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Featured Theists: what *would* work for an outsider test for faith?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by 9-10ths_Penguin, Oct 25, 2021.

  1. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    Yes. And I'll extend that just a bit further. Intuition and inspiration are in the realm of the heart. I've known things as true through intuition where the rational intellect is not involved. Those who have had the experiences I've had know what I'm writing about. Those who have not will easily think of it as hooey with no basis except belief and sheer guesswork with no logical basis.

    But also when someone is working on paying heed to that intuitive voice as I am, mistakes happen. So questions like the outsider test can be helpful in distinguishing the voice of the heart from the voice of the ego at a certain stage.
     
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  2. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    But even you would have to admit that we also go by actual, verifiable results many times when assessing something like "love," or contemplating whether that abstract is still active/present for our hoped-for/desired target. Things like whether or not their real-life actions toward us demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice or are at least a "step above" a stranger we might pass on the street. We see and react to real-life items like someone turning their cheek away when we try to kiss them, or pulling away when we try to embrace. These are real-world evidential items that the mind mulls over in an attempt to read the situation and produce a viable informational result. You don't just "feel" these things through... you deduce and reason, detect and analyze. You put too little credit in the "real" forms of this evidence and what constitutes feelings, and I feel it is just because you think it sounds good to lean on "the heart" instead. It isn't all "cold and calculating." It is still "feeling" and still what we call "love" etc. that is driving all of it. It's just that it has its roots of activity and results based in the real world... and not in "the realm of love," whatever you think that might be.


    This is sort of a cop out. You know what I mean by having "greater presence" in the world - and I specifically meant that the character exists, walks and talks among us. As in, "God" is actually out there somewhere... not just within a mind or collection of minds.

    In the same way you draw on this "archetypal forms" I could point to "Spongebob Squarepants" and say that he has "greater presence." Though I doubt many people would like their ideas of "God" restricted to the same space that Spongebob inhabits.


    There is a glaring reason those apologists are doing that however. Time and time and time again in more modern times, the utility of updating and investigating and enhancing our knowledge has given us huge leaps in technology, speed of industry and production, faster methods of travel, safer medical environments, better tools, cleaner living conditions, etc. - and people have taken note of this, and it is deemed a good thing to keep yourself "up-to-date." Religion obviously has a problem in this area, as "the best" has supposedly already been "revealed" to us in a lot of religions. The apologists are there to try and ameliorate that situation by making it seem as if the "updates" were already baked in and planned for, or that the situations being presented aren't that far off from what we perceive as "good" in this era due to interpretation.
     
  3. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    Yes, this is good. You are seeing the difference here. I'll share with you something I took the time to type up recently that I found personally helpful to understand these differences. It's a little heady, but if you're interested I recommend his book which is fairly accessible compared with his other works. A brief except from A Social God, chapter 6 by Integral philosopher Ken Wilber, where he explains the differences between Belief, Faith, Experience, and Adaptation:

    Belief

    Belief is the lowest form of religious involvement, and, in fact, it often seems to operate with no authentic religious connection whatsoever. The "true believer" - one who has no literal faith, let alone actual experience - embraces a more-or-less codified belief system that appears to act most basically as a fund of immortality symbols. This can be the mythic-exoteric religion (e.g., fundamentalist Protestantism, lay Shintoism, pop Hinduism, etc.), rational-scientism, Maoism, civil religion, and so on. What they all have in common, when thus made a matter of "true belief," is that an ideological nexus is wedded to one's qualifications for immortality.

    I believe this generates a peculiar, secondary psychodynamic: since one's immortality prospects hang on the veracity of the ideological nexus, the nexus as a whole can be critically examined only with the greatest of difficulty. Thus, when the normal and unavoidable moments of uncertainty or disbelief occur (magic: is this dance really causing rain? mythic: was the world really created in six days? scientistic: what happened before the big bang? etc.), the questioning impulses are not long allowed to remain in the self-system (they are threats to one's immortality qualifications). As a result, the disbelieving impulse tends to be projected onto others and then attacked "out there" with an obsessive endurance.

    ....

