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What is the nature of the divine?

 
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 09:58 pm
@prothero,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;98397]If certainty is unobtainable, then doesn't it follow that probability is the guide to life? For we can act only on what we find probable, and not on what we find certain, since the latter is not, as you say, attainable. So, why do you disagree with Bishop Butler?[/QUOTE]
Well probably I do agree with Bishop Butler but you and I are likely to disagree about what the evidence is and what the probabilities are.
I would say all the "evidence" considered physicalism will not provide a satisfactory description of "experience".
I would say some form of "free will" as commonly understood is more probable than Laplace determinism.
I would say that the universe has intrinsic tendency towards order, complexity life mind and experience and that the ability of reason to comprehend and mathematics to express nature is not an accident but "evidence" of higher will and reason.
I accept as evidence science, reason and experience both subjective and objective.
I think you may accept as evidence only science but even at that determinism and physicalsim are questionable.
I think besides probabilities and science one should also consider the pragmatic, values and aesthetic appeal of the various metaphysical worldviews available.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 03:00 am
@manfred,
manfred;97874 wrote:
Even though our Creator is further up the food chain, as far as understanding is concerned,there is still a universal question even the lord hasn't built an immunity to.Who created the Creator?You can not in good conscious attribute such an insidious answer as"IS"to something as complicated as creation just because (you) yourself haven't found the one variable that will help solve this equation.Im not attacking you,and im not disagreeing with you,all im saying is this "GOD SIMPLY IS"answer is an insult to the lord itself.Please dont take that the wrong way.


I had no intention of insulting god who I love dearly, but please tell me if "IS" does not define him tell me what God ISN'T
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 09:04 am
@prothero,
Ken,

K: If certainty is unobtainable, then doesn't it follow that probability is the guide to life?

S9: This statement makes me think of a story about a little frog, who was stuck in a well all of his life. His thinking was that, there was nothing outside of the well. (AKA nothing outside of what he had known, SO FAR.)

This little frog ran into another little frog from outside of the well, as fate would have it, that said, “There is a big world outside of your tiny well. Come and see.”

Well, when this little frog looked beyond his tiny well, AKA small minded concepts, it knocked his little socks off.

We mustn't be stubburn or afraid to look outside of our little well now and then. We too might be surprised or 'Enlightened'.

K: For we can act only on what we find probable, and not on what we find certain, since the latter is not, as you say, attainable.

S9: This sounds like a recipe for standing still, and not being receptive to the new and even improbable which could prove itself true with further investigation. Like the concept that the world was round, at one time, was the accepted fact that only a crazy guy would question.

S9
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 09:21 am
@Subjectivity9,
Subjectivity9;98484 wrote:
Ken,

K: If certainty is unobtainable, then doesn't it follow that probability is the guide to life?

S9: This statement makes me think of a story about a little frog, who was stuck in a well all of his life. His thinking was that, there was nothing outside of the well. (AKA nothing outside of what he had known, SO FAR.)

This little frog ran into another little frog from outside of the well, as fate would have it, that said, "There is a big world outside of your tiny well. Come and see."

Well, when this little frog looked beyond his tiny well, AKA small minded concepts, it knocked his little socks off.

We mustn't be stubburn or afraid to look outside of our little well now and then. We too might be surprised or 'Enlightened'.

K: For we can act only on what we find probable, and not on what we find certain, since the latter is not, as you say, attainable.

S9: This sounds like a recipe for standing still, and not being receptive to the new and even improbable which could prove itself true with further investigation. Like the concept that the world was round, at one time, was the accepted fact that only a crazy guy would question.

S9
So is the little well science or is it religion, or can it be either or both if that is all you can use and all you can see?
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 09:42 am
@prothero,
prothero;98425 wrote:

Well probably I do agree with Bishop Butler but you and I are likely to disagree about what the evidence is and what the probabilities are.
I would say all the "evidence" considered physicalism will not provide a satisfactory description of "experience".
I would say some form of "free will" as commonly understood is more probable than Laplace determinism.
I would say that the universe has intrinsic tendency towards order, complexity life mind and experience and that the ability of reason to comprehend and mathematics to express nature is not an accident but "evidence" of higher will and reason.
I accept as evidence science, reason and experience both subjective and objective.
I think you may accept as evidence only science but even at that determinism and physicalsim are questionable.
I think besides probabilities and science one should also consider the pragmatic, values and aesthetic appeal of the various metaphysical worldviews available.


