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  #16  
Old Apr 29, '07, 9:31 am
Ani Ibi's Avatar
Ani Ibi Ani Ibi is offline
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Default Re: Philosophy: You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into

I asked Fr Busch today the question in the OP. His homily was about fear. He said that sometimes sheep are sick and they will no longer follow their master's voice but will follow anyone who calls them. Then they will put their hopes in all sorts of false masters and empty offers.

Fear is often irrational. Hate comes from fear. I have noticed that many folks who hate the Church -- note I use the term 'hate' not 'disagree with' -- put themselves in our path. People whose hate of the Church is very very deep don't come anywhere near us.

So those who put themselves in our path must be expecting some sort of response from us. And that response they must deem to be useful in some way to them.

So how do we respond? Fr Busch said that you can't reason someone out of a position they haven't reasoned themselves into. You can only persist in the happiness of Jesus and what he told us to do. Eventually those searching get it and say to themselves "I want some of that."

What do folks see in your spiritual journey that makes them want to say, "I want some of that"? Not what you say, but what you do?
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  #17  
Old May 2, '07, 6:24 am
utica utica is offline
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Default Re: Philosophy: You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into

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Originally Posted by Ani Ibi View Post

So how do we respond? Fr Busch said that you can't reason someone out of a position they haven't reasoned themselves into. You can only persist in the happiness of Jesus and what he told us to do. Eventually those searching get it and say to themselves "I want some of that."

What do folks see in your spiritual journey that makes them want to say, "I want some of that"? Not what you say, but what you do?
What if someone believes that they have actually used reason to get to their position, but in fact have not?

For example, many people of good will hold the position that they are personally opposed to abortion but still support abortion laws for others. At the same time, they hold the position that we ought to go forward with embryonic stem cell research, because they believe in the good of scientific research and that it can help alleviate human suffering.

In their support of ESCR, they believe they have used reason to come to their conclusion.

It's a simple matter to point out that if they support ESCR then it puts into question why they would be personally opposed to abortion in the first place. If they support ESCR, what exactly are they opposed to in abortion?

I think that these people of good will sincerely want to find the truth in the matter. But they are going along believing that we live in a time of reason, when in fact we do not. So a little bit of solid reasoning helps put their positions in doubt. Hopefully, that doubt helps lead them to the truth.

As to what I do rather than what I say, I fear that I may drive more people away than I help. They often think I'm a raving lunatic. I've been making some progress with the raving part, but still seem to appear a lunatic nonetheless.
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Old May 2, '07, 9:40 am
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Default Re: Philosophy: You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into

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What if someone believes that they have actually used reason to get to their position, but in fact have not?
I have to run so can't respond in detail. But Chesterton deals with this in his book on Aquinas. I posted an excerpt on the thread Is Aquinas Overrated?
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  #19  
Old May 2, '07, 10:43 am
utica utica is offline
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Default Re: Philosophy: You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into

Thanks, I'll take a look at that.
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  #20  
Old May 12, '07, 2:49 am
cor cor is offline
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Default Re: Philosophy: You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into

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Originally Posted by Benedictus View Post
I suspect that for most people, religion is a bit of an accident of birth. Most people belong to a particular religion because they were raised in that religion. Yes, there are converts, but even then, most of them already believed in something (e.g. God, Jesus, etc.) before they reasoned found a new religion. A lot of them found a community they liked and just accepted the community's beliefs.
Belief in a supreme reality is almost universal and cross-cultural. Those who are raised in no religion typically believe in a supreme reality as well.

Quote:
Very few people arrived at the existence of God through reason alone. Very few people arrived at the conclusion that Catholicism is the one and only correct religion through reason alone (I'm not sure the Church even says that is possible).
The Church teaches that the existence of God can be arrived at with certainty through reason alone. I'm not too sure about the second statement; the way you phrased it makes it tricky to evaluate.

I disagree with your statement that "very few people" arrived at the existence of God through reason alone. You seem to, perhaps, be assuming that if they were taught that God exists and sustained that belief through childhood and adolescence that they are not believing it through reason alone. But that's a false assumption. Believing in something based on reason alone does not require that there was a time when you once did not believe it! If it did, then no one would believe in one's own existence by reason alone since everyone has always believed in one's existence. No one would believe in the existence of the sun by reason alone since everyone has always believed in the sun's existence (it's not a belief that one "arrives" at from non-belief).

When people are asked, "Why do you believe in God?" my experience has been that they typically give rational reasons for their belief -- they believe it, that is, by "reason alone". Their arguments may not be as sophisticated as some professional philosopher's but they give rational reasons nonetheless.

Quote:
My point is that most people didn't "reason" themselves into their religious beliefs.
Again you are, perhaps, making the mistake of assuming that just because someone didn't reason their way into something that that means that they don't believe it by reason alone. No one reasons their way into believing in the existence of the sun -- yet belief in the existence of the sun is based on reason alone.

Quote:
However, all of the above begs the question: is it unreasonable to believe in something without using reason to determine what you should believe?
It's unreasonable to believe in something without justification.

I think you made some good points in your post.

I would say that what's significant is not whether someone "reasoned their way" to a belief but whether their belief is based on reason or not, which as I have noted above, is distinct, if subtly so.

There are some things which it is not proper to believe without giving it much deliberative thought but there are other things which it is proper to believe without much deliberative thought at all (for example perceptual beliefs). I would say that belief in God, at least for the child, falls under the latter category. When the child is older and if the belief is challenged, he would be obligated by reason to explore the belief's justification, IMO.

A Catholic's duty to hear the magisterium is mediated through his conscience, the "aboriginal vicar of Christ" -- I would contend that even a man's duty to adhere to God is mediated through his conscience -- and when it comes to what we believe, my conscience tells me that I need to follow my reason -- maybe my conscience is wrong ... following my reason leads me to question everything, but I cannot but follow my conscience in my pursuit of truth.
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