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The Problem of Religious Philosophy

 
 
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 06:19 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:

So then you do take some of what the scripture says as literal, correct?


No. Believing that Jesus offers, in his teachings, a path to heaven does not require a literal reading, nor does belief in God require a literal reading.

Zetherin wrote:
In this case, then, you *don't* just regard the scriptures as completely fictitious, yes? So, where is your break-off point? Do you believe in Jonah and whale, David and Goliath, Jesus performing miracles on the sick... or just that there's a "God" in "Heaven"?


I never said a God in Heaven. Heaven is on the Earth.

Fictitious is a word I would not use, though we might call some elements of scripture fiction. I believe in all of the aforementioned stories: I do not, for example, believe that a man literally survived being consumed by a whale.

Zetherin wrote:
This is what I mean when I note "Drive". Because, from what you've typed to me, it appears that Jesus isn't just another path of wisdom you seek more often than others. You've even been confirmed through a church - a religious activity. You're a Christian because you believe the "God" represented in the biblical scriptures is the true "God": you take some of these scriptures literally; It's not just another notion of wisdom considered -- this is what you base your life on. Are you still reconsidering your notion of "God", or have you just stopped at the biblical scriptures? It appears you've stopped at the biblical scriptures, am I incorrect?


What Jesus offers is just another path, or more accurately, another set of teachings to help people along their own path. I've been confirmed in the Church: so what? I'm a member of the Episcopal community.

I believe that scripture points toward the true God, but scripture cannot completely represent the true God.

I base my life on many things, Christian scripture making up a large part of what I turn to. I have not "stopped at" the Biblical scriptures: I read apocrypha as well as scripture from other traditions.
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 07:17 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
No. Believing that Jesus offers, in his teachings, a path to heaven does not require a literal reading, nor does belief in God require a literal reading.
Heaven is a notion mentioned within the scriptures. If you are not taking it literally, then what do you mean when you say, "I do believe in Jesus, as a savior: his teachings offer a path to Heaven"? How does a belief in a notion of "God" not require literal reading to some extent? If I read of a notion of "God" (in this case, the benevolent "God" represented in the scriptures), to believe I must take *something* literally - it would be *true* to me. No?

Quote:
I never said a God in Heaven. Heaven is on the Earth.
I thought Heaven is the place you go after death if you were a "good" person and repented to the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the scriptures? Also, according to the church I belonged to (I went to Christian school for 6 years), they told me "God" was in heaven, waiting for me.

Quote:
I base my life on many things, Christian scripture making up a large part of what I turn to. I have not "stopped at" the Biblical scriptures: I read apocrypha as well as scripture from other traditions.
Then you must understand labeling yourself "Christian" is begging for misinterpretation. This is what I'm getting at. If Christianity really is as loose as you are making it, why label?! Labels are supposed to define, clarify, not confuse! Christianity, as you've made it, is just as ambiguous as, "I'm on a spiritual path", and as far as I know, the definitional use of the word "Christianity" is more defined.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 07:44 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
Heaven is a notion mentioned within the scriptures. If you are not taking it literally, then what do you mean when you say, "I do believe in Jesus, as a savior: his teachings offer a path to Heaven"? How does a belief in a notion of "God" not require literal reading to some extent? If I read of a notion of "God" (in this case, the benevolent "God" represented in the scriptures), to believe I must take *something* literally - it would be *true* to me. No?


That the teachings attributed to Jesus are great teachings (Jesus as a savior) which offer a path to Heaven, or enlightenment or moksha, or whatever you want to call it.

And, no, I do not think that to believe in God one must take the language of God literally: to do so would miss the point as language is not capable of perfectly expressing God: God is ineffable. One must experience God. Because it is experiential, and beyond language, one must not take any of the language literally, and to take the language literally is a mistake; or maybe, if the language is intended to be understood literally, the language will necessarily misguide you.

Zetherin wrote:
I thought Heaven is the place you go after death if you were a "good" person and repented to the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the scriptures? Also, according to the church I belonged to (I went to Christian school for 6 years), they told me "God" was in heaven, waiting for me.


