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Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:39 am
by phyllo
Now, historically, the traditional source of "comfort and consolation" for most who believe in God is rather straightforward: behave on this side of the grave so that you will be judged favorably by God on the other side of it. And that's the part where immortality, salvation and divine justice comes in.
You can sum that up in one little paragraph for some stereotypical "folks". :D
The reality is that all fall short in terms of this simple "behavior" so "comfort and consolation" seems as elusive as the perfection of Jesus or Mary. How much are they comforted by the guilt that they feel?

And then there is the fact that atheists keep saying that religious "folks" were brainwashed and indoctrinated as children. So these "comforting and consoling" beliefs have been inflicted on them and may be contrary to their preferences. Some atheist call religious instruction "child abuse". Right? No inner conflict there?

On reflection, it doesn't seem all that straightforward.
Or, you come up with a new way to reconfigure your narrative, and try again.
I have been talking to you for years. :lol:

And even now, I still get the impression that you are trying to shoehorn me into one of your stereotypical religious "folks".

Mind you, that's one of the amusing and challenging aspects of our discussions. Will Iambig go beyond his cut-and-paste responses? Will he actually read my post and thinks about it? Alas, the answer is always - no.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:16 pm
by iambiguous
phyllo wrote:
Now, historically, the traditional source of "comfort and consolation" for most who believe in God is rather straightforward: behave on this side of the grave so that you will be judged favorably by God on the other side of it. And that's the part where immortality, salvation and divine justice comes in.
You can sum that up in one little paragraph for some stereotypical "folks". :D
The reality is that all fall short in terms of this simple "behavior" so "comfort and consolation" seems as elusive as the perfection of Jesus or Mary. How much are they comforted by the guilt that they feel?


Sure, given the vast and the varied circumstantial contexts in which mere mortals can find themselves in, and given the enormous complexity of human psychological states, any particular behavior chosen by any particular individual will be bursting at the seams with all manner of problematic components. And that includes our own reaction to those behaviors.

But that is basically my point. What the philosopher Simone de Beauvoir called "the ethics of ambiguity".

In my view, the function of God and religion is to efface that ambiguity. It is to provide a subjunctive anchor --- a "spiritual" foundation --- so that "in our head" there is something that we can aim for in order to make that crucial distinction between an essentially meaningless world that topples over into the abyss, and a righteous path that brings us closer and closer to immortality, salvation and divine justice.

And, on this thread, folks are either willing to connect these dots as that pertains to their own behaviors and their own religious faith or they're not.

And, as well, they are willing to at least make the attempt to demonstrate why reasonable men and women are obligated to emulate the same behaviors and share the same faith, or they're not.

phyllo wrote: And then there is the fact that atheists keep saying that religious "folks" were brainwashed and indoctrinated as children. So these "comforting and consoling" beliefs have been inflicted on them and may be contrary to their preferences. Some atheist call religious instruction "child abuse". Right? No inner conflict there?

On reflection, it doesn't seem all that straightforward.


However one acquires their faith in God, it seems abundantly straightforward [to me] that God [if there is a God] either judges our behaviors on this side of the grave or He does not.

And that with immortality, salvation and divine justice at stake, those of faith are surely going to grapple with the behaviors that they choose “here and now”.

This is just a thread that allows them to describe how, for all practical purposes, this "works" for them “out in the world with others”. To the best of their ability. And, given the profoundly existential nature of such attempts, it is quite the opposite of "shoehorning" the faithful into a one size fits all "stereotype".

My own frame of mind here merely focuses on instances when, in choosing behaviors, they come into conflict with others. Conflicting religious narratives precipitating conflicting religious agendas out in a particular world where there are any number of additional secular narratives in turn.

Of course, on this side of the grave, I am entangled in my dilemma. So, how are others not entangled in it?

And, as for the other side of it, in whatever manner I behave "here and now", I have nothing at all to comfort and console me with regard to "there and then".

