or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › Fourteen rants about religious argumentation
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Fourteen rants about religious argumentation - Page 2

post #21 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Orchid View Post
doesn't the unknown nature of religion and the requirement of faith necessitate the recognition that there is no single answer...?
No. The unknown nature of any question means that the answer to that question is unknown, not that all answers are equally correct.
post #22 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
No. The unknown nature of any question means that the answer to that question is unknown, not that all answers are equally correct.

or that any of the answers are correct...
post #23 of 288
Thread Starter 
Well, there are two ways to 'explore' religion--the phenomonological approach, which says 'Eastern Orthodoxy practices this' or 'This is what Reformed Baptists teach about theodicy', and the apologetic approach, which involves debating or defending religions or aspects of religions in order to determine which is correct/internally consistent/logical.

The former (phenomonological) is simply a matter of research and being interested in what other people believe. The latter asks the next obvious question--is what they believe true? Approaching the question with the philosophy 'Religious truth is inherently unknowable' eliminates any serious engagement with arguments (particularly presuppositional ones); but more to the point, it begs the question and is self-refuting. 'Religious truth is inherently unknowable' is itself an expression of religious opinion.

Similarly, assuming it is inherently, fundamentally 'religious' to divorce belief from logic, or that logical beliefs are epistemically equal to illogical ones, or that all religious thought is irrelevant to real life, or that religious knowledge differs in kind from any other kind of knowledge (mathematical, scientific, etc)... well, that simply isn't true, and tends to presuppose a materialistic or physicalistic worldview. Which is fine, as long as you are a) conscious of it and b) able to defend it in debate.

Quote:
or that any of the answers are correct...
Indeed, but there's a difference between 'None of the currently-formulated answers are correct' and 'It is impossible for there to ever be an answer, because the subject is inherently unknowable'. Any valid, sensical question has an answer.
post #24 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Personally I'd even rather 'Your religion is evil and stupid' than a fake 'respect', but I'm nasty and combative; I guess keeping one's mouth shut would be a politer option in such a circumstance!
Many times I respect other people's Faith and the way they make their religious observances a part of their lives. For example, I respect Muslims for observing their dietary laws and religious dress in public settings, as I also have my own dietary laws and religous standards of dress in public, even though the specific details of my observances are different.

Yes, I disagree with parts of Muslim and Christian theology, and agree with other parts. But I have full respect for both religions and the people who practice them.
post #25 of 288
Somebody likes to read about Propositional Logic and Elementary Symbolic Logic.

:

I took those courses too - but it's hard t oexplain to people sometimes, what a truly 'valid' argument means.

I feel your frustration.
post #26 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Indeed, but there's a difference between 'None of the currently-formulated answers are correct' and 'It is impossible for there to ever be an answer, because the subject is inherently unknowable'. Any valid, sensical question has an answer.

Here is where I get stuck....we are talking about the supernatural, right? Why, then, must the answer be knowable by human minds? While I am sure there is truth, why must the supernatural truth be knowable to natural minds?

But I am UU, and we are notoriously more interested in the questions than the answers
post #27 of 288
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Yes, I disagree with parts of Muslim and Christian theology, and agree with other parts. But I have full respect for both religions and the people who practice them.
What exactly do you mean by 'full respect', though? It's such an amorphous term. You say you agree and disagree with various parts of the religion, which makes sense; so saying you respect some parts of their religion is accurate. But you're extending that respect to the rest of the religion--ie, the parts you disagree with. Does that mean you respect ideas you think are blasphemous are wrong? I can't wrap my head around that. Can you define exactly what you mean by 'respect' for me? Upholding the treligions' civil right to exist? Accepting the fact that others believe it although don't? Or...?
post #28 of 288
I respect the individuals who practice and beleive in other religions. I respect their rights to hold religious ceremonies and have their institutions.

I respect that the "blasphemous and wrong" beleifs are valid to some individuals, and those people aren't "stupid and wrong" for beleiving in them. I respect that the religion itself is valid.

