Joined: May 2006
|Quote (BWE @ Dec. 06 2007,20:32)|
|Quote (BWE @ Dec. 04 2007,14:41)|
From my perspective, your position derives from faith but not directly in God; rather it appears faith in the people who told you about God and the book those people showed you. They told you what God was like. They told you what God thinks. They told you what God expects. If you hear God talk to you and he says the things you heard in church and read in a book but he doesn't ever ever ever say those things to people who haven't read the book, then we might be able to employ reason to that little tidbit.
I am tracking with your comment (I think) but do you contradict yourself here?
|It took me 34 pages to realize that until and if I can prove God exists, or some similar agent, then I have no right to claim that knowledge can come from external sources. |
The question of whether or not revelation is coming from God, the Devil or my own diseased head is irrelevant to the conversation. Why? Because the premise is unprovable. I convice you that God spoke to me and told me "thou shalt not kill" unless you also believe in God. Certainly God could be more blatent and tell me the winning six numbers but I'm pretty sure that still wouldn't constitute convincing evidence. The knowledge that "thou shalt not kill" did come from somewhere and it is foolish to argue about it's source because there is no resolution to that discussion.
It's all fun and games till God tells you to go kill him a son or obliterate an entire city, people and all. Not that I'm going down the bad things in the bible road but it looks to me like you cherry pick a bit. Sure, I can't tell you God didn't speak to you. I wholeheartedly agree. But what god says is a whole different story.
Imagine if a native from the deepest darkest part of the Amazon, he's never seen nor even heard of humanity outside his own hunting grounds. Imagine if he walked out of the Jungle and told the story of Jesus. Or the miracles in the bible. Or imagine that he says "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife. God told me that."
But actually, that's not what happens is it? What seems to happen is this:
|The Huaorani were contacted only 50 years ago. Before that time, these hunter-gatherers were roaming in small groups on an area three times bigger than their present day territory. Recently, the Ecuadorian government granted the Huaorani communal rights over their current territory....|
The Huaorani are known for their spears, which are long, with both ends sharpened. One of the ends is carved with sharp barbs. Once the spear enters the body, there is no way of taking it out without tearing the flesh and causing more damage. They are feared by neighboring tribes for their violent reputation. Huaoranis are indeed very temperamental, moody, and unpredictable. They have a long history of bloody vengeances; violent payback was part of their culture. Most of the conflicts were solved by spearing the other party, then the family of the victim would seek revenge, thus perpetuating the vicious cycle.
In 1956 the Huaorani were contacted by missionaries of the Summer Language Institute and the process of evangelization began. The missionaries translated the Bible in Huao Terero. They taught the Huaorani it was shameful to walk around naked as they were accustomed, making them ashamed of their traditions and lifestyle. The influence of missionaries became very apparent to me when I was playing cards with young adults in a Kichwa community in the jungle just outside Huaorani territory. I was accompanied by a young Huaorani man who had been my guide in a trip to Huaorani territory. To make the game more entertaining, I proposed that whoever loses, get punished (made to do something funny, like sing, dance, or act silly). My guide immediately let me know that he was not allowed to dance, because in the Bible it is written that dancing is bad. When he was punished, my Huaorani guide started singing a religious hymn learned from missionaries. Huaoranis were lured to live in fixed areas (reservations) where the missionaries built houses and schools, thus destroying their nomadic lifestyle, and disrupting their social structure. The missionaries paved the way for oil companies to enter Huaorani territory and start drilling. Money, clothing, and new diseases made the Huaorani dependent on consumer goods and western medicines. In exchange for salt, sugar, and Nike shoes, they gave missionaries and oil companies permission to do pretty much whatever they wanted on their land.
So, when you talk about a God that you didn't invent, we can look at things like where the idea originated. Right? Or wrong? I'm not talking about disproving God, I'm talking about myth. It can be traced, diagrammed, mapped over time using GIS software like Arcsoft and Arcview, broken down into its constituent bits analyzed and set upon a platter for display.
At that point, reason would tell us that the revelation didn't come from God. Not that knowledge can't come from revelation -
*An aside: and until Louis refines the definitions to draw at least narrow gray areas, his point regarding knowledge looks a bit like "opium makes you sleepy because of its soporific effects" to me right now. But skeptic, watch how he deals with that statement and then watch how I respond. I do suppose that logical soft spot to be the case in this one narrow part of the OP so I expect Louis will vigorously defend his definitions and I will consider his definitions. I suspect Louis will either not be able to support his definition in which case he will blush, giggle and say "oops, quite right.", or he will support his definition in such a way that reason can be reasonably delineated in which case I will concede the point and probably muse on the subject for a good while later because I might see it in a new way. I however, will not say "oops, quite right." Only a Brit would say that and that's because they aren't afraid of looking homosexual like we americans are. Sorry, I can't speak for aussies or kiwis.
- but that previously known knowledge isn't by definition revelation.
Maybe that makes sense. I don't care what you believe but if you claim yesterday's headline as a revelation and also immutable truth and rational investigation leads to a conflicting conclusion the that is the spot where the rift between science and religion begins.
Woo. Gotta go. Bye.
this one skeptic.
Ok, I understand your point but this has the potential of going into a completely different direction. The main thing that must first be recognized is that nothing in The Bible, The Koran, Budda's teachings really has anything to say about the actual existence of God. Those are all works of men who take then initial premise that God exists and then try to understand then nature of God in human terms. This could quickly degenerate into theology and he said, he said but that's not the point. The point is whether or not knowledge can come from sources other than human reason.
I was thinking about this and faith itself and I may have to concede some ground to Louis. I was working on an analogy involving aliens coming to Earth and sharing their technology. It would naturally be assumed that these aliens came from a much more advanced culture than ours so when they shared their thoughts on the nature of the universe we would, naturally, be influenced.
So the question then becomes, where is reason working. We reason that these aliens are much more advanced than us and so we're going take them at their word as to the nature of the universe. This is faith also. We don't actually have any reason to accept this knowledge but we do. Now, knowing human nature we would immediately start trying to cooraborate this knowledge and in doing so we'd actually answer two questions. Is this knowledge rational and are these aliens atually more advanced then we?
Taking this back to God. I accept what God says because he's God and that's a reasoned (not rational) decision. My initial belief in God may or may not be based upon reason depending upon my route to this belief. This may not be something that can be determined as it with be individual to each person and that person may not even know the actual reason. But the knowledge that God has passed down is not based upon reason. This is a source of knowledge that we can not access and have no way of evaluating at it's source. The same as the aliens, we will try to cooraborate it but that is still just the process of putting it in our terms. To go back and try to find the source of this knowledge in human terms is a historical exercise and thus open for interpretation. We can never truely be confident as the exact source and impact of myth so uncertainty will always remain.
So, my faith in God may be a reasoned choice and I can view God's revelation in a reasoned manner but the I can not say that the knowledge itself originated from an application of reason...as long as the premise of God is accepted. Of course, if there is no God then all knowledge is sourced from human reason and there is no rift between faith and reason because faith doesn't really exist, it's just an illusion and there can be no actual conflict with an illusion.