Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
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16-11-2012, 03:57 PM
Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
My wife has known for months that I'm doubting the existence of God.

And she told my mother this week. My mother raised me devout Baptist. And she's still a very committed believer.

I got this e-mail from his yesterday:



Good morning, my son. Hey, I don’t need any answer to my message here EXCEPT just a confirmation that you read it.
So
you must know how difficult it is to be “just mom” at times like this.
I’ve told *** that I’m not bothered by the fact that you’re questioning,
because there is no faith without that process. I’ve undergone it more
than once in my life but I don’t suppose we’ve ever had occasion to
talk about it.

I guess you’d ask me if you wanted my sage advice [Image: blank.gif]
but given that you are MY beloved son, I’m going to send just this one
message that - in my small human mind – goes to the heart of the
matter. Please remember that you are as precious to me as
*****, ****, & *** (your kids) are to you and just indulge me for this brief
moment:

Intellectuals conduct arguments by cutting to the heart –
the foundational logic - of the matter. So what is the foundational
logic of the question “Is there a God and, if so, what is His truth?”
Any argument that is being conducted on the basis of logic has to
consist of statements that meet the requirements of being BOTH necessary
AND sufficient. Too often people will stop with a necessary statement
and think they have made their case. But they have made only a part of
it. They’ve stated something necessary and logically true, but it’s not
enough to prove their hypothesis, therefore, it’s not sufficient.

Here
is the core of any argument about “spiritual” truth – By definition,
man’s intellect is necessary, but it is not sufficient. If the realm of
the spiritual exists at all, then we have to accept that the essence of
it is not entirely accessible by just our intellects. It must make sense
to us (that’s necessary) but we will never be able to either fully
understand or justify it only on the basis of intellect.

So the
first assumption we have to make is whether the spiritual exists at all,
but the intellect is not capable of grasping that! No matter how you
come at it, in the end a person’s WILL is central – Faith would not be
faith if it were “prove-able.” There is always an element of choice.
(You can see how our emotions will enter in here, too; our faith may be
more vulnerable there than in the realm of the intellect).

So
what’s the point? The point is that our questioning can lead us to some
type of personal understanding of our faith, but it will never PROVE it
for us (witness poor Soren Kirkegaard) and it will certainly not
convince anyone else who wants to argue about it. (I think Paul learned
that lesson when he preached in the agora.)

Forgive me if this is
all already apparent to you. We don’t have the opportunity to talk
enough for me to know exactly where you are, but I’m always here if you
want to talk to “just mom” – about this or anything completely
unrelated. And you do know, of course, that I will fight any force in
heaven or earth that comes after you? “That’s the power of love.” [Image: blank.gif]

~Mom
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16-11-2012, 04:17 PM (This post was last modified: 16-11-2012 04:20 PM by Vosur.)
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
First of all, congratulations on making the first step, so to speak.

Having said that, one of the things I have noticed when it comes to educated believers is that many of them are intellectually honest enough to admit that their beliefs are based on nothing but faith. However, much like my father, WLC and KC's brother, among a whole bunch of others, these peeps then try to justify their faith-based beliefs by committing the fallacy of special pleading and/or by playing philosophical word games. It always surprises me when I witness an intelligent religious person abandoning his rational and critical thinking skills in favor of his belief, although he depends on them for practically any other matter in his life.

That aside, your mother is plain wrong when she claims that "intellect" is - by definition - necessary, but insufficient. I couldn't find a single definition of the term addressing it's necessity and sufficiency, let alone one of them. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Keep up the good work.
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16-11-2012, 04:17 PM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
wise mom is wise Big Grin

All she says it's true imo, and is consistent with agnosticism also, you can be an agnostic-theist and it wouldn't be logically inconsistent, the conclusion is always the same, you can't never fully know.

[Image: sigvacachica.png]
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16-11-2012, 04:33 PM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
The "necessary and sufficient" argument is one I hear quite often, though I don't remember which apologist it came from specifically.

However, it is not an argument of any kind. It amounts to an excuse to dismiss arguments that you disagree with without rebutting them.

You don't have to PROVE god doesn't exist to doubt his existence. You don't have to PROVE Jesus's non-existence or non-divinity to disagree with Christianity. All atheism is, is reasonable doubt.

If we follow the principle of reasonable doubt in the courtroom, even (and especially) in cases of life and death, then why should we not also follow that principle when dealing with theological matters?