We should consider the pragmatic, but then, we need evidence that what we my believe is pragmatic is really pragmatic. For, it may easily turn out that what we think is pragmatic is not, and is very unpragmatic. So, you see, it comes down to evidence, once again. And, as for aesthetic appeal, that is quite subjective, and there is no reason to think that what appeals aesthetically is true. So I think we are stuck (if that is the word) with evidence.

---------- Post added 10-19-2009 at 11:45 AM ----------

Subjectivity9;98484 wrote:
Ken,

K: If certainty is unobtainable, then doesn't it follow that probability is the guide to life?

S9: This statement makes me think of a story about a little frog, who was stuck in a well all of his life. His thinking was that, there was nothing outside of the well. (AKA nothing outside of what he had known, SO FAR.)

This little frog ran into another little frog from outside of the well, as fate would have it, that said, "There is a big world outside of your tiny well. Come and see."

Well, when this little frog looked beyond his tiny well, AKA small minded concepts, it knocked his little socks off.

We mustn't be stubburn or afraid to look outside of our little well now and then. We too might be surprised or 'Enlightened'.

K: For we can act only on what we find probable, and not on what we find certain, since the latter is not, as you say, attainable.

S9: This sounds like a recipe for standing still, and not being receptive to the new and even improbable which could prove itself true with further investigation. Like the concept that the world was round, at one time, was the accepted fact that only a crazy guy would question.

S9

Well, if certainty is obtainable elsewhere, then go for it. But have you any reason to suppose it is? And, how will you be certain of that. So, if you have reason to suppose that certainty can be obtained elsewhere, that reason will make that only probable, but not certain.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 01:25 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;98495 wrote:
We should consider the pragmatic, but then, we need evidence that what we my believe is pragmatic is really pragmatic. For, it may easily turn out that what we think is pragmatic is not, and is very unpragmatic. So, you see, it comes down to evidence, once again. And, as for aesthetic appeal, that is quite subjective, and there is no reason to think that what appeals aesthetically is true. So I think we are stuck (if that is the word) with evidence.

I am curious as to how you would respond to the frequent use of the phrase "the undeniable reality of experience" by James and many other philosophers
and also
how you conceptualize an entirely physicalist explanation of "experience" which does not in fact leave the actual experience out?
Any way thank you for the opportunity to politely exchange differing worldviews.
manfred
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 02:05 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;98436 wrote:
I had no intention of insulting god who I love dearly, but please tell me if "IS" does not define him tell me what God ISN'T


impossible. . . . .
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 05:54 pm
@prothero,
prothero,

P: So is the little well science or is it religion, or can it be either or both if that is all you can use and all you can see?

S9: To me the well represents the small mind, (AKA the brain, or ego self.) The frog is any person who is so habituate to his daily activities of survival and routines, that he can’t extricate himself without friendly intervention. He is in need of seeing beyond these things.

S9
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 06:05 pm
@prothero,
prothero;98548 wrote:
I am curious as to how you would respond to the frequent use of the phrase "the undeniable reality of experience" by James and many other philosophers
and also
how you conceptualize an entirely physicalist explanation of "experience" which does not in fact leave the actual experience out?
Any way thank you for the opportunity to politely exchange differing worldviews.


I don't think I really know what "the undeniable reality of experience" means. Of course, if something vivid happens to me, I feel sure it has happened. But is that what it means.

I just think that a physicalist explanation of my feelings and my sensations is the one that makes the most sense. I don't see it leaves the experience out. It just explains why I have that experience. If I explain why water freezes at 32F, what am I leaving out? Not the freezing of the water. How does an explanation leave out what is explained?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 06:18 pm
@prothero,
kennethamy;98631 wrote:
I don't think I really know what "the undeniable reality of experience" means. Of course, if something vivid happens to me, I feel sure it has happened. But is that what it means.


well yes that IS what it means, and people DO have experiences which completely change their understanding of the nature of reality and indeed their whole lives. But try telling someone....it is of course very hard to communicate in the absence of any such experience....
manfred
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 06:21 pm
@Subjectivity9,
Subjectivity9;98628 wrote:
prothero,

P: So is the little well science or is it religion, or can it be either or both if that is all you can use and all you can see?

S9: To me the well represents the small mind, (AKA the brain, or ego self.) The frog is any person who is so habituate to his daily activities of survival and routines, that he can't extricate himself without friendly intervention. He is in need of seeing beyond these things.

