Christians, Muslims, Jews - same God or different gods? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-15-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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But you do understand that a religious position which holds that disagreements beyond "love one another/love god" are tainted by man itself invalidates my religion, right? Because my religion doesn't place a period at that point with regard to what all is directly from god. Nor do all religions or viewpoints on religion include this much. Saying "this is what is true" is still saying others are incorrect -- saying "ideas X and Y have been tainted by the hand of man" is saying "so you are wrong that they are not."

I don't have an issue with religions of inclusivity. I do have an issue with when they are proposed to be the superior faith to faiths that consider themselves superior.
I absolutely agree with you. I was just saying "it could be argued..." and it can be. If one believes that all religions are from God (meaning God revealed Himself to multiple Prophets) then that person would believe that God set forth core beliefs, right?

And also it invalidates my religion to hold this belief. What I am trying to say is I don't fully hold this belief (though I do feel God has His hand in everything) but I was playing devil's advocate for a second

ETA- I should say that it invalidates a nice sized portion of my religion and yours but that belief in itself (the one Unity defined) doesn't invalidate any religion as a whole in my mind.

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Old 03-15-2009, 10:01 PM
 
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y point though is there is more than just "loving thy neighbor". (I thinkt his topics was covered a few pages back though)

loving thy neighbor is great... but there is a greater purpose in most religious belief of a monothiestic God than just loving thy neighbor. Atleast in Christianity...

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Old 03-15-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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I don't have an issue with religions of inclusivity. I do have an issue with when they are proposed to be the superior faith to faiths that consider themselves superior.
Since you've said that you don't have a problem with faiths that consider themselves superior for theological reasons (Islam and Christianity) why would you have a problem with faiths that consider themselves superior because they are more inclusive?
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:13 PM
 
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I don't have an issue with religions of inclusivity. I do have an issue with when they are proposed to be the superior faith to faiths that consider themselves superior.
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A perspective which (obviously from my prior posts) makes a great deal of sense to me. And just to throw something out there myself, I've encountered a great deal of this: believers who openly believe one another wrong calmly and peaceably coexisting, and non-believers insisting that this open disagreement is itself a condemnable arrogance. If I may, I have found much stronger enmity between people who adopt a more pantheistic position and those who do not, whatever their faiths, than between those of differing faiths who mutually do not. We may differ on ideas of what is the nature of god and god's demands, but we often much better understand one another on the grounds of what the nature of god is to us.

And that's sort of the thing ... to assume that believing one's self right equates to believing one knows the fate of everyone else, or believing that those of a plausibly differing fate are deserving of a different standard of treatment here on earth, is just that: an assumption. And one that doesn't very well hold up to scrutiny. "Saved" vs. "unsaved" or whatever doesn't by default carry with it a system of class stratification.
The idea that adhering to a system of beliefs equates to cursing and condemning everyone outside that system is as widespread as it is inaccurate. It muddies the discussion badly.
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A question for mamabadger: how do you resolve this experiential disconnect? I mean, how do you explain the fact that muslims and buddhists and wiccans and so on have religious experiences that are no less real than your own? Is it God they are experiencing, even though their understanding of Him is all wrong?
It might be. There are certainly examples of that kind of experience given in our patristic writings.
On the other hand, the reality or intensity of the experience is no guarantee of its divine origins. The followers of Jim Jones were certainly sincere in their devotion, and their experiences were genuine. I would still maintain that it was not God who inspired their sect, although others may disagree. Not every emotional experience is from God. People can have what seem to be spiritual experiences brought about by drugs, intense emotion, deliberate fraud, honest confusion, or the power of their own minds. Not every feeling or experience is from God; some may be completely misleading. We can (and should) be a little cautious; there is nothing especially commendable about unthinkingly accepting anything labelled "spiritual." Some of it is true or useful, and some of it is hogwash, just like anything else.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:32 PM
 
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y point though is there is more than just "loving thy neighbor". (I thinkt his topics was covered a few pages back though)

loving thy neighbor is great... but there is a greater purpose in most religious belief of a monothiestic God than just loving thy neighbor. Atleast in Christianity...
Yes but to some that is at the core of what Christ/God taught and is therefore THE teaching.

