Instinct to the divine?

Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#21
My quick interpretation of a fallibilist is that it is a position/view/concept that is rationally held, but, could be wrong.

Thank you (really) for giving me beautifully obscure word to add to my vocabulary.

Umm I've always thought the word 'agnostic'. would include that definition. Is' agnostic' too broad a term?


Then, about the term "Atheist", good history lovers would contextualize it ... from an Ancient Roman perspective who rejected the Roman deities without a historical deity [the reference to the Jewish one was really weak from a Roman viewpoint], without having a deity to physically worship, not only was against the Roman Civitas, but he was also "Atheist".

Christians were "Atheists" for Ancient Romans: they hadn't statues of their deity to worship and rituals to follow ... Catholics would have solved the matter. And if we think well, with Constantine Christianity became well "Roman" ... Christians were no more "Atheists".

Fascinating. I didn't know that. Am learning a lot today

I certainly was not aware of an historical context. I've always used the term as relatively concise way to describe my lack of belief. However, I still come across theists who insist that an atheist is a person who believes there is no god. Whilst true enough for some atheist, it is not the only position or even the majority position, as far as I can tell

For me, the term 'god' is first among notions which include; god, the supernatural, spiritual, paranormal, soul, devil, heaven, hell*.. THE one thing in common with all of those concepts is that they cannot be proved. It does NOT include proven natural things such as electrical current, light waves, radio waves, X rays, gamma rays


*there is a clip on Youtube with former Anglican Bishop John Shelby Spong in which the claims 'hell' was invented by the church. He also says "religion are in the control business'" There are a LOT of clips with this man on Youtube, and he has written several best selling books on his views. He claims he still believe in a loving god, just not one the Churches describe. I can understand that, a a teen,I could never understand the difference between the terrifying arsehole Yahweh of the Old Testament and the gentle , compassionate Jesus of the New..
 
Likes: Cepheus

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,932
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#22
My quick interpretation of a fallibilist is that it is a position/view/concept that is rationally held, but, could be wrong.

Thank you (really) for giving me beautifully obscure word to add to my vocabulary.

Umm I've always thought the word 'agnostic'. would include that definition. Is' agnostic' too broad a term?





Fascinating. I didn't know that. Am learning a lot today

I certainly was not aware of an historical context. I've always used the term as relatively concise way to describe my lack of belief. However, I still come across theists who insist that an atheist is a person who believes there is no god. Whilst true enough for some atheist, it is not the only position or even the majority position, as far as I can tell

For me, the term 'god' is first among notions which include; god, the supernatural, spiritual, paranormal, soul, devil, heaven, hell*.. THE one thing in common with all of those concepts is that they cannot be proved. It does NOT include proven natural things such as electrical current, light waves, radio waves, X rays, gamma rays


*there is a clip on Youtube with former Anglican Bishop John Shelby Spong in which the claims 'hell' was invented by the church. He also says "religion are in the control business'" There are a LOT of clips with this man on Youtube, and he has written several best selling books on his views. He claims he still believe in a loving god, just not one the Churches describe. I can understand that, a a teen,I could never understand the difference between the terrifying arsehole Yahweh of the Old Testament and the gentle , compassionate Jesus of the New..
Today "Atheist" is a term with a clear meaning. So its modern usage shouldn't be confused with his ancient usage [Romans didn't denigrate Christians calling them "Atheists", they simply described their status from their perspective ... to denigrate them they used well worse definitions, at least according to historical Christian sources. Let's remind that the Roman persecution of the Christians is well more present in Christian sources than in Pagan Roman ones, but this is an other further matter].

Old Testament VS New Testament.

This difference has been noted in the past and some philosophers have suggested that G-d, the God of the Old Testament would be a kind of imperfect fallen G-d, Lord of this planet and of the matter. While Jesus would be the mean to reach the Perfect God. Substantially that's the Gnostic thought where G-d, the creator of this inferior material world, would be an evil inferior God ... [like Satan].

The superior perfect God [the one of the New Testament] would have created 2 Eone, Jesus and the Holy Spirit [someone says Jesus and Mary Magdala] as mean to reach him.

But historical Christianity didn't adopt the Gnostic vision.
 
Likes: bboomer
Jan 2012
392
South Midlands in Britain
#23
Yeah. I'm going to stay with cryptic. Really. You are still doing it.

What does "History is not out there, it is down on the ground as we are writing our messages" mean ? See ? Cryptic. I am not sure what It is that I do not grasp about the "dynamic nature of the concept", however, I do observe that you continue to make statements, that may have some meaning to you, but come across to me as garbled weirdness.

