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Author Topic: Elliquian Atheists  (Read 35582 times)

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Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #225 on: July 27, 2012, 04:01:41 PM »
Hai everyone!, just checking in and saying I'm not dead, just busy.

I've been getting into a bit of religious stuff lately, and by this I don't mean just my own, I've been developing a D&D game that uses mythic fiction and real world history, and since we are starting in anchent days and moving foreward eventually with the multi-generational game ending near the age of sail.
the players of course can affect world history and such, but I had to rummage through a lot of stuff on organized religion in all eras and thought I'd share some of the opinions and discoveries that I've found.

Organized Religion (not suposing gods and lack thereof, but the actual institutional form) as it turns out began near the dawn of mankind, the moment we settled down and stopped having to simply live to try and survive. Priests were the first specialists and intelectuals and depending on their faith and region preformed many tasks. Prior to the advent of advanced industrial machinery, few other people could afford to be scholars or take the time to become learned men. During the polytheist days (prior to christanity and the world wide movement towards monotheisim.) religious wars were actually far more common, and more savage, but on a far smaller scale, and far more apt to be mixed with politics.

an example of such conflicts would be Rome VS Carthage, it was not simply for political and economic reasons, but the religion of the Carthagians so offended The Romans with it's practice of sacrificing children and even babies to acheve financial success. There is a reason the Romans were more ruthless than usual.
Sparta VS Athens, the two citystates patron gods athena and aries were rivals, and so their citystates followed suit, or their patrons may have been dipicted as rivals because the citystates were.
The attacks on the Tao, Buddist, and Confusion faiths by diffrent chinese dinasties (love one, exterminate the other two.

Likewise priests were repositories of verbal, historic, and esoteric knowlage for the common man. these are the people who plotted out when to plant, when to harvest, and watched the land for signs of change and had the time to research new techniques. This was seen from egypt to greece to china.

The advent of monotheisim from a purely history standpoint started with the Judisam, which was influenced by the peoples they came into contact with, yet remained their own distinct culture and faith. Monotheisim took off after the teachings of Jesus of Nazreth in the beginning of the 1st century A.D. Christanity spread through the roman empire becoming popular among the Plebs, Poor, and Slaves of rome with it's message of redemption, forgiveness, and compassion in this life and the next. While many aristocrats and upper middle class remaned resoloutely pagan. It was only upon the victory of constantine that it broke the glass ceiling.
rome became christan, and christanity in large part became roman.
As the Imperial collapsed due to internal corruption, economic stagnation, and general decay in various forms. more and more people turned to the church for protection against the darkness, terror, and war that seemed to be swallowing the empire.
Non-roman sects were swallowed up by either rome herself (in the case of the Ayren sect followed by goths, vandals, and germani.) or by the sudden appearance of the next major monotheistic religion Islam, based on the teachings and life of the Mohammid on the arabian pinnesula.
Under the united banner of islam the formerly disperate, divided, and mere footnote of a people known as arabs conquered, converted, or assimilated the old polytheistic and monotheist groups and cultures untill they hit the bulwark of christian dominated europe, and the Taoists, Buddists, and Hindus of China, Tibet, and India.
The years following this conquest were known as the Islamic Golden age, where Islamic scholars preserved, and wrote new texts, and developed new sciences while the old roman empire fell into darkness and constant warfare as warlords jockied for, and conquered, each other's kingdoms.

In europe the only constant was "Mother Church", the only instution to survive the fall of rome and wave after wave of migrating/maurading barbarian tribes. Split into Eastern and Western halves. Dispite their modern reputation as obstructionists of science and reason, in the dark ages the western church stood as the only source of knowlage, and it saved an incredible amount of documents from being burned or destroyed. Monks made a point of standing against the Inqusition, and winning.
As more warlords converted to christianity the western church began trying to regin in the violence using it's newfound political power and influence. Granting it's knowlage and assistance to warlords who would eventually become the christian kings and queens of europe in the high middle ages.
This Influence was also used to bolster it's own power & prestege as well as establish codes of conduct in warfare that are still concidered standards of war today, such as not attacking civilans, priests, healers, and so on, or fighting on holy days. The first legislation of it's kind.

