left biblioblography: OF SOUR GRAPES, SOPHISTRY, & SYNAPSE MISFIRE: FALLACIES, FAITH AND THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE

Saturday, February 11, 2006

OF SOUR GRAPES, SOPHISTRY, & SYNAPSE MISFIRE: FALLACIES, FAITH AND THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE


If an atheist is to go exploring out into the virtual netherworld of blogging debates, and begins to wrangle with them darn pesky theists, a distinct pattern emerges.

I refer, of course, to logical fallacies.

Now I have debated theists for lo these many months, and confess to being nonplussed at the seemingly utter abandonment of logical premises, of valid debate methodologies and the usage of fallacies by otherwise apparently intelligent folks.

In other words, whether they’re sharp as a marble, or brilliant, they all use the same lingo, patois, lingua franca, etc. To the point that I’d swear these people take classes in this horse puckey. “Welcome to Fallacies 101! Today, we’ll teach you how to drive the infidels absolutely bugfuckery with the complete and total absence of anything vaguely resembling logic. Guaranteed to set the blasphemers to gnashing their collective teeth (which they’ll be doing anyways, according to the Gospel of John, hee-haw). Today, we begin with the ad hominem attack. There are 3 variations on this fallacies…”, etc. You can guess the rest, I bet. “Tomorrow’s class will deal with ‘Poisoning of the well, and the third class…”

I have to make a distinct effort NOT to develop a facial tic when I talk to these folks.

Interestingly enough, a post on the NGB by rainbows4dinosaurs brought the matter of Saul’s visit to Athens to my attention.

So I did a touch o’ research. Began to poke around, seeing if there was indeed a root to the matter.

Matthew 18:3

http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/popup/1138475323-5398.html#2
And said, verily I say unto you, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 15:19
http://bible.cc/matthew/15-19.htm

19 For example, out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thieveries, false testimonies, and blasphemies. [Author’s note: this is often translated as ‘wicked reasonings’ by some]
From http://bible.cc/acts/17-18.htm -

Saul of Tarsus, AKA Paul, went to Athens (Acts 17:15) –
And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed. Acts 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
Acts 17:17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Acts 17:18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, what will this babbler say? Other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

Most versions concur that he was called a ‘babbler’. From what I can garner, Paul was a proud man in many respects. It must’ve stuck in his craw, that anyone would insult him so. We can judge from the behavior of most religious folk to this day: no one enjoys to be called the fool, especially when one believes that they hold the ultimate Truth in their hands.

We see from his words in 1 Corinthians 3:18 – “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise” and 3:19 – “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He has taken the wise in their craftiness."
As well as Colossians 2:8 – “Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ:” coupled with the concept from James 2:4 – “were you not discriminating among yourselves, and did you not become judges with wicked reasonings?”, that his visit to Athens left a bit of a sour taste in his mouth.

We then defer to Augustine, who said: “Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.” – not to mention Tertullian’s motto: “It is absurd, ergo it must be true”, that Xtianity perceives logic and reason as antithetical to belief.
And then, farther down the road, we see these points raised by Martin Luther:
"Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but--more frequently than not --struggles against the Divine Word...”
"Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and ... know nothing but the word of God."
"The damned whore Reason...."
"To be a Christian, you must pluck out the eye of reason."
"Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason." - well, methinks a pattern emerges here.

It seems that Xtians as a rule are very nearly raised from their mothers’ teats with respects to this utter violation of the objective reality of this world. It also lends new strength to Dawkins’ concept of the meme as a psychological virus, as new, or ‘true’ believers readily begin mouthing fallacies from the moment of their inception.

It becomes readily apparent, that indeed reason is the antithesis of faith. It topples the spire of belief, lays waste to the fields of divinity, forces Humanity to see the inconveniences of religion, and knocks over the fragile house of cards that epiphany built.

And yet the believers dance these dervish steps to prevent the toppling of the house of cards, to re-erect the tenuous spires of clubs, diamonds, spades and hearts, building ever more intricate pinnacles that will collapse upon the slightest breeze.

And all the while, the builders deny the 52-card pick-up they perform each time. Careful rearrangement of fallen cards to the fragile architecture of their beliefs.

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23 comments:

Rosemary said...

