Is faith a reliable path to knowledge?

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by James R, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    If I have a camera and film someone beating another living person to death, is not absolute proof that this event happened in reality?
    I am not addressing motive, just the action. I would call that "direct proof of truth", especially if the face of the person doing the beating is clearly visible in the film and the dead body shows clear evidence that death occurred from blunt trauma.
    A counter argument that the camera must have been faulty would be really far-fetched, no?
     
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, it's a function of the mirror neural network of the brain called empathy. But I doubt seriously that the attending physician actually sees two bodies of the same person, one floating gently through the air.
     
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  5. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    From our Synagogue leader, who is also a linguist:

    > The Talmud (Shabbat 119b) indicates that "AMEN" is an accrostic formed from the first letter
    > of three Hebrew words "El Melech Ne'emon" (the Lord is a trustworthy king".)
    > The word Amen appears for the first time in the Book of Numbers (5:22).
    > It means "truely" or "so be it".

    Hebrew: "El Melech Ne'emon" ="the Lord is a trustworthy king" = "AMEN" = "In God We Trust"

    As Hebrew scripture was not translated (at all) to/from another language (Greek, Roman) from the Hebrew Torah, you may be assured, this is the authentic original derivation of that particular meaning.

    Trust to do what, exactly? Look in a mirror. Trusted to do something as complex as that small miracle as well as he obviously did. Otherwise, you would not even have known to ask what it meant.

    Ummm.. so, obviously, I've been posting in the wrong forum for quite some time...
     
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  7. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Then you agree that you believe things based on evidence, and leave some room for doubt, as is rational.
    It's far more significant. To me. Isn't that subjective? Does more time mean more meaning, even if nothing happens?
    Makes no grammatical sense in relation to the question of how my timeline looks in relation to the age of the universe.
     
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    It doesn't seem obvious to me.
    I am just an atheist that's all.
    When I look into the mirror I see my parents. When, on a clear night, I look at the stars, I am in awe of it's unknowable vastness. Especially when sitting on my porch, listening to Ives'; "The Unanswered Question".

    p.s Thanks for that explanation. I have learned something few people know, I'm sure.

    But I still don't understand why it should be printed on money, especially when it gets devalued by the Feds. Kinda cheapens the message doesn't it?
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
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  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Hummm....in context of evidence, that would fall in the category of merely "an assertion", no?
    And why a He and not a She? The earth is the mother of life, no? I believe her name is Gaia.
    I can visualize that when I look in the mirror.

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    Note the remarkable similarity to Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam", except for gender.

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    "Obvious evidence" of miraculous Universal Creation or Universal Birth ?
    btw. who is that little person behind God?
     
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  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

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    MiniMe?

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  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    On closer look, there appear to be many persons in the background. Could it be that Adam was not the first human like creature, but that the universe is filled with life? Or are they representative of God's prior failed experiments? Or maybe God's vision of humanity?
     
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  12. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

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    In one of the best British TV programs here on Australian TV QI there was a discussion about that painting and the similarity of the background of god being a representative of a cross section of the brain

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  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    OK, I can accept that artistic metaphor in a religious context.
    As atheist I still believe that the fusion of two hominid chromosomes is the more convincing evidence of the development of the human brain.
     
  14. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    "Any religion that cannot withstand a collision with the truth is not worth many regrets". -- Arthur C. Clarke
     
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  15. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

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    In the QI show they put it down to Miichelangelo have a dig at the ban on disection of the body showing he knew what the brain looked like

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  16. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Religion taught us (in no particular order):

    The days of the week, months of the year, when to plant and when to harvest

    The value of a day of rest because G-d him/herself valued it

    To read

    To count

    To venerate those who taught us agriculture, how to read and how to count

    To sing

    To pray and make sacrificial offerings to curry favor of a deity or deities

    To issue currency, and to mistrust traditions who first learned to count it

    To enforce morality and social contracts with the rule of law, pay taxes to support enforcement

    To wage war

    The traditions of honoring our dead and burying them

    The mistaken and misguided idea that our enemies in this life or the next have any lesser value than our own.

    I think that about covers it. Any regrets about these traditions?

    Notice that some parts of religious tradition (plant, harvest, read, count) pertains to acquiring knowledge, while other parts (mistrust, war, the afterlife) foster mostly ignorance of the human condition.

    An enduring and binding set of traditions, even an atheist would have to agree, if not wholeheartedly endorse.

    Not very much about these traditions has really changed in tens of millennia. Maybe changing what we first learn to read would help, but I have several millennia of good reasons to doubt that it would change much of anything. Where religion is concerned, ignorance is as morally and traditionally binding as knowledge.

    So the answer to the OP would be a reverberating 'no'.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
  17. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

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    Faith (going back to original post) I would agree the answer would have to be NO

    Faith at its rock bottom best meaning is

    to have trust in something without evidence

    Sometimes to negate that view examples are given

    "Oh I trusted such and such would happen and it occurred"

    This could be coincidence or if it continues then it is based on observations ie evidence

    Knowledge, being the accumulation of information, does accumulate with repetition

    If you have faith in something and it happens one time OK

    If you continue to have faith but it does not occur again

    where is your knowledge?

