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Are religious beliefs a mental disorder?

 
 
InfraBlue
 
  4  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 10:54 am
@catbeasy,
catbeasy wrote:

'Belief' implies uncertainty.


Another definition of "belief" implies "conviction," though, by which "believers" go by. These two definitions are incongruent and lead to people talking passed each other, as it were.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 10:57 am
@catbeasy,
catbeasy wrote:

So, the Christian will, without any sense of irony, laugh at the Mormon over the ‘absurdity’ of their beliefs!!! Why? Because they believe themselves in possession of the facts that substantiate their beliefs, while the Mormons are either deluded by the Devil or for whatever reason are not smart enough to ‘get it’.

What's ironic is that Mormons are Christian.
InfraBlue
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 10:58 am
@Leadfoot,
Leadfoot wrote:
Notice I have avoided the use of 'religion' in favor of theology. Religions are merely man's attempts to understand what the existence of God means. That of course is an error prone process and why I do not claim any recognized religion as my own. All my posts are not an attempt to establish a new religion but mostly my reaction to the various errors of religions.

So then, what's your definition of "theology"?
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 11:14 am
@InfraBlue,
Quote:
So then, what's your definition of "theology"?

Good question, as it seems on the surface to be the same as religion.

I'm not going to even look up the formal definition but to me, theology is that same attempt to understand the implications of God's existence but on the individual level and minus the dogma. Religion today implies the acceptance of someone else's attempt and another's dogma.

George
 
  3  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 11:24 am
@Leadfoot,
I'd distinguish them like this.

Theology is thinking about God. Most thoughtful persons have done
theology at some point.

Religion is what is done about belief, a set of formal beliefs and practices.
Not everyone does religion.
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 11:47 am
@George,
Not bad, I can go along with that.

Especially like the recognition that Everyone does theology.
George
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 11:56 am
@Leadfoot,
Thank you.

This is becoming a polite religion thread.

The grits should hit the pan any time now.
0 Replies
 
catbeasy
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 03:17 pm
@Leadfoot,
"If I have any basic belief, it is the belief that God is logical and his actions are consistent with reason. The rest of the universe is, so why would its creator not be."

So, yeah, difficult proposition there. As I mentioned earlier, there are a whole lot of assumptions in what you consider ‘God’. Also to be considered is the er, considerable difficulty with this notion of rationality and logic. As I see it, these are human terms and should be looked at as constructs that help us to communicate and understand our world (read: heuristic), presumably with the goal of helping us make better life decisions. This may be why quantum mechanics and concepts like ‘time’ and its ’beginning’ and ‘end’ make no sense to us: They don’t have any survival value so we weren’t made with a view to understanding them. To the extent we do is an artifact of our language, but it obviously breaks down at some point.

This is an important point to consider when we make statements like “the universe is logical or rational”. How do we know this? Einstein says God does not play dice, but failed miserably to prove this and recanted it as one of his greatest errors*. He was reacting to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle which, in essence, said that we can only ‘know’ (or better, maybe predict?) ‘things’ to a certain degree. After that, we cannot know what exists and what doesn’t. Thus we are left scratching our heads at absurdities such as infinities: splitting things forever and time’s beginning and so forth.

More to the point you made, to Einstein this meant the universe was, underneath, chaotic, random, at root, unknowable. What does that imply for us concerning our ability to apprehend ‘real’ things? Well, it might mean that the universe really is chaotic and random and that our brains/minds act as organizer. A structure for taking all of that data and organizing it from chaos into meaningful data.

So, we could go two routes from this. One is that we could say aha! Since we are a part of the universe, we could say that though the universe be chaos, it does have rational forces in it (i.e. us - minds?, animals). Maybe

Or we could say that what we perceive is still chaos. It is still jumbled data and that the only reason it appears rational to us if for survival value. But at its core, it means nothing without us. Like a CD without a CD player. Evolution has done its best to filter and through trial and error get a good image for the eyes that makes sense for survival, but that data is, at core, still jumbled and only subject to meaning viz a viz eyes or whatever else was incepted to marshal that data into what is to us, meaning.

So, what we understand may be complete and utter nonsense to another being and vice versa. If this is true, we may as well exist on different planes. Again, I don’t know if it is true. Maybe what we understand really reflects to some degree, as imperfect as it is, something of reality. This is the logical positivist view; and we are certainly more apt to think in this vein than not. Yet, who can be sure?


*this wasn’t meant to mean Einstein believed in God or anything, it was used as metaphor – doesn’t say he didn’t believe either – but he certainly didn’t believe in the Judeo-Christian God

cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 03:30 pm
@catbeasy,
I trust scientists to tell us about our universe, and ignore what religion teaches. I don't see the universe as chaotic, but as natural. Since humans are a young species within the chemistry of time, there's still much to learn and what evolution will bring. Although we don't choose when we arrive, I'm glad to have lived during this period in time. It gave me the opportunity to explore this world and to visit 83 countries. I'm sure in future generations, they will have the opportunity to visit other planets with the moon being the first.
catbeasy
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 04:33 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Hey Ci, I get what you are saying. But what you say is from our human level; i.e. what is defined as being real human knowledge. But my discussion isn't about that kind of knowledge. This is about attaining (or attempting to attain!) the knowledge we describe as being underneath that human level of what can be known.