Coincident! I just posted a comment on NGB about valueing reason above faith and here you have an article on it.

I used to subscribe to an atheist news group. Once a frustrated xian troll complained that "you people think too much!"
I guess we'll have to plead guilty.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Rosemary:
Talk about synchronicity.
Yeah, we do think too much.
Someone's gotta do all the thinking.
Which troll was that? There've been so many.

onimitsu2004 said...

Interesting post. This is something I've pondered because it annoys me to no end when people check their brains at the door when it comes to faith. I'm not an atheist (so I don't know if that disqualifies me from your discourse), but here's what I think (in no particular order):

Faith and reason do not have to be mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, I think that good reason can make one's faith stronger. It is the theist who is constantly challenging and examining every aspect of his faith who learns to truly appreciate it. The people who accept everything that they're told and everything they read in their holy books have no appreciation of their faith.

People choose to abandon reason for faith because it easy. It is easier for me to tell you, "The Bible says," than it is for me to walk you through a logical argument that is congruent with what I believe. Doing so challenges what I believe, and humans don't like having their beliefs challenged. But it is those who gladly combat and critically analyze their faith, the few who are able to walk you intelligently through a logical argument congruent with their beliefs, whose faith I think is strongest.

As far as to what value you place on reason and faith, I wouldn't value one above the other. While probably a trite aphorism, it is true that there are things in life that reason cannot address, and where faith must intercede for those things to make any kind of sense. And then there are things for most of life that reason dominates but also can serve to strengthen one's faith. It's easy to value faith above reason, because all you have to do is fill in the blanks. It is easy to value reason above faith because it dominates most of what occurs in our daily lives. It is hard to value both equally.

"xtianity." "xian." Wow. I've never seen that before. At first glance I didn't know what you were referring to, but then I thought "xmas" and figured it out. Is it honestly not worth the extra effort to spell out "christ"? I'm not Chrisitan, but it annoys me to no end when I see things like "xmas." Son of god or not, a person named Jesus who is believed by many to be the Christ, had a profound impact on the history of the world. At the very least, we could spell out his name (or title).

Krystalline Apostate said...

onimitsu2004:
so I don't know if that disqualifies me from your discourse
No, all opinions are welcome, whether I agree or not.
People choose to abandon reason for faith because it easy.
Yes, we're all creatures of convenience, despite our perspectives.
My debates have shown me that these specific folks are in the majority.
It is the theist who is constantly challenging and examining every aspect of his faith who learns to truly appreciate it.
There is actually a theist on the NGB (very regular fellow), who insists that it was reason that led him to his conclusions.
But even the most intelligent ones seem to fall prey to the fallacy formula.
it is true that there are things in life that reason cannot address
Which ones, exactly?
Wow. I've never seen that before.
It's actually fairly common usage.
Is it honestly not worth the extra effort to spell out "christ"?
I actually use it because I'm a creature of convenience. ;) I always include the 't', but it saves me the extra 5 keystrokes.
From answers.com - xmas -
"USAGE NOTE Xmas has been used for hundreds of years in religious writing, where the X represents a Greek chi, the first letter of Χριστος, “Christ.” In this use it is parallel to other forms like Xtian, “Christian.” But people unaware of the Greek origin of this X often mistakenly interpret Xmas as an informal shortening pronounced (ĕks'məs). Many therefore frown upon the term Xmas because it seems to them a commercial convenience that omits Christ from Christmas."
So it's not done to annoy or vex. It's been legitimized by 100's of years of religious usage.

onimitsu2004 said...

No, all opinions are welcome, whether I agree or not.

That's good. I've seen it go both ways on things like this: atheists who don't want to hear what theists have to say and theists who don't want to hear what atheists have to say. Both think the other is stupid. In my opinion, both are wrong for being so closed minded.

My debates have shown me that these specific folks are in the majority.

Sadly, I agree.

There is actually a theist on the NGB (very regular fellow), who insists that it was reason that led him to his conclusions.

In my experience, most of the Christians I've encountered who thought critically and logically about their faith (which, BTW is a sad minority) ended up becoming more excited and strengthened in their faith toward the end of the exercise (valuing faith and reason equally) than those who sit in church and nod their heads and take what they're being fed (valuing faith above reason).

