Monday, September 24, 2018

Does Religion Make one Happy? Is That the Point?

Over on the Secular Outpost Blog Bradly Bowen is at it again. He's got another 76 part argument. He's only on part 3.1 so that's all I'll discuss today. He thinks he's attacking the roots of religion by questioning the ability of religion to make one happy.[1] He quotes some studies that would seem to indicate that religion's happy making potential is limited.
The correlation between religion and happiness thus appears to be a weak correlation, measuring somewhere between .06 and .18.  As pointed out above that is about the same as the correlation between being physically attractive and being intelligent (correlation = .14).  Obviously, there is only a weak correlation between being physically attractive and being intelligent. There are plenty of physically attractive people who are not very intelligent, and there are plenty of people who are not physically attractive who are very intelligent.[2]

the source he;s citing is a pretty bad source: Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D. Psychology Today.[3] Kasjdan is qualified but psychology today is not a very scholar source,I*t;s time magazine for  psychology, The study in question  relays upon meta analysis. Now meta analysis a gimmick used a lot of late.  It can be a way to hide the flaws of certain studies amid the cacophony of avast array of data from many studies,It might be thought of as similar to  grading on a curve.[4] My analogy. Kashdan;'s account of the research is minimal as he is writing for a popular level of knowledge, He does not discuss any specifics of methodology. One thing that is important to note the body of cowrie he draws  upon-- this goes for Bowen as well--does not deal with religious experience in the sens of charismatic or mystical experiences.

There are studies on happiness and religion that show a high degree of  happiness produced by religion.[5] 

Many people expect religion to bring them happiness. Does this actually seem to be the case? Are religious people happier than nonreligious people? And if so, why might this be?Researchers have been intrigued by such questions. Most studies have simply asked people how happy they are, although studies also may use scales that try to measure happiness more subtly than that. In general, researchers who have a large sample of people in their study tend to limit their measurement of happiness to just one or two questions, and researchers who have fewer numbers of people use several items or scales to measure happiness.
What do they find? In a nutshell, they find that people who are involved in religion also report greater levels of happiness than do those who are not religious. For example, one study involved over 160,000 people in Europe. Among weekly churchgoers, 85% reported being "very satisfied" with life, but this number reduced to 77% among those who never went to church (Inglehart, 1990). This kind of pattern is typical -- religious involvement is associated with modest increases in happiness.[6]

Bowen actually alludes to this fact. He plays with the figures to try and minimizes the importance. This unwittingly hints at the fallacy in his argument, Why should happiness be the sellim point any way? 

Niether Bowen nor Kashdan discuss the nature of happiness, there is no attempt to sort out different levels of happiness,My contention is that more important  than happiness is a more sophisticated concept breaking down elements of happiness  that being life transformation, this is the goal of religion and the reason for it;s existence and this cannot be reduced to a simplistic concept like "happiness," In my view he point of all religion is to resolve the human problematic with ultimate informative experience. That is finding and realized in religious experience.

This research on happiness crosses paths with research for my book the Trace of God, at one specific point. My research shows that there is a vast body of scientific work proving that a certain kind of religious experience is informative,that is it tends to change one;s life dramatically for the better in almost all categories. Of course the difference is I did not research just generic happiness as related to any and every kind of religious belief. It was limited to one specific kind of experience, But it was world wide and the data base was far greater than Bowen's. He;s not even scratching the surface, There are literally hundreds of studies correlating many of kinds of religious experiences with happiness and other positive states. He';s only dealing with a couple of studies and no reason given as to why they are representative.

My own research consists o 200 studies,m of many different methodologies gathered over a 50 year period, They are all all peer reviewed and published in academic outranks.
Bowen doesn't supply enough information about what he is measuring. What level and what approach to religion makes you happy? happy in what sense? How was this measured? Why is being happy a guide to truth?
Does he mean people who say:I believe in God? at some point feel happy at some time in some way or not? What level of belief? What kind of belie? I don't believe the rear great wines,I think all the talk about vintage and good year all just hype, There are not experts who taste wine so deeply, I base that on the fact that I tasted some wine once,it tasted like salty furniture polish. Some guy who goes to church every once and a while and answered questionnaire saying he believes in God although he he's not sure, is not too happy,.Religion does;t make you happy, It doesn;t make that guy happy.
In my search there are two classic studies on mystical experience their findings have been summed up.The point is to merely indicate the specificity of research categories, this is a summary of findings of these two:
Research Summary
From Council on Spiritual Practices Website
"States of Univtive Consciousness"
Also called Transcendent Experiences, Ego-Transcendence, Intense Religious Experience, Peak Experiences, Mystical Experiences, Cosmic Consciousness. Sources:
Wuthnow, Robert (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.Noble, Kathleen D. (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.
Lukoff, David & Francis G. Lu (1988). ``Transpersonal psychology research review: Topic: Mystical experiences.'' Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 20 (2), 161-184.
Roger Walsh (1980). The consciousness disciplines and the behavioral sciences: Questions of comparison and assessment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137(6), 663-673.
Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar (1983). ``Psychedelic Drugs in Psychiatry'' in Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, New York: Basic Books.
Furthermore, Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being. (Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.)
Long-Term Effects
*Say their lives are more meaningful,
*think about meaning and purpose
*Know what purpose of life is 
Meditate more
*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities
*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends
*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping needy
*Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style.[7]
*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness
*Less authoritarian and dogmatic
*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient
*intelligent, relaxed
*High ego strength,
*relationships, symbolization, values,
*integration, allocentrism,
*psychological maturity,
*self-acceptance, self-worth,
*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,
*increased love and compassion[8] [9]