"For indeed, the kingdom of God is within [or among] you" Luke 17:21. You might say that God is in Heaven, but this Heaven is not some special place in the clouds (in spite of the etymology of the English word) where God has a throne room and what not. It is internal, in your own mind, manifest when you see God within yourself and within all other people.

Zetherin wrote:
Then you must understand labeling yourself "Christian" is begging for misinterpretation. This is what I'm getting at. If Christianity really is as loose as you are making it, why label?! Labels are supposed to define, clarify, not confuse! Christianity, as you've made it, is just as ambiguous as, "I'm on a spiritual path", and as far as I know, the definitional use of the word "Christianity" is more defined.


Sure, many people have trouble understanding.

Christianity as I have defined it is not as ambiguous as "I'm on a spiritual path", it's as ambiguous as "I'm on a spiritual path and the things Jesus has said have been, and continue to be, typically the most helpful teachings for me."

I'd be more than happy to address any "definitional use of the word" which excludes this use.
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 08:26 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Quote:
That the teachings attributed to Jesus are great teachings (Jesus as a savior) which offer a path to Heaven, or enlightenment or moksha, or whatever you want to call it.

I don't really understand what this means. So, if you abide by his teachings, what happens?
Quote:
That the teachings attributed to Jesus are great teachings (Jesus as a savior) which offer a path to Heaven, or enlightenment or moksha, or whatever you want to call it.

And, no, I do not think that to believe in God one must take the language of God literally: to do so would miss the point as language is not capable of perfectly expressing God: God is ineffable. One must experience God. Because it is experiential, and beyond language, one must not take any of the language literally, and to take the language literally is a mistake; or maybe, if the language is intended to be understood literally, the language will necessarily misguide you.

Scriptures were written by man: they are a written account of his teachings, and offer a description of this "God". This means that any teaching or description from the scriptures is represented through the medium of language - an attempt to make "God" effable. And, if you believe anything you've read in the scriptures (which I'm assuming you do, as you've noted more than one time you seek guidance from the teachings), you're understanding of the path of "God" appears effable, at least to some extent. How can you tell me "God" is ineffable, yet abide by his teachings, believing he is a Savior, and offers a path to "Heaven" [you've constructed your notions of "heaven" and "savior", and you're taking these literally, influenced, of course, by the scriptures]? It appears you believe in his benevolence and his *great* teachings, and if you do, is that not taking what is written in that book literally to some extent? it's not like you randomly constructed this notion of God, your basis was obviously influenced by something in the scripture, no? If not, then I really don't see why you'd call yourself a Christian.

Quote:
Christianity as I have defined it is not as ambiguous as "I'm on a spiritual path", it's as ambiguous as "I'm on a spiritual path and the things Jesus has said have been, and continue to be, typically the most helpful teachings for me."

When I stated, "definitional usage", I was referring to the commonly used definition given to this word. From the definitions I've researched (all very similar), Christianity does not refer to, "I'm on a spiritual path and the things Jesus has said have been, and continue to be, typically the most helpful teachings for me", it's that they are the only teachings for me. This is what defines the Christian. Otherwise, the word is a meaningless appendage, telling us nothing. We should not make terms more abstract to fit our own ends -- this leads to misinterpretation. This isn't meant to offend you, I just don't see how adding this needless label to your description helps others better understand you in the slightest.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Feb, 2009 08:41 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
I don't really understand what this means. So, if you abide by his teachings, what happens?


It's not just abiding by his prescriptions; it's cultivating honest compassion for your fellow man. The idea is to live as Christ-like a life as possible, and when you do, what you end up with is Heaven-like.

Interpretations can differ. We might say that living a perfectly Christ-like life is to be in Heaven, or we might say that when everyone lives perfectly Christ-like lives we have Heave. But it doesn't really matter: the point is that we should be as good as we can be. We should strive to be saints.