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Old 03-15-2009, 10:46 PM
 
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It might be. There are certainly examples of that kind of experience given in our patristic writings.
On the other hand, the reality or intensity of the experience is no guarantee of its divine origins. The followers of Jim Jones were certainly sincere in their devotion, and their experiences were genuine. I would still maintain that it was not God who inspired their sect, although others may disagree. Not every emotional experience is from God. People can have what seem to be spiritual experiences brought about by drugs, intense emotion, deliberate fraud, honest confusion, or the power of their own minds. Not every feeling or experience is from God; some may be completely misleading. We can (and should) be a little cautious; there is nothing especially commendable about unthinkingly accepting anything labelled "spiritual." Some of it is true or useful, and some of it is hogwash, just like anything else.
So if I am understanding you correctly, you are saying that in a few cases people following a false religion may experience the real God, but in most cases their experiences are not from God. But this begs the question: wouldn't experiences from God be qualitatively different from those that arise from just emotion or confusion? Assuming a person is sincerely and seriously seeking (I'm not talking about people who just attend church/mosque on Sundays) wouldn't they recognize the difference? If so, why is it that one serious, sincere seeker will switch from Christianity to Islam while another switches from Islam to Christianity, both of them praising God for finally leading them to the true faith? How can this be?
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:49 PM
 
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I was playing devil's advocate for a second
Consider it a general "you."

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Since you've said that you don't have a problem with faiths that consider themselves superior for theological reasons (Islam and Christianity) why would you have a problem with faiths that consider themselves superior because they are more inclusive?
I don't have a problem that they consider themselves superior ... I have a problem with them considering themselves superior on the grounds that a religion that considers itself superior is inferior. Um, I think that didn't come out very clear. What I mean is that there is a strain of belief that says "religions that don't accept the plausible truth of others are wrong, wrong, wrong" without realizing that they are themselves refusing the plausible truth of those which they say are wrong. Get what I mean? I have a problem with beliefs that self-refute.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:52 PM
 
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Consider it a general "you."



I don't have a problem that they consider themselves superior ... I have a problem with them considering themselves superior on the grounds that a religion that considers itself superior is inferior. Um, I think that didn't come out very clear. What I mean is that there is a strain of belief that says "religions that don't accept the plausible truth of others are wrong, wrong, wrong" without realizing that they are themselves refusing the plausible truth of those which they say are wrong. Get what I mean? I have a problem with beliefs that self-refute.
To hold a belief is to believe someone somewhere is wrong. Those who think they are the superior religion because they are inclusive aren't understanding that they are just as wrong by their own definition meaning their belief that to say another religion is wrong is wrong isn't something they are immune from as they believe that religion to be wrong. :

At least that's what I think you are saying??? That's how I feel about it. But I don't really think that means we believe in a different God just that we define Him differently.

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Old 03-15-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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To hold a belief is to believe someone somewhere is wrong. Those who think they are the superior religion because they are inclusive aren't understanding that they are just as wrong by their own definition meaning their belief that to say another religion is wrong is wrong isn't something they are immune from as they believe that religion to be wrong. :

At least that's what I think you are saying??? That's how I feel about it. But I don't really think that means we believe in a different God just that we define Him differently.
Um. I'm not sure. But I think so. In short: a logical inconsistency. I don't mind that someone -- you, or anyone -- thinks we believe in the same god. Just as I would hope that they too would not mind that I believe that with conditions. I mind when someone argues that I'm wrong to the degree that they feel I am on a basis that is internally inconsistent. "You're wrong" ... cool. "No one is wrong" ... cool. "You're wrong because no one is wrong" ... ummmm.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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Yes but to some that is at the core of what Christ/God taught and is therefore THE teaching.
ok... I'd be willing to give ear to someone who could tell me how they figure this one out...

are there other texts on which they base this on? the biblical ones certainly don't teach that this is the core objective/purpose. and it's not about what any one church teaches on the subject - I'm just going by the texts.

perhaps I am missing something...

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Old 03-16-2009, 12:06 AM
 
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I don't have a problem that they consider themselves superior ... I have a problem with them considering themselves superior on the grounds that a religion that considers itself superior is inferior. Um, I think that didn't come out very clear. What I mean is that there is a strain of belief that says "religions that don't accept the plausible truth of others are wrong, wrong, wrong" without realizing that they are themselves refusing the plausible truth of those which they say are wrong. Get what I mean? I have a problem with beliefs that self-refute.
Oh, now I get it!