Now, I've also seen people who while critically examining their faith end up abandoning their faith; with these I've noticed they value reason above faith.

Like I mentioned earlier, I think peopl should value both equally. I think it's foolish and dangerous when theists stop thinking - I've always thought that God gave people a brain to use...not to check at the doors of the sanctuary. I think it's sad (admittedly not logical, just a personal thought) and inconsistent (not quite the right word...but the best that comes to mind) to have reason with no faith - if reason can be used to answer all things, why can't it answer all things? Which, leads to the next bit:

Which ones, exactly?

I'll start with the obvious: why are we here? There's the logical steps to evolution and how exactly it is homo sapien sapiens came about, and reason can walk you through that. But at the end of the day, reason doesn't answer why. Perhaps with reason it's not an important question, but I think to many people (such as myself) it is. Faith provides a ready answer - reason does not.

Wow. I've never seen that before.

Well, today was the first I'd ever seen "xian" and "xtianity", and to people unfamiliar with Greek history and language (which would largely be the majority, though I'm assuming your intended audience probably is familiar with it) it does indeed look like a purposeful omission of "christ." Considering a couple factors such as (a) I'm an outsider and (b) you are atheist the notational convenience doesn't come to mind when I see it (especially when previous comments refer to "xian trolls" who are in ready abundance). I didn't mean to sound rude earlier, but I'm sure you're aware of the perception (a) and (b) create.

Just so you know where I'm coming from, my parents are evangelical Christians, and I got dragged to church as a kid growing up but haven't been back since I left home at 18. I'm still sorting things out in that department.

Anonymous said...

Have faith that the house of cards will stand, all the while in reason knowing it will surely fall.

I disagree with onimitsu2004 that faith fills gaps left by reason. The example given is "why are we here?"
What more reason do you need than to live and continue the species, just like all other forms of life? That is an answer. It may not satisfy you, but it does others. Just because you require more to stoke your faith does not mean that others should be called to value faith as much as reason.
Reason trumps faith, every time.

---karen

Krystalline Apostate said...

onimitsu2004:
Now, I've also seen people who while critically examining their faith end up abandoning their faith; with these I've noticed they value reason above faith.
Dan Barker springs to mind.
I'll start with the obvious: why are we here?
I'll counter w/the obvious: we just are. I recall the old Bill Cosby routine: he was dating a philosophy major in college, & she'd question the existence of everything. "Why is there air?" to which he replied, "To breathe. Put in basketballs." (para).
Perhaps with reason it's not an important question, but I think to many people (such as myself) it is.
& therein lies the difference. I don't need someone (or something) to be behind it all: it just is.
Occam's razor is such a handy device.
Faith provides a ready answer - reason does not.
No, faith alone doesn't provide a ready answer, in & of itself.
You need to remember, that it's the explanations provided by theorists that have gone before that provide for the label known as faith.
Faith is shorthand for, "I want to live forever."

Krystalline Apostate said...

karen:
Have faith that the house of cards will stand, all the while in reason knowing it will surely fall.
Very nicely said. Wish I had.
Reason trumps faith, every time.
Ramen, sister.

Anonymous said...

"Faith provides a ready answer - reason does not."

The Magic 8 Ball provides ready answers too, and as reliable ones as those you get with faith:

Faith- "God did/made/wants/said it"

Magic 8 Ball- "Yes, No, Try again later"

Reason does not provide a ready answer; that's why it's called "reason"; one must THINK.

onimitsu2004 said...

Before I begin, I'd like to say that I'm still sorting things out in the God department, so I'm not one of those "xian trolls" who thinks I'm right. However, based on what I've read so far I'm not convinced you're correct either.

Just because you require more to stoke your faith does not mean that others should be called to value faith as much as reason.

Just because you require less, does that mean that others should be called to value reason above faith?

I admit it's a petty counter, but perhaps you could indulge me a little with an explanation.

What more reason do you need than to live and continue the species, just like all other forms of life? That is an answer.

I'll counter w/the obvious: we just are.

Raison d'etre is a legitimate question for any individual being capable of thinking to ask. It provides direction and purpose. If my raison d'etre is to propogate the species, then I need to find a woman, mate with her, and sire offspring. If I don't know that, I won't conduct myself accordingly.

