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Featured Critically Questioning the Reasonableness of Beliefs

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by leibowde84, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. leibowde84

    leibowde84 Veteran Member

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    Many times I see people on RF share their beliefs, but when met with criticism, scrutiny, or honest inquiry, they get defensive. As we learn more and more about the cosmos, it is inevitable that some of our deeply held beliefs about the nature of reality will be challenged or even dismissed entirely as silly.

    Now, obviously people are free to believe whatever they want. They are also free to refuse to provide explanations or the reasoning behind said beliefs. That being said, if you willingly state your belief on a discussion/debate forum like RF, you should be willing and able to defend/explain those beliefs with a reasoned argument. If it is based on mere subjective experience that is unverifiable, just say that. If it is based on comfort or mental well-being, say that. But, is it OK to refuse to explain, saying "you can believe whatever you want, and I don't have to convince you"? To me, it is disrespectful. Obvious in everyday life, that is a perfectly fine answer, but to willingly participate in a debate forum but refuse to actually defend your position rationally seems to be ridiculous.

    For me, I am not here to learn about what others believe. I can pick up a book or read about different religions on my own. On RF, I am most interested in WHY people believe the things they do. Do they scrutinize their own beliefs? If not, why not? Etc.

    What are your thoughts?
     
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  2. Tumah

    Tumah Veteran Member

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    There seems to be a presumption here that learning about the cosmos will inevitably eventually lead to the disproving of religion.
     
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  3. leibowde84

    leibowde84 Veteran Member

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    No, just certain beliefs. There are people who hold contradicting beliefs, and they are both valid as we haven't figured out the true explanation as of yet. The more we learn, it seems inevitable that those explanations will be discovered and one party's beliefs or both will be proven incorrect.
     
  4. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    I think one of the attributes of a solid, healthy religion is its affinity to questioning and to being questioned, deep and often.

    Among other reasons, because a main factor for said relevancy is good awareness of actual issues and their implications.
     
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  5. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Shrugs. I tried.

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    Very good post. Are you asking posters tonlist Why they believe what they do or comment on your observation?
     
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  6. leibowde84

    leibowde84 Veteran Member

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    Just to comment on the point raised in the OP. But, I have no issue with it being broadened in that way. Thanks, btw.
     
  7. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    I've heard this so many times that it has not only begun to sound ridiculous, but has become so. I am an atheist and therefore don't believe in god. But I have gone one step beyond that; I don't believe that human beings can possess the properties of god. One of those is omniscience.

    I don't believe I am omniscient and can therefore "know" everything about a belief system. I cannot really know why people follow it, as it is the complex product of our personal history. I cannot imagine every moment in history, understand every culture or see beyond the limits our of science. just because we can reduce every argument to the point of absurdity does not make them absurd. having followed scepticism into the depths of nihilism,I now know that there are things I will not know. I am so small and insigificant, that even if I spent my entire life studying the cosmos, it will still be an infintesimally small fraction of what can be known (assuming it is even finite).

    human beings are animals. our rationality is only a small part of who we are. the faculty of reasoning and language is still a relatively recent part of our evolutionary story. before that time, we were governed by instinct, and we still are. If I believe someone is sincere in their beliefs, I accept that and move on. its only when we start to understand the consequences of people's actions that these beliefs gain significance. their is an economy on knowledge, reason, time and effort. Most of us have inherited most of our beliefs and knowledge from other people, whether it be our parents, our freinds, our teachers or even the media.

    having tried desperately to change my own beliefs based on reason, I have instead found that that is limited too. instead I've had to learn how to overcome nihilism by accepting I cannot know everything and that I can and should let go. I believe in what works, but I struggle to believe in any more than that.

    I'm not quite sure how that answers your question, but I have developed something that closely resembles faith, without it ever actually being religious. I don't think that by knowing something I can necessarily change it. So I've stopped wanting an insatiable appitite for knowledge. whats left is the space for wisdom, and I have come to value that more.

    this forum is accessed by thousands of people every day. we can't always ask them why and not all of them will know the answer anyway. And I'm ok with that.
     
