Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Answering Lorden on "Are We All Atheists?"


Loyal opponent Loren takes a crack at answering the last blog piece "Are we all Atheists." Unfortunately she doesn't even deal with that question. Instead she chooses to do atheist damage control. My basic thesis, that all belief counts for belief and not against tit robs the atheist of one of their most powerful weapons, playing each religion off against all the others, divide and conquer. To make up for it she tries to mock and ridicule the concept of one truth behind all religions instead of dealing with the issue that we are not born atheists.

Metacrock seems to be claiming that the gods of other religions are the Christian God in disguise. Except that there is absolutely zero support for that in the Bible. You don't see anyone in it claiming that Baal or Moloch or Asherah or Zeus or Hermes or Artemis is the Biblical God in disguise, or even in drag.
Meta: First, I do not claim that gods of other faiths are the Christian God in disguise. I claimed that (1) God is working in all cultures, that does not mean that everything people think is God is really God. So It does not mean that Ahrumazda is God, it means God is doing some of the things people Ahrumazda does, not all things they think he does. (2) I said one reality stands behind all religions and the things that make them appear different are the cultural constructs that have to be used to filter experiences so they can be talked about. We experience God at levels beyond words, even beyond images. Of course to be beyond words is to beyond thoughts. So we can't talk about such experiences we have to load them into cultural construct before they can uttered. That means a great deal of what we express about the divine is always going to be relative, metaphorical and inauthentic.

That is a totally different concept from saying that all gods are God in disguise. The latter means that God is making people do human sacrifice and spoonerism wars and so on. But the former means those things can be just the cultural constructs that get mixed in with the attempt to translate the mystical into ordinary speech. The slogan that I have often used for this concept is that all gods point to God. Not all gods are got, not that God is disguised as other gods, but that they point to God. That is they are not God but they point to the one reality behind it all that we don't see.

Nor is the charge that there is no support for this view founded or actuate. There is actually a lot of support.

(1) Romans 2:6-14 he says their may excuse them, those who do the good are follow Jesus via the law written on the heart. That specifically applies to gentiles so it means a priori people in other faiths.

(2) The passage in Acts 17:21-29 Paul tells the Greeks "we are all his offspring, he is not far from any one of us." He even goes so far as to tell them that they already worship the true God they just don't know his name. In making an alter called "to the unknown God" they are actually worshiping the true God. When you combine this with what he also says in quoting the Greek Poet Asyclus it's clear he is saying that all asety is asety, all God is God. Anytime anyone understands the basic concept of eternal necessary being they talking about God. he doesn't use that formulation but clearly the God he's saying is "not far from any one of us" is the same God who told Moses "I am being itself."

(3) Melchezideck who Abraham met in Genesis was called "priest and king of Salem." He is said to be a worshiper of the most high God but since there was no other nation we know if with the kind of covenant that Israel had with God then obviously (this was before Israel existed) he was a priest in a pagan religion and he worshiped a pagan deity but he is said to worship "the most high God."

(4) The Medianites, the people who supplied Moses with a wife, led by his father in law Jethro worshiped God on the mountain where Moses saw the burning bush. That was the Medionite religion (Mt. Nebo). Jethro advises Moses on how to set up the nation of Israel and gives him practical advice about God. So there we have another example of pre Israel a pagan priest is actually worshiping the true God.

There are other examples but let's move on.

Furthermore, the Bible describes its God in shamelessly anthropomorphic terms. If those are all metaphors, then it represents very bad taste in metaphors. Furthermore, nowhere in the Bible does it state that anthropomorphism is a concession to our limited imaginations, and nowhere does anyone ridicule the idea of an anthropomorphic god. Xenophanes had been FAR ahead of anyone in the Bible there.
Meta:This is an excessively silly point. She doesn't make any sort of attempt to think about who is writting it, when it's written or to compare it with the writings of other faiths. The atheists will try to put down the Bible as so simple and not at all philosophical or high intellecutally grand but they try to shame it by saying examples such as the Bahagivad-Gita. I know the Bahagavad-Gita, I was in high school the first time I read it. It is not grand, philoshpical or prfoudn if you are not willing to look beyond the surface ti's just a bunch of people having a war and guys on chariots spouting crap that doesn't mean anything. You have to look beyond the superficial to get it. This is what atheists are neither willing nor (in many cases) able to do. The don't want the bible to be profound and they not willing to try and understand it, or read between the lines, or search more deeply, or make any effort to see beyond the end of their biogoted little noses. The Bible is filled with grandrue, with profound and profoudly philosphical concepts but you can't be stupid about accessing it. You can't look at the surface, assume ancient people too stupid to think such things, ignore it and then think it's going to jump out at you adn shout "here I am!" Its' very easy to miss especially if you don't want to see!

I am going to bracket this for now because I am planning over the weekend to do another blog spot article on this very topic, to focus upon profundity in the OT. It's going to take a week end to write it. If I'm not to depressed when the Cowboys lose to the Chargers.

Metacrock, you argumentum ad populum about religion would support polytheism, because all the older religions are polytheistic, and some present-day religions continue polytheism, sometimes in disguised form like veneration of saints.

Meta: I do not make an argument ad populum. It's unfortunately that atheists resist deep thinking because it's easy to see that I don't do that. It's easy to see that it's a argument from the tendencies of human nature, and corporation of experience of others rather than argument from popularity.I did not say anything like "God exists because he's popular." I said millions of peopel have the same experiences that is coroborating. That is one of the criteria we use for epistemic judgment. When we think it's hot in the room we say "is it hot in here to you?" we are not saying If it's popular enough we can declare it hot. We are saying "I experience heat in the room, I attribute this to the room being too hot, do you also concur in this? Is thsi your epistemic finding or am I having an attack of malaria?

