Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
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23-06-2016, 06:11 PM
Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
Okay. This is an open call to any Christian up for the challenge of an epistemological debate regarding the basis of our respective positions on religion.

The format of this debate will consist of three phases.

For phase 1, Please open your post by identifying as what sort of Christian you are. Identifying a branch of Christianity (eg, Eastern Orthodoxy) would be a good start, but it would be better to identify a list of doctrines/beliefs that you consider essential or at least important.

I'll probably choose to debate the first person to reply, but if multiple Christians jump on this opportunity in close succession I'll choose whichever one I consider most interesting.

I will possibly engage in a series of questions to clarify what these doctrines/beliefs actually mean. Once I am satisfied that I understand your positions, I will state my own views on the doctrines you have listed, which will likely be in opposition. You may then ask some clarifying questions regarding my positions.

Note that these questions should be CLARIFYING, and not ARGUMENTATIVE. No leading sequence of Socratic interrogation. There will be plenty of time for that later. Phase 1 is simply about clearly communicating and understanding positions.

Once we are satisfied that we understand each other, we'll move onto phase 2. In Phase 2, we will each identify our reasons for holding these positions. Again, there will be an opportunity for clarifying questions, but not argumentative ones.

In Phase 3, which will hopefully be in the meat of the debate, we will argue over who has employed the more reasonable methodology for arriving at their positions. The format for Phase 3 will primarily free-form, but with the expectation that if a question is posed to you, it will be addressed, and with the focus placed on reasons for, methodology of arriving at, and epistemic validity of the participants' positions.
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25-06-2016, 07:25 AM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
I'm in. I'm Catholic with a realist metaphysics and epistemology. I will offer more if you accept and we enter into phase 1.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
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26-06-2016, 08:41 AM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
Okay, Tarzan, let's do this. Phase 1, go.

You've said Catholic with a realist metaphysics. Expand on this, please. While I don't expect you to list every last doctrine and belief involved, which ones are essential or important to being a Catholic with realist metaphysics? (We'll hold off on epistemology until phase 2.)
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28-06-2016, 01:10 AM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
I suppose before we begin, maybe we should discuss the parameters of the match.
The only rule I personally think is important is no ad hominum attacks. I consider them to get in the way of a good debate. So the rule would be thus; "we agree that all opinions and sources may be called wrong, incomplete etc, but will not be degraded, called stupid, juvenile etc. I feel like this will make the debate more respectful and help move towards a more satisfactory conclusion". We let the mods (mom) judge whether an offense has been committed. Do you want to say one warning and then the match is forfeited?
If you don't want this rule, I'm still game. I just thought it would be nice. Also just let me know of any rules you might want.

Anyways, without further ado. So in regards to my metaphysics. There are certain metaphysical principles that any Christian who follows the Nicene creed should follow. If one follows the implications of the Incarnation, God becoming flesh in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, and if the Incarnation is true, then there are two principles that especially pertain to epistemology. These are that reality is real and reality is good.

In the first case, that reality is real, what this means is that certain philosophies must be rejected. One of these being Bishop Berkeley. I am well aware that he was a Christian (a Bishop), however Berkeley's philosophy seems incompatible with Nicene Christianity. This is because we believe that God became flesh. That he took on Human nature. If that is the case then this implies that there is some reality to become flesh to. Any philosophy that claims physical reality is an illusion must reject God becoming physical.
A corollary of this belief is that there is a spiritual reality of some kind.

The second point is that physical reality is good. This is less important as an epistemological point but it does mean that the physical reality is worth studying. Philosophies that consider physical reality to be evil, such as many of the Greek philosophies, the Gnostics, and the Albigensians, must also be rejected since if God became physical then the study of physical reality tells us about God, as well as that physical reality is a part of God's nature and is thus good.