Zetherin wrote:
Scriptures were written by man: they are a written account of his teachings, and offer a description of this "God". This means that any teaching or description from the scriptures is represented through the medium of language - an attempt to make "God" effable. And, if you believe anything you've read in the scriptures (which I'm assuming you do, as you've noted more than one time you seek guidance from the teachings), you're understanding of the path of "God" appears effable, at least to some extent. How can you tell me "God" is ineffable, yet abide by his teachings, believing he is a Savior, and offers a path to "Heaven" [you've constructed your notions of "heaven" and "savior", and you're taking these literally, influenced, of course, by the scriptures]? It appears you believe in his benevolence and his *great* teachings, and if you do, is that not taking what is written in that book literally to some extent? it's not like you randomly constructed this notion of God, your basis was obviously influenced by something in the scripture, no? If not, then I really don't see why you'd call yourself a Christian.


To use the old Buddhist analogy: don't take the finger for the moon. Descriptions of God, the ineffable, point to the truth. That's why they are figurative. God is effable only in that we can discuss God in figurative language, thus, he is ultimately ineffable.

Zetherin wrote:
When I stated, "definitional usage", I was referring to the commonly used definition given to this word. From the definitions I've researched (all very similar), Christianity does not refer to, "I'm on a spiritual path and the things Jesus has said have been, and continue to be, typically the most helpful teachings for me", it's that they are the only teachings for me. This is what defines the Christian. Otherwise, the word is a meaningless appendage, telling us nothing. We should not make terms more abstract to fit our own ends -- this leads to misinterpretation. This isn't meant to offend you, I just don't see how adding this needless label to your description helps others better understand you in the slightest.


And I would argue that to define a Christian as someone who only looks to Christian scripture for guidance is to define Christianity in such a way as to exclude a great many people who are most certainly Christians.

A great example would be Thomas Merton. He was a Christian monk who studied other religions, especially Buddhism and Taoism. If a Christian can only turn to Christian scripture for guidance, then that Roman Catholic monk was not a Christian. So, I do not think such a definition works.

I'm not offended. I think using the term Christian to describe myself, if people take the time to think about it (as you are doing, which I commend), helps others better understand Christianity as it should be practiced. Too often people think of different religions as being diametrically opposed to one another: this is unfortunate. When we come to recognize that a Christian can learn from Buddhist teaching, that Buddhists can learn from Muslim teaching, ect, we better understand what religion is supposed to be, as opposed to what religion is often turned into in the pursuit of worldly gain.

And we already know that my definition is not meaningless: it suggests that the Christian primarily turns to Christian scripture, which is certainly true in my case. Now, my definition does not exclude people who only turn to Christian scripture, rather, it opens the door for people such as myself and Father Merton to be considered Christians. And I do not think anyone in their right mind would argue that a Roman Catholic monk is not a Christian.
Axis Austin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Feb, 2009 06:54 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Thomas: I must first apologize for a few things. First, I got the impression that you were an atheist (I'm new to this thread as you're probably aware) so sorry. Second, it seems that I'm also questioning you and disagreeing. I don't want to come across as angry or mean or anything. Finally, I haven't read all of this thread, so maybe you've answered this. But here it goes.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
It's not just abiding by his prescriptions; it's cultivating honest compassion for your fellow man. The idea is to live as Christ-like a life as possible, and when you do, what you end up with is Heaven-like.

Interpretations can differ. We might say that living a perfectly Christ-like life is to be in Heaven, or we might say that when everyone lives perfectly Christ-like lives we have Heave. But it doesn't really matter: the point is that we should be as good as we can be. We should strive to be saints.


This is true, no doubt. To live like Christ is to have a Heaven-like life. But what happens after you die? Do you believe in an afterlife in heaven, or anywhere for that matter?

Didymos Thomas wrote:
To use the old Buddhist analogy: don't take the finger for the moon. Descriptions of God, the ineffable, point to the truth. That's why they are figurative. God is effable only in that we can discuss God in figurative language, thus, he is ultimately ineffable.


First I'll state that, if you're not already aware, you should read "The Unknown God" by Anthony Kenny. He advocates language as metaphorical like you seem to be doing.

A few things: why is God ineffable? Do you have an argument to defend this statement? If not, it's no different than me saying God is effable (you may have addressed this, but please let me know). Similarly, why is language necessarily metaphorical?

