Theological Criticism

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”
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Anomaly654
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Re: Theological Criticism

Post by Anomaly654 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:28 pm

Serendipper:
Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are compatible ideas, and that it is possible to believe in both without being logically inconsistent.

Ok, the point I'm not clear on is what difference would it make to the claim that“Religion is the idea that one can do something to improve his situation, but that's contrary to biblical teaching of Christianity”?

It seems beside the point whether freewill exists or is compatible with determinism. What is the relevance that I'm not seeing?

If there is freewill, then anything freely done to improve one's situation is egoic.
If there is no freewill, then nothing can be freely done.
I may have misunderstood you. From this:
1. Religion is idea of self-improvement
2. Religionists boast about good works that come from self-improvement
3. Jesus claimed many who did good works not saved.
4. Therefore, religion is entirely egoic and counterproductive.

...I understood you to be making the case that 1 is necessarily followed by 2 (deterministic process) but 3 as a statement contrary to 1-2 renders religion—which contradicts the determined process of 1-2—renders religion egoic and counterproductive.

My point was that 1-2 wasn’t determined because boasting is a temporary defect taking place within the supervision of mutable by the immutable, and used example of the same principle taking place in the material sphere. Also, Wikipedia says,
The id, ego and super-ego are three distinct, yet interacting agents in the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche.
The three parts are the theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction our mental life is described. According to this Freudian model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role; and the ego is the organized, realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego


Egoic can be used in at least two ways, 1) as simple reference to operations of the ego, 2) in a negative sense, as re what is termed the “super ego” above. I assumed you meant it in the negative sense as per #2?
If there is freewill, then anything freely done to improve one's situation is egoic.
If there is no freewill, then nothing can be freely done.
Or if some degree of freedom of the will is permitted to exist under the supervision of the immutable, then all the moral stances adopted by an agent, good and bad, will be found at various times during the agent’s lifespan without contradiction.
In nature, commandments do not exist, rather, we observe regular happenings and assume or presume there must be an authority. There is no evidence of an authority other than the regularities themselves.
But as with the example of the apple floating off into the sky, it appears for all intents and purposes laws in nature do seem to exist. From where I’m standing, you’re just switching the terms “immutable” with “regularities”. Not much interested in Regularist/Necessitarian discussion, but I recall reading an article that claimed astrophysicists have found that the laws of nature are changing slightly as the universe ages. This doesn’t deny that they are immutable laws; it may be that this is just the natural adaptation of immutable laws to time and distance as the universe expands. Of course the Regularist is going to see this as evidence against immutability. What’s more interesting to me is why, given the same evidence used by both, does each land where he does in his thinking?
I wouldn't say gravity is a commandment, but more of a necessity for the universe to exist as we know it
Odd choice of words. I know no one who thinks of gravity as a “commandment”. Incidental or cleverly chosen?
I actually think that it's an error to jump to a conclusion on the basis of reasonable assumption. I mean, the stakes are high and we must be sure.
Had to chuckle here Serrendipper, that one must be sure of his belief in sureness. :D But I think we both would agree that sureness is not available to systems of beliefs. Is this like the postmodernist who holds as true only the belief that there is no truth?

Just realized I’m not even halfway through your post. Will have to stop here for now, will get to the rest of your post later. My wife broke her kneecap a week or so ago, is on crutches for a few weeks…between tending to her needs, trying to juggle a couple of other discussions and my own reading and writing, time is becoming precious.

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Re: Theological Criticism

Post by Serendipper » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:15 am

Anomaly654 wrote:
Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:28 pm
I may have misunderstood you. From this:
1. Religion is idea of self-improvement
2. Religionists boast about good works that come from self-improvement
3. Jesus claimed many who did good works not saved.
4. Therefore, religion is entirely egoic and counterproductive.
Yes that's it.
...I understood you to be making the case that 1 is necessarily followed by 2 (deterministic process) but 3 as a statement contrary to 1-2 renders religion—which contradicts the determined process of 1-2—renders religion egoic and counterproductive.
I didn't have any determinism in mind when I wrote 1 and 2. If you seek self-improvement, regardless if it's by freewill or determinism, you could still brag about your accomplishment and it's the potential for boasting that makes an endeavor fruitless.
My point was that 1-2 wasn’t determined because boasting is a temporary defect taking place within the supervision of mutable by the immutable, and used example of the same principle taking place in the material sphere.

I don't understand.
Also, Wikipedia says,
The id, ego and super-ego are three distinct, yet interacting agents in the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche.
The three parts are the theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction our mental life is described. According to this Freudian model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role; and the ego is the organized, realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego


Egoic can be used in at least two ways, 1) as simple reference to operations of the ego, 2) in a negative sense, as re what is termed the “super ego” above. I assumed you meant it in the negative sense as per #2?
I should have been more clear about what I meant by ego. Ego in the Eastern view has nothing to do with Freud, but is simply your idea of yourself. It's the idea that you exist as a person that is distinct from the universe. Ego is your persona that you play in life. Ego is who you're worried about saving from the wrath of god. Anytime you say "I", ego is what you're referring to.

Of course, I suppose that begs the question of: why make that distinction in the first place since it seems to be no more than a synonym for who I am? Well, it's because in the Eastern view, you are not who you think you are and so they needed a new name for the person you think you are and it's called ego.

Now, we can divide actions into two classes:

- things you try to do
- things you do without trying.