No. You laid out a structuralist view and I just pointed out your inclination to see the subject that way. Get it ? Structure over function. You have systemized your viewpoint. There is no aspect of that system to define. It is rather the form of the concepts in your post. I just pointed out the inclination toward a structuralist view, or statements that could be construed as such, that you posited. I thought the component forms would be obvious but I will be happy to highlight them. Even though, I admit, I still do not have a clear idea as to your meaning in regard to the substance of these forms.

So, here are the specific components of your post that will, apparently I assume, steer your POV:


You then, structurally, "see God as a statement of a collective positive human conscience."

If you see God as a "statement" of some "collective" of anything, then are we not talking about some sort of projection here ? Whatever it is, it is how you "see humanity". Right ?

You pick up a projection here from the "collective positive human conscience." Right ?

This projection, this shared (using standard definitions of collective conscience) statement is God. This is a projection. It is a systemized or structural viewpoint of a projection of shared human conscience. This is why I responded to your post the way I did.

My point:

I am trying to understand if you are bringing any special insights to this conversation. Right now, all I am getting is some garden variety stuff that is wrapped up in cryptic semantic elements and posturing for effect. So, God is what people have projected. And, it is positive ! Yay ! :)
It is quite apparent that you like your arguments in a package with a beginning, a middle and an end. What I am arguing is that there is an ongoing struggle to encapsulate what is meant by God. I think one way, others think another. That is the debate I am seeking. All you are doing is posturing over methodology. Right?
 
Dec 2011
1,916
#24
What I am arguing is that there is an ongoing struggle to encapsulate what is meant by God. I think one way, others think another. That is the debate I am seeking. All you are doing is posturing over methodology. Right?.
What I was "doing" was sorting through your word salad to figure out the substance of your argument.

The methodology, trying to parallel your comments to standard logic forms or theological / philosophical positions is one way to sort through narrative clutter. It is a rather standard way to put someone's position into context. It is also a great way to sort through nonsense.

Good luck finding participants to the debate that you are seeking. I don't know who is going to argue that there is NOT "an ongoing struggle to encapsulate what is meant by God" but there may be someone out there.

Have a good one stanilic.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#25
It is quite apparent that you like your arguments in a package with a beginning, a middle and an end. What I am arguing is that there is an ongoing struggle to encapsulate what is meant by God. I think one way, others think another. That is the debate I am seeking. All you are doing is posturing over methodology. Right?
Great post.

Yes, the term 'atheist' is a lot clearer today, especially with Atheists.:rolleyes:

However some non atheist still tend to get a bit confused , especially some Christian apologists.

Today, the term 'atheist' has two distinct meanings: The person who disbelieves. IE there is an absence of belief, but no claims are made. The other un-believers IE he/she will state "I believe there is no god" or simply " there is no god". Both statements make a claim and attract the burden of proof, just as affirming Christian do.

I see the above distinctions as important, but perhaps i'm being pedantic.
 
Oct 2011
7,649
MARE PACIFICVM
#26
Wow, what a question!

So from my point of view, we have to establish a few things before we can even begin to have a discussion about a "belief in God."

First of all, we need to determine what is meant by 'belief', and secondly we need to determine what is meant by 'God'.

"Belief" may indicate different things to different people. On the one hand, there are intellectually professed beliefs supported by articulated rationalization. On the other hand there is the idea that your "beliefs" are what you act out in the world. These two things are not always in harmony.

For example, one might hold the intellectual 'belief' that, among consenting adults using proper protection, having multiple lovers is a natural and normal tendency. This intellectual belief might be backed up by rationalizations using biological arguments about the human sex drive, with the argument that it is only because of cultural restrictions which were put in place to protect familes in an era before birth control that lifelong monogamy developed as the social norm. One might thus "believe" that among consenting adults who are taking steps to ensure they do not have children, there is nothing wrong with having multiple lovers.
However, it is perfectly possible that the same individual who holds such an intellectual position would be completely opposed to their partner having multiple lovers in practice.
This discrepancy between rationalized intellectual "beliefs", and practical applications of "beliefs" on the front lines of life, are the result of the fact that humans are not completely rational creatures.


So in my view we must first decide, when asking "do you believe in God", whether we are asking "do you hold the intellectual position, with supporting rationale, that there is a God?", or are we asking "Do you act in the world and in your personal life as if God exists?"

It seems in common parlance that we tend to use the word belief to indicate the former, but I find the latter far more relevant and useful.

Since humans often act irrationally, and since the rationalization of a given belief or intellectual position is often arrived at after the position itself has been adopted by intuition or inclination, I simply don't find rational, intellectual "beliefs" to be all that interesting.

