To see the world in a grain of sand
and heaven in a wild flower;
hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour--William Blake.
The other day there was a comment made on the comment section which was filled with childish insults and all sorts of personal crap. The poster said that I don't take my blog seriously because I don't respond to serious challenges. Actually I kicked his ass already in a previous comment section and he never answered those arguments. Instead he came back with some crap about how I fallen into clever little trap that he set. It really just amounted to mumbling a bunch of cryptic and childish insults to him that's some ultra clever trap. When I saw that "you don't take your blog seriously" I said to myself, "self, I take my blog seriously, too seriously to post this garbage and cater to this childish person's need for attention." So even though I had a whole post already done I scrapped it. But the one thing this guy said that I thought deserved a serious answer was "prove that feelings can provide any sort of knowledge." I thought that, even though based upon a misconception, deserves some answer.
The misconception is that when I talk about religious experience or "realizing God" or "feeling of utter dependence" that I'm just talking about "feelings" is ordinary sense like being happy or being sad. That is far form the case. Actually I have said repeatedly that the experience arguments don't turn on the experience themselves. That means it's no the actual "feelings" that make the argument. It's the effects of having had the experience. Before I get back to that I want make a quite but connected and relevant side trip into the issue of the atheist obsession with empirical data. This is really what's at the heart of the issue. Because the atheists have deceived themselves their brain washing of ideology that only facts can provide and knowledge and that their selective and biased reading of the "facts" constitutes a pure and unbiased understanding of "truth" in the world.
A poster on CARM who I think is a pretty good apologist (Chaplin Brad) made a fine post that I think really puts the Atheist fetish for empiricism in its place:
Poster on CARM July, 27, 2009
Greetings. Got a break in the schedule, so I thougth I would give us all something to chew on for a bit.
What is it, inherent in science, which makes empiricism the only viable explanatory device? Is it somehow obvious in the cosmos that empiricism is exclusive in its ability to comprehend the universe? In othre words... What OBSERVABLE data, phenomena, or laws make this assumption scientifically inevitable?[/SIZE]
If nothing can be brought forward to answer this challenge… as we should all honestly admit that there is nothing… then the assertion that empiricism is exclusively capable of describing the universe is UNSCIENTIFIC, as it is, in and of itself, NOT empirical!
How, then, do we find ourselves arguing over whether or not empiricism is adequate and exclusive, when it isn’t even empirical in it’s own right?
Of course they aren't going to take that lying down.
Science provides a POSSIBLE, yet ALSO unverifiable explanation for the physical universe. Is THAT what you mean by "works"?
You say that as if there is some other method that gets us verifiable explanations. I'd like to hear what it is.
The first atheist comment to him I find extremely interesting:
It should be obvious that science works. You're reading this on a computer, aren't you? Do you think computer engineers meditated or prayed or studied ancient religious texts to find out how semiconductors and electric circuits work? Or do you think that maybe, just maybe, we needed experiments to gain the necessary knowledge?
The thing that interests me so much about that is that when I argue that religious experience works because the transformative power it gives our lives is exactly the point of religion, the atheists say "working is not a sing of being true." Yet here this atheists is telling us that it is. Let's just take quite note of the fact that these results, gadgets and inventions, computers, electrical things, this is the atheist benchmark of truth; you have to accept hat science because you are reading this on a computer. That just proves that science supplys all truth. But wait how is that analogous to questions like "where did the universe come from, why is it here?" "where did man come from?" "Is there a purpose to life?" "Is There a God?" There's no analogous basis between the invention of products that people buy to make life more convenient and belief in God. The God sort of question is on a totally different plane than is the invention of windows vista. These are fundamentally different kinds of questions. Questions about organizing information systems electronically do not require basic existential apprehension of the universe or an understanding of the basis of reality. Computers assume one's epistemology is in place. All of science assumes epistemology is taken for granted. But science doesn't answer any epistemological questions, it only raises them. Science cannot answer any fundamental questions about how we know what we know. God is not given in sense data. We can't step outside of being or outside of our own perceptions to check them. So we have to go around the sense data.
Brad answers again:
Originally Posted by Chaplain Brad View Post
I don't need an ALTERNATIVE... I propose an ADDITION. Personal experience is also a viable determinant of truth for the individual: after all, that really is all we have anyway (empiricism not personally experienced is indeterminant as well.)