S9

WHAT?!
The small mind is the ego?
And this little hopper cant break the daily routine of catching bugs without the help of another little hopper telling him there is a bigger,better pond with even bigger and better bugs to munch on?
.......i think i just tinkled in my pants alittle bit from laughing so hard...hold on and let me check,yup,there's some tinkle.
Without an "ego" you are nothing but an extension of a thoughtless process known only to the architect,it's called perfection.Who in their left mind would want that?Oh S9,your killing me here.:letme-at-em:
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 06:23 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;98636 wrote:
well yes that IS what it means, and people DO have experiences which completely change their understanding of the nature of reality and indeed their whole lives. But try telling someone....it is of course very hard to communicate in the absence of any such experience....


But having a vivid experience is one thing. Knowing what that experience is, and interpreting it is, of course, a different thing. I suppose that two different people can have the same kind of experience, but give it an entirely different meaning. It will not be the experience, but the meaning given to the experience that may be life-changing. Think of the experience that St. Paul reports he had on the road to Damascus.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 06:34 pm
@prothero,
excellent case - actually I was thinking of quoting it.

I believe Prothero has already referred to William James - his Varieties of Religious Experience remains a classic in this area. Others are Cosmic Consciousness by R.M. Bucke (published almost exactly the same time) and The Perennial Philosophy by Alduous Huxley.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 06:40 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;98643 wrote:
excellent case - actually I was thinking of quoting it.

I believe Prothero has already referred to William James - his Varieties of Religious Experience remains a classic in this area. Others are Cosmic Consciousness by R.M. Bucke (published almost exactly the same time) and The Perennial Philosophy by Alduous Huxley.


Yes, "Varieties" is a wonderful book.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 07:01 pm
@prothero,
Ken,

To me it is not a supposition that ‘certainty’ is out there, somewhere around the bend. God knows where. I am feeling ‘certainty’ right now.

My certainty is based upon investigation, and later a realization. But, it isn’t a materialistic proof. It is based upon introspection.

S9
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 07:06 pm
@Subjectivity9,
Subjectivity9;98651 wrote:
Ken,

To me it is not a supposition that 'certainty' is out there, somewhere around the bend. God knows where. I am feeling 'certainty' right now.

My certainty is based upon investigation, and later a realization. But, it isn't a materialistic proof. It is based upon introspection.

S9


Feeling certain is one thing, but being certain is a different thing. People can feel certain about opposite propositions, like , God exists or God does not exist. But they can be certain only about one or the other, since both of those propositions cannot be true. You can find out whether you feel certain with introspection, but you cannot find out whether you are certain by introspection.
0 Replies
 
Subjectivity9
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 07:19 pm
@prothero,
Manfred,

What’s next after peeing in public, flashing in the park?

; ^ )

Laughing isn’t a good way to prove someone else is wrong. It may in fact show a lack of insight on your part.

What is your definition of ego?

This metaphor isn’t talking about a better place to get big and better bug. He is not speaking about more of the same. He is speaking of Self with a larger definition than our usual daily habits and personality. It is a change of paradigm.

Living in finitude requires an ego. You are correct. But that does not necessary mean that you must identify your self as being this little story self, called ego. Such a limiting definition may not prove satisfying for some of us.

M: Without an "ego" you are nothing but an extension of a thoughtless process.

S: Ego is a thief. It thinks that it is the essential self. It is Not.

S9

---------- Post added 10-19-2009 at 09:44 PM ----------

Ken,

K: Feeling certain is one thing, but being certain is a different thing.

S9: If you where certain, how would you know it? Wouldn’t you have to feel it? Isn't feeling certain an outcome of thinking and investigating until you are content with your findings?

Or are you telling me that you would look it up in the dictionary. Oh yah, there it is, certain means this?

Or is it more like a jury of 12 that decides?


K: People can feel certain about opposite propositions, like , God exists or God does not exist.

S9: I am under the impression that you think there is only one kind of truth. Like 1+1=2. Sometimes there are truths that are more personal, and not like one size fits all.

There are other truths that are beyond this material world, and for you to require a material proof from them would be foolishness.

K: But they can be certain only about one or the other, since both of those propositions cannot be true.

S9: They could both be true and not true in this way. I might say that there is no God, like a guy in the sky that is separate from me, but, there is an Ultimate Presence that is both me, and is you. So there is a God, but not the personified fellow many think him to be. This is an is, and an isn’t.

