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Is Intellectual Honesty a Religious Virtue?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Do any of the world's religions explicitly uphold intellectual honesty as a virtue? If so, please quote where they do that, or explain how and in what manner they do that. Also, why they do that? That is, what value or values do they see in intellectual honesty.
     
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  2. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    I think all of them, in their most scholarly forms, appreciate the intellectual honesty of others, and so do hold it as virtuous (inherent of man). I can't say if they appreciate intellectual honesty in itself, especially where, in itself, it is not a thing.
     
  3. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    Interesting question. I think that faith (in the religious context) is essentially incompatible with intellectual honesty. So I would see the faith based religions as being problematic in terms of intellectual honesty. Intellectual honesty seems dependant on being able to critically analyse our views and beliefs - faith excludes such critical analysis.
     
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  4. Uberpod

    Uberpod Active Member

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    Intellectual honesty cannot occur in the context of willful ignorance.
     
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  5. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    I can think of a couple immediately that makes a point of avoiding it, even if they don't put it quite in those words.

    Intellectual honesty is however valued by most true Dharmic religions. IMO it is made that much more explicit in the Buddhist concept of the Noble Eightfold Path, which as it turns out begin with "Right View", followed by "Right Intention".

    Why? Because we have no honest or effective choice, really. How else could we hope to deserve and build each other's trust and cooperation?
     
  6. Sees

    Sees Dragonslayer

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    I don't see why traditions which place heavy emphasis on truth, honesty, honor, knowledge, etc. would make exceptions for intellectual honesty.

    It's easy to find reference to that all over various religious traditions. How far people carry it and how well they keep to the road is a whole 'nother thing.
     
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  7. lovemuffin

    lovemuffin τὸν ἄρτον τοῦ ἔρωτος

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    "Faith" in the Christian tradition should be taken as meaning something more than just an epistemological category, i.e "belief without evidence". This requires a lot of elaboration but I'd point at authors from Paul Tillich to Gregory of Nyssa in support of the assertion.

    I'm not sure about finding writing on "intellectual honesty" as a virtue in a modern way in ancient Christian writing, but I think honesty in a general sense, and humility which should extend to the epistemic, is found obliquely at least all over the place. Saint Augustine on the interpretation of Genesis is kind of amusing:

    He is certainly saying that where reasoning or experience contradicts a simple interpretation, the interpretation should yield. Regardless of tradition, I don't think intellectual honesty is at all incompatible with a Christian worldview.
     
  8. mainliner

    mainliner no one can de-borg my fact's ...NO-ONE!!

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    Intellectual honesty is an awareness of the truth ....... Which is good in my eyes .

    this means they're intelligent enough to realize there not :)
     
  9. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    Yes, and that is clearly intellectually dishonest - reason is rejected over interpreration of scripture.
    No, but it is incompatible with faith.
     
    #9 Bunyip, Jan 28, 2015
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  10. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    I hate to sound dumb, but what is "intellectual" honesty? What do you mean by that?

     
  11. lovemuffin

    lovemuffin τὸν ἄρτον τοῦ ἔρωτος

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    I disagree. As I said, I suspect the disagreement has to do with how the word is understood. That is, I suspect you are equating faith with "belief without evidence" in a purely epistemological way, in which case I can understand why you consider that incompatible with intellectual honesty, although I think even in that sense it could be argued that one can have faith in full honest awareness of the intellectual status of that belief. But in any case, I think that definition does a poor job of encompassing the religious idea of faith.

    All of that said, I don't actually know exactly why you hold faith to be incompatible with intellectual honesty, so perhaps you could elaborate.
     
  12. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    Intellectual honesty is an applied method of problem solving, characterized by an unbiased, honest attitude, which can be demonstrated in a number of different ways:
    • One's personal beliefs do not interfere with the pursuit of truth;
    • Relevant facts and information are not purposefully omitted even when such things may contradict one's hypothesis;
    • Facts are presented in an unbiased manner, and not twisted to give misleading impressions or to support one view over another;
    • References, or earlier work, are acknowledged where possible, and plagiarism is avoided.
    Source
     
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  13. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    By my understanding, it is being sincere and clear to the best of our abilities when it comes to the ideas we hold and defend.
     
  14. Thana

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    I imagine most of them do. They praise wisdom and honesty but you think for some reason they'd exclude intellectual honesty? A strange theory.
     
  15. gsa

    gsa Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps some faiths can be held with intellectual honesty. Even allegorical or metaphorical versions of Christianity and Islam might meet this standard. In most cases however, "evidence" of belief consists of fabrication, distortion and cheap debate tricks twisted to justify belief. This is the polar opposite of intellectual honesty.
     
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  16. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    Yes, I do so because that is how the bible defines faith.
    Well the biblical definition is poor, sure - but it is all we have.
    Well belief without evidence is not intellectually honest - it is not a position that can be critically analysed. Faith beliefs are not drawn from knowledge, evidence or critical analysis - and are hence not intellectually hnest.
     
  17. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    I could agree with that if you spelled it correctly.
     
  18. lovemuffin

    lovemuffin τὸν ἄρτον τοῦ ἔρωτος

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    It's not at all clear to me why you would believe the Bible is all we have. I might argue about the Biblical understanding more later (I'm not sure it's at all correct to read Greek philosophical ideas about knowledge into it), but the first problem seems more pressing.

    We need to distinguish between "faith" and the content of a specific faith, i.e a set of doctrines. I'm talking about the former. I think it is likely true that there is no intellectually honest way to claim to have knowledge of certain religious dogmas.

    I'm off to bed but I do intend to try to make some of this more detailed
     
  19. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Gosh, I don't know. Every popular faith I know has at least one of those definitions you posted. Cultural faiths probably have more of a humble approach. /Exnayz out the Doore/ Guess this isnt my convo..
     
  20. Bunyip

    Bunyip pro scapegoat

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    It is not clear to me why you are obfuscating. The bible is the difinitive source for defining faith within the context of Christianity.
    Exactly.
     
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