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The Virtues of Religious Faith

 
saralynn
 
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saralynn
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27 September 2012 23:43
 

can zen: As you are aware saralynn I’ve been debating/discussing with Nick on that extra-long thread because I too found something fascinating about his devotion to mysticism and I wanted to flush out why he believes in the reality of that kind of metaphysics when he really doesn’t seem to have any personal experience that any of it is real?

He certainly has all the possible categories of exitence “worked out” and he manages to rationalize almost every criticism I’ve made within the context of that imaginary world view which I feel is based almost exclusively on ideas.

I much prefer the mysticism of people like yourself and stardust, at least a real conversation is possible with the both of you . . . and that’s what’s most interesting.

Thanks.  I sort of understand Nick because he and I seem to have similar yearnings which are so strong that they dominate your thinking.  It’s like….“I so much want this to be true that it must be true.”  However,I was never as dogmatic as Nick.  Even at my worst (which would be during my “Emanuel Swedenborg phase”) I was always aware that my religious/philosophic views were based on faith, not fact. He won’t admit that.

Costco was…..Costco.  I did have a bit of fun with a young man in a straw hat who was selling coffee, but otherwise, I was in my ususal fiercely concentrated “Let’s get this done” mode.  One thing cheered me up.  I was the thinnest person there.

 
burt
 
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burt
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28 September 2012 05:40
 
saralynn - 27 September 2012 09:43 PM

[

Costco was…..Costco.  I did have a bit of fun with a young man in a straw hat who was selling coffee, but otherwise, I was in my ususal fiercely concentrated “Let’s get this done” mode.  One thing cheered me up.  I was the thinnest person there.

grin

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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28 September 2012 06:13
 
SkepticX - 27 September 2012 01:52 PM
saralynn - 27 September 2012 01:24 PM

It annoys me that people seem incapable of understanding how friggin’ BEAUTIFUL religious faith can be.


That’s only because they’re always Other Things re-labeled “Religious Faith”. It’s not the beauty of what people choose to label “Religious Faith” that we’re rejecting (partly at least because they provide True Faithâ„¢ cover and false honor/virtue/merit). Quite the contrary. It’s the relabeling of those things to put them into an unfortunate box that distracts from them and serves no apparent purpose other than to confuse things and add some cultural window dressing that we don’t find attractive because of its associations with lots of various nastiness. At least I’d argue that’s what’s going on a lot of the time, rather than what you describe.

This bothers me too. Religion is inextricable from culture in most parts of the world. It’s integrated into our heritage. It’s method pervades and informs every facet of our lives. Its where we come from even if some of us have dispensed with its literal interpretations. I feel absolutely compelled to challenge what I feel are religious abuses of power and the double standards that shelter them. But I hate to see atheism expressed as cultural vandalism and mockery. It’s not helpful to anyone.

 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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28 September 2012 12:58
 

[quote author=“saralynn” date=“1348807395”...yearnings which are so strong that they dominate your thinking.  It’s like….“I so much want this to be true that it must be true.”

There may be a lot going on with this statement.

It may be true for many of us, on both a conscious and subconscious level.

When we’re children, we very much want the santa claus tale to be true, and as we age, we continue to want it to be true, even as it starts to make less and less sense as our understanding of our environment becomes more sophisticated.

Frequently, when faced with fairly conclusive evidence against articles of faith, believers rebut with as statement like “even if that were so, I would’nt want to live in a (world/cosmos) without (challenged article of faith).

Many believers in faith, may simply want their beliefs to be true, even if their common sense suggests that the beliefs are not very believable in light of our understanding of reality.

 
 
eudemonia
 
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eudemonia
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28 September 2012 14:23
 

‘Faith’ is believing the unbelievable to be true. And yes, this is most often because the unbelievable is what we WANT to believe.

Shermer has talked about this for a long time. Our beliefs are formed out of our subjective biases towards what is comfortable, convenient and favorable to our lives.

And as we have discussed here many times, our brains may have evolved this ability as a survival mechanism early on in hominid pre history.

