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A critique of the misconceptions of eternality and God

 
 
Reply Sun 27 Jul, 2008 02:36 pm
I have not been a part of this forum for very long, but I find it alarming how often terms like "infinity", "eternal", "loop", etc. are thrown around. Moreover, I find it equally alarming how frequently the existence or nonexistence of God comes up. And both of these things usually coincide together.

First of all, I think it's a fairly well established fact that God's existence can neither be proven nor disproven. The horse is dead people; we killed it centuries ago. I certainly hope any sain person would agree to this. Philosophy of religion encompasses much more than simply this issue, and I for one am done discussing these so called "proofs". Can I get a second on that? We can and should however discuss the values of believe or disbelief for the individual, and the philosophical consequences of various religious doctrines and belief in general. All of which would make for much more interesting and beneficial discussions.

Also, for some reason lately it has become commonplace to assume that "eternality" or "infinity" is something that exists seperate from and external to time, that it is an entity in and of itself. I tend to disagree and would like your comments on this. I agree with Unamuno in that contrary to what is popular today, eternity is not the state in which time no longer exists, but rather it is the state in which time never ends. As far as I know, historically the idea of infinity or eternity makes no claims to an infinite past of any sort, but only to an infinite future. But I reject the idea that these concepts are altogether unintellegible, and can therefore be used to elicit a God which is unintelligible; that is, a God which is unarguable. What are your thoughts on this?

In addition, can I get anyone to second a proposal to add Existentialism as a branch of philosophy open for discussion in this forum? Smile
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de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jul, 2008 07:13 pm
@Master Pangloss,
Master Pangloss wrote:
In addition, can I get anyone to second a proposal to add Existentialism as a branch of philosophy open for discussion in this forum? Smile


I'll second that. Now we just need someone to call a motion to move!
0 Replies
 
de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jul, 2008 07:35 pm
@Master Pangloss,
Master Pangloss wrote:

The horse is dead people; we killed it centuries ago.


It's much easier to kick a dead horse than one that is alive.

Quote:
Also, for some reason lately it has become commonplace to assume that "eternality" or "infinity" is something that exists seperate from and external to time, that it is an entity in and of itself.


Hmmm. I think the Judeo-Christian idea that God created the world ex nihilo implies that Heaven (eternity) exists outside of space-time. But I could be wrong. And unfortunately, Christianity have so strongly instilled their dogmatic views within the western culture, they are hard to escape.

And alas, I fall into the same camp. Any discussion that I would begin to have on eternity would ultimately fall back to the Christian idea of God.

Quote:
As far as I know, historically the idea of infinity or eternity makes no claims to an infinite past of any sort, but only to an infinite future.


I think the thought of eternity not having a beginning can be attributed to Judiasm, Plato, Christianity, and probably some eastern religions that I am not aware of. When a God says that I AM, and that he is as he always was and always will be, that implies no beginning. Plato with his 'World of Ideas' that never change, and the fact that every 'soul' existed there before they existed in the flesh. Christianity, which adopted the views of the previous two mentioned. And on the Eastern front, I make no claim to valid knowledge on them, so someone can correct me if I am wrong.

Quote:
But I reject the idea that these concepts are altogether unintellegible, and can therefore be used to elicit a God which is unintelligible; that is, a God which is unarguable. What are your thoughts on this?


Since our knowledge is so limited regarding both time and God, I think any discussion that tries to discover one through the other will have to inevitably accept certain premises that cannot be proven and have to be accepted dogmatically.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jul, 2008 09:15 pm
@Master Pangloss,
Master Pangloss wrote:
I think it's a fairly well established fact that God's existence can neither be proven nor disproven. The horse is dead people; we killed it centuries ago. I certainly hope any sane person would agree to this. Philosophy of religion encompasses much more than simply this issue, and I for one am done discussing these so called "proofs".
God proofs are theology, they're not philosophy. But if we have a section on the Philosophy of Religion, it's going to be difficult (and not desirable in this enthusiast context) to exclude theology from that forum. Yes, I'm sick of god proofs (and god disproofs), but people want to talk about them and it's fine -- let them.

