Law School Discussion

Religion in today's world

Re: Religion in today's world
« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2007, 09:55:05 AM »
Folks still into this talk or would y'all prefer I let it go. I'm happy either way.

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Re: Religion in today's world
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2007, 12:59:03 PM »
Quote
And do you think the rights we call inalienable are truly inalienable?

Yes. If, for example, human beings do not possess the objective moral property "dignity" or "worth" then there can be no such thing as a real crime against humanity (cf. Nuremberg). Men may not be unjustly deprived of dignity unless they really have dignity in the first place. If human dignity and the right to life are things we merely choose by fiat to ascribe to ourselves then these things are nothing more than "useful fictions".

And this is a problem how?

I'll answer. It's not a problem. And based on all we can be sure to understand, it is the case. That doesn't make the strength of these assertions any less valid.

naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: Religion in today's world
« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2007, 01:14:38 PM »
Interesting conversation!  Most people who've been around the board for awhile know where I stand on the issue.  Personally, I don't believe that atheism is a credible position to take in full view of the evidence for the existence of a creative life force underpinning the entire universe.  There are a couple of resources I could recommend to people who are seriously interested in making a thoughtful, reasoned inquiry into how tenable their worldview really is. Just PM me.

Re: Religion in today's world
« Reply #33 on: July 26, 2007, 01:23:04 PM »
Quote
And do you think the rights we call inalienable are truly inalienable?

Yes. If, for example, human beings do not possess the objective moral property "dignity" or "worth" then there can be no such thing as a real crime against humanity (cf. Nuremberg). Men may not be unjustly deprived of dignity unless they really have dignity in the first place. If human dignity and the right to life are things we merely choose by fiat to ascribe to ourselves then these things are nothing more than "useful fictions".

And this is a problem how?

Rape is said to be a violation of a woman's dignity. If human beings do not possess objective dignity then they are incapable of being deprived of dignity, incapable of having their dignity violated. This means it is false that rape is a violation of a woman's dignity.

Moral nihilists will shrug their shoulders and say "how is this a problem"?

Re: Religion in today's world
« Reply #34 on: July 26, 2007, 01:32:41 PM »
Interesting conversation!  Most people who've been around the board for awhile know where I stand on the issue.  Personally, I don't believe that atheism is a credible position to take in full view of the evidence for the existence of a creative life force underpinning the entire universe.  There are a couple of resources I could recommend to people who are seriously interested in making a thoughtful, reasoned inquiry into how tenable their worldview really is. Just PM me.

Bonus points for proper use of term "worldview".

Do you think this life force is personal or impersonal? Does the life force think, feel, plan and act with intent?

highjumper

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Re: Religion in today's world
« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2007, 01:53:06 PM »
Interesting conversation!  Most people who've been around the board for awhile know where I stand on the issue.  Personally, I don't believe that atheism is a credible position to take in full view of the evidence for the existence of a creative life force underpinning the entire universe.  There are a couple of resources I could recommend to people who are seriously interested in making a thoughtful, reasoned inquiry into how tenable their worldview really is. Just PM me.

Bonus points for proper use of term "worldview".

Do you think this life force is personal or impersonal? Does the life force think, feel, plan and act with intent?

Further, does the existence of such a life force = god?  If so, is this god humanoid and/or actively guiding the human race through a religious structure(s)? 

I personally endorse the phraseology of non-theist as opposed to athiest for those of that category (where one doesn't deny the actual existence of god - which is seemingly impossible to prove either way - but where one simply states a non-belief due to lack of evidence).  Either way, I don't see how a reasonable claim can be made that atheists don't have a credible position.  Just because they may not believe in a god doesn't mean they can't believe in a life force, natural law, entity, or whatever may be "underpinning the universe".  Those are not mutually exclusive ideas. So, enlighten us.

Re: Religion in today's world
« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2007, 02:08:34 PM »
Interesting conversation!  Most people who've been around the board for awhile know where I stand on the issue.  Personally, I don't believe that atheism is a credible position to take in full view of the evidence for the existence of a creative life force underpinning the entire universe.  There are a couple of resources I could recommend to people who are seriously interested in making a thoughtful, reasoned inquiry into how tenable their worldview really is. Just PM me.

Bonus points for proper use of term "worldview".

Do you think this life force is personal or impersonal? Does the life force think, feel, plan and act with intent?

Further, does the existence of such a life force = god?  If so, is this god humanoid and/or actively guiding the human race through a religious structure(s)? 

I personally endorse the phraseology of non-theist as opposed to athiest for those of that category (where one doesn't deny the actual existence of god - which is seemingly impossible to prove either way - but where one simply states a non-belief due to lack of evidence).  Either way, I don't see how a reasonable claim can be made that atheists don't have a credible position.  Just because they may not believe in a god doesn't mean they can't believe in a life force, natural law, entity, or whatever may be "underpinning the universe".  Those are not mutually exclusive ideas. So, enlighten us.

