT been talking about metaphor, allegory, or symbols in this discussion, Papalinton. We HAVE NOT. We have not debated any of the doctrines of Christianity. The "fall of man" was simply an example of Christian doctrine which one could sympathize with. So this is simply IRRELEVANT. Unless you believe that you have telepathic access to my mind such that you know how miserable my abilities are in understanding metaphor, your rant here is really inexplicable.

physphilmusic, you have failed miserably to cogently put together an argument that could be considered with merit.

You have no right to say this, Papalinton, as in this discussion, I have been the one attempting to analyze and rebut every point which you have said. I attempt to extract and guess the crux of your argument from the mountains of muddled anti-religious invective. I am the one who has been trying to debate by creating quasi-syllogisms, in order to make sure we proceed logically and rationally. On the other hand, since your post two exchanges ago you have made NO progress at all in responding to my rebuttals of your argument. You have NO RIGHT to call my argument "failed", because you have not demonstrated it rationally.

To back up the very paragraph above, I will recap, for the umpteenth time, the points which you have not addressed:
1. That we have good reason to believe that 1. If a religious truth A is true, it will be reflected in most religions.
2. That atheists have a belief system just like non-atheists (it doesn't matter whether you think your belief system is "superior" to religious people - I'm just saying that you have one).
3. That religion is not the "singular significant factor", responsible for the following things:
a. The enslavement of Africans
b. The Crusades

4. That the Baha'i faith is not a viable solution for world peace and religious exclusivism, as we cannot expect 2.5 billion Muslims and Christians to suddenly convert to a new religion,

5. That religious exclusivism is not unjustified, as it is a truth claim which its proponents sincerely believe.

physphilmusic said...

It speedily descended into pious drivel where proofs, evidence and fact were consigned to the Apologetical waste bin.

This is pure bullshit, of course. Where is my "pious drivel"? Quote it to me. Where did I preach to you to believe in God and accept Jesus Christ as your savior? Where did I quote any portion of the Bible? Where did I even give the slightest hint of using any common apologetical argument? Even when talking about the fall of man, I did not talking about it more than merely as a concept which some could accept, some could reject based on different circumstances.

I attempted to give proof and evidence. I gave arguments to respond to your assertion that Christianity is the major factor for causing slavery. I analyzed what you're saying by condensing it into a syllogism and contested its premises. You then responded, attempting to give a justification for premise 1. I then wrote a rebuttal to that justification. Then you stopped there - you didn't even try to demonstrate where had I gone wrong.

You're a liar, Papalinton. One of the worst ones I've seen.

In a survey of 1,916 prison inmates...
Ah, but Papalinton, the interesting spin on such surveys are thus: there is almost always a distinction between criminals who identify as "atheist" and those who identify as "non-religious". Mostly only educated atheists would call themselves as atheists. In a famous, oft-cited 1997 survey, over 18% of the prison population were classified as non-religious. Which is around the same as the percentage in the population.

To put another case in perspective, according to the Inmate Information System in the prison system of England and Wales, in the year 2000 31.6% of inmates held no religious preference. The nationwide census in the same year had only 15.1% of the population not checking any religious affiliation.

Not that all of this really proves anything, but you brought it up in the first place, so you've lost at your own game.

physphilmusic said...

'faith' [the focus of this OP], a faith, based on the fundamental elements of the christian mythos as I outlined above, cannot be a sustainable platform on which to ground your arguments.

I didn't build my arguments in this discussion on faith, Papalinton. Not at all. I didn't even invoke the word at all, since we were talking about belief systems.

I talked of the doctrine of the fall of man as merely an example of a doctrine of which a person can become convinced, through observation of the world, that it is true.

I did not argue that the doctrine of the fall of man is actually true. I just said that someone might, through observation, not merely emotions, think that the doctrine is true. You get that?

I did not argue that any doctrine should be accepted on "faith". I agreed with you that we should analyze and question the major tenets of any belief system, including Christianity. I merely insisted that the same be done to your own belief system.

Your attempt to paint me as a fideist who invokes "faith" as a basis of belief in a debate is humorous, Papalinton, because I've tried very hard to steer clear of such arguments in this discussion. It reeks of desperation. My guess is that you are not actually sufficiently intellectually equipped to deal with cold, hard premises-and-conclusion-based reasoning, which is why you shied away from dealing directly with my objection to your justification for Premise 1. I also think that you are unprepared in answering my direct refutations of your claims. Your extensive use of quotation of other thinkers, instead of point-by-point original reasoning, seems to point to an intellectual background in which you were simply instructed to read a lot of people, but not criticize their work. I think you should try to think for yourself more.

cl said...

physphilmusic,

I appreciate your valiant efforts here, but I have to ask: what good is coming out of this? Were you just trying to confirm the reasons behind the Paps challenge?

"My guess is that you are not actually sufficiently intellectually equipped to deal with cold, hard premises-and-conclusion-based reasoning…"

YES. Hallelujah. You, sir, have just hit paydirt. He's not, as your exchange has proven, as all of our previous exchanges have proven. Hell, hop on over to this thread. I'll summarize it for you:

Paps implies free will is an "imagined state of choice" but fails to provide any evidence for his claim (August 02, 2012 7:56 PM)

finney asks which studies prove there is no free will (August 03, 2012 11:18 AM)

I anticipate Paps' response, cite Libet, then cite Marcel Brass (August 03, 2012 1:37 PM)

Paps returns, claims I "haven't kept up with the research," then cites four articles, all somewhat supportive of the "Libet's work proves there is no free will" claim, and doesn't cite any articles that would challenge this (August 03, 2012 4:37 PM)

I return and supply a link to the more current research of Trevena and Miller, which deals a significant blow to the whole "readiness potential" thing and is cited by many as a legitimate roadblock to the "Libet's work proves there is no free will" claim (August 04, 2012 11:12 AM)

Paps returns and accuses me of "lying for Jesus" because the Trevena and Miller article is on ScienceDirect and must be paid for to be read, then pisses all over the burden of proof by challenging me to prove I'm not dishonest (August 04, 2012 4:51 PM)

I return and provide four more links to various PDF's that also challenge the "Libet's work proves there is no free will" claim, on empirical and philosophical grounds (August 05, 2012 10:20 AM)

Paps returns and repeats the claim that I am a "dishonest person" (August 05, 2012 1:55 PM)

…and the whole time, Paps tries to clear his name with crap like, "I offer these [links] as a starter or introduction to the research into 'free will', so that people can assess for themselves the level at which this research is proceeding." (August 04, 2012 12:13 AM)

Yet, if that's true, why would Paps slant the articles? Why would he omit articles that challenged the "Libet's work proves there is no free will" claim?

You see why I proposed the Paps challenge now? The guy is toxic to reason.

Papalinton said...

Keep your shirt on. No need to go feral, physphilmusic. It is after all just a discussion attempting to figure out the merits of superstition and magic as a comparator to that of methodological naturalism.

. "These are not the "foundations" of my beliefs." Of course they are. How else can one subscribe to biblical infallibility [whichever version happens to titillate your personal whimsy] if not through the fundamental tenets of the christian mythos?

