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Featured Are you closed minded?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by charlie sc, May 7, 2019.

  1. Jollybear

    Jollybear Hey

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    God does exist.
     
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  2. charlie sc

    charlie sc Well-Known Member

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    The counter was just to see who would answer the question. If you answered the question in this reply, I’m sorry to say, I can’t tell.
     
  3. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    How would you know if you've never had faith?

    You are judging people who claim they have faith by the standards of reason. That's unreasonable.
     
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  4. charlie sc

    charlie sc Well-Known Member

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    How certain are you? Absolutely or varying degrees of uncertainty and certainty?
     
  5. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Well-Known Member
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    I agree that if ones certainty is absolute, then the mind is closed. I am uncertain how it could be otherwise, given that possessing absolute certainty automatically rules out all other possibilities.

    I am fairly certain that I am uncertain and see my belief in God is based on faith a not on objective evidence. Any personal experiences I have had, are isolated to me, and, while I can relate these, I cannot establish them objectively so that another can weigh them and determine the validity of my belief. I cannot be absolutely certain that my interpretation of those experiences is correct. Hence the belief based on faith.

    Does God exist? I believe so. I do not know with absolute certainty though. I could be wrong.
     
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  6. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    Agreed. I define open-mindedness as the ability and willingness to consider a compelling argument and be convinced, closed-mindedness being the opposite. Closed-mindedness is typical of faith-based thought. Here are several fine examples:

    [1] "The way in which I know Christianity is true is first and foremost on the basis of the witness of the Holy Spirit in my heart. And this gives me a self-authenticating means of knowing Christianity is true wholly apart from the evidence. And therefore, even if in some historically contingent circumstances the evidence that I have available to me should turn against Christianity, I do not think that this controverts the witness of the Holy Spirit. In such a situation, I should regard that as simply a result of the contingent circumstances that I'm in, and that if I were to pursue this with due diligence and with time, I would discover that the evidence, if in fact I could get the correct picture, would support exactly what the witness of the Holy Spirit tells me. So I think that's very important to get the relationship between faith and reason right..." - William Lane Craig

    That prominent Christian apologist is telling you that his mind is closed for business because of his faith, or choice to believe something whatever the evidence for or against it may be. He's telling you that even if he is wrong and evidence that would confirm that fact to an open mind is presented to him, it will have no impact on him. He is determined not to allow it to.

    Then there's this from another prominent theologian :

    [2] The moderator in the debate between science educator Bill Nye and Christian creationist Ken Ham on creationism as a viable scientific field of study asked, "What would change your minds?" Nye answered, "Evidence." Ham answered, "Nothing. I'm a Christian.” Elsewhere, Ham stated, “By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record."

    That is what faith is and does. It perverts reason. It distorts clear thinking. Craig and Ham are both unreasonable. Worse, they consider their position a virtue, as if there is any virtue in simply choosing to believe something in the face of contradictory evidence. How is that more virtuous than choosing to stick a knife in your eye?

    Here are a few more. :

    [3] “If somewhere in the Bible I were to find a passage that said 2 + 2 = 5, I wouldn't question what I am reading in the Bible. I would believe it, accept it as true, and do my best to work it out and understand it."- Pastor Peter laRuffa

    [4] “When science and the Bible differ, science has obviously misinterpreted its data. The only Bible-honoring conclusion is, of course, that Genesis 1-11 is actual historical truth, regardless of any scientific or chronological problems thereby entailed.” –American young Earth creationist and co-founder of the Creation Research Society and the Institute for Creation Research Henry M. Morris

    [5] “As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate” – creationist Kurt Wise

    [6] “Creationist students, listen to me very carefully: There is evidence for evolution, and evolution is an extremely successful scientific theory. That doesn't make it ultimately true, and it doesn't mean that there could not possibly be viable alternatives. It is my own faith choice to reject evolution, because I believe the Bible reveals true information about the history of the earth that is fundamentally incompatible with evolution. I am motivated to understand God's creation from what I believe to be a biblical, creationist perspective. Evolution itself is not flawed or without evidence. Please don't be duped into thinking that somehow evolution itself is a failure. Please don't idolize your own ability to reason. Faith is enough. If God said it, that should settle it. Maybe that's not enough for your scoffing professor or your non-Christian friends, but it should be enough for you.” source

    Every one of these theologians is telling us the same thing : their minds are fixed, and even if they are wrong and there is convincing evidence that they are wrong, they will not consider it.

