All Things Religion Thread

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Balance started the topic in Sunday, 29 Mar 2020 at 2:13pm

Here you go optimist

Not sure my motivation...my instinctive need to stick up for the underdog...my secret desire to be one day honoured rightfully with the role of Forum moderator (expecting a call any day)...

But anyway I couldn't help but read your troubles on another thread...unfortunately I found myself siding with everyone's posts...other than your own...except for the part where you were told you can't post here!

So I put my low IQ mind to coming up with a solution that suits all...and here it is...a safe place if you like

You can post anything you like about your beliefs...and no one has to read it unless they want! Easy peasy...

maybe you could even get Jesus, fat Buddha, Mohammed, and friends to converse in adult conversation here

Solving the world problems, one at a time...call it taking a shovel as a way of moving that mountain

All the best...brother

PS...I actually was born again once, but I grew up, and grew a brain of my own...and realised it was all a load of shit!

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 1:24pm

"Sounds like reason more than Faith Pops"
FR, as I've said before, I see faith as inextricably linked with reason. Some do have a "blind faith", sure, but there are rational underpinnigs to what they believe even if they don't know it.

Funnily enough, the very thing that drove me to studying science (an endless drive to try to find out why things are) also eventually led me to christianity.

If by my side, you mean my story, then...
at uni I fell in with a pretty odd mixed crowd, a very geeky bunch as you'd expect with engineering/science students (I didn't really fit in...). Around half of them were born again christians, half of them were strong (militant) atheists, with one antitheist, then there was agnostic me sitting in the middle. Breaks would basically always devolve into worldview arguments over games of cards. I had quite a bit of fun picking holes in both sides arguments. Read a bunch of books recommended to me by both the atheists and christians. Slowly became convinced of the merits of the christian side...

But if you meant arguments for what I believe,
the first place to start with my side would be my comments above r.e. philosophical arguments with God. I'm sure there's holes in what I've written, and I'm happy to provide defenses for any rebuttals you might have.

If you'd like I can also talk about reasons to think that the gospels and the book of Acts are historically valid.

I'd also recommend looking at the writings of others who are actually scholars in these areas and much better at conveying these things than I am. E.g. William Lane Craig, Alvin Plantinga, Lee Strobel

(To be clear, I'm not trying to avoid sharing, it's just such a big topic area that I could be writing for a long time, so easier if I had a little direction for what you'd like me to talk about).

He who hesitates is lost

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 1:21pm

And China will be ready to ship those afterlife test kits.

(around 30% will only work though)

1173

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 1:25pm

Thanks Pops, but just for the purposes of this chat here I'd like to hear your perspective on the evidence for an afterlife (and how religious belief/practice would gain access to it over non-belief).

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 1:25pm

Indo, for sure. That's why I reckon one of the most important things you can do is to look into as much of this as you can and try to work out what's right. The stakes really couldn't be higher.

He who hesitates is lost

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 1:29pm

OK, no worries FR.
I'm just going to have lunch, but I'll write a couple of paragraphs when I get back.

For a spoiler, one of the key bits of evidence is the resurrection (Jesus being raised from the dead as a kind of teaser for a general resurrection to come); but that takes us down the rabbit hole of doing a historical investigation of the gospels and acts (which I'm happy to do).
There's other purely metaphysical/philosphical arguments too, but I personally find the resurrection to have more weight and the philosophical arguments to fortify it rather than vice versa.

He who hesitates is lost

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Optimist commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 2:06pm

The resurrection of Jesus was a part of history because He hung around for so long after it. He was busy and engaging, visited people, showed people the holes in His hands did all kinds of stuff before He went back to heaven where He came from and from memory He did that in front of 500 people as well.

