Do you believe in a God?

.. or many Gods, no Gods, or maybe practice abrahamism?


I'm just curious to see the responses here. Was talking about this with a fellow threadlesser before and thought I'd open up the floor to discussion.


As for me, I'm kind of in this weird limbo. Growing up, I went to church every week and followed and grew up on what was told to me...all these scriptures and passages about God, and I believed them. But as I grew older and more disconnected, this figure became less and less real to me. There are times in my life that I cant find any explanation to other than some spirit amongst the Cosmos, but God? Questionable. My faith has been tested multiple times, especially these past few months, and this God we speak of has become as credible to me as a childhood imaginary friend.


disclaimer: this may be a sensitive topic to some people, so keep it clean. all opinions/views welcome

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celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

also technically what I commented on didn't deal so much with his appearance as with how he had changed his appearance in order to move himself closer to what he felt he was seeking, only to then step back and realise that his method was actually moving him towards a false goal, and decided to take a step back and revert to looking 'as invisible as he can', which he accomplished marvelously. I thought that was quite illustrative of the evolution of his thought process, and real personal growth, explained through a very simple and unpretentious example.

not that I'm feeling a passionate need to defend myself here :)

shirtflirt

stick with it until he actually does talk about his thought process. there are lectures that are close to an hour long where he "thinks out loud" he doesn't have any cue cards or whatever. he starts at his beginning, through his transformations and to his creations and why.

he's just one of many many amazing people.

and just a question, so do drugs, in your opinion, especially mind bending ones, do they necessarily deny the "validity" of an experience to you?

shirtflirt

" celandinestern on Jul 30 '12 at 3:09pm the fact that he's a godawful speaker, as you say, is reverence to the truth of experience.

see I have no clue what that means :) "

all it means is that it's evident he is not a professional public speaker ie, he wasn't good at speaking then came up with a sweet story. he had a sweet story and figured out how to present it as best he could.

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

and just a question, so do drugs, in your opinion, especially mind bending ones, do they necessarily deny the "validity" of an experience to you?

honestly I have no idea. I have zero experience with mind-altering substances (I don't even drink - not out of any strong abhorrence, it just isn't my thing) so I really don't know. I do know, however, that one of the effects of some drugs is to make you think you're a heck of a lot smarter than you really are, and that you've figured out the 'essence of it all' when in fact it's just a bunch of gobbledygook to the undrugged mind.

I've always thought of it as a parallel to dreams. It has happened to me that in a dream I write or hear a poem or a story, and within the dream it seems fantastic, but if I remember some of it when I wake up I realise it's actually just a pile of nonsense.

shirtflirt

im appreciative of the cultures out there that make good of what the earth has given us and not shun it bc it rests in the 'invisible world'. shamans from time immemorial have been entrusted to 'seek answers' that those in the sober plane simply don't have access to. my take is that it's a tool, just like thinking and it has it's uses and misuses.

opifan64
opifan64 profile pic Alumni

shirtflirt on Jul 30 '12 at 9:40am why does arbitrary complexity to some, reveal the potential of a creator as opposed to say, a rock.

good point, although you could very well argue that the existence of a rock (as opposed to nothing at all) is equally grand and inexplicable.

shirtflirt

i would argue that merely bc of the time in which it took to create said rock. and the fact that it will inevitably return to it's original state, at some point, to me is grand.

opifan64
opifan64 profile pic Alumni

physics doesn't really care about the answers to any (fundamental) questions; it just wants to model the universe.

Philosophy is no more equipped to answer fundamental questions than physics, probably less so depending on how you define fundamental. You could argue that an accurate model of the universe that corresponds to observation and empirical evidence is fundamental knowledge.

so yes, this is a new conclusion. it is meaningful because we now might have reason to place as much confidence in the number 2 as we do electrons, when we're thinking about things that might be real.

