Let us understand...the objectivity thread


#1

What is it about the “unknowable” …that has led you to “knowledge.?”

Would you create a god if no one told you about the idea?

Would we worship a god…if there wasn’t punishment?

Can we long for a heaven…when our happiest experiences are of this earth?..what is the context?

Can we not be moral…without religion?

If you saw me on the street…would you know I was Catholic?..or not?

WHAT IS THE RELEVANCE…

Let us understand


#2

Greetings! Here are my answers;)

""What is it about the “unknowable” …that has led you to “knowledge.?”

Do this, do you mean the being that Catholics call God? If that is the case, I think He is knowable to some degree (for example, certain attributes-omnipotence, omniscience, being all good) though not exactly completely understandable. I think He created me and the universe and is the source of being so and that since he is omniscient He can lead me to knowledge.

“Would you create a god if no one told you about the idea?”

I’m not sure if I would have. However, through natural law, people, by their own reason, can come to believe in a certain sort of God (that is, a being with the attributes listed above). I’m a convert to Catholicism from no religion and thought that man had been made God, but through study I now believe God made man.

“Would we worship a god…if there wasn’t punishment?”

I would. In fact, if my choice was between living eternally without pain, suffering, or death and with anything I wanted and seeing God’s face, I would choose seeing God’s face.

“Can we long for a heaven…when our happiest experiences are of this earth?..what is the context?”

Yes, I think we can. We long for the eternal and for meaning, which I think can only truly be found in God. I think we can long for heaven even though our happiest experiences are here on earth because what we have here are often foreshadowings of heaven. The love I feel towards my parents, wife, and friends will be even greater in heaven and our communion together and with God will be even more powerful.

Can we not be moral…without religion?

The question is difficult, because it depends on how we define morality. It also depends on what you mean by religion. In the end though, I would argue strongly that our ability to be moral is based upon God’s grace, so while we could be moral without religion, without God’s grace, it’s basically impossible to be moral.

I would also argue that a person will become more moral then they used to be if they open up to God. Many people, including atheists, are more moral than myself, but they would be even more moral than me if they came to Christ.

If you saw me on the street…would you know I was Catholic?..or not?

I would not know, one of my Japanese friends is an atheist but wears a cross out of fashion:). we’d have to talk first. I think also being a Catholic is a matter of belief, not a matter of morality. I’m a Catholic because I believe Catholicism is true, even though I’m a sinner.

WHAT IS THE RELEVANCE…

Religion makes truth claims and what is true is relevant.
Peace in Christ!
Frank


#3

Hey thank you for your answers. Interesting stuff!
I wish more people would weigh in.


#4

Raynd,
I had no need for a God until I found myself in a situation which I had no control over. I was lying in a hospital bed and was facing an amputation of my leg.

Up to the point of the accident, I was in full control of my life and my military career.


This story take place a couple of years ago. At that stage in my life I was not living in the Spirit of the Lord. I was not a practicing Catholic. I was not a good husband or father, in fact my wife and I had discussed taking a sabbatical from the marriage. She had not planned on returning and I did not care.

I had an accident and broke my leg. The leg got infected. I was sent to surgery at Hospital #1. The surgical nurse told me the following story.

The Chief of Orthopedics was trying to repair the damage the infection has caused to my leg. The Assistant Chief of Orthopedics had a 2 back to back cancellations that day and decided to “scrub-in”. The Assistant was not supposed to be in the operating room that day.

The damage to the leg was quite extensive. The Chief said that he could not save the leg and needed some one to get my wife’s signature so he could amputate below the knee. While one of the residence went to get the signature, the Assistant said he knew a doctor at Hospital #2 who might be able to save the leg.

I was shipped to Hospital #2’s Limb Salvage Unit with a “one-shot”, 30% chance of keeping the leg. When doctors use words like “salvage” you know you are in trouble. The doctor at Hospital #2 look at my leg and said he had seen worst. Hopital #2 is only one of two places in the country, at that time, which had the technology to save my leg.

I surrendered and admintted I could not do it alone. My leg was saved, I finished my military career and God resored my marrage.

I later found out the Assistant Chief of Orthopedics at Hospital #1 interned under the doctor at Hospital #2 thirty years prior to the accident. Coincidence? I don’t think so.


When God want’s your attention, he will get it. Only God could have put all the peices together.