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 2:16pm

OK...
So, why I think belief in an afterlife is rational (note rational is not the same as compelling).
A quick version (can go into more details if wanted):
- As mentioned above, I hold to dualism, i.e. that the human nature consists of a material (body) and immaterial (spirit/soul/mind/whatever you want to call it) part. The thing that persuades me of this is the free will problem. On a purely monist/materialist view true free will would seem to be impossible. The laws of physics are deterministic and act on all material constituents of the universe. On materialism this includes us. On materialism, once the initial and boundary conditions of the universe were set (by chance/design or whatever), ever single action, every single event to follow was determined. But I certainly appear to have free will. Just then I chose to go to the fridge and grab a strawberry. And just then I thought about doing the same and chose not to. My very ability to think about potentialities but then not actualise those potentialities seems to me to show that I have free will. Which precludes monism/materialism.
- So based on the above, I believe that there is an immaterial consituent to the human nature. It's not clear that it would die when the body dies (you might argue that when the brain dies the mind dies, but that'd be monism (equating the mind with the brain) not dualism. Dualism would say that the brain is what the mind uses to drive the body). So when the body dies, why couldn't the mind/spirit/soul/"pneuma" carry on, divorced from the material world?
- I'm aware of a couple of other philosophical arguments, but I find that the best one.
- As outline above, I believe that there is good enough historical evidence to rationally conclude that Jesus Christ was bodily ressurected some 2000 years ago. There are a couple of key events here: 1. That he was crucified under Roman authority, and died. 2. That he was buried in a well-known locale. 3. That some 3 days later, and ongoing for a period of time, a large number people had genuine experiences of him appearing to them (in a bodily, physical manner), and genuinely came to believe that he had been raised from the dead.
Those three events are pretty widely acknowledged as historical facts (due to there being multiple, very early accounts of said events, and due to other criterion used for evaluating historical documents (dissimilarity, embarrassment, coherence, congruence, etc). So they cry out for an explanation. Quite a few have been offered (mass hallocinations, conspiracies, etc), but once considered in context of Jesus own documented life, and aside from a presupposition of materialism or naturalism, the explanation that Jesus actually was ressurected seems to a better one than the alternatives when judged on explanatory scope, explanatory power, plausibility, ad-hocness, etc. If Jesus really was ressurected, then it would seem rational to think that the same could be in store for humanity (and note that this is not merely a continued existence in a spiritual form, but the return-to-life and restoration of the actual material body and reunification with the mind/spirit/soul/whatever other word).

He who hesitates is lost

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chook commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 2:15pm

a general problem with reason and existence is this --- it's pretty damn hard to prove the existence of anything, even tables and chairs. when it comes to proving the existence of god, a non-material entity, it just gets even harder.
sure, there is good reason to believe in the existence of an external world, but that's still a long way from proving the existence of an external world.

this all gets pretty technical pretty quickly....but, at best we can probably construct what's called a Ramsey sentence of the world. but that only tells us that something plays certain functional roles. what it is that fills these functional roles, that is, what exists, is not something that we can know or prove. if this stuff floats your boat, then maybe look at David Lewis's paper "ramseyian humility". it's pretty dense stuff.

reason has it's place, but it also has its limits. most of life isn't reason bound and that's not a bad thing. it's no criticism of religion that reason can't prove the existence of god.

I used to run the philosophy of religion program at a US university for many years. a lot can be learned from examining arguments for the existence of god and philosophy of religion in general. but what you learn is about logic, reason and arguments. you don't learn anything about god or spirituality.

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 2:20pm

Thanks Chook, I'll check that out. Do you have a link for it?
Agree that its bloody hard, if not impossible, to absolutely/compellingly prove anything. So maybe a fairer bar is to try to show that a thing is more plausibly true than it's alternatives?

Edit: and I'm curious about which angle you approached philosophy of religion from - what were your own beliefs?
Also, being in the field of philosophy of religion, I'm sure you've heard it argued that christian and/or other religious beliefs can be understood to be properly basic? What's your thoughts on that?

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chook commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 2:49pm

yeah that's a better bar....having good reason to hold something is what we should aim for. not proof. the basic principal of "epistemic humility", that we should be humble about our beliefs and so open to change them is a noble and worthy goal.

oh jeez...I really wouldn't recommend reading that lewis paper. it won't give you anymore understanding of much.....maybe have a look at the Stanford encyclopaedia of philosophy (https://plato.stanford.edu) it's a great resource

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 2:42pm

Thanks Chook. I've had brief looks at that encyclopaedia before (often to try to work out what my philosophy-major brother is on about)... lockdown boredom might have me reading more. Think I'll still try my luck with that paper - never know when you might learn something!

