Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Religious Rationality Part II

A redated post.

In response to Mr. Aspray, I would hope that he gets the chance to read the second chapter of my book, "Assessing Apologetic Arguments." There I distinguish three positions with respect to the relation between faith and reason, fideism, which denies that religious beliefs are open to rational assessment, strong rationalism, which says that in order for it to be rational to believe something in religion we should have a proof that at least ought to be acceptable to every reasonable person, and critical rationalism, which says that although we should have good reasons for our beliefs, we should not expect that the proof we expect will, or even should, be acceptable to every rational person. I endorse the third option, but not the second, in spite of spending the remainder of the book providing reasons for preferring theism to naturalism. (In passing, it looks as if Richard Carrier is a strong rationalist who keeps taking me to task for failing to successfully shoulder the strong rationalist's burden, something I explicitly indicate probably cannot be done. And then I have seen commentators who think maybe I claim to little for my arguments).

I believe strongly in reason; I just don't believe that there is a neutral, emotion-free perspective from which to reason. I expect people will reason from where they are intellectually, not from some Cartesian/Archimedean point of absolute zero.

A lot of people like to read Lewis's apologetics more rationalistically than it really is, and then say that since he met a real philosopher in Anscombe, he gave up the business of making religion rational. That's a bunch on nonsense, a crock of manure eight feet high. Lewis emphasized both reason and the emotions throughout his career, and did an excellent job of avoiding the Star Trek fallacy, the fallacy of assuming that when emotion is present, reason is not, and when reason is present emotion is not. Notice, for example, the Professor's rational argument for believing Lucy in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Who would care at all about reason if we didn't have a passion for the truth?


Kurt Kawohl said...

Truthfulness and rationality in religions are truths that can be substantiated by science or those that can not be proven to be wrong. Logic dictates that spiritual interaction is only possible between the Spirit of God and the spirit of man; claims of supernatural acts performed by physical or spiritual beings in the physical universe are not rational.
The unfortunate circumstance that many will never become un-yoked from the traditions of their forefathers, perpetuating a chaotic state is applicable to many monotheistic religions that have become the culmination of their own dogma and politics. This is the 21st Century yet many of our religious beliefs are still back in the Stone Age. We have outgrown beliefs in various Gods, now it is time to outgrow belief in a dictatorial God who controls, condemns and physically or spiritually punishes those who do not do his bidding. The true “God” is a Spiritual Unity that exists in a spiritual realm and never has and never will interfere with anything on earth or in the universe. God is interested in and is involved in humanity, but does not interfere in any way in our physical lives. God guides the development of the universe and everything thereon like a Master Planner. Our relationship and interaction of our spirit with the Spirit of God is for our, not God's benefit. ALL roads that lead to God will bring the soul to its destination. God is a God for ALL & too large to fit into any one religion.

In order to intelligently appreciate something there has to be complete truth. Only when the truth behind the concept is known can one accurately judge the concept. Spirituality is an interaction of man’s spirit with the Spirit of God. This interaction was often expanded upon by followers who added their own interpretations and gradually the original message was skewed to meet the agenda of the newly formed religion. Most religions today are composed of so much added on garbage to a point where they are the culmination of their own politics and have lost the original meaning of spirituality.

One does not have to be an intellectual to see that the complexities, histories, and practices of religions have always been used to indoctrinate and keep new members from questioning the composition of the God that religions have created for the masses. This God was created to intimidate and brain-wash the gullible. True spirituality and a true God is self-sufficient and requires nothing from mankind.

This is the 21st Century and many religions still promote the existence of a vindictive, dominant, domineering, judicial God who will cast nonbelievers into a everlasting fiery pit. The Taliban movement brainwashed the illiterate and will eventually be annihilated; the Christian movement claims salvation that was invented by the Catholic Church which, in order to bypass the 1st Commandment, created the Trinity, made Jesus into God and claimed that salvation can only be achieved via the Catholic Church. If the medieval practices and the medieval beliefs of Christianity, Judaism and Islam that are based on superstitions were eliminated, then we could start building a rational and logical belief system that is based on truth and an understanding of spirituality. This is the value of truthfulness and rationality.

Joshua Blanchard said...

Have you read William Abraham's description of "soft rationalism" in his old Philosophy of Religion introduction? I wonder if you think it is similar to your critical rationalism.