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Religion — Page 126

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 (Edited)

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

religion claims absolutely to know the truth (sometimes in spite of measurements and scientific reasoning), and those truths are immutable - like axioms in a mathematical system.

The Abrahamic religions’ conservative/fundamentalist strains, perhaps, but not their liberal/progressive/reform strains. And I don’t believe this has ever been true for the eastern religions. I mean, would the parable of the blind men and the elephant ever find its way into belief systems claiming absolute truth?

Arrivederci.

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Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

Ok, thanks for pointing out the clarification, and sorry for directing my comment specifically to you. I’ll change my “YOU” to point towards a larger swath of zealous missionaries, you specifically not necessarily included. (although some of your other posts do seem to fit the 2nd sentence - that is, being the lucky bearer of ultimate truth).

Thanks, and apologies, as I realize some of my posts were unclear. And I do in fact believe I am the (very) fortunate bearer of ultimate truth…I wouldn’t be Christian if I didn’t.

BTW, this is exactly why science is not a religion. Scientists do not claim to know the truth; they only argue what they believe to be the current best explanations for things, given the limitations of available measurement technology. Being proven wrong is how science advances. By contrast, religion claims absolutely to know the truth (sometimes in spite of measurements and scientific reasoning), and those truths are immutable - like axioms in a mathematical system.

Certainly, but we don’t claim to know the truth about absolutely everything either. Out of curiosity, what scientific reasoning and measurements do you think contradict Christianity (and specifically Catholicism)?

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RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

Ok, thanks for pointing out the clarification, and sorry for directing my comment specifically to you. I’ll change my “YOU” to point towards a larger swath of zealous missionaries, you specifically not necessarily included. (although some of your other posts do seem to fit the 2nd sentence - that is, being the lucky bearer of ultimate truth).

Thanks, and apologies, as I realize some of my posts were unclear. And I do in fact believe I am the (very) fortunate bearer of ultimate truth…I wouldn’t be Christian if I didn’t.

BTW, this is exactly why science is not a religion. Scientists do not claim to know the truth; they only argue what they believe to be the current best explanations for things, given the limitations of available measurement technology. Being proven wrong is how science advances. By contrast, religion claims absolutely to know the truth (sometimes in spite of measurements and scientific reasoning), and those truths are immutable - like axioms in a mathematical system.

Certainly, but we don’t claim to know the truth about absolutely everything either. Out of curiosity, what scientific reasoning and measurements do you think contradict Christianity (and specifically Catholicism)?

Well, for one, the power of prayer. Scientific studies have repeatedly failed to find any evidence that prayer has any effect whatsoever, while Christianity (and other religions) insist that it does.

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

Author
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 (Edited)

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

Ok, thanks for pointing out the clarification, and sorry for directing my comment specifically to you. I’ll change my “YOU” to point towards a larger swath of zealous missionaries, you specifically not necessarily included. (although some of your other posts do seem to fit the 2nd sentence - that is, being the lucky bearer of ultimate truth).

Thanks, and apologies, as I realize some of my posts were unclear. And I do in fact believe I am the (very) fortunate bearer of ultimate truth…I wouldn’t be Christian if I didn’t.

BTW, this is exactly why science is not a religion. Scientists do not claim to know the truth; they only argue what they believe to be the current best explanations for things, given the limitations of available measurement technology. Being proven wrong is how science advances. By contrast, religion claims absolutely to know the truth (sometimes in spite of measurements and scientific reasoning), and those truths are immutable - like axioms in a mathematical system.

Certainly, but we don’t claim to know the truth about absolutely everything either. Out of curiosity, what scientific reasoning and measurements do you think contradict Christianity (and specifically Catholicism)?

Well, for one, the power of prayer. Scientific studies have repeatedly failed to find any evidence that prayer has any effect whatsoever, while Christianity (and other religions) insist that it does.

I’m curious to know what they looked at specifically in those studies. In Catholicism, we believe a number of things about prayer that may not have been taken into account: (1) prayer is primarily about conforming one’s will to God’s will, not about obtaining favours, (2) intercessory prayer is more effective when one has conformed oneself to God’s will (because one is not praying for something that contradicts God’s will), and (3) that means that if someone decides to pray to God all of a sudden because they need help, God might not answer that prayer because they aren’t really asking because they have faith in a friend, but because they want to avoid pain and suffering.