And good thought re epistemic humility. Hard thing to achieve in practice, but being mindful of it helps. I'm always fighting to change my mindset from "tell me your opinion so I can tell you why you're wrong" to "tell me your opinion so I can maybe learn something."!

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chook commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 2:50pm

as for me...and Phil of religion...i love metaphysics (what exists) and logic. I guess I approach Phil of religion as a great source of metaphysical and moral puzzles. it was also a good area to stake out a career in...a lot of philosophers just ignore Phil of religion because they don't believe in god. But I saw it as an exciting area. also, you get access to, and a reason to visit, really amazing libraries and archives if you study in this area. the Vatican library is one the most beautiful places in the world and one of the greatest libraries, religious or otherwise.

I love things that religion has inspired in humans, be it religious acts, art, philosophy, music etc. you get to read works that were inspired by people's deep beliefs and soul inspiring works that span millenniums. seeing illuminated texts or reading the dead sea scrolls is a spiritual experience in itself.

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Optimist commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 2:51pm

Keep it simple kids....
Matthew 18:2-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 3:04pm

Thanks for sharing that Chook.
I'd have loved to have kept studying and pivoted into similar areas, but couldn't see a way to do that and support myself...

Funny how religion has inspired both some of the greatest beauty and some of the worst evil...

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chook commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 3:11pm

pops, if you're looking for some reading.. I recently read "a time for silence" by Patrick Leigh Fermor. Its about time he spent time in a few French monastic orders. All his books are very good.

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 3:14pm

Thanks chook. Take it that'd be available on book depository?

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Cromwell commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 3:25pm

Pops, sorry to disagree but while we all have right to believe what we wish, we do not have the right to mislead others. The events about the resurrection that you describe as established historical facts are in fact highly dubious. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If you accept the standard of evidence supporting the resurrection as sufficient then you should also believe in aliens, mermaids, krakens and various other entities for which there is a similar level of proof.

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Blowin commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 3:37pm

Easy to say there’s no such thing as mermaids if you haven’t nearly run your tinny into a river bar whilst perving on a spectacularly proportioned female basking on the bank.

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 3:44pm

Cromwell, I'm not misleading others. Simply defending the rationality of what I believe, and sharing how I arrived at the beliefs I have. Take it or leave it.

Someone on here loves the term "false equivalence". Seems that your comparison of evidence for the resurrection with evidence of aliens, mermaids, etc is an example of that. None of those have the support amongst scholarship that the death and burial, and the disciples sincere belief that they experienced appearances of him, enjoy. None of those enjoy the level of independant attestation by early sources etc.

On the maxim "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", this little Q&A diffuses that fairly well in my opinion.
https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/do-extraordinar...
P.S. I think you may misunderstand what I'm asserting as historical fact. I'm not asserting the resurrection as historical fact; I'm asserting the death, burial and the discple's belief that appearances had happened as fact. I'm postulating the resurrection as a best explanation for those facts.

Note also that a key thing here is what we accept as background information. If you find other arguments for the existence of God etc plausible, then the resurrection hypothesis isn't all that implausible on the background information. But if find yourself unconvinced by those arguments, or presupposing a strict naturalism, then of course it will be highly implausible (then again, all the other proposed explanations/hypotheses also seem highly implausible).

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 3:45pm

Got to agree with Cromwell.
I don't think the standard of evidence is enough to overcome the extreme implausibility of bodily resurrection (seeing as though in the billions and billions of people who have lived there is no-one else who has been resurrected).

My other question Pops. Re: epistemic humility. Why believe the Christian story, and not the Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist, or animist etc etc etc story?

Surely this is a question about the utility of the belief for you, or maybe even just a question of taste?

