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Taking it to a Higher Level

Radar
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4/12/2013 1:39:31 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
This post is really for other theists.

The so-called problem of evil has been getting a lot more attention from me that it deserves so I thought I'd move on and try to take the conversation to a higher level. This should be interesting, at least for me, because if my opponents-in-waiting can't get a handle on the relative non-existence of matter and what it entails, then what follows will baffle them entirely

First of all, getting to know nature in its various forms and how it behaves through science is simply to acquaint oneself with the habits of God. So, unless science has something definitive to add toward my understanding, I'm relatively be indifferent about it. Naturally, atheists and agnostics will take a critical view of this, but that's not a problem because my concern is with the spiritual rather than the material. So, what is spirit? By itself, physical energy is static-reactive, but underpinning that is a creative and organizing principle we call "spirit." Looking for physical evidence of spirit is kinda like looking for the physical properties of the mathematics that determines how a fractal unfolds, but since a "Flatlander" can't see or measure its formless presence (except, perhaps, as "probabilities" and "entanglement"), he therefore "logically" deduces there is none.

"Incoherence" is the lack of cohesion, clarity and organization. If atheism wants to claim to be its opposite, then it must assume a priori the presence of a unifying principle. By doing so, however, it simultaneously affirms the validity of theism even as it denies its claims. As Evelyn Underhill wrote a hundred years ago, "It is no argument to say that most men see the world in much the same way, and that this "way" is the true standard of reality: though for practical purposes we have agreed that sanity consists in sharing the hallucinations of our neighbours." In today's world, the dominant hallucination consists of the belief that when an atheist or anti-theist uses a conceptual model to describe observations and experience it's "science," but when a theist does it, it's called an "unsubstantiated belief system" even if their model is at once epistemically justifiable and more aesthetically pleasing than the atheist's. Personally, I think it's hypocritical. Are they not themselves living examples of the universe thinking and learning about it's own nature through individuated forms?

That the universe is comprehensible is the premier postulate of the atheistic/scientific mind and the success of science seems to bear this out. But the moment you think "I," reality is divided not into two, self and not-self, but three: self, not-self and relation. This simple realization, which is backed by science and reason, affirms the literal truth of two theistic concepts that stem from it: a human being is the relation of a relation"a synthesis of the Infinite and the finite, Eternal and the temporal, Freedom and necessity"relating to itself (Kierkegaard) and "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me" (Eckhart).

Neither of these theistic concepts say much about the nature of God; only that the difference between God and man is one of degree and not kind. If we are capable of benevolence, then the One has something akin to benevolence in its nature; if we are intelligent, self-aware creatures, then the One also possesses those qualities in some form or another. This is not to say the said benevolence, intelligence and self-awareness is something we would recognize as such. After all, any extremely large, complex and highly automatic-appearing mechanism would naturally tend to conceal the presence of the originative or creative intelligence from any indwelling intelligences very far below the nature and capacity of that creative intelligence. This is especially true of those intelligences living on and identifying with the granular level.

In order to step back and see the big picture, in order to have any hope of seeing the hand of the Divine, we have to detach ourselves from our passions, personal interests and our likes and dislikes. We have to "dis-identify" from the body, our sense of individuality and even our sense of self-worth. We have to dis-identify from our gender, race, culture and creed. In short, we have to become as little children. For "by love He may be gotten and holden, but by thought never."

I know this throws a wet towel in the face of those who want a lively debate, but this is the religion forum and this is what religion is about. It is not about the problem of evil, abortion or sacred texts. It's about relating to something greater than ourselves that includes ourselves. True, many people can and do confuse the finger for the moon it's pointing to. As one text puts it, "a doctrinal fetish will lead mortal man to betray himself into the clutches of bigotry, fanaticism, superstition, intolerance, and the most atrocious of barbarous cruelties." That's the potential downside of religion and I'll admit it's no small matter, but the idea of an upside without a downside is a logical absurdity that even anti-theists must recognize if they want to have any credibility at all. So, however horrendous the downside's manifestations, it does not invalidate the upside of religion or religious experience.

To avoid the possibility of a downside and still have meaning, anti-theists may want to view both spirituality and science as "meaning-making without faith," and spirituality as more congruent with science than religion because religion requires acceptance of an absolute without empirical evidence. This is akin to saying that loving a chair is the same as loving the carpenter who made it. Those who call themselves "spiritual but not religious" tend to sympathize with such claims, but this is to agree with the anti-theist that the love for a carcass on the ground is the same as that for the bird flying in the air. It may be true in principle, but it's hardly as aesthetically pleasing or as conducive to good works.