after the chaos of the dark ages had passed, Europe was flush with well armed, well trained, and now jobless due, warriors to the general peace. when the Byzantine Emperor begged the pope for assistance he declared a crusade.
This was the beginning of the three great crusades a bloody see-saw struggle that would last for three generations, and greatly influence the relationship, and culture, of both the Islamic east and the Christian west. There had been holy wars by other faiths prior to this, but this was the first time two powerful monotheistic faiths came into direct full scale war, the result was, for obvious reasons a ruthless and cyclical war.
However this was also the catalyst for change, the Muslims were politically unified by the christian crusade, an event that had not happened since the days of Muhammid, and resulted in the creation of ideals what would eventually become the Ottoman Empire, the single largest and most culturally advanced empire in the world had ever seen.
The Christian Crusaders came away with no perminant gains, but for the first time in nearly 500 years or more europeans were exposed to the high science, and well developed culture, of the East. they brought back knowlage, new ideas, old ideas long forgotten, and a taste for eastern goods and spices that would open up trade routes across the world.
These all lit the spark that would begin the rennisance.

It is in the rennisance that the Cathloic Church became the institution many know it as today, the new wealth generated by european nations made the now monolithic church powerful, and eventually men took advantage of this, such as the Famious Borga popes. At the same time this wealth and selfishness began to taint it, and like Rome before it, it began to rot. At the same time new ideas challanged old ones, and the entrenched church took this as a challange to it's power thus it cracked down. People were having ideas about god that were not "pre-approved" by the wealthy, powerful, and conservitive church.
This culminated in the Protastant Reformation...

Ooop my time is up, I will continue this into the reformation, industrial, and modern era.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #226 on: July 27, 2012, 04:19:28 PM »
Cut this amusing call out of the newest episode and uploaded it to Youtube. Ironwolf, I am so reading that later, but looking at it now, my uncaffeinated brain goes "Nope"

Matt Dillahunty RUINS On Hold Screamer

Offline Caehlim

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #227 on: July 27, 2012, 04:53:28 PM »
Hello, I am Jebble212 you may call me Jeb if you like. I have followed this thread a little and would like to get involved though I have no direct opinion on the recent subjects discussed as there not specific to my beliefs I was wondering what issue is your primary reason for not believing in a monotheistic god.

Hi Jeb.

Mostly I don't believe in a monotheistic god because I have never seen any evidence whatsoever that one exists. I'm not going to believe in something without having a reason to believe it.


Offline Dontgiveup1

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #228 on: July 27, 2012, 05:48:25 PM »
New guy here....Don't have much to say about this, but it's cool to be able to have stuff like this to chat about.

Offline Jebble212

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #229 on: July 27, 2012, 06:14:34 PM »
Simple.

I find the insinuation that it is better to have faith in God 'just in case' rather silly. First of all, that's not true belief, you're merely paying lip service so that you can get into heaven. Any god that you are doing this with, by virtue of being omnipotent and all knowing would know you were faking it to get in. So I remain rather comfortable in my belief in a deities lack of existence.

Agreed, I don't think it counts as sincere if you just fear the consequences.



Hi Jeb.

Mostly I don't believe in a monotheistic god because I have never seen any evidence whatsoever that one exists. I'm not going to believe in something without having a reason to believe it.

I appreciate your response Caehlim and it's nice to meet you. Are you saying you think of a monotheistic god much like an unproven theory?

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #230 on: July 27, 2012, 06:32:47 PM »
I think this might be a good time for you to step back Saria and take a break from the discussion.
You are mistaking clarity and boldness for anger. It's a common mistake. But one does not need to be riled up to spot the fallacies in someone else's argument, explain in detail why they are fallacies, and how to avoid them. I would think that when someone does that - repeatedly - the correct thing to do is step back and think more carefully about what you're saying, rather than trying to chase off the person pointing out the errors.

I am not sure anyone would argue that total faith is ever a good decision making policy.  There has to be some reason/evidence to support a decision even if the remaining factor is faith.
Not always! Sometimes there's nothing wrong with using faith to make a decision. Speaking technically, faith is never a good way to make a decision, but it's not always a bad way.