    On the more benign side, belief can serve as the appropriate conceptual expression and codification of a religious involvement of any higher degree (faith, experience, adaptation). Here, a belief system acts as a rational clarification of transrational truths, as well as the introductory, exoteric, preparatory "reading material" for initiates. When belief systems are thus linked to actual higher (authentic) religiousness, they can be called, not because of themselves but because of association, authentic belief systems.

    Faith

    Faith goes beyond belief but not as far as actual religious experience. The true believer can usually give you all the reasons he is "right", and if you genuinely question his reasons he tends to take it very personally (because you have, in fact, just questioned his qualifications for immortality). His belief system is a politics of durability. The person of faith, on the other hand, will usually have a series of beliefs, but the religious involvement of this person does not seem to be generated solely, or even predominantly by the beliefs. Frequently, in fact, the person cannot say why he is "right" (faith), and should you criticize what reasons he does give, he generally takes it all rather philosophically. In my opinion, this is because belief, in these cases, is not the actual source of the religious involvement; rather the person somehow intuits very God as being immanent in (as well as transcendent to) this world and this life. Beliefs become somewhat secondary, since the same intuition can be put in any number of apparent equivalent ways ("They call Him many who is really One"). The person of faith tends to shun literalism, dogmatism, evangelicalism, fundamentalism, which define almost solely the true believer.

    Paradoxically, the person of faith is often in great and agonizing religious doubt, which the true believer rarely experiences. The true believer has projected his doubts onto others and is too busy trying to convert them to pay attention to his own inner status. The person of faith, however, begins to transcend mere consoling beliefs and thus is open to intense doubt, which the person frequently takes to be a sign of a lack of faith, which worries him sorely. But this is not usually the case.

    ....

    In fact, the greater the faith-intuition, the greater the doubt. Zen has a profound saying on this:

    Great doubt, great enlightenment;
    Small doubt, small enlightenment;
    No doubt, no enlightenment.

    How different that is from the literal and dogmatic certainty of the true believer.​

    There seems to be only two ways fundamentally to alleviate this doubt and yearning. One is to revert to mere belief and clothes the doubt in more rigid and external forms (i.e., immortality symbols). The other is to act on the yearning and advance to experience.​

    I leave out the sections on Experience and Adaptation, but will add them if you are interested in them. I found the above to be enormously helpful to my understanding in what I have both seen and experienced.

    One thing about being convinced by rational arguments. That only happens if the person is already in a state of willingness to change beliefs. In other words, they have actual faith that allows them to let go of unuseful beliefs. Ironically, I first heard this quote while I was in Bible College. "A man convinced against his will, remains of same opinion still". ;) I more than easily was able to apply that to them and their cognitive dissonances, and ironically that quote allowed me to see through them and their arguments for their beliefs.

    If we understand the differences (as well as relationships) between beliefs and faith as in the above excerpt from Wilber's book, it's clear to see that it's NOT just reason that convines someone of something. They are first and foremost motivated by their heart, and in the case of 'true believers', that is fear. Faith on the other hand allows for changes of belief. And this is why I say, that atheism, the choice to leave a "true believer" position into a state of doubt and skeptism, is actually an act of faith. I know that rattles many to hear that, that you can see the logic of that based on what I explained.

    Here's a brief history of my own atheism I explained yesterday. Understood in the context of what I just posted, it should make a lot more sense: A Serious Question To Self-Proclaimed Atheists ...

    I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts to all of this.
     
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  4. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I don't do this, actually, but please: keep telling me what I think. See how it goes.

    This is only true if God is love and nothing else.

    I don't run into many theists who use the term "God" as nothing more than a label they slap onto an emotion as some sort of aesthetic preference.

    The majority of theists are "victims" as well, it would seem.

    I would say that "irrational" is more "not governed by reason" than it is necessarily "violates reason." The approach to faith you describe would be irrational by my understanding of the term.
     
  5. Link

    Link Well-Known Member
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    If someone can write something like the Quran or on par with it in either eloquence or guidance or it's beauty, or make a chapter of Quran and say it can belong here or there in Quran and take a place in it, I would stop believing. But I'm already sure no one can.
     
