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(20-Oct-2009 at 09:38)
Quote:
a person of lower intelligence would TEND to "follow the leader", and not employ critical thought. it is only after applying critical thought that anybody would decide that they dont believe in god
That assumes that you live in a society where most people are religious.
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(07-Nov-2009 at 21:43)
Faith in GOD is not a matter of intellect.

You can NOT think your self into faith.
Faith by nature requires a belief in something that is unexplainable.
GOD can not be fully understood there fore it requires faith to believe.

Faith in GOD is a matter of the heart not of the mind.
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(08-Nov-2009 at 12:54)


I would rephrase;

Faith is a matter of the heart, an intuitive trust in the unknown and undefinable.

God is a subsequent cultural intellectualization of that mystical feeling, which is counter-productive.

Naming it corrupts it, because any 'term' can by definition never adequately symbolize the reality you're trying to refer to. In due time, the name (God/Jahweh/Allah/...) takes the place of the reality, and people start to worship and quarrel over the various names, rather than the shared divine experience that it refers to. Idolatry is built into the very fabric of religion.

This is the reason: Ideas are based on language, language on logic, logic on oppositions. Yet the experience of the divine is a nondual one; omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, oneness, and so on. It cannot be expressed through a medium of oppositions, without making it self-contradictory. Yet this is what every religion attempts.

And this relates to the thread, because it suggests the only way from religion back to 'God' is through atheism. Yeah, i said it: It takes an atheist mind to understand how approaching God requires doing away with religion as well as any other attempts to conceptualize the nonconceptual. There's a reason a huge amount of non-religious people say they nevertheless 'believe in something'. In light of what i explained above, that formulation is a vast improvement over the religious claim to 'believe in [insert historically-defined mythological diety]'.

Your brain is unique in the history of the universe. Use it wisely.
#123  
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(09-Nov-2009 at 04:32)


Originally Posted by raiman:
Faith in GOD is not a matter of intellect.
Which is pretty much what Helmuth Nyborg is saying. Atheism is intellectual; belief is faith and therefore less intellectual.


Originally Posted by DuskIllz:
This is the reason: Ideas are based on language, language on logic, logic on oppositions.
That is a somewhat archaic concept. Since the early years of the 20th century (if not earlier) language is connected with ideas, but the ideas have value only in relation to each other. Logic and reality barely get a mention. This concept is supported every time we talk about something that has no objective reality. God, for example.


Quote:
Yet the experience of the divine is a nondual one; omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, oneness, and so on.
God/Satan?


Quote:
There's a reason a huge amount of non-religious people say they nevertheless 'believe in something'.
yep... culture.

Every individual is a part of a culture, and cannot escape that. If that culture requires it's subjects to believe in something that is what they will do. There is an interesting irony in the way that Western cultures require their subjects to believe in individualism and independence...

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
#124  
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(09-Nov-2009 at 13:32)


Re: Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers

Originally Posted by Voice of Reason: View Post
That is a somewhat archaic concept. Since the early years of the 20th century (if not earlier) language is connected with ideas, but the ideas have value only in relation to each other. Logic and reality barely get a mention. This concept is supported every time we talk about something that has no objective reality. God, for example.
When you say ideas have meaning only in relation to each other; how do you envision that relation without logic? Is it not that very signification that stems from an idea being embedded in its network of logical opposites and associations?

While perhaps logic rarely gets mentioned as a conscious underpinning of language, i really fail to see how you can divorce language from logical structures. Reality, yes, a link to reality is not necessarily needed, but envisioning language that does not make use of logic? You have to explain that one to me.

Originally Posted by Voice of Reason: View Post
God/Satan?
Seems like just another opposition eh, but that is exactly the problem i tried to point to; nobody ever has a direct experience of God/Satan. Those are culturally evolved intellectualizations of an experience that precedes concepts.

Once the mystical experience of the divine (i really wish there was a better term for that that didn't make me sound so mushy and anti-scientific) is intellectualized (into a concept of a diety), it inevitably brings forth an anti-thesis. This is because the conceptualization automatically implies its self-contradiction. Let me try to explain:

If i (following the monotheistic religions) say Reality is Absolute Being; infinite and unlimited, then that positively excludes non-being and relativity. Since exclusion is a mark of limitation, my Absolute Being ends up being limited, and i have contradicted myself.

Yet if i say Reality is Absolute Nonbeing (following certain Eastern religions), that positively excludes being, and is therefore just as partial and limited.

Now i might get clever and say that Reality includes both being and nonbeing; that it is immanent in both, but that still excludes it from having neither being nor non-being; from transcending both being and nonbeing.

And if i claim that Reality is neither being nor non-being, that it transcends them both, that excludes it from immanence, from having both being and nonbeing.

In short: exactly because any statement only makes sense in terms of its opposite, then any statement can be shown to be purely relative, and if that statement is made to embrace Reality, it will turn on itself as a contradiction.

Which does not deny that there is an Absolute Reality, but simply points out that no idea is applicable to it. Apply an idea to it (God), and you are automatically faced with a contradiction, spawning the excluded, opposite idea (Satan).

Quote:
yep... culture.

Every individual is a part of a culture, and cannot escape that. If that culture requires it's subjects to believe in something that is what they will do. There is an interesting irony in the way that Western cultures require their subjects to believe in individualism and independence...
Granted, we all have a culture, parts of which we indeed can't escape. But saying Western culture requires that people believe in something, and that makes so many formerly religious people now embrace 'whatever-it-ism', is a bit of a logical jump. That same Western culture birthed atheism, and in many ways calls for it. So you're gonna have to explain why 1.) 'Western culture' requires belief, and 2.) why that need would be met by a novel 'something-ism' that provides hardly any foundation, rather than any other belief.

