Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
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13-05-2015, 12:26 PM (This post was last modified: 14-05-2015 06:53 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
(12-05-2015 10:07 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  One of my very first thoughts after reading all of your comments is that I do not think we will have much to quarrel over after all. It is usually quite a verbal street fight to get your average believer to admit that his/her Christianity is not based on rational argument or evidence.

While I confessed that I didn’t become a Christian by following a rational argument. Thinking through religious questions rationally, and counter arguments and perspective, is what allows me to believe with confidence that what I believe in is true, rather than because it’s emotionally satisfying. When I first came to believe this was my basic impulse, to doubt in essence all the things I was finding myself inclined to believe in. Perhaps I was deluding myself? Am I just putting the wool over my eyes? This seems to be what an atheists would suggest, when trying to inform me that my beliefs are not based on rational considerations. Now I could pause and consider this counter perspective, but I don’t find it all the persuasive.

But what I have learned over the years, is that what rational means to people is not all one and the same. People don’t tend to think the same, or work through the same question the same way. The obvious example would be folks on an autistic spectrum, who tend to process things a bit differently than those not on the same spectrum. My brother-in-law is Cardiologist, and I often find myself in the middle of an argument he’s having with my sister. When he’s explaining to me what happened, he talks like a doctor does, as if he’s providing a diagnosis and a medical recommendation, mixed with his own frustrations and anger. It comes out all very distorted and weird to me, though intnically constructed, and perhaps not as faithful to the events that transpired than the way he imagines it.

Engineers tend think of everything like engineers do, anthropologist tend to think of everything like those in the humanities do, analytical philosophers, think like analytical philosophers do, continental philosophers thinks like continental philosophers do, novelist, and artists tend to conceive the world as novelist and artist do. I myself have a greater sympathy with the latter two than the others.

The way I think, has always been the way I think, and it has almost nothing to do with me being religious, but it does have a lot to do with why religion makes a lot more sense to me than for others. In fact the sort of atheists I find myself often arguing with and in dialogue with, are interesting to me primarily because it’s noticeable that we think differently, I’m not persuaded to believe this is a result of them being atheist, but I am persuaded to believe this is why atheism makes more sense to them.

The distinguishing feature here for me, is something the Philosopher Thomas Nagel once suggested, that these sort of atheists tend to look at the world from top down, they start from the perspective of an external world, and work its way down to understand what it means to be human, about the life and tendencies of others. While for folks such as myself, we take a more common sense intuitive approach, and work from the bottom up. Since I have my own acute sense of self-awareness, an ability to navigate with some fluidity my own thoughts and feelings, I make sense of the world and reality starting from this base line. Starting from a series of intuitive/common sense beliefs/assumptions than working my way up to see if they hold together. This mode of thinking has been very reliable for me, in navigating both my professional and educational life.

Quote:My view of human purpose is that we seem to be the only part of the universe that insists upon having one

My view is not that we insists on having a purpose, but that we’re prone to intuitively believe that we have one. This intuition can be observed very early, even in children, even those not raised in religious homes, as has been documented. Children have been observed to intuitively believe that pointy rocks are their to serve a purpose, so porcupines can scratch their back. These intuitions may be false, as atheists would believe, but they are particularly hard to deny. You can argue it a way as some as a product of a hypothesized HADD (Hyperactive agency detection device), but that’s besides the point here. These replete and frequent beliefs is part of the reason why religions form pretty much everywhere, and why Darwinian evolution became extremely attractive to early anti-religious sentiments, because it offered a viable non-teleological view of life, to combat these intuitive assumptions.

We’re* not particularly intuitively materialist, or ontological naturalist, we don’t typically start here as a default and than work our way up. If our intuitive beliefs are indication of what a default belief here would be, it would be a teleological or purposeful view, which we need good reason to doubt and deny before we abandon it. I don’t think there is a very good reason to reject this, and those who are best suited to make a case for it, often absolve themselves from this endeavor by arguing that all they do is lack a belief here.

Quote:I think this takes valuable time and energy away from the subjective purpose I have chosen for myself, to have and achieve love throughout my life.

I don't think purpose or meaning is something we get to choose, like which shoes to wear on a Friday Night, but rather meaning and purpose is something we find. We find certain things purposeful or meaningful, but we don't have the ability to make it purposeful or meaningful, either it is or it isn't. You can't particularly wake up one morning and make stamp collecting a meaningful endeavor for yourself, anymore so than I could choose to enjoy watching football. Either you enjoy these things or you don't.
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19-05-2015, 12:27 PM
RE: Dark Phoenix Vs. Tomasia
I don't think I said, and I don't think, that Christians are incapable of rational thought or considering claims in a rational way. I simply feel confident, based on the content of Christianity, that none of its formal arguments are sound.

I think I know what you mean by doubting oneself. It has always bothered me about humans beings that we are often so easily swayed by our wants, hopes, and emotions. I like to think that a skeptical attitude toward one's bias is a healthy way of counteracting some of the intuitive thought errors I am predisposed to make.

I recognize the complexity and even value of multiple approaches and different perspectives. I suppose what I am really saying when I point out that formal Christian arguments are not logically sound, is that I think they should be if we are going to consider Christianity as objectively true. As things stand now, it is a valuable belief system for those that adopt it and invest themselves, but is not obviously true or even beneficial for those who are not part of the club, and don't necessarily want to be.

It is my belief, after some years of consideration, that this intuitive thinking you describe is not present in the universe itself, but rather is a projection of the needs and hopes of human beings onto physical reality. Thus, it is not the pointed rock that intrinsically has a purpose, but the child who imbues it with purpose because he has learned all such objects have a potential use and purpose for him and his family. He then begins to see the whole of the universe in terms of how he is able to interact with it. I simply do not think that this view is a literal reflection of how the universe actually is. I think people go too far when they suggest that what we perceive is necessarily and unbiased mental picture, and thus reflects the very essence of reality.

There are well understood psychological factors at play, such as primacy, or the natural tendency for human beings to cling to the first available explanation, regardless of its content, rather than to admit ignorance. The need is so powerful, people will invent explanations out of whole cloth. The emotional security of this first explanation has been shown to have such strength that most people naturally won't believe anything else until the primal explanation has been utterly disproved. There is usually little to no recognition that all possibilities would be better explored and tested on their merits equally than to blatantly favor what we first thought might be true.

So, ultimately I don't find the fact that our first thinking was teleological a sound reason for favoring it. I don't even feel that it needs to be disproved for a better explanation to be adopted.

When it comes to a personal purpose, I find very little meaningful distinction between discovering what I already love, and choosing to find purpose in what I love. It is due to the limits of my eloquence and of language in general that anyone would ever think I meant I literally will myself to like certain things in life.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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