    And by way of contrast, in addition to Bill Nye's comment above, here's a fine example of what open-mindedness looks like. :

    "We're not two sides of the same coin, and you don't get to put your unreason up on the same shelf with my reason. Your stuff has to go over there, on the shelf with Zeus and Thor and the Kraken, with the stuff that is not evidence-based, stuff that religious people never change their mind about, no matter what happens ... I'm open to anything for which there's evidence. Show me a god, and I will believe in him. If Jesus Christ comes down from the sky during the halftime show of this Sunday's Super Bowl and turns all the nachos into loaves and fishes, well, I'll think ... "Oh, look at that. I was wrong. There he is. My bad. Praise the Lord." - Bill Maher

    How many times has a theist complained that we atheists are closed-minded because we remain atheists after their arguments for a god? But open-mindedness is not the willingness to believe, which is a definition of faith, but only the willingness to consider and be convinced by a sound case of some sort. An open-minded person is free to reject the argument on its lack of merit.

    I'm an agnostic atheist and offer no estimate about the likelihood that gods that don't want to be found or cannot be experienced exist. I wouldn't know how to estimate that.

    Other kinds of gods can be ruled out, however, such as gods said to possess mutually exclusive qualities at the same time. One popular god is said to be perfect, yet still made an error that it regretted and attempted to correct. Like the married bachelor, this is a logical impossibility. There may be perfect gods, and there may be imperfect gods, but there are none that are both in the same sense at the same time.

    I think that you are referring to what is sometimes called philosophical doubt, which unlike psychological doubt, is understood more than felt. One doesn't really feel uncertain about the reality of the world implied by our perceptions, but once one has understood Descartes' argument that he has no way to step outside of his sphere of consciousness to see what it is he is conscious of and confirm that its not all the machinations of a deceptive demon, or in a more modern formulation, that we aren't really brains in a vat having artificial conscious experience, he understands that there is room for doubt. He understands the limits of his knowledge and acknowledges a small measure of philosophical doubt.
     
    #26 It Aint Necessarily So, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  7. charlie sc

    charlie sc Well-Known Member

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    Lol, are you saying you do not know how certain you are?

    I’m pretty sure you can determine what’s illogical using logic. Equally, you can determine what unreasonable using reason. Are you saying faith is not reasonable?
     
  8. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    It doesn't seem useful to me to paint those who have confidence and certainty with a pejorative like "closed minded." If however, being certain of my values, confident in my reasoning ability, and experienced means I am "closed minded" on the subject of the gods, so be it. When you understand gods are that which a person or culture deems worthy of worship, you also come to understand that each person or culture gets to decide what the gods are (or aren't) for them. That decision is part of their values, their reasoning, their experiences, and is not up for debate. It is what it is. Cultures frequently disagree with one another on what is (and isn't) worthy of worship but if we aim to be respectful of cultural diversity, it behooves us to accept that if a culture says "these are gods for my people and these aren't" instead of overwriting that with our own narratives.

    It should go without saying that anything a culture deifies exists beyond a reasonable doubt for that culture. It's part of why asking "do gods exist" is such a pedantic and uninteresting question. People don't deem something worthy of worship if it doesn't exist for them. Far more interesting questions include "can you provide some insight on why these things are gods for your culture?" and "how do you worship your gods?" or "do gods serve as models for human virtues in your culture?" and so on. If being more interested in those types of questions also means I am "closed minded" about the subjects of the gods, so be it as well.

    For those who think there's such a problem with certainty, consider for a moment the problems of uncertainty, or analysis paralysis: never asking more questions because you're still finding the answer to the first one. Personally, I find that extremes of either sort - certainty or uncertainty - are folly. Both have equal measure of pitfalls. Be certain of the things you deeply value. Be uncertain of the things you do not care about. And for everything else, apply a measure of caution and make decisions as needed to move forward in life.
     
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  9. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    I am certain that I have experienced things.

    As to what exactly happened, in some cases
    I really do not know. I have memories that
    do not coincide with anything that others
    can confirm, or that really make sense.
     
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  10. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    And how do you "know" that?
     
  11. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    I'm a believer who is fairly certain (but not entirely certain) God does not exist outside of the human psyche.
     
