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User: Librarian_Ponderer

2009-05-12
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Posted in What's your Christian denomination? on 2009-08-21 18:56:30

I think that the question itself implies that only christians are answering it. Perhaps the pollster is only interested in how Christians are divided up denominationally?

Posted in Life after death on 2009-07-21 18:27:57

I suppose public confrontations can be useful if they lead to reasoned discussion. Unfortunately, they are often too inflammatory. I would prefer to engage people in discussions involving the use of language and the different kinds of reasoning used in forming judgments. Rather than attacking people, try to get them to think critically by asking them the difference between faith in one's prayer requests and astrology. Or perhaps engaging people in a discussion of the nature of religious language. Unfortunately, these kinds of discussions usually occur only in philosophy classes.

And by the way, positivism is also a philsophical position that cannot be proven through empirical testing. I recommend reading some recent literature in analytic epistemology and philosophy of science to see how a hard-nosed positivism is not tenable. One could also read Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism," and one can never read too much David Hume.

An attitude of more thorough skepticism hesitates to make strong claims about the nature of reality. Yes, it is true that our most reliable information about the universe comes through the empirical sciences with the help of mathematics and logic. But, it is also true that there are dimensions of human experience that are not easily reduced to the realm of the physical/material. That doesn't mean that any kind of metaphysical speculations are justified. Nor does this entail an appeal to the "supernatural." It is quite possible to construct a naturalistic understanding of the human spirit that is "religious," or "mystical" in some sense.

But blind faith is not a way forward. And recognizing myth as myth is necessary. Even religious claims ought to be grounded in reason and experience. This means that absolute, dogmatic claims are out (at least for critically minded folks). It also means accepting what is undeniably true (e.g. Darwinian evolution). But I don't think that it means that all religious experience is invalid.

Posted in Morality of Whaling and Responses to Whaling on 2009-07-21 17:38:03

Predator, sorry I didn't see your post earlier. I agree with everything you say and thanks for commenting! :-).

Posted in Life after death on 2009-07-21 13:00:48

Be careful about making too many hasty generalizations. There are many different religions and many kinds of religiosity. There are even atheistic kinds of religiosity such a Theravadan Buddhism, Confucianism, or non-polytheistic forms of Taoism. And there are forms of religiosity (such as Buddhism, especially Zen) that cultivate doubt. Also, not all Christians are radically fundamentalist.

Posted in What is your view on atheism? on 2009-07-21 12:55:16

Oh it's no problem. I'm just a bit too fussy :-).