. "We HAVE NOT been talking about metaphor, allegory, or symbols in this discussion, Papalinton. We HAVE NOT." Our discussion has very much been about christians attempting to shoehorn metaphor and symbolism into some form of literalist reality. Christians even talk as if the supernatural is just over the back fence or in the kitchen breaking bread at fellowship mealtime. And you are trying to tell me you know the difference between fact and fantasy?

. "I might ask the same question to you, since you've persistently refused to differentiate between idealized scenarios and practical solutions." No not idealized scenarios; just goals, objectives, aims, something to strive for. And one of the practical solutions is to mitigate if not obviate the mind-numbingly jejune and infantile impediment of 'religious exclusivism'.

. "We have not debated any of the doctrines of Christianity. The "fall of man" was simply an example of Christian doctrine which one could sympathize with." What is the difference between 'doctrines of christianity' and 'christian doctrine'? The 'fall of man' is not simply an example of christian doctrine. It is christian doctrine. "In Christian doctrine, the fall of man, or simply the fall, refers to the transition of the first humans from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience to God." [Wiki} It is a fundamental doctrinal position underpinning the christian mythos.

And what is religious 'faith', as is featured in this OP, if not a descriptive metaphor or allegory of the relationship with the non-existent?
physphilmusic, it is quite irksome when an atheist has to instruct a believer in the tenets of their religion. But it is neither unexpected nor surprising. Survey after survey have verified that atheists are generally more knowledgeable about religions and particularly the bible than believers:

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/28/dont-know-much-about-religion-youre-not-alone-study-finds/
Excerpt from the item:
"The survey is full of surprising findings.
For example, it's not evangelicals or Catholics who did best - it's atheists and agnostics.
It's not Bible-belt Southerners who scored highest - they came at the bottom.
Those who believe the Bible is the literal word of God did slightly worse than average, while those who say it is not the word of God scored slightly better.
Barely half of all Catholics know that when they take communion, the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ, according to Catholic doctrine."


http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/28/nation/la-na-religion-survey-20100928
Excerpt from LA Times:
"Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says
Report says nonbelievers know more, on average, about religion than most faithful. Jews and Mormons also score high on the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey."


CONT.

Papalinton said...

CONT.

Syllogisms? Quasi-syllogisms? "I analyzed what you're saying by condensing it into a syllogism and contested its premises." You are being straight with me, right? If they constitute proof, here are a couple more of them for you:

Examples of Definition Proofs-
AN ALL-VIRTUOUS BEING CANNOT EXIST
1. God is [by definition] a being than which no greater can be thought.
2. Greatness includes the greatness of virtue.
3. Therefore, god is an being that which no being could be more virtuous.
4. But virtue involves overcoming pains and danger.
5. Indeed, a being can only be properly said to be virtuous if it can suffer pain or be destroyed.
6. A god that can suffer pain or is destructible is not one than which no greater being can be thought.
7. For you can think of greater being, one that is non-suffering and indestructible.
8. Therefore god does not exist.

WORSHIP AND MORAL AGENCY
1. I an being is god, he must be a fitting object of worship
2. No being could possibly be a fitting object of worship, since worship requires the abandonment of one's role as an autonomous moral agent.
3. There, there cannot be any being who is god.

THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
1. If god exists, then the attributes of god are consistent with the existence of evil.
2. The attributes of god are not consistent with the existence of evil.
3. Therefore, god does not and cannot exist.

The following three are multiple-attributes disproofs:
A PERFECT CREATOR CANNOT EXIST
1. If god exists, then he is perfect.
2. If god exists, then he is the creator of the universe.
3. If a being is perfect, then whatever he creates must be perfect.
4. But the universe is not perfect.
5. Therefore, it is impossible for a perfect being to be the creator of the universe.
6. Hence, it is impossible for god to exist.

A TRANSCENDENT BEING CANNOT BE OMNIPRESENT
1. If god exists, then he is transcendent (that is, he is outside time and space)
2. If god exists, he is omnipresent.
3. To be transcendent, a being cannot exist anywhere in space.
4. To be omnipresent, a being must exist everywhere in space.
5. Hence, it is impossible for a transcendent being to be omnipresent.
6. Therefore, it is impossible for god to exist.

A PERSONAL BEING BEING CANNOT BE NONPHYSICAL
1. If god exists, then he is nonphysical.
2. If god exists, the he is a person (or a personal being).
3. A person (or personal being) needs to be physical.
4. Hence it is impossible for god to exist.

The following is a single-attribute disproof:
THE PARADOX OF OMNIPOTENCE
1. Either god can create a stone that he cannot lift, or he cannot create a stone that he cannot lift.
2. If god can create a stone that he cannot lift, then he is not omnipotent.
4. Therefore, god is not omnipotent.

CONT.

Papalinton said...

CONT.
. "In a famous, oft-cited 1997 survey, over 18% of the prison population were classified as non-religious. Which is around the same as the percentage in the population.

To put another case in perspective, according to the Inmate Information System in the prison system of England and Wales, in the year 2000 31.6% of inmates held no religious preference. The nationwide census in the same year had only 15.1% of the population not checking any religious affiliation"

Could you cite location of these sources please.

. "Where did I even give the slightest hint of using any common apologetical argument? "
Your commentary has all been apologetics and all about defending the christian mythos. Why else would you be commenting on this apologetical site if not for this? Surely you are not trying to hide your religiosity? Surely you are not trying to suppress the only perspective by which you conduct your everyday life, to deny all that is important in the construction of your worldview? Are you too embarrassed to admit that your whole enterprise was about shoring up christian superstition, even down to what 'faith' looks like?
I am open and honest in that I do not resile from the fact that I argue from the position of understanding there is no such animal as a God that ever existed, that the supernatural is a figment of one's imagination, and that the bible is a collection of varying and disparate writings of legends, myths and old wives tales that have been put together as an anthology, topped and tailed by writers that syncretized and harmonized them to read as if one fable at a very much later time than when they were originally written, over an 8-hundred-year period.

. "Your attempt to paint me as a fideist who invokes "faith" as a basis of belief in a debate is humorous, ..."
I don't try that at all. Fideism is a nonsense and irrelevant religious concept. But there are a whole lot of christian woo that can only be believed through fideism, the 3-in-1 godhead being one thing, virgin birth, manna falling from heaven, walking on water etc etc. Your confession of the bible as 'infallible' can only be construed as fideist in outlook.

Look at these two silly claims:
1. "I talked of the doctrine of the fall of man as merely an example of a doctrine of which a person can become convinced, through observation of the world, that it is true.

2. I did not argue that the doctrine of the fall of man is actually true. I just said that someone might, through observation, not merely emotions, think that the doctrine is true. You get that? "


Your syntactic rephasing of these two sentences of identical meaning, simply underscores the somewhat grubby manner that one of the fundamental tenets of christian woo is deceitfully downplayed, being none other than a deliberate case of religious obscurantism.

Faith |fāθ| noun
1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something : this restores one's faith in politicians.
2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

[All references library]

It is unquestionably the second form that underwrites the christian mythos.
All in all, a mixed bag of hype, half-truths, untruths, emotion, apologetics and irrelevance.

cl said...

physphilmusic,

LOL! Now we know why Paps prefers rants over attempts at logic.