#5

What is it about the “unknowable” …that has led you to “knowledge.?”

We do not fully understand all that composes a rock yet we gain knowledge from it.

Would you create a god if no one told you about the idea?

People create false God out of what God left for us as his witness. God is in the trees the rain and everything he created. Those Gods that we create are not God – we recognize God in all that he has done. God was not created but is, was, and will be… eternal

Romans 1:20-26
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools
23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Would we worship a god…if there wasn’t punishment?

The only and greatest punishment in my eyes it to be separated from God so to not worship God would be the greatest punishment.

Can we long for a heaven…when our happiest experiences are of this earth?..what is the context?

Not sure what you are asking.

Can we not be moral…without religion?

Depends on how one defines moral.

If you saw me on the street…would you know I was Catholic?..or not?

We are identified by our works even though we are not justified by them. In general – no I would not, but if I saw you walking with a Douay-Rheims Bible and a rosary then I could surmise that you are most likely Catholic.

WHAT IS THE RELEVANCE…

Prêt ell


#6

[quote=Raynd]What is it about the “unknowable” …that has led you to “knowledge.?”
[/quote]

We cannot begin to know if we don’t dream first. All things become through the effort- the atempt makes it a reality. Catholics believe that God is ‘knowable’, though mysterious. We are attempting to ‘know’ him better.

[quote=Raynd]Would you create a god if no one told you about the idea?
[/quote]

This query can only be answered one way.

[quote=Raynd]Would we worship a god…if there wasn’t punishment?
[/quote]

What we know- is. The hypothesis you put has no relevance.

[quote=Raynd]Can we long for a heaven…when our happiest experiences are of this earth?..what is the context?
[/quote]

Can you speak for everyone in that? We can long for ideals such as love, peace, justice.

[quote=Raynd]Can we not be moral…without religion?
[/quote]

How do you define moral?

[quote=Raynd]If you saw me on the street…would you know I was Catholic?..or not?
[/quote]

Depends on your behaviour.

[quote=Raynd]WHAT IS THE RELEVANCE…

Let us understand
[/quote]

Objectivism is a philosophy by, and for, the sociopathic at heart. It is not even a true philosophy, but a method of justification, from which people can draw excuses to support their actions.


#7

Do you really believe that? Sociopath is defined as an agressively antisocial psychopath as far as I can determine…I’ve been called a lot of things…and that is a new one.
I just posted this so I can gain insight…I find it very interesting. These are great responses, and by answering they help determine an individuals thought process… I’m detecting quite a bit of skepticism in the responses I’m getting…but I’m trying to be a bit linear in the questions.

For instance…A lot of posters seem confused on the question of morality. As far as I know … morality is knowing the difference between right and wrong…so answer the questions in that sense. Use your own definition of what your concept of right and wrong, and then whether or not you have to believe in a god to achieve this.


#8

[quote=Raynd]What is it about the “unknowable” …

WHAT IS THE RELEVANCE…

Let us understand
[/quote]

Can I ask a simple and candid question? I intend no insult and am being presumptuous based on your question. But, if you don’t believe in God or things of Eternity, why do you care?

Really?

I would also say that if God doesn’t exist, then all the fervent belief on my part won’t create Him and I will simply die and cease to exist. Conversely, if God does exist and there is a final reckoning, then all your denial won’t make Him go away and you will have to face the relevent consequences.

I have no special “knowledge”, I simply choose to believe. Like true love, it is a choice, not a feeling. I don’t choose based solely on science or philosophy. I choose because of the sum of my life experiences. Those experiences validate to me that God exists and that He cares about me. I’m content, and if I’m wrong, I’ve missed nothing.


#9

RAYND,

What are you looking for?


#10

As a person who is interested in philosophy…I like to know why/how people “believe” in the things that they do…that’s all. It’s interesting to hear their understanding of something. That’s it basically. I’m not trying to convert anyone to anything…I could care less on that “level”…

Maybe I’m a student…maybe I’m writing a book…maybe I teach philosophy…maybe I’m the second coming of Jesus…whatever…It’s all very interesting.