So is this self-refuting? "All belief systems contain some error (including mine) because they are all nothing more than glimpses at a Reality which is beyond the comprehension of human minds."

Help me think this through, I wouldn't want to be a self-refuter!
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:12 AM
 
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"You're wrong" ... cool. "No one is wrong" ... cool. "You're wrong because no one is wrong" ... ummmm.
Wait a minute! You threw out item #2 up there (no one is wrong) because your religion specifically says that certain Christian doctrines are wrong, therefore it can't be said that no one is wrong ('cause if you are right then Christians must be wrong). So I think the only ones that work logically would be "you're wrong and I'm right" or "everyone is wrong to some extent".
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:06 AM
 
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I get what you are saying, but I have to disagree. why would God give us so many religions that are equal but completely disagree with one another or core beliefs??

and I know a lot of religions don't hold "unity among mankind" as their foundation.

I mean it sounds nice, sure... but I don't think it's realistic.
I totally undrestand why you feel that way! it might get long so please bear with me

I don't want to repeat my original post on this post again. God renews religions by sending new prophets according to the time and place. For better undrestanding I can give you this explanation: religion has its seasons (Spring, summer, fall and winter) When God sends new prophet with a new religion for human that means the old religion doesn't satisfy the human's needs and it is in its winter phase. That means the old religion doesn't do any more good for humans and its time for a new one which brings spring and new teachings. That is why we have so many prophets that came in the past and come now and will come.
When winter time is upon a religion, humans turn themselves away from its laws & teachings.


"If the followers of the Lord Christ had continued to follow out these principles with steadfast faithfulness, there would have been no need for a renewal of the Christian Message, no necessity for a re-awakening of His people, for a great and glorious civilization would now be ruling the world and the Kingdom of Heaven would have come on earth.

But instead of this, what has taken place! Men turned away their faces from following the divinely illuminated precepts of their Master, and winter fell upon the hearts of men. For, as the body of man depends for life upon the rays of the sun, so cannot the celestial virtues grow in the soul without the radiance of the Sun of Truth.

God leaves not His children comfortless, but, when the darkness of winter overshadows them, then again He sends His Messengers, the Prophets, with a renewal of the blessed spring. The Sun of Truth appears again on the horizon of the world shining into the eyes of those who sleep, awaking them to behold the glory of a new dawn. Then again will the tree of humanity blossom and bring forth the fruit of righteousness for the healing of the nations. Because man has stopped his ears to the Voice of Truth and shut his eyes to the Sacred Light, neglecting the Law of God, for this reason has the darkness of war and tumult, unrest and misery, desolated the earth."(Baha'i writings)

Hope this was clear please let me know if you have anymore questions
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:13 AM
 
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Wait a minute! You threw out item #2 up there (no one is wrong) because your religion specifically says that certain Christian doctrines are wrong, therefore it can't be said that no one is wrong ('cause if you are right then Christians must be wrong). So I think the only ones that work logically would be "you're wrong and I'm right" or "everyone is wrong to some extent".
So this is getting a bit confusing! Lets see if we can get a common ground!!!!!


"If a man would succeed in his search after truth, he must, in the first place, shut his eyes to all the traditional superstitions of the past.

The Jews have traditional superstitions, the Buddhists and the Zoroastrians are not free from them, neither are the Christians! All religions have gradually become bound by tradition and dogma.

All consider themselves, respectively, the only guardians of the truth, and that every other religion is composed of errors. They themselves are right, all others are wrong! The Jews believe that they are the only possessors of the truth and condemn all other religions. The Christians affirm that their religion is the only true one, that all others are false. Likewise the Buddhists and Muhammadans; all limit themselves. If all condemn one another, where shall we search for truth? All contradicting one another, all cannot be true. If each believe his particular religion to be the only true one, he blinds his eyes to the truth in the others. If, for instance, a Jew is bound by the external practice of the religion of Israel, he does not permit himself to perceive that truth can exist in any other religion; it must be all contained in his own!

We should, therefore, detach ourselves from the external forms and practices of religion. We must realize that these forms and practices, however beautiful, are but garments clothing the warm heart and the living limbs of Divine truth. We must abandon the prejudices of tradition if we would succeed in finding the truth at the core of all religions. If a Zoroastrian believes that the Sun is God, how can he be united to other religions? While idolaters believe in their various idols, how can they understand the oneness of God?

