How do Christians possibly rationalize these things?

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invulnerable23
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 02:12 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Actually, the words of those friends are canon - it's part of the canon, as Job is canon for Evangelical Christians. God chastising the friends is also part of canon, given that God chastises them in Job.


"Canon" was not the right word for my usage. I meant that their words hold in them no truth except the truth of how not to be.

Interesting discussion. :Glasses:
 
invulnerable23
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 03:18 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power wrote:
This perfectly displays why religious doctrine completely fails at falsification.

Does it ever bother you that know one can call your beliefs into question?

Are you comfortable in the fact that you are your own justification?

Being an evangelist, how can you justify proselytisation when your own beliefs are inherently subjective and impervious to argument?


I'm not sure what being an Evangelical and proselytizing people has to do with reconciling certain scripture passages. But, to humor you, considering that I believe Hell is a real place, as is Heaven, conversion to Christianity is the only way for salvation, according to my beliefs. Conversion of the heart is required. In the same way as, I'm sure, you wouldn't allow a drowning family member to die, I wouldn't let a family member go to Hell, as I see it (assuming you can swim).

What's more, I'm not sure how justifying myself came into it... I was talking about reconciling scripture passages with the whole of scripture.

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He points this out in his treatment of the bible. Does the bible seem wrong? Human error! Does the bible seem right? Its God of course!


You misunderstand. There are no mistakes in scripture. All of it is truth, in so much as showing people a true thing. Back to Job's friends. It specifically mentions them as being wrong at the end of the book, and we are then obviously not supposed to use their words as the reality of things. But it's still truth in that this is how not to act.

Did I ever mention human error? I believe I was talking about how certain things said in scripture should be looked at in context.

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He even goes so far as to say that God will let us know some things, but won't let us solve other mysteries. If this isn't the biggest intellectual cop-out, I don't know what is: "If something makes sense, run with it; if something doesn't make sense, run with it."


If you understand the mysteries of your own existence, please, explain them to me. If not, then sit in with the rest of humanity in not knowing everything.

I suppose because I hold to the God of the Bible, that means I must have more of the answers, like you. I don't remember Jesus telling people about the relationship of Time to God, or how Evil is permissible in the grand scheme of things. The truth is, we are not God. I don't see how you can nitpick about my not knowing all things, when you are not any closer.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 05:24 pm
@invulnerable23,
invulnerable23 wrote:
I'm not sure what being an Evangelical and proselytizing people has to do with reconciling certain scripture passages. But, to humor you, considering that I believe Hell is a real place, as is Heaven, conversion to Christianity is the only way for salvation, according to my beliefs. Conversion of the heart is required. In the same way as, I'm sure, you wouldn't allow a drowning family member to die, I wouldn't let a family member go to Hell, as I see it (assuming you can swim).

What's more, I'm not sure how justifying myself came into it... I was talking about reconciling scripture passages with the whole of scripture.


Here is my point:

It is a matter of subjective faith or knowledge that you accept the bible as being completely correct, and this particular understanding is the basis of your belief in God. I am having a difficult time imagining any other manner by which someone can verify the contents of the bible or any other religion for that matter.

If this is the case, and you understand that your belief is founded in your own subjective experience, how can you expect anyone to want to listen to you proselytize or relate at all to what you are saying.

After all, is there any amount of proselytizing I could do to turn you against your Christian beliefs?
 
invulnerable23
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 08:38 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power wrote:
Here is my point:

It is a matter of subjective faith or knowledge that you accept the bible as being completely correct, and this particular understanding is the basis of your belief in God. I am having a difficult time imagining any other manner by which someone can verify the contents of the bible or any other religion for that matter.

If this is the case, and you understand that your belief is founded in your own subjective experience, how can you expect anyone to want to listen to you proselytize or relate at all to what you are saying.

After all, is there any amount of proselytizing I could do to turn you against your Christian beliefs?