Other than what has been said, I don't have a lot to say with respect to what I believe about God. For "it matters little what idea of the Father you may entertain as long as you are spiritually acquainted with the ideal of his infinite and eternal nature." I have my opinions, but choose to remain silent with regards to things like "gay" marriage and abortion. Still, I will say that Plotinus's the One or the doctrine of divine simplicity comes comes closest to my ideal, I suppose, but with qualifications suited to my own taste.
Composer
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4/12/2013 2:30:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/12/2013 1:39:31 AM, Radar wrote:
First of all, getting to know nature in its various forms and how it behaves through science is simply to acquaint oneself with the habits of God.

First of all, show us a Literal Supernatural god(s) exist?
Radar
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4/12/2013 9:15:32 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/12/2013 2:30:40 AM, Composer wrote:
At 4/12/2013 1:39:31 AM, Radar wrote:
First of all, getting to know nature in its various forms and how it behaves through science is simply to acquaint oneself with the habits of God.

First of all, show us a Literal Supernatural god(s) exist?

Why? I disagree with Alvin Plantiniga's criticism of the doctrine of divine simplicity, but he is right about theism being properly basic.

Besides, unlike Dr. Quantum, I don't have the power to lift you out of Flatland.
Composer
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4/12/2013 9:25:17 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/12/2013 9:15:32 AM, Radar wrote:
At 4/12/2013 2:30:40 AM, Composer wrote:
At 4/12/2013 1:39:31 AM, Radar wrote:
First of all, getting to know nature in its various forms and how it behaves through science is simply to acquaint oneself with the habits of God.

First of all, show us a Literal Supernatural god(s) exist?

At 4/12/2013 9:15:32 AM, Radar wrote:
Why?

Because you can't!
Radar
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4/12/2013 9:38:28 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/12/2013 9:25:17 AM, Composer wrote:
At 4/12/2013 9:15:32 AM, Radar wrote:
At 4/12/2013 2:30:40 AM, Composer wrote:
At 4/12/2013 1:39:31 AM, Radar wrote:
First of all, getting to know nature in its various forms and how it behaves through science is simply to acquaint oneself with the habits of God.

First of all, show us a Literal Supernatural god(s) exist?

At 4/12/2013 9:15:32 AM, Radar wrote:
Why?

Because you can't!

That's right. I do not have the power lift you out of Flatland; that's something you have to do for yourself.

All you are doing is verifying what I said about opponents-in-waiting being entirely baffled. Moreover, you didn't even to bother watching the Plantiga video, and that only proves willful ignorance on your part.
glassplotful
Posts: 52
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4/12/2013 9:26:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"By itself, physical energy is static-reactive, but underpinning that is a creative and organizing principle we call "spirit.""

This definition is confusing; perhaps you could clear it up for me. What do you mean by "physical energy?" Physics tells us that all energy is physical- it can be examined, studied, and manipulated in reality. To say that energy is physical implies that the opposite exists: nonphysical energy.

Nonphysical energy is something that we cannot possibly test or measure and something that does not affect the physical world. Do you agree? If "nonphysical" energy did indeed affect the physical world, then it would be physical energy. So, are you proposing that there exists some form of energy which we cannot possibly detect? If so, where is your proof?

I propose you cannot prove the existence of a nonphysical energy. By proving its existence, you obviously had to detect it by physical means. If you detected it, it would imply that the nonphysical energy interacted with the physical world in such a way that you were able to detect it. We can then say that the energy you detected was physical. Thus, the energy you were trying to prove exists in the first place is not nonphysical, but physical.
Radar
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4/12/2013 10:58:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/12/2013 9:26:27 PM, glassplotful wrote:
"By itself, physical energy is static-reactive, but underpinning that is a creative and organizing principle we call "spirit.""

This definition is confusing; perhaps you could clear it up for me. What do you mean by "physical energy?" Physics tells us that all energy is physical- it can be examined, studied, and manipulated in reality. To say that energy is physical implies that the opposite exists: nonphysical energy.

Nonphysical energy is something that we cannot possibly test or measure and something that does not affect the physical world. Do you agree? If "nonphysical" energy did indeed affect the physical world, then it would be physical energy. So, are you proposing that there exists some form of energy which we cannot possibly detect? If so, where is your proof?