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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16-11-2012, 04:36 PM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
(16-11-2012 04:33 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  The "necessary and sufficient" argument is one I hear quite often, though I don't remember which apologist it came from specifically.
Judging by it's wackiness, it probably came from WLC. Drinking Beverage
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16-11-2012, 05:31 PM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
Interesting that she chose Kierkegaard, he was a bitch if you ask me, but that isn't my point. Kierkegaard was always at odds with the church in his final years, and really hated them (though he remained religious is some sense). I suppose he felt what Luther must've felt like. Anyway, she is right, our intellect is insufficient to explain our universe, and whether or not there even exists a metaphysical realm, but I require some sort of evidence. If it is just likely to be untrue as it is likely to be true, then I see no reason to have faith in it, but what Christianity requires goes far beyond those odds; it is incalculable. That is just my opinion, and viewpoint. Good luck on your decision, but remember, it is not final. Your views will likely change as you age and gain experience and knowledge; it is not as if your conclusions are writ in stone, they are malleable.

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16-11-2012, 06:48 PM (This post was last modified: 16-11-2012 07:00 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
Onedream, as I last recall, you DID believe in God's existence (albeit questioning), but DIDN'T believe in the truthiness of the Bible. Has this changed?

What she says is not really an argument FOR or AGAINST a belief in God, but it does provide a bit of insight into HOW to examine the question. In the end, it's not something that empiricism can determine. (In other words, it's not falsifiable.) If you're going to determine one way or another, yes or no to the existence of God (and there's no reason you have to), abandoning logic is essential, because that will not guide you to an answer either way.

That said, it might make sense to put aside the question you're having trouble with momentarily, and catalog some questions with easy answers. (Like a test in school, you skip the hard questions, fill in the easy ones, and come back to work the hard ones in the time left.) Some easy questions: Do you still love your family? Still want the best for them? Still think it's important to be kind to people? Collect all those easy answers together, and you'll have a remarkably solid rock to cling to as you puzzle through the hard ones.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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16-11-2012, 07:05 PM
Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
(16-11-2012 05:31 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  Interesting that she chose Kierkegaard, he was a bitch if you ask me, but that isn't my point. Kierkegaard was always at odds with the church in his final years, and really hated them (though he remained religious is some sense). I suppose he felt what Luther must've felt like. Anyway, she is right, our intellect is insufficient to explain our universe, and whether or not there even exists a metaphysical realm, but I require some sort of evidence. If it is just likely to be untrue as it is likely to be true, then I see no reason to have faith in it, but what Christianity requires goes far beyond those odds; it is incalculable. That is just my opinion, and viewpoint. Good luck on your decision, but remember, it is not final. Your views will likely change as you age and gain experience and knowledge; it is not as if your conclusions are writ in stone, they are malleable.

Actually we don't know if our intellect is sufficient or insufficient to understand the universe. I believe we are intellectually sufficient, we just have insufficient data at this time.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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16-11-2012, 07:12 PM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
(16-11-2012 07:05 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  
(16-11-2012 05:31 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  Interesting that she chose Kierkegaard, he was a bitch if you ask me, but that isn't my point. Kierkegaard was always at odds with the church in his final years, and really hated them (though he remained religious is some sense). I suppose he felt what Luther must've felt like. Anyway, she is right, our intellect is insufficient to explain our universe, and whether or not there even exists a metaphysical realm, but I require some sort of evidence. If it is just likely to be untrue as it is likely to be true, then I see no reason to have faith in it, but what Christianity requires goes far beyond those odds; it is incalculable. That is just my opinion, and viewpoint. Good luck on your decision, but remember, it is not final. Your views will likely change as you age and gain experience and knowledge; it is not as if your conclusions are writ in stone, they are malleable.

Actually we don't know if our intellect is sufficient or insufficient to understand the universe. I believe we are intellectually sufficient, we just have insufficient data at this time.

I would say that that our intellects are not sufficient to understand the universe in totality. We require things such as mathematics to make sense of it, and many of us can't even make sense of the mathematics. Perhaps later on our minds will develop more and we'll gain a better, more efficient method of containing, analyzing and understanding the raw data we receive, but now is not that time.

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16-11-2012, 07:16 PM
RE: Told my family that I'm re-considering faith.
Oh, and congratulations on getting on your way to making sense of things onedream! Thumbsup

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
"Anti-environmentalism is like standing in front of a forest and going 'quick kill them they're coming right for us!'" - Jake Farr-Wharton, The Imaginary Friend Show.
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