My point is just talk about "happiness" does not tell us enough, What is happiness and why is it an index to truth content? In terms of my theological orientation the point of religion is to mediate an ultimate transformation experience in answer to the human problematic, that is what we see happening in mystical experience, "Happiness: is not a good translation for this deeper sense of transformation,
Now mind you,I found in by work many studies on religion and happiness and they all suggested great off scale happiness,I wasn;t really collecting that data,

Furthermore, Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being. (Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.)

[1] Bradly Bowen, "Skeptcism about Religion--Part 3:More Caveats and Qualification," Secular Outpost (Sept. 20,2018) (accessed 9/23/18)

[2] Ibid.
[3] Paul T. Kashdan, "Does being Religious Make Us Happy?" Psychology Today (Oct 7,2015)
(access 9/24/18)

Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at George Mason University and the author of The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self–Not Just Your 'Good' Self–Drives Success and Fulfillment.

[4] Sander Greenland, "Invited Commentary, A critical Look At Some Poplar Meta Analytical Methods."American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 140, Issue 3, 1 August 1994, Pages 290–296, (access 9/24/18)
from the abstract: "A good meta-analysis will highlight and delineate the subjective components of these processes and vigorously search for sources of heterogeneity. Unfortunately, these objectives are not always met by common techniques."

[5] John Bingham,  "Religion can make you happier Official Figures Suggest." The Telecgrapoh (feb 2, 2016) (accessed 9/24/18).

[6] Michael E. Nielsen,  in Hinman, "Mystical Experience" Doxa, 2004.
(access 9/24/18)

Nielsen was professor of psychology I think at Georgia. I met him a long time ago when I first started doing apologetic. He had a very high quality academic research site on religious experience and psychology. He was one of the researchers I use in my book,I knew him pretty well we were friends,he was not a Christian but he did not hate religion, I realize his data is out of date here I think his perspective should be heard.

[7] Wuthnow, Robert . "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3),(1978) 59-75.

[8]Noble, Kathleen D.  ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4),(1987). 601-614.

[9] the research summary council   on Spiritual practices.see Trace of God

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Rational Warrant

Yesterday a friend came to me and said his brother was in a coma. This same guy saved my life when I went into coma three years ago,
His brother was on ventilator and not responding. He asked me to pray or him, I did. Two hours latter the brother reaches up and pulls out the vent and opens his eyes and says "where am I?"
In my book this is rational warrant for belief. Not proof. but it is warrant,
it's from God.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Phenomenology and Religious Experience

Image result for religious experience

This post was originally written in 2012 when I was still on CARM. The HRG  U refer  to is now a face book friend, the original post to this  post is the religious a priori.

HRG (poster on CARM) sort of walked into it. This is a look at a response that MkeWC gave. Mike is a pretty bright guy. In 13 years of arguing with atheists on the net he's the first one I've met who really understands Derrida.

It's interesting that you say religion is derived phenomenologically, therefore it has a kind of epistemic autonomy, that it carries its own terms of justification within it.

The problem is that phenomenology has been critiqued into the dust. It can't do without something that synthesizes the manifold of phenomena, and no one has ever offered a coherent account of how that could be. It always ends up in metaphysical speculation: Husserl, Heidegger, Jean-Luc Marion, they all end up finding a substrata of presence that  finally cannot be supported.
Of course that's a pretty exaggerated claim. Any popular school of thought has been "critiqued ad nausium." Or "into the dust." That is not to say that he has any real criticisms of the way I used Tillich's Heideggerian based phenomenology in understanding the religious a prori. Although his initial description of the a proriit has a kind of epistemic autonomy, that it carries its own terms of justification within it, is a good description of what that means. The claim that phenomenology has never offered a coherent account of the manifold nature of phenomena is a question begging and ironic claim. The thrust of Heidegger's phenomenology is to impressing sense data into preconceived categories and allow the data to suggest it's own category. A good example of what I mean is seen in a recent 'discussion' (p'ing contest) with an atheist on CARM who keeps habitually refereeing t religoius experience as "funny feelings." This atheist will not alter that term no matter how I have explained that it's purposely derisive, doesn't describe anything that corresponds to RE and is not ever used in any of the studies. The typical atheist fear of the subjective and hatred of experience is used as a preconceived category in which this atheist heard any kind of data that would contradict the usual atheist ideology.