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 3:49pm

And can I note that even many of the strongest opponents to the resurrection hypothesis acknowledge the historicity of the death, burial and disciples beliefs that they experienced appearances (oh, and I should have included the discovery of the empty tomb to that list of well-attested events/facts). E.g Gerd Ludemann.

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 4:06pm

Freeride,
"billions and billions of people who have lived there is no-one else who has been resurrected" For sure. But very few if any share the same context (had the same life, made the same claims) as did Jesus; which reduces the implausibility somewhat. Other background information reduces it further. *Edit: and then you have to judge it in regards to explanatory scope and power, coherence, ad-hocness etc as well as plausibility against any competing hypothesis (eg hallucination, conspiracy, fake-death, mistaken identity, etc)

"Why believe the Christian story, and not the Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist, or animist etc etc etc story?" to my mind none of the others shares the same coherence accross so large a timespan. E.g. islam, buddhism each largely rely on a single author at a single point in time.
*Edit, On top of that, given my personal conclusions r.e. the resurrection a lot of the rest follows from that.

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Cromwell commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 4:18pm

Pops I am OK with the explanation but that is not my understanding of your first comment. There is a big difference but between the historical fact of the disciples belief in the resurrection which is well supported by the evidence and stating that the resurrection itself is a historical fact.

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 4:25pm

Agreed with that, Cromwell. Apologies if that's how I came accross in the earlier post.
To totally clarify, I think that the resurrection should be admitted as one of an ensemble of potential hypotheses/explanations for the well-attested facts (death, burial, discovery of the empty tomb, disciples-sincere-belief-that-appearances-happened (note that that's not the same as saying that the appearances really did happen, just that the disciples sincerely believed that they did)).
Then the competing hypothesis should be weighed against each other in regards to explanatory power and scope, ad-hocness, coherence, congruence, plausibility-given-background-information, etc. I've done that for myself and come to the conclusion that the resurrection is the best explanation and so should be taken as true. Others have done the same and reached different conclusions, which is fine from an intellectual standpoint, even if it saddens me given what I believe the consequences of that are.

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 4:27pm

" But very few if any share the same context (had the same life, made the same claims) as did Jesus; which reduces the implausibility somewhat."

Unfortunately, not true. Cult leaders make similar claims and are a dime a dozen.
That is not a bolster for your argument, quite the opposite.

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Cromwell commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 4:31pm

Pops we all work it out for ourselves and come to our own conclusions.

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 4:41pm

Consider the whole picture holistically: his claims (and while I know there's been plenty of cult leaders who have claimed divinity, I don't know any who have claimed to be the "suffering servant" of god, sent to bear the guilt of all mankind), his ministry (including multiple attestation of healings, miracles), his own predictions, etc as well as his death. I don't think there's any cult leaders quite in the same league.
And consider what happened afterwards; the disciples didn't disband and disappear as per other contemporary messianic figures/cult leaders; they exploded.
*Edit: For mine, what we know about his life makes the resurrection hypothesis more plausible than if he was just another man on the street - even if others have made some similar claims without the same result. I'm not saying it renders it certain, just that it raises the plausibility. And the resurrection (taken as true) vindicates his claims.

He who hesitates is lost

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 4:37pm

Cromwell, that we do.
Where do you stand?

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 4:49pm

" I don't think there's any cult leaders quite in the same league."

Differences in degree, not in kind.

Doesn't change the fact that billions upon billions have existed with no resurrection, therefore that most extraordinary claim requires the most extraordinary evidence.

As for the rest of your argument, you could just as easily apply it to Mohammed, or Buddha, or any of the abrahamic faiths, or any religion really.

It's some kind of belief in religion which seems to have utility for human beings, regardless of whether it is true or not.
They can't all be true, can they?
You imply that without stating it directly, in your choosing of christianity.

OK, lets move onto the existence of God, what compels you to believe there?