It is, therefore, clear that in order to make any progress in the search after truth we must relinquish superstition. If all seekers would follow this principle they would obtain a clear vision of the truth.

If five people meet together to seek for truth, they must begin by cutting themselves free from all their own special conditions and renouncing all preconceived ideas. In order to find truth we must give up our prejudices, our own small trivial notions; an open receptive mind is essential. If our chalice is full of self, there is no room in it for the water of life. The fact that we imagine ourselves to be right and everybody else wrong is the greatest of all obstacles in the path towards unity, and unity is necessary if we would reach truth, for truth is one.

Therefore it is imperative that we should renounce our own particular prejudices and superstitions if we earnestly desire to seek the truth. Unless we make a distinction in our minds between dogma, superstition and prejudice on the one hand, and truth on the other, we cannot succeed. When we are in earnest in our search for anything we look for it everywhere. This principle we must carry out in our search for truth.

Science must be accepted. No one truth can contradict another truth. Light is good in whatsoever lamp it is burning! A rose is beautiful in whatsoever garden it may bloom! A star has the same radiance if it shines from the East or from the West. Be free from prejudice, so will you love the Sun of Truth from whatsoever point in the horizon it may arise! You will realize that if the Divine light of truth shone in Jesus Christ it also shone in Moses and in Buddha. The earnest seeker will arrive at this truth. This is what is meant by the 'Search after Truth'.

It means, also, that we must be willing to clear away all that we have previously learned, all that would clog our steps on the way to truth; we must not shrink if necessary from beginning our education all over again. We must not allow our love for any one religion or any one personality to so blind our eyes that we become fettered by superstition! When we are freed from all these bonds, seeking with liberated minds, then shall we be able to arrive at our goal.

'Seek the truth, the truth shall make you free.' So shall we see the truth in all religions, for truth is in all and truth is one!


The first principle of the Teaching of Bahá'u'lláh, 'The Search for Truth'; how it is necessary for a man to put aside all in the nature of superstition, and every tradition which would blind his eyes to the existence of truth in all religions. He must not, while loving and clinging to one form of religion, permit himself to detest all others. It is essential that he search for truth in all religions, and, if his seeking be in earnest, he will assuredly succeed.

Now the first discovery which we make in our 'Search after Truth', will lead us to the second principle, which is the 'Unity of Mankind'. All men are servants of the One God. One God reigns over all the nations of the world and has pleasure in all His children. All men are of one family; the crown of humanity rests on the head of every human being.

In the eyes of the Creator all His children are equal; His goodness is poured forth on all. He does not favour this nation nor that nation, all alike are His creatures. This being so, why should we make divisions, separating one race from another? Why should we create barriers of superstition and tradition bringing discord and hatred among the people?" (Baha'i wirtings)


Sorry about the long post
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:16 AM
 
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This thread is :.



Here's another gear in the works - I'm from the "don't know, don't care" school of thought. It honestly doesn't bother me if Christians and Muslims worship Hashem or not. I don't even think that they're right if they do or right if they don't. My religion (Judaism) was given to ME and to OTHER JEWS. My first commandment, given to me in the Torah, which was given to me at Mt. Sinai, is "I am the L-rd your G-d, who brought you out of Egypt and the house of bondage. You will have no other gods before Me." I care if Jews don't keep that one, I care if my kids or I don't keep that one, but otherwise... Y'all can do what you want. Just don't hurt me or mine or try to tell me I'm wrong.

That being said, opinions are like @$$holes and everyone's got one , so personally I think that Jews and Muslims worship the same One G-d. Having been Christian before, I don't believe that Christians do. The relationship between man and G-d when you put Jesus into it is SO different that I think they no longer worship G-d exclusively (please no lectures on the trinity and 3 in 1 - I get it, I really do).

I don't, however, think this is a bad thing, because of what I said above. Y'all can worship whoever, because I know what I should be doing and ultimately only you and G-d know what you should be doing.