I see your point. However, you have to remember that what you are doing is applying your own idea of it being subjective to all religions. Isn't your idea of subjectivity also subjective? Where does this chain end?

(I was going to write a long and boring thing about the Bible and special revelation of God, but I'm tired and have a paper to write. Forgive me. Surprised)

On the other hand, is there anything I could do to turn you to my beliefs?

Anyways, this whole thing is off the subject. The question, I believe, was how Christians can permit such passages of scripture in their Holy Bible. Although the next step would be your questions of seeming circular arguments from God and the Bible both, but that ends in the same stalemate that's been going on for years.

But I suppose that's your ultimate point, isn't it? No new ground to gain, right?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 10:52 pm
@invulnerable23,
Quote:
I'm not sure what being an Evangelical and proselytizing people has to do with reconciling certain scripture passages. But, to humor you, considering that I believe Hell is a real place, as is Heaven, conversion to Christianity is the only way for salvation, according to my beliefs. Conversion of the heart is required. In the same way as, I'm sure, you wouldn't allow a drowning family member to die, I wouldn't let a family member go to Hell, as I see it (assuming you can swim).


What do you mean Heaven and Hell are real places? Can you give me some directions, I'm thinking of making a summer road trip. Thought I'd hit the hot spots and the shining cities. Would be a great trip before semester starts again.

Christianity is the only way to salvation? Who's Christianity? Yours or mine? Or someone else's Christianity?

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There are no mistakes in scripture. All of it is truth, in so much as showing people a true thing.


What would a mistake in scripture look like? If we are going to say that scripture does not have any mistakes, we must know what such a mistake would look like.

MFtP:

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What causes us to question some parts of the bible, human fallibility, is a common characteristic of the entire bible. If you say that we shouldn't take this part as complete truth because it was written by a person who could have erred, I can point to any part of the bible and make the same dismissal.


I didn't say anything about truth. I spoke of literal versus figurative reading of the text. Figurative does not equal not-true.

Human fallibility... that's not the right term. The better way to think of the matter is human subjectivity. Scripture reflects a particular human's view of the world, a particular human's experience with God, and then that view/experience filtered through other humans.

Yes, the Bible should be read keeping these conditions in mind. Why is this a problem? We have the same trouble with just about any other scripture, and the same trouble with a great deal of mythology and allegory. None the less, we can read Dante or The Monkey King and find value. Similarly, we can read the Bible and find value.

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If you wish to compare it to Homeric works, treat it as such: fiction.


And more particularly, mythology. Yeah.

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They may hold their studies to a far greater standard than me, but I do not believe anyone can hold their beliefs to as high a standard of justification and be religious or hold faith in scripture. I don't even know what standard of justification most theologians apply to their religious knowledge. It can't be consistent with any modern standard.


Here you speak of your beliefs regarding people who have different sorts of belief. Ironic, eh?

How do you know discussion of theology and religious practice cannot coexist with modern thought? Doubt is good, I'm glad you have it. But you go too far.

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You talk down the bible so much that I wonder what you actually take from it. When you say that you "accept the whole book, cover to cover", do you simply accept it as classic literature?


Yeah, classic literature. And a large portion of that classic work I happen to use in my personal spiritual practice. That's what scripture is for.

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I am convinced that this is a common trait in all religious doctrine. I try to be respectful to religious belief, but that only extends to the chance that religious belief can be founded completely subjectively and still be true.


Everything you know and think is completely subjective. We can strive towards objectivity, but objectivity is impossible.

As to why you think one person's personal view is indicative of all religious doctrine I have no idea. Countless billions of people have lived; don't you think that some of these people have different ideas?

Better yet, let's get this issue handled directly: what of the earlier posted perspective do you believe is universal to all faith traditions, and all personal spiritual practices?
 
invulnerable23
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 11:36 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Quote:
What do you mean Heaven and Hell are real places? Can you give me some directions, I'm thinking of making a summer road trip. Thought I'd hit the hot spots and the shining cities. Would be a great trip before semester starts again.
I don't appreciate being patronized. :nonooo: I will go into your argument, though, with respect.