I think that covers the main points, basically I believe physical reality exists. It is not a phantasmagoria nor merely an idea. A tree is a tree.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
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28-06-2016, 04:14 AM (This post was last modified: 28-06-2016 05:28 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
(28-06-2016 01:10 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  I suppose before we begin, maybe we should discuss the parameters of the match.
The only rule I personally think is important is no ad hominum attacks. I consider them to get in the way of a good debate. So the rule would be thus; "we agree that all opinions and sources may be called wrong, incomplete etc, but will not be degraded, called stupid, juvenile etc. I feel like this will make the debate more respectful and help move towards a more satisfactory conclusion". We let the mods (mom) judge whether an offense has been committed. Do you want to say one warning and then the match is forfeited?
If you don't want this rule, I'm still game. I just thought it would be nice. Also just let me know of any rules you might want.

I'm fine with this rule, provided Moms is willing to take up that role, and provided that opinions and ideas are not covered. People will not be attacked but what they say can be. Furthermore, while individuals may not be attacked in the ways you describe, it is legitimate to examine their credibility and qualifications as a way of questioning their authority.

(28-06-2016 01:10 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  Anyways, without further ado. So in regards to my metaphysics. There are certain metaphysical principles that any Christian who follows the Nicene creed should follow. If one follows the implications of the Incarnation, God becoming flesh in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, and if the Incarnation is true, then there are two principles that especially pertain to epistemology. These are that reality is real and reality is good.

In the first case, that reality is real, what this means is that certain philosophies must be rejected. One of these being Bishop Berkeley. I am well aware that he was a Christian (a Bishop), however Berkeley's philosophy seems incompatible with Nicene Christianity. This is because we believe that God became flesh. That he took on Human nature. If that is the case then this implies that there is some reality to become flesh to. Any philosophy that claims physical reality is an illusion must reject God becoming physical.
A corollary of this belief is that there is a spiritual reality of some kind.

The second point is that physical reality is good. This is less important as an epistemological point but it does mean that the physical reality is worth studying. Philosophies that consider physical reality to be evil, such as many of the Greek philosophies, the Gnostics, and the Albigensians, must also be rejected since if God became physical then the study of physical reality tells us about God, as well as that physical reality is a part of God's nature and is thus good.

I think that covers the main points, basically I believe physical reality exists. It is not a phantasmagoria nor merely an idea. A tree is a tree.

I'll hold off on inquiring much into your epistemology until Phases 2 and 3. For now, here are some clarifying questions.

(1) While you spend a lot more time emphasizing its implications than the creed itself, am I correct in understanding that you are identifying the Nicene Creed as one of the essential items of your belief? Also, there are a lot of subtly different versions of the Nicene Creed. Is there a particular one you believe in, or do you consider any of the versions close enough to work with? I'm currently looking at the 2011 Roman Catholic English translation. Is that sufficient, or is there a different version you want to stick with? I might have some follow-up questions on this depending on how you answer.

(2) You place a lot of emphasis on the spiritual and physical, but you do not define these terms. I've encountered multiple ways of defining them as a dichotomy, and some ways of defining them that are not dichotomous, but I do not know which definitions you are employing here. Could you specify?

(3) The same with good and evil. I know many different definitions, but I do not know which ones you are using. I'm not asking you to list everything that counts as good and everything that counts as evil, or to even identify a method of telling one from the other. But, as an abstract concept, what do you mean when you say something is good or that something is evil?

EDIT: And (4), you seem to be focusing more on the metaphysical realism aspect than the Catholic aspect. Is the Nicene creed sufficient summary of your Catholic beliefs, in your view, or is there more that is essential?
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29-06-2016, 02:29 AM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
(28-06-2016 04:14 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(28-06-2016 01:10 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  I suppose before we begin, maybe we should discuss the parameters of the match.
The only rule I personally think is important is no ad hominum attacks. I consider them to get in the way of a good debate. So the rule would be thus; "we agree that all opinions and sources may be called wrong, incomplete etc, but will not be degraded, called stupid, juvenile etc. I feel like this will make the debate more respectful and help move towards a more satisfactory conclusion". We let the mods (mom) judge whether an offense has been committed. Do you want to say one warning and then the match is forfeited?
If you don't want this rule, I'm still game. I just thought it would be nice. Also just let me know of any rules you might want.

I'm fine with this rule, provided Moms is willing to take up that role, and provided that opinions and ideas are not covered. People will not be attacked but what they say can be. Furthermore, while individuals may not be attacked in the ways you describe, it is legitimate to examine their credibility and qualifications as a way of questioning their authority.
That's good.