"since worship requires the abandonment of one's role as an autonomous moral agent."

False premise.

"The attributes of god are not consistent with the existence of evil."

Begging the question.

"If a being is perfect, then whatever he creates must be perfect."

Unsupported assertion.

Etc. Etc. Every one of Paps' attempts at logic falls flat on its face. Though, he'll never admit it.

Ilíon said...

"If a being is perfect, then whatever he creates must be perfect."

Unsupported assertion.


It's not *simply* an unsupported assertion, it's false, and it's easily seen to be false by anyone who understands what 'perfection' means.

What the silly (and foolish) and proudly irrational fellow is assertion is that necessarily, anything God creates must also be God, which is absurd, with our without the 'necessarily'.

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

I'l take the "CL" challenge, and respond to these syllogisms:

"A god that can suffer pain or is destructible is not one than which no greater being can be thought"

But the doctrine of the Trinity reveals to us that it is of God's very nature for the Son to empty Himself, to feel pain, and to in the most literal sense die - from All Eternity ("the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world"). The premise does not apply to the Christian understanding of God. Try this one on Muslims. It's irrelevant to your audience.

"No being could possibly be a fitting object of worship, since worship requires the abandonment of one's role as an autonomous moral agent"

Huh?

"The attributes of God are not consistent with the existence of evil."

Yes they are. Unsupported premise. You'd need a decent syllogism just to get to this point. In other words, you forgot to touch second.

"If a being is perfect, then whatever he creates must be perfect."

This premise flies in the face of centuries of philosophers, who have already demonstrated time and again that whatever is created cannot be perfect. Been there, done that, got the (imperfect) t-shirt.

"A TRANSCENDENT BEING CANNOT BE OMNIPRESENT"

Again, Huh?

"A PERSONAL BEING BEING CANNOT BE NONPHYSICAL"

This entire syllogism sounds like you've never heard of the Incarnation.

"Either god can create a stone that he cannot lift, or he cannot create a stone that he cannot lift."

But I guess that anyone can make a statement that is semantically null.

physphilmusic said...

. "These are not the "foundations" of my beliefs." Of course they are. How else can one subscribe to biblical infallibility [whichever version happens to titillate your personal whimsy] if not through the fundamental tenets of the christian mythos?

The second part of your statement kinds of negates the first. Even if I do believe in biblical infallibility through some reasoning based on the “fundamental tenets of the Christian mythos”, that doesn’t mean that biblical infallibility is part of the foundation itself. When one builds the second floor of a house based on pillars on the first floor, which is in turn built on top of the actual foundation, it doesn’t mean that the first and second floors are part of the foundation. The foundation is still the part of the house which is below the first floor.

If a wealth of evidence comes up which creates intractable difficulties for one holding on to biblical infallibility, then there will be a need for me to reconsider my commitment to it. However, unlike many fundamentalists who do take biblical inerrancy as a foundation of their beliefs, my Christian worldview will not come down crumbling and make me become an atheist. The foundation of my beliefs are based on entirely different issues/arguments altogether. Besides that, I think there are several essential beliefs which make a Christian, and biblical infallibility is not one of them.

. "We HAVE NOT been talking about metaphor, allegory, or symbols in this discussion, Papalinton. We HAVE NOT." Our discussion has very much been about christians attempting to shoehorn metaphor and symbolism into some form of literalist reality. Christians even talk as if the supernatural is just over the back fence or in the kitchen breaking bread at fellowship mealtime. And you are trying to tell me you know the difference between fact and fantasy?

That’s a load of bullshit, Papalinton. If you’re insinuating that the doctrine of the “fall of man” is something about “metaphor and symbolism”, then you’re plainly wrong. Christianity teaches that humanity was created in some ideal state which then was thwarted by sin. Man became fallen, depraved, and basically evil. Of course the only “metaphor” here is the phrase “fallen” – but it is only non-literal in the sense that man didn’t really trip over a rock, fall and became evil! Other than that it is clearly an empirical claim. A world in which there was no evil, no sin, no wickedness would be at odds with this claim of Christianity – clearly your beloved Baha’i faith would be more reflective of reality in such a situation. But sadly that’s not the case.

Apart from that, Papalinton, we have not been discussing matters in which symbolism and metaphor is a major issue. Even when discussing the doctrine of the fall of man I’ve assumed an interpretation which is fully compatible with a non-literal reading of Genesis. This part of my discussion with you started with the simple matter of investigating why someone might have good reasons to choose Christianity over another religion/belief system, reasons apart from subjective religious experience and emotion. And I gave you the possible reasons.

physphilmusic said...

. "I might ask the same question to you, since you've persistently refused to differentiate between idealized scenarios and practical solutions." No not idealized scenarios; just goals, objectives, aims, something to strive for. And one of the practical solutions is to mitigate if not obviate the mind-numbingly jejune and infantile impediment of 'religious exclusivism'.

And I ask you again, how is presenting the Baha’i faith to the world going to mitigate religious exclusivism? Have you ever talked with a Muslim, Papalinton? Do you seriously think once you outline for him what the Baha’i faith is about, he’ll instantly abandon religious exclusivism? How is this a damned solution?

You’re the guy who thinks we “have a goal to strive for”, and that goal is to “mitigate religious exclusivism.” Frankly speaking, you’re childishly naïve about the matters of interfaith relations. If you’re a guy who has converted 20-30 Muslims and Christians out of religious exclusivism by your skillful speech, then we can talk about your scenario being a possible solution.

. "We have not debated any of the doctrines of Christianity. The "fall of man" was simply an example of Christian doctrine which one could sympathize with." What is the difference between 'doctrines of christianity' and 'christian doctrine'?

There is none, and there was meant none. I am simply saying that we are not debating the truth of the doctrine of the fall of mankind. We’re debating (or rather, I am patiently trying to explain to you) what type of claim the doctrine of the fall of man is. If you’re unable to grasp that subtle distinction, then just accept that your IQ is not up to the task.

The 'fall of man' is not simply an example of christian doctrine. It is christian doctrine.

Those two claims are not mutually exclusive, Papalinton. They’re actually the same thing. Unless you’re suggesting that the fall of man is THE single doctrine of Christianity, which is clearly incorrect.

physphilmusic said...

Examples of Definition Proofs-
AN ALL-VIRTUOUS BEING CANNOT EXIST
1. God is [by definition] a being than which no greater can be thought.
2. Greatness includes the greatness of virtue.
etc., etc.,


Atta boy, Papalinton! Now instead of magically conjuring up a host of fallacious syllogisms from your ass, why don’t we focus on the which you have actually argued for? Let me quote it to you again:
1. If A is true, A would be reflected in all religions.
2. A is not reflected in all religions, but only in one religion (Christianity).
3. Hence A is false.

May I ask what’s the justification for premise 1? Why would a universal truth be perceivable by all religions? How about we modify A to A’, where A’ is “The supernatural exists”. So the arguments goes like this:

1. If A’ is true, A’ would be reflected in all religions.
2. A’ is reflected in all religions (i.e., virtually all religions teach that the supernatural exist, although they may disagree about its content and rules).
3. Hence A’ is true (i.e., the supernatural exists.)