 
 
santhosh
 
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santhosh
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28 September 2012 15:01
 

.

[ Edited: 22 January 2013 05:10 by santhosh]
 
santhosh
 
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santhosh
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28 September 2012 15:43
 

.

[ Edited: 22 January 2013 05:10 by santhosh]
 
Nick_A
 
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Nick_A
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28 September 2012 16:42
 
saralynn - 27 September 2012 09:43 PM

can zen: As you are aware saralynn I’ve been debating/discussing with Nick on that extra-long thread because I too found something fascinating about his devotion to mysticism and I wanted to flush out why he believes in the reality of that kind of metaphysics when he really doesn’t seem to have any personal experience that any of it is real?

He certainly has all the possible categories of exitence “worked out” and he manages to rationalize almost every criticism I’ve made within the context of that imaginary world view which I feel is based almost exclusively on ideas.

I much prefer the mysticism of people like yourself and stardust, at least a real conversation is possible with the both of you . . . and that’s what’s most interesting.

Thanks.  I sort of understand Nick because he and I seem to have similar yearnings which are so strong that they dominate your thinking.  It’s like….“I so much want this to be true that it must be true.”  However,I was never as dogmatic as Nick.  Even at my worst (which would be during my “Emanuel Swedenborg phase”) I was always aware that my religious/philosophic views were based on faith, not fact. He won’t admit that.

Costco was…..Costco.  I did have a bit of fun with a young man in a straw hat who was selling coffee, but otherwise, I was in my ususal fiercely concentrated “Let’s get this done” mode.  One thing cheered me up.  I was the thinnest person there.


Sara, you have it backwards. Having studied the human condition both in the world and in myself it is obvious that it is a mass of contradiction and chaos. Seeing this isn’t a matter of faith but hust having the courage and need to look with conscious attention and detachment. The blind belief of secularism suggests that the human condition is something normal and can be different from what it is through critical thinking. Only blind belief could adopt such an attitude

 
goodgraydrab
 
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goodgraydrab
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28 September 2012 17:20
 
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 02:42 PM

Sara, you have it backwards. Having studied the human condition both in the world and in myself it is obvious that it is a mass of contradiction and chaos. Seeing this isn’t a matter of faith but hust having the courage and need to look with conscious attention and detachment. The blind belief of secularism suggests that the human condition is something normal and can be different from what it is through critical thinking. Only blind belief could adopt such an attitude

I know you think you’ve said something profound here, but I think you’ve only managed to confirm the adage believing in believing as one of your characteristics. While you attempt to portray an idealized vision of human behavior, your fear and contempt of/for humanity just keeps shining through. That perceived minority is probably not as small as you think. Your tactics are no different than the other theistic ones because it’s all you have left (eg, disparage science and reason in an attempt to equalize your deficiencies, etc). All you and the other anti-atheists here can do is try to pawn off your beliefs as better than others’ beliefs, while ignoring the distinction between belief and knowledge and failing to accept it as such. Secularism is a powerful tool that helps guard against the reign of blind belief such as yours. Religion and philosophy doesn’t require the strong objective criteria that science demands, that’s why it’s your chosen favored genre in which to speak. It allows you the illusion that you’re getting away with something on equal terms.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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28 September 2012 17:54
 

It’s puzzling to me that religious people and their sympathizers persistently criticize their secular counterparts for unreasonable certainty or faith. As if one needed faith to neglect subscription to some claim.

First, because the secular people I interact with virtually never describe themselves this way. Nor do they behave as if they are certain. People who grasp skepticism in an intellectually honest way are self critical FIRST.

Second… isn’t faith a good according the faithful? Does faith immediately turn from virtue to vice when it services a different idea? If that’s true than faith really isn’t a good in and of itself. It’s simply a matter of picking the right narrative.