Since the point of Heideggerian phenomenology is to allow the data to suggest the categories themselves, in the above example this would be done by perhaps description RE the way those who experience it describe it, then the claim that it has never found a coherent explication of the manifold nature of experience is just saying "gee these guys don't want preconceived categories don't have any preconceived categories." How about that? That like criticizing the army as "too military." That's like criticizing the courts system as "too bound by legal conventions."

Mike goes on:
Besides that, phenomenology was developed as a philosophical tool. That contradicts your statement that religion is not derived from other disciplines.
I didn't say religion is derived from phenomenology. I said we should use a phenomenological approach to understand it.

Induction is not a cheat. In your example about balls dropping from a tower, we know they will fall at the same rate because physics tells us they will. You're right we only ever see particular balls, but that doesn't matter to physics.
That's really circular reasoning, by way of being question begging. He doesn't understand that this example is right out of Karl Popper's major work. Without extrapolating by way of inductive logic we would have to watch every case of the dropping of balls to make sure that it always worked the same say. Yet in using inductive we automatically consign a lot of things to falling between the cracks. Of course Popper's point was that you can't derive regular law like statements from general principles. The nature of empiricism demands empirical observation. If this is not to be endless it must be extrapolated inductively. His statement assumes there's a rule book of physics already written and waiting to be consulted even in the very early days before Newtonian physics. If laws of physics are derived entirely descriptively when how can we have a preconceived rule that "physics tells us they will." That's really cheating empiricism. It's quite ironic because it means he's evoking the preconceived category that phenomenology seeks to avoid.

Causal induction is an entirely valid principle. However, this does not disprove miracles.
I didn't say that induction is not valid. I said it has problems it runs afoul of impossing a preconceived rule upon experience, and in the need to extrapolate things fall through the cracks. What I meant by that was miracles. Just because 99.9% of cases work a certain way, dead men don't rise and walk, doesn't mean 100% of cases work that way. Since miracles are supposed to be impossibilities where's the sense in evoking standard expectation?

You're right that science cannot finally chase away the possibility of miracles, defined as an event caused by a supernatural force. But that just establishes a negative knowledge: "we don't know if miracles are possible or not." Note that this is different from saying "we know miracles are, in principle, possible."
All epistemic gaps must be crossed with the assumption of positive side rules. We do this in everything. Otherwise we would have to sit down, stay silent and starve to death because we can never bee 100% sure of anything. In all of our major epistemic gap crossings we assert the positive side. The cogito, "I think, therefore, I am" taken by foundationalists to be absolute proof of the most indubitable premise, is a positive affirmation of the lack of knowledge that the "I am isn't a different I than the I that says "I am." Any principle that says "I have no reason to make that assumption" is mere turning the negative aspect of knowledge in the face of a gap in knowledge into a possessive assertion.

But you cheat and say that science's inability to discern miracles produces that positiveknowledge. Hence, you just say there have been 100 resurrections in the past, without feeling the need to provide any details.
That's not true at all. I did actually document a couple of sources. I was speiifically reffering the book by Duffin (recently reviewed here) Medical Miracles about her research i the Vatican Archives. I don't have space to reproduce her whole book in a text box. That's a cheap attack because no one does on a message board have that kind of space. No one expects that. Giving a printed source is fine for official intercollegiate debate it should be fine for a message board. There's a gap on the message board where one guys "I don't have time to look it up but I doubt it" the one says "It's true I read it" but he doesn't give it. What can you do it's not a official event? you just let it go. One can go look it up if one cares, and rarely anyone does.

You can't get from that negative knowledge (we don't know if supernatural caused events are possible) to positive knowledge (we know they are possible) without first providing a rigorous concept of what that force is. Which means you have to prove God exists before you can claim miracles exist.

That's horse manure. What he's saying is we have to know all about God with absolute certainty before we can assume God. That's not fair. physicists don't play that way. When atheist use the multivariate as an example to the fine tuning argument they are using an argument that has absolutley  no empirical backing. We have no evidence other than hypothetical mathematics that such a thing exits. Notice Mike is also diong a "hide the ball" maneuver in asserting that my only basis for argument is negative side assertions, we can't disprove miracles. He's ignoring the fact that I've given a pile of miracle evidence in Lourdes miracles and in Casdroph and Catholic saint making miracles and Vatican archival research.

Without proof that God exists, the hypothesis that a supernatural force caused a particular event will only ever be that, a hypothesis. And one that is entirely untestable. It can never be wrong; it can only be accepted as right on the basis of faith.
That is a totally ludicrous statement. The miracle appeals are a ratioanl warrant for beleif in God. He's saying you have to prove God before you an argue for proof of God.If that were the case you could never make the argument. If we did physics that way before we do any research on dark matter we must already prove it exists. If we take that dictum down a peg to providing some form of verisimilitude then have that in spades with the 200 studies on religious experience. The Lourdes evidence supplys that concern a prori.