For example, there are two peaces of cake left on the plate, and just you and one other person left to grab a slice. The two pieces are identical; there is no evidence that you should pick one or the other; there is no rational reason to prefer one over the other. There's nothing wrong with letting the "Holy Spirit guide you", and picking the piece you think God wants you to pick.

See, faith is benign whenever there is no reason or evidence to make a choice. In other words, if you've got a choice that you can make by flipping a coin, then you could just as well use faith. Faith only really becomes a problem when there is evidence or reason. For example, back to the cake: if one of those two slices has a peanut on it, and you know the person behind you has a peanut allergy, then it would be bad to listen to the word of angels and take the other slice.

I have faith that my car will start tomorrow.  There is no way for me to know, for sure, until I try it tomorrow.  But, this is not complete faith because I have all those other days it started as 'evidence' that it will do the same tomorrow.
Ah, you gotta be careful. "Faith" is an overloaded word; it means multiple things. "Faith" can mean "belief without reason or evidence" (which is how I've been using it), but it can also mean confidence or trust ("I have faith in Jim" or "We are negotiating in good faith"), and it can also mean one's religion ("My faith is Hindu").

When you say you have faith that your car will start tomorrow, you don't mean that you believe without evidence or reason, you mean you have confidence. As you said, you have plenty of reasons to believe that your car will start tomorrow, and plenty of evidence to back those reasons up. Obviously you can't be 100% certain, but you can be some percentage of certain, and just trust in those odds.

To me, this seems to make faith merely a matter of expedience.  It also explains why in insignificant circumstances, we are all more likely to take something on faith.  I say I have a dollar bill in my pocket.  People are willing to give me the benefit of the doubt.  If I say I have a message from god that they need to listen to, the skeptics start oozing out of the woodwork.

Does it follow that faith is good for expedience and low risk?
This is another case of using 'faith' in the sense of confidence and trust, not "belief without reason or evidence". Our experiences with most people have taught us that most people don't lie all the time, especially over trivial matters (and reason backs up that observation: if everyone lied all the time randomly, we couldn't have formed stable societies). So when someone says they have a dollar bill in their pocket, in the absence of any reason or evidence to believe otherwise, odds are they're telling the truth. So, most people would trust the odds.

Now, if there were reasons to believe you were lying - like that dollar bills had gone out of circulation years ago - or if there were evidence to indication you often lied - like that you were a known pathological liar - then most people would probably not give you the benefit of the doubt, right?

I would say that it's not really about expedience and low risk, for two reasons. First of all, if it were merely a matter of expedience, it's just as much effort and time consumed to believe you don't have a dollar bill in your pocket, or that your car won't start tomorrow... and then be pleasantly surprised when that belief turns out wrong. I mean, why is it any more expedient to believe that Allah doesn't want you to eat pork, right? Quite the opposite, I'd say often faith-based religious beliefs are far from expedient, and require significant mental gymnastics to justify. As for the risk thing, there are often situations where you trust the odds in situations that are extremely risky. Instead of whether or not your car will start, what about trusting that your brakes are working? Or that your airbag won't malfunction and suddenly deploy while you're doing 100 klicks on the highway?

So I would say no, faith (that is, belief without reason or evidence) is not good merely for expedience of low risk. I would say that the only time faith is good is when there is no reason or evidence for or against believing something. When there's no reason or evidence to believe A or B, then you could either flip a coin, or you could use faith to "feel" which one of A or B is the right choice. And this can be true even in situations of high risk. If you're defusing a bomb and you have to choose to cut the red wire or the blue wire - and there's no reason or evidence to pick one or the other - there's nothing wrong with either flipping a coin... or "listening to the spirits".

In the context of religions, I don't see a problem with believing that spiritual beings - gods, angels, etc. - exist. The problems only start to arise when something about those beliefs starts to wade into areas already covered by reason or evidence. For example, there's usually no harm in believing that God exists and wants you to wear blue shoes. There is a problem when you believe God exists and wants you to tell strangers who they can and can't have sex with.

In other words, if religions showed respect for reason and evidence, and operated only in the areas where they don't have anything to offer, rather than trampling over them, we'd have no problems with religion.