You seem to be saying that premise 1 is justified in the case of this special A, because if mankind are fallen and depraved they would all know it. But is there any good reason why this should be true? After all, you believe that the supernatural does not exist and those who believe in it are deluded. By your same standard, all religions should be aware of this “universal deludedness of mankind” and start rectifying it. Yet that does not happen. There is no reason to think that the only truths to be found in religion are those which are common to all religions, any more than to think that the only moral truths are those accepted by all civilizations and all ethical systems.


Could you cite location of these sources please.

For the first one (1997 US data): www.adherents.com/misc/adh_prison.html, which includes the 0.2% figure for self-declared atheists.

For the second one (UK prison system statistics): www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN04334.pdf - a more recent survey, which has the figure of non-religious people hovering at 30%.

physphilmusic said...

Now for the more nonsensical personal complaints.

"Where did I even give the slightest hint of using any common apologetical argument? "
Your commentary has all been apologetics and all about defending the christian mythos.


No, my commentary has simply been about those two matters I referred you to, which are only peripherally connected with the truth or falsity of the Christian religion.

Why else would you be commenting on this apologetical site if not for this?

It’s my own damned business why I would be commenting on this blog. It doesn’t matter, and I don’t care why you comment on this blog either. Maybe you get off from constantly writing self-congratulatory rants about your intellectual superiority. I don't give a damn.

Surely you are not trying to hide your religiosity? Surely you are not trying to suppress the only perspective by which you conduct your everyday life, to deny all that is important in the construction of your worldview?

Nope, I’m not hiding my religiosity – or else how would you have come to know that I’m a Christian? And just because my worldview is Christian, that doesn’t mean that I can examine arguments of non-Christians. Syllogisms are syllogisms, and logic is logic.

But there are a whole lot of christian woo that can only be believed through fideism, the 3-in-1 godhead being one thing, virgin birth, manna falling from heaven, walking on water etc etc

Hardly. Once you adopt the basic tenets of a certain worldview (presumably due to certain rational, probable reasons), then many other previously improbable propositions become much more probable.

Look at these two silly claims:
1. "I talked of the doctrine of the fall of man as merely an example of a doctrine of which a person can become convinced, through observation of the world, that it is true.

2. I did not argue that the doctrine of the fall of man is actually true. I just said that someone might, through observation, not merely emotions, think that the doctrine is true. You get that? "

Your syntactic rephasing of these two sentences of identical meaning, simply underscores the somewhat grubby manner that one of the fundamental tenets of christian woo is deceitfully downplayed, being none other than a deliberate case of religious obscurantism.


If you head even a modicum of reading comprehension, you would understand that I am indeed deliberately repeating myself, because it’s clear that you need several iterations of a statement just to understand what I’m saying. So I repeated and did a bit of “syntactic rephrasing” there – because in my experience as a physics teaching assistant, that’s what you do when you encounter students who don’t understand you the first time. You just keep trying different ways to explain the concept, maybe using metaphors and similes, until the concept gets drilled in their heads. Surely as a former teacher you would understand this? So let me repeat that again to you:
There is a difference between arguing that

P is true

and arguing that

It is possible that a person A accepts P based on rational reasons.

physphilmusic said...

cl,

I appreciate your valiant efforts here, but I have to ask: what good is coming out of this? Were you just trying to confirm the reasons behind the Paps challenge?


Well, I was curious to see how it be like if you followed an argument with a stubborn, close-minded atheist up to the very end. At this point I am wishing we were talking in person so I can keep shouting the fact that our dear friend Paps has kept himself from justifying the main arguments which were what we were discussing in the first place anyway.I wish that Victor would implement a comment policy like that in Vox Day's blog - i.e. people who make unjustified assertions, are called out and have not responded are banned from commenting further, and their outstanding intellectual debts posted on a separate Wall of Shame. That way people can see clearly that atheists have no monopoly on logic and reason.

On the other hand, it is rather tempting to keep dealing with stupid atheists like Papalinton, who are prime targets of intellectual ridicule, rather than face one who actually wrestles with arguments without the snark (perhaps Jeff Lowder would fit the bill).

And I've always noticed the great lengths you go to in the theist-atheist war blogosphere to reply to each and every one of your interlocutors' points. Personally I think you sometimes get on people's nerves, to the point that they really can't take it anymore and just ban you, but on the other hand you don't let any random claim go unscathed, which is good. Currently I'm on vacation, so I have all the time in the world to emulate your model and respond to Paps' blathering ;)

BenYachov said...

Paps isn't just an idiot. He is a fucking idiot. Since he is writing on shit I've addressed before and it shows his narrow anti-intellectual fundamentalist thinking when it comes to religion.

>AN ALL-VIRTUOUS BEING CANNOT EXIST

As Brian Davies points out God cannot have virtues in the unequivocal sense a human being can have virtues. God can't be sober since it's impossible for the Godhead to drink Alcohol. He can't be chaste since His Divine Nature has no parts therefore no sex organs to refrain from having sex with etc.

God cannot be compared to creatures in an unequivocal sense, only in an analogous sense. God is not a moral agent.

All your examples are unequivocal comparisons between God and Creatures not analogous ones. Therefore your argument is invalid due to the obvious category mistakes.

>1. God is [by definition] a being than which no greater can be thought.

That is St Anselm's definition which of course Aquinas rejected.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/11/anselms-ontological-argument.html

>WORSHIP AND MORAL AGENCY

>1. I an being is god, he must be a fitting object of worship

To Worship means to venerate or honor. It's possible to honor abstractions(like the concept of Justice) and non-animated things(like the Cosmos or one's country). Example Carl Sagan's widow who like him is an Atheist honors the Cosmos. Neither abstractions nor the Cosmos are moral agents. Thus it really isn't required for something to be a moral agent to honor it. God is not a moral agent & there is no logical reason why honoring something abrogates one's own moral agency.

Sorry Paps you suck at this.

>2. No being could possibly be a fitting object of worship, since worship requires the abandonment of one's role as an autonomous moral agent.
>3. There, there cannot be any being who is god.

100% correct but you have merely shown how it is not possible for a Theistic Personalist deity to exist. But your arguments are non-starters when applied to a Classic View of God held by Aquinas, Denys, Augustine, Calvin RABBON, Ibn Sia etc....

>"Either god can create a stone that he cannot lift, or he cannot create a stone that he cannot lift.

Not true. God can do anything, a Stone so heavy an omnipotent can not move it doesn't describe anything. It describes nothing lending new meaning to the phrase "There is nothing God cannot do". God cannot do the logically impossible. If you say he can then that defeats your argument since that means God can cause himself to still exist even though you argument says he can't since God can overcome contradictions with his omnipotence.

This bullshit is straight out of Dawkins. Which explains the level of stupidity. Feser dispatches it neatly.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/02/dawkins-on-omnipotence-and-omniscience.html

>A PERSONAL BEING BEING CANNOT BE NONPHYSICAL

Rather given reductionist materialism a "personal" being cannot be non-physical. Cartusian dualism, Hylomorphism dualism etc..

