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how do religious people prove religion


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#181    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 02:47 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 17 May 2013 - 02:04 PM, said:

I think the words are well understood by anyone who is literate in English and has a knowledge of history.  That they have subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle differences between Christian groups is true but even these differences are generally understood.

I personally don't have a good objective definition of 'righteousness'.  I sympathize with bluefinger trying to explain all this, wow especially if he's using a phone, there's no way I'd be able to put together coherent posts using one of those.  But I am one of the people I assume he is concerned about who does care more about freedom than righteousness in general, including specifically, the freedom to define what 'righteousness' means.

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into"
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" - C. Hitchens
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" - Richard Feynman

#182    Frank Merton

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 02:50 PM

That is good of you to say; I often read some of the things I post and cringe at the mistakes.  The fact is I should be that proficient -- my father was an English professor began teaching me before I can remember.  I also got my degree in the States.


#183    Frank Merton

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 02:52 PM

There is a Confucian "virtue" described in the Analects that a publisher called up about once saying it was untranslatable into English -- it was a general catchall for being good, and I suggested "righteous."  Confucian scholars are nothing if they are not righteous.


#184    Sherapy

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 03:12 PM

View PostBluefinger, on 17 May 2013 - 12:02 PM, said:

I here ya.  And yes, I do serve.  My beliefs do not reflect the military's position on religion though.  So the military does not support my beliefs about religion.

I welcome anybody too.  But I'm not talking about the privilege of being an American.  I'm talking specifically of being a Christian in a Christian community in the kingdom of God, which got along just fine without America and under the cruel tyranny of pagan bureaucrats.  

The kingdom of God is a kingdom that takes hold in the hearts of those with faith (the Church.)  The point of the kingdom of God is to practice and teach righteousness.  God intends for this kingdom to take over the world, thus filling the earth with righteousness.  Where the Church is (not specifically Roman, Coptic, Korean, or Orthodox), there is also the kingdom of God and the presence of its King.  And there, I would hope, righteousness, justice, and the steadfast love of living our enemies an forgiving out debtors would be found.

Now, concerning righteousness, I find it to be a great concern that many here care more about freedom than about righteousness.  Perhaps that is why we have so many rude people treating others disrespectfully simply because it is their freedom to do so.  That's not a good thing at all.

I think if you are guided by fairness, trying to do what is right, and compassion that it is a good start. That is where we are the same Matthew as far as being in the United States, our paths may be different for getting here, but the core is the same. I just  don't see this as privilege or special I see this as maturity.

Edited by Sherapy, 17 May 2013 - 03:17 PM.




#185    Mr Walker

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 10:54 PM

View PostJ. K., on 17 May 2013 - 02:23 PM, said:

You would probably find that the average American on the street would not know their meaning in a Christian context.  Not everybody has your level of literacy; you handle nuances and slang like a native English speaker.

Your points are valid, but what worries me, always, about language is what purpose it serves for someone with a good facility in it to write or speak down to the level of those who do not. One can try to explain terrms, contexts etc., to listeners but often the message requires a vocabulary of specific and complex terms to be fully understood.

The "kingdom of god" for example, both as a concept and as a symbol is very complex. It can involve an internal understanding and a shared social sense of belonging. Yet most english speakers would understand that it is a group of like-minded humans who share certain characteristics, even if they knew no more than that.

In my opinion it is not the role of those with knowledge to dumb it down so that others can understand it, but for others who are interested to learn enough language to be able to comprehend. But then i would say that, being an English teacher.

In school it is my job to teach young people the skills required to; comprehend, analyse, criticise hypothesise, extrapolate, etc., and so they need a certain level of proficiency.

In matters of personal understanding and choice, however, one cant compel another to learn adequate vocabulary to understand, but neither is one obliged to simplify the message so much that its deeper meanings are lost.

Edited by Mr Walker, 17 May 2013 - 11:02 PM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#186    Mr Walker

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 10:58 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 17 May 2013 - 02:50 PM, said:

That is good of you to say; I often read some of the things I post and cringe at the mistakes.  The fact is I should be that proficient -- my father was an English professor began teaching me before I can remember.  I also got my degree in the States.
Ah well. Your English is still remarkably good, despite that disadvantage. :devil:

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#187    Jesus Loves Us

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 03:20 AM

View PostBluefinger, on 14 May 2013 - 01:59 AM, said:

Not Catholic.