Actually, it doesn't establish that with any certainty at all since there might be other reasons governing the cicada's life cycle that have nothing to do with intersecting with predators, and even if it were true, the number 2 is still simply an abstract descriptor, it doesn't exist in any concrete way so I would question the way you're using the word "real" in comparison to an electron. Math is simply a language and therefore subject to the same bias and category errors that arrise in any language. All paradoxes in math and language flow from this fact. If someone is playing a game of chess and suddenly moves a pawn four spaces up the board, the move would have the appearance of sense to someone who wasn't familiar with the rules but would be nonsense to someone who was. Language is the same thing, and the limits of philosophical enquiry are absolutely contingent upon the rules and limits of language, which includes cultural bias, historical bias, etc.

again, it shouldn't surprise you if what you 'think' doesn't line up with reality. you don't study philosophy...so...how would you know what's happening in it?

You got me there, I don't study philosophy and you're obviously much better versed in the subject than I am so I'm genuinely interested in your responses. My dad does have a PhD in philosophy so I did grow up in a household where philosophical issues were sometimes discussed and have some contact with what's happening in the field simply because all his close friends were part of the faculty. My dad actually steered me away from studying philosophy because he believed it was at the end of the road, or at the very least spinning its wheels. Traditional philosophy, and its grand attempts to glean transcendant, objective truth is most certainly dead. Post-modern philosophy is basically just sifting through the ashes in a contextual quagmire of relativism and semantics which ultimately leads to "non-philosophy".

nathanwpyle at gmail.com on Jul 30 '12 at 12:23am Eric, just my opinion - I'd think that to be true about philosophy if I didn't feel it was so closely connected to all of the other fields of study out there - we learn more about the brain, it affects philosophical study; we learn more about the universe and the natural order, and it affects philosophy -

I agree that there will always be a need for philosophy and I'm quite certain it will always be around, I just don't think it's progressive. That doesn't mean it's not a useful tool, as an analytic lens to view the world through, but I don't think as a discipline it will advance much because of the limitations inherent in any language. Progression is not the same as redefinition, and that's all philosophy does when it meets an intractable roadblock. As said Ernest Gellner says "a cleric who loses his faith abandons his calling, but a philosopher who loses his redefines his subject".

opifan64
opifan64 profile pic Alumni

Also perhaps Eric can chime in when he has time and help out, though quite possibly what he meant by the term is something else entirely.

You pretty much nailed it with your response and expressed what I was thinking much better than I ever could have. I worked in the health food industry for a while and developed a very strong aversion, or maybe it was already a natural bias given my skeptical nature, for anything involving mysticism or ancient knowledge or auras. On the other hand I wasn't intending to disparage shirtflirt's ideas. I enjoy his responses and generally find them quite interesting and insightful.

shirtflirt

"maybe it was already a natural bias given my skeptical nature, for anything involving mysticism or ancient knowledge or auras.

quick question; so the renaissance was considered the "height" of european culture in some regards, would you agree? do you find it interesting at all that the main birthplace of ingenuity was alexandria, egypt? it's well known (now) that the greeks and romans had 'discovered' things that had been discovered thousands of years ealier and so i wonder if this "ancient knowledge" you're skeptical of may in fact be useful.

and im still trying to figure out how that ties into the health food industry...

shirtflirt

point being re: alexandria, it was a meeting of contemporary thought and ancient wisdom which propelled their "innovations".

shirtflirt

you don't believe in aura's because you've never seen one, i assume?

opifan64
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I didn't mean I reject all ancient knowledge, obviously that would be ridiculous. I meant that there is a tendency (I was specifically referencing the health food industry) for conferring value upon something merely for being ancient rather than for being true.

opifan64
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shirtflirt on Jul 30 '12 at 5:32pm you don't believe in aura's because you've never seen one, i assume?

Well, I saw hundreds of them at health food conventions since they were photographing them and charging $30 for an analysis. I just don't believe auras were actually being photographed and I have no more reason to believe in their existence than I do believing in the tooth fairy.

shirtflirt

an aura, simply, is just a visible "field" around anything charged electrically. but i get your drift.

food is funny. i try and keep it simple. high, nutrient dense whole food = good. processed, in a box, cheaper than it should be not always so good.

did you know the us federal gov is going to stop the selling of supplements?

i've been entrechned in the Vedas lately. their understanding of the universe is pretty astounding.