This isn't the the first time I've heard these answers, and sometimes I've also thought the answer is that simple (Occam's Razor does work wonders...at least on exams). If my raison d'etre is "just because" or "to procreate" then the implications of these are a little unsettling, at least to me. I'd like to explore this further, but it would take away from the main issue of whether or not faith and reason are mutually exclusive.

Faith is shorthand for, "I want to live forever."

Could you explain that in a little more detail?

Reason does not provide a ready answer; that's why it's called "reason"; one must THINK.

So am I to conclude that the things in life reason hasn't answered yet is because someone hasn't thought long and hard enough about it?

Not to get too sidetracked but just a couple things:

I see you've written quite a bit, so without me digging through the dozens of pages worth of material you've written, could you explain to me in a paragraph or so why it is you're an atheist?

I noticed your interest in the martial arts. I am also martial minded but in a much "harder" style - Shorin Ryu. I'm actually fairly obsessed with the history of karate and I've got a blog where I post some of the research I've been doing on one of the last Okinawan karate masters (not much yet, been busy). I don't know if your martial interest spans to karate.

Krystalline Apostate said...

onimitsu2004:
Just because you require less, does that mean that others should be called to value reason above faith?
Ummm...that was anonymous you were responding to.
Far as I'm concerned, your values are your own. Mine are different.
Raison d'etre is a legitimate question for any individual being capable of thinking to ask. It provides direction and purpose. If my raison d'etre is to propogate the species, then I need to find a woman, mate with her, and sire offspring. If I don't know that, I won't conduct myself accordingly.
Again, entirely your own venue. My raison d'etre? (I do love that expression, BTW) I make my own reasons for living. I choose: no one else.
Could you explain that in a little more detail?
Sure. Outside of the fact that it pretty much speaks for itself, who wants to die? We are each of us as unique as a snowflake: it's a hard bullet to bite, that it should end in a simple blinking out, like a candle snuffed. We all desire immortality: it's an extension of the will to survive.
So am I to conclude that the things in life reason hasn't answered yet is because someone hasn't thought long and hard enough about it?
Again, that was anonymous aka (I think) karen.
What is it you see as unanswered in life, outside the 'why are we here' question?
could you explain to me in a paragraph or so why it is you're an atheist?
Simply go to my website, www.reluctantatheist.com, & click on the 'Why Reluctant?' link. I hope that'll be a satisfory answer.
I don't know if your martial interest spans to karate.
It's where I began, but I'm an internal Chinese stylist.
While all styles are worthwhile, Korean, Okinawan & Japanese styles are too linear & not fluid enough.
Of course, if you practice often enough, & do any style for 30-40 yrs., internal & external don't really matter anymore.
I do Tai Chi Chuan only - 3 or 4 styles - though I've dabbled in Hsing-I, Pa-kua, & Kali.

HairlessMonkeyDK said...

To onimitsu2004,
(and here's a barb at both you and RA:
Martial arts? Contradiction in terms!),
why do you believe?
Or rather, why do YOU believe?
You've obviously seen through the usual lies that accompagnies formalized religion, yet you cling to your search for "something bigger".
Which is good, actually.
In fact, it is what atheists do.
We want to KNOW what "god" doesn't want us to know.
We want the freedom to choose.
To choose without the empediment of unproven dogma, and millenium-old indoctrination and taboos.
To find a better purpose than a jealous desert god.

Krystalline Apostate said...

HMDK:
(and here's a barb at both you and RA:
Martial arts? Contradiction in terms!)

I do beg to differ on that.
From http://www.answers.com/art - "SYNONYMS art, craft, expertise, knack, know-how, technique. These nouns denote skill in doing or performing that is attained by study, practice, or observation: the art of rhetoric; pottery that reveals an artist's craft; political expertise; a knack for teaching; mechanical know-how; a precise diving technique."
I'd advise you to find a Tai Chi instructor, or just go to the park in the wee hrs of the morning (or, if you're overfond of sleeping, a class in the evening), & watch someone perform it.
& anything can be an art. It's in the performance that it becomes such.
:P

udonman said...

ra and hmdk i am alwaays looking for answers but lately it hasnt been about the natural world it is about the socialigy associtad with being human been looking into tribal evoultion which is what religion is tribes banding toghter


onimitsu2004 think about this are you in a tribe or not does your tribe use musicsong and or dance to get its members in to a hptyontized state does your tribe have a leader elder priest priestes or medicine man who speeks to the tribe to cogeal the tribes attitudes to the purpose of the tribe now ask your self how is this differnt from primitiave man and his tribes

HairlessMonkeyDK said...