Finally, to treat all scripture as metaphorical seems like an inadequate interpretation. There are very direct, specific verses and instances in the Bible. I can't quote word for word, but "nobody can come to the father except through the son", seems to be pretty straightforward. More generally, as Zetherin's mentioned, how can you believe in anything in the Bible literally. If everything's metaphor, then God must be metaphor too.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Feb, 2009 07:24 pm
@Axis Austin,
Axis Austin wrote:
Thomas: I must first apologize for a few things. First, I got the impression that you were an atheist (I'm new to this thread as you're probably aware) so sorry. Second, it seems that I'm also questioning you and disagreeing. I don't want to come across as angry or mean or anything. Finally, I haven't read all of this thread, so maybe you've answered this. But here it goes.


No problem, Austin.

Axis Austin wrote:
This is true, no doubt. To live like Christ is to have a Heaven-like life. But what happens after you die? Do you believe in an afterlife in heaven, or anywhere for that matter?


Jesus never equates Heaven to the afterlife. As for me, I'm not terribly concerned with the afterlife: handling this life is enough trouble.


Axis Austin wrote:
First I'll state that, if you're not already aware, you should read "The Unknown God" by Anthony Kenny. He advocates language as metaphorical like you seem to be doing.


I'll have to check it out, thanks.

Axis Austin wrote:
A few things: why is God ineffable? Do you have an argument to defend this statement? If not, it's no different than me saying God is effable (you may have addressed this, but please let me know). Similarly, why is language necessarily metaphorical?


God is ineffable because that is how He is experienced. Take the emotion "love" for instance. Ultimately, the feeling is ineffable, but we can speak about love figuratively. This isn't much of an argument, I know: but that's beside the point. God isn't about arguments, it's an experience.

The language of God must be figurative because God cannot be measured. We cannot measure God, thus we cannot say anything objective about God.

Axis Austin wrote:
Finally, to treat all scripture as metaphorical seems like an inadequate interpretation. There are very direct, specific verses and instances in the Bible. I can't quote word for word, but "nobody can come to the father except through the son", seems to be pretty straightforward. More generally, as Zetherin's mentioned, how can you believe in anything in the Bible literally. If everything's metaphor, then God must be metaphor too.


Let's look at some of those passages.
John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me"

What does this mean?
Does Jesus mean that in order to "cometh unto the Father" you have to hold the hand of Jesus and walk some road? This seems unlikely.

Does Jesus mean that in order to "cometh unto the Father" you have to follow the teachings of Jesus? This seems to be a slight improvement in interpretation.

But this interpretation begs the question: what if you get the same teachings that Jesus relayed, but from another source? For example, is following the Golden Rule only acceptable in the eyes of God is I took the teaching from Jesus, or will God be happy if I pick up that bit of wisdom no matter the source? It seems to me that the source is irrelevant.

Now, I agree that the statement is pretty straightforward, but there is still some thinking required on our part.

And yes, I think you figured out something that some never understand: God is not some big man in the clouds recording everything you do. That's childish. Jesus was teaching a very adult path, one that is not easy. People like to pretend that the path Jesus taught was easy: they chant some magic words, claim that they are saved and lord over everyone else. That's delusional. Jesus said to give up everything, Luke 14:33. But how many of us do that? The suggestion there is far more direct than the one you mention.
Axis Austin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Feb, 2009 11:41 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
God is ineffable because that is how He is experienced. Take the emotion "love" for instance. Ultimately, the feeling is ineffable, but we can speak about love figuratively. This isn't much of an argument, I know: but that's beside the point. God isn't about arguments, it's an experience.

The language of God must be figurative because God cannot be measured. We cannot measure God, thus we cannot say anything objective about God.


First, a word of caution about the book: it's not very well-written. It's strength is the uniqueness of it's idea.