The other thing is, miracle stories always come with caveats that limit investigation. They always happen in the distant past, or in distant countries, or they are on the order of  "God healed my sore back."
That is obviously not true. My father was dead then came to life. That event coincided with my dream that the Pope brought him to me and said "he will be ok." That was not long ago or in a foreign country, not the time it happened it was right then. The Lourdes miracles are immediate they are not long ago and far away.

With the exception of the resurrection of Jesus and the creation act itself, these events are never used as explanations of anything in the historical record. They never seem to have much effect on history at all. Maybe they happened, maybe then didn't.

That's because of the way modern historiography is construed. The ground rules for history as a modern social scinece rule out any but a naturalistic account. Jurgen Moltmann's rules change argument, the "history making" aspect, allows miracles to be brought in the back door. Moreover, the HRG (yes the guy on CARM) peremise that laws of physics an nature are totally descriptive open the door to further descriptions. There is no law-like statement in the universe that say "thou shalt not have violation of naturalism." Violations are just further observation of the behavior of the universe.

The whole post of Monday's post was that HRG steped in the trap by arguing in a circular fashion that physical laws are nothing but descriptions yet we have to rule out any miraculous idea on its face because we don't have such descriptions. Yet we do have them so there is no basis upon which to rule them out.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

My version of The Classic Moral Argument

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Kant: supported Moral argument

This is my own version of the classic moral argument that I promised as part 3 in my answer to Counter Apologist.[1][2] This version I believe avoids all the pit falls or most of them that his arguments were about. The first and most basic pitfall is that it does not seek to prove the existence of God. So we don't have tpo0 worry about begging they question on assuming God because all that matters is that God as the best source of Grounding warrants believe ot does not have to prove it.


(1) Humans are possessed of moral motions which we find to be real and important. We cannot deny the senes of moral outrage over "evil" or the sense that one "ought" to do that which we find "good."

(2) Such moral motions can be understood as grounded in terms of behavior in our genetic endowment, but no explanation can tell us why we find them moral or how to justify them as "ought's."

(3) Genetic explanations only provide an understanding of behavior, they do not offer the basis of a moral dimension (
trying to turn "is" into "ought").

(4) Social contract theory offers only relativism that can be changed or ignored in the shifting sands of social necessity and politics (this is both a practical issue and a matter meta ethical theory).

(5) matters of feeling are merely matters of taste and should be ignored as subjective (the atheist dread of the subjective).

(6) God is possessed of a loving nature that makes the good a matter of rational on the part of the creator and his status as creator means he is more than qualified to be judge to translate te good  into moral values.

 (7) Therefore, God is the only source of grounding which works as a regulative concept for our moral axioms and at the same time actually explains the deep seated nature of moral motions.

Universal Moral Law.

The Apostle Paul tells us that there is a universal moral law written upon the human heart (Rm 2:6-14). We can see evidence of this universal law throughout the world. Now social science is quick to tell us that moral codes of all cultures differ throughout the world; some are so drastically different as to allow for multiple mirages, in some cultures gambling and even cheating each other are expected, and in a few cultures there doesn't seem to be any notion of right and wrong. But we shouldn't expect that all the moral codes of the world would be uniform just because there is a moral law. The evidence of a universal law is not seen in structured belief systems but in the humanity of humans. People in all cultures have concepts of right and wrong, even though they may attach different kinds of significance to them. There are a few cultures that are actually pathological examples, but in the main most people are capable of being good, exhibit a basic human compassion, and feel moral outrage at cruelty and injustice.

It is this sense of moral outrage and the ability to empathize and to feel compassion that marks the moral law best of all. In Niangua in the 1980s members of the contra army fighting the Sandinistas conducted a campaign of terror to prevent the people from supporting the revolutionary government. To enforce a sense of Terror they cut off the heads of little girls and put them on polls for all to see (see Noam Chomsky Turning The Tide...Chomsky's example comes from United Nations Human Rights Report in 1984). [3] The modern equivalent is Issis. People are also repulsed their doings. There is something about this act, regardless of our political affiliations which fills us with anger and revulsion; we want to say it is evil. Even those who believe that we must move beyond good and evil are hard pressed not to admit this sense of outrage and revulsion, yet if they had their way we would not be able to express anything more than a matter of taste about this incident for nothing is truly evil if there is no universal moral law.

Moreover, the nature of the moral universe is such that we are capable of elevating basic moral motions to the level of ethical thinking. We understand by this that we must deliberate about moral conditions and to do that we must have free moral agency, a sense of the meaning of duty and obligation, and a notion of grounding for moral axioms. All of these things are without foundation in the relativist scheme but they are part and parcel of what ethical thinking is about. Before trying to link the universal moral law to the existence of God we must first explore the objections to it.