I propose you cannot prove the existence of a nonphysical energy. By proving its existence, you obviously had to detect it by physical means. If you detected it, it would imply that the nonphysical energy interacted with the physical world in such a way that you were able to detect it. We can then say that the energy you detected was physical. Thus, the energy you were trying to prove exists in the first place is not nonphysical, but physical.

I understand your confusion, but note the words "by itself." Do the iterations in a fractal act by themselves? Is the mathematics behind it physical? Is it even an energy?
glassplotful
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4/13/2013 12:04:30 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I understand your confusion, but note the words "by itself." Do the iterations in a fractal act by themselves? Is the mathematics behind it physical? Is it even an energy?

So you define 'spirit' as the concept or properties of something?

In what way does a concept 'act?' In what way is a concept 'physical' or 'nonphysical?' The questions you ask do not make sense because the ideas you are trying to relate to each other are incompatible with each other- it's the equivalent of asking 'what is the genetic makeup of the Cooke-Levin theorem?'
Radar
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4/13/2013 1:35:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/13/2013 12:04:30 AM, glassplotful wrote:

So you define 'spirit' as the concept or properties of something?

In what way does a concept 'act?' In what way is a concept 'physical' or 'nonphysical?' The questions you ask do not make sense because the ideas you are trying to relate to each other are incompatible with each other- it's the equivalent of asking 'what is the genetic makeup of the Cooke-Levin theorem?'

There's a lot of ways I can "define" spirit: purposeful energy, vital principle, animating force, formative cause, incorporeal consciousness, reality-personality and so on.

The ideas I'm trying to relate are very compatible, even interdependent. They are indissolubly connected even if they are not the same. Mathematics without the graph (fractal) is meaningless; fractals without mathematics do not and cannot come into existence.

Spirit and matter are similarly distinctly different and interdependent. Their relationship, however, is not symmetrical: spirit is primary, form (matter-energy) shadowy and insubstantial.
glassplotful
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4/13/2013 1:49:54 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
There's a lot of ways I can "define" spirit: purposeful energy, vital principle, animating force, formative cause, incorporeal consciousness, reality-personality and so on.

The ideas I'm trying to relate are very compatible, even interdependent. They are indissolubly connected even if they are not the same. Mathematics without the graph (fractal) is meaningless; fractals without mathematics do not and cannot come into existence.

Spirit and matter are similarly distinctly different and interdependent. Their relationship, however, is not symmetrical: spirit is primary, form (matter-energy) shadowy and insubstantial.

Purposeful energy? In what way is energy purposeful? What is your proof that energy has a purpose?

Vital principle, animating force, formative cause, incorporeal consciousness, reality-personality? I don't know what these mean at all. Your definition of 'spirit' is highly ambiguous and as a result I'm having a hard time grasping your philosophy.

You also seem to be implying that mathematics has a meaning. What proof do you have that mathematics has a meaning?
Nur-Ab-Sal
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4/13/2013 2:45:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/12/2013 9:15:32 AM, Radar wrote:
I disagree with Alvin Plantiniga's criticism of the doctrine of divine simplicity, but he is right about theism being properly basic.

How do you stand theologically? Are you a classical theist?
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
Radar
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4/13/2013 2:51:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
LOL! Do not mistake the finger for the moon it's pointing to, glass. As for your want for evidence, what I said to Composer goes for you, too. Watch the Plantiga video.
Radar
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4/13/2013 2:59:20 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/13/2013 2:45:27 AM, Nur-Ab-Sal wrote:
At 4/12/2013 9:15:32 AM, Radar wrote:
I disagree with Alvin Plantiniga's criticism of the doctrine of divine simplicity, but he is right about theism being properly basic.

How do you stand theologically? Are you a classical theist?

I don't think anyone would call me that, even though the doctrine of divine simplicity is classical. A panentheist (not pantheist) along the lines of Neoplatonism might be a fair description.
glassplotful
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4/13/2013 1:17:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'm well familiar with Plantiga and his philosophy. I've seen the video already.

Plantiga states that it is an assumption to assume that everything around you is is not a figment of your own imagination- most human beings do this every day. And he is right, we do assume this. However, the opposite is true as well: a Solipsist assumes that his mind is the only mind that exists. "I think, therefore I am" is not a valid argument as the brain is purely physical and thus, according to Plantiga's philosophy, may not exist as well (meaning our thoughts do not exist). If the Solipsist's view is rational, then the anti-Solipsist's view is also rational, because they are both based on fundamental assumptions.