I posit that anything you try to do is egoic and what I mean by that is you believe the action benefits your idea of yourself.

Someone asked: Why study philosophy?

I said "Because you think it's fun; otherwise you shouldn't."

Why else would you study it? You either study it because it's enjoyable to do so or you study because you think it's going to benefit you (your idea of yourself) which puts you ahead of others.

I study so that I can sound smart to my friends.
I study so I can make money and I make money to impress my friends.
I study because it's somehow going to be a benefit to me that I can somehow leverage as a way to gain admiration of others.

Teacher - We're always trying to find a way to be one up.
Student - So how do I not do that?
Teacher - Why do you want to know?
Student - Well, I'd be better that way.
Teacher - Yeah but why do you want to be better? You see, the reason you want to be better is the reason why you aren't.

That leads us back to:

KJV - "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

NIV - "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."

AMP - "For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]."

GW - "God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it."

Now, all religion is works-centered. All religion promotes some action that will improve your situation or it wouldn't be called a religion. Therefore all religion is boasting.
If there is freewill, then anything freely done to improve one's situation is egoic.
If there is no freewill, then nothing can be freely done.
Or if some degree of freedom of the will is permitted to exist under the supervision of the immutable, then all the moral stances adopted by an agent, good and bad, will be found at various times during the agent’s lifespan without contradiction.
Yeah maybe.
In nature, commandments do not exist, rather, we observe regular happenings and assume or presume there must be an authority. There is no evidence of an authority other than the regularities themselves.
But as with the example of the apple floating off into the sky, it appears for all intents and purposes laws in nature do seem to exist. From where I’m standing, you’re just switching the terms “immutable” with “regularities”.

Yes, you're probably right, I'm switching “immutable” with “regularities” because I have no evidence to assume they are immutable. The only thing I can prove is that observations so far have been consistent. That in no way implies that the regularity simply must continue since that conclusion is an extrapolation based on limited info.

To illustrate, what geographic clues could you find in Kansas to predict the existence of the Mtns as you headed west? By your logic, you'd assume the straight, flat terrain must continue because it's all you see, so you'd extrapolate erroneously.

Gravity could switch off at any moment and there is no law saying it can't, just like mtns could appear at anytime on our journey westward through Kansas.
Not much interested in Regularist/Necessitarian discussion,

I didn't know there was such a thing.
but I recall reading an article that claimed astrophysicists have found that the laws of nature are changing slightly as the universe ages.

No kidding?!? I'm going to have to look for that. That's what I wanted for my confirmation bias :D
This doesn’t deny that they are immutable laws; it may be that this is just the natural adaptation of immutable laws to time and distance as the universe expands.

Or maybe they aren't laws ;)
Of course the Regularist is going to see this as evidence against immutability. What’s more interesting to me is why, given the same evidence used by both, does each land where he does in his thinking?
Confirmation bias... people look for evidence to backup what they think.
I wouldn't say gravity is a commandment, but more of a necessity for the universe to exist as we know it
Odd choice of words. I know no one who thinks of gravity as a “commandment”. Incidental or cleverly chosen?
A law would have to be a commandment issued by authority. Gravity is either told to be what it is or it's simply what it is and therefore subject to change. So, yeah, I thought the word out a little and picked it specifically. You don't think it's a good choice?
I actually think that it's an error to jump to a conclusion on the basis of reasonable assumption. I mean, the stakes are high and we must be sure.
Had to chuckle here Serrendipper, that one must be sure of his belief in sureness. :D
I'm genuinely happy you got a chuckle and I did mean it to be humorous. :) I don't want to be a stick in the mud :? :)
But I think we both would agree that sureness is not available to systems of beliefs. Is this like the postmodernist who holds as true only the belief that there is no truth?
Yeah, the only truth is there is no truth. I can't say that for sure, but that's where I am currently. Not married to it though.
Just realized I’m not even halfway through your post. Will have to stop here for now, will get to the rest of your post later.

No problem.
My wife broke her kneecap a week or so ago, is on crutches for a few weeks…
I'm sorry to learn of that. I hope she feels better soon!
between tending to her needs, trying to juggle a couple of other discussions and my own reading and writing, time is becoming precious.
I hear ya.
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Anomaly654
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Re: Theological Criticism

Post by Anomaly654 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:48 pm

Serendipper wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:15 am
let's consider our options:

1) There are lots of entities and lots of injustices and a benevolent god dispensing judgment that cannot right the wrong that happened (it doesn't accomplish anything).

2) There are lots of entities and lots of injustices, but everyone dies and that's that. There is no punishment nor undoing of the injustices. Just a flash of consciousness between two eternal darknesses (doesn't make sense to me, but some folks believe it.).

3) There are lots of entities and no injustice because morality doesn't exist, for whatever reason (seems hard to buy because lots of entities implies potential injustice between them).

4) There is one entity playing the parts of all entities and therefore no immorality can happen even if morality exists since one entity cannot be immoral to itself (seems sensible to me).

Idk, pick one or add to the list.
I’d pick #1 modified to read, “…and a benevolent God misunderstood by most of His adherents and all His adversaries as ‘dispensing judgment’ whose intent (via revelatory means) is to dispense justice and perfection.”