Quote:
In addition, can I get anyone to second a proposal to add Existentialism as a branch of philosophy open for discussion in this forum? Smile
Existentialism has certain metaphysical pretexts, but the existentialist authors were almost exclusively concerned with ethics and meaning. I'd love to have a more comprehensive area to discuss modern and postmodern ideas and philosophy, including but not limited to existentialism.
Master Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jul, 2008 10:59 pm
@Aedes,
de Silentio - It is certainly true that in the Christian tradition they refer to their God as having an infinite past. I actually affirmed this in the last bit of my original post. But I don't think Plato ever claims that for "souls." Regardless, I was not referring to a God or souls. I was referring to the historical concept of "eternity" or "infinity" itself. You know what...this thread is going nowhere at light speed. Just think about it.

Aedes - I wouldn't say that theology and philosophy are entirely separate. If anything, I would say that theology is the slave or the prisoner of philosophy. Although, unfortunately it is very often a bothersome and taxing prisoner, but a prisoner nonetheless. But theology is subject to philosophy and must answer to it.

Actually existentialism encompesses virtually every branch of philosophy, but in fairness, it is highly unique. So, I can settle for something a bit broader. Think of it and I will be happy to get the conversation started.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jul, 2008 11:03 pm
@Master Pangloss,
Quote:
I wouldn't say that theology and philosophy are entirely separate. If anything, I would say that theology is the slave or the prisoner of philosophy. Although, unfortunately it is very often a bothersome and taxing prisoner, but a prisoner nonetheless. But theology is subject to philosophy and must answer to it.


I agree that they are not entirely separate - they influence each other. Theology is no slave to philosophy, they are the same study. The difference is that in the modern world we have secular philosophy. Which is fine, too.
0 Replies
 
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jul, 2008 11:23 pm
@Master Pangloss,
There are uses of 'infinity', 'loop', ect, both proper and improper in their context. To be dismissive of the concept is not helpfull, rather we should discuss what eternality and infinity are!

Eternal is an inductive conclusion drawn from observation and the concept of time. We can envision an object movign at a slow pace relative to another 'forever', but in doing so, we only outline its rules of movement. When an object moves forever, we can equally well say it will not stop in relation to another object.

Consider this:Stillness is an illusion, you and I have never seen a perfectly still object. It would have a temperature of absolute zero so that microscopic movement would not be there, and simultainiously it must be stationary relative to every other object in the physical universe, which is impossible, you could simply say that the object is moving around the other objects no matter its orientation! Nonmovement is not real, only movement in different degrees relative your frame of reference! Nonmovement is a product of inductive reasoning and perceptual limitation!

It seems that such inductive conclusions are more akin to a syntax or rule set than any physical actuality. It may denote a physical actuality or create a mental approximation of one, but it is devorced from the thing which it denotes in an essential way: it is a rule set, not an object.

Considering infinity as a rule set, we can envision a physical object by a trick of perception which is infinite in size and density, even though such an object can never exist. In absolute terms such as those of infinity, nonmovement, nonexistence, we create rule sets by which meaning is approximated and a point is derived. Depending on the context of use, such terms are necessary and to the point or nonsensical.

There is no such physical object as a mathematically dense platonic solid, that is a perfectly smooth solid with no internal space between subatomic particles with everysingle particle totally solid and singular in every property, but we can write rules by which such things can be physically approximated! No wheels are perfectly round, but the concept of roundness gives us a pointer by which we can see the way to improving our existing technology!

By considering certain words to be definite/verifiable, and some to be syntactic/rule-sets, you avoid the problem of nonexistent absolutes.
Master Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jul, 2008 05:21 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235 wrote:
There are uses of 'infinity', 'loop', ect, both proper and improper in their context. To be dismissive of the concept is not helpfull, rather we should discuss what eternality and infinity are!quote]

Zetetic - You present me with two options, both of which are very troubling. Either, I have not made myself clear or you have not understood me. I'm not sure which is worse. You have merely restated what I have already said. I never so much as implied the dismissal of the concept of infinity. I was strictly speaking about the concepts themselves, which again, you affirm we should be doing anyway. So I think we are in complete agreement on this.
0 Replies
 
de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jul, 2008 07:17 pm
@Master Pangloss,
Master Pangloss wrote:
de Silentio - It is certainly true that in the Christian tradition they refer to their God as having an infinite past. I actually affirmed this in the last bit of my original post. But I don't think Plato ever claims that for "souls." Regardless, I was not referring to a God or souls. I was referring to the historical concept of "eternity" or "infinity" itself.


You made the statement that historically eternity makes no claim to an infinite past. I disagree on the grounds that I laid out in my post. I know you were not referring exclusively to God or Souls, but when history speaks of eternity, it refers to God. As I said, Christianity was a major influence on the ideas of history, and thus Christian ideas influenced the concept of eternity throughout history.