He then makes the bold assertion that god should be included in this body of basic assumptions. He asks "why does god have to have an argument?" And this is where the train of philosophical nonsense really begins.

The basic assumptions that we make in science, mathematics, and logic are not simply ideas we pull from the abyss. They are simple, do not carry any further implications following their conclusion.

For example, modus ponens tells us that:

P -> Q, P therefore Q

"If it is warm outside, I'll go to school. It is warm outside. I will go to school."

Notice there are no further implications following this assumption.

Compare this to the god hypothesis. If we're talking about the Judeo-Christian god, there a vast number of implications and baggage to be found with the simple statement:

"god exists"

In what way does he exist?
Where is he?
What does he look like?
Is he a physical being?
What is his gender, if he has one?
Does he interact with our universe?
Does he interact with the events on our Earth?
Does he love us, as a human does?
Does he suffer from human emotions, like us?
Is he all knowing?
Is he all powerful?
Can he manipulate the laws of physics?
Does he speak English, Greek, or no language at all?

We find that the god hypothesis is not a good assumption at all, for there is a massive amount of ambiguity following the assumption. The question then is, why should we assume that god exists? We can assume modus ponens is valid because we can construct theories with it that hold true to what we know as our reality. We cannot say the same for the god hypothesis.

Again, there is a fundamental misunderstanding here of what an assumption actually is. Assumptions are not simply something that mathematicians and scientists pulled out of thin air- there is a large amount of evidence that points to these assumptions being true. There is no such evidence for the existence of god.
AlbinoBunny
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4/13/2013 1:29:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/12/2013 1:39:31 AM, Radar wrote:
This post is really for other theists.

Even polytheists?
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Radar
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4/13/2013 6:15:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/13/2013 1:29:00 PM, AlbinoBunny wrote:
At 4/12/2013 1:39:31 AM, Radar wrote:
This post is really for other theists.

Even polytheists?

I said, "If my opponents-in-waiting can't get a handle on the relative non-existence of matter and what it entails, then what follows will baffle them entirely."

Looks like I was right. :)
AlbinoBunny
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4/13/2013 6:31:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/13/2013 6:15:57 PM, Radar wrote:
At 4/13/2013 1:29:00 PM, AlbinoBunny wrote:
At 4/12/2013 1:39:31 AM, Radar wrote:
This post is really for other theists.

Even polytheists?

I said, "If my opponents-in-waiting can't get a handle on the relative non-existence of matter and what it entails, then what follows will baffle them entirely."

Looks like I was right. :)

You say theists, but you talk about god like it's a single being. So by theists, you mean monotheists?

Why does that mean I'm baffled? Do you want me to explain what's wrong with what you're saying?
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annanicole
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4/13/2013 6:42:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"The so-called problem of evil has been getting a lot more attention from me that it deserves so I thought I'd move on and try to take the conversation to a higher level."

Well, in the majority (although by no means all) of the cases, all you will accomplish is to move them to a different site from which to copy and paste.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
Radar
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4/13/2013 10:39:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/13/2013 6:42:18 PM, annanicole wrote:
"The so-called problem of evil has been getting a lot more attention from me that it deserves so I thought I'd move on and try to take the conversation to a higher level."

Well, in the majority (although by no means all) of the cases, all you will accomplish is to move them to a different site from which to copy and paste.

LOL! You're probably right. Albino wants an argument, but as I said in the original post, that's not what religion is about
AlbinoBunny
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4/13/2013 11:06:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/13/2013 10:39:15 PM, Radar wrote:
At 4/13/2013 6:42:18 PM, annanicole wrote:
"The so-called problem of evil has been getting a lot more attention from me that it deserves so I thought I'd move on and try to take the conversation to a higher level."

Well, in the majority (although by no means all) of the cases, all you will accomplish is to move them to a different site from which to copy and paste.

LOL! You're probably right. Albino wants an argument, but as I said in the original post, that's not what religion is about

Religion is about avoiding questions you can't answer, or providing a suitable fallacy complicated enough to confuse the questioner.
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AlbinoBunny
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4/13/2013 11:24:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/12/2013 1:39:31 AM, Radar wrote:
This post is really for other theists.