Beg the question much?

Paps you royally suck shit at this. Fucking Noob!

>A TRANSCENDENT BEING CANNOT BE OMNIPRESENT

Again here you are postulating God is a being alongside other beings. Rather than the Ground of All Being or Being Itself.

Category mistake.

Paps you have a primitive & childish understanding of God.

I will stop correcting you to save you further embarrassment.

Heck even Ilion got more right then you did!

Yikes!!!!!

Papalinton said...

physphilmusic
"When one builds the second floor of a house based on pillars on the first floor, which is in turn built on top of the actual foundation, it doesn’t mean that the first and second floors are part of the foundation. The foundation is still the part of the house which is below the first floor."

But the second floor sure as hell not only relies on but requires the first floor to exist in the first place.

You logic is nonsense, that is, not logical.

Papalinton said...

"However, unlike many fundamentalists who do take biblical inerrancy as a foundation of their beliefs, my Christian worldview will not come down crumbling ....."

Of course not. You will just rejig your belief system to fit the new reality, just as christians have done since 100CE. If the evidence was so overwhelming that it found without any doubt no jesus ever existed, even that would not prevent you from a little tweaking through christian revisionism of the mythos and go with rooting for Paul's jesus, who was never regarded as an earthly creature by him anyway. According to Paul, the jesus character was a wholly ethereal character drawn from the gnostic tradition.

Papalinton said...

Re-read my comment.

Your silly, "You’re the guy who thinks we “have a goal to strive for”, and that goal is to “mitigate religious exclusivism”", is just one of a number of misrepresentations. Mitigating religious exclusivism is not a goal, the goal is inclusiveness, tolerance, world peace [as best we can reach]. One of the practical solutions is to mitigate the influence of religious exclusivism.

Don't let your exploding head get the better of you.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Ben
"Paps you have a primitive & childish understanding of God."

No Ben. Far from it. I looked deep into god's eyes. The lights were on but no one home. I don't have a primitive and childish understanding of god. I do not disbelieve in god[s]. I do not even disprove god[s]. I disregard god[s], dismiss god[s], discredit god[s]. I am disinterested in god[s]. Atheism is - or should be - freedom from god[s].

When you understand why it is you reject the gods of Hinduism, you will then understand why I reject the christian god.

BenYachov said...

>I am disinterested in god[s].

Yet you are beyond obsessed with them.

I'm disinterested in the Easter Bunny I don't waste my time bashing him.

You OTOH bash religion & you can't even do it intellegently.

Paps you have a primitive & childish fundamentalist understanding of God.

Your Atheism is equally primitive & low brow.

physphilmusic said...

But the second floor sure as hell not only relies on but requires the first floor to exist in the first place.

That's true. But that also means that if the second floor falls down, only part of the structure collapses - the foundation is still strong and intact. For that reason the disproving of biblical infallibility might shake up my worldview but it won't destroy it.

And so I have CONCLUSIVELY DEMONSTRATED TO YOU that beliefs such as the virgin birth of Jesus Christ are NOT the foundation of my worldview. Even your objection doesn't dispute this.

Of course not. You will just rejig your belief system to fit the new reality, just as christians have done since 100CE...

In this manner, theology is self-correcting, just like science is self-correcting. :) But the point is irrelevant to our discussion anyway.

Mitigating religious exclusivism is not a goal, the goal is inclusiveness, tolerance, world peace [as best we can reach]. One of the practical solutions is to mitigate the influence of religious exclusivism.

OK. So give me a practical solution to mitigate the influence of religious exclusivism? That's what I've been asking all along, and you know it. And no, presenting the Baha'i faith as a model won't cut it, because I can see no way that 2.5 billion Christians and Muslims are going to suddenly change their worldview.

Papalinton said...

"That's true. But that also means that if the second floor falls down, only part of the structure collapses - the foundation is still strong and intact. For that reason the disproving of biblical infallibility might shake up my worldview but it won't destroy it."

But my point wasn't about the second floor, it was about the first floor. If the first floor collapses, what value the foundation. Archeology is replete with foundations from time immemorial. Doesn't matter a fig to the structure that was once there.

Papalinton said...

"In this manner, theology is self-correcting, just like science is self-correcting. :) But the point is irrelevant to our discussion anyway."

Ah! But that is where your discussion runs off the rails. Theology is not like science. In science old and false ideas are thrown out, tossed in the waste bin. Theology morphs into its new position by re-interpretation of the exact same words, thoughts and concepts that have been around for millennia.

I look at a science book from the 17thC, say Newton's "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica in which, The retrospective view of the Principia has been different in the aftermath of Einstein's special and general theories of relativity from what it was throughout the nineteenth century. Newtonian theory is now seen to hold only to high approximation in limited circumstances [My bolding] in much the way that Galileo's and Huygens's results for motion under uniform gravity came to be seen as holding only to high approximation in the aftermath of Newtonian inverse-square gravity. In the middle of the nineteenth century, however, when there was no reason to think that any confuting discrepancy between Newtonian theory and observation was ever going to emerge, the Principia was viewed as the exemplar of perfection in empirical science in much the way that Euclid's Elements had been viewed as the exemplar of perfection in mathematics at the beginning of the seventeenth century."

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/newton-principia/

But we now know that empirical science in the light of Einstein, Heisenberg, and others has gone far beyond and radically transformed Newton's perspective on gravity. What is the theological analogue for this form of self-correcting of the tripe in both the bible and apologetics that has been thrown out and replaced by better and more efficacious explanatory models or reasons? What is the evidence for this self-correcting?

Ilíon said...

"Paps isn't just an idiot. He is a fucking idiot. ..."

If he's an idiot, why are you tormenting him? Idiots cannot correct their ignorance; that is, their ignorance is 'invincible'. Idiots cannot help their ignorance nor their actions which flow from that invincible ignorance. It is immoral for non-idiots to torment idiots.

The fact is, Papalinton is not an idiot. Rather, he is a fool, he is intellectually dishonest, he is "ignorant" because he does not desire to be otherwise ... you know, same as you. Really, the two of you are brothers under the skin of your particular enthusiams.

BenYachov said...

IIion,

>the fact is, Papalinton is not an idiot. Rather, he is a fool, he is intellectually dishonest, he is "ignorant" because he does not desire to be otherwise ... you know, same as you.

That is an idiotic thing to say.

The Bible says in Matt 5:22 "But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

Totally idiotic thing to say! But then again I bet Sola Fide(James 2:24) makes sense to the likes of you.

Papalinton said...

"OK. So give me a practical solution to mitigate the influence of religious exclusivism?"

Like you, alas, I am also stumped. I don't think under the existing circumstances humanity is yet ready to set aside superstition and supernaturalism. I think it will be a generational form of change, as more and more of the young become educated and learn more of the physiological, biological, and psychological underpinnings of belief and why we believe as we do. We see this so evidently in Europe, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and other first world nations and a number of developing nations; and we see the veritable signs of the beginning of the trend in the US. Perhaps my grandchildren will benefit from a greater and more inclusive secular social governance than we do now. As religious exclusivism is seen to be antithetical, and an impediment to social acceptance and tolerance, it will be set aside in a largely natural way as borders and nation states become irrelevant in a more interconnected and economically-shared dependent relationships now being forged globally. Still a long way to go, but, barring mishaps, we are moving in that direction.

