1. Joined
    29 Dec '08
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    6788
    05 Mar '12 19:46
    A member called vistesd mentioned in the Santorum thread, ...much, maybe most, religious (or "spiritual", if one prefers) language is not intended to be factual or poropositional, but allusive and elicitive (especially poetry).

    I believe this issue is central to the themes that keep coming up on this forum. I suggest the following for interested readers:

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/rel-lang/

    (For the skeptics here, note that the link states "If God does not exist, any attempt to describe God will be an inaccurate description of reality. Discussions about religious language attempt to articulate how one could speak of God if, in fact, God exists. " )

    Here is a brief quote:

    "The problem of religious language is generated by the traditional doctrine of God in the Abrahamic traditions. Since God is thought to be incorporeal, infinite, and timeless, the predicates we apply to corporeal, finite, temporal creatures would not apply to God."

    I think defenders of the faith here, too often are the ones who do not understand or accept this view.

    Here is a somewhat deeper quote:

    "The problem of religious language is also generated by the medieval doctrine of divine simplicity, which claims that God does not have any intrinsic accidental properties. Intrinsic properties are distinguished from Cambridge properties, such that the acquisition or loss of a Cambridge property by a subject does not entail a change in that subject, while the acquisition or loss of an intrinsic property by a subject entails a change in that subject. Moreover, accidental properties are distinguished from essential properties such that if a subject were to acquire or lose an accidental property, the subject would still be a member of its species. However, if a subject were to acquire a new essential property or lose an essential property, that subject would no longer be a member of its species. Thus, statements such as, “God is P,” where P is an intrinsic accidental property would be ruled out by divine simplicity. For example, the statement, “Kofi Annan is good,” means that some property goodness is a property of Kofi. When one says, “God is good,” it would appear that this statement means that some property goodness is a property of God. But if the doctrine of divine simplicity is true, it is impossible that God have the intrinsic accidental property of goodness. Rather, God is goodness. That is, God’s essence includes goodness and God is identical with his essence. Consequently, whenever someone applies a positive attribute to God they are speaking falsely, for God does not have properties in the way that creatures have properties." [bold added]

    It seems to me that the arguments we have here are driven by both sides failing to understand or accept the bolded statements above.
  2. Hmmm . . .
    Joined
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    05 Mar '12 20:33
    Originally posted by JS357
    A member called vistesd mentioned in the Santorum thread, [b] ...much, maybe most, religious (or "spiritual", if one prefers) language is not intended to be factual or poropositional, but allusive and elicitive (especially poetry).

    I believe this issue is central to the themes that keep coming up on this forum. I suggest the following for interested rea ...[text shortened]... re are driven by both sides failing to understand or accept the bolded statements above.[/b]
    Just for clarity (hopefully)—

    I obviously realize that there are intelligent people who disagree with (and have historically disagreed with) my view—but I would argue that the kind of language I listed (symbolic, allusive, elicitive, etc.—e.g., Zen koans) is really the proper language for at least most religious/spiritual discourse about what some might call “the transcendent” and others might call “the divine” and others might call “the ineffable ground”, depending on their particular understanding. The intent is to point (however indirectly—e.g., “apophatic theology” ) to the Reality that is prior to all our concepts about it, however derived (my own included)—and, indeed, includes us in that very activity of conceptualizing.

    I agree with your thesis. I have often said, for example, that no one on these threads has ever actually argued about “God”—but only about different God-concepts. But your proposal here goes beyond just pointing out that this or that god-concept (or set of god-concepts) is contradictory or deficient—it goes to the root problem of confusing the concept with the reality, and idolizing the concept. Herein also lies the sometimes tricky distinction between idolatry and iconography (in language as well as physical pictorial forms).

    ________________________________________

    A couple of illustrative quotes from the Jewish tradition:

    “Every definition of God leads to heresy; definition is spiritual idolatry. Even attributing mind and will to God, even attributing divinity itself, and the name ‘God’—these, too, are definitions. Were it not for the subtle awareness that all these are just sparkling flashes of that which transcends definition—these, too, would engender heresy. ...

    “The greatest impediment to the human spirit results from the fact that the conception of God is fixed in a particular form, due to childish habit and imagination. This is a spark of the defect of idolatry, of which we must always be aware. ...

