on discussing god and religion

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:36 pm

From "The Basis of Morality" by Tim Madigan in Philosophy Now magazine.

To ask questions about the origins of moral principles was often taken to be the same thing as raising questions about either the existence or the goodness of the supernatural beings who had supposedly given these tenets. Socrates found this out when, in 399 B.C.E., he was placed on trial by his fellow Athenians for the capital offense of spreading disbelief in the gods. In his defense, he argued that, in encouraging people to try to understand the meaning of moral terms like ‘goodness’, ‘virtue’ and ‘happiness’ he was actually acting on behalf of the gods. He did not convince the jury, which sentenced him to death – an act that has generally been thought to have been highly immoral.


In fact this can still be what is at sake when you bring God and religion down out of the theological clouds and implicate them in the actual existential interactions of flesh and blood human beings. The part where, among other things, The Bible meets The Communist Manifesto or The Wealth of Nations.

In other words, the part where actual individuals move back and forth between rendering unto God and rendering unto Caesar. That governing body otherwise known as the state.

And while in much of the world today you are not likely to meet Socrates's fate, there are still any number of places where that is nowhere near out of the question.

And even in places like America where God and religion are particularly well-entrenched, you roll the dice when choosing behaviors deemed to be "unChristian."

The point being that one way or another, a narrative will be found that rationalizes either rewarding or punishing certain behaviors. It just comes down to how intertwined the interests of sacred and the secular become in any partivular historical or cultural context.

The "politics" of religion.

Which reflects in part just how problematic it can be for the moral nihilists. It's one thing to argue back and forth about the "transcending source" of morality, another thing altogether to suggest that there may well not be one.

Folks like Nietzsche got around this by eschewing God but then reconfiguring right and wrong into one or another rendition of the "will to power". In other words, though God is dead, morality can still be manifested in those men who deserve to call the shots. Might makes right meets right makes might.

The crucial thing being that there is still a font that mere mortals can invest "I" in. In becoming one of the Übermensch.

Think Satyr and his clique/claque over at KT.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:33 pm

Quantum mechanics has already established that we are here, there, and here/there at the same time. The rabbit hole get's wider and deeper... Chaos theory has provided hints that there might be order at a level even beyond quantum mechanics, but for now, it's just theory. The point is that if we can't even be sure of "here", what do we really know?


This is something I often find myself coming back to with respect to either God in the universe or the universe in God. The universe manifested in the world of the very, very large [the surreal multiverse?] and the very, very small [the surreal quantum world?].

Namely this: Does the world of the very, very large and the very small exist as they do because this in the way God created them, or did God create them as He did because this is the only way that they could have been created?

Which [of course] takes the mind [mine] back to the profound mystery that surely must be embedded in the existence of existence itself.

In fact, nowadays that more or less reflects what is still left of my own religious sense. Why something exists rather than nothing, and why it exists as it does and not in some other way, is something I am just not able to wrap my mind around at all. So, sure, from time to time I think, why not God?

But then it all tumbles over into the abyss. Nothing of any real substantial value mamages to "stick".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:56 pm

Religion is a human experience. If we expect religion to be any more rational than people are, we're gong to be disappointed. Then again, I meant rationality there as narrowly defined as something that can be argued coherently for. Depth psychology and now neuro-science supports Blaise Pascal's aphorism that "'The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of... We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart."


What is this however but a suggestion that religion is as much a reflection of what we want to be true as it is what we are able to demonstrate to others [or even to ourselves] is true. And, for some of us, considerably more. It becomes a reflection of what we yearn for in order to make life more bearable on this side of the grave and even possible at all on the other side of it.

The deeper we go psychologically, the more it seems that coherence is just a frame of mind that allows us to square or to reconcile what we see around us [in a frightening world] with a yearning for an explanation that can somehow be squared or reconciled with the "will of God".

And the human brain is wired such that one only has to believe this in order for it to be true "for all practical purposes". We behave in accordance with what we think is true. It doesn't necessarily actually have to be true.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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