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Old 03-16-2009, 02:33 AM
 
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So if I am understanding you correctly, you are saying that in a few cases people following a false religion may experience the real God, but in most cases their experiences are not from God. But this begs the question: wouldn't experiences from God be qualitatively different from those that arise from just emotion or confusion? Assuming a person is sincerely and seriously seeking (I'm not talking about people who just attend church/mosque on Sundays) wouldn't they recognize the difference? If so, why is it that one serious, sincere seeker will switch from Christianity to Islam while another switches from Islam to Christianity, both of them praising God for finally leading them to the true faith? How can this be?
It is difficult to talk about this without saying potentially insulting things about one religion or another. Let me sidestep a bit. People also switch from belief in God to atheism, and from atheism to belief in God. At least some of them seem to be perfectly sincere in their efforts to find the truth. But it seems obvious that either God exists, or He does not; so only one of those beliefs can be true. Even the most inclusive philosophy will not claim that God exists and does not exist - at least I think not. Half of those people are somehow deluding themselves, in spite of their apparent sincerity. The same could easily happen with any absolute truth.
Considering the human capacity for denial and rationalization, and the things people fool themselves about in other areas of life, I do not find this surprising. Experiences from God might well be qualitatively different, and still be ignored or explained away, just as an obvious scientific truth can be disregarded by those who do not want to see it.
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Old 03-16-2009, 05:02 AM
 
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See, mamabadger, for me this is where the crux of the problem lies. While your beliefs do not condemn non-believers to hell (which is very nice) they do say that anyone who believes differently is deluding theirselves. Which to me is profoundly disrespectful.

I'm not saying that you are disrespectful, please don't misunderstand! You have gone out of your way to not be insulting and I appreciate that. So I'll say bluntly what you were too polite to say: you believe that I, as a Christian turned Buddhist, am deluding myself. You believe that if I were just smarter/more spiritual/more honest with myself, I would recognize that the experiences I had as a Christian were the real thing and the experiences I am having as a Buddhist are not. In essence, you have to invalidate my experiences in order to maintain your faith.

I'm not offended BTW and I sincerely hope I am not offending you. I'm just trying to put a human face on this.

Now, I am aware that holding any belief system necessitates negating other belief systems in conflict with it. But religious belief is entirely different IMO than, say, belief in a heliocentric solar system. Because at its root it is based on experience. You may agree intellectually with the theology of your religion, but bottom line is if that theology didn't at least occasionally bring you profound experiences of God and a sense of peace, you probably would have moved on by now. So yes, I know that my belief that all religions are imperfect glimpses of God invalidates parts of your theology. But it doesn't invalidate your experiences with God. And to me that is the important thing.

Does that make sense?
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:01 AM
 
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Any misspellings or grammatical errors in the above statement are intentional;
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:14 AM
 
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See, mamabadger, for me this is where the crux of the problem lies. While your beliefs do not condemn non-believers to hell (which is very nice) they do say that anyone who believes differently is deluding theirselves. Which to me is profoundly disrespectful.

I'm not saying that you are disrespectful, please don't misunderstand! You have gone out of your way to not be insulting and I appreciate that. So I'll say bluntly what you were too polite to say: you believe that I, as a Christian turned Buddhist, am deluding myself. You believe that if I were just smarter/more spiritual/more honest with myself, I would recognize that the experiences I had as a Christian were the real thing and the experiences I am having as a Buddhist are not. In essence, you have to invalidate my experiences in order to maintain your faith.

I'm not offended BTW and I sincerely hope I am not offending you. I'm just trying to put a human face on this.

Now, I am aware that holding any belief system necessitates negating other belief systems in conflict with it. But religious belief is entirely different IMO than, say, belief in a heliocentric solar system. Because at its root it is based on experience. You may agree intellectually with the theology of your religion, but bottom line is if that theology didn't at least occasionally bring you profound experiences of God and a sense of peace, you probably would have moved on by now. So yes, I know that my belief that all religions are imperfect glimpses of God invalidates parts of your theology. But it doesn't invalidate your experiences with God. And to me that is the important thing.

Does that make sense?
Not to butt in, but I took what she was saying to mean that we know some people must be deluded, if they have mutually exclusive beliefs. I can't see this as judgmental, because it is just true. If we have a sincere atheist and a sincere Muslim, at least one of them must be deluded/mistaken.

Of course they could both be deluded.

I think the answer to this dilemma is humility. I'm a Christian, and that's because I think it makes the most sense. But I can look at someone like the Dali Llama, is is smarter, more educated, kinder, more humble, and braver than I am. How could I be on my high horse under those conditions? I just do the best I can. I don't think that leads to an "I'm ok your ok" philosophy, which is missing the point. It's a matter of respect for other people and for the free will that God gave us, and of knowing our human limitations.