#4 sounds like solipsism. Are you a solipsist?
Ok, but what defines truth? Rather, WHO defines truth? This feels like the "law conversation" above.
Precisely. Truth (or value, of which truth is one of the two possible grades) seems to me to require a semantically enabled agent to exist. You quote freely from the Bible, so I’m sure you’re aware of the theological response.
We've simply noticed the dual aspect of the universe and built reality around that assumption, which seem a very sound assumption, though it IS an assumption because there is no authority to state authoritatively that it is not an assumption.

Beyond the plus and minus, what is reality? It makes no sense because in order to have a reality you need subject and object where subject is not-object and object is not-subject. We cannot make sense of any singularity, nondual, absolute anything. Therefore, if we can't make sense of it, then what evidence do we have for it? Is it because we'd prefer to have an absolute??? Our desire is our evidence???
Agreed that we notice the dual aspect of the universe, or of reality. Don’t see why we need an authority to state the obvious (or at least the apparent). If I walk into a glass door on the assumption there is no glass I don’t need an authority to explain my error to me. Likewise, if we find ourselves in a universe that gives robust evidence of existing in a dual state (or a variety thereof), we hardly need an authority to step forth and contend for or against it. Maybe we just need to keep working on trying to figure it out ourselves? The evidence argument seems to boil down to what evidential content you’re willing (or unwilling) to accept. Not sure why you find the dualistic universe being an assumption important. Existence is what it is, we make of it what we can. If reality turns out to be something different, at some point, great. We'll deal with it. We're in a learning state. For now, our assumptions seem to be serving us pretty well.

Thinking of a monistic, non-dual reality outside the dualistic structure we find ourselves in is difficult, but it’s certainly not the case that we “can’t make sense of it”. Assuming one of the two positions on reality is true and the other false between mutability-dualism and immutability-monism (speaking generally here as these contraries branch out into pretty wide domains of inquiry and belief), how or why does agent A land on one side of the divide and B on the other? There have been millions of people who believed in an absolute beyond mutable existence, and probably hundreds of thousands of those have been very intelligent folks. Are antitheists really that much wiser than their theist forbears or might this just be a growing arrogance well suited to today's moral/cultural atmosphere?

Many, while admitting the aforementioned difficulties, will disagree with your assessment that there’s “no evidence” for the immutable absolute singularity. How is it that the majority of human beings—having only experienced the dualistic reality we occupy—think about, not to mention are held onto, sometimes to the point of death for doing so, concepts like “absolute” or “immutable” or “singularity”? How does the information content “absolute” inhabit minds purportedly only able to process a dual-mutable-conditional existence? Why does the woman born blind accept that qualities like colors exist? Even though she can only guess at what colors must be like or what an external world must look like, she still fashions some notion of this based on description conveyed to her. Her mind is able on some level, however inadequate and distant, to grasp an intentional “isness” with regard to color. The “no evidence” argument may just spring from a motive or reason to only accept what evidence one wishes to believe and cast of what one doesn’t want to believe.

I made the argument to someone in another discussion that the position he held—that God is an impossibility—is unsupportable because “God” is a construct (again, regardless of the concept’s lack of focal strength for individuals) able to supply information content to minds for objective discussion. The mind slams shut on trying to conceptualize a real impossibility like a square circle. The best it can do is process “square” and “circle” as separate pieces of information because each concept, possessing an identifiable “realness” of some sort [putting aside the nominalist's arguments], provides information to a mind. Impossibilities can’t offer information to either perception or conceptualization. We have no problem processing the general idea of a “perfect circle”. Even though we can’t grasp perfection, we comprehend that something can be perfect; perfection, an absolute, is information obviously compatible with the intentional capacities of ‘living information’, i.e., semantic agents.

Some argue that we think up things all the time that aren’t real, like fictions of the imagination that we’re able to discuss objectively but aren’t real, and the idea of God is also only a dreamed up thing. I’d counter (in continuation with line of reasoning above) that the only things we can “invent” are things we borrow from reality. Information is real [has real existence of some sort] because only real things have the ability to “in-form” semantically enabled agents. Unicorns, which lack material existence, are nonetheless formed from pre-existing information, horse and horn. But some unicorns have magical ability (or so my granddaughters tell me). Horses and horns come from material information/reality. It’s consistent with the above to suppose that magic is borrowed from the information of a spiritual/prescriptive/moral reality because lots of semantic agents are able to conceptualize the isness of this non-material domain. Angels and demons may just be mental constructs, but if they are, the information used to form them as conceptual content must, because such things are informationally imparted, be borrowed from an existing non-material reality. We have no ability to create something new, only to use existing information like the child in a sandbox unavoidably builds her castles from sand.

We're not able to sidestep—except through common denial—the logic that even our dreams, fictions, nightmares, imaginations, etc. never create anything new, but only access preexistent information from which to “build” and engage with new situations and configurations of non-material fictions and ideas. I don’t think your suggestion that the theist imposes desire as evidence is justifiable; the theist (or at least the Christian) accepts that the information he is able to obtain from non-material reality, regardless of its obscure nature, has sufficient correlations to revealed principles to justify a rational belief in God, and sufficient coherence between that rational belief and intuitional experience of a non-material “Other” and domain of otherness to establish a connection with something other and greater than the subjective self. The honest theist admits this liaison is more often than not thin and elusive (and sometimes and in some circumstances not present at all), but that this intuition it is singular and distinctive enough to harmonize rational and intuitive elements to an established belief. I don’t mean “intuitive” in the commonly held superficial sense many place on it today but as a sense that, while recognized to be imperfect and indistinct, still provides some degree of legitimate information to intentionality. Millions of humans, including some very intelligent people, have been strongly drawn to just this relationship, as frail as it is. It's frail by empirical standards, but tantalizing in its ability to supply information at the outer edges of mind’s grasp. [The principles of spiritual mechanics can account for the aforementioned limitations btw.]