opifan64
opifan64 profile pic Alumni

interesting video. I have some trouble wrapping my head around any philosophy or religion that proposes an infinite regression (the series of oscillations) because time ceases to exist between the oscillations so essentially they would not be occurring in a linear sequence, but all at once (in a sense) because there's no longer any temporal reference point.

opifan64
opifan64 profile pic Alumni

The idea of infinity itself is problematic in regards to time. Imagine encountering a race between two marathon runners. If you asked them how long they had been running and they said "forever" you are met with a paradox because if they've been running forever (or the universe has existed forever) it's impossible that you are encountering the them at this particular point in time since the race never had an inception point (they never started running).

shirtflirt

i think the key in your first post is "they would not be occurring in a linear sequence" i think that hindu's would say yes to that.

even despite the contraption to display your point is convincing and interesting this idea still is fine with me. their teachings in regards to time are sacred feminine; cycles. and who's not to say that in one of those oscillations there was no observer so does time exist if no human mind is here to chart it's progress?

shirtflirt

maybe the big bang was the start of our universe?

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

Eric, we think so alike we could be brother and sister.

Ernest Gellner says "a cleric who loses his faith abandons his calling, but a philosopher who loses his redefines his subject".

This is adorable :)

It's true that when Marx criticized philosophy saying "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it", Nietzche's reply was that "To reinterpret the world means to change it", (I think I got this roughly right, I can't find the exact quotes now), but my feelings also lie along the line that philosophy, while possibly thriving and developing within itself somehow, is not actively contributing to the thriving of other sciences as they all tend to do with each other, else I'm supposing we would have heard of the latest philosophical break-throughs much as we do of other scientific successes. Also I am still hunting for one real fundamental question that philosophy has actually answered, beyond the 'well there's a theory that it could be this, and a theory that it could be that, but we can never know for sure'. Undoubtedly it has its place in human studies and, as I said before and as Eric outlined above, it seems a fundamentally useful meta-science which can help one ensure that he is asking the right questions/ looking at things in the right context, but beyond that...

Husband and I fell into discussion yesterday (this thread is so inspirational!) about the limitations of language on philosophy and wondered how different the philosophical theories are depending on the native language of those who have created them. Perhaps the extreme success and proliferation of German philosophers is down to the fact that German is one of the most grammatically difficult and precise languages in Europe? I haven't researched much modern Japanese philosophy, but I do wonder what it would be like, considering that the Japanese language has a great fondness of vague and incomplete statements where the listener should somehow osmotically absorb the meaning from the air.

spacesick
spacesick profile pic Alumni

fart fart fart

spacesick
spacesick profile pic Alumni

is what I have to say about that

spacesick
spacesick profile pic Alumni

I'll show myself out

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

Also since philosophy is more tied to language than other sciences which deal with observable phenomena, is it more susceptible to different types of cognitive bias?

I love that list of cognitive biases, by the way - I think reading it and being aware of their existence does help one keep one's thoughts somewhat in check.

taz-pie

bahahhaaaaa mitch

shirtflirt

what about the four vedas?

i'm still unconvinced of philosophies current usages.

GyleDesigns
GyleDesigns profile pic Alumni

I just got back from serving and loving children in another country because I believe there is a God.

shirtflirt

oooh where'd you go? my in laws go to various south american countries every year

shirtflirt

it's interesting that science is pretty much the default "reason" for atheists when in antiquity, it was the priests who held the most sacred knowledge, mostly astrology and other cutting edge info.

that's all.

opifan64
opifan64 profile pic Alumni

celandinestern on Jul 31 '12 at 1:10am Eric, we think so alike we could be brother and sister.

what a nice compliment! I must say I've really enjoyed the insight and intelligence you've brought to this thread, Lidija.

GyleDesigns on Jul 31 '12 at 10:10am I just got back from serving and loving children in another country because I believe there is a God.

Just out of curiosity, but would you feel less empathy for the plight of others if you didn't believe in god? That's not a criticism, I'm just curious. I know faith and spirituality can be a motivating factor for helping others, and Christian organizations do a lot of good around the world, on the other hand there are secular organizations like Doctors Without Borders who do great work worldwide as well.

GyleDesigns
GyleDesigns profile pic Alumni

I full-heartedly support secular missions! I would never, ever say that Christians/religious groups had a monopoly on motivation for helping others.