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  8. Gambit

    Gambit Well-Known Member

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    I wholeheartedly agree.

    Please explain how you rationally justify what are clearly two mutually exclusive beliefs (which are listed below).

    1) Your belief that God is the creator
    2) Your belief that God is not metaphysically required to account for the creation

    Also, please explain how you rationally justify your "agnosticism" with your "theism." (The term "agnostic theist," which you chosen to publicly share with us as your religious identity, appears to be an oxymoron.)
     
    #8 Gambit, Jan 20, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  9. leibowde84

    leibowde84 Veteran Member

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    Fair enough. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  10. Covellite

    Covellite Active Member

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    I like what you said about the main purpose of RF. We all can read books and find information about any religion if we want to.
    Modern science and religions are so different, it's an absurd even try to defend religious believes using science. I wouldn't limit science only on space researches. Religion is based on the belief in a god or in a group of gods and science is knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation. So, two very different things. Religion - learning about something we can't observe, science - learning about something we can observe.
    Many people don't know, for example, that Isac Newton was more an alchemist then a scientist. But, that was long time ago, when science existed in non-technological world, when society was religious and science was only a kind of exotic activity. In our days, we live in a complex world, more atheistic then ever. Science is not what made our world today dominantly atheistic, it's a complexity and a nature of our everyday life.
    Some people start to believe or start to change there's believes after having unexplained experience, like NDE, visions, astral travel, seeing aliens, angels, demons, etc.
    I would love to hear more from RF members there's personal experiences with there's religions, there's believes, doubts, journeys, stories to tell, etc.
     
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  11. leibowde84

    leibowde84 Veteran Member

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    These are not mutually exclusive beliefs. I BELIEVE that God is the creator, but, because I don't see God as being Metaphysically necessary, I understand that I could be wrong.

    This is based on subjective experience that I fully realize are unverifiable and unreliable. My faith helps me in my every day life, and my relationship with God feels real to me. But, again, subjective experience is unreliable, so I would never claim to "know" any of this for sure.
    This can be answered pretty simply. Our scientific understanding is so minimal, and science is such a new endeavor for humanity that we cannot reasonably make assumptions about what is and is not "natural". Whether or not we will be able to explain the origin of all existence scientifically has yet to be determined, and, honestly, we aren't even close. I'm certainly not a big fan of metaphysics, as I find it to be a distraction (like Hume), but I don't discard it altogether. I believe that God is the creator, not out of logical necessity, but, instead, because I feel as if I have a personal relationship with him. I also understand that, because scientific inquiry as a practice is so new, we truly have no way of knowing the limits of scientific discovery.

    In short, because we don't have any way of knowing whether God is necessary for the universe we live in to exist, I cannot claim that God is metaphysically necessary. That doesn't mean that I don't believe in God, though. So, you are incorrect in your claim that these are mutually exclusive positions. Obviously, my mind is open to both God not existing and God not being necessary in any way.

    If you find it to be an oxymoron, it is because you don't understand what the term "agnostic" means. Here is what the term means in this context:

    Agnostic: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable (from Merriam Websters Dictionary).

    Theist: a person who believes in the existence of God or deities.

    While I BELIEVE that God exists, I strongly feel as though that KNOWLEDGE of God is unknowable. Anyone who claims knowledge is, in actuality, expressing a strongly held belief. This is due to the unreliable nature of subjective experience.
     
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  12. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    My thoughts are that if someone refuses to explain something, saying "you can believe whatever you want, and I don't have to convince you" then fine, I'll keep that in mind for the next time you want to discuss an issue or point, and simply stay away. There are far too many other good posters here who do want to "Discuss, Compare and Debate Religions." to waste my time with someone who will cut bait and run whenever the going gets rough.

    .
     