Offline Will

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #231 on: July 27, 2012, 07:02:57 PM »
Agreed, I don't think it counts as sincere if you just fear the consequences.



I appreciate your response Caehlim and it's nice to meet you. Are you saying you think of a monotheistic god much like an unproven theory?

Even theories have evidence to support them.  By the scientific definition of the word, at least.

Offline Jebble212

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #232 on: July 27, 2012, 08:34:14 PM »
Even theories have evidence to support them.  By the scientific definition of the word, at least.

Sorry, I wasn't refferring to a scientific theory as scientific theories are significantly different from the word "theory" in common usage, which implies that something is unproven or speculative. I apologize for the miscommunication.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #233 on: July 27, 2012, 08:41:31 PM »
Quote from: Ironwolf85
During the polytheist days (prior to christanity and the world wide movement towards monotheisim.) religious wars were actually far more common, and more savage, but on a far smaller scale, and far more apt to be mixed with politics.

What?!

Quote from: Ironwolf85
The advent of monotheisim from a purely history standpoint started with the Judisam...

Uh...no.  You need to broaden your research sources.

Quote from: Ironwolf85
As more warlords converted to christianity the western church began trying to regin in the violence using it's newfound political power and influence.

Someone forgot to mention all of this to Charlemagne.

Your version of history is grossly biased.

Offline Sabre

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #234 on: July 27, 2012, 11:45:54 PM »
Ah, you gotta be careful. "Faith" is an overloaded word; it means multiple things. "Faith" can mean "belief without reason or evidence" (which is how I've been using it), but it can also mean confidence or trust ("I have faith in Jim" or "We are negotiating in good faith"), and it can also mean one's religion ("My faith is Hindu").

Faith doesn't mean a belief without reason or evidence, just belief or trust without evidence.  A belief without evidence and reason is a negative quality, but that's not faith as preached and taught by the majority of world religions which have the concept.  Faith has long been defined as a sort of reasonable enthusiasm by theologians over the centuries, and something irrational is instead called superstition, zealotry and fanaticism.  The latter's irrationality is not simply faith gone too far but faith which has lost reason, usually brought about by the fanatic's lack of integrity in dealing with other people.

What?!

This is true of Rome, certainly.

Quote
Someone forgot to mention all of this to Charlemagne.

Your version of history is grossly biased.

Charlemagne's time was a period where the church didn't have much political power and influence.  Ironwolf85 is likely referring to the later 11th century Catholic Church which did try and expand its influence and power by trying to control the rampant violence of secular warlords of the time.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #235 on: July 28, 2012, 07:19:27 AM »
Quote from: Sabre
This is true of Rome, certainly.

So we are going to ignore half a dozen crusades, the inquisition and the 30 years war just to name the first ones that
immediately pop into mind?

Quote from: Sabre
Charlemagne's time was a period where the church didn't have much political power and influence.  Ironwolf85 is likely referring to the later 11th century Catholic Church which did try and expand its influence and power by trying to control the rampant violence of secular warlords of the time.

Except that Charlemagne spread Christianity across much of Europe at sword point.  If the 'barbarians' converted, they were absorbed into the Frankish empire.  If not, well...they are godless heathens and don't deserve to live.

You are also ignoring the list of anti-popes from the 3rd through the 15th century which were about as much of a political fiasco as you can get.

Offline vtboy

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #236 on: July 28, 2012, 08:15:41 AM »
I did vtboy and quite honestly I am getting a little tired of the insinuation that I do not properly research and handle my posts.  As you notice I have posted three separate articles dealing with decision making of the religious all from reputable sources.  At the beginning of my post, before listing the articles, I pointed out that determining motivation is exceptionally difficult unless through personal interview.  Further I pointed out that simply listing sources detailing how God helped them make their decision would be inadequate most likely for the audience at hand.  I could perhaps post up interviews with athletes detailing how God was responsible for their touchdown, but I get the impression that wouldnít have the effect of actual empirical data. 