When I used the word "serving," I meant not only meeting physical needs but also spiritual needs. I went to love the kids, yes, but also to teach them about what I truly believe to be the greatest love, that is the love of God and of Christ.

So if I did not believe there was a God, I would still feel as if I should help others and contribute to their well being on the basis of our shared humanity, but what I contribute would look very different.

jmeaspls
jmeaspls profile pic Alumni

About physics and philosophy, consider the following scientific statement:

"Like charges repel one another."

A physicist will tell you that this is true. They might tell you that it has most likely always been true, and that it will probably continue to be true forever. And for a physicist, that is enough. It's practical and useful information. Again, you can build bridges by accepting statements like this.

However, this is an example where philosopher and physicist disagree. Philosophers are concerned with truth, not utility. Accordingly, the philosopher's goal is to dissect the truth of this particular statement. Under what conditions would it be false? The philosopher is not necessarily trying to uncover something as useful; he is fine if you can't use what he concludes. But there are benefits. It is easy to be silly when studying philosophy. You might say "We might be dreaming! Or, or, this might be the matrix! Or we could all be schizophrenic!" and go off spewing off a chain of examples more and more ridiculous than the last. This is not the purpose of philosophy. You can group specific instances into broader categories, and then move on. If you can manage to figure a statement completely out...well, then, that's typically indicative of you being a very very smart person. And then you move on to another situation / question. And that's all.

Now, most people won't be interested in this. What's the point, when the physicist has it figured out as completely as humans need? Like I said before, there are gains. These gains generally aren't for all humans. They're generally more selfish. Here are a few reasons I like philosophy:

  1. The process is fun and challenging. You're constructing opinions and presenting them as absolutely, 100% correct. It's the ultimate challenge. Further, you quickly learn the difficulty in doing this.
  2. You can pick and choose which questions you want to tackle. Some prefer questions about emotion; I've turned my attention largely to knowledge and science.
  3. Once you're good at philosophy it makes everything else seem so much easier!
shirtflirt

love is love, gyle; gabe. love is love regardless of 'who it's from'.

shirtflirt

i think philosophy is an endeavor if it's amplifying or strengthening one's thought process and brings them closer to the way in which their mind works.

just memorizing texts and names is also an endeavor but i'd argue it's entirely selfish.

one of many reasons i enjoy bucky fuller, who is also a philosopher among many other things, is that his main objection in life, after he decided not to kill himself, was how can he help the most people possible.

i enjoy reading philiosophy only because i see the psychology in it. it's the mind that fascinates me, mostly.

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

@eric - I've actually been thinking this morning about how odd it is that in spite of vast differences between cultures, modes of upbringing, and personal experiences, certain people can actually turn out curiously similar in outlook. Contrastingly, odd how those with whom we should by all rights share far more joint traits (i.e. family, friends, neighbors vs. strangers met through one's travels or the internet) are sometimes so different from us that they seem almost alien.

@jelly - you're making it sound just as insular as I thought it was :) It's like all of philosophy is one giant brain-teaser, and the more of it you can unravel the more you win at being clever, but not much else. But awesome if it really makes other fields seem easy! My major was Japanese, and for a Serb that's a pretty tough language to learn, so I thought when I aced that surely other challenges would seem a piece of cake, but physics and higher-level mathematics still throw me for a loop. Guess my brain's just not the right shape, or I haven't dug far enough.

@shirt - I used to be fascinated by psychology until I started gleaning how little of a clue it actually has about anything. But once we get better at actually understanding how the brain works that's gonna be a great field to explore.

shirtflirt

what does that mean "how little of a clue it has about anything"?

the study of the mind is relentless; i wonder what charlattans you've read.

shirtflirt

and how does one determine that german is the toughest most grammatically correct language in europe?