I guess for me the focus is that I treat the individuals with respect even when I disagree with some of the Theology.
post #29 of 288
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Here is where I get stuck....we are talking about the supernatural, right? Why, then, must the answer be knowable by human minds? While I am sure there is truth, why must the supernatural truth be knowable to natural minds?
Well, are you saying the supernatural is unknowable to human minds? Because that in itself is a statement about the supernatural--we know it's unknowable (or impenetrable or 'not for human minds' or however you like to put it). So that doesn't wash. I'm not sure of the relevance of your question, though. Are you contending that supernatural knowledge is impossible; and if so, on what grounds?

I can't think of any reason why all supernatural knowledge must be comprehensible to humans, but I believe that, because of logic, some supernatural knowledge is available.

The thing is, if you believe that logical laws are universal--and if you don't, there's no point us having this discussion, because what I type as A you may read as not-A, or A and not-A at the same time and in the same sense--then statements about the metaphysical can be examined in order to find out if they can be true or not.
Quote:
I respect that the "blasphemous and wrong" beleifs are valid to some individuals, and those people aren't "stupid and wrong" for beleiving in them. I respect that the religion itself is valid.
Are you using 'valid' to mean logically valid; or what? Because logical validity is not subjective; therefore, by definition, something cannot be 'true for you but not for me' (as I said in my original rant). Do you apply the same respect to non-religious beliefs with which you disagree--for instance, if someone said 'I believe all men are rapists', 'I believe formula is healthier for babies than breastmilk' or 'I believe that umbrellas don't exist', would you respect these statements and recognise them as 'valid' for the persons believing them? If not, why do you consider religious belief inherently worthy of respect when non-religious belief is not?
post #30 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Well, are you saying the supernatural is unknowable to human minds? Because that in itself is a statement about the supernatural--we know it's unknowable (or impenetrable or 'not for human minds' or however you like to put it). So that doesn't wash. I'm not sure of the relevance of your question, though. Are you contending that supernatural knowledge is impossible; and if so, on what grounds?

I can't think of any reason why all supernatural knowledge must be comprehensible to humans, but I believe that, because of logic, some supernatural knowledge is available.

The thing is, if you believe that logical laws are universal--and if you don't, there's no point us having this discussion, because what I type as A you may read as not-A, or A and not-A at the same time and in the same sense--then statements about the metaphysical can be examined in order to find out if they can be true or not.
I don't know if logical laws apply to the metaphysical. Maybe they do, and maybe they don't. Even if logical laws are universal in the natural world, isn't it extrapolation to assume the same in the metaphysical world?

How do Christian apologists reconcile miracles and logic?
post #31 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
How do Christian apologists reconcile miracles and logic?
I know you aren't talking to me but I have thought on this a lot. IMO miracles are everyday things. If you look at the process of conception it is such a miracle! Just because we can scientifically explain something doesn't mean it's not divine or a miracle. What I don't understand is how people think that. I remember watching a program on the History Chanel (I believe) about the parting of the Red Sea and how it could have been due to some volcanic eruption and so on. While watching it DH and I agreed that that could have very well been it- but that doesn't mean God didn't part it. IMO science is the way to explain how God does things (and we don't have all the explanations or know-how and not all our conclusions are right, I am sure). Just because I know how and why it rains doesn't mean that it isn't a gift from God or a miracle. I think we take so much for granted we don't see the miracles anymore.

To me religious belief is as logical as it can be. It at least will be to us when we know more (after this life). Just because we don't have the answer now doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Also if one says faith is illogical then it is just as illogical to not believe in God. Let's look at this- they (general "they") say that there is proof God doesn't exist because He is not literally here. The religious/spiritual believe you can see His (or some other higher power's) hand in all things. The truth of the matter is that we just don't know. Because we can't see Him doesn't mean he is not there. I have never actually seen the North Pole. Sure I have seen pictures and second hand accounts but if we can argue that then we can argue we have the Prophet's testimony of His existence. Atheism is just as much a matter of faith- faith is believing in the unknown. It's hard to talk logic in religion and non-belief because with the unknown there really is no definite logical conclusion. So one is not more logical than the other but it also isn't illogical...


Clear as mud, right?
post #32 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
Just because we can scientifically explain something doesn't mean it's not divine or a miracle. What I don't understand is how people think that.

I think people believe that because that is included in the definition of a miracle--a happening that does not follow natural laws.