Because you can't see it, it doesn't exist? I suppose that means that the South Pole doesn't exist. Or because you can't get directions to it, it doesn't exist? I suppose you would have said Troy didn't exist, before it was found in the 1870's. Arguing something doesn't exist because you can't see it is foolish. Certainly one could argue, "pink unicorns don't exist", since they can't be found. But, that is because the thing imagined is a physical thing. If that physical thing doesn't exist in the physical world, it is not real. Heaven is a spiritual thing. Just as I wouldn't argue that the Flying Spaghetti Monster isn't real because you can't see it, you shouldn't argue against Heaven by lack of evidence.

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Christianity is the only way to salvation? Who's Christianity? Yours or mine? Or someone else's Christianity?
You tell me. How can I speak for your Christianity?

I would say that the Bible is clear about salvation. The Christianity that is affirmed by that scripture would be the one that also achieves that salvation described.

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What would a mistake in scripture look like? If we are going to say that scripture does not have any mistakes, we must know what such a mistake would look like.
You are right. Definitions of used words are essential in such things. I would say that a "mistake" in scripture would be a contradiction or an obviously false statement. One of the early books considered for the scriptures was denied because it said that leopards can change their spots. In another place in scripture, it used the fact that leopards can not change their spots as evidence for a point. Thus, the two contradicted one another. That would be a "mistake". Obviously, a book containing mistakes would not be canon, if it also affirms that it is inerrant. One could argue that such scrutiny for the canon left the Bible without obvious mistakes. But I digress, my point is what a mistake would be in scripture.

Again- we are off topic, though it is an interesting discussion.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 28 Oct, 2008 11:51 pm
@invulnerable23,
Quote:
Because you can't see it, it doesn't exist? I suppose that means that the South Pole doesn't exist. Or because you can't get directions to it, it doesn't exist? I suppose you would have said Troy didn't exist, before it was found in the 1870's. Arguing something doesn't exist because you can't see it is foolish. Certainly one could argue, "pink unicorns don't exist", since they can't be found. But, that is because the thing imagined is a physical thing. If that physical thing doesn't exist in the physical world, it is not real. Heaven is a spiritual thing. Just as I wouldn't argue that the Flying Spaghetti Monster isn't real because you can't see it, you shouldn't argue against Heaven by lack of evidence.


Excellent explanations. And they raise a few issues:
1. Troy is a mythological place, it existed in mythology, not in physical reality: you cannot walk or swim there. The sight discovered and called Troy was named such because the location resembles Homeric description, not because that city was ever called Troy, and not because that city was ever a city invaded by thousands of Greek ships lead by heroes such as Achilles and Nestor.
2. I agree, Heaven is a spiritual thing. Which means it does not exist in reality; Heaven is language used to describe something that transcends language, the spiritual.
3. I really like the Flying Spaghetti Monster analogy. Seriously.

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You tell me. How can I speak for your Christianity?

I would say that the Bible is clear about salvation. The Christianity that is affirmed by that scripture would be the one that also achieves that salvation described.


That's my point - you can't speak to my Christianity. So to say that Christianity is the only way is inaccurate. The Bible does express a great path to salvation, one that each person takes differently because we are all different. Wonderful book, my personal choice. But that doesn't mean that Buddhist or Hindus, ect cannot attain salvation. The book isn't some magical key, it's a book. Many other great books exist. The earth has witnessed many great teachers who go unmentioned in the Bible.

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I would say that a "mistake" in scripture would be a contradiction or an obviously false statement.


Then how do you explain extant contradictions?