Those holding position A reject (or refuse to acknowledge) evidence B accepts, and/or vice versa. To me the more interesting question is: what mechanism supplies the motives that confer the beliefs/arguments used by A and B?
We can go one further and claim the desire stems from a desire to think we're special, ego, distinct from the universe so we can feel justified in kicking it around or embarking of righteous crusades to convert others to our thinking.
I know just what you mean. The imperious arrogance of some of today’s atheists showing persistent contempt for all things religious is really on the rise. My atheist brethren have learned well from we theists, haven’t they?
The bible is full of references to predestination and I used to have a notebook full of them. The christian explanation is that god simply knew the future, but that begs the question of how. And if he knew the future, then why create all those people for hell? Unless, of course, we need the damned in order to have the saved (more duality).
…god created Pharaoh to split hell wide open to show his power and glory.
You appear to share a common trait with my more fundamentalist Christian brethren, i.e., interpreting the Bible literally. I believe this is a demonstrable mistake. An allegoric structure is woven through both Old and New Testaments of the Bible within which God reveals not only that it was His intention to save all persons from the beginning, but reveals how He does so (more accurately reveals the structure by which He saves; which is close to [or at least part of] the “how”). Trying to find a viable metaphysical synthesis for this allegorical system has occupied me since 1993, the “spiritual mechanics” stuff is the result of that effort. I would make the case that God placed the allegorical structure in a level of abstraction just far enough beyond the literal that it has to be stretched for. But once found, the allegory it’s logical, coherent and congruent—and finds not total, but (to me) surprising agreement with most literal-based doctrines. Obviously, it modifies the current evangelical doctrine of salvation rather radically, but leaves most others intact with only minor adjustments.
Truth exists as a property of the subject/object experience.
So on the one hand you scoff at the idea we think ourselves special, then on the other parrot the common antitheist belief that humans have sole ownership of truth itself. The desire to be God is getting stronger in society today. One need only watch the news to see doctrines like this bearing fruit throughout the various cultures.

I’ve enjoyed our discussion Serendipper, you seem an honorable [non-sophistic] correspondent. These are getting hard to find nowadays. I really don’t have much interest in theism vs. non-theism discussions; at the end of the day they (like most theological discussions) just rehash the same stuff ad infinitum.

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Re: Theological Criticism

Post by Serendipper » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:52 pm

Note: I'm going to split this into 3 parts.
Anomaly654 wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:48 pm
Serendipper wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:15 am
let's consider our options:

1) There are lots of entities and lots of injustices and a benevolent god dispensing judgment that cannot right the wrong that happened (it doesn't accomplish anything).

2) There are lots of entities and lots of injustices, but everyone dies and that's that. There is no punishment nor undoing of the injustices. Just a flash of consciousness between two eternal darknesses (doesn't make sense to me, but some folks believe it.).

3) There are lots of entities and no injustice because morality doesn't exist, for whatever reason (seems hard to buy because lots of entities implies potential injustice between them).

4) There is one entity playing the parts of all entities and therefore no immorality can happen even if morality exists since one entity cannot be immoral to itself (seems sensible to me).

Idk, pick one or add to the list.
I’d pick #1 modified to read, “…and a benevolent God misunderstood by most of His adherents and all His adversaries as ‘dispensing judgment’ whose intent (via revelatory means) is to dispense justice and perfection.”
Still we're left with injustices that are undone because no amount of vengeance can undo what is done.

Recently there was a woman in the news who lost her arm, fingers, and both legs due to the hospital not catching sepsis quickly enough. She's suing, but no amount of money can replace that. God could send them to hell for an eternity, but it still would not correct the wrong and that conclusion seems independent of whether God actually sends them to hell or they send themselves by their own choices because it's entirely beside the point, which is that the past cannot be undone.

The only way out of the conundrum is to conclude there are 1 or zero entities in the universe since no one entity could be immoral to itself and since zero entities cannot be immoral because there is no one existing to perform any action. If we have 2 or more entities, then we're back to the problem of undoing past actions because 2 or more people will always be immoral unless they don't have freewill in which case there are no entities there.

Therefore, if morality exists objectively as a thing unto itself, a law, then there can only be 1 or zero entities. Furthermore, if there are 1 or zero entities, there is no need for morality to exist.
#4 sounds like solipsism. Are you a solipsist?
No, at least, I don't think I am. I currently believe I am an actor in a show, but I'm not married to the idea. I suppose it's similar to the trinity wherein there are 3 personalities, but one god. Only in my interpretation there are 7 billion personalities, no wait... we have to add the animals and bacteria and trees and rocks and, well, I'll just say a LOT of entities, but only one god :D

30 I and my Father are one.
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,


Verse 36 should read "a son of God", not "The Son of God" (as if he were the only one). "The" was interpolated by the transcriptors who wanted to pedestalize Jesus.

