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The Problem of Religious Philosophy

 
 
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2008 07:31 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
I haven't painted a picture, I've criticized your caricature because you present your caricature as a portrait.

I imagine 'obsurity' is a typo, of obscurity? If so, I ask where my words have obscured anything. I readily admit to rampant problems within Christianity. My only point has been that your criticisms of Christianity suffer from the fallacy of composition.


Didymos,Smile

The rampant problems within Christianity both between differing sects and each individual believeing something different, constitutes both obscurity and a major violation of any sense of order-----thus the monsrosity. In other words it is not your words that are obscure, I had no intent of inferring that you were not dealing honestly and straight forward. Thank you for correcting my spelling.Wink

Does your dogma bite?
0 Replies
 
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2008 07:54 am
@de Silentio,
Quote:
The rampant problems within Christianity both between differing sects and each individual believeing something different, constitutes both obscurity and a major violation of any sense of order-----thus the monsrosity


What sense of order do you expect? A Christian is simply someone who identifies with the teachings of Jesus. A wise man spoke, some listened, and over time, many have come to highly regard sayings attributed to him.

People read the words attributed to Socrates, call themselves philosophers, yet manage to disagree. I do not suppose philosophy is obscure and violates whatever sense of order you have come to expect.

Further, differing opinions does not constitute obscurity. Disagreement is not equivalent to obscurity. Empiricists disagree. Name just about any lose association of human beings and you'll find disagreement within the ranks. Not only should we expect disagreement, we should welcome open discourse about our disagreement. Open discourse about disagreement helps us better understand one another, and it is certainly easier to love a neighbor you relate to than one you do not relate to.

As for the problems which Christianity has encountered over it's history, again, the point is moot. To criticize all of Christianity (in the way you have, calling for Christianity to be 'put on the shelf') for the work of some Christians is to commit the fallacy of composition.

Quote:
In other words it is not your words that are obscure, I had no intent of inferring that you were not dealing honestly and straight forward.


Words may be both obscure as well as honest and straight forward. Zen teaching is famous for such things.
0 Replies
 
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2008 10:23 am
@de Silentio,
Didymos, I don't think it is too much to ask that each Christian have at least some amount of a personal responsibility or mission to combat the certain few radical elements that you acknowledge as misinterpreted, abuse or exploitation of the gospel, I think this would bestow a sense of 'order' to start. For example if I liken this to my social conscious, which doesn't just deal with the selection of people I agree with religiously... these 'radical elements' you aforementioned would be crooks and thieves who I would act to prevent (with precaution and community)and support to imprison (with direct and indirect actions.)

To simply reiterate what a Christian is "A Christian is simply someone who identifies with the teachings of Jesus..." does not change the disorder caused by suppression of knowledge, exploitation, misinterpretation etc. In other words, if I was a victim of identity theft I would not simply allow the fiend responsible to use my credit cards and name based on the premise that we are both human.

Is it laziness? I'm suggesting that the Christian 'accountability' Boagie describes is poo-poo'd by disassociating further, for example labeling problems as "radical elements" rather than addressing them; this is no different than the mistakes in an academic (maybe a philosophy) paper, they are- at the very least, addressed in the conclusion as problems to be resolved later, if you don't address a papers problems/inconsistencies you are marked down, they are 'simply' mistakes so they 'simply' must be resolved, simple!

Dan.
0 Replies
 
NeitherExtreme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 11:36 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:

What's dogmatic there?


Dogma: An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true.

The belief I am talking about is one that says that "material" (in our scientific understanding) is all that can exist, and that this is the truth regardless of what I experience. Essentially you're saying that "materialism" is true before I experience, or that I should interperet my experiences through that truth. That sounds like dogma to me... There may be many people who agree with you, but that does not make the belief not "dogmatic".

Aedes wrote:
If a personal experience is widely divergent from what our collective experience validates as possible, then the rational reaction is NOT to draw this conclusion.

Note: "Our collective experience" seems a bit narrow, meaning the "scientific west", which in reality is not the majority of the world. Even if it was the majority, I don't think collective understanding is the authoritative source of truth in the first place.
Aedes wrote:
The rational response would be to conclude that your experience is true and is somehow consistent with the universe we've grown to experience and understand.

This is the whole idea of worldview... it affects how we will interperet information, therefore limiting the conclusions we can come to before we even see the information. According to that statment, a person's understanding of the universe would be static.