People with high religiosity are the most likely to use faith in their decision making process.  Religiosity being a measurement of participation in religion and religious activity is one of few objective measurements that can be used.  From religiosity we can make an inference of faith in decision making.  The authors have proposed theories to explain what is being studied and their theories are certainly ones that I would suppose are at play in this situation.  Faith, as has been pointed out by several posters in the past, cannot be measured.  Religiosity as a measurement tool has the constraint that it measures participation in a social activity and not belief.  Inferred from religiosity can be faith, but once more faith cannot be measured and so a researcher cannot make a claim to faith in any process.

Saria proposed that faith is bad and that faith in decision making is always bad.  These articles call into question that statement and refute, at least in part, the truth of the statement.  If religiosity is a measurement of participation and participation can be linked to faith, then we can infer that with the use of faith is being used to help the youth avoid risky behavior.  Whether they are making a decision to attend a religious function instead of participating in risky behavior, listening to their parents versus peer groups, seeking out what they feel are healthy peer groups to follow or making a decision to keep active. 


The problem with your readings, Pumpkin, is these papers offer no reason to credit faith with improved decision-making (defined quite selectively by both the JFE and U. Pa. papers to mean avoidance of risky behavior), rather than other concomitants of "religiosity", most critically in my view the adoption of the anti-risk behavioral norms of the groups to which the studied subjects belong. At most, the papers might offer some support for the conclusion (and, even here, I am skeptical) that active membership in religious groups tends to reduce risky behavior.

Your contention that "faith" correlates highly and positively with "religiosity" seems likely, but is rather beside the point. The correlation neither negates the influence of other factors (acceptance of group norms, predisposition to avoid risk, greater parental supervision, minimization of time available to explore riskier behaviors, etc.) nor provides any guidance to discriminate between the effects of the one and those of the others. Nor does it even provide resaon to reject the hypothesis that, notwithstanding the inferred faith of the subjects, the productive cause of their avoidance of risky behavior lies strictly in their application of reason to evidence. To claim anything more for faith on the basis of these studies is..., well, a leap of faith.

Before endorsing the salutary effects of faith in decision-making, you may wish to consider the quality of the faith-based decisions of the followers of Jim Jones and David Koresh, and of the members of Heaven's Gate.

Quote
If you prefer a paper with more qualitative interest in faith as a decision making tool then I can propose this paper.  Originally I had rejected the article since the content is not as empirical as the others, but if qualitative is preferred then I will submit the article. 

http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1161&context=commpapers&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dsri%2520lanka%2520religions%2520businessmen%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D4%26ved%3D0CGAQFjAD%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fro.uow.edu.au%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D1161%2526context%253Dcommpapers%26ei%3DjLwRUNn8HYuo8AT5v4DACg%26usg%3DAFQjCNFa0yGdJuFjauv1QPYK4H06klxs7A#search=%22sri%20lanka%20religions%20businessmen%22

Actually, I don't. Quite honestly, the subjective musings of 13 Sri Lankan businessmen on the effects of prayer and faith in the management of their businesses, collected over a two day period by predisposed investigators, don't shed much light on anything.

Quote
Considering I have now reviewed and submitted four separate articles dealing with the topic, along with delved through countless other papers and briefings on the subject, I think that I would not be wrong in demanding a little respect for my efforts.

I respect your zeal, not your conclusions or the thinking that led you to them.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2012, 03:33:57 PM by vtboy »

Offline vtboy

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #237 on: July 28, 2012, 08:45:29 AM »
Faith doesn't mean a belief without reason or evidence, just belief or trust without evidence.  A belief without evidence and reason is a negative quality, but that's not faith as preached and taught by the majority of world religions which have the concept.  Faith has long been defined as a sort of reasonable enthusiasm by theologians over the centuries, and something irrational is instead called superstition, zealotry and fanaticism.  The latter's irrationality is not simply faith gone too far but faith which has lost reason, usually brought about by the fanatic's lack of integrity in dealing with other people.

