1. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    03 May '13 22:182 edits
    I do not think we can directly choose what we believe.* We can embrace certain experiences and examine certain forms of evidence while ignoring others. But once we've processed these, and become convinced of something, we can't just will it away.

    If that's the case, does it make sense that we are held morally accountable (by a god or other religious authority) for our lack of belief in a certain deity?

    * - would be interested to hear from LJ or other philosophically-inclined poster if there are successful arguments to the contrary.
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    03 May '13 22:20
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    I do not think we can directly choose what we believe.* If that's the case, does it make sense that we are held morally accountable (by a god or other religious authority) for our lack of belief in their deity?

    * - would be interested to hear from LJ or other philosophically-inclined poster if there are successful arguments to the contrary.
    I don't know if it matters.

    I think when you're gone, you're gone.

    You ain't coming back and I don't think you'll be going any place else.
  3. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    03 May '13 22:22
    Originally posted by johnnylongwoody
    I don't know if it matters.

    I think when you're gone, you're gone.

    You ain't coming back and I don't think you'll be going any place else.
    I think you can come back if you find other evidence that outweighs the evidence that convinced you in the first place. But you can't just decide to come back.
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    03 May '13 23:163 edits
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    I do not think we can directly choose what we believe.* We can embrace certain experiences and examine certain forms of evidence while ignoring others. But once we've processed these, and become convinced of something, we can't just will it away.

    If that's the case, does it make sense that we are held morally accountable (by a god or other religious a ...[text shortened]... J or other philosophically-inclined poster if there are successful arguments to the contrary.
    Bible states as much,

    (Romans 1:19, 20) For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.

    the implication of course being that inferences drawn from an examination of the natural world are evidence of Gods inherent qualities, those being a reflection of the creator himself. So compelling should this be that Paul judges to deny it, is inexcusable.
  5. Subscribersonhouse
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    03 May '13 23:25
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    Bible states as much,

    (Romans 1:19, 20) For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.

    the implication of course being that inferences drawn from an examination of the natural world are evidence of ...[text shortened]... creator himself. So compelling should this be that Paul judges that to deny it, is inexcusable.
    It is really effective how early writers started the Abrahamic religions with zero input from a god and then later writers hanging their hats on the same frame keeping up the same scam century after century, thus giving the entire edifice an apparent life of its own and thus creating its own godliness. It is amazing all that happened with just a bunch of very talented story tellers and soothsayers and such all hanging their lines on the same tree, kind of like a spider snaring its prey, and snare they did, now up to what 4 billion people in one branch or another of the Abrahamic religions?

    They have a death grip on most of the world now.
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    03 May '13 23:28
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    I do not think we can directly choose what we believe.* We can embrace certain experiences and examine certain forms of evidence while ignoring others. But once we've processed these, and become convinced of something, we can't just will it away.

    If that's the case, does it make sense that we are held morally accountable (by a god or other religious a ...[text shortened]... J or other philosophically-inclined poster if there are successful arguments to the contrary.
    I think existentialism has something to say about this:

    1. Major fact: we live, we die.
    2. Major fact: we are born with attributes and in circumstances we do not choose, and much of what happens after this is not under our control.
    3. Major fact: we are moral agents, and moral victims.

    I think under theistic existentialism we are morally accountable to God for the results of a lack of belief in God only if that lack of belief is the cause of a moral failing. The lack of belief is not a moral failing in itself. Under atheistic existentialism, the question of a lack of belief being a moral failing is simply not on the table.

    I don't intend anything I say here to be considered a "successful argument."
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    03 May '13 23:311 edit
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    I do not think we can directly choose what we believe.* We can embrace certain experiences and examine certain forms of evidence while ignoring others. But once we've processed these, and become convinced of something, we can't just will it away.

    If that's the case, does it make sense that we are held morally accountable (by a god or other religious a ...[text shortened]... J or other philosophically-inclined poster if there are successful arguments to the contrary.
    Yeah, I definitely agree: belief is not primarily within one's control.

    One cannot directly choose to believe that P irrespective of other considerations, since belief is largely a passive process dictated by one's evidential reading. As bbarr pointed out once, if one were inclined to actively bring about his belief that P, probably the best one could do would be to choose to engage in steps that he has reason to think may eventuate in his coming to believe that P. As silly examples, he could choose to read only accounts that purport to show that P; or he could choose to dine only with those that already believe that P; or etc, etc. But there is no guarantee that this will actually eventuate in his coming to believe P. Further, in the absence of reasons already sufficient to elicit his believing that P, it's not clear that choosing to engage in such activities is altogether responsible (e.g., we could probably think of cases in which choosing to engage in some such program would indicate a failure to study the topic of P with sufficient objectivity). This also ties in with reasons why faith can be irresponsible. For example, under some reading of faith in which for S to take P on faith is, to first order, for S to at least provisionally choose to treat the world as such that P is true; it seems that, in the lack of evidential reasons that already elicit S's belief that P, it is questionable that S's taking P on faith would be epistemologically responsible.
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    03 May '13 23:36
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    It is really effective how early writers started the Abrahamic religions with zero input from a god and then later writers hanging their hats on the same frame keeping up the same scam century after century, thus giving the entire edifice an apparent life of its own and thus creating its own godliness. It is amazing all that happened with just a bunch of ve ...[text shortened]... anch or another of the Abrahamic religions?

    They have a death grip on most of the world now.
    actually i think its the greedy exploitation of the earths natural resources mainly due to the unscrupulous use of science and technology that is responsible for more damage than the religious.
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    03 May '13 23:41
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    Bible states as much,

    (Romans 1:19, 20) For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.

    the implication of course being that inferences drawn from an examination of the natural world are evidence of ...[text shortened]... f the creator himself. So compelling should this be that Paul judges to deny it, is inexcusable.
    This is a head-scratching response to the OP.