Young's literal translation says "Thou speakest evil, because I said, son of god I am?"

http://biblehub.com/text/john/10-36.htm

"Son of God" merely means "in the nature of God." It's not an equivocation with God, but having the nature of God.
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Re: Theological Criticism

Post by Serendipper » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:56 pm

Part 2
Anomaly654 wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:48 pm
Serendipper wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:15 am
Ok, but what defines truth? Rather, WHO defines truth? This feels like the "law conversation" above.
Precisely. Truth (or value, of which truth is one of the two possible grades) seems to me to require a semantically enabled agent to exist. You quote freely from the Bible, so I’m sure you’re aware of the theological response.
So if truth is assumed into existence then it's a matter of taste or preference in deciding to believe it, right? The theological response would be "God exists so truth exists", but I can't take that to the bank because it hasn't been established that there is a monarchical authority mandating truth.

So it boils down to preference: do you want to believe or do you not? Because there is no proof; just faith and that's the nature of the game.
We've simply noticed the dual aspect of the universe and built reality around that assumption, which seem a very sound assumption, though it IS an assumption because there is no authority to state authoritatively that it is not an assumption.

Beyond the plus and minus, what is reality? It makes no sense because in order to have a reality you need subject and object where subject is not-object and object is not-subject. We cannot make sense of any singularity, nondual, absolute anything. Therefore, if we can't make sense of it, then what evidence do we have for it? Is it because we'd prefer to have an absolute??? Our desire is our evidence???
Agreed that we notice the dual aspect of the universe, or of reality. Don’t see why we need an authority to state the obvious (or at least the apparent).

The authority is necessary to cause the regular event to be more than simply an occurrence or a regular happening. If some event happens as a natural consequence or just randomly happens, then the event is not following orders, but just mindlessly drifting with the currents. A law implies a mind, some authority (the author), some entity with teleology and sapience to foresee and therefore declare a direction; a law.
The evidence argument seems to boil down to what evidential content you’re willing (or unwilling) to accept.

Yes, so it would seem.
Not sure why you find the dualistic universe being an assumption important.

If you started from absolute zero which is to say absolutely nothing, how would you design a functioning universe? You see, from that state, you can't assume duality makes sense because you haven't implemented the idea yet. We are in the future looking back and hindsight is 20/20, but starting from nothing, how can you presume what works? So, fundamentally, if we can't make any assumptions, how can we assume that duality is the only way? And if it can't be assumed that duality is the only way, then it can't be a law in any sense of the word; it simply is what exists and that's all we can logically conclude. Everything else is speculation which may or may not be correct.

The importance of this understanding it is to battle or at least balance the "law" mindset that prevents out-of-the-box thinking. There is nothing written in stone to prevent you from spontaneously falling through the floor, but rather it *seems* to be a function of a probability that ALL your particles would simultaneously decide to quantum tunnel in the direction of gravity, which is so infinitesimally small that it's practically impossible, but not technically impossible, therefore there isn't a law.
Existence is what it is, we make of it what we can. If reality turns out to be something different, at some point, great. We'll deal with it. We're in a learning state. For now, our assumptions seem to be serving us pretty well.
Not if they are causing us to come to erroneous conclusions with the side effect of suffering.
Thinking of a monistic, non-dual reality outside the dualistic structure we find ourselves in is difficult, but it’s certainly not the case that we “can’t make sense of it”. Assuming one of the two positions on reality is true and the other false between mutability-dualism and immutability-monism (speaking generally here as these contraries branch out into pretty wide domains of inquiry and belief), how or why does agent A land on one side of the divide and B on the other?
Are you familiar with the Parable of the Sower? ;) Some fall in rocky places and some grow up among the weeds, etc. People are mostly products of the cultures into which they were born.
There have been millions of people who believed in an absolute beyond mutable existence, and probably hundreds of thousands of those have been very intelligent folks. Are antitheists really that much wiser than their theist forbears or might this just be a growing arrogance well suited to today's moral/cultural atmosphere?
The interesting thing about the iq distribution isn't that the left-of-center folks tend to be theists and as we round the top into what we generally consider to be "the intelligent", we have more atheists, but the interesting thing is actually that the geniuses are almost exclusively theist. Are the geniuses crazy or are the intelligent not quite sharp enough?
Many, while admitting the aforementioned difficulties, will disagree with your assessment that there’s “no evidence” for the immutable absolute singularity. How is it that the majority of human beings—having only experienced the dualistic reality we occupy—think about, not to mention are held onto, sometimes to the point of death for doing so, concepts like “absolute” or “immutable” or “singularity”?
Because that is the vexation of mankind; everyone wants all good and no bad. Everyone desires to flow from "bad" to "better" until they reach a "best", but they don't realize that there is no existence in the unipolar state of "best" because the only thing that makes anything good is that it is not-bad. If there is no bad, there is no good and no best and no existence.

The best universe is one in which evil is always losing, but never has lost; and good is always winning, but never has won. If yang eats yin, then there is no yang or yin and likewise if good wins, there will be no good or evil. Abstract concepts don't make sense without their codependent.
How does the information content “absolute” inhabit minds purportedly only able to process a dual-mutable-conditional existence?

If the absolute doesn't exist, then how can it inhabit their minds? Obviously it doesn't since seemingly everyone *mistakenly* assumes a unipolar state is accessible or existent.
Why does the woman born blind accept that qualities like colors exist? Even though she can only guess at what colors must be like or what an external world must look like, she still fashions some notion of this based on description conveyed to her. Her mind is able on some level, however inadequate and distant, to grasp an intentional “isness” with regard to color.