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  13. Parsimony

    Parsimony Well-Known Member

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    Right. It is quite possible to believe that X caused Y without believing that X is the only possible cause of Y. If a sidewalk is wet, I could say that I believe that the wetness was caused by rain, but also admit that it could conceivably have also been caused by a burst water main under the street, by a garden hose, by some kids who just got done playing with water balloons, etc. One could argue why they believe rain is the best explanation, but that doesn't automatically exclude other possible explanations. Same with belief in God.
     
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  14. leibowde84

    leibowde84 Veteran Member

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    Exactly!
     
  15. Gambit

    Gambit Well-Known Member

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    This is complete and utter nonsense. The belief that God is creator and the belief that God is not metaphysically necessary in order to account for the creation are two mutually exclusive beliefs.

    This is an unreasonable argument according to your own standards, because you have argued here and elsewhere that we cannot rely on subjective experiences to justify a belief.

    You're making (even if it is unwittingly) an unreasonable argument for scientism. You clearly do not understand the limits of the scientific method (even though I have repeatedly explained them to you.)

    You're just repeating the same nonsense you have argued previously in this thread and elsewhere.

    I do know what "agnostic" means. Here's the most widely used definition of term.

    This is why I stated in my previous post that the phrase "agnostic theist" APPEARS (this is a key word here) to be a oxymoron. Because a person who does not have a definite belief about the existence of God would not qualify as a theist (someone who does have a definite belief about the existence of God).

    Knowledge has been traditionally defined In epistemology as justified belief. I would argue that the vast majority of theists believe that their belief in the existence of God is justified. (I certainly believe that my belief in the existence of God is justified.)

    Merriam-Webster defines "faith" as "strong belief or trust in someone or something." Based on that definition, I think it is fair to say that your belief in the existence of God does not actually qualify as faith. Why? Because your belief (by your own admission) is not strong. In fact, it is quite the opposite; it is very weak.
     
    #15 Gambit, Jan 20, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  16. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    For better or worse, many around here are acclimated to providing such explanations, and then the other party refusing to acknowledge or truly listen to that explanation. Openly stating "non-rational" reasons in particular is, unfortunately, often not acknowledged or listened to, all too often mocked and disrespected, and generally disregarded as "not good enough."

    I was just chatting with @Carlita about this in another thread - about the cultural tendency to hyper-rationalize to the point we rob experiences of their enchantment. There's some of that too. And for those of us who aren't simply hyper-rational thinkers, we don't always appreciate what seems to us as an interrogation session. It is never enough to go "but I just like it." The rationalizer will go "but why do you like it?" Apparently, "just because" is not enough It's not enough to sensually live in the moment, to feel like the emotional, organic creatures we are, and just go with it

    Don't get me wrong - as someone who sometimes hyper-rationalizes themselves, I get the appeal of that. But sometimes, enough is enough. I just want to sit down and enjoy the damned movie and for others to shut up and quit asking pointless questions that ruin it for me. The meaningfulness we weave into our lives is like art - it has inexplicable qualities to it. And if we rob it of those qualities by constant interrogation, we destroy its beauty.



    A reminder, perhaps. We should not think we can understand a religion by reading about it in a book. To me, one of the best things about RF is to be able to ask actual practitioners what they do. We are all, after all, individuals, and functionally a religion of one. I'm not sure how one could even approach asking the why people practice what they practice without learning about what they practice. Pardon... "believe." You seem focused on that for some reason. Why is that? Also, why do you care why people do what they do anyway? Why does that matter?
     
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  17. DawudTalut

    DawudTalut Peace be upon you.

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    Peace be on you.
    Agree.


    Agree.

    Agree.

    Agree.


    IMHO, both parties can tell each other about their positions then after some exchanges, somewhere it is good to stop as at the end it is the choice. There is no fail or pass. It is between human and God.


    For example, It is almost everyday observation here that some people try to connect current terrorist happenings in the world with the origin of Islam. They insist Islam began with violent attitudes.......Various Muslims try to prove it was not so, it began humbly, when early adherents increased, wars were imposed on them by neighboring super powers. Then in latter times things became political and dynasties took over. Corruption crept in Muslim governments. But torch of real Islam remained alive through Oliya of Allah [Friends of Allah -- Godly people] who went place to place and by the Reformers [Mujjadedeen] --- and the great arrangement of revival of Islam in latter days by grand Reformer.