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Jelly Flater commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 5:11pm

Stories, quotes, beliefs, experiences, memories, hopes, dreams...
All these creations are born in the human mind... our language, our music, our physical and spiritual pursuits help us express this. Most are born from emotions that become physical sensations created by ourselves in response to whatever the fark is going on around us...
Now amongst the stories, quotes, beliefs, experiences, memories, hopes and dreams is a narrative...
It symbolises the internal dialogue of the human being.
Sometimes this internal dialogue with its myriad of motivations and ideas and schemes and beliefs seems stuck on an endless search - almost waiting for something profound to occur as a response to whatever we truly don’t understand about ourselves or existence. People are not drawn to what may be true, they prefer exaggerated stories of immeasurable feats and otherworldly fantasies... we are creative and spontaneous beings after all!
Hence God is born - for surely there is purpose and logic and reason amongst the inner turmoil that persists ;)
Unfortunately, or fortunately, for some this internal dialogue is confused as a direct communication with ‘god’ or the ‘almighty’ or ‘He’ ;);) The question is: are you ‘directing’ this dialogue or is it occurring free of your ‘self’ ?
Is ‘god’ separate from you or is the ‘communication’ with ‘god’ a validation within yourself to appease or try answer all that is so very dear in your personal struggle?
(God is of course multi lingual as he invented language and can converse both intimately in silence with you and also publicly with great vigour when the occasion is necessary such as when one needs to be absolved by a burning bush)
Now let’s not get started on the afterlife... can pops or optimist or anyone undeniably prove where we do come from instead of being so focused on where we are going to go? And why is that important to you? Why such an infatuation with a future that is merely a place described by some dudes thousands of years ago in some book?
If you have an insight to heaven that comes directly from you then that might be interesting ;) To think you have a ‘special’ version of ‘heaven’ instilled in you because god told you or you read about it well... ...next! Heaven or hell is right here right now, take your pick ;)
The fact ‘gods’ laws in the abrahamic traditions all mirror man’s basic rules for self governance simply reflect the psychology of a barbaric primal community that decided to install guidelines to provide and maintain basic social order founded on mutual respect and compassion... Nothing wrong with that! It also embraces and nourishes the idea of harnessing great power through devotion to a higher power in order to overcome struggles and achieve what may seem impossible.
In the meantime, in more modern times, spirituality has become all defined and structured and processed and manufactured because of the human instinct to ‘possess’ something. Anything - especially something that comes with wild fantastical stories and the promise of reward for doing good - will strike a chord in most people... Why? Because that kind of rational kind of makes sense right? And kind of sounds like something made up by some clever bloke and hence I can relate to all that ;) Whatever happened to just doing good and not expecting anything? Oh, ok, no catch ;)
Anyway, the general theme amongst ‘believers’ is that they have overcome or conquered something and now live a more productive and fruitful existence as a result of their faith... Can’t really begrudge people for that.
I reckon it’s what we don’t know about god and religion and spirituality that is the exciting bit.....
We can pretend all we want that God is this or that or religion or spirituality has this or that definition. It is a paradox. I even alluded to a few things above that could be regarded as broad assumptions... It is not necessarily something to be made ‘sense’ of... Every individual luckily has the potential to convey their own unique experience of god or religion or spirituality. Pray... fast... meditate... read up on scripture, be kind, learn Tai chi or yoga or develop a skill using breathwork to harness your power. These things may contribute to you discovering your true self, you may transform into something fresh, you might find god or you may even just become another new age instagram knob doing headstands in designer tights! God and religious fervour often go through many manifestations - if you wish to reflect on the big picture - from ancient times to now we have found all sorts of mystical deities and doctrines to adhere to... There are trends and populist changes along with persecutions and underground uprisings. The history of religion is a bit like the history of music - and if we get relative and wannna compare say Tibetan chanting to kpop - well they are both regarded as music, (Correction: no one has ever blown themselves or anyone else up to preserve the sanctity of kpop)- both serve a purpose but fark we don’t really understand it and if they both disappeared life would continue ;)
With religion it is the same - some are into it big time, some will pass on it, some think it’s good and some think it’s bad... some will live a happy peaceful prosperous life without it, and some will not be able to function without it.

