Image of God...

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by R1D2, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. OriginalBiggles OriginalBiggles, Prime Registered Senior Member

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    Joe Fox #42 writes: All of us realize that ultimate truth is beyond our human capacity to understand completely."All of us" are not necessarily afflicted with so grovelling an intellect as to admit of any such lack of human capacity.

    It would benefit your case somewhat if you can offer an acceptable definition of "ultimate truth" that distinguishes it from all other truth.

    Then perhaps you'll give the reader a well-reasoned case for how incomplete human understanding is of "ultimate truth" Your wording suggests that humankind does understand some "ultimate truth" if not most of it.

    With polite forthrightness as my guide I advise that it is quite impolitic for anyone to presume to speak on behalf of all humankind in matters bordering between the metaphysical and religious faith.

    JF further writes: However, we can label this ultimate awareness and power as God because we know that the world and universe exist as a result of some kind of progressive, creative process.

    In this paragraph you equate "ultimate truth" with "ultimate awareness and power or God" and you aver this because you "know" the Universe was created.

    It would be most interesting to read the reasoning behind such presumption. "Ultimate truth" becomes or is synonymous with "ultimate awareness and power or God" simply because you know the Universe was created? Let us not forget that you aver also that "ultimate truth" is equated or synonymous with God as is "ultimate awareness and power".

    And all this because you know the Universe was created.

    I can't help feeling that you are presuming more than your erudition permits.

    May one enquire as to whether you are an OEC or a YEC?
     
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, that's probably true.

    That's the so-called 'God of the philosophers'. I guess. People have questions about the 'first cause', about whether change has some kind of direction or goal, and so on. So the word 'God' is used to refer to whatever the answers might ultimately be to those kind of questions.

    I think that this 'God of the philosophers' is probably misleading, since once we've introduced the use of the word 'God' to name the unknown, the natural next step is to identify the unknown answers to our philosophical questions with the mythological personifications taken from the leading monotheistic religious traditions. That's a huge non-sequitur in my opinion, and almost certainly mistaken.

    I think that there's a natural human propensity to humanize abstractions. Human beings are born with the innate ability to read and understand the behavior of other people around them. Humans possess an innate ability to learn natural language, and most people seem to be happiest when they are able to interact emotionally with other people. Just think of high-school kids and how much easier, to say nothing of more pleasurable, it is for them to socialize with their friends than to learn algebra. Despite the fact that socializing with friends is a vastly more complicated data-processing task than learning a small set of elementary mathematical relationships.

    So it's easy to imagine that when prehistoric people tried to conceptualize the mysteries that surrounded them, those conceptualizations almost inevitably took a personalistic form, since thinking in that way was so easy and effortless.
     
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not convinced that Joe was "groveling". Perhaps he was just being realistic.

    Imagine a cockroach. That cockroach lives quite effectively in the same world that we occupy, but will never be able to conceptualize its complexities. Cockroaches are simply incapable of understanding Maxwell's equations or DNA transcription. They don't have the kind of cognitive ability necessary for scientific understanding.

    Now think of lizards, of mice, of chimpanzees. Think of every other species of life on this planet, apart from man. None of them are able to conceptualize the kind of things that scientifically-inclined humans think are vital to understanding what's really going on around us.

    Ok... so what justification do we human beings have for assuming that of all species of life, human beings are unique in possessing every ability needed to take in all of reality? What justifies our assumption that we uniquely occupy some kind of epistemological pinnacle, from which all aspects of reality can be known and fully understood?

    Why can't there be other kinds of sentient beings out there, somewhere in the universe, that stand in the same cognitive relationship to human beings that human beings stand to cockroaches? And why can't there be aspects of our common reality that these cognitively superior aliens might be able to understand, but will forever be mysterious to and perhaps even unsuspected by beings with abilities as limited as our own?