  6. AlexanderG

    AlexanderG Active Member

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    A very interesting post. Honestly, I'm fine accepting your definition of faith because that would simply tack on one more definition to the over a dozen other usages the word already has. :D

    I like the idea expressed in your description. However, for me that meaning has always been encompassed in what I mean by "values." Someone can hold the core value that it is best to believe things that are true. Someone else can hold the core value that it is best to believe things that are comfortable. It sounds like you are describing this nature of our beings, of our inscrutable natures, that makes us choose to value something over another thing. It's curious to apply "faith" to that inexplicable determinant, but that's how I interpreted your explanation and it has left me with interesting thoughts to explore.

    Does it take "faith" to believe that the things we value are in fact valuable and worth pursuing? Perhaps. And in that way, perhaps that is precisely the faith that motivates and internally justifies religious people in their comfortable beliefs, as well as that essence of motivation that causes someone to abandon their religious indoctrination because they most value the open-eyed pursuit of knowledge wherever it leads.

    Incidentally, I think this is what morality is based on. We each value things for subjective, maybe inexplicable reasons. Where we can all mostly agree, like valuing human well-being, we can advance those values based on objective facts about reality that dictate which actions will advance or detract from achieving that value. Where we disagree, we can do nothing but convince, coerce, or conflict.
     
  7. Link

    Link Well-Known Member
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    Also if someone can show anything is immoral in Quran definitely, for example, if they can show 100% beyond doubt it teaches slavery or that God allowed it in a century, I would disbelieve in Quran.

    Also, if someone can show flaws in the philosophy of Quran, I would disbelieve too.

    Or if any can show a contradiction or logical flaw in Quran.
     
  8. AlexanderG

    AlexanderG Active Member

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    "If someone can show 100% beyond a doubt that unicorns do not exist, then I will stop believing in unicorns. If someone can show a flaw in my philosophy about unicorns (that they use undetectable magic to power the global water cycle) then I would disbelieve too."

    Do you see the huge flaw in your entire position? You should believe a claim once evidence has established that belief is warranted. You should not accept a claim without good evidence, then only disbelieve it once good evidence can disprove it. Using your approach, anyone can believe any metaphysical claim until that claim is disproven. Humans currently lack the tools to disprove metaphysical claims, so any claim is therefore fair game.

    Your logic justifies your specific metaphysical belief exactly as much as it would justify any other specific belief that contradicts your belief, and this means your reasoning does not actually count as a justification for any belief.
     
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  9. Link

    Link Well-Known Member
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    Part of the philosophy of Quran is actually proofs for God and his Messengers. So the positive proof is made, and if shown not reasonable, then it would disprove Islam, Quran, and Ahlulbayt (a).
     
  10. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    An example of the outsider test for faith: if, say, the Bhagavad Gita met all these tests, would you accept it as true?
     
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  11. robocop (actually)

    robocop (actually) Well-Known Member
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    Meet the missionaries, go to church once, get the Book of Mormon, read it and pray about it.

    There is a promise at the end of the Book of Mormon that if applied guarantees you will believe in our faith.
     
  12. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    This "outsider test of faith" is mislabeled. What it actually is referring to are beliefs, not faith. It's saying that we should treat our own beliefs with the same degree of skepticism that we apply to the beliefs of others when they share them with us. And there is some good sense to this when we are talking about beliefs.

    But it makes no sense in relation to faith. Because faith already acknowledges skepticism. In fact, faith is born of skepticism. Faith is the antidote to our being trapped by our skepticism, into inaction. Faith is choosing to act according to what we hope to be so, even though we know that it may not be so (skepticism).

    Belief, on the other hand, is our presuming ourselves to be right about whatever it is we claim to "believe in". And given the fact that we could be wrong about anything at any time, even when we think we're not, it's important that we learn to apply skepticism to our beliefs. And I agree that it is important. Probably more important to apply skepticism to our own beliefs than to the beliefs of others.
     
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  13. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Sorry - I'm not sure what this has to do with the OP.
     
  14. Link

    Link Well-Known Member
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    If it has positive arguments for itself and those can't be refuted. Yes I would.
     
  15. Link

    Link Well-Known Member
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    Any religion who's philosophy can't be refuted would be correct. In my view, there can only be one correct true religion and hence the philosophy it uses to prove itself would be correct. All others can be refuted.
     
