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Tarrou

Tarrou's avatar

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:02 pm
Berezi Wrote:
It was supposed to be. You make me happy.

Aw, stop. You'll make me blush.

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For me, personally, I was afraid that maybe those who say there is no God are right. Maybe they were right and we don't need God to explain everything, and so His existence is unnecessary. Maybe faith and science couldn't go together. For others I know, it is simply a fear of being criticized, and for others, it's a fear of becoming godless. But these are all not good enough reasons, for if God is who Christians think Him to be, then He is more than an explanation for things and faith and science must be compatible, because He is not deceitful.

Yes, that does make sense. If you come at evolution assuming that it's a godless theory, then it does set up the expectation that understanding it would destroy one's faith. It's a shame, really, that science is set up by some as faith-destroying because it conflicts with a literal biblical exegesis. Still, we on my side of the philosophical divide do have to take some responsibility for that paradigm: our thinking is not always as ecumenical as it ought to be, and sometimes we lack diplomacy.

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I personally agree. Though I'm probably not as much of an empiricist as you, I refuse to ignore what's in front of me. And in it, I see something very telling of God - who is able to take chaos and turn it into something glorious. And the implications of that stretch far beyond the origin and sustaining of living organisms into our own lives.

It certainly bespeaks a God of greater intellect and imagination than does a literal reading of Genesis, doesn't it?

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Sweet. I mean, I think it's interesting, too. I haven't thought deeply about the distinctions between the two, admittedly because I don't see the need since the end result is the same - a perpetual lack of knowledge which may or may not eventually go away.

Yeah, it doesn't really change anything, does it? Still, it might turn out to be of some consequence somewhere in the future; maybe I just don't have the philosophical framework to plug it into yet. But for now it just struck my fancy, I suppose.

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I probably should have said that I accept, rather than get, the 'omni' bits, logical odd spots and all, because ultimately they create a distance from God in my mind. And that distance is not illogical to me (even if what makes God seem distant is). At least in my experience, when we talk about the 'omni' things, we talk about them insofar as they make God less like us humans. If God had any common sense (by my standards, anyway) He'd leave us humans alone. Thankfully, He doesn't have what I would call common sense and chooses to be a God of relationships. Rather than let the 'omni' things create a distance between us and Him, He chooses to get right up and close with every person that will let Him. That leaves me more confused than the 'omni' things themselves.

Descartes argued that, as limited beings, we could not come up with ideas like omnipotence on our own and, as such, God had to have put them there. I've always thought that we came up with thoughts of omni by recognizing our own limitations and then imagining their corresponding opposites. Either way, it certainly does highlight our fundamental removal from existence as experienced by God insofar as his infinite nature is in some sense diametrically opposed to ours. And then it does seem curious that such an alien being would be so intimately involved in human affairs. A Greek philosopher (I forget which) once posited that, as a perfect being, God could only concern himself with his own perfection; to think about imperfect beings would be to allow imperfection into himself and thus make him imperfect, too. And yet your perfect God is very much interested in us imperfect creatures. Yes, I can see why that seems odd.

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As for the logical odd spots, I have to wonder if any answer is good enough. I haven't found one that satisfies me, since they're all lacking somehow, and some of them make God sound like a complete jerk (which He's not, based on experience).

Well, as I said, there are two options: to believe that God's attributes are beyond our understanding (ineffability) or to believe that the definitions we use to describe God are flawed and/or meaningless (theological noncognitivism). Suffice it to say, the latter choice doesn't really work so well for the faithful.  
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:58 pm
Tarrou Wrote:

Yes, that does make sense. If you come at evolution assuming that it's a godless theory, then it does set up the expectation that understanding it would destroy one's faith. It's a shame, really, that science is set up by some as faith-destroying because it conflicts with a literal biblical exegesis. Still, we on my side of the philosophical divide do have to take some responsibility for that paradigm: our thinking is not always as ecumenical as it ought to be, and sometimes we lack diplomacy.

=P Well, about the only way I can think of to change that is to be responsible. I've got the faith angle and you've got the not faith angle.

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It certainly bespeaks a God of greater intellect and imagination than does a literal reading of Genesis, doesn't it?

I think so. But I was thinking more along the lines of putting a whole new twist on God being the sustainer of everything.