I see. So, belief that god conceived a son by a virgin, that the son resurrected the dead and was later resurrected after his own death, are examples of "reasonable enthusiams by theologians over the centuries," but beliefs that the future may be foretold by examination of the innards of fowl or that the mothership is poised to return the faithful to Halle-Bopp are "superstition, zealotry, and fanaticism." If there is a distinction here, other than that Christianity has been one of history's winners, while Paganism and Heaven's Gate have been among its losers, it eludes me. 
« Last Edit: July 28, 2012, 08:46:49 AM by vtboy »

Offline Dontgiveup1

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #238 on: July 28, 2012, 11:43:34 AM »
I'm really enjoying this topic! Some interesting ideas about it all! :)

Offline Sabre

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #239 on: July 28, 2012, 05:00:31 PM »
So we are going to ignore half a dozen crusades, the inquisition and the 30 years war just to name the first ones that
immediately pop into mind?

I don't see why we should, but it doesn't change the truth of the matter that politics and war in the ancient world was heavily mired in religious augury and belief.  The above examples are remembered because they weren't common throughout the history of western Eurasia.  It's why they acquired special names to differentiate these events from every other act of war and mass slaughter of the time of which there were many.  Religion was always a big deal for human civilizations, and regularly found its way into everything we did including warfare.  Only with the rise of the great Abrahamic monotheistic religions did the size and scale of this fact become epic.

Quote
Except that Charlemagne spread Christianity across much of Europe at sword point.  If the 'barbarians' converted, they were absorbed into the Frankish empire.  If not, well...they are godless heathens and don't deserve to live.

And this was done under Charlemagne's own volition.  The same with every other pagan-turned-Christian barbarian kingdoms like the Norse or the Hungarians.  With the idea of divine right backing the concept of kingship, barbarian kings throughout Europe regularly converted their subjects by force or coercion because it would centralize political authority in the hands of the king (and not the church, whom these kings regularly bullied and extorted whenever they wished).  The point is the early Middle Age was exactly the period where the church wielded little to no political power and regularly strong-armed by the nearest warlord.

Quote
You are also ignoring the list of anti-popes from the 3rd through the 15th century which were about as much of a political fiasco as you can get.

And the perfect example of the lack of political power and influence of the pope.  These anti-popes were regularly a result of a stronger secular power disagreeing with the results of a papal election and installing a pope of their own.  The church during most of its history was a puppet for the various kings of France, Sicily, the HREmperor, Spain, and the counts and dukes of Lombardy.  It was only during the 13th-15th centuries that the church finally began to see some real influence and power in the political games of Europe, but that rise in power only resulted in the reactionary rise of the secular crowns of Europe who again either dominated the papacy or formed Protestant churches in rejection of it.

I see. So, belief that god conceived a son by a virgin, that the son resurrected the dead and was later resurrected after his own death, are examples of "reasonable enthusiams by theologians over the centuries," but beliefs that the future may be foretold by examination of the innards of fowl or that the mothership is poised to return the faithful to Halle-Bopp are "superstition, zealotry, and fanaticism." If there is a distinction here, other than that Christianity has been one of history's winners, while Paganism and Heaven's Gate have been among its losers, it eludes me.

I'm neither a Christian nor a Christian theologian, so I wouldn't try to do what better thinkers like Aquinas, Ockham, Shaftesbury or Erasmus have already done.  But it is because bone reading or alien motherships are beliefs without any rational basis that they are different from a more institutional religion with a long history of philosophy and especially discursive reason.  The former is mostly intuition, but the latter - at least when speaking of churches and movements older than modern evangelicalism, is not.  The distinction was true for Classical paganism as well, where gods and the belief in the gods was held to be a rational belief of rational beings, but oracles and divination were not.  And it was the irrationality of the latter superstitions that gets men like Socrates killed, not the belief in gods themselves.

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #240 on: July 28, 2012, 07:13:24 PM »
Faith doesn't mean a belief without reason or evidence, just belief or trust without evidence.  A belief without evidence and reason is a negative quality, but that's not faith as preached and taught by the majority of world religions which have the concept.  Faith has long been defined as a sort of reasonable enthusiasm by theologians over the centuries, and something irrational is instead called superstition, zealotry and fanaticism.  The latter's irrationality is not simply faith gone too far but faith which has lost reason, usually brought about by the fanatic's lack of integrity in dealing with other people.
You are confounding different definitions of the word "reason". When I say "belief without evidence or reason", I am using "reason" in the sense of the "reasoning faculty"; the thing that Kant was talking about in Critique of Pure Reason. You are using "reason" in the sense of "reasonable", or "moderate", or "not extreme or crazy". That's an entirely different thing.

