Preachers about God

 
dottyeq70
 
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dottyeq70
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30 September 2015 18:56
 

Those who have read my short essay “What is God,” at:

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/god.htm


might be interesed in God-related conceptual difficulties of some preachers, quoted at: 

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/god2.htm

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia).

Please share these links with those who might be interested.

 
saralynn
 
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saralynn
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23 October 2015 12:30
 
Ludwik - 30 September 2015 04:56 PM

Those who have read my short essay “What is God,” at:

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/god.htm


might be interesed in God-related conceptual difficulties of some preachers, quoted at: 

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/god2.htm

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia).

Please share these links with those who might be interested.

At first, I groaned when I saw what a long post you provided, but when I read it, I thoroughly enjoyed it..  You write in a style that “common folk”, like me, can understand, which is appreciated because philosophical concepts such as you describe in your essay are often discussed by scholars who are only read by other scholars.

I especially enjoyed your chapter on Reconstructivist Judaism

It also made me feel like something other than a dimwit for believing in an intelligence of some sort which can possibly be incorporated into our understanding of the Universe.  Of course,  I use the word “understanding” with humility.

My husband was a physics major in college and I remember how we both were excited by the possibility of cold fusion.  I thought the proposal was officially debunked, so it interests me that scientists are reassessing the idea..

Thanks, Ludwig

 
dottyeq70
 
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dottyeq70
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23 October 2015 13:22
 

THank you for the comment, Saralynn.

 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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23 October 2015 15:11
 

Cool post, I must have missed this when you first posted it in September.

And here is another questionable statement: “When Moses confronted God, he asked Him His name. ‘I am what I am,’ God replied. The Jew cannot know what God is, only that God is and what God wants.” This seems to contain a contradiction. To believe that God spoke to Moses means to know that God is a human-like creature, who confronts, replies, thinks, speaks and wants.

 

Are you familiar (I’m thinking yes, you probably are,) with the historical Christian debate over the dual vs. single nature of God and Jesus? Now that I’m reading more Eastern philosophy I see there is a similar debate there, although it’s framed in terms of “the nature of mind”. It seems people have been pulling their hair out over reconciling this apparent contradiction for eons. I don’t know what this says about theology but I think this may point to something about psychology. There is a balance to be maintained there, between the logical consequences of duality (will to power) and singularity (inertia) and maybe an ideal way to hold that. These days I am fond of the more Buddhist interpretation, i.e.: “Possessing such calm and self-control you are fit to dwell among the Sunaparantans. Now it is time to do as you see fit.” To me this speaks to developing proper understanding and outlook first, from which ‘right action’ follows; vs. a crusading mentality where we lead with action in our daily lives and let that create a kind of piecemeal understanding or framework as we go. If people want to frame that as “knowing God first” and whatnot, I actually think that’s fine and even a good thing, although it’s not necessarily the vocabulary I would use.

 

At the end of the section I see the following statement: “Atheism, then, is rationally no more (and apparently a good deal less) convincing an answer to the mysteries of human existence and the universe than belief in God.” I think that the authors did not properly validate this claim. Scientists, both theists and atheists, have successfully studied many mysteries of the universe, and of human existence. Why is the role of science not even mentioned in the context of rational analysis of mysteries? Some theologians are scientists and some scientists are theologians, at least to some extent.

 

Saralynn, cover your eyes - I’m going to talk about the damn teapot again. But seriously, I like how this frames the idea of how we “know what we know”. Some people say studying God scientifically is like studying flying teapots or spaghetti monsters. The response to this tends to be that billions of people don’t believe in flying teapots or spaghetti monsters. The response to this tends to be that the majority of people used to think the Earth was flat. My response to this would bet that this should tell us something - most people believed the Earth was flat because it clearly appears flat when you’re walking around on it from the vantage point of a human. This intuition does not tell us something about the Earth, exactly, but it tells us something about a human beings relationship to the Earth at the scale at which we live - a relationship that was consistent and uniform enough to give rise to similar intuitions across vast populations of people. That part does not apply the the spaghetti monster or teapot, and I think it tells us something, although I’m agnostic as to what.