    Faith is a empty vessel which will never contain knowledge

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  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Ok, I'll try to answer those posits in no particular order then also. And I will qualify my examples as rudimentary natural abilities in many animal species.
    Termites have practiced agriculture of planting, tending and harvesting for ~500 million years.
    That's nonsense. All living things (except perhaps for sharks) require rest at regular intervals. Humans just institutionalized it for practical purposes. Even trees and plants go seasonally dormant.
    Koko the gorilla was able to read and write and had a vocabulary of some 2000 words, just not in human symbolic language, but that is beside the point. I can't read Chinese symbolic language either. Koko even named her Manx kitten "All Ball" because it had no tail and looked like a ball, which was a common play toy for her. This is advanced abstract thinking, IMO.
    Lemurs, all apes, all monkeys, crows, fish know the difference between "more and less" of a variety of objects, even if these objects are mixed in shape and color. Humans have just symbolically formalized the different values. But bees are able to tell the hive where and abundant supply of flowering plants may be found.
    I'll give you that.
    Ever watched an alpha male Chimpanzee enforce his laws of obedience to him and his right to first choice ?
    The greatest armies that ever lived can be found in the driver ants and locusts.
    Elephants honor their dead, but they don't bury them.
    I'll give you that.
    No, but you missed two important assets, that of generosity and cooperation, both which can be found in the Bonobo chimp.
    The regularities in our ecosystem has been teaching living things for ~500 millions of years. Even a slime mold has a sense of time. When animals go to war it is only from necessity, not greed.
    Yes because, except for a few of your examples, they are not unique to humans at all, they just are not formally practiced in nature, but most are taught by parents to their off-spring over millions of years.

    You seem to forget that we are just newcomers to the world, and it is the industrialization and ruination of the ecosystem which will inevitably result in our extinction, but the insects will be the last to go. They know how to survive. We are talking about practical survival techniques, which tend to respect territorial rights such as the wolf's marking their territory to warn trespassers..

    p.s. I did a little reading and discovered that Lilith apparently exerted her equality to Adam and when she named the unnamable (is that why you identify God as G-d?), poof she just disappeared but became a demon temptress of men, giving birth to a hundred children each day and thereby spread evil into our previously supposedly "moral " world. She was then replaced by Eve, who also disobeyed her husband Adam, and thus established the tradition that women are inherently evil and should be forbidden to use their wiles to tempt men by guile instead of violence. Actually this was already practiced in nature for a long, long time before men appeared on the scene. Several male ground dwelling birds decorate their ground shelters with gardens of pretty thing to impress the females. Do you agree with that tradition?

    Almost all human advancement are a result of observing natural behaviors, such as flight, submarine propulsions, agriculture and husbandry as practice by herder ants. You believe these abilities went unnoticed as humans became more aware of their environment. The first airplanes had flapping wings which immediately crashed because we had no knowledge of the principles of aerodynamic "lift", which problem had been solved ~500 million years ago by , guess.....insects.

    We just invented how to cope with natural phenomena by acquiring knowledge of how things work in nature, just like all living things.
     
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  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Sounds like repression of knowledge as association with the devil.
    Gallileo was placed under house arrest for blasphemy, because he dared to question the primitive religious interpretation of how the world functions by divine intervention..
     
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  20. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    That was extremely good.

    I don't feel so bad about following religious tradition now. As you can probably tell, I had some mixed feelings about it.

    Not really a path to knowledge, we all seem to agree.
     
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  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Note I am not questioning the sincerity of those early concepts. One thing is clear we learned many things in a relatively very short time and ultimately the ill considered and wanton use of acquired knowledge may be punish us, for lack of wisdom accompanying our increasing knowledge. Knowledge is a double edged sword.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
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  22. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    To more fully answer your question about why I strive always to use "G-d" in lieu of the religion assigned name for a deity:

    1) In many parts of the world, blasphemy and heresy are both still capital offenses, or treason, or both. The latter item (treason) is the reason our founding fathers institutionalized the separation of church and state in our constitution.

    2) In the current interpretation of the Hebrew religion, nothing more specific about the name for our deity than "Our Lord" is provided, and this gives both a relative immunity to blasphemers and heretics from persecution for what should be less than a minor offense. The equivalent of atheism or agnosticism is also tolerated. Of course it is. Even the G-d of the Old Testament did not punish such transgressions in perpetuity, and transgressions were certainly in no short supply.

    3) Freedom of religion and religious /non religious tolerance is the most important part of our tradition. This has been something of an adjustment for me, because I had more than a few misgivings about the overall lack of a tolerant attitude coming from certain areas of Christianity just before I decided to leave it behind and never look back. If I ever seem intolerant, please be considerate of this and point out the error of my transgression.

    4) Our religious texts remain in the original language (Hebrew or Aramaie) to assure that other religious traditions are not offended by seeing what they may perceive as references to a deity common to their respective faiths. The Torah itself is only venerated as if it were a person, not an icon that is subject to idol worship. At least, we have ample history to show us exactly what G-d thinks of breaking the first commandment.

    5) Note that "tolerance" is not synonomous with "ignorance", or a lack of sensitivity to the traditions of other faiths or cultures, at least in this tradition.

    The book of Genesis is regarded as a fable argued about for millennia by Talmudic scholars before anyone self-identified themselves as Christian. We do not consider it to be science, or an excuse to remain ignorant about evolution or science in general. There is no commandment to be either stupid nor ignorant, or a mitzvot to remain that way. Making religious text into something more venerated than G-d himself would be a form of idolatry. We might tolerate this, but don't expect us to follow your example.

    Finally, it should be noted that the Greek culture, via conquest by Alexander the Great "terrible" had their influence even on the oral tradition of the Torah, so if your Abramic religious traditions have adopted portions of it, it is small wonder that Greek polytheism worked its way into influencing other religious traditions by the same route. I think Tiassa may have alluded to this in another thread.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
  23. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

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    I use god because one of the few things I remember from English lessons is proper nouns are things which exist

    Since I believe god does not exist I see no reason why I should use proper noun convention

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