 
BobD3623
 
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BobD3623
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28 September 2012 17:58
 
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 02:42 PM
saralynn - 27 September 2012 09:43 PM

can zen: As you are aware saralynn I’ve been debating/discussing with Nick on that extra-long thread because I too found something fascinating about his devotion to mysticism and I wanted to flush out why he believes in the reality of that kind of metaphysics when he really doesn’t seem to have any personal experience that any of it is real?

He certainly has all the possible categories of exitence “worked out” and he manages to rationalize almost every criticism I’ve made within the context of that imaginary world view which I feel is based almost exclusively on ideas.

I much prefer the mysticism of people like yourself and stardust, at least a real conversation is possible with the both of you . . . and that’s what’s most interesting.

Thanks.  I sort of understand Nick because he and I seem to have similar yearnings which are so strong that they dominate your thinking.  It’s like….“I so much want this to be true that it must be true.”  However,I was never as dogmatic as Nick.  Even at my worst (which would be during my “Emanuel Swedenborg phase”) I was always aware that my religious/philosophic views were based on faith, not fact. He won’t admit that.

Costco was…..Costco.  I did have a bit of fun with a young man in a straw hat who was selling coffee, but otherwise, I was in my ususal fiercely concentrated “Let’s get this done” mode.  One thing cheered me up.  I was the thinnest person there.


Sara, you have it backwards. Having studied the human condition both in the world and in myself it is obvious that it is a mass of contradiction and chaos. Seeing this isn’t a matter of faith but hust having the courage and need to look with conscious attention and detachment. The blind belief of secularism suggests that the human condition is something normal and can be different from what it is through critical thinking. Only blind belief could adopt such an attitude

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING.  It is painfully obvious, your disgust with critical thinking…because that is about the most non-sensical jibberish I have seen in a long time.  Not only have you openly insulted yourself….you have also insulted the human race in general.  None the less…it seems obvious that you believe in a god of some sort…let’s for one moment assume god does exist. What do you suppose god was thinking that made him realize he needed to create us? It’s a simple question.

 
BobD3623
 
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BobD3623
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28 September 2012 18:02
 
Brick Bungalow - 28 September 2012 03:54 PM

It’s puzzling to me that religious people and their sympathizers persistently criticize their secular counterparts for unreasonable certainty or faith. As if one needed faith to neglect subscription to some claim.

First, because the secular people I interact with virtually never describe themselves this way. Nor do they behave as if they are certain. People who grasp skepticism in an intellectually honest way are self critical FIRST.

Second… isn’t faith a good according the faithful? Does faith immediately turn from virtue to vice when it services a different idea? If that’s true than faith really isn’t a good in and of itself. It’s simply a matter of picking the right narrative.

Great point.  And there are as many narratives as there are individual imaginations.

 
santhosh
 
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santhosh
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28 September 2012 18:02
 

.

[ Edited: 22 January 2013 05:09 by santhosh]
 
Nick_A
 
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Nick_A
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28 September 2012 18:09
 
bobd3623 - 28 September 2012 03:58 PM
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 02:42 PM
saralynn - 27 September 2012 09:43 PM

can zen: As you are aware saralynn I’ve been debating/discussing with Nick on that extra-long thread because I too found something fascinating about his devotion to mysticism and I wanted to flush out why he believes in the reality of that kind of metaphysics when he really doesn’t seem to have any personal experience that any of it is real?

He certainly has all the possible categories of exitence “worked out” and he manages to rationalize almost every criticism I’ve made within the context of that imaginary world view which I feel is based almost exclusively on ideas.

I much prefer the mysticism of people like yourself and stardust, at least a real conversation is possible with the both of you . . . and that’s what’s most interesting.

Thanks.  I sort of understand Nick because he and I seem to have similar yearnings which are so strong that they dominate your thinking.  It’s like….“I so much want this to be true that it must be true.”  However,I was never as dogmatic as Nick.  Even at my worst (which would be during my “Emanuel Swedenborg phase”) I was always aware that my religious/philosophic views were based on faith, not fact. He won’t admit that.