This is the job of philosophers & physicists (in this context, religious folk are lumped in with philosophers). This isn't so mumbo jumbo either. What I am talking about is regurgitation from the most brilliant minds to grace our planet. They, like our mid-millennia explorers set the boundries for our planet, have set the table for what constitutes knowledge and in doing so have set the (apparent) limits to our knowledge as well. To buck these limits, to talk about 'real' knowledge is an uphill climb.

So, please don't take it like I am saying your knowledge and experiences are invalid because some philosopher said so. Not all at. This argument is from a completely different purview. I don't see it as in dispute that all we can say from our point of view, scientifically, is that our universe is in fact chaotic. But only when we search underneath what is on top of our given perception.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 04:54 pm
@catbeasy,
Quote:
I don't see it as in dispute that all we can say from our point of view, scientifically, is that our universe is in fact chaotic. But only when we search underneath what is on top of our given perception.

I will admit that my statement about the universe being logical and consistent is from the standpoint of classical physics. And from that standpoint it unarguably is.

Attempts to call the universe chaotic by invoking quantum mechanics is like someone in the 14th century invoking magnetism as proof of the same. If you listen to Max, he claims that even QM is logical if you understand the math. We don't understand the underlying physics of QM, that does not mean it is chaotic.
catbeasy
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2016 06:09 pm
@Leadfoot,
Hey Leadfoot

What you say is the rub isn't it?

It is a given that the universe is consistent from our point of view. It is a given that QM is logical. It must be, by definition (whether that logic works out in the real world is difficult to test, but so far, its my understanding that things that have been tested tend toward validating the math).

So, with that, I can't argue what you say as you have articulated the argument from the point of view of our perceptions. And so our talk is at cross purposes.

So, the argument is not extended to our perceptions and knowledge gained from the operations of our brain. It is: Do our perceptions reflect A reality? THE reality? Only what's in our minds?

But let's be clear: When we say something is logical and consistent, that implies only a certain kind of knowledge nay? The knowledge of statistical prediction. A fancy way of saying when I poke this it does that so many out of so many times, or worse! That the sun comes up every day so it will continue so..

We are forced into this kind of belief. We have no choice in it. It is the way our brain processes information. This is a kind of knowledge, it is the root of the knowledge of what you speak about. We can all agree on the certainty of that from the human perspective.

But there is a huge gap between that knowledge and the knowledge of what is "out there" (some form of 'reality'). And that is the question the empiricist begs. It is still asked of you, whether or not you 'choose' to 'believe' that the universe is rational and ordered.

I believe there is something 'out there'. I just can't say with any finality what exactly it is. This defines the Skeptic. A position that does not accept this either does not understand the question posed or has 'faith' that the answer is in his or her favour. And it might be.

Again, it isn't to say that the universe isn't ordered or logical. Just that we can't know. I don't know, you don't know, Einstein doesn't know, yes, unless you buck the principles that Hume and his ilk laid out, we cannot and will not ever know. For sure. Though we may be correct by accident.

Why can't we know? Maybe its because we are a small part of greater whole. Maybe its like asking a human's liver to understand the whole of the human it belongs to, including not just other organ (physical) functions, but also relationships and the psychological realities of the person..?


catbeasy
 
  4  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2016 06:12 pm
@InfraBlue,
Not if you ask a fundamentalist Christian! But yes, probably they could be lumped in as a sect of Christianity. It depends on how you define the term. Many Christians say if you don't believe Jesus was God, you're out..Others say as long as you follow Christ, that's good enough..Will the real Christianity please stand up!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2016 06:14 pm
Now that was clever.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2016 07:22 pm
@catbeasy,
Quote:
So, with that, I can't argue what you say as you have articulated the argument from the point of view of our perceptions. And so our talk is at cross purposes.

Um, no, I said from the standpoint of classical physics, not our perceptions.

Classical physics is not related or dependent on human perception. Classical Physics does not ask questions like 'if a tree falls and no one is there...'.
catbeasy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2016 01:38 pm
@Leadfoot,
Hey LF

“Classical Physics is not related or dependent on our perceptions”

This is at the crux! And the tree is a very poor example, because it doesn’t describe what I am attempting to describe. The tree in the woods still lives on the plane of human knowledge - the answer is knowable. That example is a primer to the big stuff..

We are still at our same impasse. Citing classical physics doesn’t help. Neither does the tree in the woods. We are still at cross purposes here. We haven’t settled on our definition of knowledge and how it applies to what we call reality. Data we receive is funneled by our unique way of understanding our world. Which just happens to be a shoddy way of understanding things. In fact It is an ancillary way of understanding things. We don’t understand ‘The Thing In Itself (Das Ding An Sich), we understand our understanding (experience?) of that thing.

