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The Virtues of Religious Faith

 
santhosh
 
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santhosh
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23 November 2012 15:54
 

.

[ Edited: 22 January 2013 04:28 by santhosh]
 
saralynn
 
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saralynn
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23 November 2012 18:53
 

unsmoked: Fallaces Sunt Rerun Species

The scene:  Hemingway, Evonne, Simone and Frank are at the Restaurant de Petit Trianon, opposite the railway station, for breakfast.

Hemingway:  (handing menu to waiter)  Simone, today you should let Evonne take you to the hairdresser.

Evonne:  (her cigarette is now in a long silver holder; she kicks Hemingway under the table)  What a perfectly horrid man!  (hands waiter her menu)  First he orders an onion sandwich for breakfast and then he starts making beastly American remarks!

Simone:  It’s rerum not rerun.

Hemingway:  Meaning what?

Simone:  (touching her hair)  Last night you said “Fallaces sunt rerun species.”

Hemingway:  Last night?  Jesus Christ.

Frank:  Erny, why do you pick on Simone?

Evonne:  Exactamente!  (gets up and goes around table, crouches and puts her arm around Simone)  I love your hair.  (takes Simone’s hand and kisses it)  Let’s go shopping today and leave these two rustres.

Hemingway:  Look!  The red radish again!

Frank:  Let’s all go to the circus.

Hemingway:  (ignores Frank’s suggestion and lights one of his stogies, dramatically shaking the match)  Everyone needs a little friendly advice.  What are friends for?  Simone could be attractive.

Evonne:  (stands, bends to kiss Simone’s cheek)  Oh!  What can we expect from someone who shoots beautiful things and puts their heads on his wall?

Simone:  (taking Evonne’s hand)  I’m alright with him.  I didn’t expect anything else?  Tonight, can I come and see your performance?

Frank:  Excellent!  We’ll all go!

(a waiter comes and whispers in Hemingway’s ear, hand him a menu)

Hemingway:  Fuck!  (studies menu, and thrusts it back)  Okay.  Pastries!  Whatever the rest of them are having!  Put something in my coffee!

Waiter:  (raising his eyebrows)  Monsieur?

Evonne:  (in French)  A little nip in his coffee.  Bourbon.  Anything.  (waiter bows slightly and leaves).  It’s because he’s Hemingway.  Anyway, no, you can’t all come to my performance.  It’s private.

Hemingway:  (laughing and snorting)  Ha ha.  Private.  You should see the Germans!  I saw Ribbentrop with sherry running from the corner of his mouth!  Priceless!

Evonne:  Alright.  I’ll dance for Simone.  (kisses Simone again and returns to her seat)  Frank, bring lots of money.  With Hemingway there, they’ll evict some Germans.

Get yourself to Hollywood.  I will give you a reference.

 
Nick_A
 
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Nick_A
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03 December 2012 19:28
 

I started a thread in philosopy forums where I posted an article on Internet atheism and why it is so nasty.

http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7627&p=111396#p111396

Project Reason is a good example. But the point is that there are people who can contribue to the question without the emotional denial which seems so prevelant.

Regulars here seem to acquire a feeling of prestige through nastiness and yet others are capable of discussion appreciating the futility of nastiness. I hope you find your way as meaningful as I find impartial reason. As Steve wrote:

“I think anonymous communication via the internet brings out the worst in people in lots of ways. Not just on the subject of religion. A great many discussions on all sorts of subjects in online forums degenerate into trading insults. It’s sad, and very difficult to avoid. Most people find it very difficult to ignore abuse.

I think the main effect of this is to discourage the open and honest expression of opinion and self-doubt, which is an essential characteristic for anybody seeking to learn something. It encourages people to rush to opposite absolutist positions and simply assert their own positions.”

 
ChaosRules
 
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ChaosRules
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04 December 2012 15:01
 

Wow, Steve said that? He’s obviously an expert like yourself. Maybe I’ve been going about this Internet thing all wrong. Did you get Steve’s autograph?

I actually read that page you linked. Nice use of the Simone Weil quotes, Monsieur One-trick-pony.

I know I’m exemplifying the archetype that you are protesting against. Is it irony or authentic? It’s hard to tell since you’re such an easy target.

[ Edited: 04 December 2012 15:07 by ChaosRules]
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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31 July 2018 13:18
 

Religious “faith” as openness to the ideal possibilities in human existence and “God” as “the unity of all ideal ends arousing us to desire and actions”—what Dewey called the religious dimensions of life—has hardly done anyone any harm, except when the tendency gets deified into belief in supernatural sanctions and imperatives, perhaps the bane of all that is religious, falling as it does into established religion.  Harris himself gets close to this distinction between the religious and religion with his idea of spirituality without God, and it seems to me that faith properly understood gets at it too; that understood as religious devotion to the unification of the real and the ideal, faith is not just a virtue, but perhaps the highest moral virtue.  In any case, once purged of the supernatural it is a necessary virtue for anyone who believes in an uplifting moral life, something Harris misses completely with his faith-as-belief-without-good-reason shtick.  For contra Harris, faith is better understood as belief without the need for reasons, and as such it compasses not just “God” as above conceived, but love as well.  For who needs good reasons to love—who bases their love on those reasons—as opposed to just faith in the act of loving itself?  Why not see faith as akin to love, as belief in this moral unification, a belief that needs no reason other than itself, a belief oriented toward “God” not as supernatural but as all that is good and ideal in this, our only existence?

