In his book: How to Think about the Great Ideas (2000), Mortimer Adler devotes a chapter entitled: "How to Think about God." His first subsection (after a short introduction) is entitled: "The Four Key Questions about God." Let me state at the outset that, though I agree with his method (of outlining pivotal questions, before engaging in any substantive discussion on the matter) -- my conclusions differ from his. (Read more...)
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Ed - spirit is abstract, character, pure form. So God is the abstract character, spirit and pure form of existence existing.
Robert's post was indeed excellent. I would add today's "last men" indeed have a value - compromize. Compromize and tolerance are the highest, self-negating values. Rand discussed it in an article about concensus in government. If I had my O'ist CD running under Wine in Linux, I'd grab it, but I don't.
No, I don't hold an abstraction to be an entity, I consider an abstraction an *observation*, an identification and permutation of particulars of a concrete material, such as an FM demodulated fourier-transform of the radio-spectrum time domain at 66.6 MHz might render your favorite AC-DC tune.
The Coulomb constant *exists*. The Gravitational constant *exists*. The Fine Structure constant *exists*. Why such precise, unfluctuating values? The *identity* of the universe. "Cause God sez so!
That freaks me out. Why such N such values? Reminds me of the book of Job. 'Were you there when I framed the heavens?; how high did I make them? How deep?'
Atheists tend to say, well, what is, is. Mystics say, God is Great! And that awe, that feeling, the kind produced by a magnificent work of art, is a powerful motivation.
No doubt I share your disgust at corruption and superstition, but I still find *mystery*, awe, that gives me an appreciation and enthusiasm to dare question, consider and appreciate the immense and awesome universe that is both inside and outside of us.
============= No doubt I share your disgust at corruption and superstition, but I still find *mystery*, awe, that gives me an appreciation and enthusiasm to dare question, consider and appreciate the immense and awesome universe that is both inside and outside of us. =============
Here I was, trying to use the Socratic Method on you (you know: to try to trick you into making a bold conjecture regarding the existence of Platonic forms) -- and you write this beautiful sentence back to me?!
Scott, I have no will to go on, trying to use rhetorical tactics, trying to win this argument with you. Battling you now, after you've painted such beauty onto the computer screen -- would feel like clubbing a baby seal. You have killed my spirit of opposition.
Thanks for that.
Ed [They say that you can "kill them with kindness" -- but they never warned me that they can also kill you with beauty.]
============== Am I really as easily clubbed as a baby seal?!?! ==============
And how IN THE HELL do you KNOW how easy it is to club a baby seal, Scott?!?! I want some answers -- and I want them now. [you friggin' seal-beating, baby-basher] ;-)
Well, okay -- how about this then: A baby seal ... on steroids?
Anyway, do you get the PSYCHOLOGICAL implication of the thing-as-presented, though (where I, psychologically, couldn't muster the adversarial aggressiveness -- after being hit across the face with such beautitude?)?
I think you get it (because you're 'freaky intelligent') -- but just checking ...
Anthropological -- the appeal to man's moral sense and natural yearning for and fear of God, wagered on by Pascal Cosmological -- the appeal to a first cause, as from Aquinas and Leibniz Free Will/Consciousness -- the appeal to the fact that molecules don't think or make choices, but we're made of molecules and we think and make choices Ontological -- the appeal to imaginable perfection, as from St. Anselm and Descartes Teleological -- the appeal to complexity and order (the appeal to intelligent design)
But there are problems with each of these arguments.
Ed, those are the 'rational' arguments. The others that come to mind include faith in the holy scripture, appeal to religious authority ("The Pope's word is good enough for me," the fellow argues), the "If there is no God, then there is no heaven, and I don't want to die" argument, Revelation (as in being spoken to by God), and "How else do you explain miracles?" Did I miss anything?
There are rational reasons to think or believe certain ways, and there are irrational ones. When the reasoning is rational, then we can check to see if it is also "sound." When it is irrational, then all bets are off.
I think the complexity here is due to 2 standards:
1) the method used in order to arrive at a belief 2) the belief itself
Because there are no sound reasons to believe in God, we can say, retroactively, that belief in God is irrational -- because rationality compels one to only agree with things that are sound (rather than with the results of any kind of an arbitrary, unjustifiable method of belief-formation). So you are right that belief in God is irrational. This can be shown after-the-fact by backtracking as to how a person came to believe in God.
But Steve and I were discussing the various methods people use in order to arrive at beliefs in the first place. Some of these methods make an appeal to rationality -- to argument -- but some of them are of the nature that no argument can be made against them, because they are thoroughly irrational in the first place.
Agg the comprachicoed factor! Sometimes irrational beliefs are like a comfortable jacket. The harder the cold winds of rational thought blow through their minds, the tighter they wrap that jacket around themselves.