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Spirituality

Spirituality

  1. 16 Mar '06 01:18
    It seems to me that faith is untenable from a logical perspective. God's existence is often described as unverifiable. I tend to agree. BUT...

    Why is that most theists (endowed with such astute intellects) could succumb to such a weakness of intelligence? If its so obviously untenable and unverifiable why believe in God?

    I was discussing this with a priest (who is a logician). He told me that reason is only finite, sometimes we need to "transcend" this to truly understand. Which made me think, can we know things other then through logic or induction?

    I remember that Martin Luther (as in reformation era) wrote that "reason is a whore" and that "a christian must rip the eye out of reason and even kill it".

    I would like to know how theists can "transcend" the logical barriers of theism and/ or how non- theists could reject it.
  2. 16 Mar '06 01:46
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    It seems to me that faith is untenable from a logical perspective. God's existence is often described as unverifiable. I tend to agree. BUT...

    Why is that most theists (endowed with such astute intellects) could succumb to such a weakness of intelligence? If its so obviously untenable and unverifiable why believe in God?

    I was discussing this with a ...[text shortened]... an "transcend" the logical barriers of theism and/ or how non- theists could reject it.
    Just to clarify, some people (even non-theists) would say that we all rely on “faith” of some kind, just to make the decisions that get us through the day. Or “faith” in the self-evidence of the axioms on which we construct our philosophies, etc. Or “faith” in the probabilities of inductive reasoning (i.e., absent strict certainty).

    Do you mean here strictly faith in the supernatural—as in God as a supernatural being?

    I’m just trying to derail a discussion that side-tracks what I understand your question to be...
  3. 16 Mar '06 02:36
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    It seems to me that faith is untenable from a logical perspective. God's existence is often described as unverifiable. I tend to agree. BUT...

    Why is that most theists (endowed with such astute intellects) could succumb to such a weakness of intelligence? If its so obviously untenable and unverifiable why believe in God?

    I was discussing this with a ...[text shortened]... an "transcend" the logical barriers of theism and/ or how non- theists could reject it.
    You're right, it is untenable, but as for a 'weakness of intelligence'? I'd like to see the person who only uses logic throughout their daily lives.
    The reality is that even the most rational of us humans at times will utilise other forms of thought (or not-thought) to make decisions and to act. We reason only some of the time. (Some more times than others by the way.)

    Can we know things other than through logic or deduction? Yes, I believe so.
    I know for example, that I love my kids. I'm not sure how I would go about proving this love logically - my suspicion is that I couldn't. Now you might argue that this isn't knowledge it's just a feeling, an emotion. But for all of us, our emotions are part of our knowledge - part of our understandings of the world, our world view if you like. Some (not me of course) would argue that their religious faith is like this. They KNOW that god exists in the same way that I KNOW that I love my kids.
    Neither can be proved.

    As for this stuff 'trabscending' the rational? I wouldn't go there. To me it's just another way of knowing - neither better nor worse.
  4. Standard member scottishinnz
    Kichigai!
    16 Mar '06 02:51
    Originally posted by amannion
    You're right, it is untenable, but as for a 'weakness of intelligence'? I'd like to see the person who only uses logic throughout their daily lives.
    The reality is that even the most rational of us humans at times will utilise other forms of thought (or not-thought) to make decisions and to act. We reason only some of the time. (Some more times than other ...[text shortened]... ouldn't go there. To me it's just another way of knowing - neither better nor worse.
    Loving your kids makes evolutionary sense. They share your genes, loving them is just like loving yourself, from a strictly genetic viewpoint. Organisms with life strategies like ours (k-strategists) that love their kids, take care of them and protect them, will be more successfull than those that didn't. And look at it this way - we both come from long lines of organisms that successfully survived up until reproduction!
  5. 16 Mar '06 03:23
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Loving your kids makes evolutionary sense. They share your genes, loving them is just like loving yourself, from a strictly genetic viewpoint. Organisms with life strategies like ours (k-strategists) that love their kids, take care of them and protect them, will be more successfull than those that didn't. And look at it this way - we both come from long lines of organisms that successfully survived up until reproduction!
    Okay, I knew that was going to happen.
    Pick something that doesn't make any evolutionary sense, say loving Cricket or Football, or chocolate, or whatever, and I think my original argument still works.
  6. 16 Mar '06 03:25
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    It seems to me that faith is untenable from a logical perspective.
    It seems to me that everything is untenable from a logical perspective.


    Perhaps you would like to define faith...


    Maybe it is your definition of fatih that subconciously interdicts in your perception in matters of........ faith. Thus, it would serve well to retain the status quo of circular logic on a subconcious level.


    Faith can have reason, reason can have logic.
  7. Standard member scottishinnz
    Kichigai!
    16 Mar '06 03:34
    Originally posted by amannion
    Okay, I knew that was going to happen.
    Pick something that doesn't make any evolutionary sense, say loving Cricket or Football, or chocolate, or whatever, and I think my original argument still works.
    Okay okay! I get your drift, just trying to be helpful....
  8. 16 Mar '06 05:02
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Okay okay! I get your drift, just trying to be helpful....
    No no, you were right to pick me up on that one.
    Cheers ....
  9. 16 Mar '06 08:50
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Just to clarify, some people (even non-theists) would say that we all rely on “faith” of some kind, just to make the decisions that get us through the day. Or “faith” in the self-evidence of the axioms on which we construct our philosophies, etc. Or “faith” in the probabilities of inductive reasoning (i.e., absent strict certainty).