PIT 1:As to the a pitfall the argument avoids, the first is the question begging nature of Craig's argument (the one attacked by the CAa0 and also the problematic nature of the objective argument. Craig's argument is:

(1) if God exists, there are objective moral values

(2) there are objective moral values

(3) therefore God exists.

(as stated by CA in part 1. The problem here is that all the atheist has to do is say there are no objective values and then the apologist would have to prove there are. But he can't prove that by appealing to God because it's supposed to prove the existence of God. My argument works in reverse. Rather than assert something I can't prove and hope they agree I argue that I don't; need to pro e iot because I', not arguing it, I didn't say objective morality proves God I said God is the best explanation for our sneeze that morality is valid and meaningful. I do believe moral   values are objective but rather than assert that I argue that God is the best explanation and that with God as grounding we have a good reason to accept the validity of objective values. It's not circular because I don't claim to prove the existence of God. Like Kant I argue that God is necessary as a regulative principle for ethical axioms. I think tye reason he accepts te premise that moral as values exist is because he thinks he can assure them for atheism with moral realisms.

PIT 2: CA's "GMO." The Grand metaphysical Object. This he reads into theistic morality as an object of belief. He asserts that all theists think of morality as this metaphysical stuff that can't be understood but functions as the only valid object of ethical thinking. In my first response I dispelled this myth and explained how it's not true It's not true of any moral argument except the most amateurish perhaps. I think my argument has a built in fail safe ageism kit by appealing to God's loving nature rather than any sort of mystical holiness. Don't get me wrong I am all for mystical holiness. I just don't think we need to appeal to it to make the moral argument work (rom 6-7)..

PIT 3:He doesn't dispute that issue of He faults apologists for not being able to produce real reasons for objective moral values. He says those can work as well for atheism because they don't have to come from God, but apologists can't prove them. Apologists will often observe that life is unlivable without such moral values but that is not proof they exist. "Plus, such an appeal can do as much work for a moral system that is compatible with atheism." 

pit 4 Euth

MorL realism, FAILS. I think I gave it to moral realism pretty well in part 1. What he tries to stick theist ethicists with in his post he actually  is stuck with in  moral realism. rather than a big supernatural "object" of goodness  he has moral values grounded in nothing. like presupositionaioists they try to bully them into place as "realism," Christian moral values are truly grounded in reason.

[1] Joseph Hinman, "The Counter Apologist's Attack on The Moral Argument," (part 2) Metacrpcl's Blog (Sunday, June 05, 2016)

Ibid. part 1 May 29,2016,

[2] The Counter Apologiost, "A much longer Counter to the Moral Argument." The Counter Apologist Blog. (May 13, 2016) URL:
accessed 5/28/2016

[3] Noam ChomskyTurning the Tide:U.S. Intervention in Central America, South End Press; First Edition edition (July 1, 1999)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Euthephro Dilemma and the Cloak of Objectivity

Jason Thibodeau, writes an article on Secular Outpost [1] they are discussing the Euthephro dilemma (ED) and a remark is made:

"Basically, there appears to be no valid answer for a theist for the ED. Either morality pre-exists God (and therefore a God can be morally evaluated), or God created morality (and God cannot be evalauted morally)."

Prior to this point I had began discussion by saying that my solution to the ED solves the issue if the  dilemma because it asserts that morality is based upon God';s character which is love. So the standard God uses for his moral commands is not independent of himself,

Joe Hinman to dcleve • 12 days ago
My point was that love is not independent of God it exits as God's character, that is it;s origin it has no existence before God because there is no before God. God is eternal with no beginning,and love is God's eternal character. We can love only because God made us with the capacity to draw upon his character.

That solves the dilemma because there is no dilemma, Love is not a standard independent of God. That is the entire force of the ED that it leaves God subject to either arbitrary whim or in service to a standard higher then himself but in fact it's not arbitrary but is based upon God's feelings that are connected to his character and it's not higher than himself because it is himself.

 But dcleve had made a statement I never got back to  and thus assumes that it beat my argument:

You are not addressing arbitrariness. Why "love"? Why not "greed"? And how is "love" defined -- what set the boundaries of what is/isn't love?
The "its just what God is" leaves you open to the arbitrariness of a God who could want to torture babies, and then define love as torturing babies, and then you would be telling me that torturing babies is loving. You have abandoned any standard
Does being who you are leave you open to the charge of being arbitrary? is being who you are a rational choice that you thought about? To put it in more philosophical sounding parlance we could say it's an existentialist reality. Now of course you could ask why God based moral choice on his character but the answer is obviously if love is God's character than the answer is obvious, He chose his character as the model because He loves. He wont say torturing babies is moral because that's not loving.
I then referenced my post on the Arbitrariness issue. [2]

Of course they say no more about it, my idea has just been beaten because they gave the proper atheist response no need to think about what I actually said. Now at this point Thibodeau makes a statement that seems to change the subject  to that of objective morality but I think  it's very telling as to why they don't see how the ED has been destroyed.