Aedes wrote:

And if you go into a situation always willing to reinvent fundamental truths about the universe based on brief (however meaningful) experiences, then you have chaos -- you lose any kind of backbone for understanding reality, and your understanding of reality can sway and buckle under every experience you have. You need to have confidence in something fundamental (even if it's just the reliability of your senses) in order to put your life's experiences in the context of one another.

I agree with you for the most part, and I think what you're describing would be called "dogma". And I think it should be noted that "religious" dogma has been defended with similar arguments.

That said, I think we all have "dogma", even phillosophers, and I don't have a problem with that. I think we should be willing to re-examine our dogma from time to time, but overall its a healthy and necessary part of human existence.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 01:10 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
The belief I am talking about is one that says that "material" (in our scientific understanding) is all that can exist, and that this is the truth regardless of what I experience.
No, that is not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that it's rationally ludicrious for you to immediately reject your prior understanding of the world based on one experience that contradicts logic, let alone demonstrability. This has nothing to do with science, nor has it anything to do with materialism (whatever it is you mean by that). You're willing to very selectively give up any consistency in your experience of the world, reject any teaching or inherited knowledge (scientific or not), to accomodate a single unusual experience, rather than try and make sense of it in the context of your previous understanding. If you applied that principle to everything in your life, you'd be nonfunctional. So how do you decide?
NeitherExtreme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 01:29 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
No, that is not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that it's rationally ludicrious for you to immediately reject your prior understanding of the world based on one experience that contradicts logic, let alone demonstrability. This has nothing to do with science, nor has it anything to do with materialism (whatever it is you mean by that). You're willing to very selectively give up any consistency in your experience of the world, reject any teaching or inherited knowledge (scientific or not), to accomodate a single unusual experience, rather than try and make sense of it in the context of your previous understanding. If you applied that principle to everything in your life, you'd be nonfunctional. So how do you decide?

Materialism means: "The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena."

I will agree with you that deciding is hard, and allowing the option of the non-material complicates it very much. But since simplicity is not (in my expercience) always a sign of truth, I won't let that scare me into closing the door. That said, I agree that a single or un-contexted event would be (for me) hard to give credence to. But, since we are being phliosphical, what if there were consistency, context, and weight to the experiences, including credible experiences of others, that surpasses my skepticism, even if those experiences can not be repeated or controlled. If your answer is that a person should always just increase their skepticism (or whatever), then that is not allowing room for new information.
NeitherExtreme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 01:37 pm
@boagie,
boagie, if I tried to blame you for the oppression of the athiest USSR, I'm sure that you would respond by noting (correctly) that you have nothing to do with that, even if you could be called an athiest.

I think you know me well enough by now to know that I am in no way attempting to defend all the evils done by "Christians" throughout history, even up to today. On the contrary, I hate many things Christians have done. For that matter, I hate some things I've done. And I want to be as responsible as I can be and help in any way repair the damage.

That said, to attempt to simplify Christianity the way you have is simply mangling history. My ancestors (anabaptits) came to america because of some very serious persecution at the hands of some other Christians. FWIW, one of the reasons for the persecution is that the anabaptists refused to ever kill a "Turk", so blaming anabaptists for the crusades would be silly, if not offensive. Christianity, like every other part of human history, is extremely complicated. And you accuse Dydimos of obscuring in order to deflect blame, but one could just as easily accuse you of over-simplifying in order to justify your anger. Not that your anger isn't often justified, but generalizing doesn't help fix the problems.
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 01:55 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme,

That is all well and good, but if you have a problem, is it politically correct then not to identify its source. Who or what is it that is trying to usurp the public school system wishing to force their mythology to be taught instead of science, or any other remarkably stupid, ignorant and aggressive things done in the name of christianity. Is even their blantent claims then to be ignored, worse still to pretend you do not know what they are up to? NeitherExtreme, that handle can spell tolerance, it can also spell sitting on the fence, accountablity is not something christianity has indulged in, in past, hopefully in the future people will rise the pole.
NeitherExtreme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 02:07 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:

That is all well and good, but if you have a problem, is it politically correct then not to identify its source. Who or what is it that is trying to usurp the public school system wishing to force their mythology to be taught instead of science, or any other remarkably stupid, ignorant and aggressive things done in the name of christianity. Is even their blantent claims then to be ignored, worse still to pretend you do not know what they are up to? NeitherExtreme, that handle can spell tolerance, it can also spell sitting on the fence, accountablity is not something christianity has indulged in, in past, hopefully in the future people will rise the pole.