That being said, I’m not sure I can refute that argument. I will say, however, that if we think of the way a human parent might seem inconsistent to a child, it can be easy to see why God might seem inconsistent from a limited human perspective. For instance, a kid might ask their mom if they can have a friend over on a certain day, and the mother might say no (for example, because she won’t be home and doesn’t feel comfortable leaving another person’s kid with their babysitter), despite having encouraged the kid to be more social and invite friends over more often. It seems inconsistent to the child, but perfectly reasonable from the point of view of the mother.

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RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

Ok, thanks for pointing out the clarification, and sorry for directing my comment specifically to you. I’ll change my “YOU” to point towards a larger swath of zealous missionaries, you specifically not necessarily included. (although some of your other posts do seem to fit the 2nd sentence - that is, being the lucky bearer of ultimate truth).

Thanks, and apologies, as I realize some of my posts were unclear. And I do in fact believe I am the (very) fortunate bearer of ultimate truth…I wouldn’t be Christian if I didn’t.

BTW, this is exactly why science is not a religion. Scientists do not claim to know the truth; they only argue what they believe to be the current best explanations for things, given the limitations of available measurement technology. Being proven wrong is how science advances. By contrast, religion claims absolutely to know the truth (sometimes in spite of measurements and scientific reasoning), and those truths are immutable - like axioms in a mathematical system.

Certainly, but we don’t claim to know the truth about absolutely everything either. Out of curiosity, what scientific reasoning and measurements do you think contradict Christianity (and specifically Catholicism)?

Well, for one, the power of prayer. Scientific studies have repeatedly failed to find any evidence that prayer has any effect whatsoever, while Christianity (and other religions) insist that it does.

I’m curious to know what they looked at specifically in those studies. In Catholicism, we believe a number of things about prayer that may not have been taken into account: (1) prayer is primarily about conforming one’s will to God’s will, not about obtaining favours, (2) intercessory prayer is more effective when one has conformed oneself to God’s will (because one is not praying for something that contradicts God’s will), and (3) that means that if someone decides to pray to God all of a sudden because they need help, God might not answer that prayer because they aren’t really asking because they have faith in a friend, but because they want to avoid pain and suffering.

That being said, I’m not sure I can refute that argument. I will say, however, that if we think of the way a human parent might seem inconsistent to a child, it can be easy to see why God might seem inconsistent from a limited human perspective. For instance, a kid might ask their mom if they can have a friend over on a certain day, and the mother might say no (for example, because she won’t be home and doesn’t feel comfortable leaving another person’s kid with their babysitter), despite having encouraged the kid to be more social and invite friends over more often. It seems inconsistent to the child, but perfectly reasonable from the point of view of the mother.

Regarding your first paragraph, I don’t think that any of that is measurable, so science would have nothing to say about it. That’s convenient – by always couching things in ways that aren’t measurable, religion is thus able to demand faith. And this is why I have a hard time understanding how anyone would go about choosing from amongst the hundreds of religions – all of them require faith, and none of them offer anything tangible on which to give confidence in that faith. Thus most people follow the religion in which their parents raised them, or whichever religion they happen to be exposed to. Isn’t that odd, given that God is supposedly everywhere, one of the religions is supposed to be correct, and yet religions are so localized?

Regarding your second paragraph, I agree with you. However, I don’t think that has anything to do with scientific study of prayer. Studies haven’t shown that the effects of prayer are inconsistent. Rather, science has yet to find any effect whatsoever.

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

Author
Time

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

Ok, thanks for pointing out the clarification, and sorry for directing my comment specifically to you. I’ll change my “YOU” to point towards a larger swath of zealous missionaries, you specifically not necessarily included. (although some of your other posts do seem to fit the 2nd sentence - that is, being the lucky bearer of ultimate truth).

Thanks, and apologies, as I realize some of my posts were unclear. And I do in fact believe I am the (very) fortunate bearer of ultimate truth…I wouldn’t be Christian if I didn’t.

BTW, this is exactly why science is not a religion. Scientists do not claim to know the truth; they only argue what they believe to be the current best explanations for things, given the limitations of available measurement technology. Being proven wrong is how science advances. By contrast, religion claims absolutely to know the truth (sometimes in spite of measurements and scientific reasoning), and those truths are immutable - like axioms in a mathematical system.

Certainly, but we don’t claim to know the truth about absolutely everything either. Out of curiosity, what scientific reasoning and measurements do you think contradict Christianity (and specifically Catholicism)?