I'm much more interested in the idea that your true beliefs can only be known by the reflection they cause in your behavior.

For example, in the United States, the majority of adults claim to be Christians. Many of them however (I dare say most of them, in fact) don't act out those claimed beliefs in the world in the way that you would expect from someone who truly believed, in a deep way, that God himself chose to become incarnated in a human body to save the world from Sin. It is my opinion that many "Christians" in the United States are "cultural Christians" who, if we examine their behavior and lives would be more accurately titled agnostics. They attend church, maybe even enjoy it, but they will also skip church if something more exciting comes up, they may not have a very active prayer life, and generally don't feel any kind of divine presence in their daily affairs. In other words, despite their cultural, social, and communal attachment to Christianity as an institution, in their heart of hearts they aren't really convinced of the truth of the matter. An accurate summation of their innermost belief might be something like "I hope its true but I don't really know".

This is not my condemnation of American Christians, I'm quite sure there are similar situations in most world religions, this is simply the one I have been most exposed to.

So that is a lot to sort through, and there is more...



What do we mean by "God"?

Wow, now that is a heck of a question. Of course, it depends on whose definition we use. Actually, it's quite arrogant of us to even attempt a definition. We can maybe start with the Christian definition. Despite the fact that Christianity is often attacked for "believing in an old bearded man in the sky", this is not the Church's definition of God, and in fact never has been.

Jesus himself described God as "spirit", (without a body), and this has been reinforced all throughout Church history. Aquinas for example, agreed that God is devoid of passions connected to the bodily appetites because he has no body.

So there is no old bearded man in the sky.

So what does God mean?

We could start with the Fourth Lateran Council's definition from 1215 (via Wikipedia).

"The Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church believes and professes that there is one living and true God, Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, omnipotent, eternal, immense, incomprehensible, infinite in intellect and will and in all perfection Who, being One, singular, absolutely simple and unchangeable spiritual substance, is to be regarded as distinct really and in essence from the world most blessed in and from Himself, and unspeakably elevated above all things that exist, or can be conceived, except Himself."

That's as good a place as any to start. There is a lot to discuss in this realm, including things like "The Divine Attributes". He is described as both transcendant and immanent for example (transcendance without immanence is Deism, immanence without transcendance is Pantheism).

So what do we mean by God?

We should sort all this out before attempting any real argumentation.
 
Likes: Olleus
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#27
WOW what an answer!.

Wasn't expecting an answer quite that deep, but I'll have a go

Yes, it's reasonable to define terms in any serious discussion for the sake of personal clarity., but not necessarily to reach consensus

"So in my view we must first decide, when asking "do you believe in God", whether we are asking "do you hold the intellectual position, with supporting rationale, that there is a God?", or are we asking "Do you act in the world and in your personal life as if God exists?""

Fort me, both I think: I will argue an intellectual position of Atheism. However, it has also become attached to emotion and attitude for me.. At the same time, as an ex Catholic, I no longer follow the rituals of the Church ;EG prayer, Mass, communion, penance,.In that sense, my lack of belief has effected my behaviour. i

Carl Jung, I think, claimed that our most powerful beliefs are the direct results of experience. I think it may be argued that beliefs are as much the results of experience as of rational thought. . I did not suddenly decide one day that I'd like to be an atheist . To be candid, it would be easier to believe and emotionally comforting. My position came more as the result of childhood experience, plus adult experience, and about 25 years of study and reflection. As a teen, I read The Bible and Thomas Aquinas. In my mid 20's I read Bertrand Russell. At 30 , as a mature age student, I read Plato. All of these things together with simply living resulted in my present position. It's possible, although unlikely, that my beliefs will change.

What do I mean by god? There is a Buddhist saying: "Ten thousand monks, ten thousand religions"

I'm sure my notions of god is differ a great deal from the beliefs of others. That bothers me not a jot or a tittle.

I outlined my belief about "what t is god?" in an earlier post, outlining the main things I do not believe. My position comes down to a materialist stance, which includes the mind/body dichotomy;

'God" includes the supernatural beings of all faiths, the spirit, soul, paranormal, anything non corporeal which cannot be proved to exist. So ,it excludes things such as light, electrical current, radio/tv/sound/xray/gamma rays . The mind and/or soul are for me a process, a dynamic of the living brain. There seems to be an objective reality to parts of 'the mind' such as memory and personality. The existence of life is measured by the presence of electrical activity in the brain . Plus ,injure the brain in specific ways, the person is injured, even destroyed.. The brain dies, so does the person. Although many claims have been made over millennia, no one knows exactly what happens after the brain dies.