As for the question of people's religious experience, their feeling of connection with God, possibly being from "something else." I think this is both true and not true. All people seem to have some sense of something beyond themselves. I think we are made that way, and it may have a biological origin I suppose. It is, IMO, true that there is something beyond us. But that feeling is essentially an emotion, and can be aroused by or attached to inappropriate objects or ideas very easily. I don't think anyone should just take those feelings and be swept away somewhere, they need to be considered intellectually. Do they make sense, do they seem moral, are they logical, are they compatible with other things I know to be true? Yes, sometimes we may decide the experience has given us a new insight, but it is still important to think about those questions.

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Old 03-16-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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Not to butt in, but I took what she was saying to mean that we know some people must be deluded, if they have mutually exclusive beliefs. I can't see this as judgmental, because it is just true. If we have a sincere atheist and a sincere Muslim, at least one of them must be deluded/mistaken.
Well I can't speak for mamabadger, but I certainly don't mind if you butt in! I love your posts!

I don't think that mamabadger (or you) are being judgemental. That word implies so many things, in particular that you get some sort of enjoyment or validation by feeling that you are "better" than others. I would never think that of you guys! I really appreciate being able to talk about this, ask these questions. It is such a sensitive topic that one can usually only talk about it with people who already agree with you, but I'd much rather talk to thoughtful people who don't agree with me because then I may learn something.

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Of course they could both be deluded.
This is basically what I'm saying. Although I don't like the word deluded, because again it means so many things, most of them negative. It implies that the person has some sort of character defect that prevents them from knowing the truth. I don't believe that *any* human being can know for sure that they have God's identity right, it's not a character defect, it's just the human condition. So the sincere Muslim and the sincere Atheist could both be right about some things and wrong about some things. (BTW, when I say this I am thinking about atheists who don't believe in a God, as in a supernatural Being with a personality, but do very much believe in spirituality and explore it through atheistic religions like Buddhism or through science/nature. Just because you're an atheist doesn't mean you are not spiritual! Now, as for atheists who simply deny that any sort of spirituality exists, who believes that we are all just lumps of meat, I don't think even my belief system can say they are right ).

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I think the answer to this dilemma is humility. I'm a Christian, and that's because I think it makes the most sense. But I can look at someone like the Dali Llama, is is smarter, more educated, kinder, more humble, and braver than I am. How could I be on my high horse under those conditions? I just do the best I can. I don't think that leads to an "I'm ok your ok" philosophy, which is missing the point. It's a matter of respect for other people and for the free will that God gave us, and of knowing our human limitations.
I agree with you, but I don't really understand what you mean in the bolded part. Humility and knowing our human limitations, to me, means recognizing that we could be wrong in parts of our understanding of God. The corollary to that is that the Dalai Llama could be right in parts of his. Which I'm guessing is what you mean when you say an "I'm ok you're ok philosophy". So how do you interpret humility and human limitations without it leading to that philosophy? Is it "I'm right and the Dalai Llama is wrong, but I respect him as a person and respect his right to choose?" See, that one doesn't work for me because it still requires one to believe that the Dalai Llama's religious experiences aren't actually experiences of the Real Divine, and that if he only tried harder he would realize his mistake.

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As for the question of people's religious experience, their feeling of connection with God, possibly being from "something else." I think this is both true and not true. All people seem to have some sense of something beyond themselves. I think we are made that way, and it may have a biological origin I suppose. It is, IMO, true that there is something beyond us. But that feeling is essentially an emotion, and can be aroused by or attached to inappropriate objects or ideas very easily. I don't think anyone should just take those feelings and be swept away somewhere, they need to be considered intellectually. Do they make sense, do they seem moral, are they logical, are they compatible with other things I know to be true? Yes, sometimes we may decide the experience has given us a new insight, but it is still important to think about those questions.
Again, if I understand what you are saying (correct me if I am wrong), this is just a politer way to say what I have been saying bluntly: that if only people would consider their religious experiences more intellectually and not get "swept away" by them, they would all ultimately come to the same conclusion. This contradicts the reality that I see around me and the reality I have lived. There are serious, committed people who have labored to understand God, applied their intellect, considered their experiences and those of others, studied scriptures, prayed, done everything you say -- and still come to opposite conclusions. How can this be?
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Old 03-16-2009, 05:48 PM
 