Faith is belief without using evidence from observation or conclusions from reasoning. If something held by faith could be concluded by reasoned argument, it wouldn't be religion, it would be philosophy. If something held by faith could be evidenced by observation, it wouldn't be religion, it would be science. And belief in the absence of evidence or reason is exactly what the great thinkers of all the faiths have defined it as. For example, Aquinas, who talked about faith as belief "which surpasses the whole ability of the human reason" (or, as another Aquinas example, see point 9 here). Certainly a lot of theologians have tried to claim that religious beliefs arise from reasoned thought, as in, if you study the world you see the "fingerprints" of divinity... but virtually all of them then go on to say, "but reason alone cannot lead you to God, you need faith" (as Aquinas does).

And of course the theologians of one religion have condemned other people's religious beliefs as "irrational" while pretending their own are rational. :P Of course they call other people's religious beliefs "superstition, zealotry and fanaticism". They're still doing that today, of course. Just read William Lane Craig (or go into a Christian forum and mention Scientology, RaŽlism or Falun Gong and watch what happens). Pretty much every time a theologian opens their mouth it's the same tune: "my religious beliefs are perfectly rational... everyone else's are irrational." But the fact that theologians claim their beliefs are based on reason does not mean it is true. Every single time their so-called "rational claims" claims get put on the philosophical chopping block, they consistently fail. Don't listen to what theologians say about the quality of their beliefs, listen to their claims and arguments and judge them for yourself. Anyone can claim that they're sane, but that doesn't make it true.

And it was the irrationality of the latter superstitions that gets men like Socrates killed, not the belief in gods themselves.
The beliefs in gods itself is the irrationality. Trying to shift the blame from the beliefs to the fervour of those beliefs is incorrectly letting the beliefs off the hook. It's like saying, "oh it's not the belief in witches that got women murdered, it's the fact that people held those beliefs fervently", which is silly, because without the belief in witches there would be no fervency, and no 'witch murders'.

Offline Sabre

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #241 on: July 28, 2012, 07:32:01 PM »
You are confounding different definitions of the word "reason". When I say "belief without evidence or reason", I am using "reason" in the sense of the "reasoning faculty"; the thing that Kant was talking about in Critique of Pure Reason. You are using "reason" in the sense of "reasonable", or "moderate", or "not extreme or crazy". That's an entirely different thing.

Not at all.  When I say reason or reasonable or rational it is in the context of Classical and Early Modern philosophy, not moderation.  Faith versus Reason is only argued by some theologians in history, not all.  Others, like Averroes, held that faith and reason were one and the same.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #242 on: July 28, 2012, 07:49:49 PM »
Others, like Averroes, held that faith and reason were one and the same.

Dunno who that was, but reading that line...


Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #243 on: July 28, 2012, 07:51:18 PM »
Not at all.  When I say reason or reasonable or rational it is in the context of Classical and Early Modern philosophy, not moderation.  Faith versus Reason is only argued by some theologians in history, not all.  Others, like Averroes, held that faith and reason were one and the same.
No, actually he didn't. Averroes talked about two different ways of finding "the truth": one through philosophy (which would have included what we now consider science, so technically, one through evidence or reason), and one through religion. (See the wiki article on Averroism, "key positions", item 1.)

Granted, Averroes believed that there was only one truth and that philosophy/science wouldn't contradict religion, but he did clearly say that religious thinking was not using reason or evidence. He clearly said that faith and reason were not one and the same, just that they should give the same (or at least non-contradictory) answers.

Offline Sabre

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #244 on: July 28, 2012, 08:12:35 PM »
No, actually he didn't. Averroes talked about two different ways of finding "the truth": one through philosophy (which would have included what we now consider science, so technically, one through evidence or reason), and one through religion. (See the wiki article on Averroism, "key positions", item 1.)

Granted, Averroes believed that there was only one truth and that philosophy/science wouldn't contradict religion, but he did clearly say that religious thinking was not using reason or evidence. He clearly said that faith and reason were not one and the same, just that they should give the same (or at least non-contradictory) answers.