I'm reminded me of a part of Plato's Apology where Socrates stated that he was not an atheist because he believes in the divine nature of the Sun and the Moon, like just about everybody else. The exceptions being the likes of Anaxagoras with their godless, materialistic theories that the Sun is a rock and the Moon a clod of dirt.

Meta: I don't really see why you are reminded of that. Clearly you don't understand Plato if you think Plato and Socrates worshiped the sun and the moon. This is a prety cryptic statement becuase there are many things you could mean by it. I'm hoping Loren is not lame enough to think that Socrates is some sort of primitive superstitious guy and that bleief in God is just primative mind set. I would like to thin he is a deeper thinker than that. On the other hand we know the vast majority of atheists are not. They are willing to stop at the surface if you can't expalin it in 25 words or less they don't want to hear. This is recall all the result of one-dimensional man. These are the children of the kids who could not find Canada on a map in the 80s. The harbingers of cultural illiteracy coming hope. We cut off he culture form it's intellectual roots in Christianity and now we have an ignorant and unread populace.

The sun is not a rock and the mood is not a clod of dirt. It's not as though Socrates is any more ignorant of scinece than the people he opposed. The point is they don't value the Sun or Moon beyond it's physical components. Socrates knew that everything in the physical world is a reflection of a higher reality. This world is merely reflection showing up in a mud puddle, reflected from the true reality of the forms. Of coruse Loren being a reductionist and a good brain washed solder of the enslaving reductionist ideology thinks that its so primitive to see value beyond the physical.

Metacrock, since you presumably believe in godless, materialistic theories of the nature of the Sun and the Moon, you would be an atheist by the definition of Socrates's prosecutors.

Meta; I already nixed the ancient definition up front. Moreover, physical properties do not negate spiritual realities behind them because the world is just a reflection of the mind that thinks it. It seems solid and real from within the construct that's only becasue we are part of the construct and it's supposed to seem that way to us.

This "fit for religion" argument is rather dangerous, because if it turned out that believing in eternal damnation produces superior happiness, does that mean that we ought to believe in it?

Meta: I don't know, oughtn't we to? IF not why not? how do you know we should not? The argument doesn't say believe what makes you happy, do you not understand that? why are atheists such shallow thinkers? You see the argument right in front of you it has nothing at all to do with being happy it doesn't say it does. Because it deals with religion being good for us you just assume that's the point, why can't you understand the concept fitness? If I say "most humans breather air, therefore, air is good for us we are meant to breather it, you say "so you think because air is popular it must be breathable? Is Global warming about popularity? If you say we are all going to die because the earth will be too hot to bear life does that mean it's going to be so hot becuase it's popular that it be hot?

The overall concept of God belief is not to worry about a big man in the sky, it's a relationship with the nature of being. To understand what being is, that is mind and not matter is the whole point. That it is mind means it is eternal it is necessary, it's not contingent, and it's related to us in a very fundamental way. It's not a matter of tallying data points in reductionist analysis of empirical data, it's about experiencing and understanding what it means to be. Because that understanding is beyond anything we can grasp, since it is off scale for our expressions or our cultural framework we must translate it into culture by comparing it to constructs. That means necessarily it's going to be tainted by our misconceptions. Therefore belief in God evolves, it's not static, it changes, it becomes more sophisticated over time but even the most ancinet forms of it bear a sophistication often overlooked by the superficial.

Changing concepts of God no more mean that God is non existent than changing concepts of science mean that nature is non existent. Any idea that reflects the basic God concepts of eternal necessary being is automatically and apriori in the ball park as valid because there can be only one basis of all that is. There can be only one aspect of eternal necessary being so any concept of it has to be it. All circles are round. Any time you have a roundness you have a circle, a priori.


ZDENNY said...

Jim Gardner has done a post in your honor on his blog.

As a fellow Christian, I would urge you to follow the law of love. Jim likes to show how Christians fail to follow that standard.

When a Christian comes to faith, they begin to grow in the knowledge of the love of God. While atheism says that good feelings are the same as love, Christians argue that belief in Christ is our entry into the reality of love.

Here is the link

God Bless.

Metacrock said...

link here

Loren said...

Metacrock, your "arguments" are mainly assertions, and rather hollow ones at that.

As to Anaxagoras's conclusions about the lithic nature of the Sun and the Moon, I think that you are being a bit too literal-minded about them. They are not quite right, but they are more correct than supposing them to be divine beings, except if they can be divine beings and physical objects at the same time. In terms that Anaxagoras might have been familiar with, the Moon is a giant rock much like the Earth, while the Sun is a super fireball composed of a sort of naphtha air.

Anaxagoras's contention was rather widely rejected as a result of the influence of Plato and Aristotle and Ptolemy and the like; it took Galileo's telescope observations to make celestial materialism respectable again.

Metacrock, imagine that you had been in Socrates's place during Socrates's trial, and his prosecutors asked you about whether you really believe that the Sun and the Moon are not divine beings. Do you think that you would quickly be acquitted by claiming "I believe in a bigger god than your stupid anthropomorphic fairy tales"?

I would say if I was in such a position that I believe that the Universe is governed by a totally impersonal Fate, and that I believe that gods with human personalities are figments of the imagination, projections of human personality onto the world around us. I don't know if I'd be acquitted, but I would willingly accept exile in such a situation.