First of all, getting to know nature in its various forms and how it behaves through science is simply to acquaint oneself with the habits of God. So, unless science has something definitive to add toward my understanding,

That is what it's all about.

I'm relatively be indifferent about it. Naturally, atheists and agnostics will take a critical view of this, but that's not a problem because my concern is with the spiritual rather than the material.

Naturally? I wouldn't generalise like that.

So, what is spirit? By itself, physical energy is static-reactive, but underpinning that is a creative and organizing principle we call "spirit." Looking for physical evidence of spirit is kinda like looking for the physical properties of the mathematics that determines how a fractal unfolds, but since a "Flatlander" can't see or measure its formless presence (except, perhaps, as "probabilities" and "entanglement"), he therefore "logically" deduces there is none.

Are you saying we can't measure "spirit", claiming there's something else we can't measure that exists and then claiming that "spirit" exists?


"Incoherence" is the lack of cohesion, clarity and organization. If atheism wants to claim to be its opposite, then it must assume a priori the presence of a unifying principle. By doing so, however, it simultaneously affirms the validity of theism even as it denies its claims.

Atheism claims that gods aren't real.

As Evelyn Underhill wrote a hundred years ago, "It is no argument to say that most men see the world in much the same way, and that this "way" is the true standard of reality: though for practical purposes we have agreed that sanity consists in sharing the hallucinations of our neighbours." In today's world, the dominant hallucination consists of the belief that when an atheist or anti-theist uses a conceptual model to describe observations and experience it's "science," but when a theist does it, it's called an "unsubstantiated belief system" even if their model is at once epistemically justifiable and more aesthetically pleasing than the atheist's. Personally, I think it's hypocritical. Are they not themselves living examples of the universe thinking and learning about it's own nature through individuated forms?

When an atheist uses science it's science but when a theist does it isn't? I don't get it.


That the universe is comprehensible is the premier postulate of the atheistic/scientific mind and the success of science seems to bear this out. But the moment you think "I," reality is divided not into two, self and not-self, but three: self, not-self and relation. This simple realization, which is backed by science and reason, affirms the literal truth of two theistic concepts that stem from it: a human being is the relation of a relation"a synthesis of the Infinite and the finite, Eternal and the temporal, Freedom and necessity"relating to itself (Kierkegaard) and "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me" (Eckhart).

Are you trying to conflate things? You think I. That becomes self - relation - not self. Suddenly a wild relation of relation appears! This includes time, space and obviously infinity. Infinity is kind of like god, isn't it?


Neither of these theistic concepts say much about the nature of God; only that the difference between God and man is one of degree and not kind. If we are capable of benevolence, then the One has something akin to benevolence in its nature; if we are intelligent, self-aware creatures, then the One also possesses those qualities in some form or another. This is not to say the said benevolence, intelligence and self-awareness is something we would recognize as such. After all, any extremely large, complex and highly automatic-appearing mechanism would naturally tend to conceal the presence of the originative or creative intelligence from any indwelling intelligences very far below the nature and capacity of that creative intelligence. This is especially true of those intelligences living on and identifying with the granular level.

Fiction?


In order to step back and see the big picture, in order to have any hope of seeing the hand of the Divine, we have to detach ourselves from our passions, personal interests and our likes and dislikes. We have to "dis-identify" from the body, our sense of individuality and even our sense of self-worth. We have to dis-identify from our gender, race, culture and creed. In short, we have to become as little children. For "by love He may be gotten and holden, but by thought never."

Ego-death?


I know this throws a wet towel in the face of those who want a lively debate, but this is the religion forum and this is what religion is about. It is not about the problem of evil, abortion or sacred texts. It's about relating to something greater than ourselves that includes ourselves. True, many people can and do confuse the finger for the moon it's pointing to. As one text puts it, "a doctrinal fetish will lead mortal man to betray himself into the clutches of bigotry, fanaticism, superstition, intolerance, and the most atrocious of barbarous cruelties." That's the potential downside of religion and I'll admit it's no small matter, but the idea of an upside without a downside is a logical absurdity that even anti-theists must recognize if they want to have any credibility at all. So, however horrendous the downside's manifestations, it does not invalidate the upside of religion or religious experience.

There are sometimes upsides without downsides.