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One of the early books considered for the scriptures was denied because it said that leopards can change their spots. In another place in scripture, it used the fact that leopards can not change their spots as evidence for a point. Thus, the two contradicted one another. That would be a "mistake". Obviously, a book containing mistakes would not be canon, if it also affirms that it is inerrant. One could argue that such scrutiny for the canon left the Bible without obvious mistakes. But I digress, my point is what a mistake would be in scripture.


Interesting. Two questions:
1. How did they determine which book was correct, and which was heretical?
2. Do you really believe that political decisions, like the composition of the Bible, had anything to do with leopards changing their spots?
 
OFerrell
 
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 12:44 am
@Mephistopheles phil,
mr. didymos, from what you have revealed concerning your beliefs you fit the category of a universalist. The Bible explicitly states that their is only 1 way to salvation, that being faith in Christ Jesus. Every one is different but it nowhere says that everyone has their own way to salvation. However, there are a couple of passages that have been taken out of context to support the universalist view, those passages have currently escaped me, but i shall retrieve them if you request them. Salvation comes through Christ alone. A main flaw of some other religions is the fact that the central heartbeat of their path to salvation is "works based" claiming that you must do so many noble deeds to achieve salvation. i think we both can agree that humanity as a whole is complete filth and there is nothing we can do in our pathetic attempts to ever earn our way to heaven. It is simply an act of grace.
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 03:48 am
@OFerrell,
The only way to Heaven is through true actions. Yoshka Pendri (The Man on the stick) cannot wash away your false actions. In fact, beleiving that he is a manifestation of God is Idol Worship and is a False Action.

There is only one quote in the Torah that Prophecizes 'that man'.

Quote:

Deuteronomy Chapter 13

1 All this word which I command you, that shall ye observe to do; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. 2 If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams--and he give thee a sign or a wonder (Preforms Miracles), 3 and the sign or the wonder come to pass (And his magic works), whereof he spoke unto thee--saying: 'Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them'; 4 thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God putteth you to proof, to know whether ye do love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 5 After the LORD your God shall ye walk, and Him shall ye fear, and His commandments shall ye keep, and unto His voice shall ye hearken, and Him shall ye serve, and unto Him shall ye cleave. 6 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken perversion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of bondage, to draw thee aside out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.


You are not saving them, but condemning them. The only thing you should be teaching to people is to do good. that is the door to Heaven.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 05:19 am
@invulnerable23,
invulnerable23 wrote:
I see your point. However, you have to remember that what you are doing is applying your own idea of it being subjective to all religions. Isn't your idea of subjectivity also subjective? Where does this chain end?


I don't know if you are questioning whether truth is relative itself, but I found the idea of subjective religion in objective reason. I can argue about the truth of this topic.

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On the other hand, is there anything I could do to turn you to my beliefs?


Probably not, but I am not out to teach the good word of agnosticism.

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Anyways, this whole thing is off the subject. The question, I believe, was how Christians can permit such passages of scripture in their Holy Bible. Although the next step would be your questions of seeming circular arguments from God and the Bible both, but that ends in the same stalemate that's been going on for years.

But I suppose that's your ultimate point, isn't it? No new ground to gain, right?


Originally I meant to call into question your justification for accepting any part of the bible as truth, not just particular passages.

Asking about the evangelical part was merely an aside.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 06:01 am
@Didymos Thomas,
DT,

Firstly, am I correct in saying that you believe the bible should be used as a moral reference rather than a religious reference, similar to Aesop's Fables?

As for my attacks on religion as a whole, I do not know what modern theory of truth would support the statement that any religious belief is true. Could you point one out?

The entire reason I brought up falsification is to point out that religious beliefs are inherently untestable. Belief that is actually untestable is rather flimsily held belief; would you not agree?

My ideas of truth are rather convoluted, I will admit that. I kind of use a combination of correspondence, coherence, minimalist and consensus theories. The only modicum of truth we can achieve would be achieved between people concerning both the correspondence of statements and things and the coherence of ideas in a system of propositions. In other words, truth is based (generated might be a better term) in one person convincing another person that a statement corresponds with reality and makes sense with other knowledge.