S9
manfred
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 08:09 pm
@Subjectivity9,
That's just off the planet crazy talk s9,you are a human,right?
You ARE the ego,why is that so hard for you to admit?Your ego is what makes you respond to anything anyone has ever said to you.I'll prove it,can you stay away from this website for just 3 days? PROVE IT.:poke-eye:
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 09:17 pm
@Alan McDougall,
[QUOTE=Alan McDougall;98436]I had no intention of insulting god who I love dearly, but please tell me if "IS" does not define him tell me what God ISN'T[/QUOTE]Well I fully accept the assertion that the divine (if existent) must transcend our ability to adequately comprehend or express in thought or language but in discussing the nature of the divine or concepts of deity certain topics or assertions seem to come up:

The notion of God as eternal, impassive, changeless and immutable.

The notion of Creation ex nihilo" creation from nothing:

The notion of God as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent:

The notion of life after death:

The notion of final justice: heaven and hell, armaggedon:

God within the world or god separate from the world. (immanence versus transcendence)

God can or cannot (does or does not) contravene the laws of nature:

God as a supernatural agent or God as expressed through nature:

The problem of evil both moral (human) and natural (disasters, disease, etc):

One can decline to address any of these notions or issues but they are the classic properties attributed to or discussed in reference to the divine:
Personally I have issues with virtually all of these assertions but then I am a process theology, panentheism, naturalistic theist not a classical or orthodox theist.

---------- Post added 10-19-2009 at 08:20 PM ----------

Subjectivity9;98656 wrote:
S9: They could both be true and not true in this way. I might say that there is no God, like a guy in the sky that is separate from me, but, there is an Ultimate Presence that is both me, and is you. So there is a God, but not the personified fellow many think him to be. This is an is, and an isn't. S9
What do you mean when you say "god" that is the question in the thread?

---------- Post added 10-19-2009 at 08:37 PM ----------

[QUOTE=kennethamy;98638]But having a vivid experience is one thing. Knowing what that experience is, and interpreting it is, of course, a different thing. I suppose that two different people can have the same kind of experience, but give it an entirely different meaning. It will not be the experience, but the meaning given to the experience that may be life-changing. Think of the experience that [/QUOTE]
kennethamy;98638 wrote:
St. Paul reports he had on the road to Damascus.
Let us play with that for a moment.
It is hard to imagine that a physicalist explanation of the "vision on the road to Damascus" would not entail a description of activation in certain areas of the brain, the involvement of certain neurotransmitters, activation of neurons, etc. But no matter how detailed the physicalist description "the experience of St. Paul" can not be captured or understood except by self report and analogy.
The physicalist description almost by definition leaves out the "reality of the experience". The experience is "subjective and interiority" science is "exterior and observational". Science inherently is an incomplete and partial explanation of "experience".
And from another perspective for all we know St.Paul had a temporal lobe seizure or even a tumor but that "experience" still changed history. So it is not the physicalist explanation that is important: it is the "experience" itself. I and most everyone else thinks "experience" is part of "reality". Only by ignoring the "undeniable reality of experience" and restricting "reality" to science does one adopt the somewhat illogical stance of "experience is an illusion, an epiphenomena, not real, not exist". You end up telling a story and denying the existence of the storyteller. A most curious conclusion?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 10:12 pm
@prothero,
I am completely with you. Another kind of analogy - imagine if you are a highly paranoid individual. As a result, you see enemies everywhere. Your experience of life is that your environment is hostile and you constantly expect to be attacked.

Say you receive successful treatment. As a result, you see that your hostility and defensiveness was actually a result of a delusion. So you're living in the same world, but at the same time it is actually quite different. 'All my fears melted away', and so on.

We construe the world a certain way due to our attitudes. Obviously we are not generally paranoid - that was just an exagerration for the sake of making a point. However it might be the case that we have many hidden assumptions about 'the way things are' which continually affect the way we construe reality.

In some ways, spiritual experiences are like 'recovery from delusion'. Certainly, in Buddhist philosophy, it is understood that the normal human outlook is deluded because of underlying egotism, of which we are unaware. So an experience of awakening in Buddhism might show you that the ego is actually insubstantial (this might be hard to take, even if it is easy to say). So thereafter, your attitude to reality might be completely different, even if the so-called 'objective facts' you are dealing with are completely the same.

---------- Post added 10-20-2009 at 03:26 PM ----------

Jeeprs1 to Subjectivity9: it would be much easier to read your contributions if you knew how to
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