To avoid the possibility of a downside and still have meaning, anti-theists may want to view both spirituality and science as "meaning-making without faith," and spirituality as more congruent with science than religion because religion requires acceptance of an absolute without empirical evidence. This is akin to saying that loving a chair is the same as loving the carpenter who made it. Those who call themselves "spiritual but not religious" tend to sympathize with such claims, but this is to agree with the anti-theist that the love for a carcass on the ground is the same as that for the bird flying in the air. It may be true in principle, but it's hardly as aesthetically pleasing or as conducive to good works.

Hmm, ok.


Other than what has been said, I don't have a lot to say with respect to what I believe about God. For "it matters little what idea of the Father you may entertain as long as you are spiritually acquainted with the ideal of his infinite and eternal nature." I have my opinions, but choose to remain silent with regards to things like "gay" marriage and abortion. Still, I will say that Plotinus's the One or the doctrine of divine simplicity comes comes closest to my ideal, I suppose, but with qualifications suited to my own taste.

The Father? The One? A single male figure? As long as I'm "spiritually acquainted with the ideal of his infinite and eternal nature" then everything's cool? What if I think it's bollocks?
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Radar
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4/13/2013 11:27:54 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
glassplotful :

You do understand, don't you, that logic itself is a metaphysical assumption--a properly basic belief--and not an established "fact"? We use it because it works, but many great scientific discoveries did not come by way of logic or careful reasoning.

Reality is not a concept; nor is logic the determiner of what's real. Rationalism is wrong when it assumes that religion is simply a primitive belief in something which is then followed more beliefs.

Here's a little cut-and-paste that says it better than I can: "The mission of theology is merely to facilitate the self-consciousness of personal spiritual experience. Theology constitutes the religious effort to define, clarify, expound, and justify the experiential claims of religion, which, in the last analysis, can be validated only by living faith." "...Theology is the study of the actions and reactions of the human spirit; it can never become a science since it must always be combined more or less with psychology in its personal expression and with philosophy in its systematic portrayal. Theology is always the study of your religion; the study of another"s religion is psychology."

I said from the offset that this was for other theists; the excerpts above explains why. Atheism can add nothing. It's irrelevant. Instead, I was hoping for feedback from other theists.
Radar
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4/13/2013 11:38:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/13/2013 11:24:57 PM, AlbinoBunny wrote:
At 4/12/2013 1:39:31 AM, Radar wrote:
This post is really for other theists.

First of all, getting to know nature in its various forms and how it behaves through science is simply to acquaint oneself with the habits of God. So, unless science has something definitive to add toward my understanding,

That is what it's all about.

I'm relatively be indifferent about it. Naturally, atheists and agnostics will take a critical view of this, but that's not a problem because my concern is with the spiritual rather than the material.

Naturally? I wouldn't generalise like that.

So, what is spirit? By itself, physical energy is static-reactive, but underpinning that is a creative and organizing principle we call "spirit." Looking for physical evidence of spirit is kinda like looking for the physical properties of the mathematics that determines how a fractal unfolds, but since a "Flatlander" can't see or measure its formless presence (except, perhaps, as "probabilities" and "entanglement"), he therefore "logically" deduces there is none.

Are you saying we can't measure "spirit", claiming there's something else we can't measure that exists and then claiming that "spirit" exists?


"Incoherence" is the lack of cohesion, clarity and organization. If atheism wants to claim to be its opposite, then it must assume a priori the presence of a unifying principle. By doing so, however, it simultaneously affirms the validity of theism even as it denies its claims.

Atheism claims that gods aren't real.

As Evelyn Underhill wrote a hundred years ago, "It is no argument to say that most men see the world in much the same way, and that this "way" is the true standard of reality: though for practical purposes we have agreed that sanity consists in sharing the hallucinations of our neighbours." In today's world, the dominant hallucination consists of the belief that when an atheist or anti-theist uses a conceptual model to describe observations and experience it's "science," but when a theist does it, it's called an "unsubstantiated belief system" even if their model is at once epistemically justifiable and more aesthetically pleasing than the atheist's. Personally, I think it's hypocritical. Are they not themselves living examples of the universe thinking and learning about it's own nature through individuated forms?

When an atheist uses science it's science but when a theist does it isn't? I don't get it.


That the universe is comprehensible is the premier postulate of the atheistic/scientific mind and the success of science seems to bear this out. But the moment you think "I," reality is divided not into two, self and not-self, but three: self, not-self and relation. This simple realization, which is backed by science and reason, affirms the literal truth of two theistic concepts that stem from it: a human being is the relation of a relation"a synthesis of the Infinite and the finite, Eternal and the temporal, Freedom and necessity"relating to itself (Kierkegaard) and "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me" (Eckhart).