Correspondence is established by testing, with the individual doing the convincing providing a method for the other to test and empirically verify the statement.

Since no religious proposition can be tested, religion as a whole fails my standards.
 
invulnerable23
 
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 09:27 am
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power wrote:
I don't know if you are questioning whether truth is relative itself, but I found the idea of subjective religion in objective reason. I can argue about the truth of this topic.


You're saying that reason is objective, but religion subjective? I suppose that means that everyone who reasons will reason the same? Or reach the same conclusions? Obviously that's not the case. Perhaps I'm not understanding what you're trying to say. Can you clarify?

Quote:
My ideas of truth are rather convoluted, I will admit that. I kind of use a combination of correspondence, coherence, minimalist and consensus theories. The only modicum of truth we can achieve would be achieved between people concerning both the correspondence of statements and things and the coherence of ideas in a system of propositions. In other words, truth is based (generated might be a better term) in one person convincing another person that a statement corresponds with reality and makes sense with other knowledge.

Correspondence is established by testing, with the individual doing the convincing providing a method for the other to test and empirically verify the statement.

Since no religious proposition can be tested, religion as a whole fails my standards.
I see the problem, now. Unfortunately, nothing can really be known as truth by your ideas, can they? Everything would go back to the senses, but how far can that take you? Aren't they as subjective as people's ideas?

If I convinced you of my ideas, wouldn't that make mine right? But if you convinced me of yours, yours would be right? I don't see how anything can fit your test.

Take the example of a man who wears a sweater that is half red and half blue. The half blue side is on the left, and as he passes people on the left, they see it as a blue sweater. On the right, conversely, is the red side, and as he passes people on the right, they see a red sweater. After the man walks away, the two groups of people begin talking, and realize that the other group has "misinterpreted" what color the sweater is. They begin to argue. The man is long gone, so they can never ask him for his answer.

Wouldn't you say that the group that convinces the other is right? Or, if they do not convince the other group, that idea fails the test? But what of the fact that in reality, the sweater is actually half blue and half red, and no one knows it but the man wearing it?

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Then how do you explain extant contradictions?
I would say there are none. We would start to fire back and forth with scripture that seems to contradict itself and my defense of it, but I am tired and still haven't finished my paper due Friday, and a book review due tomorrow on "the Problem of Evil", so I'll just say that it's been done for millenia, this argumentation about errors or mistakes in scripture and the justification of them.

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I agree, Heaven is a spiritual thing. Which means it does not exist in reality; Heaven is language used to describe something that transcends language, the spiritual.
I would say it transcends experience. I don't think that's the same as not existing in reality. Attributes of objects that exist beyond our empirical knowledge still exist in reality. I wonder if we're saying similar things?

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I really like the Flying Spaghetti Monster analogy. Seriously.
Thank you. I do suppose that the Troy reference was a little questionable. I guess I could have used the Hittites, since they were spoken of in scripture, and forgotten, then discovered again.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 10:35 am
@invulnerable23,
invulnerable23 wrote:
You're saying that reason is objective, but religion subjective? I suppose that means that everyone who reasons will reason the same? Or reach the same conclusions? Obviously that's not the case. Perhaps I'm not understanding what you're trying to say. Can you clarify?


Yes, I believe that the rules of reason are fairly standard to human understanding, but that does not imply that all will reach the same conclusions. It does mean that two individuals given a set of premises should reach the same conclusion. This has to do with the coherence portion of truth and knowledge; everybody has the same idea of the relationships "this makes sense" and "this doesn't make sense".

To say that everyone will reach the same "conclusion" (that isn't the best word but it works for the time being) would neglect the other portion: correspondence. Correspondence is established empirically, people can experience reality and verify whether a proposition corresponds to it.

Finally, while I take it that no one can have objective religious experience, I cannot deny the possibility of subjective religious experience.