BenYachov said...

Religious exclusivism?

Well it's not like Atheist divide themselves between oh let us say appeasers vs non-appeasers...oh wait a minute!

They do.

As long as there are humans there will always be "us vs them".

As JJ Walker said "Northern Ireland! Protestants against Catholics! Catholics against Protestants! Isn't it funny how a country without black, Jews, Asians and Mexicans can find a way to improvise!".

You live in a simplistic dream world Paps.

B. Prokop said...

As regards the role of religion in World Peace (or the lack of it), this quote from a recent article by Scott Atran in Foreign Affairs magazine might be of interest:

"Moreover, the [New Atheists'] chief complaint against religion -- that it is history's prime instigator of intergroup conflict -- does not withstand scrutiny. Religious issues motivate only a small minority of recorded wars. The Encyclopedia of Wars surveyed 1,763 violent conflicts across history; only 123 (7 percent) were religious. A BBC-sponsored "God and War" audit, which evaluated major conflicts over 3,500 years and rated them on a 0-to-5 scale for religious motivation (Punic Wars = 0, Crusades = 5), found that more than 60 percent had no religious motivation. Less than 7 percent earned a rating greater than 3."

So. Whether or not you think religion is helping to bring Peace on Earth, it certainly doesn't seem to be preventing it!

Ilíon said...

And it rather depends upon what one means by 'religion', now doesn't it?

For instance, the pre-Columbian wars of the Aztecs were almost entirely 'religious' ... for they needed prodigious numbers of human sacrifices.

On the other hand, the Crusades were only indirectly 'religious' ... for directly they were defensive responses to centuries of Islamic aggression.

At the same time, and going from the other direction, the Islamic Jihad to which the Crusades were a response is both 'religious' and 'non-religious': 'religious' in that Allah open-endedly commands his slaves to enslave and subjugate ... or simply wipe out ... all who will not submit, and 'non-religious' in that the unending Jihad is equally about getting slaves and booty.

Oddly enough, those ignoramuses and/or fools who like to parrot the easily-seen-to-be-false line about "religion" being the primary cause of conflict and war never have in mind the Aztecs ... or the Moslems. No, what thay have in mind by "religion" is Christianity (*), of which they want to assert the demonstably false and directly-opposite-to-truth assertion that Christianity is the main oppressive force oppressing mankind.


(*) though, in their defence, Christianity is, after all, the true religion; it's the one that matters.

Papalinton said...

What?
Nobody is going to take on the 'self-correcting' christian mythos exactly like science?

Papalinton said...

Ben
i said, "When you understand why it is you reject the gods of Hinduism, you will then understand why I reject the christian god."

Aren't you up to the challenge?

B. Prokop said...

"I said, "When you understand why it is you reject the gods of Hinduism, you will then understand why I reject the Christian God."

Aren't you up to the challenge?
"

What challenge? How about this one? "When you understand why I reject the historicity of Captain Ahab, then you will understand why I accept the reality of Abraham Lincoln."

So what's the big deal? By your logic, since Ahab is a fictional character, Lincoln must also be so.

Sheesh! this is grade school stuff!!

physphilmusic said...

But my point wasn't about the second floor, it was about the first floor. If the first floor collapses, what value the foundation. Archeology is replete with foundations from time immemorial. Doesn't matter a fig to the structure that was once there.

The foundation is valuable, because the person is still living and he can rebuild his house with better structure and materials. That’s different from the person having to rebuild foundation, or move to another house altogether. In this case it’s not the end of the world if some deeply dear, but ultimately non-foundational Christian beliefs must be replaced by others. The person is still a Christian, and still believes in things such as the existence of God and the divinity of Christ, although he might not believe in things such as that God created the universe in 144 hours, or that infant baptism is blasphemous.

Ah! But that is where your discussion runs off the rails. Theology is not like science. In science old and false ideas are thrown out, tossed in the waste bin.

The analogy is obviously going to work only to a certain point, of course. After all, theology is a humanities subject. It does not have mathematical rigor built into it like physics. But still, in theology, “old and false ideas” are thrown out – such as the idea that creation must have occurred in 144 hours. The reason is of course we have strong geological and astronomical evidence that this is untrue. The idea that the Earth must be at the center of the universe has also been discarded.

Theology morphs into its new position by re-interpretation of the exact same words, thoughts and concepts that have been around for millennia.

In the same way, science morphs into its new position by reinterpretation of regular occurrences in nature, which have been occurring for millennia. Science is based on certain assumptions such as “The physical world exists. The principle of uniformity is true. It is possible to rationally investigate the universe. In the case of physics, it is possible to express the laws of nature in mathematical form.” Theology is similarly based on several assumptions, such as “God exists. God communicates with us and cares about human affairs. Jesus is the Son of God.”

physphilmusic said...

But we now know that empirical science in the light of Einstein, Heisenberg, and others has gone far beyond and radically transformed Newton's perspective on gravity. What is the theological analogue for this form of self-correcting of the tripe in both the bible and apologetics that has been thrown out and replaced by better and more efficacious explanatory models or reasons? What is the evidence for this self-correcting?

Plantinga’s rejection of classical foundationalism and his advocacy of Reformed epistemology has radically transformed what it means to be religious and yet still rational. William Lane Craig’s work on the Kalam cosmological argument has shown us the radical theological consequences of the universe having a beginning. Work done by Christian scientists such as Francis Collins and Ken Miller show how there is no use in persisting to defend Paley’s outdated watchmaker argument. Another not as famous, but personally interesting example – David Clark wrote an essay on how to understand Biblical inerrancy in terms of speech-act theory. And arguably the rise of presuppositional apologetics is another revolution within Christian theology, though one which I don’t fully agree with.

From the point of view of Protestants, the Reformation was a significant advance in theological understanding – you don’t have to be part of the church of Rome to be a Christian. There are really a bunch of examples.

In a similar vein, science dumps some concepts but merely reinterprets others.
As for this:
But we now know that empirical science in the light of Einstein, Heisenberg, and others has gone far beyond and radically transformed Newton's perspective on gravity.

Heisenberg? Heisenberg’s work was mainly in quantum mechanics. Gravity was revolutionized by mainly Einstein. Until we actually manage to come up with an experimentally verifiable, coherent theory of quantum gravity then you can’t say that Heisenberg transformed gravity. You have no idea what you are talking about.

I don't think under the existing circumstances humanity is yet ready to set aside superstition and supernaturalism. I think it will be a generational form of change, as more and more of the young become educated and learn more of the physiological, biological, and psychological underpinnings of belief and why we believe as we do.

That was spoken of 300 years ago, 100 years ago, and 60 years ago, and it hasn’t happened. It’s an old, outdated slogan, Paps, that “As we become more educated we will become less religious.” By scientific standards the hypothesis would have been declared false. I would put more faith in the slogan that “As we become richer and more prosperous we will become less religious.”

physphilmusic said...

