Why is it deemed wrong to "bash religion"?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Baldeee, Feb 15, 2014.

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  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes..I have a knowledge of what rain is and wet and water. I have knowledge of what rain looks like. All of that is information I have gained from experience, not a hypothesis. Knowledge leads to more knowledge. So what?
     
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  3. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    The most often excuse... sorry, "reason" believers do that is because they shift the burden of responsibility away from themselves and claim they are only sharing what's already contained in scriptures. They believe they are warning us of an impending danger.
     
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I (kinda) agree with Grumpy on that.

    My tendency is to distinguish atheism and agnosticism this way: Atheism is a belief about God's existence, typically the belief that God doesn't exist. And agnosticism is a belief about whether we have (or can have) knowledge about God. Agnostics argue that we don't/can't.

    So there seem to be four basic permutations of these views:

    1. Atheist/gnostic - Somebody who believes that they know that God doesn't exist.

    2. Atheist/agnostic - Somebody who doesn't believe that humans can know about things like gods, so there isn't any reason to believe in the existence of such things. Apparently both Grumpy and myself would plant ourselves here.

    3. Theist/gnostic - The typical theist position in which people claim to know that God exists.

    4. Theist/agnostic - A very interesting position, often embraced by religious mystics, where it is believed both that God exists and that God is cognitively unknowable, exceeding and transcending all human words and concepts. In these kind of theologies (the technical term for them is 'apophatic') one ascends to God by a process of meditation/contemplation, in which all of one's thoughts and cognitive contents are gradually eliminated, leaving (it is argued) pure consciousness of the divine. We see it in Hindu yoga and in the Christian contemplative traditions.

    This where Grumpy and I disagree.

    Faith basically just means 'trust' or 'confidence'. And belief is simply a mental state, with a proposition as its content, in which the truth of the proposition is affirmed. While many of our beliefs are tentative and probabilistic, sometimes little more than hypothetical shots in the dark (we might not even call them 'beliefs' in that case), we do typically have faith in the ones that we feel have higher probability. In other words, we are willing to act on those beliefs, and perhaps even to take risks on the assumption that they are true.

    Faith and belief, at least as philosophers use those words, can be and often are rational. Whether a particular belief or item of faith is or isn't rational is a function of the reasons why people have that faith or belief in the first place, and of the quality of the justifications that can be marshalled in its support.

    I'm inclined to be one of those (the tradition goes back at least as far as Plato) who would define 'knowledge' as 'justified, true belief'. If we believe that some proposition about X is true, then in order for our belief to qualify as knowledge, whatever we believe about X must really be the case, it must be a fact. And what's more, in order for a belief X to qualify as knowledge, we usually need to have some good sound reason why we believe X. Knowledge of X can't just be the result of a guess, even if the guess happens by chance to be true.
     
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  7. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    I see it differently. If I say "God is an invention" then I am expressing atheism which doesn't fit that definition.
     
  8. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    How do you suppose we test for an immaterial being? IOW, if you claim a god does not exist, you are not agnostic on the matter.
     
  9. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Baldeee,

    If there is no ad hominem, it generally is not hate-speech, i.e. "bashing". Stereotypes are generally condemned, but do not warrant the degree of response that overt ad hominems do. People naturally make generalities all the time. Some justified, some not. Some intentional misrepresentation, some honest miscommunication. Ad hominems are not as ambiguous.

    And no, if you argue that there is no god, no one is obligated to refrain from countering that argument at face value, regardless of you supposed "philosophical position". You do not get to dodge the consequences of your own claims any more than a theist.
     
  10. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Correct, I'm only agnostic with respect to gods in general. Specific claims are made about certain gods, like the Abrahamic one. He is said to have designed the universe, which is to a large degree, a material thing. We can look for evidence of design in the universe. We can ask whether it is possible that the universe could have come about through purely naturalistic means. We can test to see if prayer actually works. God's messengers are said to be able to do miracles, we can examine the miracles and see if they are truly miraculous. We can look for evidence of special knowledge in the scriptures, if they contain anything that could not have been known at the time, or if they are even historically accurate, or if they predict any future events with any degree of specificity. We can examine if a religion's teachings are a source of morality, or if they ever get it wrong on some key issues (rape, slavery). We are said to have souls, is there any evidence that memories and personality are not stored in the physical brain? Is there any evidence of an afterlife? Was someone ever almost dead and returned with verifiable information that they could not have known? Do locusts attack the crops of wicked people like the Bible describes? Do bears maul children who disrespect pious men? If there is a lack of evidence of these claims, then it's logical and reasonable to reject the premise, as we reject any scientific hypothesis for the same reason.
     