And by blessings, I believe that we were blessed to bless the world.  Not so we can lavish in material things.
Do you mean USA? Do you believe some of the elites or people in power in America worship Jesus? I have nothing against pagans but there's something about Bohemian Grove Rituals and doesn't sound like it's leaning towards Christianity.


#188    Big Jim

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:21 AM

I haven't read the entire thread, just the first couple pages and then skipped to the last.  So please excuse me if my observation has been made already.
I am not an overly religious person but I often wish I was.  Whenever the subject is brought up in this manner, especially among a group of curious and scientifically minded people such as are attracted to UM forums, a debate ensues between two obvious sides.  There is never an answer, nor is there ever likely to be one.  But let me rephrase the opening question.  How does one prove love?  There are many more lovers in the world than there are adherents of any religion.  It undoubtedly has power if not substance.  It has shaped the course of history, and inspired, emboldened and ruined great men and women.  Most of us act according to our loves everyday.  We live for it and we die for it.  Yet how do you prove it's existence?  How would you explain it to someone who has never felt it?  I am not the first to make this analogy of course.  Love is the main lesson taught by Jesus.  I learned in catechism class that "God is love".  So I guess my point is that the answer to the debate has been before us all along.  Some things don't require proof, yet they exist nonetheless.  Lovers cannot prove love, the religious cannot prove God.  The bible says they are one and the same.  I believe that's right.


#189    Frank Merton

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 05:08 AM

There are many kinds of love, and God's love, if there is such a thing, and human types of love could not be compared.  That God has feelings is just too much for me to swallow.

I have a cousin who when he was a little boy was just pathetic in his inability to get along with other kids.  He'd go up to one of them and start mouthing and after a minute or so the other kid (boy or girl -- didn't matter) would haul off and smack him.  Then he would cry.  He spent his time alone on a tricycle he had riding up and down the street.  Now how could you possibly love such a kid?  We we all did and did our best to guide him out of his stupid behaviors, and now that he's grown up he's fine.

The feeling I have when I think back on all that is one of love.  He always got great presents from me on all the events, and never was lacking a repair of his tricycle, which needed it quite often, but he didn't want a new one.  Nowadays he seems to have no recollection of his being as I remember him, but my feeling remains.

I use the word "feeling."  We, along with probably most mammals and who knows what else, have "feelings."  The neurologists call these things "qualia."  The word "love" covers many of these feeling -- affection, parental devotion, family devotion, adoration, even a sweet tooth.  It's pretty much any desire we have that we identify positively.

The fact is we do more than exist in the world -- we live in it and experience it.  Our experience comes through our senses and our emotions -- the things we say we "feel" but which we cannot directly share with others.  We can only talk about our feelings if they also have felt the same thing and know intuitively of what we speak.  The congenitally blind person does not know "blue," but can very much know a given musical key.

This is the great weakness and flaw in modern materialism or physicalism as well as in reductionism.  It is that we experience, that we and other animals are sentient.  Add to that intelligence and will and you have a human being, but the root is that we have feelings.


#190    CS Lewis

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 08:42 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 19 May 2013 - 05:08 AM, said:

There are many kinds of love, and God's love, if there is such a thing, and human types of love could not be compared.  That God has feelings is just too much for me to swallow.

the Urantia Revelation said:

(29.6) 1:5.16 It is literally true: “In all your afflictions he is afflicted.” “In all your triumphs he triumphs in and
with you.” His prepersonal divine spirit is a real part of you. The Isle of Paradise responds to all the physical
metamorphoses of the universe of universes; the Eternal Son includes all the spirit impulses of all creation;
the Conjoint Actor encompasses all the mind expression of the expanding cosmos. The Universal Father
realizes in the fullness of the divine consciousness all the individual experience of the progressive struggles
of the expanding minds and the ascending spirits of every entity, being, and personality of the whole
evolutionary creation of time and space. And all this is literally true, for “in Him we all live and move and
have our being.”


Religion/Spirituality:
(30.1) 1:6.2 God is to science a cause, to philosophy an idea, to religion a person, even the loving heavenly
Father. God is to the scientist a primal force, to the philosopher a hypothesis of unity, to the religionist a
living spiritual experience. Man’s inadequate concept of the personality of the Universal Father can be
improved only by man’s spiritual progress in the universe and will become truly adequate only when the
pilgrims of time and space finally attain the divine embrace of the living God on Paradise.