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smeisnotapirate's right... this thread is getting crazy!!! there are so many multiple conversations between different people AND the thread in general it's hard to remember which person is making which point

nonetheless, I'm enjoy it

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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Old 03-16-2009, 06:11 PM
 
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Mathematical and historical knowledge *are* qualitatively different from religious knowledge, in that the former can be proven not only by logic and reasoning but also by empirical experience. I can prove that 2+2=4 by logic, but I can also take 2 grapes and put them together with 2 other grapes, then count how many grapes I have and find it is 4 grapes. Anyone who does this experiment will get the same result. This is significantly different from religious empirical experience, where sincere, good people from all different religious traditions will firmly believe that their own tradition is true because it brings them the most profound and real experience with the Divine. The belief that one religious tradition is completely true and all others are completely false is in conflict with this experiential fact.
Er, using grapes to illustrate the analytical statement that 2+2=4 is not providing empirical proof. You can't use empiricism to determine the truth value of mathematical concepts, as they are not empirical concepts.

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Logical conclusions are only as good as the axioms they rest on, just as experiential conclusions are only as good as the observations they rest on. If the axioms or observations are flawed, the conclusion will be as well. So even assuming logic proves the Trinitarian God (I don't believe that, but I know you do), if logic leads to a conclusion that contradicts empirical experience, then people are going to question it and try to figure out where the disconnect happened. Just as they would if empirical experience led to a conclusion that contradicts logic. Saying that the identity of God it is a closed question like 2+2=4 isn't arrogance necessarily, as that imputes motivation to the person saying it, but IMO is certainly not recognizing all aspects of the issue.
Sensory experiences don't occur in a vacuum: they must be interpreted, and those interpretations are grounded very definitely in worldviews/presuppositions/logic. Whether the interpretation is 'Your eyes can deceive you, don't trust them' a la Obi-Wan or 'Sense experience is reliable unless it points to the paranormal', or whatever, it is based, consciously or unconsciously, on presuppositional beliefs. And logic logically precedes sense experience - it is properly basic - so if a worldview can be absolutely, logically proven to the exclusion of others (which is not a claim I'd necessarily make for the Trinitarian God, given that proving anything in the philosophical sense is well-nigh impossible), then contradictory sense experiences are irrelevant.

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Old 03-16-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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Er, using grapes to illustrate the analytical statement that 2+2=4 is not providing empirical proof. You can't use empiricism to determine the truth value of mathematical concepts, as they are not empirical concepts.
I'm not following you. Physicists, for example, rely on empirical evidence to support or refute their mathematical concepts all the time. Einstein's theory of special relativity is a mathematical concept, but it is widely accepted not because of just the math but also because it accurately predicts results. If it did not accurately predict results, it would have been discarded by now. Do you mean that mathematical concepts are mental concepts, and so lie outside the realm of experience? Anyway, it's really OT, so maybe you could just point me to a website that explains what you mean .

As for your other point, I think we've covered it in other threads . I remembered you once saying that the Christian worldview, complete with a Trinitarian God, was the only one that was logically consistent among all the possible religious worldviews, that's why I thought you believed logic proved the Trinity. But I must have remembered wrong.
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Old 03-16-2009, 06:37 PM
 
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So is this self-refuting? "All belief systems contain some error (including mine) because they are all nothing more than glimpses at a Reality which is beyond the comprehension of human minds."

Help me think this through, I wouldn't want to be a self-refuter!
No, I suppose it doesn't.

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Wait a minute! You threw out item #2 up there (no one is wrong) because your religion specifically says that certain Christian doctrines are wrong, therefore it can't be said that no one is wrong ('cause if you are right then Christians must be wrong). So I think the only ones that work logically would be "you're wrong and I'm right" or "everyone is wrong to some extent".
You're right ... I more meant that I don't have an issue with the belief itself so long as it is self-contained, not that I think it really functions or fits in any way with what I believe personally. Trying to clarify that I'm not saying it's wrong in a "should not be done" sense to believe in multiple concurrent truths in that way. Just that I've not often personally seen the belief exist in anything but a reactionary way -- to exist for other than to denigrate what is being seen as inferior.