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

true, relentless, but still a pretty finnicky field. A lot of approaches to psychotherapy, for instance, have pretty mixed results. Also there is statistical evidence to indicate that every psychiatrist actually has a FAVORITE disorder, which he diagnoses markedly more often than others (this could be something that he feels a particular connection to or has studied in greater depth, and since so many psychiatric disorders are vague and flexible in their symptoms apparently you can diagnose whatever you want half the time. I think it's fair to say that happens more seldom in other areas of medicine). Also we really don't have solid explanations for why the brain does a lot of the stuff it does, like dreaming. Lots of theories, but last I looked there was no consensus. In school we had psychology for a few years and I kept asking questions and the teacher kept having to say 'well, we don't know yet' over and over, and in the end I was like meh, I'll wait till you guys figure it out.

Also my personal experience with people who have studied psychology (and I've known a bunch, of different ages), has led me to believe that a good portion of them engages in these studies to try and resolve personal issues (this could be huge bias on my part but it keeps being confirmed by the people I meet).

As far as German is concerned, I don't speak it personally but German friends have told me its grammar is vastly complicated, so much so that even the top scholars engage in unresolvable arguments over the proper usage of some particularly complex linguistic structures. So I guess I'm taking that one on faith :)

jet approves

Also there is statistical evidence to indicate that every psychiatrist actually has a FAVORITE disorder, which he diagnoses markedly more often than others (this could be something that he feels a particular connection to or has studied in greater depth, and since so many psychiatric disorders are vague and flexible in their symptoms apparently you can diagnose whatever you want half the time.

interesting results. did they tease out referrals due to that doctor's specialty? if not, then it could be in part because the patient was specifically sent to that doctor for particular problems.

i understand your POV/frustration of being told,"well, we don't know that yet" when you ask psychiatrists questions. when you think about it though, psychology and our knowledge of the mind has improved so dramatically in recent history. even in the 1800's people actually believed you could tell a lot about someone's personality by the shape of their head! it amazes me how now we can actually see areas of the brain light up as it processes different things and how many tools we have to study the brain now. i'm a bit of a research nerd but i find this discovery process really exciting rather than frustrating.

jet approves

Also my personal experience with people who have studied psychology (and I've known a bunch, of different ages), has led me to believe that a good portion of them engages in these studies to try and resolve personal issues (this could be huge bias on my part but it keeps being confirmed by the people I meet).

my dad often says that. i don't necessarily disagree, but i think everyone has personal issues they need to resolve and some of them happen to study psychology. though, i studied psych so i'm a bit biased. ;)

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

ha, I was hoping we'd have a psych major to help us reexamine our views :) Jeanette, I certainly can see the 'research is exciting' side of it too, at the time it just felt like the holes outweighed the already ascertained parts, and for someone who didn't want to go into research but just learn some stuff on the go it felt a bit too sparse. Mind you this was when I was in high school, so things have probably moved on considerably while I wasn't looking. I know I was reading some studies recently on links between injuries to certain areas of the brain and aggression, that kind of stuff is fascinating for sure.

I don't remember much about that study, I think it was about a year ago that I read about it, but I remember it had me convinced at the time with the way the data was presented.

I'm curious though, since you have so much more insight into the area - do you feel psychotherapy really helps? Like, significantly more than talking to a good friend of reasonable intelligence (at an exorbitant price :)? I ask because my husband had started having some serious anxiety issues, so I was convincing him to try some therapy, and he was dead set against it so I went instead to sort of 'test the waters' (silly, I know) Anyways I found my sessions fun but ultimately unenlightening. Still I persisted that he try it and he did, even switching therapists twice, and though I had a feeling he did resolve to give it a honest try, the results were underwhelming to say the least. So did we just hit a bad batch or is it pretty hit-and-miss all around?

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

also yeah, I definitely take your point - we're all crazier up close than we appear from the outside :) but my feeling was that the incidence and degree of 'crazy' among psych people seemed a tad more pronounced than in the general populace. Like, I've known a bunch of them that had really radical and bizarre parenting practices, some to the point where their kids were pretty much terrified of them.

Manupix

I don't contribute much but this blog offers good reading in its nooks and crannies =)

Lidija, I think the point in therapy is to help putting words on issues, so you can have a handle on them in case you really want to do something about them. This means you have to be ready and willing to even look at them in the first place. Then it's entirely up to you do grab that handle once you have it, and that's another story altogether. Once you realize this, the choice of therapist becomes of lesser importance I think. It's you that's doing the job, not them.

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