Try go surfing every day...
The truth will always be the truth, regardless. Have fun with it and share with others ;) Also, the further away one really is from ‘god’ the more they sprout silly verses... when you don’t understand that shit you gotta push it on others ;)
Write your book, sprout your verses ;)

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 5:12pm

FR, did you read the link I've pointed to re extraordinary claims? It does a better job of explaining my standpoint than I'm able to verbalize. Note that Jesus life isn't the only factor in my background information (which will differ from yours based on differences in what we accept as true/false/plausible).
I'd absolutely assent that not all religions can be true. Too many explicit contradictions between them. Pluralism is entirely incoherent.
"OK, lets move onto the existence of God, what compels you to believe there?"
Compels is the wrong word while we're talking rational arguments. As chook alluded to, that's an impossibly high bar. So I'm going to go with what made me deduce the existence of God is more plausibly true than false.
The core of it is the arguments I outlined on one of the earlier posts on the previous page. Add to that experience.
I'd also assent to the idea (and this is likely to sound whacky) that the person of the Holy spirit testifying to ones own spirit renders belief in god properly basic.

It's all a bit like a rope really... each individual strand is week, but woven together the whole is quite strong. So I find the philosophical arguments for God lend weight to the resurrection hypothesis, and vice versa (if Jesus really was raised, then his claims and his own beliefs have added weight), and both of these back up my subjective experiences, and so it goes.

He who hesitates is lost

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 5:17pm

"I'd also assent to the idea (and this is likely to sound whacky) that the person of the Holy spirit testifying to ones own spirit renders belief in god properly basic."

No, that actually makes the most sense to me.
If you claim, that you have some personal relationship with God, that he speaks to you or has revealed himself to you in some fashion.

Then that is something I cannot refute.

But it does raise the question of how everyone's own subjective experiences can be calibrated into any sort of reality.

So, is that what you are saying? That God revealed himself to you in some way?

To be honest I find the other arguments weak and circular, as you have intimated (ie dependent on the resurrection etc etc). You call them woven, but they are circular in structure.

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 5:18pm

Interesting thoughts Jelly... that'll take me a little while to digest.

Just one thing; more an interesting fact than anything else...
Not everyone actually has an "internal dialogue", at least in the form of actual words. I myself don't; it actually takes a bit of effort to verbalise what I "think".
Also ".. can pops or optimist or anyone undeniably prove where we do come from...", well I don't think it's possible to undeniably prove anything. The best we can do is render something more plausible than it's alternatives.

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Cromwell commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 5:20pm

Pops, I am a hard materialist. My core belief is that anything that exists leaves a trace that can be detected, so gods do not exist. My concern around this issue is that we all need to be honest and straight forward and unfortunately many Christians, no doubt with the best intentions, are not. Given that for most of Christian history they have spent a huge amount of their energy on arguing amongst themselves, ignoring Christ’s actual teachings and inflicting terrible torture on those they disagree with, I find it hard to take their views seriously. That said, I know a few real Christians who really try to live by Christ’s teachings and greatly admire them.

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 5:30pm

FR, they only come accross as circular because I'm doing a fairly poor job of presenting them, unfortunately. Very difficult to cover such a broad field in so little time, and with my relatively poor writing skills.
I'd encourage you to go straight to the horses mouth (the philosophers & theologists that actually specialise in this area). I'm effectively regurgitating from memory things that I've read and weighed up, with a little bit of my own insight.

And yes; as you say there is a problem with how subjective experiences can synthesized. Some must be inauthentic; and I can't prove that mine are authentic (not that that means that they aren't, just that we reach a stalemate there, which is why I didn't really bother to discuss that aspect).

With that, I'll log off for the day.
Been a good discussion all round, thanks.

He who hesitates is lost

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Pops commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 5:33pm

OK, just saw cromwells post...
Cromwell, what do you think about my earlier thoughts on materialism and determinism?
Agree that the church has a pretty ordinary history. John Dicksons movie "for the love of God" gives a pretty good run through of the good and the bad.
I'm trying very hard to truly live by christ's teachings; its a hard gig.

With that, I'm off for the day.