Well, for one, the power of prayer. Scientific studies have repeatedly failed to find any evidence that prayer has any effect whatsoever, while Christianity (and other religions) insist that it does.

I’m curious to know what they looked at specifically in those studies. In Catholicism, we believe a number of things about prayer that may not have been taken into account: (1) prayer is primarily about conforming one’s will to God’s will, not about obtaining favours, (2) intercessory prayer is more effective when one has conformed oneself to God’s will (because one is not praying for something that contradicts God’s will), and (3) that means that if someone decides to pray to God all of a sudden because they need help, God might not answer that prayer because they aren’t really asking because they have faith in a friend, but because they want to avoid pain and suffering.

That being said, I’m not sure I can refute that argument. I will say, however, that if we think of the way a human parent might seem inconsistent to a child, it can be easy to see why God might seem inconsistent from a limited human perspective. For instance, a kid might ask their mom if they can have a friend over on a certain day, and the mother might say no (for example, because she won’t be home and doesn’t feel comfortable leaving another person’s kid with their babysitter), despite having encouraged the kid to be more social and invite friends over more often. It seems inconsistent to the child, but perfectly reasonable from the point of view of the mother.

Regarding your first paragraph, I don’t think that any of that is measurable, so science would have nothing to say about it. That’s convenient – by always couching things in ways that aren’t measurable, religion is thus able to demand faith. And this is why I have a hard time understanding how anyone would go about choosing from amongst the hundreds of religions – all of them require faith, and none of them offer anything tangible on which to give confidence in that faith. Thus most people follow the religion in which their parents raised them, or whichever religion they happen to be exposed to. Isn’t that odd, given that God is supposedly everywhere, one of the religions is supposed to be correct, and yet religions are so localized?

Regarding your second paragraph, I agree with you. However, I don’t think that has anything to do with scientific study of prayer. Studies haven’t shown that the effects of prayer are inconsistent. Rather, science has yet to find any effect whatsoever.

This scientific article does a good job explaining the difficulties involved in the scientific study of prayer:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2802370/

It also indicates that all studies to date have been inadequate. Note that the data are far from conclusive. It mentions studies in which the group that was prayed for did in fact show significant improvements compared with the group that was not prayed for (fascinatingly, one study did this with bush-babies). That doesn’t necessarily rule out a placebo effect though.

Wikipedia also has a pretty good article on this, overlapping a lot with the one I mentioned above. Here’s a link to a section on a study that found prayer to have positive effects on people undergoing treatment for AIDS:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_on_intercessory_prayer#Sicher

I think whether prayer is efficacious or not involves too many variables, including many that cannot be quantitatively measured, and as such, I doubt science will ever be able to answer the question.

I understand why you might think this “convenient,” but I don’t think Catholicism is beyond the reach of science. We have things like Eucharistic miracles which can and have been scientifically analyzed. Reason can also be used to determine whether certain philosophical aspects of a given religion make sense or are probable. Then, there is the testimony of hundreds or thousands of people who claim to have had direct experience with the divine (and which, as far as I can tell, is much more reliably documented in Christianity than in other faiths).

As for religions being localized, I don’t think that’s true of Christianity anymore. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_by_country (the Catholic Church is a bit more localized, but if Orthodoxy, which is almost identical, is included, we’ve got most of the world covered).

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Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

Ok, thanks for pointing out the clarification, and sorry for directing my comment specifically to you. I’ll change my “YOU” to point towards a larger swath of zealous missionaries, you specifically not necessarily included. (although some of your other posts do seem to fit the 2nd sentence - that is, being the lucky bearer of ultimate truth).

Thanks, and apologies, as I realize some of my posts were unclear. And I do in fact believe I am the (very) fortunate bearer of ultimate truth…I wouldn’t be Christian if I didn’t.

BTW, this is exactly why science is not a religion. Scientists do not claim to know the truth; they only argue what they believe to be the current best explanations for things, given the limitations of available measurement technology. Being proven wrong is how science advances. By contrast, religion claims absolutely to know the truth (sometimes in spite of measurements and scientific reasoning), and those truths are immutable - like axioms in a mathematical system.

Certainly, but we don’t claim to know the truth about absolutely everything either. Out of curiosity, what scientific reasoning and measurements do you think contradict Christianity (and specifically Catholicism)?