But as for what really works, I agree with you.
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Old 03-16-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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An interesting point:

The Rambam (Maimonides) writes in Iggeret Shemad (a Jewish legal text dealing with questions of forced conversion, which was prevalent in his day) that a Jew forced to recite the Shehada (Muslim declaration of faith) has not committed idolatry; but a Jew forced to accept baptism has deviated from Hashem.

Basically, a reiteration of Chavela's point, as derived from our sages.

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Old 03-16-2009, 08:02 PM
 
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I'm not following you. Physicists, for example, rely on empirical evidence to support or refute their mathematical concepts all the time. Einstein's theory of special relativity is a mathematical concept, but it is widely accepted not because of just the math but also because it accurately predicts results. If it did not accurately predict results, it would have been discarded by now. Do you mean that mathematical concepts are mental concepts, and so lie outside the realm of experience? Anyway, it's really OT, so maybe you could just point me to a website that explains what you mean .
'Mental concepts lie outside the realm of sense experience' pretty much covers it. It's begging the question to 'prove' 2+2=4 by counting grapes; all you're really doing is applying the preconceived definitions to physical objects. Which is useful in terms of understanding the mental concept, but it doesn't prove the mental concept.

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As for your other point, I think we've covered it in other threads . I remembered you once saying that the Christian worldview, complete with a Trinitarian God, was the only one that was logically consistent among all the possible religious worldviews, that's why I thought you believed logic proved the Trinity. But I must have remembered wrong.
Almost, kinda sorta. The concept of the Trinity answers the philosophical question of unity and plurality better than any other worldview I've yet encountered, but it's certainly theoretically possible that there's another one out there that does the same (with a similar one-and-many Godhead, for instance).

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Old 03-16-2009, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Er, using grapes to illustrate the analytical statement that 2+2=4 is not providing empirical proof.
And sometimes two grapes when squeezed will produce more juice than 4 grapes will.
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An interesting point:

The Rambam (Maimonides) writes in Iggeret Shemad (a Jewish legal text dealing with questions of forced conversion, which was prevalent in his day) that a Jew forced to recite the Shehada (Muslim declaration of faith) has not committed idolatry; but a Jew forced to accept baptism has deviated from Hashem.

Basically, a reiteration of Chavela's point, as derived from our sages.
That is interesting.

It is quite interesting and a bit confusing to see all the responses in this thread.
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:29 PM
 
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And sometimes two grapes when squeezed will produce more juice than 4 grapes will.
I just spent some time trying to figure out if this was deeply allegorical.

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Old 03-16-2009, 09:17 PM
 
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I'm not following you. Physicists, for example, rely on empirical evidence to support or refute their mathematical concepts all the time. Einstein's theory of special relativity is a mathematical concept, but it is widely accepted not because of just the math but also because it accurately predicts results. If it did not accurately predict results, it would have been discarded by now. Do you mean that mathematical concepts are mental concepts, and so lie outside the realm of experience? Anyway, it's really OT, so maybe you could just point me to a website that explains what you mean .
Physicists build mathematical models, to explore what the logical possibilities are. When they look for empirical evidence, it is not to confirm the logic; it is to confirm whether the model in fact exists.

I'll give an example. Physicists at one time were trying to decide if the universe after the big bang would go on expanding forever, or would exand until it reached a point of stasis, or if it would expand and then collaps. So they tried to construct mathematical models for all of these possibilities. They constructed three consistent models, one for each situation. What this told them was that logically or mathematically any of those situations would be possible.

But clearly the actual universe could only conform to one of these models (or perhaps none of them.) So they began to try to collect empirical evidence to support one hypothesis or refute the others.

A very interesting question is how mathematics are related to real things. I tend to think of them as expressions of the form of things. Plato said that noone could be a philosopher without mathematics, which I'm afraid leaves me out in the cold.

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Old 03-16-2009, 09:35 PM
 
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This assertion always irks me. Examples of God's love and forgiveness abound in the Hebrew Scriptures. For example:

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12)

"The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him." (Daniel 9:9)

"The Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth"(Exodus 34:6)

"He delights in unchanging love." (Micah 7:18)

As for the golden rule:

"...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.", Leviticus 19:18

I am not good at pointing out quotes in the bible but to be honest when I read the OT all it really did for me was inspire fear.
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