He who hesitates is lost

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Cromwell commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 5:54pm

Pops, I suspect that at some very fundamental level the universe is deterministic. When it comes to free will it may not exist in some absolute sense but in practical terms, it does. We are the product of the interaction between our genetics and our environment, that is our identity, that is who we are. Our behaviour at any point flows from that process so we determine that behaviour and are responsible for it in a very meaningful way. The fact that near infinite chains of cause and effect could be identified is irrelevant. We are the sum total of our genetics and environment and as such are responsible for what we do.

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 5:56pm

Cromwell, I'm mostly with you but that last sentence directly contradicts itself.

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Cromwell commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 6:13pm

No. “You” are the sum total of your genetics and environment. There is nothing else there. So “you” are responsible for what “you” do. To think otherwise is to lapse into dualism and assume there is some unchanging core identity lurking within.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 6:41pm

"Indo, for sure. That's why I reckon one of the most important things you can do is to look into as much of this as you can and try to work out what's right. The stakes really couldn't be higher."

When i was young my parents become full on born again Christians, my sister still is, my parents actually left the church for years but now go to church but are more moderated in belief and in how they live and not preachy at all and just do normal things like enjoying a bottle of wine or a few beers. (when once at their religious peak that was totally off limits)

Personally I've honestly seen and had enough of religion especially the born again Christian aspect, i have an agreement with my family that we don't talk religion at all.

Funny though even as a kid i never had any faith or belief, it just all seemed fake to me, i think the attraction for many from my observation was more about being a tribe/community and having an instant new group of friends almost family like.

I actually look back on things now and some aspects of beliefs and control etc i see as almost cult like, like always a us and them thing, them being the world, and everything was of the world, music, popular TV etc...oh and the talking in tongues and passing out type thing, always just thought it was weird and theatrical, i still do.

I think if i was going to get spiritual it would be more of a buddhist type finding myself and mediation type thing, but I'm too lazy for that anyway.

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 7:32pm

"No. “You” are the sum total of your genetics and environment. There is nothing else there. So “you” are responsible for what “you” do."

Huh?
If you are the sun total of your genetic and environment, neither of which you have control or agency in, then how could you possibly be responsible for the "you" that creates?
Thats either total chance, or total determinism.

No free will or agency in that zero sum equation.

No free will or agency= no responsibility.

Or am I misunderstanding you?

not having a go.

Pupkin's picture
Pupkin's picture
Pupkin commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 8:05pm

Truly interesting stuff.

I agree Chook that the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (online) is a handy and easily accessed resource.

Speaking of which, cometh the times, cometh the philosophy. Again.

This resource is handy too.

https://www.iep.utm.edu/camus/#SH5a

I'd also recommend a couple of books for further reading.

An old classic.

And this from one of the best, if not the best, writers of surf related stuff (though obviously this doesn't fit that bill)

https://www.scotsman.com/arts-and-culture/books/book-review-boxer-and-go...

Cromwell's picture
Cromwell's picture
Cromwell commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 7:39pm

In my view free will does not exist in an absolute sense but for all practical purposes we can consider that it does. In your post you are falsely distinguishing between the real “you”, which is the sum of your genetics and environment, and some other “you” based on, what? My point is that the lack of absolute free will does not undermine personal responsibility.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 7:41pm

Ok, gotcha.

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 7:45pm

Instead, as he emphasizes and tries to make clear, the Absurd expresses a fundamental disharmony, a tragic incompatibility, in our existence. In effect, he argues that the Absurd is the product of a collision or confrontation between our human desire for order, meaning, and purpose in life and the blank, indifferent “silence of the universe”: “The absurd is not in man nor in the world,” Camus explains, “but in their presence together…it is the only bond uniting them.”

It's very hard to refute this at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic.

Pupkin's picture
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Pupkin commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 8:07pm

And of course one of his famous works is The Plague!

upnorth's picture
upnorth's picture
upnorth commented Thursday, 2 Apr 2020 at 8:53pm

Pops, thanks and interesting reading your comments.