No, that's Averroism, not actually Averroes himself in his views on unicity.  What you're describing is how one branch of Averroists centuries later defined their views of Aristotelianism.  Still, he did mention two ways to the truth.  He did not say this was divided between evidence and religion however but prophesy (revelation) and rationality.  Both of which leads to faith.

Quote
Dunno who that was, but reading that line...

You're missing out.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #245 on: July 28, 2012, 10:48:20 PM »
I appreciate your response Caehlim and it's nice to meet you. Are you saying you think of a monotheistic god much like an unproven theory?

Nice to meet you too.

I hadn't thought of it in those words before but in some ways yes. There's more to it than that though. I see it as not just an unproven theory, but also an outdated one.

A few thousand years ago, people were trying to explain various phenomena and their theory was the existence of a divine entity. Now, thanks to the development of science the phenomena they were trying to explain are understood and the theory is no longer necessary.

Offline Jebble212

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #246 on: July 28, 2012, 11:09:24 PM »
Nice to meet you too.

I hadn't thought of it in those words before but in some ways yes. There's more to it than that though. I see it as not just an unproven theory, but also an outdated one.

A few thousand years ago, people were trying to explain various phenomena and their theory was the existence of a divine entity. Now, thanks to the development of science the phenomena they were trying to explain are understood and the theory is no longer necessary.

But they aren't understood, we still don't know what happens to sentience when a being dies and we still don't know what created everything.

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #247 on: July 29, 2012, 01:11:08 AM »
But they aren't understood, we still don't know what happens to sentience when a being dies and we still don't know what created everything.

That doesn't mean that you should automatically shove 'God' into the missing pieces. The God of the Gaps is slowly losing its ground as more and more of our world and how it functions is becoming less legend and more of scientific fact. A lack of answer for something is not proof a supernatural force who threw this massive universe together, it is merely a question that has yet to be answered.

Offline Jebble212

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #248 on: July 29, 2012, 02:08:51 AM »
That doesn't mean that you should automatically shove 'God' into the missing pieces. The God of the Gaps is slowly losing its ground as more and more of our world and how it functions is becoming less legend and more of scientific fact. A lack of answer for something is not proof a supernatural force who threw this massive universe together, it is merely a question that has yet to be answered.

Correct but as an atheist you assert an answer just as a theist does. Atheists make the assumption there is no god with no evidence to back this hypothesis in the same way a theist makes the assumption of gods existence both require a level of faith to believe one or the other while science favors neither, both are no more probable then the other, supported only by personal opinion and faith based beliefs. The fact of the matter is when it comes down to it you have to figure out which fits into your concept of reality, physics, existence, and make an assumption based solely on faith or your agnostic.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2012, 02:10:43 AM by Jebble212 »

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #249 on: July 29, 2012, 05:27:22 AM »
Correct but as an atheist you assert an answer just as a theist does. Atheists make the assumption there is no god with no evidence to back this hypothesis in the same way a theist makes the assumption of gods existence

Wrong. We don't simply say "There is no God, and we can prove it" then neglect to present evidence. That really baffles me. I'm not the one making a claim here, I have no need to present evidence for something someone else believes in. I'm the one having an idea proposed to me, and not only do I find absolutely zero evidence in favour of the claim, everything I do find points me to the conclusion that the claim is false. And every piece of information someone does send me that could possibly point to a God is either misinterpreted, misrepresented, or outright false, and more often then not, doctored.

My belief that a God, or Gods, of any kind described to me as Anthropmorphic, or even characterized at all, do not exist, is because of my review of presented evidence. It is not my blind assertion.

And really, I think this whole God of the Gaps nonesense is just a fear to admit we don't know. Where do we go when we die? We don't know. We really don't. What's a soul? We don't know. Can we make some stuff up to feel better? Of course! But say goodbye to any chance of finding out the real answer, since we'll have an assuring lie.

And maybe we won't like the answer. Maybe we're just a bunch of electrical impulses that can form complex responses to stimuli received by organs that are the process of millions of years of selective genetic mutations, and upon our bodies expirng we simply stop existing in this personal form we have come to know as ourselves.

And if that really is the answer, then the fact someone don't like it won't change it. That is why I am an Atheist. I give a damn about the truth.