(28-06-2016 04:14 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(28-06-2016 01:10 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  Anyways, without further ado. So in regards to my metaphysics. There are certain metaphysical principles that any Christian who follows the Nicene creed should follow. If one follows the implications of the Incarnation, God becoming flesh in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, and if the Incarnation is true, then there are two principles that especially pertain to epistemology. These are that reality is real and reality is good.

In the first case, that reality is real, what this means is that certain philosophies must be rejected. One of these being Bishop Berkeley. I am well aware that he was a Christian (a Bishop), however Berkeley's philosophy seems incompatible with Nicene Christianity. This is because we believe that God became flesh. That he took on Human nature. If that is the case then this implies that there is some reality to become flesh to. Any philosophy that claims physical reality is an illusion must reject God becoming physical.
A corollary of this belief is that there is a spiritual reality of some kind.

The second point is that physical reality is good. This is less important as an epistemological point but it does mean that the physical reality is worth studying. Philosophies that consider physical reality to be evil, such as many of the Greek philosophies, the Gnostics, and the Albigensians, must also be rejected since if God became physical then the study of physical reality tells us about God, as well as that physical reality is a part of God's nature and is thus good.

I think that covers the main points, basically I believe physical reality exists. It is not a phantasmagoria nor merely an idea. A tree is a tree.

I'll hold off on inquiring much into your epistemology until Phases 2 and 3. For now, here are some clarifying questions.

(1) While you spend a lot more time emphasizing its implications than the creed itself, am I correct in understanding that you are identifying the Nicene Creed as one of the essential items of your belief? Also, there are a lot of subtly different versions of the Nicene Creed. Is there a particular one you believe in, or do you consider any of the versions close enough to work with? I'm currently looking at the 2011 Roman Catholic English translation. Is that sufficient, or is there a different version you want to stick with? I might have some follow-up questions on this depending on how you answer.


The variations you brought up mostly just reflect differences that are brought through by translation. Considering how much trouble resulted from adding a single word (filioque) to the creed, I would say that there is much less variation in the Latin and the Greek. I don't believe any of the variations (beyond the filioque) result in any different doctrinal interpretations. Or at least none that should have any significance in our debate. The 2011 version should be fine.

Just to clarify. I am referring specifically to the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed, since (from Wikipedia) "It is the only authoritative ecumenical statement of the Christian faith accepted by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and the major Protestant denominations". While this is an epistemological debate, it is also a religious debate. This is my standard for what counts as Christianity. This is because the word "Christian" seems to have lost all meaning. "Christianity" seems to have more variation than "atheism". At least Atheists share a common belief that they do not believe God exists. Considering there are christian atheists, I don't believe "Christians" have any 100% shared belief. I don't think this would be committing the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. But at least I am clarifying what I mean by "Christian"


(28-06-2016 04:14 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  (2) You place a lot of emphasis on the spiritual and physical, but you do not define these terms. I've encountered multiple ways of defining them as a dichotomy, and some ways of defining them that are not dichotomous, but I do not know which definitions you are employing here. Could you specify?

I did not state necessarily my view on what the relation between spiritual and physical is merely what is given by the creed. The two philosophies that reality is entirely physical (materialism, which I presume you are) and that reality is entirely spiritual (Berkeley) are rejected by the creed.

It seems to me that there are to possibilities that can be held by those who affirm the creed. Dualism (Plato/St Augustine) which believes in the dicotomy. By which I mean that matter and soul are both their own substances. A good layman's explanation can be given by C.S. Lewis in which he says that "you do not have a soul, you are a soul, you have a body".

The other is what I call Pseudo-Dualism (Aristotle/St Thomas). In his de anima Which states that objects are composed of matter and form. Form is what is most closely associated with the spiritual. What we mean by "form" is the act of existing. Aristotle called matter potentiality and form actuality. God is considered to be pure form or pure actuality. While Aristotle called form a kind of substance, the meaning seems more analogical. It is this philosophy that I adhere to.

My interpretation is that Form (the soul, mind etc) in regards to humans is the mainly the ability to choose and the ability to reason.