Regarding Plato, his 'World of Ideas' contains things that are in a constant state of being, never changing. I always presumed that Plato implied no beginning with his World of Ideas. However, I have found conflicting evidence online, both in support of and against my presumption.

If Plato doesn't talk of eternity having no beginning, Aristotle apparently does, and he no doubt played an influencial role in the history of the concept of eternity. I do not know his works directly, but I read numerous times that he claimed that his Unmoved Mover has no beginning or end. (however, I could be wrong, it was very brief research)

Quote:
You know what...this thread is going nowhere at light speed.


You repeatedly requested peoples thoughts on the subject. Next time maybe you should be a little more clear on what type of thoughts you are looking for.

Quote:
Just think about it.


Writing is thinking.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jul, 2008 08:55 pm
@de Silentio,
Master pangloss, it was pretty late when I read your post and I glanced it over more or less. I think I must have missed missed the last few lines.

I gave a possible framework by which the types of words you were speaking of in your first and last paragraph could be ordered and understood. We should continue this, developing a framework for the use of these words is quite important for understanding how to apply them and when it is appropriate to do so.

You are quite right about the number of god proofs in this forum, but I don't see how this is a problem you should be concerned with. They choose to remain ignorant when so many threads and posts are availabe to them. Don't exacerbate the problem by posting in these threads if you don't find the discussion worthy.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jul, 2008 09:46 pm
@Master Pangloss,
Master Pangloss wrote:
I wouldn't say that theology and philosophy are entirely separate. If anything, I would say that theology is the slave or the prisoner of philosophy.
Hmmm... I think that theology is simply philosophy within the doctrinal limits of a religion.

Quote:
Actually existentialism encompesses virtually every branch of philosophy.
Logic? Epistemology? Aesthetics? Ontology? I don't know, I think existentialists make reference to this and that, but these areas just don't seem to be important areas of existential study or emphasis. Even metaphysics -- the only metaphysics addressed by existentialism is the pretext that existence underlies all essence, and that there is no absolute meaning.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Jul, 2008 11:49 pm
@Aedes,
No discernable meaning unless you invent one, that is. When you become totally skeptic, and reduce everything to absurdity, you see that we are all really lost, fundamentally, and we are like sysifus, working superficially, but never getting any closer to some ultimate goal. The questions of great import, such as what our ultimate purpose is or rather if we even have one, lie at the wayside as we push our little rocks along to no real ends. Its ultimate conclusion, in my opinion, is that all that we really have is fellowship with others and our experience in this world. I find it most entertaining and fullfilling to look at the world as a puzzle, and embrace my reasoning abilities as best I can to make the ride a bit more interesting and to help those with whom I have a fellowship: Other Humans.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jul, 2008 01:55 am
@Zetetic11235,
Quote:
Hmmm... I think that theology is simply philosophy within the doctrinal limits of a religion.


Then how does theology break those doctrinal limits?
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jul, 2008 08:09 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Then how does theology break those doctrinal limits?
Isn't that one of the outputs from theology?
boagie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jul, 2008 08:23 am
@Aedes,
Smile
The tick of time shuts out eternity, for eturnity has nothing to do with time. A meditation on the Hindu dance of Shiva, the dance of the universe is excellent for the above realization. Shiva, The destroyer, one of the three major divinities in the later Hindu pantheon. Eturnity you might say, is the ever present moment. "I have become death, destroyer of worlds." This, this is time.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jul, 2008 09:42 am
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Smile
The tick of time shuts out eternity, for eturnity has nothing to do with time. A meditation on the Hindu dance of Shiva, the dance of the universe is excellent for the above realization. Shiva, The destroyer, one of the three major divinities in the later Hindu pantheon. Eturnity you might say, is the ever present moment. "I have become death, destroyer of worlds." This, this is time.