Reluctant... easy there, buddy.
I just meant that I find the juxtaposition of the words "martial" and "arts" a particularly ugly one.
It was simply an observation of linguistics, not a criticism of various self-defence practices.

onimitsu2004 said...

Ummm...that was anonymous you were responding to.

Yeah, but I was hoping anonymous would return and answer. Oh well :-(

Far as I'm concerned, your values are your own. Mine are different.

And this is when I think the debate begins to break down to "agree to disagree", and I started to sense it would head in this direction when talk of "your values vs. my values" started to come up. We've both made where we stand clear, and I'm not going to start the whole "my values are better than your values" pissing contest because we'd all lose.

Overall, I still think that faith and reason are not mutually exclusive. And I think you have provided a very good example - you have a very strong faith in reason. It's like the exercise that I described earlier; you challenge your reason, critically examining every aspect of it, and by the end of the exercise, your faith in reason has grown stronger.

I say "faith in reason" on purpose (obviously). You "know" the house of cards won't stand, so you don't bother building it. But what if one of the house of cards stands (because it's held together by crazy glue)? This leads me to the next issue:

why do YOU believe?

When I was a kid, I fractured my skull in an accident and suffered internal bleeding on my brain. I was literally a fraction of an inch away from dying (had the blood seeped into a certain section of my brain). According to the doctor, though, I most certainly would suffer irreversible brain damage due to the severity of the bleeding on my brain. The doctors couldn't do anything to save me. So, my parents frantically fell to their knees and prayed. The blood clotted. The doctors weren't expecting that, but that meant that they could actually do something to save me by operating and removing the clot. Before I was supposed to go into surgery, the clot disappeared. Other than a broken skull, there was no evidence of anything having happened to my head or brain. I'm obviously not dead, and my brain was perfectly fine. There was no particular reason why I didn't die or suffer irreversible brain damage. It just happened.

Or did it?

The correlation with my parents' prayers and me not dying methinks is a little high. And that is why I believe. You are right that I'm disheartened by what I see happening in churches (which is why I stopped going), and I really don't like what I see going on with organized religion. But I'm not an atheist, and given my experience, I don't see myself becoming one any time soon. Something saved me from death, and it wasn't me, the doctors, my parents, or a fluke of body chemistry. I think it's perfectly rational that that same something spared me from death for a reason or particular purpose. Hence, my fuzzy stand on God.

What is it you see as unanswered in life, outside the 'why are we here' question?

*pointing to previous diatrebe* Why am I still alive and healthy? I'm hard pressed to find a logical chain of events.

We want to KNOW what "god" doesn't want us to know.
We want the freedom to choose.


Does faith really require that you NOT know what "god" wants us to know? Does faith really require the denial of choice?

People who buy what they hear and read in holy books and religious services at face value may not ask questions so they may not know much of anything. But I've found that if one looks critically (at least in the Christian case, as I can't speak for the others) at faith with logic and reason, they begin to uncover some of the things that they thought were hidden from them; and it turns out that most of these things weren't really hidden - it was under their noses the whole time. In the Christian case, God doesn't hide himself or his knowledge, but reveals himself and what he knows freely...all you have to do is ask (nicely :P) and wait. This one of the reasons why these Christians I've met who challenge their faith critically always emerge from the end of the exercise more excited about it than how they began.

You're always free to choose whether in the presence or absence of faith. Having faith doesn't mean that you can no longer choose for yourself. As a matter of fact, having faith opens up other choices.

Don't confuse dogma and legalism with faith; these are things that deny choices - I've heard and seen some silly things that would make you think that you're no longer free to live your life (I've been to churches where women can't wear pants or makeup, kids can't dance, etc.) These things (which I hate and yet another reason I don't go to church) focus only on actions that people mistakenly believe that if they just do these things they'll get into heaven/nirvana/whatever.