(28-06-2016 04:14 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  (3) The same with good and evil. I know many different definitions, but I do not know which ones you are using. I'm not asking you to list everything that counts as good and everything that counts as evil, or to even identify a method of telling one from the other. But, as an abstract concept, what do you mean when you say something is good or that something is evil?

I have no intention of listing things that are good or evil for what would that profit you in this debate. Good is a function of an objects end (purpose). In my room I have a good shelf and a bad (evil) shelf. One is clean, holds books, looks nice. It fulfills its end to be a bookshelf. The other one was pissed on by my cats. It cannot hold books, is dirty and looks like shit. It cannot fulfill its end of being a bookshelf. For these things we tend to use a good/bad dicotomy. Good/Evil tends to be more for the moral life. In the first five questions of the II-II of the Summa Theologica, St Thomas asks whether man has a single final end. Without going through all the arguments, let us assume (if Catholicism is true) that he is correct in stating that God is man's final end. Basically anything that is good is that which brings us towards God, anything that is evil is that which brings us away from him.


(28-06-2016 04:14 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  EDIT: And (4), you seem to be focusing more on the metaphysical realism aspect than the Catholic aspect. Is the Nicene creed sufficient summary of your Catholic beliefs, in your view, or is there more that is essential?

Well this is a epistemological debate. Still not sure how you are going to bring religion into this, since much of what I said could be held by Atheist and Catholic alike (with some minor variation). Mainly what I wanted to emphasize is that if one is a Catholic then one must also believe that reality is real and not an illusion.
In terms of a summary of my faith, well... the Catechism of the Catholic Church has 2865 paragraphs. That is the official summary of the Catholic Faith. I cannot touch upon every aspect of my faith but all the essentials are in the Creed. I think it is a fair reference point for now, but if anything comes up, I will be all too happy to clarify. I am always willing to answer questions.
Btw, each of those questions could be answered with an essay, so feel free to ask more questions if you want because I'm just trying to be somewhat brief.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
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01-07-2016, 08:03 AM (This post was last modified: 01-07-2016 08:30 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
(29-06-2016 02:29 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  At least Atheists share a common belief that they do not believe God exists. Considering there are christian atheists, I don't believe "Christians" have any 100% shared belief. I don't think this would be committing the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. But at least I am clarifying what I mean by "Christian"

You're clarifying what you mean when you use the term, which is just fine and what I wanted. It's not the sort of post-hoc scrambling and redefinition that makes No True Scotsman problematic. I'm less interested in establishing an official everywhere-accepted definition of Christianity, and more interested in being clear about what you mean by it.

(29-06-2016 02:29 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  
(28-06-2016 04:14 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  (2) You place a lot of emphasis on the spiritual and physical, but you do not define these terms. I've encountered multiple ways of defining them as a dichotomy, and some ways of defining them that are not dichotomous, but I do not know which definitions you are employing here. Could you specify?

I did not state necessarily my view on what the relation between spiritual and physical is merely what is given by the creed. The two philosophies that reality is entirely physical (materialism, which I presume you are) and that reality is entirely spiritual (Berkeley) are rejected by the creed.

It seems to me that there are to possibilities that can be held by those who affirm the creed. Dualism (Plato/St Augustine) which believes in the dicotomy. By which I mean that matter and soul are both their own substances. A good layman's explanation can be given by C.S. Lewis in which he says that "you do not have a soul, you are a soul, you have a body".

The other is what I call Pseudo-Dualism (Aristotle/St Thomas). In his de anima Which states that objects are composed of matter and form. Form is what is most closely associated with the spiritual. What we mean by "form" is the act of existing. Aristotle called matter potentiality and form actuality. God is considered to be pure form or pure actuality. While Aristotle called form a kind of substance, the meaning seems more analogical. It is this philosophy that I adhere to.

My interpretation is that Form (the soul, mind etc) in regards to humans is the mainly the ability to choose and the ability to reason.

I'm still confused by what you mean on the subject, but you've given me some reference points to read up on to start with and that should be enough for moving forward.