Costco was…..Costco.  I did have a bit of fun with a young man in a straw hat who was selling coffee, but otherwise, I was in my ususal fiercely concentrated “Let’s get this done” mode.  One thing cheered me up.  I was the thinnest person there.


Sara, you have it backwards. Having studied the human condition both in the world and in myself it is obvious that it is a mass of contradiction and chaos. Seeing this isn’t a matter of faith but hust having the courage and need to look with conscious attention and detachment. The blind belief of secularism suggests that the human condition is something normal and can be different from what it is through critical thinking. Only blind belief could adopt such an attitude

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING.  It is painfully obvious, your disgust with critical thinking…because that is about the most non-sensical jibberish I have seen in a long time.  Not only have you openly insulted yourself….you have also insulted the human race in general.  None the less…it seems obvious that you believe in a god of some sort…let’s for one moment assume god does exist. What do you suppose god was thinking that made him realize he needed to create us? It’s a simple question.

Nothing is more insulting than realism. If you want proof just try telling an attractive woman that she would be even more attractive if she dropped five pounds. Then try getting her pants off and see how far you get.

If you want to get ahead in either politics or with women as a whole, avoid realism like the plague. It isn’t wanted. Image rules the world.

You ask a simple question but the answer requires being open to the purpose and necessity of creation. So you can see, it isn’t a simple answer.

 
Nick_A
 
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Nick_A
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28 September 2012 18:20
 
stardust91977 - 28 September 2012 04:02 PM
Nick_A - 28 September 2012 02:42 PM
saralynn - 27 September 2012 09:43 PM

can zen: As you are aware saralynn I’ve been debating/discussing with Nick on that extra-long thread because I too found something fascinating about his devotion to mysticism and I wanted to flush out why he believes in the reality of that kind of metaphysics when he really doesn’t seem to have any personal experience that any of it is real?

He certainly has all the possible categories of exitence “worked out” and he manages to rationalize almost every criticism I’ve made within the context of that imaginary world view which I feel is based almost exclusively on ideas.

I much prefer the mysticism of people like yourself and stardust, at least a real conversation is possible with the both of you . . . and that’s what’s most interesting.

Thanks.  I sort of understand Nick because he and I seem to have similar yearnings which are so strong that they dominate your thinking.  It’s like….“I so much want this to be true that it must be true.”  However,I was never as dogmatic as Nick.  Even at my worst (which would be during my “Emanuel Swedenborg phase”) I was always aware that my religious/philosophic views were based on faith, not fact. He won’t admit that.

Costco was…..Costco.  I did have a bit of fun with a young man in a straw hat who was selling coffee, but otherwise, I was in my ususal fiercely concentrated “Let’s get this done” mode.  One thing cheered me up.  I was the thinnest person there.


Sara, you have it backwards. Having studied the human condition both in the world and in myself it is obvious that it is a mass of contradiction and chaos. Seeing this isn’t a matter of faith but hust having the courage and need to look with conscious attention and detachment. The blind belief of secularism suggests that the human condition is something normal and can be different from what it is through critical thinking. Only blind belief could adopt such an attitude

Nick,

Talk about blind belief. You insist that someone from beyond space-time and all things is the author of the laws of nature. You say that you have studied the human condition in the world and yourself and realized that it is a mass of contradictions and chaos as though the rest of us have missed that fact.  You ignorantly suggest that the human condition is abnormal and that only blind belief could adopt such an attitude.

Dude, listen. If you’re going to suppose to speak for or down to this secularist or about secularists, you’d better be finding something more to bring to the table than your idols. I’m not just talking about objectively verifiable evidence, but spriitual evidence that does more than reek of superstition.

Start with square one. How do you define the human condition? Maya Angelou may describe its effects here but what creates it and why does it follow the path of “darkness into darkness and that darkness carpeted” rather than seeing the light? She wrote:

    “I am always talking about the human condition and about American society in particular: what it is like to be human, what makes us weep, what makes us fall and stumble and somehow rise and go on from darkness into darkness and that darkness carpeted”

 
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