    My own view is that it's just too convenient when human beings assume that they are the ultimate culmination of all possible intellectual development and that humans possess every cognitive ability required for a full and complete understanding of everything.

    That anthropocentric faith looks like intellectual hubris to me.
     
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  7. OriginalBiggles OriginalBiggles, Prime Registered Senior Member

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    Yazata #66 writes: I'm not convinced that Joe was "groveling". Perhaps he was just being realistic.

    When anyone claims to speak on behalf of all humankind in matters bordering between the metaphysical and religious faith, to my mind we are in the presence of undoubted hubris.

    He may think he has breadth of scholarship and wisdom to "know" he speaks an undeniable truth. What truth is there in his assertion? What references to authority has he to support his knowledge? Whence comes this purported universal truth? Quite frankly, I think the term "realistic" is the antithesis of his assertion.

    Now think of lizards, of mice, of chimpanzees. Think of every other species of life on this planet, apart from man. None of them are able to conceptualize the kind of things that scientifically-inclined humans think are vital to understanding what's really going on around us.

    Science and experience have revealed to us that humans are so far the most intellectually inclined within the Animal Kingdom. This is not conceit or hubris, it is reality. There seems to be a somewhat indefinite but nonetheless real hierarchy of intelligence. The sciences support the theory of evolution with powerful and convincing evidence.

    Ok... so what justification do we human beings have for assuming that of all species of life, human beings are unique in possessing every ability needed to take in all of reality? What justifies our assumption that we uniquely occupy some kind of epistemological pinnacle, from which all aspects of reality can be known and fully understood?

    Once again, science and experience are the justifications. These two powerful aspects of knowledge tell us not so much that we are unique in being able to reason, infer creatively and learn from experience, but that we have developed these attributes to a considerably higher degree than others in the Animal Kingdom. Given this, what justifies Joe's assumption that we can never know all aspects of reality, all aspects of whatever "ultimate truth" might be?

    Present well-reasoned argument why it is essential that we must never presume to eventually know everything we want to know.

    Why can't there be other kinds of sentient beings out there, somewhere in the universe, that stand in the same cognitive relationship to human beings that human beings stand to cockroaches? And why can't there be aspects of our common reality that these cognitively superior aliens might be able to understand, but will forever be mysterious to and perhaps even unsuspected by beings with abilities as limited as our own?

    I have not the wisdom to advise why there can't. In the field of Logic it is tantamount to asking that I prove some god does not exist. I confess to an aversion to believe something exists when there is no evidence whatsoever to support its existence, allegory and analogy notwithstanding.

    If ever sentient extra-terrestrial life forms are discovered or make themselves known to us then the sciences and our intellectual self-assurance will adjust and accommodate. But untill that time, I see no need to clutter a clear understanding of reality with fantasy and unsupportable assumptions. It seems to me that there is something rather infantile in the impatience of many humans to declare that because their understanding is imperfect or incomplete then it should eternally remain so and they should grovel to some figment of their childish imagination to glorify their intellectual spasticity, to justify it even, to transform it into highest virtue!

    My own view is that it's just too convenient when human beings assume that they are the ultimate culmination of all possible intellectual development and that humans possess every cognitive ability required for a full and complete understanding of everything.
    That anthropocentric faith looks like intellectual hubris to me. .


    Rational and genuinely intellectual humans will repudiate any suggestion of a culmination. You are creating a strawman here.
    There is no suggestion that today, at this very time, humans are capable of a full and complete understanding of everything including "ultimate truth". It is recognised that our cognitive abilities are fallible, as are our other abilities. To employ a familiar method of argument; "Why can't we presume to a refinement of our senses and abilities where at some distant future point we will be able to know all that we want, even if that means everything?" How does it benefit us more if we place an arbitrary limit on our future? AFAIAC, we are far better off leaving the issue an open one and follow where fortune and curiosity leads.

    There is a certain pathos to be observed in the fear of success and in the affliction I choose to call "intellectual agoraphobia"
     

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