[ Edited: 31 July 2018 14:02 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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31 July 2018 14:04
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 31 July 2018 01:18 PM

Religious “faith” as openness to the ideal possibilities in human existence and “God” as “the unity of all ideal ends arousing us to desire and actions”—what Dewey called the religious dimensions of life—has hardly done anyone any harm, except when the tendency gets deified into belief in supernatural sanctions and imperatives, perhaps the bane of all that is religious, falling as it does into established religion.  Harris himself gets close to this distinction between the religious and religion with his idea of spirituality without God, and it seems to me that faith properly understood gets at it too; that understood as religious devotion to the unification of the real and the ideal, faith is not just a virtue, but perhaps the highest moral virtue.  In any case, once purged of the supernatural it is a necessary virtue for anyone who believes in an uplifting moral life, something Harris misses completely with his faith-as-belief-without-good-reason shtick.  For contra Harris, faith is better understood as belief without the need for reasons, and as such it compasses not just “God” as above conceived, but love as well.  For who needs good reasons to love—who bases their love on those reasons—as opposed to just faith in the act of loving itself?  Why not see faith as akin to love, as belief in this moral unification, a belief that needs no reason other than itself, a belief oriented toward “God” not as supernatural but as all that is good and ideal in this, our only existence?

Nice post.  (I bolded my favourite part.)

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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01 August 2018 01:59
 
Jan_CAN - 31 July 2018 02:04 PM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 31 July 2018 01:18 PM

Religious “faith” as openness to the ideal possibilities in human existence and “God” as “the unity of all ideal ends arousing us to desire and actions”—what Dewey called the religious dimensions of life—has hardly done anyone any harm, except when the tendency gets deified into belief in supernatural sanctions and imperatives, perhaps the bane of all that is religious, falling as it does into established religion.  Harris himself gets close to this distinction between the religious and religion with his idea of spirituality without God, and it seems to me that faith properly understood gets at it too; that understood as religious devotion to the unification of the real and the ideal, faith is not just a virtue, but perhaps the highest moral virtue.  In any case, once purged of the supernatural it is a necessary virtue for anyone who believes in an uplifting moral life, something Harris misses completely with his faith-as-belief-without-good-reason shtick.  For contra Harris, faith is better understood as belief without the need for reasons, and as such it compasses not just “God” as above conceived, but love as well.  For who needs good reasons to love—who bases their love on those reasons—as opposed to just faith in the act of loving itself?  Why not see faith as akin to love, as belief in this moral unification, a belief that needs no reason other than itself, a belief oriented toward “God” not as supernatural but as all that is good and ideal in this, our only existence?

Nice post.  (I bolded my favourite part.)

Hey Jan, thanks.  That’s my favorite part too.  It’s based on my intuition that the love my wife and I enjoy is hardly the product of, much less established by, reason; that though evident in our behavior, our faith in each other isn’t based on “evidence” or “reasons”.  That and the fact that the Christians I know (and respect) would endorse “God is love” before they endorsed “God is a superhuman, supernatural being that grants my prayers,” a notion I’ve read about but don’t encounter in real life—or haven’t, at least, since talking with the evangelicals that were just emerging on campus while I was in college.  And damn, even they were only adolescents at the time…

[ Edited: 01 August 2018 02:12 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
SkepticX
 
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SkepticX
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01 August 2018 06:33
 

Just a note ...

The criticism of faith isn’t about non-problematic versions (or flat out re-definitions) of faith ... not usually anyway. Many do go overboard of course.

Finding or illuminating a version of faith that’s not problematic doesn’t make the more traditional and deeply harmful religious version go away. Thinking it does, consciously or otherwise, would constitute a fallacious equivocation.

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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01 August 2018 08:47
 

Finding or illuminating a version of faith that’s not problematic doesn’t make the more traditional and deeply harmful religious version go away.

No, it doesn’t make it go away.  Adolescent forms of religion will be with us long as there are adolescents.  And there are a lot of adolescents..

Thinking it does, consciously or otherwise, would constitute a fallacious equivocation.

It would, but it would be an equivocation no more fallacious, I think, than Harris’ repeated assertion that the fundamentalist and scriptural literalist is the most intellectually honest of the religious; that religion boils down, in the end, to their adolescent understanding of faith and God.  He has repeatedly said that attempts to make religion about more than propositional truth claims about the supernatural are specious or—his favorite slam—“intellectually dishonest.”  But I think Harris is the one with the equivocation problem, and it’s been pointed out to him many times.  Faith is much more to most believers than belief in propositional truth claims about the supernatural, beliefs maintained, that is, without good reasons.  This is true of the non-adolescent ones, in any case, and those, I think, are the ones we should be asking about when we ask: what does it mean to be religious, and what is religion?

[ Edited: 01 August 2018 09:11 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
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