I must say that I've actually enjoyed this exchange so far as I've always been curious as to how atheists think and why. You've provided me with quite an education. Thank you.

While all styles are worthwhile, Korean, Okinawan & Japanese styles are too linear & not fluid enough.

Yet another point I disagree with (at least in the Okinawan case)! Shorin-Ryu is very fluid with the rhythm and breating-timing of the kata, the relaxation of the muscles before you kime, the osae you use to move into the opponent and control him, etc. There is a soft aspect to Okinawan karate that people often miss. People tend to mistakenly associate "soft" and "fluid" with absolutely no muscle tension or kime. These are elements that are not necessarily mutually exclusive. If you've ever watched an old Okinawan karateka (60-70 yrs old) do kata, you'd see what I mean.

We're off to a rough start, ra :-).

Anonymous said...

"Just because you require less ...."

No, you don't have to value reason over faith. Just don't try to impose your value on me through government legislation, or in public places or in schools or on money, etc.
People of faith tend to want to get other people to "do it their way". Atheists generally just want to live and let live, just do your religious stuff in private, where it belongs.


I actually agree with RA on the "why are we here" issue, in that, we just are. I went further in my answer b/c I thought it would satisfy you more and it is not offensive to me. I am curious about what is unsettling about just being or continuing the species.

"So am I to conclude...reason has not explained yet..."
Chances are, everything in life will not ever be totally explained. But yes, through reason AND discovery, experiment, exploration, and communication, many of the puzzles will be solved. They will not be solved through faith in an invisible being.

Will try to get back later. must run now.
Karen

P.S. RA---I have lost the means to edit, cut and paste. Don't know why I don't have it. Thus the unfinished quotes to refer to what I'm addressing.

Krystalline Apostate said...

onimitsu2004:
And this is when I think the debate begins to break down to "agree to disagree", and I started to sense it would head in this direction when talk of "your values vs. my values" started to come up.
Actually, I was trying to be a polite host.
If you really wish for me to punch holes in much of your logic, okay.
And I think you have provided a very good example - you have a very strong faith in reason.
faith, from answers.com:
" 1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See synonyms at belief, trust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs."
Now, reason, from the same source:
" 1. The basis or motive for an action, decision, or conviction. See Usage Note at because, why.
2. A declaration made to explain or justify action, decision, or conviction: inquired about her reason for leaving.
3. An underlying fact or cause that provides logical sense for a premise or occurrence: There is reason to believe that the accused did not commit this crime.
4. The capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought; intelligence.
5. Good judgment; sound sense.
6. A normal mental state; sanity: He has lost his reason.
7. Logic. A premise, usually the minor premise, of an argument."
I can easily adopt any of the definitions you are using. In this instance, however, you are making a broad sweeping generalization, as if the 2 are synonymous, which they are most certainly not.
If I drive a car off a cliff, will my faith in it not hitting the bottom change that? No.
Reason (aka Logic) doesn't need my implicit approval for it to continue working.
But what if one of the house of cards stands (because it's held together by crazy glue)?
& yet we see the fragility of a person's faith. The willingness to deny the obvious, regardless of proof. Maybe you haven't: but I have.
I'm hard pressed to find a logical chain of events.
Perhaps there isn't any. Maybe you beat the odds: people do that occasionally.
Does faith really require that you NOT know what "god" wants us to know?
What a confusing statement. No, faith (religious faith, as a rule), requires that 1 accepts events blindly, or puts a face to the noises outside the campfire.
Don't confuse dogma and legalism with faith;
I don't.
But I've found that if one looks critically (at least in the Christian case, as I can't speak for the others) at faith with logic and reason, they begin to uncover some of the things that they thought were hidden from them
Hey, I approached the entire paradigm w/neither a "It's gotta be true" or a "It's gotta be false". I put it to the test.
It failed.
As a matter of fact, having faith opens up other choices.
Examples, please.
You're always free to choose whether in the presence or absence of faith.
Oh really? The either/or choice. Believe, or burn eternally.
I've heard and seen some silly things that would make you think that you're no longer free to live your life
You're not.
I must say that I've actually enjoyed this exchange so far as I've always been curious as to how atheists think and why. You've provided me with quite an education. Thank you.
You're welcome. However, I am but 1 atheist among many. We are very different people in many ways.
There is a soft aspect to Okinawan karate that people often miss.
Oh, no doubt. My sifu (Chinese TC teacher) studied Aikido in Japan, & Hapkido in Korea. He states that it's a very different animal over there: a lot softer, more fluid (in re: TKD).
Note that I did indeed qualify my statement w/: Of course, if you practice often enough, & do any style for 30-40 yrs., internal & external don't really matter anymore.