Are you trying to conflate things? You think I. That becomes self - relation - not self. Suddenly a wild relation of relation appears! This includes time, space and obviously infinity. Infinity is kind of like god, isn't it?


Neither of these theistic concepts say much about the nature of God; only that the difference between God and man is one of degree and not kind. If we are capable of benevolence, then the One has something akin to benevolence in its nature; if we are intelligent, self-aware creatures, then the One also possesses those qualities in some form or another. This is not to say the said benevolence, intelligence and self-awareness is something we would recognize as such. After all, any extremely large, complex and highly automatic-appearing mechanism would naturally tend to conceal the presence of the originative or creative intelligence from any indwelling intelligences very far below the nature and capacity of that creative intelligence. This is especially true of those intelligences living on and identifying with the granular level.

Fiction?


In order to step back and see the big picture, in order to have any hope of seeing the hand of the Divine, we have to detach ourselves from our passions, personal interests and our likes and dislikes. We have to "dis-identify" from the body, our sense of individuality and even our sense of self-worth. We have to dis-identify from our gender, race, culture and creed. In short, we have to become as little children. For "by love He may be gotten and holden, but by thought never."

Ego-death?


I know this throws a wet towel in the face of those who want a lively debate, but this is the religion forum and this is what religion is about. It is not about the problem of evil, abortion or sacred texts. It's about relating to something greater than ourselves that includes ourselves. True, many people can and do confuse the finger for the moon it's pointing to. As one text puts it, "a doctrinal fetish will lead mortal man to betray himself into the clutches of bigotry, fanaticism, superstition, intolerance, and the most atrocious of barbarous cruelties." That's the potential downside of religion and I'll admit it's no small matter, but the idea of an upside without a downside is a logical absurdity that even anti-theists must recognize if they want to have any credibility at all. So, however horrendous the downside's manifestations, it does not invalidate the upside of religion or religious experience.

There are sometimes upsides without downsides.


To avoid the possibility of a downside and still have meaning, anti-theists may want to view both spirituality and science as "meaning-making without faith," and spirituality as more congruent with science than religion because religion requires acceptance of an absolute without empirical evidence. This is akin to saying that loving a chair is the same as loving the carpenter who made it. Those who call themselves "spiritual but not religious" tend to sympathize with such claims, but this is to agree with the anti-theist that the love for a carcass on the ground is the same as that for the bird flying in the air. It may be true in principle, but it's hardly as aesthetically pleasing or as conducive to good works.

Hmm, ok.


Other than what has been said, I don't have a lot to say with respect to what I believe about God. For "it matters little what idea of the Father you may entertain as long as you are spiritually acquainted with the ideal of his infinite and eternal nature." I have my opinions, but choose to remain silent with regards to things like "gay" marriage and abortion. Still, I will say that Plotinus's the One or the doctrine of divine simplicity comes comes closest to my ideal, I suppose, but with qualifications suited to my own taste.

The Father? The One? A single male figure? As long as I'm "spiritually acquainted with the ideal of his infinite and eternal nature" then everything's cool? What if I think it's bollocks?

Clearly, you are baffled.
glassplotful
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4/14/2013 1:19:50 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/13/2013 11:38:37 PM, Radar wrote:
Clearly, you are baffled.

It's easy to shoo away your opponents by proclaiming they are 'confused' or 'baffled.'

It's harder to look at what they're saying and actually address their arguments.
Radar
Posts: 424
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4/14/2013 1:52:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/14/2013 1:19:50 AM, glassplotful wrote:
At 4/13/2013 11:38:37 PM, Radar wrote:
Clearly, you are baffled.

It's easy to shoo away your opponents by proclaiming they are 'confused' or 'baffled.'

It's harder to look at what they're saying and actually address their arguments.

Can dialectics cross dimensions, like two-dimensional and three-dimensional space?

There are many people who believe that all aspects of reality fall within the scope of science, reason and logic notwithstanding the indeterminacy discovered by them. It is assumed that things like God, soul and grace have been disproved or at least seriously undermined by science and that cannot be confirmed by science is either false or of no significance. But these are philosophical assumptions that reflect metaphysical prejudices.

There exists also a subjective world of natural inclinations, feelings and experiences, and the values and spiritual aspirations that stem from them. If we treat this world as if it has no constitutive role in reality them we lose the richness of our own existence and our understanding cannot be comprehensive.

