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I saw a great statement on an otherwise less than enlightening Amazon discussion on religion:
If religion was true then the more we studied it the more its truth should shine out, instead the experience of many people is that the more they study it the less sense it makes.

Comments

( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
luinied
Sep. 10th, 2008 09:15 pm (UTC)
I agree with the sentiment, but what does this have to say about the truth of set theory? Or, even worse, category theory?
kitty_tape
Sep. 10th, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
Never believed in them anyway.
big_bad_al
Sep. 10th, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
That's basically how I became an atheist.
krizoitz
Sep. 11th, 2008 01:15 am (UTC)
If religion could be proven or disproven simply by thinking about it, what would the point of faith be? Religion is not science, it should not be treated as such, from both sides of the issue mind you. If you seek religion from the same frame of mind you seek the answers to math problems, no it won't be very appealing, but then it never claimed to be that way. Now I understand that for some people that will be enough to say, sorry not for me, and thats fine, but it doesn't mean religion is more or less true. It just means it doesn't fit in the framework you are trying to judge it by.

A rough example, In non-Euclidean geometry a triangle can have greater than 180 degrees of internal angles. Try proving that using Euclidean geometry and you prove the object is not a triangle. But that misses the point. The object never claimed to be a euclidean triangle. Your looking at it from the wrong framework. Thats not to say that if Euclidean geomtery says soemthing isn't a triangle it means it IS one in non-Euclidean geometry, its just not conclusive either way.

Likewise, scientific logic may show something not to be true, but if the trueness of the thing is not meant to be defined by science, whatever information it provides is largely irrelevant either way. It may in fact NOT be true, but thats another matter altogether.

I should also point out that there are plenty of counter examples of people who study religion and find it more compelling as a lifestyle and that it makes more sense to them personally the more they study it.
kitty_tape
Sep. 11th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
truth shining out != demand of proof

While general concepts of religion might seem compelling, it is hard to see how the Bible, if you take it as a whole it is extremely hard to see it as yet another primitive mythology. Yes, there are some parts that are nice, some parts that are beautiful and inspiring, but there is just as much that is ugly and terrible and primitive.
kitty_tape
Sep. 11th, 2008 03:24 am (UTC)
Wow, that got mangled.

let's try, "it is hard not to see the Bible as yet another primitive mythology if you take it as a whole"
kitty_tape
Sep. 11th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
I suppose, to relate it to your non-Euclidean geometry example, it may be true that not everything makes sense under a single reasoning system, but I have yet to see any system other than blind faith that makes any religious system, with all of its details make sense as a whole.
krizoitz
Sep. 11th, 2008 05:45 am (UTC)
If you think only blind faith makes any religious system work I think you clearly have not spent time trying to understand religions or their followers. You are certainly free to think as you like and believe as you like but it is sad to find that you think that myself, Ben, Nathan, Tracy, et al. are merely blind zealots who have been duped by empty promises and happy talk. I had hoped you would have more respect for those of us with different belief systems, and acknowledge that religion is something far more complex than you seem to be treating it as. I can tell you my faith is not blind, but whether you choose to believe it or not is up to you.
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 11th, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - krizoitz - Sep. 11th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 11th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 11th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 11th, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
kitty_tape
Sep. 11th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
I also find it amusing that you assume that I think science is the only consistent reasoning system. I do not ask for everything to make sense scientifically. I ask only for it to make sense in some frame of reference that has useful explanatory power.
krizoitz
Sep. 11th, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
I never said science was the ONLY such system, merely that it was one. Somethings are beyond our understanding, doesn't mean we shouldn't try, but the frame of reference you are looking for is one in which humanity is limited and we may be incapable of fully understanding the whole scope of truth. Much like a young child has to take certain things on faith because they are incapable of the higher level reasoning and level of knowledge required to explain it. A four year old, except for perhaps an extradoinary one, is not going to be able to understand, say general relativity. That does not mean there isn't a framework in which it can be understood, just that the child you explain it to is incapable of understanding no matter what you do. Heck there is a point where young children can't even distinguish the difference between a tall glass and a wide glass holding the same amount of liquid. Or that one large cookie is more than two smaller ones.

Likewise, if a higher being exists, it is not only possible, but likely that we as humans, with very limited relative understanding of what IT understands. We may in fact NEVER be capable, again, doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to explain as much as we can and expand the limits of human knowledge, but I think we should also be willing to open our minds to truths that are beyond our understanding as well. People try and explain love chemically, psychologically, sociologically, etc. Personally if thats all it is I think its not worth much, but I think its more than that, something beyond explanation and definition. I think limiting whats possible to what we can define, measure, and explain limits the joy we can have in life itself, and personally i find it hard to consider a view that welcomes the idea of something greater than me as a bad thing.
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 11th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 11th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
kitty_tape
Sep. 11th, 2008 03:12 am (UTC)
If religion could be proven or disproven simply by thinking about it, what would the point of faith be?

Also, you do realize that this is somewhat circular reasoning. Faith only has a point because Christianity says you must have faith to believe. Faith, in and of itself, is not a good reason to believe something, thus rendering this statement somewhat silly.
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 11th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - krizoitz - Sep. 11th, 2008 06:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 11th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - krizoitz - Sep. 11th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
kitty_tape
Sep. 11th, 2008 05:10 am (UTC)
One last thing. You say, "I should also point out that there are plenty of counter examples of people who study religion and find it more compelling as a lifestyle and that it makes more sense to them personally the more they study it."

It is not a counterexample when the original post says "many", not all.
(no subject) - juxtapose_42 - Sep. 11th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 11th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
includedmiddle
Sep. 11th, 2008 04:34 am (UTC)
The first part of that statement is incoherent. It is like saying "If philosophy were true...". Religion, like philosophy, (and neuro-chemical patterns!) is not the sort of thing that can be true or false. That can only particular said of particular religious or philosophical statements.

As to the second part, two words: quantum physics.
kitty_tape
Sep. 11th, 2008 04:50 am (UTC)
You are taking the first part way too literally. This is an offhand comment, not a well thought out statement of belief. It is fairly obvious that that was meant to be interpreted "if any particular religion were true".

And I do not think that quantum physics is a viable counter example here. Although quantum mechanics is confusing, it does allow the truth to shine out in that it provides explanations with predictive powers. In my opinion, allowing the truth to shine means that a system is internally consistent and has the power to predict phenomena or illuminate understanding. Most religions are lacking on the first and the second, and it is hard to say they have the third when, in my opinion, they raise significantly more questions than they answer.
includedmiddle
Sep. 11th, 2008 05:25 am (UTC)
It is late, so though I would say more, I will let someone else (an atheist!) do the heavy lifting.

Is keeping kosher true or false?
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 11th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 11th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - includedmiddle - Sep. 12th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitty_tape - Sep. 12th, 2008 05:15 am (UTC) - Expand
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )

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