    Do you mean here st ...[text shortened]... I’m just trying to derail a discussion that side-tracks what I understand your question to be...
    Thanks for clarifying, yes, i mean faith in the supernatural. But also how faith can become for some theists complete certainty. Are they just stupid (no offense intended...honest) or is there something more?
  10. 16 Mar '06 09:35
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Thanks for clarifying, yes, i mean faith in the supernatural. But also how faith can become for some theists complete certainty. Are they just stupid (no offense intended...honest) or is there something more?
    Acting in a non-logical way is not necessarily stupid. Most people cannot truely explain many of thier actions, cirtainly not in a logical way. Most people base much of thier lives on love (for family or spouse or other) but cant logically explain why. Most cannot truely explain why they follow particular ethics, and thier explanations when they have them are rarely logical. Knowing why you love and knowing that in some cases it is not logical does not immediately stop you from loving, nor does it make you stupid if you keep on loving even illogically. However there are limits and sometimes logic wins.
  11. Standard member dj2becker
    rentrer à la maison
    16 Mar '06 10:23
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Acting in a non-logical way is not necessarily stupid. Most people cannot truely explain many of thier actions, cirtainly not in a logical way. Most people base much of thier lives on love (for family or spouse or other) but cant logically explain why. Most cannot truely explain why they follow particular ethics, and thier explanations when they have them ...[text shortened]... tupid if you keep on loving even illogically. However there are limits and sometimes logic wins.
    So does explaining your actions in a logical way make you stupid?
  12. 16 Mar '06 12:43
    Originally posted by dj2becker
    So does explaining your actions in a logical way make you stupid?
    Most definitions of the word deal with a lack of intelligence. There is a relationship between intelligence and use of logic, however I dont think anybody can explain all thier actions in a truely logical way. In todays world however stupid is used as an insult more than anything else.
  13. 16 Mar '06 14:49
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Thanks for clarifying, yes, i mean faith in the supernatural. But also how faith can become for some theists complete certainty. Are they just stupid (no offense intended...honest) or is there something more?
    I don’t think it’s necessarily stupidity, or ignorance. Paul Tillich, the protestant theologian, for instance, was possessed of a huge intellect.

    There really seem to be two sources: (1) the assumption of a written revelation, and (2) mystical experience that is translated/interpreted as evidence of the supernatural. Often the first seems to ultimately derive from the second (Moses at the burning bush, for example).

    However, mystical experiences do not necessarily point to the supernatural (nor are they necessarily pathological, on the other hand—I find the Zennists, for example, to be quite sane). But if one experiences the tathata (suchness) of reality without the mediation of thought-forms, the brain/mind often immediately attempts to translate that experience into a mental content that is in some way familiar (visions, auditions, etc.)—in a similar way that we translate received sensations into visual images of objects, such as a tree (that is how we see the world). The translation then becomes super-imposed on the experience, and the content of the translation is taken for the “real thing.”

    Zen teachers call such translations makyo (bedeviling illusions), and generally suggest that they simply be ignored. In case it’s not clear, I agree with the Zen viewpoint.

    I acknowledge a third possibility: that people conclude from their observation of the world that there must be something outside the natural realm—i.e., the supernatural or extra-natural—that causes it all. At bottom, I find that to be unnecessary speculation.

    Once one assumes the supernatural—either on the basis of written revelation or observation—one can erect a logical system on that “axiomatic” base. But the assumption (and I’m not using that word in a dismissive sense; it just seems to be a broader term than “axiom” ) still has to be accepted “on faith.” If one were certain, one would need no faith.

    NOTE: When I speak of “mystical” experience, I am using that term in a quasi-technical sense that includes non-supernatural experiences such as those in Zen—in doing so, I am simply following the general literature.
  14. 16 Mar '06 15:15
    There does seem to be some synonymous use of faith and belief, which I think needs seperating. When I personally talk about faith I mean in a sense of 'blind' faith, ie. unsupported by anything other than my own view. If I say I have a belief in something I mean that it is supported by some evidence or through a process of induction. Now I'm not saying that this is true for everyone, but I wonder if it would make discussions such as this easier to deal with if that was how such things were defined.
  15. 16 Mar '06 15:58
    Originally posted by Starrman
    There does seem to be some synonymous use of faith and belief, which I think needs seperating. When I personally talk about faith I mean in a sense of 'blind' faith, ie. unsupported by anything other than my own view. If I say I have a belief in something I mean that it is supported by some evidence or through a process of induction. Now I'm not saying ...[text shortened]... d make discussions such as this easier to deal with if that was how such things were defined.
    I agree. There is another aspect: the Greek word pistis means trust or confidence. One could choose to act with confidence in one’s beliefs (based on whatever evidence), without certainty. I have likened it to the quarterback throwing the “hail Mary” pass—based on skill and belief in the possibility of completing it, but without any certainty. A sports psychologist or coach would say, however, that the pass has a better chance of completion if thrown with confidence. Because of skill and training and practice, this may not be “blind faith.”

    In this sense, belief—in at least the possibility—precedes faith, and faith becomes the willingness to act on one’s belief in the face of uncertainty. The notion of faith preceding belief makes no sense to me at all—unless one were using faith to mean simply openness to possibility pending study of the evidence; and though absence of evidence may not be evidence of absence, I am unlikely to keep open to the possibility that there is a unicorn in my refrigerator, when one fails to appear after several openings of the door...

    Faith without belief, as you defined belief, is “blind faith.” Belief without some rational/evidential support is “blind belief” (or blind speculation). The better the evidential underpinnings, the more reasonable the belief (i.e., the greater the probability of it’s being true, or the less the area of uncertainty). The question becomes whether or not (or at what point) the evidence becomes sufficient.

    Since I find nothing in reason or empiricism to provide sufficient support for a belief in the supernatural, I can have no faith therein.

    With all that said, I admit that I have not had much success in arguing that faith and belief can and should be separated for purposes of discussion—and have largely given up.