Well, for one, the power of prayer. Scientific studies have repeatedly failed to find any evidence that prayer has any effect whatsoever, while Christianity (and other religions) insist that it does.

I’m curious to know what they looked at specifically in those studies. In Catholicism, we believe a number of things about prayer that may not have been taken into account: (1) prayer is primarily about conforming one’s will to God’s will, not about obtaining favours, (2) intercessory prayer is more effective when one has conformed oneself to God’s will (because one is not praying for something that contradicts God’s will), and (3) that means that if someone decides to pray to God all of a sudden because they need help, God might not answer that prayer because they aren’t really asking because they have faith in a friend, but because they want to avoid pain and suffering.

That being said, I’m not sure I can refute that argument. I will say, however, that if we think of the way a human parent might seem inconsistent to a child, it can be easy to see why God might seem inconsistent from a limited human perspective. For instance, a kid might ask their mom if they can have a friend over on a certain day, and the mother might say no (for example, because she won’t be home and doesn’t feel comfortable leaving another person’s kid with their babysitter), despite having encouraged the kid to be more social and invite friends over more often. It seems inconsistent to the child, but perfectly reasonable from the point of view of the mother.

Regarding your first paragraph, I don’t think that any of that is measurable, so science would have nothing to say about it. That’s convenient – by always couching things in ways that aren’t measurable, religion is thus able to demand faith.

There you go again, painting religion with a broad brush. My personal religion doesn’t “demand” faith; it suggests it as a useful framework through which view the world.

And what do you mean by “faith”, anyway? I define faith as “hope for/trust in something in the face of incomplete (or even imperfect) evidence”. We all practice that to some extent or another. Or are you going with the reductive irreligious definition — “belief without evidence”? In my experience, non-fundamentalist religion outright dismisses such blind faith as valid.

And this is why I have a hard time understanding how anyone would go about choosing from amongst the hundreds of religions – all of them require faith, and none of them offer anything tangible on which to give confidence in that faith.

What counts as “tangible”? Subjective experience? Plenty of believers in whatever religion have those, and I’m certain they’re tangible to whomever experiences them, but I’m sure you don’t find their reports credible. Something objective, then? Hard, physical, scientific/historical evidence for the existence of certain supernatural/religious figures/events? You wouldn’t have need for faith, then; you’d have certainty.

FWIW, I don’t believe hard evidence for God/gods/higher power is forthcoming or will ever be forthcoming. All we’ll ever have is subjective experience and faith, and we’ll have to weigh them in tandem with logic/reason to come to our own individual conclusions.

Thus most people follow the religion in which their parents raised them, or whichever religion they happen to be exposed to. Isn’t that odd, given that God is supposedly everywhere, one of the religions is supposed to be correct, and yet religions are so localized?

All the more reason to finally ditch exclusivism/absolutism and seriously entertain omnism as a valid metaphysical worldview.

Arrivederci.

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I would count as tangible something that is measurable and repeatable under controlled conditions. I cannot understand why a benevolent god would be so cruel as to deny that, while requiring our belief, as a prerequisite to salvation.

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

I would count as tangible something that is measurable and repeatable under controlled conditions. I cannot understand why a benevolent god would be so cruel as to deny that, while requiring our belief, as a prerequisite to salvation.

Personally, I subscribe to process theology. At the heart of process thought is the belief that God is love; not merely loving, but love itself. Love entails freedom — freedom of thought, freedom of choice, freedom of action; God cannot — not “will not”, but “CANnot” — do anything that would limit or deny us that freedom. God can lure us towards a relationship with Them, lure us to follow Their will, but cannot coerce us. IMO, for God to provide us with measurable, repeatable evidence for Their existence would be a form of coercion; with such evidence, we would have no choice but to believe.

Also, because I believe God is love, our belief in Them isn’t required; the only prerequisite to salvation is good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. It’s not a doctrine found in mainstream Christianity, but I’m not a mainstream Christian.

Arrivederci.

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Thanks - I have two questions about “process theology”

  1. is it a religion? (the Wikipedia page isn’t clear)
  2. how does a Christian-based God lure someone towards a relationship when the person comes from a place or culture for which they are not exposed to anything about Christ?