    Agree.

    Narrowing it to Islam:
    =Masses in Muslim countries love Allah and Holy Prophet (pbuh) at "belief level" ......But at the "do level" they are in grip of clergies, many of these clergies have political affiliations with external / proven funding.
    =This problem has become so huge that one after one, Muslim countries are collapsing.

    If masses scrutinize they shall find, no religion is terrorism.
    Especially Muslims masses shall find:
    =It is the promised-in-Islam era, with lot of troubles.
    =A promised Reformer was foretold to them as solution, to come and re-establish Islam.
    =When he came, he was accepted by some [continue to grow as Ahmadiyya Muslim community www.alislam.org under his Khilafat by grace of Allah the Exalted]......It is essential for masses to think independently.
    =All the blessings which Islam presents, are found in Ahmadiyya-Islam.....Thus to say, origin of Islam was violent thus Ahmadiyya-Peace is irrelevant is not right.....Ahmadiyya-Muslims in 208 countries have shown Islam is the only alive religion now with one peaceful Khalifah, and it has continuous blessings of peace for all people in world when they come in contact with this version of real-Islam.

    These were my humble thoughts.

    Good wishes.
     
    #17 DawudTalut, Jan 20, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
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  18. leibowde84

    leibowde84 Veteran Member

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    Again, you are incorrect. The issue you raise is overcome by the fact that I recognize I could be wrong. I believe in God, but I also believe in time we might understand that the universe could have arisen through natural processes. So, while I believe God created the cosmos, I don't believe that we have enough scientific understanding to be certain that God is the only option.

    Actually, I explicitly stated that it is perfectly acceptable to admit that one's belief in God is based on subjective experience rather than a justified rationale. I did say that, if one claims to have a rationally justified belief in God's necessity and existence, they should be willing to defend that claim with a reasoned argument. I have made no such claim, and only speak to the reasoning for my belief when questioned about it.

    Wrong again. You would be correct if I was claiming that science WILL be able to explain the origins of the universe, but I made no such claim. I merely understand that it is far to early in scientific development to assume to know the limits of the scientific method. Thus, my claim is that it is a possibility that science MIGHT be able to provide an explanation some time in the future. So, by definition, I am not arguing for scientism. You, on the other hand, claim to know the limits of the scientific method, yet merely point to other peoples (scientists) unsubstantiated claims as support. Remember, there are no authorities in science.

    Right back at ya, slick. You constantly do the same thing, imho. But, I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

    I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you understand the fact that terms often have multiple meanings. I provided the meaning of the term in the context I am using it, but I'll do it again now.

    Agnostic: "a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable" (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agnostic)

    This is the meaning of the term that the man who coined it intended. While many people use the meaning you claim, many others use this as well. You don't get to invalidate an accepted meaning of a term, as you are not the authority on "agnosticism". The meaning I am using is found in the same dictionary source you used. I even provided the link.

    Not sure how you got confused on this. I provided the meaning of the term "agnostic" as I am using it, and I took that definition from the same dictionary you cited. The term has multiple meanings.

    Here is the most commonly used definition of the word "knowledge". This is what the term means in the context I am using it.

    Knowledge: "facts, information, understanding, or skill that you get from experience or education." (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/knowledge)

    Because my faith in God is based on my own subjective experience, and I understand that subjective experience left unverified is unreliable, I don't see my belief in the existence of God as knowledge. And, it certainly qualifies as trust, for even though I understand that my subjective experience is unreliable and I don't have verifiable evidence for God's existence, I still trust that God exists.
     
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  19. viole

    viole Ontological Naturalist
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    duplicate
     
    #19 viole, Jan 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  20. viole

    viole Ontological Naturalist
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    So, God is a live option because of a gap of our knowledge?

    Ciao

    - viole
     
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