  11. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member

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    Yazata


    I too would disagree. Atheism is the lack of belief in any god's existence(general or specific), even if that position is considered provisional(agnostic). Some Atheists then go a step further to declare that no such deity exists, but they are being no more accurate and do so with no more evidence than a theist who claims a god's existence and that WOULD be the expression of a belief. I don't believe in any god's existence to which I have been exposed, I don't believe any god will ever be found, but it is a step to far for me to then believe that I know everything about anything, including deities and can rationally claim that none could possibly exist anywhere in this Universe, even though I'm convinced that that is likely true. But if he shows up tomorrow, while it would be a shock, I would accept that he exists given indisputable evidence of violation of natural laws, I guess(sufficiently advanced science can appear to be magic to the natives, after all).

    Grumpy

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  12. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    Understood.
    But I generally consider ad hominems a separate matter because they are,a s you say, not as ambiguous.
    But I disagree that one needs ad hominems for it to be considered hate speech or "bashing".
    I would say hate-speech is anything that attacks the person (usually on race, gender, religion etc) with an aim to intimidate.
    I could "bash" someone around the head with the accusation of being irrational, and even if the accusation is valid and relevant, it is surely the style that makes it hate-speech, that turns it from mere discussion into "bashing".
    I am not discussing the case when someone argues there is no god.
    My example is when someone argues from their point of view of agnostic atheism (I.e. Non-belief) yet the other continually rebuts as though they are a "god does not exist" atheist, simply because of the term atheist, and refuses to accept that not all atheists believe god to not exist.
    I am all for arguing at face value, but not at continual misrepresentation (should I ever come across it).

    I guess all I'm asking for is a level playing field.
    That what can be considered "bashing" of religion can (and does) work both ways.
    And that it is responded to with impartiality.
     
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I agree with your permutations, and have seen it as such for quite a while: agnosticism and atheism being two separate scales, rather than agnosticism as a "middle ground" between theism and atheism, as it so often is seen.

    As for agnostic theist, my brother is one. He and I both attended the same schools up until university, were in the same classes for most of that time, yet he is rather pious and I am not. But he readily admits that he does not know God, and even considers God to be unknowable. He has faith in the authority of his religion, but to him the important thing is not which religion, but that you have belief. His just happens to be Catholicism.

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    But whereas he believes in something he admits he can not know about, I find I can not do that.
    I am an agnostic atheist, and he is an agnostic theist.
    And I think it is surprising how many of them there actually may be (or would admit to it), once they understand what it means to be an agnostic in this regard, and once they admit to themselves how much they actually know rather than just take on authority.
     
  14. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    The real question should be, how do you know a god exists if it is immaterial? If a god interacts in any way with our universe, it has to be a material interaction.
     
  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    God works in mysterious ways, though!

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  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    How do we know that logic exists, or numbers exist, or that laws of nature exist?

    These don't seem to be material objects, or physical forces that act on material objects.

    We might say that the physical universe and its behavior somehow exemplify them, but the relationship doesn't seem to be causal, in physics' efficient-causality sense.

    Nor is it entirely clear how it is that we even know about such things.
     
  17. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    Uh, yes they are based on material objects. Logic is based on the brain and it's activity that can be measured. The laws of nature are based on the mass and energy contained in the universe. Numbers exist by simply putting together objects and counting them.

    Is that the best you got?
     
  18. Logic101 Banned Banned

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    You forgot to address Yazata's last two statements, you genius you:

    I wonder how you'll fare.
     
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Are the incredible odds for the creatinon of life (cited by so many theists) not enought trouble for scientists? Do we have to throw in a supernatural, immaterial, but intelligent and motivated imaginary causality in the mix as well? Seems this "confounding of languages" is working as long as we keep believing in an "unknowable" causality who "loves" us if only we worship Him. Oh I forgot, He (not She) may be found through faith!! Give me a break please.
     
  20. Logic101 Banned Banned

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    Yes. It is deemed worthy. God is real. Reality.
     
  21. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member

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    Write4U

    Funny how everything scientists learn about life seems to indicate that where life CAN exist, it DOES exist. Those odds the theists are always quoting are way, way too high. It only has to happen once, there are myriad chances and billions of years for the spark to ignite. That makes life almost certain, given even marginally suitable conditions. I have little doubt that life will be found on Mars and on Titan or other water moons...eventually.

    Grumpy

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  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I completely agree with you. IMO, knowing what we know about the way things work, I would almost say "life" was an inevitability. The Universe is one big testing laboratory trying and refining things for 14 billion years.
     
  23. Motor Daddy ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ Valued Senior Member

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    Our universe is but a gear in an infinite gearbox.

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