    “The infinite transcends every particular content of faith.”

    —Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Palestine)


    “The primary preoccupation of biblical teaching is not the existence of God, theism as contrasted with atheism, but the fight against idolatry. In all theism there is the danger of idolatry. All theism is idolatry, since expression signifies it, thereby freezing it; except if, somehow, its discourse refutes itself and so becomes atheistic. In other words, the paradoxes of language and its meanings are such that the only discourse possible about God which is not idolatrous is an atheistic discourse. Or: in any discourse the only God that is not an idol is a God who is not ‘God’.”

    —H. Atlan, quoted by rabbi and scholar Marc-Alain Ouaknin in his The Burnt Book: Reading the Talmud.

    Ouaknin adds: “All the masters of Jewish thought, from the prophets to the contemporary masters, have understood that….”
  3. Standard memberKellyJay
    Walk your Faith
    USA
    Joined
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    05 Mar '12 20:571 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Just for clarity (hopefully)—

    I obviously realize that there are intelligent people who disagree with (and have historically disagreed with) my view—but I would argue that the kind of language I listed (symbolic, allusive, elicitive, etc.—e.g., Zen koans) is really the proper language for at least most religious/spiritual discourse about what some ...[text shortened]... asters of Jewish thought, from the prophets to the contemporary masters, have understood that….”
    I remember when I first became a Christian a LONG time ago I was talking to
    a Morman about matters of faith. We talked for two hours using the same
    words, it wasn't till late in the discussion did I realize when we each used the
    same words we were still sayig something different. You really do need to
    break down what your saying to the other and what they are saying to you,
    its painful and a lot of grief occurs here when we accuse each other of mind
    reading when we start reading into things the other person WAS NOT really
    saying.

    I don't recall who said this when discussing the English and Americans, that
    we two people separated by a common language.

    I thought that was a truthful statement. 🙂
    Kelly
  4. Standard memberkaroly aczel
    the Devil himself
    Brisbane,QLD
    Joined
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    06 Mar '12 14:212 edits
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Just for clarity (hopefully)—

    I obviously realize that there are intelligent people who disagree with (and have historically disagreed with) my view—but I would argue that the kind of language I listed (symbolic, allusive, elicitive, etc.—e.g., Zen koans) is really the proper language for at least most religious/spiritual discourse about what some ...[text shortened]... asters of Jewish thought, from the prophets to the contemporary masters, have understood that….”
    Yes, it all comes back to linguistics.
    I think that "god" is a very useful word, however non-existent.

    Many christians ,all of them , if i am not wrong, believe"God" (with a big "G" ) is actually a person. I believe they base this on the quote from the bible that goes along the lines of "Man was made in gods image" , or some such. you get the gist.

    Christians ,(and others) cant help but anthropomorphize "God". No offence intended, but this is for kids. A kids introduction into "God" and spirituality.
    They take the moon for the "God" itself rather THAN JUST A REFLECTION, A STORY For the introduction to "God" . Great for kids upto about 7-10 but really...
    Lets get into the right ballpark.
    Lets work it out. it is possible-despite people like Suzianne saying that it cant be explained and can only understood through faith.
    There is a path. A middle path( I hear the buddhas words reverberating in my ear 🙂 )
    The fact is that the language needs to be changed, is changing anyway, but is it to everyones satisfaction? I think it will leave SOME christians cold and empty. Tough. This is the way. This is the way of the sages that have come before and have laid the ground.
    anyone seen "die hard 2"?
    I see a great metaphor in that movie. The planes are all circling, running out of fuel, and our hero (b willis) torches the baddies plane to leave a strip of burning light(fire) for the rest of the planes to use as "lights" on the runway so that they can can all come in safely (on that cold wintery,snowy night).

    All the elements are there. (As metaphors here, of course). The planes circling not having a clue as to where to land. The inclement weather that restricts them from attempting to land without landing lights. The one guy putting it all on the line to get the baddies and inadverdantly realizing that by his actions he has lit up the runway to light the runway for all the the other planes to land relatively safely.


    You can actually see the most profound spiritual "adverts" in the most mundane of ads and films (like the one I ,mentioned)

    Sony-the One and Only
    Nike-Just do It

    just to name 2
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