Jason Thibodeau Mod  dcleve • 12 days ago
I think that morality is objective. Morality has to do with practical reasons, i.e., our reasons for actions, desires, and feelings. A reason is a factor that counts in favor of an intentional state (a belief, desire, action, feelings, attitude). It is an objective fact whether a factor counts in favor. It is also an objective fact that some reasons are stronger than others. Morality concerns the reasons that we have for or against actions that affect the welfare of sentient beings and persons and desires (and other attitudes) that concern the welfare of sentient beings and persons.
There is nothing obscure or metaphysically odd about any of this. Sentient beings are bearers of conscious states. (Some) conscious states have intrinsic moral value. The nature of some conscious states give us reason to either desire that they occur and try to bring them about or desire that they not occur and try to prevent their occurrence. The nature of persons give us reasons to respect their capacity to make informed decisions about what to believe and how to live. We can know all of these things because we our sentient persons and thus experience the conscious states that have moral value and are directly aware of the value of autonomy.The best response for a theist to take to the ED is to agree that morality is independent of God. I don't think that there is anything essential to theistic belief that prevents this.

Joe Hinman  Jason Thibodeau • 28 minutes ago
I disagree that morality is subjective. Moral philosophy is objective, meta ethics is objective, but morality is not. Morality is felt, believed and lived. It's existential meaning it is part of our make up,the way we are. The study of that phenomenon is objective but not the thing itself. I think their assertion that morality is objective is the reason why they can't the dilemma is beaten.

It is what phenomenologists call the "cloak of objectivity." They are hiding behind intersubjective assertions and using that as a  means of control so they can manage what God might demand of them. This is why they can't accept moral motions as inborn or as stemming from God's character, They want to see them as prudential measures they can out argue away. Even though he denies it he leaves morality as unexplained (according to statements above) he wants to just accept it as what is uncritically but leaves logic as the evaluative aspect that can make or break a moral axiom. That doesn't even address the basic issues of the moral argument hat we find it compelling and that our moral motions demand our alliance.  The statement that "The best response for a theist to take to the ED is to agree that morality is independent of God. I don't think that there is anything essential to theistic belief that prevents this..." is a ridiculous suggestion that really means give into one side of the dilemma that would render insignificant and meaningless any divine precept. There just might be this little God thing that really exists complicating that idea.

[1] Jason Thibodeau, "Thibodeau on The Real Atheology Podcast," The Secular Outpost blog, Comment section(AUGUST 21, 2018 )

[2] Joseph Hinman, "The Euthyphro dilemma and the arbitrariness objection’: Answering Wes Morriston." Metacrock's bog (Feb 29, 2016)

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Schleiermacher's Implied OA


Frederich Schleiermacher, (1768-1834)

OA is not the planet in Green Lantern Comics where the Guardians of OA dispense power rings to the Green Lantern corps. Neither is not an argument that Schleiermacher ever made but its derived from his thinking. Remember this is not a proof but a warrant for belief: there is a good reason to believe  in God even without undeniable proof.


(1)The  concept of God implies that revelation and self disclosure are part of God's nature

(2) If God exists then we should persevere in some way marks of devise self disclosure.

(3) Note feeling of utter dependence.

(4) Note Religious Affections

(5) we sense the reality of being as eternal, infinite and necessary and our place in being as contingent upon this infinite reality, then this is the correlation of our experience to God. /

The Feeling of Utter Dependence

Frederich Schleiermacher, (1768-1834) in On ReligionSpeeches to it's Cultured Despisers,The Christian Faith.    sets forth the view that religion is not reducible to knowledge or ethical systems. It is primarily a phenomenological apprehension of God consciousness through means of religious affections. Affections is a term not used much anymore, and it is easily confused with mere emotion. Sometimes Schleiermacher is understood as saying that "I become emotional when I pray and thus there must be an object of my emotional feelings." Though he does venture close to this position in one form of the argument, this is not exactly what he's saying. In the earlier form of his argument he was saying that affections were indicative of a sense of God, but in the Christian Faith he argues that there is a greater sense of unity in the life world and a sense of the dependence of all things in the life world upon something that unifies, From that sense of unity grows  this feeling of utter dependence. It is the sense of the unity in the life world and its greater reliance upon a higher reality. It is not to be confused with the stray-sky-at-night-in-the-desert feeling, but is akin to it. This phrase “unity in the life world” is important and will be explored latter. An example of the “feeling of utter dependence,” I used to notice a certain kind of feeling when I would sit in my back yard by the garden late at night. I could hear the sounds of the freeway in the distance, and on a clear summer night smell the sage I grew and watch the stars. It all seemed to be a great harmony of purpose. It was all unified. There seemed to be some higher sense of unification upon which it all hung. That's just a short hand for those of us to whom this is a new concept to get some sort of handle on it. Nor does "feeling" here mean "emotion" but it is connected to the religious affections. In the early version Schleiermacher thought it was a correlate between the religious affections and God; God must be there because I can feel love for him when I pray to him. But that's not what it's saying in the better version. Many people understand this feeling, or “God consciousness” as a reaction of the romantic rebellion against enlightenment rationalism. “Influenced by romanticism and his own early exposure to Moravian Pietism…the feeling…is the heart of the religious defined at the deepest level of self consciousness and awareness in contrast to the enlightenment preoccupation with beliefs and morals.”[1] There’s more to this than just a romantic rebellion. Schleiermacher rebels against Kant. For Schlieiermacher there is no Kantian dualism but an underlying unity and foundation of both knowledge and action. He battles Kant on two fronts, the account of consciousness and the account of God and experience. For Schleiermacher, consciousness is not simply non cognitive as with Kant but is immediate, original pre theoretical consciousness of reality. Feeling is part of consciousness so one is not just having random emotional states when having feelings, but a form of consciousness that is an immediate experience of reality. This experience is also pre-theoretical meaning its prior to thinking about. It’s a experience of reality before we reflect and do a bunch of philosophizing about the nature of reality. [2] “Knowing and doing are more determinate, circumscribed and mediated modes of consciousness, which presuppose feeling or immediate self consciousness.”[3]