We see this so evidently in Europe, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and other first world nations and a number of developing nations; and we see the veritable signs of the beginning of the trend in the US.

And these countries all have the lowest birthrates in the world, and many of them are importing millions of immigrants each year…who are super religious and produce a lot of children!

As religious exclusivism is seen to be antithetical, and an impediment to social acceptance and tolerance, it will be set aside in a largely natural way as borders and nation states become irrelevant in a more interconnected and economically-shared dependent relationships now being forged globally.

Are you crazy? Economic interconnectivity is one thing, but in no way are borders now “irrelevant”! We are no closer to a world government than we are closer to a world peace. It is harder to get past the border of the US today than it was 200 years ago. Religious exclusivity will always exist, because it is a strongly unifying force for the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world, and the 2 billion Christians around the world. Religious exclusivity drives evangelism and the very reason for existence of a religion. Christianity is no doubt much more alive and fiery when it has the strong conviction that has unique access to divine revelation and truth compared to other religions. If anyone can go to heaven, then why become a Christian in the first place? Why do good deeds? Why think of what Jesus would have done? Why care about world peace? Idealism is not enough to motivate good deeds. That’s an empirical fact.

Still a long way to go, but, barring mishaps, we are moving in that direction.

I have outlined to you the reasons why it is a fantasy to think that we are indeed moving in that direction. In fact I think we are moving away from that direction.
And by the way, I take it that you have conceded my arguments about Premise 1, atheists and belief systems, and the possible reasons for accepting Christianity. You haven’t responded to them rationally.

physphilmusic said...

Additionally, Papalinton, I would like to remind you that there are many other possible ways to work towards religious tolerance without having to discard religious exclusivism. I think as someone who actually has lived in a primarily Muslim country, I have a better idea of what it takes.

Papalinton said...

"That [generational change and education] was spoken of 300 years ago, 100 years ago, and 60 years ago, and it hasn’t happened. It’s an old, outdated slogan, Paps...."

But Physphilmusic, 300, 100 years ago, there would never have been thought that near 20% of the population of the US would identify themselves as nones, or that Europe would be largely secular and that churches are pretty much relegated to museums of an historical past.

Papalinton said...

"And by the way, I take it that you have conceded my arguments about Premise 1, atheists and belief systems, and the possible reasons for accepting Christianity."

Absolutely not. You have yet to present argument on those topics.
I remind you what a belief system looks like [and remember these characteristics are pretty much universal to religions]:

"Atheism is not a belief system. With atheism there is no doctrine, no ubiquitous 'good' book, no dogma, no catechism, no organised tradition, no institutional body or theological administrative organisation underpinning essential ritual and ceremony; there is no procedural observance; no service, no sacrament, no liturgy, no organised and regular worship; no custom or atheistic tradition, and there are no formalised conventions, procedures or established protocols for atheism. There are no 'church' officers, no hierarchy of promotion of clergy/ministers, no administrators or CEOs of centralized management arrangements, there is no career service in atheism analogous to those of religious belief systems.

These are the emblematic characteristics of a belief 'system'. Atheism is not, in and of itself, a systematized process through which direct support for, and the administration of, such a belief system is appropriate or required. There is no dedicated requirement for infrastructure, no grand atheist houses of worship, nor infrastructure support to maintain, co-ordinate and administer the various components of a belief system as is clearly evident in the global Roman Catholic organisation, or the Southern Baptist Convention, or any of the myriad mega-church industries.

Atheism is not an industry."

B. Prokop said...

With atheism there is no doctrine

Yes, there most certainly is! Namely, "There is no God".

no ubiquitous 'good' book

Not necessary to a belief system. Yoruba has none.

no dogma, no catechism

Also not necessary to a belief system. Hinduism has none, nor does Shintoism.

no organised tradition

Not so. Many sub-sets of atheism have quite elaborate organized traditions. The fact that they are not common to all is irrelevant. Not all "organized traditions" are common to all believers.

no institutional body or theological administrative organisation underpinning

Neither does Sunni Islam.

no essential ritual and ceremony; there is no procedural observance; no service, no sacrament, no liturgy, no organised and regular worship

Irrelevant. These are not essential elements to a belief system, but incidentals.

no custom or atheistic tradition

If true, then that is your loss. I pity anyone lacking these things.

and there are no formalised conventions, procedures or established protocols

Please tell me you are kidding here!

There are no 'church' officers, no hierarchy of promotion of clergy/ministers, no administrators or CEOs of centralized management arrangements

Again irrelevant. Many Protestants have none of these things.

there is no career service in atheism

Really? Tell that to all those raking in the dough from their books. And how much money did you pay to attend that atheist gathering you went to a few weeks back? Someone made a bundle off that, you can be sure!

Papalinton said...

"Additionally, Papalinton, I would like to remind you that there are many other possible ways to work towards religious tolerance without having to discard religious exclusivism."

That was the principal reason i offered Baha'i. As much as I believe it a wank as other eligions are, in terms of its ecumenism and toleration of difference, it provides a very good model that mitigates the harmful, and gang-mentality effects of the practice of faith.

The Baha'i seeks to build on a faith that 'emphasizes the essential oneness of humankind and of all religions' and seeking world peace. Why won't the catholic church, setting by example, seek to subsume the Baha'i and adopt its 'oneness of all religions' framework? Cynically, of course I know of the reasons, and bottom line, il papa is very comfortable where he is right now, with his acquisition of power and wealth, thank you very much. Ecuminism like all the rest is all rhetoric.

Papalinton said...

Bob
Very sad

Papalinton said...

Here's one for you, Bob


http://conciliaranglican.com/2012/07/28/the-pope-is-satan/

physphilmusic said...

Absolutely not. You have yet to present argument on those topics.
I remind you what a belief system looks like [and remember these characteristics are pretty much universal to religions]:


More bullshit Paps. I bring to you my response in front of your very eyes:
Well, personally, I don't think atheism simpliciter is a "belief system", any more than theism simpliciter is one It's simply a a belief about the existence or non-existence of God. However, I think it practically impossible for one to JUST be an atheist. Do you have an ethical system, Papalinton? How is it justified? What are your views on humanity? You seem to be sympathetic to the "oneness" and "world peace" aspects of the Baha'i faith. Surely that is part of a "belief system", because if you do believe in some kind of common humanity, then you would reason your further actions and beliefs (political, ethical, etc.) from it. A belief system is not the same as a religion. Naturalism and secular humanism are not religions (yet) in my view. As you pointed out, there is no holy book nor temples for naturalism. But they are certainly belief systems, because they are essentially worldviews: they involve a particular set of beliefs about how the universe (including humanity) is and should be.

You ingenuous liar.

That was the principal reason i offered Baha'i. As much as I believe it a wank as other eligions are, in terms of its ecumenism and toleration of difference, it provides a very good model that mitigates the harmful, and gang-mentality effects of the practice of faith.