As for whether I'm a materialist, I don't really have much of a dog in that fight. If I find something that seems to the best of my discernment to be real, placing the tag of "physical" or "spiritual" on it is a low priority. I don't really bother with the distinction unless someone else brings it up. I'd best be described as ignostic and/or apathetic on the subject in its own right, though I'll try to pick up on what another person is meaning if they start talking about it. If I'm understanding how you are distinguishing between things (I'll have to review Aristotle and Aquinas... that is the Thomas you're referring to, correct?... to be sure) I might qualify as a materialist (or perhaps physicalist would be a better word), but that's more a matter of not having encountered anything that clearly violates that philosophy rather than any firm belief in (or passion about) the philosophy itself.

In any event, it seems that your metaphysical position arises from your religious creeds rather than the other way around. Is that correct?

(29-06-2016 02:29 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  
(28-06-2016 04:14 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  (3) The same with good and evil. I know many different definitions, but I do not know which ones you are using. I'm not asking you to list everything that counts as good and everything that counts as evil, or to even identify a method of telling one from the other. But, as an abstract concept, what do you mean when you say something is good or that something is evil?

I have no intention of listing things that are good or evil for what would that profit you in this debate. Good is a function of an objects end (purpose). In my room I have a good shelf and a bad (evil) shelf. One is clean, holds books, looks nice. It fulfills its end to be a bookshelf. The other one was pissed on by my cats. It cannot hold books, is dirty and looks like shit. It cannot fulfill its end of being a bookshelf. For these things we tend to use a good/bad dicotomy. Good/Evil tends to be more for the moral life. In the first five questions of the II-II of the Summa Theologica, St Thomas asks whether man has a single final end. Without going through all the arguments, let us assume (if Catholicism is true) that he is correct in stating that God is man's final end. Basically anything that is good is that which brings us towards God, anything that is evil is that which brings us away from him.

Okay, so your definition of good presupposes that a thing has an end or purpose. It defines goodness as the quality of fulfilling or moving towards or being well suited to that purpose, and evil as the opposite. You also say that anything that brings us towards God is good, but that is more of a conclusion based on several factors including this definition of goodness, rather than part of the definition itself. Do I have that right?

(29-06-2016 02:29 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  
(28-06-2016 04:14 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  EDIT: And (4), you seem to be focusing more on the metaphysical realism aspect than the Catholic aspect. Is the Nicene creed sufficient summary of your Catholic beliefs, in your view, or is there more that is essential?

Well this is a epistemological debate. Still not sure how you are going to bring religion into this, since much of what I said could be held by Atheist and Catholic alike (with some minor variation). Mainly what I wanted to emphasize is that if one is a Catholic then one must also believe that reality is real and not an illusion.
In terms of a summary of my faith, well... the Catechism of the Catholic Church has 2865 paragraphs. That is the official summary of the Catholic Faith. I cannot touch upon every aspect of my faith but all the essentials are in the Creed. I think it is a fair reference point for now, but if anything comes up, I will be all too happy to clarify. I am always willing to answer questions.
Btw, each of those questions could be answered with an essay, so feel free to ask more questions if you want because I'm just trying to be somewhat brief.

Well, yes, it's a debate about epistemology, but it's a debate specifically about the epistemology we employ in arriving at our various stances on religious topics. I said pretty much that in the first full sentence of the thread. Here, for easy reference:

Quote:an epistemological debate regarding the basis of our respective positions on religion.

I don't have much experience with Catholicism. I'll review the Catechisms over the weekend, but if we want to move forward with the debate in a timely manner it will have to be less of an in-depth study and more of a skim.

EDIT: To put it more concisely, I was envisioning this as boiling down to three questions:

1) What are your religious beliefs? (Focusing on the ones you consider personally important rather than just tangential or incidental.) So far you've identified as a Christian and specifically a Catholic.
2) What epistemology did you employ to arrive at these beliefs?
3) Is this a good (meaning reliable and trustworthy) epistemology?

I would in turn state which of your beliefs I did not share and why I did not share them, giving you an epistemology of my own to question. While I envision part 3 as the meat of this, obviously parts 1 and 2 have to come first.
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04-07-2016, 11:00 PM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
So I have come to realize that I made a mistake. I thought this was more the epistemologies that flow from are beliefs not the epistomologies that lead us to our beliefs. That being said we will not have to backtrack very much or at all. I think I will do two posts one responding to your questions and another which should be good summary of what I have said in relation to the debate.