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

Thanks - I have two questions about “process theology”

  1. is it a religion? (the Wikipedia page isn’t clear)
  2. how does a Christian-based God lure someone towards a relationship when the person comes from a place or culture for which they are not exposed to anything about Christ?
  1. No. It’s a theology inspired by Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy. It appears to be mainly held by a minority of Christians (mostly of the liberal and progressive persuasion), but I think it can be compatible with any religion.
  2. Thing is, I don’t believe God is exclusively Christian. I identify as Christian because the imagery and language resonate with me, but I believe God is pluralistic.

Arrivederci.

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Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

I would count as tangible something that is measurable and repeatable under controlled conditions. I cannot understand why a benevolent god would be so cruel as to deny that, while requiring our belief, as a prerequisite to salvation.

What would this look like in your opinion? I gave the example of Eucharistic miracles.

Also, you’re presuming that empirical, scientific knowledge is the only reliable source of knowledge. What about reason? Or intuitive knowledge? You can probably know that someone loves you without scientifically measuring it under controlled conditions. It isn’t as if we believe in God without any sort of evidence whatsoever. We have texts and numerous people throughout history who attest to personal encounters with the divine, including some that speak about God as having revealed himself to us in the person of Jesus. The question isn’t whether we have evidence or not, it’s whether the evidence is convincing enough. It is only in the last hundred years or so that people have begun to see “science” and empirical, testable evidence as the only acceptable form of proof. That’s just bad philosophy.

Christians have believed since the beginning that if someone doesn’t know about or believe in the Christian God but is sincerely seeking the truth, that person will be saved. So God doesn’t necessarily require belief.

As far as process theology goes, that doesn’t sound too different from mainstream Christianity. I would say the main difference is that God could impose his will on us, and does provide us with some degree of empirical evidence in the form of Eucharistic miracles, incorruptible saints, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, etc., but that ultimately, in order to enter into a loving relationship with him, we have to have faith. If God is God, and he gave us empirical evidence directly demonstrating his existence, we would not have faith and would simply know in a more absolute sense that God will always keep his promises. But that’s not how human relationships work. Because we are not gods, we can fail to keep our promises, and every human relationship therefore requires trust and faith that the other person will not turn their backs on us. God wants us to have that same trust and faith, otherwise there will be a certain coercion involved in following him.

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RicOlie_2 said:
… ultimately, in order to enter into a loving relationship with him, we have to have faith. If God is God, and he gave us empirical evidence directly demonstrating his existence, we would not have faith and would simply know in a more absolute sense that God will always keep his promises. But that’s not how human relationships work. Because we are not gods, we can fail to keep our promises, and every human relationship therefore requires trust and faith that the other person will not turn their backs on us. God wants us to have that same trust and faith, otherwise there will be a certain coercion involved in following him.

Right, but again, that’s what pretty much every religion says. How do I pick? How do I know which one is right?

"Close the blast doors!"
Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars

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RicOlie_2 said:

Christians have believed since the beginning that if someone doesn’t know about or believe in the Christian God but is sincerely seeking the truth, that person will be saved. So God doesn’t necessarily require belief.

Now if only the evangelicals would adopt this frame of mind…

Arrivederci.

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Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda said:

RicOlie_2 said:
… ultimately, in order to enter into a loving relationship with him, we have to have faith. If God is God, and he gave us empirical evidence directly demonstrating his existence, we would not have faith and would simply know in a more absolute sense that God will always keep his promises. But that’s not how human relationships work. Because we are not gods, we can fail to keep our promises, and every human relationship therefore requires trust and faith that the other person will not turn their backs on us. God wants us to have that same trust and faith, otherwise there will be a certain coercion involved in following him.

Right, but again, that’s what pretty much every religion says. How do I pick? How do I know which one is right?

No, that’s actually what a minority of religions say: namely, the major monotheistic religions and religions they’ve influenced. Most Eastern religions have no conception of relationship with god (at least not a relationship based on trust and love), and neither do most religious systems indigenous to the Americas, Africa, and Australia, as far as I’m aware. They don’t all emphasize the importance of trust and faith. They don’t all recognize a single higher being.

Christianity is also fairly unique in having documents (many of them independent from each other) dating back to about the time when a divine power is supposed to have revealed himself (to many different eyewitnesses). In Islam, the Qur’an wasn’t written for centuries after Mohammad lived, and he was conveniently the only one who received this divine revelation. Hinduism’s texts evolved and developed over time, but none go back to the time of a divine revelation. Buddhism’s texts don’t go back to Buddha. Most indigenous religions don’t have any such documents to speak of.