    Unless I am misreading you, you are saying that Paul implies that it is "inexcusable" for one to fail to form the belief that God exists. But that of course presupposes that one can be held accountable for his failing to form a belief. But that's the entire question under discussion here, whether or not that makes sense.

    Does Paul have any actual substantive reasons why he judges it as "inexcusable"?
  10. Subscribersonhouse
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    03 May '13 23:58
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    actually i think its the greedy exploitation of the earths natural resources mainly due to the unscrupulous use of science and technology that is responsible for more damage than the religious.
    I see. The excesses of science, which is about 150 years old, 300 years max, is much more culpable that the last 3000 years of deadly religious wars.

    The fact that the average lifespan of humans today is what, 3 times that of 300 years ago, much less than 3000 years ago means nothing, eh.

    The fact that the majority of people around the world, percentage wise, are not starving, that for the most part have decent health care, that means nothing.

    The fact that a woman bearing children even 300 years ago had a pretty good chance of dying along with the baby and now that is way down the list of deadly medical problems, the biggest of which in now smoking, killing millions every year around the world, which is entirely in the hands of humans to prevent if the smoking asssholes would stop their dreaded habit.

    I can see now that science is SO culpable in all that.

    A large part of our present difficulty is the beginnings of agriculture 10,000 years ago or 15,000, depending on your source. The average health went down tremendously upon the introduction of agriculture. It started the first divisions between those on top and those on the bottom, making for the first slave class, the first war lords and the first religions. For instance, Stonehenge was a monument to figuring out the equinoxes to figure the best time to sow and such, an auxiliary of agriculture. It was agriculture that started us down the dark road we find ourselves in today, not science. Now we are deep in the belly of agriculture and need to keep digging the trench of that pursuit to the end.

    I'm not of those teary eyed tree huggers saying people were so much better off back in the ancient hunter gatherer days but the stratification of humanity definitely started when agriculture took hold.

    You want to blame anyone for the deterioration of the human race, blame it on the first farmers not scientists. Science is and always will be, a two edged sword. There are millions of scientists around the world trying their best to repair the damage that bad science gave us like nuclear energy. What a boondoggle that one turned out to be, great for the first 20 or 30 years but the radiation bill you pay later....

    Well now we are pursuing environmentally safer and sustainable methods of getting our business done, transportation, lighting, heating, cooling, sewage and such, all done in a sustainable way. So you figure all that effort should be short circuited as blind greed?
  11. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    04 May '13 02:29
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    Bible states as much,

    (Romans 1:19, 20) For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.

    the implication of course being that inferences drawn from an examination of the natural world are evidence of ...[text shortened]... f the creator himself. So compelling should this be that Paul judges to deny it, is inexcusable.
    Do you think that evidence Paul speaks of is decisive for all people, or would you allow that some people don't find that sort of evidence compelling enough to believe in God?
  12. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    04 May '13 02:34
    Originally posted by JS357
    I think existentialism has something to say about this:

    1. Major fact: we live, we die.
    2. Major fact: we are born with attributes and in circumstances we do not choose, and much of what happens after this is not under our control.
    3. Major fact: we are moral agents, and moral victims.

    I think under theistic existentialism we are morally accountable to ...[text shortened]... on the table.

    I don't intend anything I say here to be considered a "successful argument."
    Where I live, the more reasonable theists who allow that good people of other faiths (or no faith) will not be condemned, are too quiet.
  13. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    04 May '13 03:31
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Yeah, I definitely agree: belief is not primarily within one's control.

    One cannot directly choose to believe that P irrespective of other considerations, since belief is largely a passive process dictated by one's evidential reading. As bbarr pointed out once, if one were inclined to actively bring about his belief that P, probably the best one could ...[text shortened]... at P, it is questionable that S's taking P on faith would be epistemologically responsible.
    The examples are silly, yet sadly real. Some people will go to great lengths to try to believe that P, or avoid loss of belief that P.

    I have discussed this on other forums, and the idea that we don't have primary control of our beliefs caused more controversy than I expected. Perhaps this is due to the human tendency to try to control our beliefs even though we know ultimately that we can't?
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    04 May '13 05:061 edit
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Yeah, I definitely agree: belief is not primarily within one's control.

    One cannot directly choose to believe that P irrespective of other considerations, since belief is largely a passive process dictated by one's evidential reading. As bbarr pointed out once, if one were inclined to actively bring about his belief that P, probably the best one could at P, it is questionable that S's taking P on faith would be epistemologically responsible.
    This pretty much covers it.

    Is coming to a belief a simple volitional act ("I shall believe P" ), or not? If it were, why wouldn't we each choose the least harmful belief? It would become a marketplace: the belief I offer you is the least harmful.
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    04 May '13 07:341 edit
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    * - would be interested to hear from LJ or other philosophically-inclined poster if there are successful arguments to the contrary.
    I don't think you need to look at philosophy but rather at psychology. I made a similar claim in another thread and was corrected and I now think that some people do in fact choose their beliefs. I know plenty of people who have:
    1. Changed denomination/religion for marriage.
    2. Wanted to become Christian and then shopped around for the 'best' denomination.
    Now I realize that within religions/denominations many of the members do not believe everything that religion/denomination has in its creed, but many members accept without evidence much of the creed and thus could be said to believe it based at least in part on the fact that they chose that denomination?

    I have also found it interesting that one of the main topics that comes up when I tell people I am atheist, is that of morality. They say that if they were atheist, there would no longer be any reason to be good, and as such they would rather remain theist in order to stay 'good'. Its a remarkably inconsistent argument but I hear it a lot and would say that some people choose to be theist in order to keep themselves in line.

    Your argument is based on the assumption that people are rational. People are not rational.
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