Put another way, no person can say "Do you see this, this is evidence of God". A statement of this manner cannot be tested by another person, as it cannot possibly be found to be false. A person can, however, experience something, take it as evidence of God and be correct about it, even if it is as simple as feeling that God exists.

So religious truth can exist, it is simply relative only to the individual believer.

Quote:
I see the problem, now. Unfortunately, nothing can really be known as truth by your ideas, can they? Everything would go back to the senses, but how far can that take you? Aren't they as subjective as people's ideas?

If I convinced you of my ideas, wouldn't that make mine right? But if you convinced me of yours, yours would be right? I don't see how anything can fit your test.

Take the example of a man who wears a sweater that is half red and half blue. The half blue side is on the left, and as he passes people on the left, they see it as a blue sweater. On the right, conversely, is the red side, and as he passes people on the right, they see a red sweater. After the man walks away, the two groups of people begin talking, and realize that the other group has "misinterpreted" what color the sweater is. They begin to argue. The man is long gone, so they can never ask him for his answer.

Wouldn't you say that the group that convinces the other is right? Or, if they do not convince the other group, that idea fails the test? But what of the fact that in reality, the sweater is actually half blue and half red, and no one knows it but the man wearing it?
Consensus is largely dependent upon the assumption that human reason and observation is nearly universal. The idea is that one person can take experience and build a coherent and rational system of knowledge. He can then begin to verify this knowledge by engaging others and making his case by replicating the experience.

If, with our assumption that humans have universal tools for understanding, outside verification, consensus, lends greater truth to the proposition, as the chance of subjective error is lessened.

Ultimately this is an attempt to get around what is extreme skepticism about the relationship between human understanding and reality and the minimalist position that attributing truth to a statement really adds nothing to the statement. Like I said, it is convoluted.

As for your example, it would not be possible for consensus to be achieved without violating the correspondence test.

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I would say there are none. We would start to fire back and forth with scripture that seems to contradict itself and my defense of it, but I am tired and still haven't finished my paper due Friday, and a book review due tomorrow on "the Problem of Evil", so I'll just say that it's been done for millenia, this argumentation about errors or mistakes in scripture and the justification of them.
And by my estimation, the two of you could never reach a consensus.
 
invulnerable23
 
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 12:22 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power wrote:
Yes, I believe that the rules of reason are fairly standard to human understanding, but that does not imply that all will reach the same conclusions. It does mean that two individuals given a set of premises should reach the same conclusion. This has to do with the coherence portion of truth and knowledge; everybody has the same idea of the relationships "this makes sense" and "this doesn't make sense".


Making sense seems awfully subjective. What one seems sensible, another may say is unreasonable.

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To say that everyone will reach the same "conclusion" (that isn't the best word but it works for the time being) would neglect the other portion: correspondence. Correspondence is established empirically, people can experience reality and verify whether a proposition corresponds to it.

Finally, while I take it that no one can have objective religious experience, I cannot deny the possibility of subjective religious experience.


I suppose it is different for each person, but what we hold as truth, we hold as objective.

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Put another way, no person can say "Do you see this, this is evidence of God". A statement of this manner cannot be tested by another person, as it cannot possibly be found to be false. A person can, however, experience something, take it as evidence of God and be correct about it, even if it is as simple as feeling that God exists.

So religious truth can exist, it is simply relative only to the individual believer.


We would argue that there is religious truth, though that truth is experienced differently for each person. God will not call a person from China in English.

I suppose you are saying that it is unprovable by reason alone. The Bible is our source of communication from God, and in that way we have an objective standard. However, you are right, we hold that God must move in the person to allow truth to flow. My purpose of this, though, is that you can not single out religion as being the only thing needing something other than reason and the senses. In all of reality we become subjective without some outside idea or concept.

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Ultimately this is an attempt to get around what is extreme skepticism about the relationship between human understanding and reality and the minimalist position that attributing truth to a statement really adds nothing to the statement. Like I said, it is convoluted.