Why can't God be measured? Why is God experienced ineffably? Finally, yes belief in God must be experienced, but that's only part of it. To take argument completely out of the equation seems foolish. "I know God exists because I experienced him. You haven't? Oh well, too bad! But you are indeed wrong, he does exist: I know because I experienced him." (not a very compelling argument). Belief in the absence of any reason is blind, and for me personally that's unacceptable. Thus rational discussion of God is important, hence why I bother with this forum. :bigsmile:
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2009 01:21 am
@Axis Austin,
Axis Austin wrote:

Why can't God be measured?


Can you think of a way to measure God?

Axis Austin wrote:
Why is God experienced ineffably?


That's just the nature of the experience.

Axis Austin wrote:
Finally, yes belief in God must be experienced, but that's only part of it. To take argument completely out of the equation seems foolish. "I know God exists because I experienced him. You haven't? Oh well, too bad! But you are indeed wrong, he does exist: I know because I experienced him." (not a very compelling argument).


It's not supposed to be an argument. It's more along the lines of "Hey, I had this awesome experience, you should check it out". If people do not want to investigate and check up for themselves, that's fine.

Instead of arguments, believers should provide example: it's the power of moral example. By your actions, you show people the truth. If you are honest and kind hearted, they will begin to develop a sense of curiosity on their own. No need to argue.

Axis Austin wrote:
Belief in the absence of any reason is blind, and for me personally that's unacceptable. Thus rational discussion of God is important, hence why I bother with this forum. :bigsmile:


But there is very little to discuss until you go and seek God. Belief in the absence of any reason is blind: hence the importance of the experience. With the empirical knowledge, you have every reason to believe in God: without that empirical knowledge, you have no reason to believe in God.

It's something you have to see for yourself. Imagine trying to prove by argumentation to a newly discovered tribe in the Amazon that airplanes exist. It's impossible, and pointless. The only way to do it is to show them the machine.
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2009 09:18 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Yo!!Smile

I suppose the question depends upon which tradition you identify with, already in the 7th century BC the Upanishads state that all the gods and demons are within, admittedly the Upanishads are unique in interpreting their scripture intellectually/psychologically. As a wisdom text I find this more acceptable, though I am sure there are many Hindu's who still manage to interpret scripture literally. In this tradition however it would be more difficult than with the three desert religions for literally translations. God the mystery, "No mind has touched it, no tongue has soiled it." For god one must look within not without.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad


Sacred-Texts: Hinduism

God is a metaphor for that which trancends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that. Joseph Campbell
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2009 09:36 am
@Play Dough,
Play_Dough wrote:
Philosophy also requires the acceptance of one major 'dogmatic truth' and that dogmatic truth is that there is an actual 'external reality', rather than just one 'internal reality' projected by consciousness (See, George Edward Moore).

.


Idealism rejects the view that there is an external reality, and Idealism is a philosophy, so it is not true that philosophy requires the view that there is an external world.
0 Replies
 
Axis Austin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2009 11:11 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Can you think of a way to measure God?

Yes. Of course not literally with measuring cups, but figuratively.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
That's just the nature of the experience.

I disagree. If God is fully ineffable, then how can we have any notion of him. If we can understand the term God, then he is somewhat effable. But I believe he is much more knowable than that.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
It's not supposed to be an argument. It's more along the lines of "Hey, I had this awesome experience, you should check it out". If people do not want to investigate and check up for themselves, that's fine.

Once again, I partially disagree. Yes, what you're saying is great. But that's only part of it, I think.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
But there is very little to discuss until you go and seek God.

Perhaps, but once you have sought him there's a ton to discuss. So the experience you're advocating is important, but not all-encompassing.
0 Replies
 
democritus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2009 02:05 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Here is a parable :

Premise One: Judge John is a member of the Episcopal Church in the USA.

Premise Two: Mary is a member of the Episcopal Church who lives next to Adam.

Premise Three: Adam is a member of the Episcopal Church who wrongly believes that Mary has been persecuting him and prays to God to punish Mary [i.e. kill her sickly daughter Eva].

Premise Four: Mary's daughter Eva died. Adam admits his "guilt".

Premise Five: The public prosecution office brings the case to a criminal court and Judge John has been given the task to make a judgment

Premise Six: The prosecutor submits his accusation that, "Adam by praying God has caused Mary's daughter Eva's death and he has admitted his "guilt""

Premise Seven: Adam pleads "guilty".