That said, i wholeheartedly agree with laughing at the irony of a community that requires one to be an individual. Our current world has a very interesting tendency to both command us to be free and command us to conform

Your brain is unique in the history of the universe. Use it wisely.
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(09-Nov-2009 at 17:13)


Quote:
When you say ideas have meaning only in relation to each other; how do you envision that relation without logic? Is it not that very signification that stems from an idea being embedded in its network of logical opposites and associations?
Paradigmatic chains. A youth is a youth because he is not a child or a young man. He is something in between, so 'youth' has meaning only because there is a child and a young man for it to be between. If the idea of 'child' did not exist, then 'youth' would have to alter its meaning to absorb the child idea. Or think of colours. Orange exists because it is not red and not yellow, but something between. We could just have orange as a shade of red, or a shade of yellow, so there is no 'reality' of orange, just an idea of orange that has meaning only in not being some other colour.


Quote:
Which does not deny that there is an Absolute Reality, but simply points out that no idea is applicable to it. Apply an idea to it (God), and you are automatically faced with a contradiction, spawning the excluded, opposite idea (Satan).
It seems to me that the opposite makes more sense: there is only a concept of a divine being and it is the reality that is missing


Quote:
That same Western culture birthed atheism, and in many ways calls for it. So you're gonna have to explain why 1.) 'Western culture' requires belief, and 2.) why that need would be met by a novel 'something-ism' that provides hardly any foundation, rather than any other belief.
I thought 'believe in something' covered anything, religious or otherwise.

It is basically a humanist thing. Humans are superior to all other animals, thanks to some superior something that sets us apart as the only thinking creatures on the planet. A creature so special must have a purpose, and that purpose is the 'something-ism' that people seek.

The non-God idea of something-ism can be traced back to the Renaissance's and the coming of science that put humans at the centre of our perceived universe.

There are variations on what the 'something' in Western culture can be, which broadly goes in stages: initially God made us superior, but then human nature made us superior (Darwin), then knowledge of the classics made us superior (classical education), then science and reason made us superior (industrial revolution), then English Literature (colonialism). Some of this can be put down to state politics, who may not have openly championed a particular 'something-ism' but for sure didn't object to it. Belief in a 'something-ism' has a stabilising effect on society.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
#126  
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(12-Nov-2009 at 12:42)


Re: Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers

Originally Posted by Voice of Reason: View Post
Paradigmatic chains. A youth is a youth because he is not a child or a young man. He is something in between, so 'youth' has meaning only because there is a child and a young man for it to be between. If the idea of 'child' did not exist, then 'youth' would have to alter its meaning to absorb the child idea. Or think of colours. Orange exists because it is not red and not yellow, but something between. We could just have orange as a shade of red, or a shade of yellow, so there is no 'reality' of orange, just an idea of orange that has meaning only in not being some other colour.
We're in agreement there, those chains of signification are exactly what i had in mind when i mentioned language's base in logic; meaning depending on the context of oppositions and associations.

Quote:
It seems to me that the opposite makes more sense: there is only a concept of a divine being and it is the reality that is missing.
That's not really the opposite, it's a restatement of what i said. I agree that the reality is missing. But the concept of a divine being didn't come out of nothing, it is a historical, culturally evolved expression of a human experience that is real in some way, whatever that way may be. That experience of the 'divine' has expressed itself in countless manners, by some interpreted as a Being, by others as an unnamable force, an entire pantheon, a heavenly light or the inmost nature of self-consciousness. My point is, those interpretations are not the reality, they are by definition only its (culture-infused) symbolization. But that the symbols can be proven to be historically and culturally warped, and thus not the reality, is not evidence for that the experience they attempt to symbolize is equally unreal. A certain 'mystical' state of consciousness is so prevalent throughout history, has been described by so many thousands of people worldwide; what evidential basis have we to say it refers to.. nothing?

Quote:
I thought 'believe in something' covered anything, religious or otherwise.
Ah ok, my bad. I meant 'something-ism' solely in a religious sense; people indicating religious feeling/experience without any attachment to a specific religion (often even abject dislike of it). That percentage runs very high in a number of the more secularized countries. I understand the desire for purpose being a potential explanation for it, but i think it's a bit of a simplification. And i feel the same about the functionalist explanation that 'Belief in a 'something-ism' has a stabilising effect on society'. They're reasonable claims, but just not exhaustive of all the evidence. Incomplete at best.

Your brain is unique in the history of the universe. Use it wisely.
#127  
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(27-Apr-2010 at 12:25)
Quote:
Faith is a matter of the heart, an intuitive trust in the unknown and undefinable.

God is a subsequent cultural intellectualization of that mystical feeling, which is counter-productive.

Naming it corrupts it, because any 'term' can by definition never adequately symbolize the reality you're trying to refer to. In due time, the name (God/Jahweh/Allah/...) takes the place of the reality, and people start to worship and quarrel over the various names, rather than the shared divine experience that it refers to. Idolatry is built into the very fabric of religion.
Very poetic... I really like this.

God is such an abstract concept.
I think too much personification has been applied to the concept of god.

I find a lot of atheist have wicked smart ideas about what happens after death.

The leading idea I hear is 'the absence of thought'.

Some of the more creative ideas are pretty far out.

I think if you don't force your self to only accept 'just one' thing.... you can really come up with some abstract ideas
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