#191    J. K.

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:16 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 17 May 2013 - 10:54 PM, said:

Your points are valid, but what worries me, always, about language is what purpose it serves for someone with a good facility in it to write or speak down to the level of those who do not. One can try to explain terrms, contexts etc., to listeners but often the message requires a vocabulary of specific and complex terms to be fully understood.

I wasn't trying to suggest to speak down to a listener.  Instead, one must be aware that subject-specific jargon may not be fully understood by the listener, and may need some explaining to put it into context.  This is especially true of religious terms, some of which have different meanings even to varied groups of believers.

One's reality is another's nightmare.

#192    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:25 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 17 May 2013 - 10:54 PM, said:

The "kingdom of god" for example, both as a concept and as a symbol is very complex. It can involve an internal understanding and a shared social sense of belonging. Yet most english speakers would understand that it is a group of like-minded humans who share certain characteristics, even if they knew no more than that.

In my opinion it is not the role of those with knowledge to dumb it down so that others can understand it, but for others who are interested to learn enough language to be able to comprehend. But then i would say that, being an English teacher.

I disagree to some extent as far as who has the obligation to clarify their communication.  You provide a perfect example, you explain that there are multiple meanings of 'kingdom of God', thus it is absolutely up to the speaker to clarify which meaning they are referring to when it is not clear from the context.  Too often but not in your specific case, I see this "I have no obligation to 'dumb down' my communication" to essentially be a cop-out.  If I say that the 2nd law of thermodynamics, "properly understood", disproves the interaction of God in his creation and thus calls into question his very existence, but in the face of requests for clarification put the onus on the listeners to educate themselves on what specifically I'm talking about since it's very 'deep' and my point is lost if I try to explain it simply, I would hope that most listeners would agree that response is weak and is not properly assigning the obligation.  Especially on a forum for skeptic vs believer debates.

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into"
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" - C. Hitchens
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" - Richard Feynman

#193    Frank Merton

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 03:27 PM

View PostLiquid Gardens, on 20 May 2013 - 02:25 PM, said:

put the onus on the listeners to educate themselves on what specifically I'm talking about since it's very 'deep' and my point is lost if I try to explain it simply, I would hope that most listeners would agree that response is weak and is not properly assigning the obligation.  Especially on a forum for skeptic vs believer debates.
Yea I'm persuaded.  So long as you don't have your own private meanings for words and don't engage in equivocation (the logical fallacy), there should be no need to explain as you go.  If they can't keep up they can do some research, and I think its fine to tell them you don't intend to hold their hand.


#194    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 04:20 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 20 May 2013 - 03:27 PM, said:

Yea I'm persuaded.  So long as you don't have your own private meanings for words and don't engage in equivocation (the logical fallacy), there should be no need to explain as you go.  If they can't keep up they can do some research, and I think its fine to tell them you don't intend to hold their hand.

Which is of course an entirely reasonable response as long as it is something that can accurately be 'researched'. The 2nd law of Thermodynamics is pretty clear and fairly unambiguous even though non-physicist laymen like myself would be limited in the application of it.  On the other hand,here's what wiki says about 'kingdom of God' as used in Christianity:


"No overall agreement on the theological interpretation of "Kingdom of God" has emerged among scholars. While a number of theological interpretations of the term Kingdom of God have appeared in its eschatological context, e.g. apocalyptic, realized or Inaugurated eschatologies, no overall consensus has emerged among scholars.[17][18]
R. T. France points out that while the concept of "Kingdom of God" has an intuitive meaning to lay Christians, there is hardly any agreement among scholars about its meaning in the New Testament.[19] Some scholars see it as a Christian lifestyle, some as a method of world evangelization, some as the rediscovery of charismatic gifts, others relate it to no present or future situation, but the world to come.[19] France states that the phrase Kingdom of God is often interpreted in many ways to fit the theological agenda of those interpreting it.["

It's not always 'dumbing down', it's simply defining your terms, and I don't think in the vast majority of ambiguous communication like this it is at all unclear upon whom the obligation for clarification lies.

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into"
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" - C. Hitchens
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" - Richard Feynman

#195    Frank Merton

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:00 PM

If I refer to something well known, say "the Fermi Paradox," I don't want to have to explain it.  It may be appropriate to make me defend it or whatever conclusion I am drawing from it.





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