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:11 pm
by phyllo
Again : any attempt to connect the dots (or however you want to describe this thread), is dismissed as "general", "abstract", "in your head" or "comforting and consoling".

I don't think that you're giving a fair hearing and consideration to the people who do post. I think you are jumping straight to the dismissal.

But we have already agreed to disagree so no point in rehashing it.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:17 pm
by iambiguous
phyllo wrote:
You never seem to grasp that your 'philosophy' makes you automatically reject all arguments - that's the nature of the 'philosophy'. You will never get an acceptable argument until you drop that 'philosophy' and take up another one.


Well, when the arguments revolve around identity and value judgments as construed by conflicted individuals out in a particular world, yes, my point is aimed in the general direction of noting the extent to which my own understanding of dasein and conflicting goods and political economy [here and now] render such exchanges "existential contraptions".

All I can then do is to acknowledge in turn that this argument is no less an existential contraption.

Then it's up to folks like you reacting to that and insisting it is actually something else instead. And certainly not, what, serious philosophy?

Then I react to that by pointing out the very intent of this thread is to nudge folks who do take both God and philosophy seriously into a discussion/description of their behaviors on this side of the grave such that [to the best of their ability] God and philosophy become intertwined in a particular moral narrative.

I know that you are exasperated given all that you have to lose if my own frame of mind here comes to prevail "in your head". I get that. And in part because over the years, I have confronted it among any number of objectivists. Both the God and the No God embodiments.


phyllo wrote:I'm only exasperated because you make no effort to move from your particular position although you keep saying that you want to move. You just seem to want to talk about moving rather than actually moving.


All we can do here is to react to arguments from others not in sync with our own. Of course the objectivists among us will always insist that only to the extent that you move in their own direction are you ever sincerely making any effort to move at all. Meanwhile throughout the entire course of my own life I have "moved" a bewildering number of times. Just not of late.

Still, given the nature of these exchanges [most of them], it will always come down to others deciding what my motivation and intention here really are.

phyllo wrote:I'm not afraid of losing anything. I have already said so several times in this thread.


Well, to the extent that most religious folks do believe in an objective morality on this side of the grave and immortality, salvation and divine justice on the other side, that is clearly something that they can lose. I know for a fact that I did.

But, okay, you are one of the exceptions. But all I can think to note then is this: that from my own ungodly bleak perspective this must be particularly comforting and consoling.

Assuming, for example, that our own universe may well be but one of an infinity of others.


phyllo wrote:Other universes are irrelevant because there is no interaction between them - that's how universes work. IOW, other universes cannot have any impact on any philosophy.
Determinism is also irrelevant. :D


In confronting assertions [almost retorts] of this sort, I can only marvel at the mind able to make them. As though this is actually something that can be known by "mere mortals".

That is how the universe works. That is how God works. That is how religion works. That is how morality works.

Period.

Exclamation point?

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:30 pm
by phyllo
In confronting assertions [almost retorts] of this sort, I can only marvel at the mind able to make them. As though this is actually something that can be known by "mere mortals".

That is how the universe works. That is how God works. That is how religion works. That is how morality works.

Period.

Exclamation point?
If there was an interaction between our universe and another universe, then that interaction would just be a part of our universe and anything we saw as part of that interaction would be part of our universe. That's what "universe" means FFS. It has nothing to do with "mere mortals".

As for determinism ... I have to make exactly the same decisions based on the same information whether everything is determined or I have free will. Determinism changes nothing in the actions that I must take. It plays no role ... none.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:41 pm
by iambiguous
phyllo wrote:
First, of course, any particular frame of mind relating to God and religion either does or does not comfort and console you.
Stop right there. That's your particular point of view. Before you go any further, investigate how reasonable it is.

If it's your POV then keep it to yourself and don't stick it on other people.


You're right. There are clearly frames of mind about God and religion that provoke ambivalence. And, in any event, each individual reaction embodies an enormous number of profoundly problematic reactions over the years.