Krystalline Apostate said...

karen:
I have lost the means to edit, cut and paste.
I have no idea why that would be so.
Maybe your mouse is on the fritz?

Krystalline Apostate said...

HMDK:
Reluctant... easy there, buddy.
Hey, I'm cool as a cucumber.
Lotsa folks equate MA w/the UFC championships, bad movies, & even worse TV shows.
I was just suggesting that you go taste something off the menu.

Krystalline Apostate said...

udonman:
Nice equation there.
Many faiths do indeed utilize some form of hypnotic undercurrent (whether they know it or not). I read in Sutger's "The Battle for Your Mind" article, that it's indeed possible for Vodoun observers (read: voodoo) to actually become possessed of the 'loas' (spirits), even when they don't believe.

Anonymous said...

Onimitsu2004 says (stupid internet and Blogger.com going haywire on me)....

My internet has been on the fritz, so I haven't been able to comment. Looks like this conversation must have lost steam.

Actually, I was trying to be a polite host. If you really wish for me to punch holes in much of your logic, okay.

I appreciate and value intellectual honesty as long as one isn't condescending or rude. You haven't been either so far.

I can easily adopt any of the definitions you are using.

When I wrote my response, I had "Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing" in mind. And with reason I had "The capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought; intelligence." With these specific definitions, I'm sure "faith in reason" is an accurate descripton...is it not?

Suppose you have a discussion about the value of reason vs. faith (in something other than reason) where the value of reason alone is challenged, and you construct and build a cogent argument that gives people who value faith (in something other than reason) alone pause. Do you not feel more confident about the truth and trustworthiness of reason at the end of your exercise? Isn't your "faith in reason" just an inkling stronger?

I can understand that the term "faith" is usually insufficient by itself, because according to our definitions it must be confidence and belief in the truth and the trustworthiness of something, and that particular something wasn't defined when I wrote earlier.

Reason (aka Logic) doesn't need my implicit approval for it to continue working.

Faith in God (or gods, or spirits, whatever) is a confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of said God (or gods, or spirits, yada). These things (if they exist) reside in a spiritual realm, and the spiritual realm (if there is such a realm) doesn't need one's implicit approval for it to continue working either.

Of course, notice that much of this must be qualified with "if there is such a person" or "if there is such a place." This is an obvious weakness of my argument, and I acknowledge that. I present it only because I can't speak with certainty that they do exist. But I can't speak with certainty that they don't exist either.

Maybe you beat the odds: people do that occasionally.

Yes, maybe I did. The correlation with my parents' prayer and my rapid recovery is still significant enough in my mind that I don't think merely beating the odds is the case. But I'm not naive enough to say that definitively.

What a confusing statement...

What I was responding to read as if there were things hidden from people by God that if you have faith in him, you aren't supposed to know, but if you don't have faith in him, you can discover and know. What I was trying to say was that that is not the case.

I don't know about other religions (I can only speak on the Christian case), but blind acceptance is not a sufficient condition. God says to ask, seek, and knock...not just take things at face value. "Taste and see" if you will. A Christian's relationship with God doesn't go anywhere if he or she does none of these. God encourages Christians to be like children, which I concede implies a dependency on him (a dependency I understand many do not wish), but at the same time, just like children he wants Christians to probe him - and kids ask questions about everything all the time.

Growing up as an evangelical brat, my understanding of Christianity was that challenge is encouraged in order to strengthen one's faith in God. Organized religion by men, however, doesn't like challenge as the people become less dependent upon the "holy" men and more so on God. "Holy" men with lots of power, money, and control don't like that, so as part of their indoctrination of the congregation discourage challenge - yet another reason why I dislike churches.