(01-07-2016 08:03 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  [quote='TarzanSmith' pid='1022616' dateline='1467188957']

I did not state necessarily my view on what the relation between spiritual and physical is merely what is given by the creed. The two philosophies that reality is entirely physical (materialism, which I presume you are) and that reality is entirely spiritual (Berkeley) are rejected by the creed.

It seems to me that there are to possibilities that can be held by those who affirm the creed. Dualism (Plato/St Augustine) which believes in the dicotomy. By which I mean that matter and soul are both their own substances. A good layman's explanation can be given by C.S. Lewis in which he says that "you do not have a soul, you are a soul, you have a body".

The other is what I call Pseudo-Dualism (Aristotle/St Thomas). In his de anima Which states that objects are composed of matter and form. Form is what is most closely associated with the spiritual. What we mean by "form" is the act of existing. Aristotle called matter potentiality and form actuality. God is considered to be pure form or pure actuality. While Aristotle called form a kind of substance, the meaning seems more analogical. It is this philosophy that I adhere to.

My interpretation is that Form (the soul, mind etc) in regards to humans is the mainly the ability to choose and the ability to reason.

I'm still confused by what you mean on the subject, but you've given me some reference points to read up on to start with and that should be enough for moving forward.

As for whether I'm a materialist, I don't really have much of a dog in that fight. If I find something that seems to the best of my discernment to be real, placing the tag of "physical" or "spiritual" on it is a low priority. I don't really bother with the distinction unless someone else brings it up. I'd best be described as ignostic and/or apathetic on the subject in its own right, though I'll try to pick up on what another person is meaning if they start talking about it. If I'm understanding how you are distinguishing between things (I'll have to review Aristotle and Aquinas... that is the Thomas you're referring to, correct?... to be sure) I might qualify as a materialist (or perhaps physicalist would be a better word), but that's more a matter of not having encountered anything that clearly violates that philosophy rather than any firm belief in (or passion about) the philosophy itself.

In any event, it seems that your metaphysical position arises from your religious creeds rather than the other way around. Is that correct?[/quote]

I think the fact that you are apathetic to the materialism vs dualism idea will make for a very interesting third act. Especially in regards to how dogmatic can we be in our respective beliefs.

I regards to whether or not my metaphysics come from my faith or not, I think we will save that for act two in which I will give a lengthy post on how I developed in my faith and my philosophical beliefs.

(01-07-2016 08:03 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  [quote='TarzanSmith' pid='1022616' dateline='1467188957']

I have no intention of listing things that are good or evil for what would that profit you in this debate. Good is a function of an objects end (purpose). In my room I have a good shelf and a bad (evil) shelf. One is clean, holds books, looks nice. It fulfills its end to be a bookshelf. The other one was pissed on by my cats. It cannot hold books, is dirty and looks like shit. It cannot fulfill its end of being a bookshelf. For these things we tend to use a good/bad dicotomy. Good/Evil tends to be more for the moral life. In the first five questions of the II-II of the Summa Theologica, St Thomas asks whether man has a single final end. Without going through all the arguments, let us assume (if Catholicism is true) that he is correct in stating that God is man's final end. Basically anything that is good is that which brings us towards God, anything that is evil is that which brings us away from him.

Okay, so your definition of good presupposes that a thing has an end or purpose. It defines goodness as the quality of fulfilling or moving towards or being well suited to that purpose, and evil as the opposite. You also say that anything that brings us towards God is good, but that is more of a conclusion based on several factors including this definition of goodness, rather than part of the definition itself. Do I have that right?[/quote]

The good of an object, in a purely secular (meaning worldly) view is that an object's good is determined by that of the creator, beholder, user etc. it is not inherent in the thing itself. However if we have come to the conclusion that God is the creator and that he is all good and that he creates goodness, then by virtue of being a product of God everything has an inherent goodness by virtue of its existence.
A side comment, Catholics (to clarify I mean those who follow the churches teaching, not as a general idea held by the majority of those who call themselves Catholics) do not consider evil to be a positive force but as a lack of good, in much the same way that cold is a lack of heat. To continue the analogy, cold approaching zero kelvin is asymptotic and evil is the same way. If it exists it has some goodness no matter how small.