My question is specifically about the applying logical law to a religion that includes miracles. If laws are universal, then how are miracles explained?
post #33 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
or that any of the answers are correct...
that is what i mean. thank you so much!
post #34 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
Here is where I get stuck....we are talking about the supernatural, right? Why, then, must the answer be knowable by human minds? While I am sure there is truth, why must the supernatural truth be knowable to natural minds?

But I am UU, and we are notoriously more interested in the questions than the answers
ahhhh, thank you again for saying it much better than me. i'm a uu, too, which why i might not *Get* this. reading with appreciative inquiry, but stepping out. i am clearly in over my head
post #35 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Orchid View Post
i am clearly in over my head
Oh, sheesh, me too! I am sadly unqualified to debate logic, lol, but I enjoy trying
post #36 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Are you using 'valid' to mean logically valid; or what? Because logical validity is not subjective; therefore, by definition, something cannot be 'true for you but not for me' (as I said in my original rant).
The truth value of a statement depends on the assumptions, axioms, and observational data that you base your logic on. It is perfectly possible for two people to disagree on the "truth" of something even if they both follow perfect logical reasoning, because they have started from a different set of first principles.

There is also more to the concept of "validity" when it comes to religion than just the question of whether it is "true" or not. For example, does it provide a measurable benefit to the people who practice it? To society as a whole?
post #37 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
I think people believe that because that is included in the definition of a miracle--a happening that does not follow natural laws.
That do not appear to follow natural laws
post #38 of 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
That do not appear to follow natural laws

I understand that many miracles are later revealed to have natural explanations, and that does not necessarily exclude divine intervention.

But, from my limited reading, I understand it to be the position of apologists that some miracles do not follow natural laws. Am I mistaken?
post #39 of 288
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I think people believe that because that is included in the definition of a miracle--a happening that does not follow natural laws.
That's the commonly-accepted definition, yeah. (Actually, being (as previously mentioned) nasty and maladjusted, it kinda peeves me when people refer to events such as the birth of a baby or rainbows or pwetty fwowers as miracles, because technically they're not. Amazing, awe-inspiring, cool--sure; miracles--no).

Quote:
My question is specifically about the applying logical law to a religion that includes miracles. If laws are universal, then how are miracles explained?
Because physical laws are different to logical laws. Logical laws are by definition absolute--as in, they cannot possibly not be true. There's no particular reason to think that natural laws are absolute, even though they are obviously far-reaching and generally consistent. The Christian view is that logical laws stem from God's very nature, so that even He cannot do something 'illogical' (ie. nonsensical). Omnipotence does not mean God can create a square circle, which would violate the law of identity, or be both God and not-God at the same time and in the same sense, which would violate the law of non-contradiction.

On the other hand, physical laws are not an integral part of God's being, although they do stem from His sense of logic and order (and creativity and so on) to a large degree. God made the physical laws ex nihilo, and is not bound by them--therefore, if He wants to bend or break one or two--by walking on water, making the walls fall down or raising the dead, for instance--He merrily does so without feeling bad about it.

Quote:
The truth value of a statement depends on the assumptions, axioms, and observational data that you base your logic on. It is perfectly possible for two people to disagree on the "truth" of something even if they both follow perfect logical reasoning, because they have started from a different set of first principles.
Of course it's possible for them to disagree, but so? Even--especially--first principles can be examined by logic for validity.

Quote:
There is also more to the concept of "validity" when it comes to religion than just the question of whether it is "true" or not. For example, does it provide a measurable benefit to the people who practice it? To society as a whole?
Ah, kind of a Gattaca validity? OK. It's unfortunate that logical terms are also normal everyday-language words, makes for confusion. Of course, that line of thinking also kinda begs the question--saying 'X worldview is good for society because of Y and Z' implies that Y and Z are ultimately 'good' in some sense, which is again a religious/metaphysical statement. See Point 1: just because most people would agree that, say, lack of poverty is a Good Thing doesn't mean that is necessarily is; that statement must somehow be justified!
post #40 of 288
Lucky, lucky, me! I'm at work, bored, read through all my usual forums and said, let's see what's in "today's posts" - I never would have found this thread/forum!

Smokering, I may just have to print out your original post and frame it.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Religious Studies
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › Fourteen rants about religious argumentation