Again, any particular combination of historical, cultural and experiential components/variables embodied in any one particular life can precipitate an unimaginably vast number of clearly existential reactions.

Reactions that, in all likelihood, we are not able to effectively communicate to others. In other words, to those who have virtually no access to our own experiences.

Still, to the extent that someone does believe in Kant's "transcending font" [which most call God], there is a fountainhead available to them to ultimately adjudicate conflicting goods "down here".

And there is some measure of hope that, once toppling over into the abyss, this is not all there is for "I". That immortality, salvation and divine justice are not beyond all hope.

And, in turn, I will readily acknowledge that, while this seems reasonable to me "here and now", there may well be others who do not find it reasonable at all.

But then that's what I'm here for: to be nudged back in that direction.

If I can be.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:45 pm
by iambiguous
phyllo wrote:Today is a good day to end it. :techie-offtheair:


Nope, apparently not. :wink:

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:52 pm
by phyllo
I think that I've responded to all the stuff that you rehashed. :techie-offtheair:

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:12 pm
by iambiguous
Ierrellus wrote:Apparently, Iamb, you have opinions about God and abortion. You need not refer to Plato or Kant in hopes that they might make your opinion purely objective. Neither had enough knowledge of science to be aware that they were integral parts of an ecosystem or about religion to question the morality of the popular God. If you ever find objective certainty, let me know.


No, my point is that my opinions about God and abortion [like your opinions about God and religion, like Kant's and Plato's opinions about God and abortion] are largely "existential contraptions".

Which in the world of conflicting goods, exposes a gap between what we claim to believe about these things, and that which we are able to demonstrate to others that all reasonable [and for some virtuous] men and women are obligated to believe in turn.

From my frame of mind then, that's what makes a discussion of God and religion in a philosophy forum distinct from a discussion that takes place around the campfire, around the dinner table, in a bar or at Bible study.

Also, for both Kant and Plato, the "transcending font" is a vital component of their moral narrative. It just comes down to the extent to which this can be differentiated from what most folks call "God" in the world today.

How do you differentiate it?

It seems that your own understanding of God is by far the one most appealing of them all. Why? Because to the extent that I understand your own understanding of Him, everyone is entitled to enter His Kingdom.

All that is necessary is that you exist.

And, over and over again, I suggest that until "mere mortals" on this infinitesimally tiny planet in this staggeringly vast universe are able to grasp the very ontological meaning/nature of Existence itself, none of us have access to "objective certainty".

Perhaps not even God.

But: God is of fundamental importance here because without Him how do we even begin to imagine the possibility of a teleological font?

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:58 pm
by Ierrellus
Analytic philosophy cannot fathom the ontological roots of ideas. Consequently, the veracity of ideas is a matter of their practical applications, a pragmatic approach, if you will, to truth.
It appears a bit crafty, at least, to proclaim a stereotypical set of religious beliefs as the only ones worthy of being weighed against concepts of conflicting goods, etc. But you have heard this before and can only respond that my belief in eternal salvation, which was believed by certain early Christian church fathers (Origen, for one), is not a legitimate view of God which can be accepted by many rational people.
The 21st century Christian yearns for a God who exemplifies empathy and compassion. The age is ripe for ideas of Man's reconciliation with God. The idea of a God who rewards and punishes in some afterlife is being done away with because of the atheistic questions about the morality of God., questions worthy of anyone's consideration.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:32 pm
by phyllo
The 21st century Christian yearns for a God who exemplifies empathy and compassion. The age is ripe for ideas of Man's reconciliation with God.
That's one of Iambig's points ... that God is molded to suit the desires of the people of a particular time and place. IOW, God does not transcend time and place nor does His message ... He's the product of the desire for "comfort and consolation". People find comfort and consolation in different ways so there are many different ideas about God. For example, people concerned about ecology will see an ecological God and they will find supporting passages in the scriptures.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:29 pm
by Ierrellus
phyllo wrote:
The 21st century Christian yearns for a God who exemplifies empathy and compassion. The age is ripe for ideas of Man's reconciliation with God.
That's one of Iambig's points ... that God is molded to suit the desires of the people of a particular time and place. IOW, God does not transcend time and place nor does His message ... He's the product of the desire for "comfort and consolation". People find comfort and consolation in different ways so there are many different ideas about God. For example, people concerned about ecology will see an ecological God and they will find supporting passages in the scriptures.