Also i did want to mention that when I say that the incarnation rejects any view that holds that matter is evil, I did not mean any particular definition of evil. The main heresies that the church faught against (Gnosticism, Manicheanism) held that evil was a positive force in combat with good. Zoroastrians held the same belief.

(29-06-2016 02:29 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  [quote='Reltzik' pid='1023783' dateline='1467381828']

I don't have much experience with Catholicism. I'll review the Catechisms over the weekend, but if we want to move forward with the debate in a timely manner it will have to be less of an in-depth study and more of a skim.

EDIT: To put it more concisely, I was envisioning this as boiling down to three questions:

1) What are your religious beliefs? (Focusing on the ones you consider personally important rather than just tangential or incidental.) So far you've identified as a Christian and specifically a Catholic.
2) What epistemology did you employ to arrive at these beliefs?
3) Is this a good (meaning reliable and trustworthy) epistemology?

I would in turn state which of your beliefs I did not share and why I did not share them, giving you an epistemology of my own to question. While I envision part 3 as the meat of this, obviously parts 1 and 2 have to come first.

Thank you for this clarification, and hopefully I will be able to offer enough information that a thorough reading of the Catechism will not be necessary. Btw every chapter of the Catechism has a "in Brief" section which is 5-10 sentences summarizing each chapter. That should make it easier. Also only read "Part I:the profession of faith", the rest deals with prayers and christian life.

end of post 1

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
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04-07-2016, 11:21 PM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
Post 2
Here I intend to summarize my beliefs in a more concise and productive fashion. When we move to act 2, I will relate how I came to develop these beliefs.

Now I read your post on the Two Epistomologies and I think I have a better understanding where this debate will go.
So we will most likely debate the merits of induction, deduction, faith, and experience in the third act. So I think I should start of by defining what I mean by these terms. Now in the realm of epistemology I find most methods of attaining knowledge to be binary. There is quia and propter quid, a priori and a posteriori, induction and deduction. Similarly I believe that Faith and experience are two opposites as well. Now one thing I must emphasize is that we almost always use these binaries together. Rarely can they be used alone.
Since the others have perfectly acceptable definitions, I will mainly define faith since I use it in a very specific manner. The world faith has accumulated many colloquial definitions and has become a very broad word. Good philosophy requires good definitions. Now the definition I use is widely supported, and is probably the way it uses it most often, by the Catholic Church although it does sometimes use it in other ways.
Here is the definition I use; Faith is a method of attaining knowledge which is the opposite end of the spectrum from experience. Using etymology, Faith comes from the Latin word fidere which means "to trust". In the secular world, we attain knowledge by faith any time we do not use experience. For example I know that New Zealand exists by faith (in maps, books, Lord of the Rings movies, etc) because I have never experienced New Zealand. We would call this natural faith and it means that we trust the source of our knowledge. We also Have faith in our senses when we experience things so the two go hand in hand.
The more common use of Faith for religious people is what we call Supernatural faith. With natural faith there must always be a degree of skepticism because the source is imperfect. But since we consider that God is all good, knowing, etc, then we may trust the source of supernatural faith completely. This seems to be what is really meant when people say to "you just have to have faith". It means you need to just trust in God. what I want to get across with this definition is that I consider Faith and belief to be two different concepts.
This post is already pretty long so I'll just end it here and do another.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
Find all posts by this user
04-07-2016, 11:26 PM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
post 3

here is the summary. So since we shall be talking about for lack of a better term "faith and science" I wanted to give the conclusion to my beliefs in regards to that particular theme. So what is the conclusion to saying that "because of the incarnation and the creed we must accept that reality is real and good". I will let the Catechism speak for me.
Quote: 159 Faith and science: "Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth." "Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are."

So in regards to the question of Induction vs deduction, I believe that both result in the same truth by necessity.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
Find all posts by this user
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