I understand. A few of my own philosophies are convoluted. Don't ask me about the reality of mathematics, because it gets very convoluted.

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As for your example, it would not be possible for consensus to be achieved without violating the correspondence test.


Should the red group have a weaker will than the blue group, and submit, changing their minds, then does that mean the blue group was right?

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And by my estimation, the two of you could never reach a consensus.


Most likely. :bigsmile:
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 01:41 pm
@invulnerable23,
Quote:
Firstly, am I correct in saying that you believe the bible should be used as a moral reference rather than a religious reference, similar to Aesop's Fables?


No. The Bible is a great moral reference, like Aesop's Fables, but the Bible goes deeper than Aesop's Fables. The Bible is a spiritual text.

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As for my attacks on religion as a whole, I do not know what modern theory of truth would support the statement that any religious belief is true. Could you point one out?


Modern theory of truth. That is an interesting phrase. Empiricism.

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The entire reason I brought up falsification is to point out that religious beliefs are inherently untestable. Belief that is actually untestable is rather flimsily held belief; would you not agree?


You mean scientifically untestable. Religious beliefs most certainly can be tested. Most, however, cannot be tested, as yet, in a scientific context. And no, I would not agree that truth outside of science is flimsy. Science is wonderful, but science does not have the answer to every question in life.

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I would say there are none. We would start to fire back and forth with scripture that seems to contradict itself and my defense of it, but I am tired and still haven't finished my paper due Friday, and a book review due tomorrow on "the Problem of Evil", so I'll just say that it's been done for millenia, this argumentation about errors or mistakes in scripture and the justification of them.


No contradiction in scripture? You may be tired, but that's the beauty of these forums - you can post at your leisure. Contradictions are not hard to find in the Bible. Sermon on the Mount, or Sermon on the Plain: it's the same sermon. Did God create man and then woman, or both at the same time: both scenarios exist within Genesis.

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I would say it transcends experience. I don't think that's the same as not existing in reality. Attributes of objects that exist beyond our empirical knowledge still exist in reality. I wonder if we're saying similar things?


Probably, but there is an important distinction. Heaven and Hell are states of being. We are in Heaven and Hell right this very moment. Heaven and Hell, and the language around the terms, describe the psychological disposition of people - sin creates Hell, and living right creates Heaven.

Heaven and Hell are not like the South Pole, or a city we now call Troy, or even the Hitites. They are something like the mythological Troy. Heaven and Hell do not exist in reality as locations, but they exist within our minds and exist because of the way we live.

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Put another way, no person can say "Do you see this, this is evidence of God". A statement of this manner cannot be tested by another person, as it cannot possibly be found to be false. A person can, however, experience something, take it as evidence of God and be correct about it, even if it is as simple as feeling that God exists.

So religious truth can exist, it is simply relative only to the individual believer.


Just like moral truth, eh?

Oh, and reason is not objective. Objectivity is an ideal that reason and science strive for but cannot achieve. It's good to try in some cases, again, logic and science are wonderful tools. But at the end of the day, everything in human experience is necessarily subjective.

No one can have objective religious experience, and no one can have objective experience period. It's impossible.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 02:00 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
No. The Bible is a great moral reference, like Aesop's Fables, but the Bible goes deeper than Aesop's Fables. The Bible is a spiritual text.


I am at a loss. Explain please.

Quote:
You mean scientifically untestable. Religious beliefs most certainly can be tested. Most, however, cannot be tested, as yet, in a scientific context. And no, I would not agree that truth outside of science is flimsy. Science is wonderful, but science does not have the answer to every question in life.


Testing, scientific or otherwise, necessarily implies that the proposition being tested can be proven wrong. Let me switch sides here and hear you provide examples of how my Christian beliefs can be proven wrong.

Quote:
Just like moral truth, eh?


Yes, I treat religious truth much in the same manner as moral truth. I do practically deny the reality of both.