Of course God does not change, but ideas of what God is like have evolved. We have come a long way from believing in the tribal God who zaps our enemies. Of the "many different" concepts of what God is like, which would you say that most reasonable people will believe? I can say that God is the teleological driver of memes and genes. Would reasonable people believe that?
What humans desire is pursuit of happiness without suffering. I just opine that the stakes are a lot higher than the selfish notion of reward and punishment. They involve the future of life on this planet.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:09 pm
by Ierrellus
Ecological morality is not just an idea for personal consolation. As it pertains to the future of mankind and can include either theist or atheist it is a belief system that specifically can predict what happens after a person dies. The world will go on for better or for worse.
For many Buddhists heaven and hell form a dualistic belief which has no place in religious philosophies of wholes.
And, once again a god who excludes one soul from the kingdom is a loser.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:20 pm
by Arcturus Descending
Ierrellus wrote:


Of course God does not change,


How can we possibly know this - since we cannot actually KNOW about God.
This is what you would call a sentiment.

Prove to me, Ierrellus, that this God does not change.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:40 pm
by Ierrellus
Arcturus Descending wrote:Ierrellus wrote:


Of course God does not change,


How can we possibly know this - since we cannot actually KNOW about God.
This is what you would call a sentiment.

Prove to me, Ierrellus, that this God does not change.

I describe God as the teleological driver behind evolving genes and memes. That does nor change. Human beliefs do as a matter of evolution.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:12 pm
by surreptitious75
Human beings say all kinds of things about God purely on the basis of what they think or believe is true
No one in the entire history of civilisation however has actually demonstrated the existence of this God
And so the goalposts start moving very quickly when you ask anyone for evidence of this apparent deity
The only place that he or she or it definitely resides is in the minds of believers but not any where else

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:22 pm
by surreptitious75
Ierrellus wrote:
I describe God as the teleological driver behind evolving genes and memes

Genes and memes can function perfectly well without God and evolution does not need teleology either
You are simply providing yourself with a reason for God to make sense to you in relation to the Universe

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:25 pm
by Arcturus Descending
Prove to me, Ierrellus, that this God does not change.

I describe God as the teleological driver behind evolving genes and memes. That does nor change. Human beliefs do as a matter of evolution.


Do you believe in God and love this God, Ierrellus?

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:33 pm
by Arcturus Descending
surreptitious75 wrote:Human beings say all kinds of things about God purely on the basis of what they think or believe is true
No one in the entire history of civilisation however has actually demonstrated the existence of this God
And so the goalposts start moving very quickly when you ask anyone for evidence of this apparent deity
The only place that he or she or it definitely resides is in the minds of believers but not any where else


Ah, a man after my own heart. :P

Don't worry. I'm kidding. I agree with you though.
But being agnostic I am not capable of saying *but not anywhere else* but I do in a sense agree even with that as I do not intuit there there is an actual place where this their God resides.
Bottom line, we haven't even began a little scratch on the surface of how it all began or where it began.


But as I believe it was Kant who said it, we cannot live in a vacuum so faith has to enter in to fill that gap. (paraphrasing).