The reason this phrase “knowing and doing” or “knowledge and action” keep popping up is because prior to Schleiemracher and with Kant religion was reduced to being thought as a jumped up form of ethics, or an ethical form of philosophy. Kant recommends the use of God in practical reason as a means of regulating ethical practice.[4]

Unlike Kant and with Husserl Schleiermacher believes that theoretical cognition is logically founded upon pretheoretical intersubjective consciousness and its life world. The latter cannot be dismissed as non-cognitive, for if the life world praxis is non-cognitive and invalid, so is theoretical cognition. Schleiermacher contends that religious belief in God is pretheoretical: it is not the result of proofs and demonstrations, but is conditioned solely by the religious modification of feeling, namely the feeling of utter dependence. Belief in God is not acquired though intellectual acts of which the traditional proofs of God are examples, but rather from the thing itself, the object of religious experience. If, as Schleiermacher says, God is given to feeling in an original way, this means that the feeling of utter dependence is in some sense an appreciation of divine being and reality.This is not meant as a Barthian fideism or an appeal to revelation but as a…religious a prori[5]

In other words, this is the “realization of the reality of God.” This concept of the life world has come up again. The feeling is said to be (above) a reflection of unity in the life world.

Unity in the Life world

"Life world," or Lebenswelt is a term used in German philosophy. It implies the world of one's culturally constructed life, the "world" we 'live in;’ this is life as we experience it on a daily basis. The unity one senses in the life world is intuitive and unites the experiences and aspirations of the individual in a sense of integration and belonging in the world. This is what Heidegger is talking about when he says "a being in the world." Schleiermacher is saying that there is a special intuitive sense that everyone can grasp of this whole, this unity, being bound up with a higher reality, being dependent upon a higher unity. In other words, the "feeling" can be understood as an intuitive sense of "radical contingency." The life world is an inter-subjective socio-cultural world the existence of which we take for granted.[6] Since it is “subject relative” it can be given in intuition at least in principle. Yet It is not only subjective, but also inter-subjective, meaning something that is in principle subjective but not just subjective and, therefore, dismissed as either unimportant or impossible to understand, but is understood, albeit subjectively by others uniformly and somewhat universally and the sheer commonalty of the experience transcends the subjective nature. It’s like the way we all just know what it means to say “you had to be there, “ yet we can’t really put into words why being there would make a difference. Moreover, the life-world consists of general features that are more than subjective.[7] On the one hand the life world is the “correlate of transcendental consciousness in the sense that belief in the life world is the transcendental condition of possible experience. On the other hand the life-world is experienced as a determinate social and cultural world.”[8] Thus the life-world can be approach from either a phenomenological perspective or a concrete social perspective rooted in the social sciences.

Schleiermacher’s Implied Ontological Argument

As with the Tillich-implied OA, Schleiermacher did not say “this is an ontological argument.” Williams points that it is one, however, it is so by virtue of the correlation between the feeling and it’s object, or the co-determinate. The correlation (think about Tillich’s theological method discussed in chapter 2) is presupposed by the immanent in “historically determinate religious experience” At the base of the correlation is Shcleiermacher’s ontological approach to the question of God.[9] For Schleiemracher revelation and person disclosure are part of God’s’ nature. “He accepts the ontological principle that God is the presupposition of the idea of God, and believes that the idea can be identified with nothing less transcendent non mundane whence of utter dependence…Schleiermacher,” says Williams, “presents a pre theoretical reflective version of the ontological argument.”[10] He adds that God is more than religious consciousness and a doctrine of God can be constructed, not merely a postulation as with Kant or Feuerbach. What he means is that Kant appealed to the concept of God as a regulation for ethics, and Feuerbach argued that God was just a construct designed to mask the true interest of society, money. Williams is saying that Schlemeriamcher believed God’s self revelation in the feeling of utter dependence is indicative of an actual God not just a theoretical reference point.