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Yeah, it doesn't really change anything, does it? Still, it might turn out to be of some consequence somewhere in the future; maybe I just don't have the philosophical framework to plug it into yet. But for now it just struck my fancy, I suppose.

Yay.

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Descartes argued that, as limited beings, we could not come up with ideas like omnipotence on our own and, as such, God had to have put them there. I've always thought that we came up with thoughts of omni by recognizing our own limitations and then imagining their corresponding opposites.

Why does that sound like Plato?

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Either way, it certainly does highlight our fundamental removal from existence as experienced by God insofar as his infinite nature is in some sense diametrically opposed to ours. And then it does seem curious that such an alien being would be so intimately involved in human affairs. A Greek philosopher (I forget which) once posited that, as a perfect being, God could only concern himself with his own perfection; to think about imperfect beings would be to allow imperfection into himself and thus make him imperfect, too. And yet your perfect God is very much interested in us imperfect creatures. Yes, I can see why that seems odd.

Yeah, don't ask me to explain it, though. I have no clue how.

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Well, as I said, there are two options: to believe that God's attributes are beyond our understanding (ineffability) or to believe that the definitions we use to describe God are flawed and/or meaningless (theological noncognitivism). Suffice it to say, the latter choice doesn't really work so well for the faithful.

Why can't it be both? I do think that the definitions we use to talk about God aren't good enough, precisely because God is beyond my understanding. Any time I try to capture with words that which I can't understand, my description will, by nature, be faulty. In giving something a form, you also say that it can't be something else (and now I'm sounding like Plato). And if you don't understand it fully, there's a chance you'll assign the wrong attributes to it, or the right attirbutes but with the wrong connotation (if that makes any sense).

I think we might mean something slightly different, and in that case there probably would be a dichotomy between faulty definitions of God and God's being not understandable.  

Berezi

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Tarrou

Tarrou's avatar

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:11 pm
Berezi Wrote:
=P Well, about the only way I can think of to change that is to be responsible. I've got the faith angle and you've got the not faith angle.

Wonder Twin powers, activate! Form of...theological/scientific moderation?

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I think so. But I was thinking more along the lines of putting a whole new twist on God being the sustainer of everything.

Hmm. Is that to imply that God is constantly guiding the universe's organizing principles, or that he is quite literally the force which allows them to operate at all?

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Why does that sound like Plato?

Probably because his theory of forms is thematically similar: that everything we experience in this world is essentially a shadow of its corresponding 'Form', which possesses its ultimate essence. The two don't fully match up, though, since neither Descartes nor I am positing that God is the human Form—God is not the ultimate human, nor humans imitations of God—but rather our categorical opposite.

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Yeah, don't ask me to explain it, though. I have no clue how.

Me neither, but that's the fun of it.

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Why can't it be both? I do think that the definitions we use to talk about God aren't good enough, precisely because God is beyond my understanding. Any time I try to capture with words that which I can't understand, my description will, by nature, be faulty. In giving something a form, you also say that it can't be something else (and now I'm sounding like Plato). And if you don't understand it fully, there's a chance you'll assign the wrong attributes to it, or the right attirbutes but with the wrong connotation (if that makes any sense).

That's essentially opting for ineffability, arguing that the words are useful, but ultimately somewhat beyond our ken. The alternative that I set up was that it's possible that the definitions we use are flawed, but the subtext of that, which I should have stated outright, is that if the definitions are so garbled that we have to throw up our hands and say, 'Well, I don't know what it means,' then it's possible that the words themselves are essentially meaningless. For example, if the word 'omnipotence' has an incoherent definition, then the word itself has no useful meaning—it's pretty much just a placeholder. So the dichotomy I was trying to express was that either the concepts are ineffable, or we've been using empty signifiers to describe God.

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I think we might mean something slightly different, and in that case there probably would be a dichotomy between faulty definitions of God and God's being not understandable.

Yeah, I wasn't being quite precise enough in my language. Sorry.  
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 6:06 pm
Tarrou Wrote:
Wonder Twin powers, activate! Form of...theological/scientific moderation?

LOL. But I think that's the only way change is going to happen and fear won't be a reason for accepting or rejecting science. Both sides have to stop bludgeoning each other.