  16. robocop (actually)

    robocop (actually) Well-Known Member
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    Those are how we would demonstrate the truthfulness of our religion to a nonmember.

    Meet the missionaries, go to church once, get the Book of Mormon, read it and pray about it.

    There is a promise at the end of the Book of Mormon that if applied guarantees you will believe in our faith.
     
  17. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Seems like you've misread the OP.

    I'm asking what it would take for YOU to adopt a religion you don't already accept.

    (And then to apply that standard to your own religion)
     
  18. robocop (actually)

    robocop (actually) Well-Known Member
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    Oh... well I'd want to exercise faith in it and see what happens. I have studied many religions.

    This is the test I would use:

    Alma 32:26-43 in the Book of Mormon

    26 Now, as I said concerning faith—that it was not a perfect knowledge—even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.

    27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than adesire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

    28 Now, we will compare the word unto a aseed. Now, if ye give place, that a bseed may be planted in your cheart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your dunbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to eenlighten my funderstanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

    29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.

    30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.

    31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own alikeness.

    32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.

    33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.

    34 And now, behold, is your aknowledge bperfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your cfaith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your dmind doth begin to expand.

    35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is alight; and whatsoever is light, is bgood, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?

    36 Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.

    37 And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.

    38 But if ye aneglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.

    39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your aground is bbarren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.

    40 And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the atree of life.

    41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with apatience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree bspringing up unto everlasting life.

    42 And because of your adiligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the bfruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.

    43 Then, my brethren, ye shall areap the brewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth cfruit unto you.
     
  19. Suave

    Suave Simulated character

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    Pig brains have been kept alive for over 36 hours after the death of the pig's bodies. What if human brains could also be kept alive after the death of the bodies from where they were embodied? What if disembodied minds could be interfaced with power computers connecting disembodied minds to virtual reality worlds? Then who is to say each of us aren't one of these disembodied minds interfaced with a powerful computer by a controller simulating our realities, this being God.



    I concur with Nick Bostrom's reasoning why we are very likely living in a simulated reality.

    Bostrom argues that at least ONE of the following propositions must be true:

    (1) The human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage.

    (2) Any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof).

    (3) We are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.

    Since there is a significant chance that a future generation of technologically advanced post-humans will run ancestor-simulations by powerful computers, then we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.

    Indications we might be living in a simulated reality:

    1. A particle passing through a double-slit behaves as a wave causing an interference pattern when unobserved, but this same particle doesn't create an interference pattern when its path of travel can be determined by an observer. This collapse of the wave-function could be happening in order to save computational resources necessary for our simulated reality.

    2. This mark of intelligence left in our genetic coding might be indicative of an intelligent designer, who may be responsible for the simulation of our reality. Our genetic code's creator has left this mathematical pattern in our genetic code conveying to me the symbol of an Egyptian triangle as well as the number 37 embedded in our genetic code.
    Eight of the canonical amino acids can be sufficiently defined by the composition of their codon's first and second base nucleotides. The nucleon sum of these amino acids' side chains is 333 (=37 * 3 squared), the sun of their block nucleons (basic core structure) is 592 (=37 * 4 squared), and the sum of their total nucleons is 925 (=37 * 5 squared ). With 37 factored out, this results in 3 squared + 4 squared + 5 squared, which is representative of an Egyptian triangle.
    I would not expect there to be a mathematical depiction of an Egyptian triangle stored within genetic coding if it were a naturally occurring phenomenon. The mathematical pattern of the number 37 being used as a key factor for conveying an Egyptian triangle might related to the gematria value of 37 appearing in the Hebrew language of Genesis 1:1.



    [​IMG]


    3. Theoretical physicist Dr. S. James Gates Jr. claims that a certain string theory, super-symmetrical equations describing the nature and reality of our universe, contains embedded computer codes; these codes have digital data in the form of 0's and 1's identical to what makes web browsers function, and they're error-correct codes.



    In conclusion, with the wave-function collapsing in order to conserve computational power of a simulator device, a semantic message in genetic coding, and the computer coding found buried deep within the mathematical equations of super symmetry., seems to me like we are living in a simulation.
     
  20. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    "The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also." - Mark Twain

    Mark Twain quotations - Religion
     
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