Quote:
Oh, and reason is not objective. Objectivity is an ideal that reason and science strive for but cannot achieve. It's good to try in some cases, again, logic and science are wonderful tools. But at the end of the day, everything in human experience is necessarily subjective.


I do not agree. I think the process of reasoning and the qualia associated with reasoning are subjective, but the rules of reason are objective (although they may not be real) and apply to all human understanding.

I don't believe that the relationship of cause and effect is necessarily true, but I believe it is inherent to human understanding.

Quote:
No one can have objective religious experience, and no one can have objective experience period. It's impossible.


The difference between objective and subjective experience is that objective experience is externally verifiable and typically replicable. If I have a spiritual awakening, it is a matter of consciousness alone and I cannot purposefully replicate that or expect another to have experienced it. If I observe the sun rising in the morning, to return to this example, I can expect another to have experienced it and I can reasonably expect it to be replicated in the next morning.
 
invulnerable23
 
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 03:07 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Quote:
Probably, but there is an important distinction. Heaven and Hell are states of being. We are in Heaven and Hell right this very moment. Heaven and Hell, and the language around the terms, describe the psychological disposition of people - sin creates Hell, and living right creates Heaven.

Heaven and Hell are not like the South Pole, or a city we now call Troy, or even the Hitites. They are something like the mythological Troy. Heaven and Hell do not exist in reality as locations, but they exist within our minds and exist because of the way we live.


I would like to hear you further on this idea of Heaven and Hell. Can you please clarify how you arrived at these ideas?
 
OFerrell
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 12:53 am
@Mephistopheles phil,
Binyamin, you say that the only method to gain salvation is to do "good" I am assuming by good you mean: acts of nobility, a negation of the self (in serving others) having love for others. Those examples may not fall into your category of "good" but i was simply throwing out "default" attributes of "good" Now i will assume you appeal to your ethics or idea of "good" from the Torah and/or other prophecy literature, wisdom, etc? Of course i appeal to the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) as my idea of ethics because i would make the case that you cannot support an ethical view that is "objective" without appealing to a higher being, consciousness, authority, etc. So what do you do with prophecy in the Old Testament that obviously fits the description of Jesus Christ? Isaiah 7, Isaiah 52, 53 (i may be off a chapter or two on this one) and Genesis 3:15, which was the first reference to Christ. No doubt, you interpret these passages a different way, in my estimation you would have to, at least to continue to affirm the belief that Christ is not the Messiah. Is is not possible that you simply misinterpret and take the passage of Deuteronomy out of context? However, i'll wager you will say the same thing to me on my opinions on the scripture passages mentioned above. I am compelled to bring up the topic again. How can you make the case that the human race is deserving of salvation in any way, explictly doing so by a "works-based" method. I believe that it would substantially be more plausible to believe that an intercession must take place for salvation (concerning religions of theistic deity/deities). I would like to know your opinion on the doctrine of the Fall. I would like to let you know that i have unique drive and attention towards Jewish people like yourselves. I anticipate my future endeavors with them that will happen in the near future.
 
boagie
 
Reply Sun 2 Nov, 2008 01:01 pm
@OFerrell,
A most insightful piece!Smile

The Anatomy of Belief The World According to Xenocrates
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Sun 2 Nov, 2008 02:51 pm
@OFerrell,
O'Ferrell wrote:
How can you make the case that the human race is deserving of salvation in any way, explictly doing so by a "works-based" method. I believe that it would substantially be more plausible to believe that an intercession must take place for salvation (concerning religions of theistic deity/deities).


Intercession is only necissary because we are not doing good. If the world was on the level of doing good, then we would no longer need a redemption because we would have been redeemed.

In fact, the Gemara speaks of two cases of redemption. The first case is if we return to goodness. The second is if we don't. Both cases bring the same outcome, its just that one needs intervention from above and is a much darker path.
 
 

 
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