Color only exists in the mind and isn't something that objectively exists. Bird see tetrachromatically, so what does ultra-orange look like? How do I know that what you see as orange is what I see as orange? Maybe your orange looks blue to me. Maybe we all have the same favorite color, but call it different names :D
The “no evidence” argument may just spring from a motive or reason to only accept what evidence one wishes to believe and cast of what one doesn’t want to believe.
Everyone is a victim of confirmation bias I think.
I made the argument to someone in another discussion that the position he held—that God is an impossibility
Prismatic :lol:
—is unsupportable because “God” is a construct (again, regardless of the concept’s lack of focal strength for individuals) able to supply information content to minds for objective discussion. The mind slams shut on trying to conceptualize a real impossibility like a square circle.

If you have 4 pixels then all circles are squares ;)
The best it can do is process “square” and “circle” as separate pieces of information because each concept, possessing an identifiable “realness” of some sort [putting aside the nominalist's arguments], provides information to a mind. Impossibilities can’t offer information to either perception or conceptualization. We have no problem processing the general idea of a “perfect circle”. Even though we can’t grasp perfection, we comprehend that something can be perfect; perfection, an absolute, is information obviously compatible with the intentional capacities of ‘living information’, i.e., semantic agents.
You'd have to define perfection since I contend that everything that exists is perfect or it wouldn't exist.

There is no advantage without an accompanying disadvantage because you cannot be big and strong while simultaneously being small and nimble; therefore you cannot have every advantage and no disadvantage and therefore perfection in that sense cannot exist.
Some argue that we think up things all the time that aren’t real, like fictions of the imagination that we’re able to discuss objectively but aren’t real, and the idea of God is also only a dreamed up thing. I’d counter (in continuation with line of reasoning above) that the only things we can “invent” are things we borrow from reality. Information is real [has real existence of some sort] because only real things have the ability to “in-form” semantically enabled agents. Unicorns, which lack material existence, are nonetheless formed from pre-existing information, horse and horn. But some unicorns have magical ability (or so my granddaughters tell me). Horses and horns come from material information/reality. It’s consistent with the above to suppose that magic is borrowed from the information of a spiritual/prescriptive/moral reality because lots of semantic agents are able to conceptualize the isness of this non-material domain. Angels and demons may just be mental constructs, but if they are, the information used to form them as conceptual content must, because such things are informationally imparted, be borrowed from an existing non-material reality. We have no ability to create something new, only to use existing information like the child in a sandbox unavoidably builds her castles from sand.
And not only can we not create anything new, but it's really going to boil your noodle when I say there are no "things" or "us". :D
We're not able to sidestep—except through common denial—the logic that even our dreams, fictions, nightmares, imaginations, etc. never create anything new,
If we can't create anything new then we can't create anything. If we can't create anything, then can we be said to exist?
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Re: Theological Criticism

Post by Serendipper » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:58 pm

Part 3
Anomaly654 wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:48 pm
I don’t think your suggestion that the theist imposes desire as evidence is justifiable; the theist (or at least the Christian) accepts that the information he is able to obtain from non-material reality, regardless of its obscure nature, has sufficient correlations to revealed principles to justify a rational belief in God, and sufficient coherence between that rational belief and intuitional experience of a non-material “Other” and domain of otherness to establish a connection with something other and greater than the subjective self.

Observation of non-material reality has sufficient correlation to revealed principles to justify belief in God.

What is "non-material reality"?
What are "revealed principles"?

Aren't they the same source? The judge and advocate are the same person in that case. If X correlates to X, then Y is true?

intuitional experience of a non-material “Other” and domain of otherness to establish a connection with something other and greater than the subjective self.

How does "other" imply "greater"? Self exists because of the other, but the other doesn't have to be greater; it just needs to be not-self.

The honest theist admits this liaison is more often than not thin and elusive (and sometimes and in some circumstances not present at all), but that this intuition it is singular and distinctive enough to harmonize rational and intuitive elements to an established belief. I don’t mean “intuitive” in the commonly held superficial sense many place on it today but as a sense that, while recognized to be imperfect and indistinct, still provides some degree of legitimate information to intentionality. Millions of humans, including some very intelligent people, have been strongly drawn to just this relationship, as frail as it is. It's frail by empirical standards, but tantalizing in its ability to supply information at the outer edges of mind’s grasp. [The principles of spiritual mechanics can account for the aforementioned limitations btw.]
Your intuition is likely smarter than your tuition. You intuitively beat your heart better than you could consciously do it.
Those holding position A reject (or refuse to acknowledge) evidence B accepts, and/or vice versa. To me the more interesting question is: what mechanism supplies the motives that confer the beliefs/arguments used by A and B?
It's random where that's defined as "events that are either uncaused or deterministically caused by events that are absolutely impossible to discern."
We can go one further and claim the desire stems from a desire to think we're special, ego, distinct from the universe so we can feel justified in kicking it around or embarking of righteous crusades to convert others to our thinking.
I know just what you mean. The imperious arrogance of some of today’s atheists showing persistent contempt for all things religious is really on the rise. My atheist brethren have learned well from we theists, haven’t they?
Yes, the catholic church showed everyone how it's done.
You appear to share a common trait with my more fundamentalist Christian brethren,
I was one for a long time.
i.e., interpreting the Bible literally. I believe this is a demonstrable mistake. An allegoric structure is woven through both Old and New Testaments of the Bible within which God reveals not only that it was His intention to save all persons from the beginning, but reveals how
Well sure the bible is allegoric, but truth garnered from allegory can't contradict what is explicitly stated.