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:13 pm
by surreptitious75
Arc wrote:
But as I believe it was Kant who said it we cannot live in a vacuum so faith has to enter in to fill that gap

That may have been true in his day but it is perfectly possible not to have a belief in anything at all nowadays
As my own mind will simply not entertain the notion of anything at all existing without some type of evidence
God has precisely none so I refuse to contemplate his existence as that would for me be very irrational indeed

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:58 pm
by phyllo
No one in the entire history of civilisation however has actually demonstrated the existence of this God
To be more precise ... some people think that the existence of God has been adequately demonstrated and some people think that the existence of God has not been adequately demonstrated.

You are in the latter category.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:23 pm
by iambiguous
Bob wrote:I think its hard to decide whether we want to pursue the investigation of a determined universe, or a “mechanistic” one.


More to the point [mine] it is hard to determine if wanting to is actually within the reach of autonomous minds. It becomes somewhat surreal when you consider the fact that, when neuroscientists investigate this, they may well only ever be able to investigate it in precisely the manner in which they have to.

And certainly one possible explanation for this is that God willed it. But what does that then mean for all practical purposes with respect to human autonomy? What is "beyond" God's will there?

Bob wrote:To my mind the question of why there is something and I can take part in it all leads us to assume that my awareness is normal. It seems to be where life in the universe is leading to, but whether there is a personality behind it all who is interested in my personal part in it all and has interest in all my deeds seems to me to be illusional. I follow a perhaps deistic view that yes, this was set in motion with an aim “in mind”, but it is for each of us to find our way through it all.


To my mind, a "general description" of this sort can precipitate a frame of mind that seems "anchored". But anchored to what when the beam is focused instead on particular human interactions that come into conflict? That part of most interest to me with respect to God and religion. And with respect to the moral narratives of mere mortals who, instead, embrace deontological reason or political ideology or narratives regarding nature.

Bob wrote:I am also quite convinced that in the outcome, if we should ever know what that is, it would be very different from the individual ideas that our cultures have come up with. And yet, I think that our cultural traditions may have at least an inkling of something beyond our knowledge. So yes, in the end nobody knows.


By and large I tend to agree. But that just tugs me back to this: With so much at stake -- immortality, salvation, divine justice -- would not a "loving just and merciful" God [as most construe Him] be considerably more explicit regarding a "righteous path" on this side of the grave?

It is one thing for God to demand that we "struggle" with this, another thing altogether when, however much we do struggle, there is seemingly no definitive way in which to measure our success. I suspect that is why folks like Ierrellus take a leap instead to a God that, in the end, welcomes all into His Kingdom. Otherwise how "on earth" are we to continue that seemingly futile struggle given a belief in Judgment Day.

iambiguous wrote:But my reaction to this sort of speculation is to draw a distinction between a "general description" of human interaction, and the extent to which folks are able to bring these conjectures "down to earth"; and then to implicate them in actual behaviors that they choose as this relates to their imagined fate on the other side of the grave.

Otherwise they ever remain just "general descriptions" of...of what exactly?


Bob wrote:They are general descriptions or “working concepts” as I said. We need a hypothesis to work on because the possibilities broaden as our knowledge increases. The more we find a way of coping with our situation, accepting that the solution is not readily available, the more we can learn from experience and learn to intuitively understand, albeit to a small degree, what is going on. I am quite sure that this intuition is more able to come up with a breakthrough than scientific study, although science would have to follow up. The reason I say this is that all discoveries have been enhanced by intuition, and breakthroughs have very often happened away from the laboratory, on a bus or in a crowd, in the country or in the bath.

Of course such working concepts give us ideas about the other side of the grave and it seems that most people have a feeling, whether right or wrong, that life will go on and they prepare for it as their cultural upbringing dictates.


From my frame of mind, this is basically just a general description of a general description. What interest me is in how such thinking unfolds in a particular mind in a particular context. In other words, in a set of circumstances in which a man or a woman comes to choose a behavior that others deem to be wrong. Either with or without God and religion.

Once we acknowledge that narratives change historically, culturally and experientially, we are back to square one: Judgment Day. The part where, from the perspective of most believers, we go up or we go down.

