KevinYour response....Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:36pm188.8.131.52demonstrates that we are talking about totally different things or misunderstanding each other.
I never said anything about facts or logical arguments.
I am simply pointing out that there is no "evidence for God" (as it is normally discussed on this board -- if one wants evidence they need to change their assumptions which I pointed out in another post is based on good brain science and not sloppy thinking). In any event, "the evidence" is not what most think evidence should be because it is a matter of interpretation. So in the end, it is a matter of faith....as I said in my post.
To ask where the evidence for God is or to assume that God appears to some and not to others as it was assumed in the original post I responded to....that assumes a particular type of God and a particular type of experience.
I am saying that is NOT what it is about.
You were Buddhist at one point. Let me use this example. Don't you recall that the teachings were based on meditation and watching one's mind and measuring it up to the truths (Four Noble Truths, ultimate truth and conventional truth, karma, reincarnation, nirvana). None of those things can be proven empirically. They are teachings that help people walk their religious path and can be tested in one's experience the more one meditates and practices. So there is evidence. But it is evidence that one has to see for themselves and interpret for themselves and it is not going to be repeatable evidence for a lab test. It is the type of evidence one uses in their everyday life to make decisions and decide who they will marry or what school they will attend. It is not a blind leap into the dark based on nothing but it is not logical, rational propositions either. But Buddhists can proclaim that one can "test their tradition to see if it is true." Theism is talking about things just like that.
But for a multitude of reasons historically, politically, educationally, etc -- the Western theistic traditions have turned religious practice into propositional belief, empirical data, technology. Believers and unbelievers alike talk about the teachings in ways that they were never intended to be discussed when first formed. One of the very first teachings in Judaism/Christianity/Islam is that what is meant by "God" is beyond all thought, words, ideas, physical finite reality. That words point in the direction and "reveal God" in particular ways....and prayer and liturgy instructed one in those ways. And one could experience it for themselves to see if it was true. But God would always remain a Mystery...unknown. (The same thing with ourselves and our "souls". We too could never be fully known because we were a pattern that was still unfolding over the course of our life. We were a flowing river and so based on our perceptions we were always changing. In each of the main traditions in the West -- one could look to how to live such a deeply fulfilling life. But look at how spirituality and religions are discussed by many now.
Now words about God and Soul and metaphysical concepts are taken literally by many believers and unbelievers alike -- prayer is seen as begging God for something, liturgy is magic -- turning bread into not bread and faith means really, really believing a set of propositional truths or God will punish.
But that is not what Creeds said, scripture said, earliest writings in the tradition said, (and then turning to Christianity for a second) Aquinas says in his theology, or Augustine or Bonaventure, or Athanasius, or the Desert Fathers and Mothers or the Greek/Russian Orthodox, etc, etc.
My point is to suggest -- as I always do -- that there is lots of bad theology and religious understanding thrown around by believers and non-believers alike.
But no one really seems interested to discuss that, check it out for themselves or even ask what I mean.
That is what I meant by assumptions. That is what I was trying to say.
I was not saying "believe like me" or "I am being more factual or logical."
I was just pointing out -- that when one reads the history and the early texts -- the primary sources and not the critics reporting on the sources nor the secondary sources -- there is more there in the religions and that what is there is not as far-fetched as people make it sound when I hear them talk about the faith on here.
But in the end -- it IS a matter of faith. Like I say all the time -- religious faith is not proven or disproven by argument. It is proven or disproven by a life lived following that faith. The same way I prove that I love and trust (have faith) in my family -- by living and acting on that love and trust.
I just try to be a voice that points out that much that is assumed about theism, belief on this board (specifically Christianity but I would say all the monotheistic traditions) is often coming with a lot of assumptions. I mean, it is hard for me to keep my mouth shut when people say that Christians believe X -- and I don't believe X. (And it is not like I am fringe unique believer as I am a Christian in good standing with my church, who teaches men being ordained as deacons in the tradition, teaches at a Catholic university and runs a non-profit organization that is recognized by my bishop as being orthodox.
- The believer also works on assumptions ChristopherBlackwell, Thu Jun 14 5:01pmKevin, So one could also say that the believer assumes much, including that the alleged holy books was somehow influenced by God. there is no way to actually prove such a things so it becomes a... more
- Your response.... Kevin, Thu Jun 14 7:36pm
- But your method does not work in screaming matches ChristopherBlackwell, Fri Jun 15 7:43pmKevin, And so much of what passes for religious discussion here ends up in being screaming matches. I have no problem with the idea that a god would be unknowable,that is beyond human understanding.... more
- Norhing you say... Kevin, Mon Jun 18 8:41pmGoes against the idea of orthodoxy or the tradition as I have come to understand it and teach it. As much as certain voices in and out of the tradition are sure they know what the tradition is, there ... more
- And you're right we still have many others that either fall Διός, Fri Jun 15 8:36pmunder (grin hopefully not busses) mainstream religion and are not the real self thinkers but mainly followers and do as told. And it is just those that are in the category you mentioned. That is why... more
- Might be wise to start anew string ChristopherBlackwell, Fri Jun 15 7:45pmKevin, Because who knows what direction this conversation will go.
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