Understood... Yes, it's a balance. Oversimplification can lead to intolerance, and obscurity can lead to un-accountability. In this case it sounds like you have a problem with "Creation Science", and/or "conservitive christian polotics in America". I realize it's cumbersome to specify, but it might help other Christians relate with your sentiments rather than polarizing them.
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 02:54 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
Understood... Yes, it's a balance. Oversimplification can lead to intolerance, and obscurity can lead to un-accountability. In this case it sounds like you have a problem with "Creation Science", and/or "conservitive christian polotics in America". I realize it's cumbersome to specify, but it might help other Christians relate with your sentiments rather than polarizing them.


NeitherExtreme,

Surely other christians are aware of what is being done in their name, it is up to christians to hold other christians accountable, when that begins to occur, there will be far less heard from outside the rank and file. Polarize christians with a statement about what the christian church is doing in its universal name--really. Again, who does one address, O' its offensive, my we cannot have that. You people who are getting all heated up, tell the church you do not agree with their politics. Christianity has become a political animal as such, look forward to much resistance.
0 Replies
 
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 03:11 pm
@de Silentio,
As I've been following the thread I've been wondering; does the Christian resistance to Satanism serve as an example of Christians holding other Christians accountable? I assume Satanism is a form Christianity as it is the Christian concept of Satan and the Bible that would serve as the source.

Dan.
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 03:50 pm
@de budding,
de_budding wrote:
As I've been following the thread I've been wondering; does the Christian resistance to Satanism serve as an example of Christians holding other Christians accountable? I assume Satanism is a form Christianity as it is the Christian concept of Satan and the Bible that would serve as the source. Dan.


de budding,Smile

:)Well, I hope them christians are holding their own against Satan, if it is practise, perhaps they will get into the habit of minding their own institution and thus, insist on accountablity. At least stand up and be counted when something outrageous is being done in the name of christianity.
0 Replies
 
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 05:55 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
Didymos, I don't think it is too much to ask that each Christian have at least some amount of a personal responsibility or mission to combat the certain few radical elements that you acknowledge as misinterpreted, abuse or exploitation of the gospel, I think this would bestow a sense of 'order' to start. For example if I liken this to my social conscious, which doesn't just deal with the selection of people I agree with religiously... these 'radical elements' you aforementioned would be crooks and thieves who I would act to prevent (with precaution and community)and support to imprison (with direct and indirect actions.)


Absolutely, we should criticize the radical and confused doctrines. This, believe it or not, happens. Books are written. So what's the "order" problem if these issue are addressed?

Quote:
To simply reiterate what a Christian is "A Christian is simply someone who identifies with the teachings of Jesus..." does not change the disorder caused by suppression of knowledge, exploitation, misinterpretation etc. In other words, if I was a victim of identity theft I would not simply allow the fiend responsible to use my credit cards and name based on the premise that we are both human.


The statement was never intended to change reality. The statement simply reinforces the fact that Boagie's criticisms were, at least, too extreme and that they suffer from a serious fallacy - a fallacy of composition.

Quote:
I'm suggesting that the Christian 'accountability' Boagie describes is poo-poo'd by disassociating further, for example labeling problems as "radical elements" rather than addressing them


Boagie hasn't described any sort of agreeable accountability. Again, we should criticize silly doctrines. But I must say there is nothing wrong with calling radicals radicals. As I mentioned above, the issues are addressed in popular literature. As for myself, there are threads in this forum where I criticize doctrines I find to be silly.

Quote:
Surely other christians are aware of what is being done in their name, it is up to christians to hold other christians accountable, when that begins to occur, there will be far less heard from outside the rank and file.


Begins to occur? This is an age old tradition. Check out "The Complaint of Peace" by Erasmus. Beautiful work.

Quote:
As I've been following the thread I've been wondering; does the Christian resistance to Satanism serve as an example of Christians holding other Christians accountable? I assume Satanism is a form Christianity as it is the Christian concept of Satan and the Bible that would serve as the source.


Satanism is not Christian because Satanist do not follow, or claim to follow, the teachings of Christ. The traditions (if we are going to call Satamisn that) are related in that they have similar sources of inspiration. But this relation does not make Satanists Christians any more than this made the ancient Greeks part of the Vedic faith tradition.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 09:26 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
But, since we are being phliosphical, what if there were consistency, context, and weight to the experiences, including credible experiences of others, that surpasses my skepticism, even if those experiences can not be repeated or controlled.
Then there may be something to it -- but don't expect everyone on earth to share your threshold of credulity. True to you doesn't mean true to all, and just because something isn't scientifically demonstrable now does not prove that there is some supernatural realm. That's one way to interpret it, but if you don't require demonstrability to your conclusion, then you've opened the door to an infinite number of competing non-demonstrable explanations.

