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View Poll Results: Do religious differences arise from different uses of language?
Yes, reasonable people of different religions do not actually disagree abour 'reality' 1 16.67%
No, people of different religions clearly perceive the universe differently 5 83.33%
Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old Jul 4, '12, 11:07 pm
Qoeleth Qoeleth is offline
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Default Religion and language

Let us provisionally adopt a classical understanding of reality- the sum total of real things, experiences and concepts, which are mediated to us via perceptions. It would seem that different people of different faith perspectives each share ‘sound’ perception of reality. Let us imagine A and B. A and B both see things as, more or less, they ‘really’ are- they have identical (more or less) perceptions of reality. They basically agree about the contents and nature of reality. Yet A expressed belief in God, and B does not.

A is not proposing that ‘somewhere’ a being ‘exists’ , who might one day be found in space. He is not even proposing that things happen with any reasons other than ‘rational ones (or ones which, could, conceivable, be explained by ‘reason.’) Person B has exactly the same understanding of reality.

Yet, A expresses (and, indeed, holds) a belief in God. Now, since person A and person B are both sane, reasonable, and have accurate perceptions, it would seem that they differ only in the use of language. ‘A’ uses the word ‘God’ in such a way that there is no obstacle to stating ‘God exists’, and B uses the word ‘God’ in such a way that such a statement is problematic.

This is to take only two example- theism and atheism. But the wide varieties of religious systems are acceptable (we assume) to people with similarly accurate perceptions of reality. Indeed, there are scientists (whom we may assume to have sound and reasonable perceptions of reality) of all religious persuasions.

Hence, may we conclude that differences in religious belief are actually differences in language, or symbology, or interpretative schemata, since (presumably) all sane people see the universe in more or less the same way?

Last edited by Qoeleth; Jul 4, '12 at 11:19 pm.
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  #2  
Old Jul 4, '12, 11:11 pm
ASimon ASimon is offline
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Default Re: Religion and language

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qoeleth View Post
Let us provisionally adopt a classical understanding of reality- the sum total of real things, experiences and concepts, which are mediated to us via perceptions. It would seem that different people of different faith perspectives each share ‘sound’ perception of reality. Let us imagine A and B. A and B both see things as, more or less, they ‘really’ are- they have identical (more or less) perceptions of reality. They basically agree about the contents and nature of reality. Yet A expressed believes in God, and B does not.

A is not proposing that ‘somewhere’ a being ‘exists’ , who might one day be found in space. He is not even proposing that things happen with any reasons other than ‘rational ones (or ones which, could, conceivable, be explained by ‘reason.’) Person B has exactly the same understanding of reality.

Yet, A expresses (and, indeed, holds) a belief in God. Now, since person A and person B are both sane, reasonable, and have accurate perceptions, it would seem that they differ only in the use of language. ‘A’ uses the word ‘God’ in such a way that there is no obstacle to stating ‘God exists’, and B uses the word ‘God’ in such a way that such a statement is problematic.

This is to take only two example- theism and atheism. But the wide varieties of religious systems are acceptable (we assume) to people with similarly accurate perceptions of reality. Indeed, there a scientist (whom we may assume to have sound and reasonable perceptions of reality) of all religious persuasions.

Hence, may we conclude that differences in religious belief are actually differences in language, or symbology, or interpretative schemata, since (presumably) all sane people see the universe in more or less the same way?
No. I think the differences between believing that God exists and cares about us, and believing that no Gods exist to care about us, are more than simple differences in language.
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  #3  
Old Jul 4, '12, 11:13 pm
Qoeleth Qoeleth is offline
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Default Re: Religion and language

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Originally Posted by ASimon View Post
No. I think the differences between believing that God exists and cares about us, and believing that no Gods exist to care about us, are more than simple differences in language.
Yet, a person could maintain that "there is a caring God", without actually seriously expecting some action to be made by that God that affects reality. Rather, they may adopt this as a schemata which provides a basis for creating a meaningful interpretation of reality, rather than a description of the contents or workings of reality itself
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  #4  
Old Jul 5, '12, 1:26 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Religion and language

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qoeleth View Post
Yet, a person could maintain that "there is a caring God", without actually seriously expecting some action to be made by that God that affects reality. Rather, they may adopt this as a schemata which provides a basis for creating a meaningful interpretation of reality, rather than a description of the contents or workings of reality itself
A God who never does anything to justify the use of the term "caring" is ineffective and no more than a passive Observer!
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  #5  
Old Jul 5, '12, 1:29 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Religion and language

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASimon View Post
No. I think the differences between believing that God exists and cares about us, and believing that no Gods exist to care about us, are more than simple differences in language.
The differences transform our whole attitude to reality.
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  #6  
Old Jul 5, '12, 1:33 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Religion and language

Buddhism is a religion but it views life quite differently from Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or Islam.
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  #7  
Old Jul 5, '12, 3:53 am
Qoeleth Qoeleth is offline
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Default Re: Religion and language

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
Buddhism is a religion but it views life quite differently from Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or Islam.
Would a Buddhist scientist come up with different conclusions or descriptions from a Christian or Islamic or atheist scientist? If not, it would seem that all perceive 'reality' (for want of a better word, to signify uninterpreted 'fact') in the same way.

I agree that different religions view 'life' differently, but 'life' (in a religious sense- including its purposes, meanings, etc.) is an interpretive narrative, not, strictly speaking, an empirical fact.

I am sure reasonable people of different religions would view 'life' (as a biological fact) in the same way, with respect to its durations, its causes, the conditions it requires.

Last edited by Qoeleth; Jul 5, '12 at 4:06 am.
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  #8  
Old Jul 5, '12, 4:28 am
phoooiee phoooiee is offline
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Default Re: Religion and language

A good document to read concerning the Church's stance on this would be Nostra Aetate:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_c...aetate_en.html
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  #9  
Old Jul 5, '12, 5:13 am
Chiltepin Chiltepin is offline
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Default Re: Religion and language

I voted no only due to the wording following your options of yes and no. I think that language absolutely does shape a person's worldview and their reality. I got all excited and thought this thread might be about the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.

Where I disagree with you is that it results in the same understanding of reality under the name of different religions. It would seem to me as there are just as many realities as there are perceptions and that is A LOT. I'm not saying reality is relative. There is a such thing as truth.

My second thought after nerding out over the Sapir-Whorf and then realizing this was not about that was to say yes languages result in different religions due to their role in shaping culture. The constant wierdness and eventual split between the Greek East and Latin West in the early church. Language was one of the most obvious signs that these groups were not culturally unified. It was by no means the complete reason for the split and I don't think it resulted in expressions of the same reality, What began as some petty political differences snowballed into actual theological differences.
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