Atheism is weak and even hopeless with respect to the origin of the universe, conditions capable of supporting life, life itself (e.g., first self-replicator), the trustworthiness of rational inference, moral facts (if admitted), mind (if admitted) and certain historical arguments (e.g., what happened to Jesus' body) etc.

leostrauss

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Re: Religion in today's world
« Reply #37 on: July 26, 2007, 02:09:50 PM »
I've been bantering ideas around that are germane. I used to be a Christian, my dad is a Methodist minister, as was my grandfather, and his father, and his father . . . but I am now agnostic. I just think people assume WAY too much on both sides of these arguments. Both sides want to feel comfortable and as a result, move way too quickly to get to their comfort zone without considering the other side's point. Often we are trying to beat up the other side, rather than learn anything, listen to them, or consider the POSSIBILITY that they have something novel to say. Not much novelty is left on this topic, but why get involved in the convo if you're just looking to score a cut down against the opponenent/make them look bad/make yourself look good. We ought to take the time to consider what other's are saying and to recognize that people struggle with these ideas and no one has dibs on the "correct" answer here.

All that being said, I will go into some of the baseless assumptions that get thrown out in these convos all the time:

1. without God, there is no meaning.
2. there must be meaning.
3. Meaning can't be personal/arbitrary/fluid.
4. Only one answer to these questions can be right at any one time.
5. Scientists have some sort of special knowledge of "reason."
6. The people who use the term reason know what they mean when they use it.
7. There is no intellectual basis for religious belief.
8. morality exists.
9. Morality is somehow simpler, easier to understand, or more intuitive if there is a God.
10. Morality has to be rational if it exists.

I could go on for a while, but all of these statements - if written in a phil paper - would require impossible substantiation. Nietzsche does a good job of attacking #'s 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,8, 9, and 10. If you read him on the subjects, I have a hard time believing that you could brandish these premises so haphazardly. Many times people assume these things without stating them, too by the way.

Finally, I sometimes think that meaning may be very separate from religion. For instance, if I wake up and smell the coffee my gf is making for me, and anticipate the wonderful goodness of freshly ground guatemala antigua in my favorite cup; take a sunrise in while smoking a pipefull of rattray's Old Marlin, and throwing a ball to my dog - I will immediately be made happy with these events on their own and together. I don't need to project them onto some sort of over arching systematic philosophy or moral system that gives me meaning. I can find meaning in the thing itself. I find it meaningful when my Aunt Lisa calls me just to check in - it shows she cares, warms my heart, and motivates me to live up to my family's expectation. I don't need the pope's approval for that ya know. It's meaningful on its own.

As for Christianity, I became agnostic when I realized its (Christianity's) powerful psychological hold on me. How people can go around believing they're sinners incapable of doing good apart from God, and that their whole life should be without pride and in total submission to a being that may well send their own mother to Hell baffles me. I actually believe that if there is a God, many of my good friends and family would burn in hell. If, by chance, I went to Heaven, I would not worship the entity that did that to them, I would flip him/her/them/it/we off and jump in the lake of fire or whatever with the people i love. That's meaningful. I take pride in what I do well, and I am my harshest critic when I do poorly. I do my damndest to do what I determine (in my humble and lowly way) to be the "right", "best", or most appropriate thing in every situation. I struggle, like many of you do, to come to terms with morality, ethics, religion, decision making, purpose, etc. If God wants to roast me for it - screw him. I think Christianity takes ppl who are ashamed of themselves, have poor self images, feel inadequate, and it allows them to imagine something OUTSIDE of themselves that will GIVE them meaning. They JUST DON'T BELIEVE THAT THEY CAN HAVE A MEANINGFUL LIFE WITHOUT SOMETHING TRANSCENDANT. I believe this life is very meaningful without the need to conjure up a big beyond.

leostrauss

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Re: Religion in today's world
« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2007, 02:17:03 PM »
Oh yeah, if there is no God, the origin of government and thus any concept of rights is force and violence.

If there is a God, on the other hand, he abandoned us all long before there was a government, thus the origin of govt. and it's engine is still force and violence.

Either way, forget about lofty platitudes. . . it's kill or be killed IMO

highjumper

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Re: Religion in today's world
« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2007, 02:19:59 PM »

Atheism is weak and even hopeless with respect to the origin of the universe, conditions capable of supporting life, life itself (e.g., first self-replicator), the trustworthiness of rational inference, moral facts (if admitted), mind (if admitted) and certain historical arguments (e.g., what happened to Jesus' body) etc.

Understand that I'm neither defending or rejecting atheism or theism, but ...... Atheism has nothing to do with these ideas.  Atheism simply declares a non-belief in deity.  True, many atheists rely on science and natural law for explanations on those issues, though I presume many atheists use other means of explanation (or they simply may not care).  If your true intent is to show that science is weak with respect to those arguments, you may be right.  However, the ultimate cop-out of "well...God did it" has less utility than our scientific advacements have proven to have throughout history even if the cop-out is true.