Quote:
If your answer is that a person should always just increase their skepticism (or whatever), then that is not allowing room for new information.
Skepticism is precisely how we learn. Knowledge is developed by answering questions, and skepticism is a major way in which we ask those new questions.
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Apr, 2008 07:13 am
@Aedes,
After student raises ire over teacher telling class disbelievers 'going to hell,' he faces death threats RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday February 20, 2007
[URL="http://javascript<b></b>:document.getElementById("frm_print_me").submit();"]Print This[/URL] Email This
http://rawstory.com//images/new/matthewlaclair.jpgA New Jersey student enmeshed in a classroom dispute over religion is attracting allies in his defense, The New York Times reports.
Matthew LaClair, a 16-year-old junior at Kearny High School, "drew some legal heavyweights into his battle with school officials over a teacher's proselytizing in class," writes Patrick McGeehan for the Times.
Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and the People for the American Way Foundation, along with a Manhattan law firm partner, stood with LaClair "as he and his family threatened to sue the Kearny Board of Education if their complaints are not resolved," McGeehan says.
LaClair taped a teacher of his saying to students in a history class "that if they do not believe that Jesus died for their sins, they 'belong in hell,'" writes McGeehan.
On the same recordings, the article continues, the teacher is heard telling the students "that there were dinosaurs aboard Noah's ark and that there is no scientific basis for evolution or the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe."
LaClair has reportedly been "the target of harassment and a death threat from fellow students and 'retaliation' by school officials who have treated him, not the teacher, as the problem," McGeehan says.
Excerpts from the Times article, available in full here, follow...
#

Matthew and his parents, Paul and Debra LaClair, are demanding an apology to Matthew and public correction of some of Mr. Paszkiewicz's statements in class.
...
Richard Mancino, a partner with Willkie Farr & Gallagher, which is representing the family, said he did not understand why school officials would not "stand up for this student, who had the guts to raise this constitutional issue." Instead, Mr. Mancino said, they appear "to have adopted a shoot-the-messenger policy."
Angelo J. Genova, a lawyer in Livingston, N.J., who is representing the school board, said Kearny school officials had addressed Matthew's complaints and had reaffirmed their commitment to the separation of church and state in the classroom.
...
The district would not disclose what action it had taken against Mr. Paszkiewicz, who is teaching the same course to a different group of students. He has taught in the district for 14 years.

Right to the point I should think, Where are the christians in support of this lad?
0 Replies
 
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Apr, 2008 11:22 pm
@de Silentio,
Are there no Christians in the ACLU?

Go ask a minister or two what they think about this story. You might be surprised.
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2008 07:54 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Are there no Christians in the ACLU?

Go ask a minister or two what they think about this story. You might be surprised.



Didymos,Smile

Spoken like a stand up christian!! :p Of course this sort of thing never really happens in the bible thump world!! Wink a pillar of virtue and reason :rolleyes:
0 Replies
 
NeitherExtreme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2008 08:10 am
@de Silentio,
Really boagie, I'm not sure what you expect in response to a post like that...

Obviously I think the teacher was out of line. And so would a lot of Christians. I'm not sure what more you want... I had a Social Studies teacher in 10th grade that taught the class that there is no such thing as absolute truth. He was out of line. Sure it frustrated me, but I don't expect every relativist to throw out their belief system or remove themselves from the public scene out of shame.

Personally I think one of the biggest problems in the story is that the educational system is so loathe to discipline teachers.
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2008 09:07 am
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme,Smile

:)Well Neither, I would say your response is more in keeping with an accountable Christian. All anyone would need to say is, yes indeed, that is a terriable thing, something like this should not happen in this day and age in a country like ours. People in general are intimidated by Christianity, look at the primaries all those candidates vowing their faith, probably few of them believeing it. All the more reason in the presence of this intimidation, that it be Christians that monitor the actions done in the name of Christianity at large. Insist that the church get out of the science classroom, and stays out!! Christians, stand up against the outrageous violations done by a Christianity useing its political muscle.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2008 11:10 am
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
I had a Social Studies teacher in 10th grade that taught the class that there is no such thing as absolute truth.
If there is such a thing as absolute truth, we as individuals don't have any access to it so long as we're not omniscient. What we assume to be absolute truths are so assumed not because we know they're absolutely true, but rather because by all our measures they appear self-evident or incontrovertible. So anything that you regard as an absolute truth is only colloquially absolute -- because human convention regards it as such.
 

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