Or the part where "I" disintegrates into nothing at all.

And that is also the part where I am most intrigued by the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein and conflicting goods. We chose particular behaviors because we were existentially predisposed to given a particular confluence of personal experiences, relationships and sources of information/knowledge.

In fact it is here that the moral objectivists will invariably draw their lines. Then it is just a matter of whether they choose God or Reason or Ideology or Nature as their default.

This part:

iambiguous wrote:Again: How then do you relate this to the particular behaviors that you choose?

In part, you can clearly see how they are profoundly intertwined in a set of particular historical and cultural and interpersonal experiences.

But how profoundly?

In other words, to what extent can you and I and others account for all of that and still come to the conclusion that specific behaviors are in fact more reasonable/virtuous than others?

And how is that then intertwined in our religious views: in our current assumptions regarding immortality, salvation and divine justice?

How specific can you be here? Or is what you believe just a general sense of things that appeal to you "here and now".


Bob wrote:My behaviour is dictated first of all by the common agreement, and less by my intuition. At least my behaviour in public is, although it is to a certain degree at least guided by my intuition. The more my intuitive decisions find acceptance among my peers, the more I can influence the common agreement – at least locally at first. Historically, such influences have been shared by more people before they find acceptance. This seems to be the process of all developments, good and bad.


"Common agreement" and "intuition" are basically no less existential contraptions to me. They are no less embodied in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy. The tricky part here though is that "intuition" is often a complex intertwining of what we can know objectively and how we react subjunctively in particular contexts. The part where reason and emotion and psychology and instinct become entangled in genes/memes; and then a clear demarcation between "true for all of us" and "true for me" is hard to come by. The part where "I" become entangled in my dilemma above. And with no God to comfort and console me.

Bob wrote:I experience existence as vague. There are people who have long before I ever saw the light of day tried to fathom out how to live. I find that their conclusions are occaionally helpful and sometimes they are too primitive and fail to take the whole picture into account. However, I am today in the position to learn from many people, form the past and present, which is all I can hope for.


"For all practical purposes" this may well be the only sensible approach to take if one is drawn to God through a leap of faith, rather than through an adamant belief that He does in fact exist. And that He has provided us with a Scripture, enabling us to properly differentiate between right and wrong behaviors.

I am less trusting in it myself however because my dilemma tends to fracture and to fragment "I" such that I am ever tugged in different directions.

In other words, my own "existential contraption" is considerably more existential than others.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:47 pm
by Ierrellus
What should the atheist say about God? Really nothing unless he is bound by events in his past that still demand interpretation so as to appease a hurt ego. Thus this thread is a straw man, stuffed with stereotypical straw.
I am dismayed by the same old, same old responses to the question of God's existence. They tread on my personal beliefs, of which I am entitled. I do not need to prove God's existence; my life and experiences have already done that. If my testimony falls on deaf ears, so be it.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:52 pm
by Ierrellus
Arcturus Descending wrote:
surreptitious75 wrote:Human beings say all kinds of things about God purely on the basis of what they think or believe is true
No one in the entire history of civilisation however has actually demonstrated the existence of this God
And so the goalposts start moving very quickly when you ask anyone for evidence of this apparent deity
The only place that he or she or it definitely resides is in the minds of believers but not any where else


Ah, a man after my own heart. :P

Don't worry. I'm kidding. I agree with you though.
But being agnostic I am not capable of saying *but not anywhere else* but I do in a sense agree even with that as I do not intuit there there is an actual place where this their God resides.
Bottom line, we haven't even began a little scratch on the surface of how it all began or where it began.



But as I believe it was Kant who said it, we cannot live in a vacuum so faith has to enter in to fill that gap. (paraphrasing).

The "leap of faith" was Kierkegaard's idea.

Re: on discussing god and religion

PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:40 pm
by Bob
Double Post ...