 
 
Poldano
 
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Poldano
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25 November 2015 05:01
 
Niclynn - 23 October 2015 01:11 PM

Cool post, I must have missed this when you first posted it in September.

...

Some people say studying God scientifically is like studying flying teapots or spaghetti monsters. ...

Studying anything at all is studying God. The hardest part is to avoid generalizing from a limited data set.

 
 
saralynn
 
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saralynn
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25 November 2015 10:55
 
Poldano - 25 November 2015 04:01 AM
Niclynn - 23 October 2015 01:11 PM

Cool post, I must have missed this when you first posted it in September.

...

Some people say studying God scientifically is like studying flying teapots or spaghetti monsters. ...

Studying anything at all is studying God. The hardest part is to avoid generalizing from a limited data set.

I wish we had a “like” button to rate comments by people.  I would give you 20 “likes” for this one….

 
sojourner
 
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25 November 2015 12:04
 
Poldano - 25 November 2015 04:01 AM

Studying anything at all is studying God. The hardest part is to avoid generalizing from a limited data set.

 

Generalizing from a limited data set seems to me to be one of the great philosophical problems of life in general though, no? This is why the logic of Buddhism makes sense to me, even if it comes to some pretty wild conclusions. I.e., the idea that being a human at all is simply a state wherein you have agreed upon certain parameters for data selection and interpretation (from the vast swirling void of ‘stuff’ around us) that more or less agree with the criteria of other humans - but in many ways is not particularly ‘ultimately true’.


Even within humanity, it seems that both the source of our conflict and the source of our individuality comes from the fact that we, once human, must (for practical purposes) limit our data set even more to be an individual human. Reading Joshua Greene, it is interesting to me to see how this concept seems to apply in fairness judgements. In studies, pretty much all humans want to be fair, a priori (again - shared human perception) but even when subjects are motivated to be as fair as possible in experiments, if they are exposed to particular information beforehand (i.e., that favors one side or another) then they will instantly show bias in that direction - again, even when they are motivated by experimental conditions to try and be as ‘fair’ and ‘accurate’ in their guesses as possible.


It seems to me that the best we can hope for is to understand this equation, to some degree. I was reading Maajid Nawaz on “grievance narratives”, for example, and it occurred to me that pretty much every organized group or every individual has its “grievance narratives”, unless you strive to eliminate that completely a la something like Buddhist thought (an example from a sutra):

“Lord, there is a country called Sunaparanta. I am going to live there.”

“Punna, the Sunaparanta people are fierce. They are rough. If they insult and ridicule you, what will you think?”

“If they insult and ridicule me, I will think, ‘These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don’t hit me with their hands.’ That is what I will think, O Blessed One. That is what I will think, O One Well-gone.”

“But if they hit you with their hands, what will you think?”

“...I will think, ‘These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don’t hit me with a clod.’...”

“But if they hit you with a clod…?”

“...I will think, ‘These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don’t hit me with a stick.’...”

“But if they hit you with a stick…?”

“...I will think, ‘These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don’t hit me with a knife.’...”

“But if they hit you with a knife…?”

“...I will think, ‘These Sunaparanta people are civilized, very civilized, in that they don’t take my life with a sharp knife.’...”

“But if they take your life with a sharp knife…?”

“If they take my life with a sharp knife, I will think, ‘There are disciples of the Blessed One who — horrified, humiliated, and disgusted by the body and by life — have sought for an assassin, but here I have met my assassin without searching for him.’ [1] That is what I will think, O Blessed One. That is what I will think, O One Well-gone.”

“Good, Punna, very good. Possessing such calm and self-control you are fit to dwell among the Sunaparantans. Now it is time to do as you see fit.”

 

...but then, people complain that Buddhism is not life-affirming or individuality-affirming or whatever. It seems to me that liberalism is the alternate solution to this problem, then - an awareness that, no matter how real it seems to us, we are all wrapped up in our own particular brand of craziness, and the best we can do sometimes is to see if we’re applying equal rules and consequences to every one of those mini-schemas or paradigms.


Good morning. This is todays Deep Thought by Niclynn Handy.