I said: "As a matter of fact, having faith opens up other choices."
You said: "Examples, please."

Faith in God/gods/deities/whatever, opens up the ability to operate in a spiritual capacity and "manifest" things from the spirit world (if said world exists). Again, I concede the weakness of this, but my personal experiences give weight of this to me at least. Growing up, when my parents prayed, things happened: I didn't die (if you can't already tell, something like that makes a lasting impression on you); my father got promoted more rapidly than normal; friends or family recovered rapidly from illness or caught a break after falling on hard times.

Perhaps I did beat the odds. Perhaps my father, after praying, conducted himself at his job and performed so well that they promoted him quickly. Perhaps family and friends upon hearing that my parents had prayed for them felt better mentally which was enough to change their body chemistries to combat the illnesses more quickly. Perhaps the people on hard times were bound to catch a break anyway.

I don't know. I've lived and seen things with my parents that has me question the correlation between their prayers and subsequent action. Spirit realm or no, SOMETHING is going on when they pray whether they take appropriate action on their own to make their prayers a reality or if they're really lucky with coincidences.

You're always free to choose whether in the presence or absence of faith.

I mean that. Whether you have faith in anything or not, you still face choices. Having faith in something doesn't mean that those choices are taken away. Deity/deities/spirits or not, nothing can take away a man's right and ability to choose consequences be damned.

I do appreciate people who make me think. A lot of what you've written has made me rethink a number of things. We'll have to have a conversation about the martial arts at some point too.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Onimitsu2004:
You haven't been either so far.
Well, thanks. I try to be reasonable. Raised polite, & all that. You have been likewise thus far, & courtesy is a strength in my book.
When I wrote my response, I had "Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing" in mind.
Yes, but 'confident belief in the truth' doesn't presuppose that the belief is the truth, necessarily.
I'm sure that many Scientologists believe that Xenu actually existed 75 million yrs ago, are confident that this is the truth, & thoroughly believe it. Doesn't make it so.
As for reason, I usually go w/#4: 'The capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought; intelligence.'
These things (if they exist) reside in a spiritual realm, and the spiritual realm (if there is such a realm) doesn't need one's implicit approval for it to continue working either.
& again we pare it down to: is there any concrete evidence? None to date. The human body does indeed lose 4 - 8 ounces upon death, but much of this is attributable to the release of gases, the release of the...southernmost muscles (evacuation) & suchlike. There isn't any scientic gadgetry that can define what a 'soul' is, let alone where said 'soul' goes to. Until said technology exists, it's all romantic speculation in my book.
This is an obvious weakness of my argument, and I acknowledge that.
I see honesty as a virtue, & so that is appreciated.
Growing up, when my parents prayed, things happened:
The human condition is a mysterious & marvellous thing: placebos seem to work in lieu of real medication, for instance.
Perhaps you can catalogue (for yourself) the amount of items prayed for, & compare the results w/
A. The times that the prayers came true, as opposed to
B. The times that they did not.
I have read of instances, for example, where TCC helped patients that were immobilized were able to raise themselves, & eventually able to start practicing.
Or an instance in Cheng Tzu's 13 treatises, where diagnoses & medication were transposed for a cold patient & a TB patient. The result? The TB patient's condition cleared up. The cold patient died.
God encourages Christians to be like children, which I concede implies a dependency on him (a dependency I understand many do not wish), but at the same time, just like children he wants Christians to probe him - and kids ask questions about everything all the time.
This is another issue I have w/most religions.
If you look at the structure of the world, the course is clear: from birth to childhood, from childhood to adult. Birth, growth, death - the child supersedes the parent.
It makes little sense to me, to institute rules for the world, if those rules are not binding on the designer as well.
Example: an architect creates a building. The builder usually applies a set of rules that are binding upon the builder as well as the building. Gravity, points of stress, windage, a specific set of rules that apply w/a fair amount of equality to all structures of that nature, as well as the builder him/herself.
& there is no amount of faith that is going to run contrary to those specific set of rules.
We'll have to have a conversation about the martial arts at some point too.
Oh, most definitely.
Been kicking the idea for a TCC MA blog around in the not too distant future.
If & when I do so, I'll add it to my blogroll.