The ontological principle, God is the presupposition to the idea of God, what does this mean? Whitehead explained it this way.In other words the idea of God is such that God must really exist in order for the idea to make sense. If the idea doesn’t make sense then why is it that it does make sense in terms of it’s correlation to actual experience? In the early crude form of the argument he was saying things like “I feel love for God so there must be a God for me to love.” That’s because he saw feelings as disclosures rather than self deceptions of useless wastes of energy. I can also be compared with the principle of sufficient reason. Putting it in Tillich’s terms if we sense the reality of being as eternal, infinite and necessary and our place in being as contingent upon this infinite reality, then this the correlation of our experience to God. We are realizing the reality of God in the realization of our place in being which comes to us from an understanding that the experience of the divine is correlation between God’s discourse and our realization. Williams links it to the Ontological Argument. Schleiermacher is sensing intuitively before he thinks about it what Anslem came to conclude in his reflection upon the fool. Williams is quoted above as saying “presents a pre theoretical reflective version of the ontological argument.” In other words before its thought about and formulated into a theoretical argument it’s a realization or an experience of the divine in raw reality, unformed and unedited. With this in mind I propose that this is really what Anselm thought of, but without the language of phenomenology he had to settle for putting it into theoretical terms.
There's also a correlate with the cosmological argument, since the feeling is actually a sense of the contingency of the life-world upon a higher reality. The feeling is not proof of God's existence but a rational warrant for belief since it validates both CA and OA.


[1] Adrian Hastings, Alistair Mason, Hugh S. Pyper. The Oxford Companion to Christian Though:Intellectual, Spiritual and Moral Horizons of Christianity, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000, 483 (on line page number). On line copy URL
visited 4/17/11.
[2] Robert R. Williams, Schleiermacher The Theologian: Construction of the Doctrine of God, Philadelphia: Fortes Press, 1978, 5.
[3] Ibid. 4
[4] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Kant’s Philosophy of Religion, First published Tue Jun 22, 2004; substantive revision Fri Jul 31, 2009Copy Right Philip Rossi. online version URL: visited 4/19/11.
[5] Williams, ibid, 4
[6] Ibid, 31
[7] Ibid
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid 4
[10] Ibid, 5

Friday, September 07, 2018

Trump Continues Attacks on Free Press

Image result for attack on free press

Trump's fascist tendencies are emergence more powerfully all the time. He's brimming with hatred for the press and wants to hamstring them gutless and cowardly.,  in USA TODAY quptes his tweets:

Whenever you see the words 'sources say' in the fake news media, and they don't mention names.... is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers. is the enemy!
He went so far as to say that whenever stories "don't mention names... it is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!"
But apparently that strong dislike for anonymous sources didn't keep him from tweeting on Tuesday a story that relies exclusively on a single anonymous source, though.[1]
Anonymity is essential for whistle blowers. Trumps wants to shame analogous sources as gutless but that does not preclude  free speech, neither does the possibility that quotes are made up. But we know good reporters are responsible with using anonymous quotes. Some even go to jail to protect their sources. No one who is lazy enough to makeup a quote would  go to jail to extend the hoax.

Image result for attack on free press

Now Trump's fascism leads him to attack the right to protest,He wants to make protesting illegal.

President Trump has long derided the mainstream media as the “enemy of the people” and lashed out at NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem. On Tuesday, he took his attacks on free speech one step further, suggesting in an interview with a conservative news site that the act of protesting should be illegal.
Trump made the remarks in an Oval Office interview with the Daily Caller hours after his Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh, was greeted by protests on the first day of his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill.
“I don’t know why they don’t take care of a situation like that,” Trump said. “I think it’s embarrassing for the country to allow protesters. You don’t even know what side the protesters are on.”
He added: “In the old days, we used to throw them out. Today, I guess they just keep screaming.” Trump has bristled at dissent in the past, including several instances in which he has suggested demonstrators should lose their jobs or be met with violence for speaking out.[2]

That would obviously  be a major infringement upon the first amendment. The fake President is not a friend of the Bill of rights,that;s the way I knew it would be. If the Republicans win the mid terms there will be no one to restrain Trump's fascism. This may be the most important election in   our history. Please vote, and make sure your fiends vote. Let everyone you know understand the issues and the dangers and what we are facing! Please do not let up util the election is over!

[1] "Trump hates anonymous sources, unless they're in stories favorable to him"
 USA TODAY (May 30, 2017 | Updated 2:31 p.m. ET May 30, 2017)

[2] Felicia Sonmez"Trump Suggests that protesting should be illegal," Washington Post,