For instance, Jesus said many there be that go through the broad gate, but few find the narrow. He said there will be those who cry "Lord Lord" only to not be recognized. Paul talks about the lamb's book of life (with names predestined inside). "Predestined", "elect", and variants are explicitly mentioned at least a couple dozen times in the bible. And all that is incidental to God's stated regret for making man right before he killed all but 8 in the flood. The explicit is just too overwhelming for allegory to have any pertinence.
Trying to find a viable metaphysical synthesis for this allegorical system has occupied me since 1993, the “spiritual mechanics” stuff is the result of that effort.

In 94 I had a big Strong's Concordance supplementing my Thompson Chain Reference Bible which I used to identify and transcribe every reference, explicit or implicit, regarding the issue of predestination. I genuinely wanted to put the issue to bed.
I would make the case that God placed the allegorical structure in a level of abstraction just far enough beyond the literal that it has to be stretched for. But once found, the allegory it’s logical, coherent and congruent—and finds not total, but (to me) surprising agreement with most literal-based doctrines. Obviously, it modifies the current evangelical doctrine of salvation rather radically, but leaves most others intact with only minor adjustments.
Seems to me like the allegory could be imagined into existence as a tool to bend meaning to fit a desired narrative. How many people overreach in defining what songs were written to mean because they discerned some allegorical significance?
Truth exists as a property of the subject/object experience.
So on the one hand you scoff at the idea we think ourselves special,
I wouldn't say "scoff", but the motivation of thinking we are special is reason for the claim to be regarded with suspicion.
then on the other parrot the common antitheist belief
If I'm parroting anything, it's Alan Watts, who wasn't an antitheist, whatever that means, but that particular bit of material is original 8-)

My nomenclature is simple: you either believe in some assertion or you don't know / have no opinion. Therefore there is only theism and agnosticism as it's colloquially known and defined.

Theist - believes god(s) exist
Atheist - believes gods do not exist "and it's all bullshit!"
Agnostic - doesn't have an opinion, no clue, can't call it.

or we could say:

grdfshfg - believes god(s) exist
gjfdhtre - believes gods do not exist "and it's all bullshit!"
rerdfhff - doesn't have an opinion, no clue, can't call it.

Because the nomenclature doesn't matter; they're just labels. What counts is the clear delineation into mutually exclusive categories with no conflation which therefore determines and qualifies a good set of definitions.

Either you believe some assertion and think you know something or you simply recognize that you don't know. And if you believe something, you're a theist whether you kick and scream or reluctantly see the sensibility I'm on about ;) Atheism is just another religion where assertions are believed to be true.
that humans have sole ownership of truth itself.

How can one own something that doesn't exist? Furthermore, who exists who can own anything?
The desire to be God is getting stronger in society today. One need only watch the news to see doctrines like this bearing fruit throughout the various cultures.

I think it has always existed; you're just better-able to see it nowadays.
I’ve enjoyed our discussion Serendipper, you seem an honorable [non-sophistic] correspondent.

Thanks and that means a lot because I esteem you so highly as well and therefore any compliment is extra-special!
These are getting hard to find nowadays.

Sure are!
I really don’t have much interest in theism vs. non-theism discussions; at the end of the day they (like most theological discussions) just rehash the same stuff ad infinitum.
I know what you mean, but the absolute-angle of the debate is a little new to me and I'm still probing it.
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Re: Theological Criticism

Post by Anomaly654 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:37 pm

You remind me why I generally stay out of the theist vs atheist discussions, S...at the end of the day they're the same as the theological discussions I used to love to dive into; endless debate with rarely a mind changed one way or the other. So many words, so much energy, so many ideas expended! Peace out. ;)

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Re: Theological Criticism

Post by Serendipper » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:14 pm

Anomaly654 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:37 pm
You remind me why I generally stay out of the theist vs atheist discussions, S...at the end of the day they're the same as the theological discussions I used to love to dive into; endless debate with rarely a mind changed one way or the other. So many words, so much energy, so many ideas expended! Peace out. ;)
Which one of us is the atheist? I was under the impression you liked this sort of thing, especially considering you jumped in the middle of it with both feet. Why be here if not for endless debate? You see, there's that absolutist thinking that we could solve our problems, end the debate, and still have some function as if the purpose of dancing were to get to the other side of the floor :P
with rarely a mind changed one way or the other
How would you know that is true if you weren't one of the minds that rarely changes? It can only be the confidence that you've solved the puzzle which quenched your curiosity that makes the debate hopeless. I feel that way about some issues and that's why they're uninteresting to talk about and it's the only way I can rationalize this turn of events.
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Re: Theological Criticism