Premise Eight: The Judge dismissed the case [and let Adam free].

Please tell us whether,

Option One: Judge has made the right decision; [please give your reasoning]

Option Two: Judge has made the wrong decision; [please give your reasoning]

Thanks,
democritus
0 Replies
 
Axis Austin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2009 02:24 pm
@de Silentio,
I think it depends on whether or not Adam's prayers actually convinced God to dispatch the daughter. If she truly died at God's hand because of Adam's prayers, I'd say he is guilty and the judge was wrong. But being as how we couldn't know this, I don't think God would do such a thing, the judge was right. Just my thoughts.
democritus
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 01:58 pm
@Axis Austin,
Thank you for the comment Axis Austin.

Some conclusions from Democritus' previous Parable on 28/02/2009:

Conclusion One: "Beliefs" are unproven statements and could have been right or wrong.

Conclusion Two: "Beliefs" are not admissible evidence in a civic court.

New Premise One: Rules of the philosophy debates have many things in common with the rules of the Civic Court.

New Premise Two: The philosophy debates like the civic court rulings can not suspend reasoning.

Conclusion Three: "Beliefs" - suspension of reasoning - are not admissible in the philosophical debates.

Thanks
democritus
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Mar, 2009 06:15 pm
@democritus,
Axis Austin wrote:
Yes. Of course not literally with measuring cups, but figuratively.


Then we have returned to figurative language, which is fine so long as we are very careful about how we express the notion of God. Essentially, to say that God is all-powerful is a figurative measure of God.

Axis Austin wrote:
I disagree. If God is fully ineffable, then how can we have any notion of him. If we can understand the term God, then he is somewhat effable. But I believe he is much more knowable than that.


Then I assume you have experience of God.

I suppose God is not "fully ineffable" in that we can say something about Him - it's just that the nature of what can be said about God is necessarily figurative unless we buy into fundamentalism.

That language about God is necessarily figurative does not diminish man's ability to know God.

Axis Austin wrote:
Once again, I partially disagree. Yes, what you're saying is great. But that's only part of it, I think.


What's the other part?

Axis Austin wrote:
Perhaps, but once you have sought him there's a ton to discuss. So the experience you're advocating is important, but not all-encompassing.


There is a great deal to discuss once you have set off down your path, but the experience is still the end of the whole thing. That there is something to discuss does not mean that said discussion is inherently important. The discussion is valuable as long as it helps you to better have the experience.

boagie wrote:
Yo!!Smile

I suppose the question depends upon which tradition you identify with, already in the 7th century BC the Upanishads state that all the gods and demons are within, admittedly the Upanishads are unique in interpreting their scripture intellectually/psychologically. As a wisdom text I find this more acceptable, though I am sure there are many Hindu's who still manage to interpret scripture literally. In this tradition however it would be more difficult than with the three desert religions for literally translations. God the mystery, "No mind has touched it, no tongue has soiled it." For god one must look within not without.

God is a metaphor for that which trancends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that. Joseph Campbell


Yes, there is a growing Hindu fundamentalist movement, and even Buddhist fundamentalists fighting in Sri Lanka. Just goes to show that any tradition can be corrupted by ignorance and power.

I'm glad you brought up the Upanishads; it is interesting to note that some of Jesus' teachings echo passages from the Upanishads - the kingdom of God is within, and so forth.

I do not think that any particular faith tradition is more susceptible to fundamentalism as they all have been infected with that movement. But that's not the real issue: the real issue is overcoming this fundamentalist push to rip out the spiritual value from our traditions, whether one is Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, what have you. This is a serious crisis of ignorance; even the secular should be concerned, as you seem to be Boagie. Those of us who are religious/spiritual appreciate your efforts.

And thanks for the Joseph Campbell quote: once again, he proves his understanding. The question remaining is what could transcend all levels of intellectual thought?, and this is what I've been trying to get to with Austin: you have to experience that in order to know, and to put the answer into words is to destroy the answer.
democritus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Mar, 2009 05:20 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
You assume incorrectly, [ed. Democritus].