I'd be among those writing off these events as well, I wouldn't trouble anyone offering psychic services, palm reading, cards or similar. We see Romani come and go, people head to a Vardo and cross a palm with silver in exchange for some fortune telling. Quite a lot of silver in some cases. After years of practice they are known for being able to read a persons body language, their demeanor, clothes they wear, jewelry etc and make educated guesses about what the future may hold. Although highly skeptical I see no harm in it, customers walk away satisfied they have some insight and the travelers earn a crust.

All I can say is that my experience in NZ was unsolicited and I had barely spoken about my life during the evening, her knowledge was totally out of the blue. I gave it all a lot of thought at the time, dissecting the event as it was so unusual. I appreciate I was younger at the time but I wasn't totally naïve, I'd seen a few things. But maybe I did give something away which was enough for Jenny to construct a narrative which lead me down the garden path. But to what end? Maybe she was just purely altruistic and made a habit of passing on a lifetime worth of good vibes to strangers she met.

What makes it legitimate for me is that I haven't clung on to the experience since it happened but it is always with me. Life has naturally changed in the 20+ years since but one constant is what a chance encounter left with me, its intangible but as clear as day.

Zenagain, cheers and yes I think Jenny had qualities which I hadn't encountered before. She was certainly a very open and caring person, the connection was remarkable as was our shared experience. As much as I was a passenger she gave the impression she was interpreting rather than orchestrating the situation. It was surprising for both of us maybe not in equal measure but enough for her to apologise that a bed for the night had turned into something quite different.

You are right about the moral superiority that hangs off some church goers, and they can never see it. That bloke sounds like a prime example. I worked with a lad once and he was allegedly fully Christian and openly judged those less godly than himself. Token gestures and donations to the church proved his goodness. Then at work on Monday he would brag about going 'clubbing' at the weekend. With pals from the congregation he'd take a golf club and hunt rabbits with myxomatosis, using their head as the ball. He couldn't see what was wrong with it.

Optimist's picture
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Optimist commented Friday, 3 Apr 2020 at 3:17am

My advice is read Matthew or Luke carefully in the New Testament. Then you can decide. Seeing as our way of life here in Aus and even the date "year of our Lord 2020" is relevant to us, we should look at where it all started. When you have the information yourself, you can truly assess what Jesus and his friends did. You can also compare His actual teaching with what you know and have seen in our global community.

Balance's picture
Balance's picture
Balance commented Friday, 3 Apr 2020 at 8:33am

Dam I am genuinely such a dumbass. This thread is fascinating, but much of it goes way above my head. Reading has been a bit like watching a amazingly talented, highly trained guitarist play a beautiful melody...when I think I am good because I can hack out a few bar chords. Much thanks to all the time and energy people have put into posts here

From the perspective of a self proclaimed dumbass...I have no doubt in my mind there is more to our existence than this life. Everything that happens here has meaning...every action or decision we make, has consequences. How we are educated, how we raise our kids, how we treat our wives...how we treat others, the planet...it all means something

So to think that when we die, that's it...nothing...to me...contradicts everything life is. So I will never believe that to be the case

Also believe...whatever does happen next...we are just not meant to know...and it's probably something way beyond our understanding. So many people, so many different beliefs, and variations to them...I think if the truth was able to be grasped...we would have...and it wouldn't be so complicated

Wo we are, who we become, what we do...I believe will impact on what happens to us after we die

All the cunts will get theirs...for their cuntiness...don't be a cunt. I really think God could have just had one, not ten...waste of ink really

And stick to your lane. Dumbasses aren't a huge problem...it's when they don't recognise they are dumbasses...it becomes such an issue, even dangerous ( some of these people run entire countries)

I started a charity a year ago. I realised through my predominantly selfish travelling over the last ten years...I give a shit about poor people...so I did something about it. That to me is good practicing of spirituality and religion

Hey freeride76, really like your insightful questions...you have a fascination for this topic in particular?, Or just an enquisitive mind in general?

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freeride76 commented Friday, 3 Apr 2020 at 8:34am

Both.