Post by Anomaly654 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:29 am

Serendipper wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:14 pm
Anomaly654 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:37 pm
You remind me why I generally stay out of the theist vs atheist discussions, S...at the end of the day they're the same as the theological discussions I used to love to dive into; endless debate with rarely a mind changed one way or the other. So many words, so much energy, so many ideas expended! Peace out. ;)
Which one of us is the atheist?
Whether you are an atheist or not is irrelevant S, you employ arguments common to atheism. (Or those of agnostics--atheists who lack the conviction of their disbelief.) I know a few sharp theists who sometimes pose as atheists (or Hindus, Moslems, etc.) just to produce discussions that interest them. I'm not nearly smart enough to defend a single position much less others. Also know a couple atheists who have posed as Christians on theology boards to test the intellectual waters as well. The internet is a wonderful place to adopt personas.
I was under the impression you liked this sort of thing, especially considering you jumped in the middle of it with both feet. Why be here if not for endless debate?
I was interested in what I thought was the theological problem you presented. Once that fizzled out discussion turned elsewhere and began to wander. Find that I'm returning in my old age to the attention span I had in my youth.
with rarely a mind changed one way or the other
How would you know that is true if you weren't one of the minds that rarely changes?
Just my observation from 20+ years wandering through multiple theology/philosophy boards. Have you seen many minds changed on major issues by message board debate?
It can only be the confidence that you've solved the puzzle which quenched your curiosity that makes the debate hopeless. I feel that way about some issues and that's why they're uninteresting to talk about and it's the only way I can rationalize this turn of events.
Well doesn't everyone enter any discussion with an a priori stance that there is sufficient truth in one's worldview to enter an exchange? I don't feel I've solved much of anything...the further I get into it, the more I find I don't know. Wish I'd started earlier in life.

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Re: Theological Criticism

Post by Serendipper » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:31 am

Good to see you again :)
Anomaly654 wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:29 am
Serendipper wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:14 pm
Which one of us is the atheist?
Whether you are an atheist or not is irrelevant S, you employ arguments common to atheism. (Or those of agnostics--atheists who lack the conviction of their disbelief.)
Yes, that may be true, but I'm also bipedal like a duck ;) Of course I may share some arguments with atheists and possibly a whole list of groups, but it doesn't mean I'm a card-carrying member of any. I tried to hangout on the atheist boards, but it soured quickly. It's the same with liberals and conservatives; I don't jibe with either.
I know a few sharp theists who sometimes pose as atheists (or Hindus, Moslems, etc.) just to produce discussions that interest them. I'm not nearly smart enough to defend a single position much less others. Also know a couple atheists who have posed as Christians on theology boards to test the intellectual waters as well. The internet is a wonderful place to adopt personas.
Playing devil's advocate is a good idea to sharpen debate skills. "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." - F. Scott Fitzgerald
I was under the impression you liked this sort of thing, especially considering you jumped in the middle of it with both feet. Why be here if not for endless debate?
I was interested in what I thought was the theological problem you presented. Once that fizzled out discussion turned elsewhere and began to wander. Find that I'm returning in my old age to the attention span I had in my youth.

You can guide the conversation where you want it. I'm not that picky :) I still maintain that the only sin is arrogance. I think, though, in order to show that, we'll end up right back where we were before. Eating of the tree didn't endow knowledge of good and evil, but only arrogance to claim that we know the difference.

It wasn't that we discovered being naked, but that we identified it as a bad thing. "Who told you that you were naked?" The implication is that you are not naked, so why do you believe you are? As opposed to: "How did you find out?"

So it wasn't that we became aware of anything new, but we made something that didn't and doesn't exist and then made a religion from it in order to go on crusade for what is good and fight against what is bad.

The arrogance of it ties into the biblical references I supplied earlier: there is nothing you can do because to do anything is arrogant, conceited, egotistical.

So I'm not quite sure when Christians argue "Wouldn't you rather not take a chance?" I reply, "Yes, but what if trying actually pisses him off?" Do I gamble on one or the other? If I bet on one set of rules, then why should I believe that is the right set?

Let's say I pick Christianity. Jesus said "Love your god and your neighbor." So how am I to do that? How do I voluntarily do the involuntary?

The preacher says "Just believe!" So how am I to do that? And if I did manage the feat, isn't that a work? Well, it's an accomplishment. If it's a gift and I accept, then acceptance is the accomplishment. I can brag because I am saved and you are not. I believe the right thing and you don't. You didn't accept the gift and I did. Or if it's a gift and my acceptance is not required, then I can brag for being the chosen one. So all roads lead back to boasting and the answering of that question of what is going to piss god off. What do you think? (From the perspective of assuming there is a god)
with rarely a mind changed one way or the other
How would you know that is true if you weren't one of the minds that rarely changes?
Just my observation from 20+ years wandering through multiple theology/philosophy boards. Have you seen many minds changed on major issues by message board debate?
Just mine :( People should be proud of being wrong because then they can say, "I can admit when I'm wrong so I'm better than you!" ;) It's always about the ego whether it's needing to be right or being proud of humility, ultimately whatever you do will be for your own perceived benefit. Ego, pride, boasting, arrogance... The only innocent act is one that has no goal. The only way off the hamster wheel is to stop trying to get off of it.
It can only be the confidence that you've solved the puzzle which quenched your curiosity that makes the debate hopeless. I feel that way about some issues and that's why they're uninteresting to talk about and it's the only way I can rationalize this turn of events.
Well doesn't everyone enter any discussion with an a priori stance that there is sufficient truth in one's worldview to enter an exchange? I don't feel I've solved much of anything...the further I get into it, the more I find I don't know. Wish I'd started earlier in life.
It's cool. I just want to get along and have good conversations. Yeah, I think most everyone has an idea they've taken to heart, but I'm still drifting and I don't think I've taken root yet regarding this particular topic. I have a higher degree of confidence on many other issues.
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