What have Democritus assumed incorrectly? Where is Didymos Thomas's argument?

Didymos Thomas wrote:
I would not take reasoning so seriously.

Didymos Thomas you are probably in the wrong Forum if you think you can get away without "rationalism" - "practice of testing all religious beliefs and knowledge by reason and logic".

That is probably the reason a lot of people confusing the Philosophy of Religion with Theology.

Unless we agree not to suspend reasoning I am not going to get involved in unreasoned and useless arguments in this Forum

Thanks
democritus
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Mar, 2009 06:08 pm
@democritus,
Thomas,Smile

Are you not saying then, that the experience of the mystery is the heart of faith? Surely if it cannot be put into words, there is little else to state. There is nothing which is divine unless all is divine the wretched and the sublime.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Mar, 2009 08:10 pm
@boagie,
democritus wrote:
What have Democritus assumed incorrectly? Where is Didymos Thomas's argument?


You assumed that I, being a Christian, must have some reason for following Jesus rather than some other spiritual teacher like Muhammad. This assumption is incorrect.

There are reasons for me being a Christian, but no reason for me to ignore the wisdom taught by other spiritual teachers. You can look to the 77th post in the thread for an explanation.

democritus wrote:
Didymos Thomas you are probably in the wrong Forum if you think you can get away without "rationalism" - "practice of testing all religious beliefs and knowledge by reason and logic".


Having been here for over a year now, I'm fairly confident that I am in the right place. To the point: I have never said that we should not employ reason to test ideas.

democritus wrote:
That is probably the reason a lot of people confusing the Philosophy of Religion with Theology.


Theology is the study of God and is therefor an aspect of the philosophy of religion.

democritus wrote:
Unless we agree not to suspend reasoning I am not going to get involved in unreasoned and useless arguments in this Forum


I agree that we should not suspend reasoning.

boagie wrote:
Thomas,Smile

Are you not saying then, that the experience of the mystery is the heart of faith? Surely if it cannot be put into words, there is little else to state. There is nothing which is divine unless all is divine the wretched and the sublime.


It's all about experience. And while there is not much to talk about, there are some things worth talking about for most people. Take the Zen Koans for example; they exist to help people cultivate what a Buddhist might call "right understanding" and "right mindfulness".
0 Replies
 
Axis Austin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Mar, 2009 08:52 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
I will start by saying that after all this discussion, I think we've reached the point of agreeing to disagree. I, at least, feel that what you're saying is fundamentally opposed to what I'm saying. That said, I will respond.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Then we have returned to figurative
language, which is fine so long as we are very careful about how we express the notion of God. Essentially, to say that God is all-powerful is a figurative measure of God.


I disagree: I think the notion of God being all-powerful should be read literally (he can do all that's logically impossible, I believe).

Didymos Thomas wrote:
I suppose God is not "fully ineffable" in that we can say something about Him - it's just that the nature of what can be said about God is necessarily figurative unless we buy into fundamentalism.

That language about God is necessarily figurative does not diminish man's ability to know God.


Why is language about God necessarily figurative? I'm still not sure why you say this. Because he is greater than us and we can't understand him? Because he is infinitely greater than us and we can't grasp infinity? What if infinity tells us about itself literally?

Didymos Thomas wrote:
What's the other part?


Experience is part of being a Christian. But so is argument, contemplation of God, etc. There's more than just experience. But if you disagree with that, then we have nothing further to discuss.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
There is a great deal to discuss once you have set off down your path, but the experience is still the end of the whole thing. That there is something to discuss does not mean that said discussion is inherently important. The discussion is valuable as long as it helps you to better have the experience.


No, it doesn't mean it's inherently important, but nor is experience inherently important just because it can be had. And saying that discussion is only valuable to help you have an experience seems odd. When I discuss issues about God on this forum, I am not experiencing God, nor is it helping me experience him. It is helping me get a better understanding of him. Yes, I hope to have more intimate experiences with God, but I also value discussion about him. The two are not the same and the discussion is still valuable. What about you, do you experience God as you write on this board?:listening:
 

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