The same atheist says:
Apparently, you don't know what empiricism means. You need to look it up in the dictionary, methinks.
Actually the atheist doesn't know what empiricism means. It's a philosophical term.It's adapted from philosophy to scinece and it means personally observed data. From the Greek Epistemic, or epistome meaning "to experience."
This is just indicative of the atheist ignorance. They think they have the market cornered on truth. They think they have this fool proof thing, science, that tell all there is to know and all that's worth knowing and all you have to do stick to "facts" and reduce anything you can't answer down to where it's basically nothing, then you never have any challenges to your world view. But to carry out this program they have to brain wash themselves into accepting an Orwellian approach to knowledge and live in a fantasy world telling themselves that they are totally unbiased and totally all knowing. They adopt this totalizing view point that is basically circular reasoning.
Now we come back to "feelings." what they are calling "feelings" are actually one of the other methods of knowing once you come to the end of what scientific, empirical and factual knowledge can tell you. Their ideology does not accept additions. It cannot compete. It must be the one and only view and it must kill out all other view points. It must do this because if admits any other kind of view then the reductionist thing is blown wide open. If that happens they have to let God in.
Religious experience is not about "feelings" in the conventional sense. It's not about being happy or being sad. The arguments I made do not turn on the sensation of God's presence they turn on the effects. Just like the guy above says "you are using a computer. you must accept that science works. So you must accept that it's true." There's nothing in science that rules out God. that's bedside the point. He just said "working is a standard of truth." So, God works, therefore, we know God is real. The long term positive effects are the pay off to religion. That's working, religion works, God works! That feelings of some kind (although much deeper than just "being happy") are a side effect but they are not the main point.
When Schleiermacher speaks of "the feeling of utter dependence" he doesn't mean "O I feel so dependent! How can I do anything God telling me??" He doesn't mean "feeling" in the sense of "I am so happy." He's talking about an intuitive sense, he's talking about a sense of consciousness. He even uses a synonym, "God consciousness" instead of "feeling." So it's not an emotive sensation but an intuitive one, a phenomenological apprehension. When I say "phenomenological" I mean (in the sense that Heidegger extracted from Schleiermacher) the sense in which one allows the sense data of one's perceptions to suggest the categories of reason without burying the data under preconceived notions. The reductionists, the atheists, the scientismists file it all away int he preconceive compartments and pigeon holes of their circular reasoning and their ideology.
There is a long tradition in human knowledge that deals with feelings. The ignorance of the modernist who asks the question is astounding. The concept of religious affections did not start with Schleiermacher, although he was a major theorize of their meaning. Jonnathan Edwards embarked upon a similar path and he took his ques from the Platonic as did Schleiermacher. The notion that religious affections reveal to us the co-determinate of God in our experiences come right out Plato's myth of the cave. The Platonic theory of knowledge is at work in these assumptions, no less in mine. Of course mine is an Augustinian form of Platonism; the forms are in the mind of God. So the Augustinian version of Platonic knowledge is what god puts in us as images of him. God creates man to be a mirror of himself. So we are God finder tools. We are like spiritual giger counters. We start to click when we get near God. That clicking is the long term positive effects of God's presence upon our lives.
In my notion of "realizing God" I am not talking about feelings. I'm talking about a phenomenological apprehension. It's an understanding of one's self and one's place in the world in relation to the rest of being. Its' a realization that being contains within itself as aspect that is not mundane, that transcends our understanding and that is based upon love. The root assumption of this realization is mystical experience, and all the assumptions that take us back to the Platonic. If God exists and if he made us to commune with him then he made us to detect his presence. This is exactly what we see and it is born out by the long term positive effects; religion works. Religion does what it's supposed to do. It identifies the problem with being human (the human problematic) and it resolves it by mediation of an ultimate transformative experience. That is exactly what religion is meant to do.
This is not meant to be an all consuming system as is the scientism of the reductionists. It is not totalizing. It's open ended, it's the true form of free thought. The atheist reveal their true nature as fascists who are not free thinkers in their abhorrence of anything not of the ideology. Knowledge must be global. It can't extract or eliminate any method of reasoning. God arguments depend upon scientific data, some depend upon pure logic and nothing more, some depend upon experience and reasoned extrapolation, some depend upon everything. The is a multiplicity in God arguments. No one making God arguments is reducing the world to one ideology as are the atheists.