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Hmm. Is that to imply that God is constantly guiding the universe's organizing principles, or that he is quite literally the force which allows them to operate at all?

Well, for my personal theology, I'd say both. God did, after all, put them in place in my theological boat, which means that without God those principles wouldn't be there. I think God's guiding things along now.

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Probably because his theory of forms is thematically similar: that everything we experience in this world is essentially a shadow of its corresponding 'Form', which possesses its ultimate essence. The two don't fully match up, though, since neither Descartes nor I am positing that God is the human Form—God is not the ultimate human, nor humans imitations of God—but rather our categorical opposite.

Okay. Just checking. Gotta love me some Phaedo!

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Me neither, but that's the fun of it.

smilies/cheese_whine.gif - we can make it a party. And that's grape juice in a margarita glass...I'd prefer not to be a minor when I consume alcohol.

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That's essentially opting for ineffability, arguing that the words are useful, but ultimately somewhat beyond our ken. The alternative that I set up was that it's possible that the definitions we use are flawed, but the subtext of that, which I should have stated outright, is that if the definitions are so garbled that we have to throw up our hands and say, 'Well, I don't know what it means,' then it's possible that the words themselves are essentially meaningless. For example, if the word 'omnipotence' has an incoherent definition, then the word itself has no useful meaning—it's pretty much just a placeholder. So the dichotomy I was trying to express was that either the concepts are ineffable, or we've been using empty signifiers to describe God.

Okay, that makes sense. =) Didn't quite pick up on that. More accurately, I sort of did, but decided to go down this other bunny hole to see where it would go, like Alice in Wonderland!  

Berezi

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Tarrou

Tarrou's avatar

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:43 pm
Berezi Wrote:
LOL. But I think that's the only way change is going to happen and fear won't be a reason for accepting or rejecting science. Both sides have to stop bludgeoning each other.

Agreed.
Also: Worst. Superheroes. Ever.

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Well, for my personal theology, I'd say both. God did, after all, put them in place in my theological boat, which means that without God those principles wouldn't be there. I think God's guiding things along now.

Fair enough. That latter position has interesting implications in pantheism, but that's not really what we're discussing, is it?

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Okay. Just checking. Gotta love me some Phaedo!

Euthyprho for the win, yo.

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smilies/cheese_whine.gif - we can make it a party. And that's grape juice in a margarita glass...I'd prefer not to be a minor when I consume alcohol.

Aside from a few very nice red Burgundies (which I can neither afford nor legally buy) and cassis-heavy kir, I can't say I have much taste for alcohol. I do wonder why they used a margarita glass, though...

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Okay, that makes sense. =) Didn't quite pick up on that. More accurately, I sort of did, but decided to go down this other bunny hole to see where it would go, like Alice in Wonderland!

If you like semiotics, it's a very deep rabbit hole indeed.  
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:44 pm
Tarrou Wrote:

Agreed.
Also: Worst. Superheroes. Ever.

It's almost as bad as captain planet. But heart always made me happy.

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Fair enough. That latter position has interesting implications in pantheism, but that's not really what we're discussing, is it?

Nope.

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Okay. Just checking. Gotta love me some Phaedo!

Euthyprho for the win, yo.

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Aside from a few very nice red Burgundies (which I can neither afford nor legally buy) and cassis-heavy kir, I can't say I have much taste for alcohol. I do wonder why they used a margarita glass, though...

me too.

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If you like semiotics, it's a very deep rabbit hole indeed.
=D
And now you've given me something to write a philosophy paper on!  

Berezi

Berezi's avatar


Tarrou

Tarrou's avatar

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:20 pm
Berezi Wrote:
It's almost as bad as captain planet. But heart always made me happy.

I remember an episode where one of the villains traveled back in time to give Hitler a nuclear bomb. Those writers deserved a frickin' Nobel prize, man.

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=D
And now you've given me something to write a philosophy paper on!

Or, indeed, an entire book.  
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:30 pm
Tarrou Wrote:

I remember an episode where one of the villains traveled back in time to give Hitler a nuclear bomb. Those writers deserved a frickin' Nobel prize, man.

smilies/icon_biggrin.gif  

Berezi

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Eaten By Cheese

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:55 am
I appologize for any inconvenience, but I will no longer be able to run this thread. =[
 
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