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  12. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    As long as "god" shares all the same
    characteristics of non existence as other
    non existent things, like unicorns, mermaids
    and batgoy, I guess I will go on not believing.

    Actually, god is worse off in this regard, for lo.
    there'd be nowhere near as many versions of
    unicorns as of "god".
     
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  13. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    I dont know...I think you may be onto something here...
     
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  14. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    No, I am not absolutely certain of anything including whether God exists or not. Yes, I believe an apophatic God exists, and Theistic Revelation, but the reality is from the fallible human perspective we do not know. The only thing I am relatively certain of is the ancient anthropomorphic God(s) of Judaism and Christianity, and ancient polytheistic beliefs, do not exist.
     
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  15. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    If I understand you correctly, that is where I think God evidences some "objective" superiority as an imaginal being...the persistence of God in many forms, in many cultures and all equally so very important to so many people while being simultaneously so not demonstrably real in any physical sense.
     
  16. Samantha Rinne

    Samantha Rinne Active Member

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    Most of the atheists I've met have not been soft atheists or mild agnostics. They have gone out of their way to try to convince me that I'm crazy or stupid, that I'm the one with the closed mind while I accept something that seems initially to be nonexistent which takes an actualy amount of faith, or they keep tallies like Atheists:4, Theists: 2. Yes, mild agnostics apparently keep tallies on questions or whatever it was.

    Yet, somehow, I'm supposed to say "Ohhh, okay, this is not aggressive or bullying behavior." And of course, getting fired from your job because you wish someone Merry Christmas or refuse to bake a cake (when you have a private business which should be able to make its own decisions, and the other people went 9+ states over to come tell you what to do (from Massachusetts but went to have a reception in Colorado)), isn't being bullied either. Sensible people, at this point ought to be able to say "sod off" at that point, but of course, I might be being close-minded if I say that. Or maybe I have a right to my own opinion. So you know what I'm gonna tell you to do next. I'm gonna tell you to sod off. If theists and atheists are to live together, they need to stop calling the other inbred or deplorable or whatever, and start respecting that someone has a different opinion. I'm fine with you being an atheist, so long as you don't try to foist your political ideals on me. Are you? No? Then you're the one who is close-minded.
     
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  17. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    Yes.

    I think of faith as a "Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof." Reason is a totally different means of acquiring knowledge.

    You and I aren't capable of faith but both of us are capable of intuition. Our sense of fairness is intuitive. It's not something we can always explain reasonably. Social scientists know that this sense is intuitive but when subjects can't explain their judgments reasonably the researchers wrongly conclude that intuition is undependable. They are mistakenly judging intuition by the standards of reason. You're making the same mistake with faith.

    I don't know that genuine faith actually exists but I can't say that it doesn't simply because my mind isn't capable of it.
     
    #37 joe1776, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  18. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    No I am not absolutely certain that God exists, though I believe I have good reasons for my beliefs.
     
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  19. Nimos

    Nimos Active Member

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    But whether you ask "do gods exist" or "can you provide some insight on why these things are gods for your culture?" are basically the same question just phrased differently? To answer the first one "do gods exist?" you would most likely draw on insights of what things in ones culture are considered gods to explain it.

    But if you skip such question, your assumption would always be from a starting point that Gods do exist. Which as I understand by the OP, is what is meant by being close minded. How your Gods might cause your culture to behave, whether that is positive or not, is how you make sure that it stays ignorant in regards to reality.

    For instant, sacrificing to the Gods in hope for better seasons is done based on the assumption that Gods do exist, therefore it makes sense to sacrifice to them. But as this fails there are basically two ways it can go:

    1. A culture might not think that their sacrifice was good enough, so they throw in some more people or whatever they think pleases the Gods, and if it helps they might become even more ignorant.

    2. They become less ignorant and realise that maybe the person that decided to try to added extra water to the dry fields had a point as his plants seem to grow well. And over time less likely to sacrifice stuff to the Gods rather than just adding more water.

    So at some point, as more and more things seems less connected to sacrificing to the Gods, the question of whether they actually want sacrifices in the first place become relevante, which eventually leads to the question of whether they even exist or not, so it seems like a reasonable question to ask. I think.
     
    #39 Nimos, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  20. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    Ok here goes. By the way I enjoy reading your posts.

    I am absolutely 100% certain God exists.

    So go ahead and label me closed minded. Lol.
     
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