You're right, of course; the existence of the divine is one of the most important and profound questions a person can face. So, I make no claims ,offer no solutions to others.

I'm sorry if I haven't been able to answer your questions. I've pretty much done the best I can .I'd like to think I could do better if I devoted enough time, but I'm really not sure that's true. My head hurts,.
 
Jan 2012
392
South Midlands in Britain
#28
Great post.

Yes, the term 'atheist' is a lot clearer today, especially with Atheists.:rolleyes:

However some non atheist still tend to get a bit confused , especially some Christian apologists.

Today, the term 'atheist' has two distinct meanings: The person who disbelieves. IE there is an absence of belief, but no claims are made. The other un-believers IE he/she will state "I believe there is no god" or simply " there is no god". Both statements make a claim and attract the burden of proof, just as affirming Christian do.

I see the above distinctions as important, but perhaps i'm being pedantic.
There is a validity to pedantry. It does force the agnostic off the fence.
I can understand atheism as measurable evidence of God - however defined; male, female or alien - is wholly absent in an objective sense. Furthermore the entity named God has been used to legitimise all sorts of evil. The case against God is quite strong.
Yet people `find' God in the subjective sense. What is more this can easily make them better people. Thus proving the subjective God as a positive both mentally and socially.
I am familiar with the idea of God as in my background God is the authority of my conscience and the inspiration for all my work (Anabaptists, Baptists and Quakers). Given that part of that background is also Presbyterian - may God help us all in that regard - I know I am saved as one of the Elect. This is a complete nonsense my conscience refuses to accept, thus God is cancelled by God.
I feel we have been looking for God in the wrong place and in the wrong way. I accept Feuerbach's argument that God is the reification of man. This has been my starting point. This then begs the question that the God In the Heavens, an ancient and familiar image, is nothing other than a grotesque imagining based on pagan and imperial imagery.
Out of all of this what we are left with? There is a clear psychological aspect to God. There are also defined examples of supernatural phenomena claimed to derive from God. I have a preference for a psychological God as a spiritual entity we might all buy into in common (Karl Jung?), but metaphysics and cosmology also suggest parallel universes and challenge our perceptions of time and space. This takes us into the supernatural. I wholly accept the case for God.02 has not been made but we should keep an open mind and continue to maintain a sound appreciation and understanding of religious tradition, folklore and mythology.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#29
There is a validity to pedantry. It does force the agnostic off the fence.
I can understand atheism as measurable evidence of God - however defined; male, female or alien - is wholly absent in an objective sense. Furthermore the entity named God has been used to legitimise all sorts of evil. The case against God is quite strong.
Yet people `find' God in the subjective sense. What is more this can easily make them better people. Thus proving the subjective God as a positive both mentally and socially.
I am familiar with the idea of God as in my background God is the authority of my conscience and the inspiration for all my work (Anabaptists, Baptists and Quakers). Given that part of that background is also Presbyterian - may God help us all in that regard - I know I am saved as one of the Elect. This is a complete nonsense my conscience refuses to accept, thus God is cancelled by God.
I feel we have been looking for God in the wrong place and in the wrong way. I accept Feuerbach's argument that God is the reification of man. This has been my starting point. This then begs the question that the God In the Heavens, an ancient and familiar image, is nothing other than a grotesque imagining based on pagan and imperial imagery.
Out of all of this what we are left with? There is a clear psychological aspect to God. There are also defined examples of supernatural phenomena claimed to derive from God. I have a preference for a psychological God as a spiritual entity we might all buy into in common (Karl Jung?), but metaphysics and cosmology also suggest parallel universes and challenge our perceptions of time and space. This takes us into the supernatural. I wholly accept the case for God.02 has not been made but we should keep an open mind and continue to maintain a sound appreciation and understanding of religious tradition, folklore and mythology.

Interesting position, and I think I understand. However, perhaps a bit deeper than the average person (well, me anyway) would find useful day to day. The explanation I gave is pretty well as deep as I usually go, and from what I've observed, even that is deeper than many.

I enjoyed your posts though, a poke at my mind, which rarely gets seriously used these days.
 
Jan 2012
392
South Midlands in Britain
#30
Interesting position, and I think I understand. However, perhaps a bit deeper than the average person (well, me anyway) would find useful day to day. The explanation I gave is pretty well as deep as I usually go, and from what I've observed, even that is deeper than many.

I enjoyed your posts though, a poke at my mind, which rarely gets seriously used these days.
Thank you for the compliment. I am often told I get too deep, but ideas and concepts fascinate.
 

Similar History Discussions