THAT is why atheism is irrelevant.
annanicole
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4/14/2013 1:54:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I have wondered what the odds are that, over billions of years, two eyes could develop, bilaterally symmetrical, each with tear ducts and a tear film, cornea, aqueous humor, pupil and iris, lens, ciliary muscles, optic nerves, rod and cones and each transmit information in such a way as to be assimilated by a brain.

I asked that once. Surely someone has calculated it. What I was told was: it exists, so you can't calculate the odds. Of course, that's nonsense. Somewhere, someone can give me the odds that such would develop randomly or by chance ... can't they?
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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4/14/2013 1:56:21 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/14/2013 1:54:05 AM, annanicole wrote:
I have wondered what the odds are that, over billions of years, two eyes could develop, bilaterally symmetrical, each with tear ducts and a tear film, cornea, aqueous humor, pupil and iris, lens, ciliary muscles, optic nerves, rod and cones and each transmit information in such a way as to be assimilated by a brain.

I asked that once. Surely someone has calculated it. What I was told was: it exists, so you can't calculate the odds. Of course, that's nonsense. Somewhere, someone can give me the odds that such would develop randomly or by chance ... can't they?

Evolution is not "random" or "by chance" in the manner your question implies, so your question can't really be answered. The odds that it would happen through natural selection, however, are quite good.
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Radar
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4/14/2013 2:16:38 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/14/2013 1:54:05 AM, annanicole wrote:
I have wondered what the odds are that, over billions of years, two eyes could develop, bilaterally symmetrical, each with tear ducts and a tear film, cornea, aqueous humor, pupil and iris, lens, ciliary muscles, optic nerves, rod and cones and each transmit information in such a way as to be assimilated by a brain.

I asked that once. Surely someone has calculated it. What I was told was: it exists, so you can't calculate the odds. Of course, that's nonsense. Somewhere, someone can give me the odds that such would develop randomly or by chance ... can't they?

I don't know about evolution, but the "calculations of British mathematician Roger Penrose show that the probability of universe conducive to life occurring by chance is in 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 123. The phrase "extremely unlikely" is inadequate to describe this possibility."
Radar
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4/14/2013 2:20:47 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/14/2013 1:56:21 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 4/14/2013 1:54:05 AM, annanicole wrote:
I have wondered what the odds are that, over billions of years, two eyes could develop, bilaterally symmetrical, each with tear ducts and a tear film, cornea, aqueous humor, pupil and iris, lens, ciliary muscles, optic nerves, rod and cones and each transmit information in such a way as to be assimilated by a brain.

I asked that once. Surely someone has calculated it. What I was told was: it exists, so you can't calculate the odds. Of course, that's nonsense. Somewhere, someone can give me the odds that such would develop randomly or by chance ... can't they?

Evolution is not "random" or "by chance" in the manner your question implies, so your question can't really be answered. The odds that it would happen through natural selection, however, are quite good.

That wasn't the question. I quick search gave this: "Sir Fred Hoyle a mathematician and astronomer calculated that the probability of one simple enzyme forming by chance is 10 to the power of 20 (one with twenty zeros behind it), to 1. Hence for one cell to form, about 2000 enzymes are needed, which makes the probability of the first self replicating cell forming by random movement of atoms as 10 to the power of 40000 to 1. One bitter critic of Hoyle begrudgingly says that that this figure is 'probably not overly exaggerated'."
annanicole
Posts: 19,782
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4/14/2013 2:31:14 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/14/2013 1:56:21 AM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 4/14/2013 1:54:05 AM, annanicole wrote:
I have wondered what the odds are that, over billions of years, two eyes could develop, bilaterally symmetrical, each with tear ducts and a tear film, cornea, aqueous humor, pupil and iris, lens, ciliary muscles, optic nerves, rod and cones and each transmit information in such a way as to be assimilated by a brain.

I asked that once. Surely someone has calculated it. What I was told was: it exists, so you can't calculate the odds. Of course, that's nonsense. Somewhere, someone can give me the odds that such would develop randomly or by chance ... can't they?

Evolution is not "random" or "by chance" in the manner your question implies, so your question can't really be answered. The odds that it would happen through natural selection, however, are quite good.

I'd rather one eye in the front and one in the back of my head. The odds woulda been somewhat better for that, I'd think.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."