It is? Is that the way I can tell whether I should have lunch?
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jul, 2008 02:40 pm
@kennethamy,
Main Entry: 1time [URL="javascript:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?time0001.wav=time')"]http://www.merriam-webster.com/images/audio.gif[/URL] Pronunciation: \ˈtīm\ Function: noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English tīma; akin to Old Norse tīmi time, Old English tīd - more at tide Date: before 12th century 1 a: the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues : duration b: a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future c: leisure <time for reading>2: the point or period when something occurs : occasion3 a: an appointed, fixed, or customary moment or hour for something to happen, begin, or end <arrived ahead of time> b: an opportune or suitable moment <decided it was time to retire> -often used in the phrase about time<about time for a change>4 a: a historical period : age b: a division of geologic chronology c: conditions at present or at some specified period -usually used in plural <times are hard><move with the times> d: the present time <issues of the time>5 a: lifetime b: a period of apprenticeship c: a term of military service d: a prison sentence6: season <very hot for this time of year>7 a: rate of speed : tempo b: the grouping of the beats of music : rhythm8 a: a moment, hour, day, or year as indicated by a clock or calendar <what time is it> b: any of various systems (as sidereal or solar) of reckoning time9 a: one of a series of recurring instances or repeated actions <you've been told many times> bplural (1): added or accumulated quantities or instances <five times greater> (2): equal fractional parts of which an indicated number equal a comparatively greater quantity <seven times smaller> <three times closer> c: turn <three times at bat>10: finite as contrasted with infinite duration11: a person's experience during a specified period or on a particular occasion <a good time> <a hard time>12 a: the hours or days required to be occupied by one's work <make up time> <on company time> b: an hourly pay rate <straight time> c: wages paid at discharge or resignation <pick up your time and get out>13 a: the playing time of a game b: time-out 114: a period during which something is used or available for use <computer timehttp://www.merriam-webster.com/images/audio.gif[/URL] Pronunciation: \i-ˈtər-nəl\ Function: adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Late Latin aeternalis, from Latin aeternus eternal, from aevum age, eternity - more at aye Date: 14th century 1 a: having infinite duration : everlasting <eternal damnation> b: of or relating to eternity c: characterized by abiding fellowship with God <good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? - Mark 10:17(Revised Standard Version)>2 a: continued without intermission : perpetual <an eternal flame> b: seemingly endless <eternal delays>3archaic : infernal <some eternal: valid or existing at all times : timeless <eternal verities>
-

It seems that eternal is a product of bidirectional induction with respect to time. Time, looking foreward and backward with no end is eternity.
0 Replies
 
Master Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jul, 2008 03:29 pm
@Zetetic11235,
de Silentio wrote:
You made the statement that historically eternity makes no claim to an infinite past. I disagree on the grounds that I laid out in my post. I know you were not referring exclusively to God or Souls, but when history speaks of eternity, it refers to God. As I said, Christianity was a major influence on the ideas of history, and thus Christian ideas influenced the concept of eternity throughout history.
...You repeatedly requested peoples thoughts on the subject. Next time maybe you should be a little more clear on what type of thoughts you are looking for.


de Silentio - You are quite right on both points. It is difficult to separate these concepts from the idea of God. And I apologize for being vague on the subject. I actually regret bringing it up.

Zetetic11235 wrote:
You are quite right about the number of god proofs in this forum, but I don't see how this is a problem you should be concerned with. They choose to remain ignorant when so many threads and posts are availabe to them. Don't exacerbate the problem by posting in these threads if you don't find the discussion worthy.


Zetetic - I don't know about you, but I believe it is our responsibility as thinkers to combat ignorance. I don't buy the idea that we should simply let it go by unargued. To not concern myself would be an injustice in my view. In reference to your comments about my own posts in these "God proof" threads, my posts have all been precisely to the point that such a line of dialog is ultimately fruitless. So there is no inconsistency on my part here.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jul, 2008 05:46 pm
@Master Pangloss,
Quote:
Isn't that one of the outputs from theology?


Yes, doctrine comes from theology. So theology cannot be philosophy within doctrinal limits as theology establishes those doctrinal limits, and breaks them to establish new doctrine.
Master Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jul, 2008 05:59 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Logic? Epistemology? Aesthetics? Ontology? I don't know, I think existentialists make reference to this and that, but these areas just don't seem to be important areas of existential study or emphasis. Even metaphysics -- the only metaphysics addressed by existentialism is the pretext that existence underlies all essence, and that there is no absolute meaning.


Existentialism is squarely centered in ontology, which is a branch of metaphysics. The question of being was Heidegger's starting point for his Being and Time and for the greater part of his entire philosophy. Sartre wrote all 800 or so pages of his Being and Nothingness on this subject. Moreover, the very starting point of modern existentialism is the Cartesian statement "I think, therefore I am," which is solely an epistemological concept. And the existentialist theory of ethics is based on the idea that ethics is primarily an aesthetic project. As for logic, well you have me there, but existentialism, as with all philosophy, must make use of logic for its arguments. Regardless, I would like to see a forum for something which would encompass its very unique principles.
0 Replies
 
 

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