Our logic is determined by the way our brains are set up. Quantum mechanics is comprehendible by that setup. The math is self-correcting, or it falls apart until we find that unique combination of pieces to that thing that our head tells us is ‘right’, that we call ‘logical’.

But even this is only apprehended by our experience. Discrete bits of experience that go into telling us that the logical language we have made up to describe it actually has a proper experiential referent. Without that we are dead in the water. We cannot ‘think’ our way into determining the geometry of an isosceles triangle. We must first experience a triangle. And this applies to other math. It’s my guess that, at root, all logic can be traced back to some kind of discrete experience that may be very hard to define. How the experience process does this is a mystery.

There is an ‘infinite’ gap there. We poke something and record its response. That’s the extent of what we can really know. Try as you might if you have no experience with something or something like it, you cannot think you’re way into understanding its properties. It is as likely to be this or that or do this or that or a billion other things.

I think perhaps that our logic and how we define things as ‘real’ is most exposed as dubious by the referential paradoxes that some of our logic creates. I think time is the best example. We experience change which we call time. Something in our head tells us about ‘past’ and ‘future’. Perhaps some habit for lack of a better word. But our logic utterly falls apart when we think we know what it is when we consider beginnings and endings. Nothing surrounding this makes sense. And why should it? It adds no survival value. It is here we see the limits of our logic and that we were made to comprehend only what aids us. And what we know that doesn’t appear to aid us in an artifact of the combination of other things that do.

So, just to be sure that we are talking about the same thing, let me ask you, in the sense that I’m talking about (my definition of knowledge), and given that there isn’t an outside force such as a huge meteor/comet/insert your natural celestial event here, does you, me or anyone else KNOW if the sun will ‘come up’ tomorrow (which I guess would mean the world will keep rotating)? Why or why not? Again, we are talking about my sense of the word ‘knowledge’..The answer to this might reveal the different senses of the word "know' that we are using.
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2016 02:04 pm
@catbeasy,
Quote:
We are still at our same impasse. Citing classical physics doesn’t help. Neither does the tree in the woods. We are still at cross purposes here. We haven’t settled on our definition of knowledge and how it applies to what we call reality. Data we receive is funneled by our unique way of understanding our world. Which just happens to be a shoddy way of understanding things.

Still don't see where you are going. To the extent that our 5 senses and the brain they are connected to are able to process our environment, they seem to agree with the objective evidence of classical physics. That to me is a good reason NOT to think my perceptions are 'shoddy' and are therefore reliable.

Now what the **** were we talking about.
catbeasy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2016 10:25 am
@Leadfoot,
Well, If you would be so kind as to answer my question about whether or not we know the sun will come up tomorrow (and again, I mean know in the sense that I’m talking about knowledge), I might understand where we stand? Your answer to this question will determine if you understand where I’m coming from in this discussion. If you cannot articulate this, then I am either not explaining myself correctly or my reasoning is severely whacked! : )

And yeah, I think the discussion did drift a bit away from the subject. I think you had said something about the universe being logical and so god tagged along? But I think this is worth pursuing. The answer to the question about what knowledge is bears down on all our knowledge and what we think we know. It sets the table for the discussion so when we say we ‘know’ something, we can know what type of knowledge that knowing falls under. I think this enables us to understand what can be defined as true knowledge and what falls under assumption.

Oh, and the shoddy thing was said semi-facetiously. I meant it is shoddy in the respect that the way we learn is essentially through a feedback mechanism that is potentially rife with error. It works well for most of us to survive. In fact from our level, in comparison to many other organisms, it’s pretty damn good, but from what we can conceive, it leaves a lot to be desired.

If we had the technical knowhow (which we don’t), when it comes to the strict subject of knowledge (not survival on this planet) we (humans) would never create a robot to function as we do in the acquisition of knowledge (knowledge here = to know or not to know – binary – not 'grand question' knowledge). There is too much room for error. Our brains apparently take a lot of short-cuts and averages to arrive at conclusions, which again, serve us well on the whole for survival, but are not what we can conceive as being ‘better’ or more perfected. Pairing of datum with emotion to get knowledge is dubious. See the rain dancers!
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2016 10:31 am
@Leadfoot,
Quote:
To the extent that our 5 senses and the brain they are connected to are able to process our environment, they seem to agree with the objective evidence of classical physics.


I agree: We all expect that the sun will rise every day to provide us with daylight. And within the 24 hour day, we also have night. Daylight hours change with the seasons depending on where one lives. That's the reality for everybody who is alive. The perception for everybody is the same. It's not a matter of subjective perception.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2016 12:37 pm
@catbeasy,
I guess I would say I don't know the sun will come up tomorrow in the same sense that I know it came up this morning. I can only predict or assume it will tomorrow.

But are you later implying that I've reached some knowledge/conclusion by mixing data with emotion? Surely that would not be the case even if I answered that I know the sun would come up tomorrow.

And I hope your point isn't that the sun doesn't actually 'come up' in the morning :-)
 

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