You offered Baha'i, but the fact is that no one cares about Baha'i. It's a failed religion, Paps. Nobody wants to adopt it. You might as well have offered secular humanism or atheism. It's not a solution. It's like communism - it works in theory, in ideal reality, you know, if you can get people to work without incentive of personal profit - but not in real life.

Why won't the catholic church, setting by example, seek to subsume the Baha'i and adopt its 'oneness of all religions' framework?

Because the Catholics believe it is as much a "wank" as you do. Don't you get that?

Ilíon said...

"Why won't the catholic church, setting by example, seek to subsume the Baha'i and adopt its 'oneness of all religions' framework?

Because the Catholics believe it is as much a "wank" as you do. Don't you get that?
"

For that matter, so do the Baha'is ... along with all the members of all the other fringe religions and movements which publicly assert that all religions are one, as is amply demonstrated by their own behavior. And, after all, if a Baha'iist *really* believed that all religions are one, then he wouldn't need to join (or stay in) Baha'i; he could, and would, just as easily worship and please God as a member of a real religion, one that doesn't assert some pap, which no one believes, about all religions being one.

B. Prokop said...

A very good book on this subject is God is not One by Stephen Prothero. I love his analogy with sports... but I'll leave it to you all to read it in his own words.

Highest recommendation (and this despite the fact he gives Islam Top Billing).

Ilíon said...

But God *is* One ... it's religions, and of God, which are not.

B. Prokop said...

But it is a catchy title, which I think was the point of the wording.

There's a hilarious interview with him on the Colbert Report:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/312500/june-14-2010/stephen-prothero

BenYachov said...

>i said, "When you understand why it is you reject the gods of Hinduism, you will then understand why I reject the christian god."


Which Hinduism? Hinduism can be Monistic, Pantheistic, Panentheistic and there is a small Monotheistic sect called the Brahmo Samaj which arose in the last hundred years.

Of course I am a Classic Theist & what any of this has to do with trying to make a philosophical case against Classic Theism is a mystery to me.

But let us face facts Paps. You don't have enough knowledge or education to make the case and you are not interested in learning.

B. Prokop said...

Ben,

Take note of the full circle Papalinton just made in the thread "Reductios and the argument from evil" above this one. On August 6th, 6:39 PM, he quotes from the hilariously-named "Rational Wiki" concerning the historicity of Matthew 27. I respond by pointing out that, after centuries of even well-meaning Christians taking Matthew's account of the Star allegorically, it has now been demonstrated beyond all doubt to have been an actual, physical event. I concluded by writing "don't be surprised if his accounts of what occurred in Jerusalem immediately after the Crucifixion turn out to be similarly reliable".

So what does Papalinton do? He "rebuts" me by quoting the exact same "Rational Wiki" statement about Matthew 27, as though this is somehow scoring a point! What is wrong with this guy? Does he have short-term memory disorder? Can he not see that he is merely arguing in circles?

Having a rational discussion with Papalinton is like trying to talk to a three year old.

Adult: Time to eat now.
3 year old: No!
Adult: Why not?
3 year old: Because!
Adult: Because why?
3 year old: Just because!

BenYachov said...

Arguing with Paps on religion is like playing a video game with the cheat codes enabled in full on God-Mode(pun intended).

physphilmusic said...

For that matter, so do the Baha'is ... along with all the members of all the other fringe religions and movements which publicly assert that all religions are one, as is amply demonstrated by their own behavior. And, after all, if a Baha'iist *really* believed that all religions are one, then he wouldn't need to join (or stay in) Baha'i; he could, and would, just as easily worship and please God as a member of a real religion, one that doesn't assert some pap, which no one believes, about all religions being one.

That's exactly my point. Religious exclusivism is on the vital driving forces of a religion's existence.

Papalinton said...

Ben
"Which Hinduism? Hinduism can be Monistic, Pantheistic, Panentheistic and there is a small Monotheistic sect called the Brahmo Samaj which arose in the last hundred years."

I raked them all up in one fell swoop, Ben, so that could refute them all in one go.
""When you understand why it is you reject the godsof Hinduism, you will then understand why I reject the christian god."
Whether they are Monistic, Pantheistic, Panentheistic etc is inconsequential. So too are the 33,000 christian sects, including the cult of catholicism and its amusingly ludicrous 'classic theist' nomenclature. They are all materially irrelevant to the issue of responding to the aberrant nature of religious woo, be it christian, Islamic, Hinduism, whatever. All are idiosyncratic expressions of cultural diversity emanating from our prehistoric past.

B. Prokop said...

So, as I noted above... since you know Captain Ahab to be fictional, you must also believe President Lincoln is as well.

It must be so, according to your "logic".

Papalinton said...

Bob
"since you know Captain Ahab to be fictional, you must also believe President Lincoln is as well."

I am pretty confident this collection of original photographs of Lincoln is a proof, together with what remain of all his writings, letters etc, infers that the man actually existed. Without some corollary of evidence from the hand of Ahab I am pretty sure he is a figment.

http://www.sonofthesouth.net/slavery/abraham-lincoln/abraham-lincoln-pictures.htm

http://www.google.com.au/search?q=photo+of+president+lincoln&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=soAkUMD9FNCUiQeVhoCIDw&ved=0CFYQsAQ&biw=1905&bih=980

http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/presidents-day/abraham-lincoln/photographs/

Capt. Ahab?
http://www.google.com.au/imgres?q=Capt.+Ahab&start=343&hl=en&client=safari&sa=X&rls=en&biw=1905&bih=980&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=bOedl3LpCiGIuM:&imgrefurl=http://www.lessing-photo.com/dispimg.asp%3Fi%3D541704%2B8A%26cr%3D7%26cl%3D1&docid=sbpjOs8o0X_N1M&imgurl=http://www.lessing-photo.com/p3/imagesbw/54170408A.jpg&w=1200&h=795&ei=doIkUOLFII-UiQeB2oDYCg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=1436&vpy=304&dur=12605&hovh=183&hovw=276&tx=132&ty=77&sig=100125517614463718845&page=7&tbnh=159&tbnw=212&ndsp=29&ved=1t:429,r:8,s:343,i:200


Chalk and cheese really.

B. Prokop said...

chalk and cheese

My point exactly. In like manner, the Gods of Hinduism are not real (in a historical sense), whilst the God of Christianity is very much so.

I shall now wait for you to admit your error, and to repent and believe.

(I wish all debates were this easy to win!)

Papalinton said...

Yes, but where are the 'photographs' of christianity?

Ahab and Lincoln? - easily proven, lots of different and external corroborating evidence and proofs.

Hinduism and christianity? - no corroborating external evidence or proofs - the Vedas and the bible? They pack as much relevance for evidence and proofs that Hans Christian Andersen's books have for the existence of fairies and goblins and trolls. And just as Andersen's tales are in a book, the books of the bible and the Vedas do not a source of evidence make. Not by a long chalk.

If they do Bob, none of it has yet been offered as proof, as the word is usually understood.

B. Prokop said...

So nobody existed prior to the invention of the camera?

You are aware (I would hope) that the Gospels are better and more extensive historical corroboration of the events they relate than nearly everything else we have from that time period. To say otherwise is pure, foundation-less bias, and the intellectual equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling "I can't hear you!".