#11

[quote=Raynd]Maybe I’m a student…maybe I’m writing a book…maybe I teach philosophy…maybe I’m the second coming of Jesus…whatever…It’s all very interesting.
[/quote]

Is this multiple choice or are you undecided? :smiley:


#12

[quote=Raynd]What is it about the “unknowable” …that has led you to “knowledge.?”
[/quote]

You’re supposing God is the “unknowable”, right? Well God is transcendent and can’t be completely understood by us. But his actions have left their mark, so we know something about him from creation. But more importantly, God is completely known to himself, and he has communicated himself to us, ultimately by becoming one of us.

[quote=Raynd]Would you create a god if no one told you about the idea?
[/quote]

Dunno. Antecedent is false, so nothing follows: Someone (Jesus Christ) did tell me, and more importantly, God is really there for Someone to tell me about Him(self).

[quote=Raynd]Would we worship a god…if there wasn’t punishment?
[/quote]

Again, dunno. Antecedent is false. There is punishment because there is sin. Look at the 20th century; pretty obvious.

[quote=Raynd]Can we long for a heaven…when our happiest experiences are of this earth?..what is the context?
[/quote]

I don’t understand what you mean by “context”. All of our experiences, even the happy ones are fleeting. Sure we can long for an eternal prolongation of earthly delights. Lot’s of people think that’s what heaven is. But we also have experiences of knowing profound truth that transcend the earthly delights, and when you discover that Truth is a person, you long to know Him even as you are known. Sort of blows the “happy experiences” out of the water.

[quote=Raynd]Can we not be moral…without religion?
[/quote]

I don’t think so. Some consciencious atheists in industrialized, western societies are nice, moral, even self-sacrificing people (I think they are moralizing out of the residue of the Christian culture). But the vast majority of pagan societies have been quite brutal and barbaric, to each other and to religious people. The world would have been much worse morally but for religion, but this is an untestable hypothesis. True, atrocities have been done in the name of religion, but far worse have been done in the name of atheism.

[quote=Raynd]If you saw me on the street…would you know I was Catholic?..or not?
[/quote]

I wouldn’t know. I don’t think it would make a difference. Catholics do not only love other Catholics. We are told to love our enemies, to do good to those who persecute us. If we only loved those who love us, we would be no different from pagans.

[quote=Raynd]WHAT IS THE RELEVANCE…
[/quote]

Dunno. What is the relevance?

[quote=Raynd]Let us understand
[/quote]

Do you want to give us something to understand?


#13

ob·jec·tiv·ism
n.
[list=1]
*]Philosophy. One of several doctrines holding that all reality is objective and external to the mind and that knowledge is reliably based on observed objects and events.
[/list]Unfortunately **Raynd **I have not yet read Ayn Rand’s novels (but a Jainist friend of mine is a huge fan) and so I can’t quite meet you in the arena that you are probably working in, but I do have a few thoughts on the subject.

Firstly, the view that all reliable knowledge is based solely on observed objects and events. The very existence of our minds refutes this. We can not observe our own minds, and yet we know that it exists. Through Reason we can postulate that our own minds are not the only minds in existence; therefore, other minds, unobserved pass into our knowledge of existence. To base all knowledge on observation is materialism, and rejecting all intelligible reality is absurd. How about this: God is the Supreme Mind. Reason tells us that only nothing comes from nothing, therefore the Universe must come from something. Order can not be brought about from chaos solely on its own, there must be a force, an intelligence, behind it. Obviously this intelligence far surpasses the feeble specks of awareness present in our own consciousness.

There are also Truths which are available only in the realm of pure Reason, with no solid observation to back them up, and yet we know them. Mathematics, which is simply pure human reason, contains many otherwise unobservable Truths within it. Faith is what can be believed, but not entirely from our own reasoning, as our minds are limited entities. In Christianity, Faith must never contradict Reason, but to test its Truthfulness we have Revelation. Revelation is what the “Supreme Mind” reveals to us, thereby making the unknowable, knowable. Understandably, those who reject Faith as containing Truth would naturally dismiss Revelation as little more than a collective Imagination; however, I would certainly dismiss String Theory as a fanciful dream if I saw all Mathematics as random doodling. Denying all Faith as unTruth in favour of pure Reason is not only ignorant, it’s arrogant.

(Continued)


#14

This is the flaw with “Randianism,” that it believes all Faith, all beliefs which you can not prove purely from Reason or Observation, are necessarily contradictory to Reason or Observation. This is ironic, in that Reason alone reveals that this is false. The Catholic Christian religion, for example, is a Faith which is completely in harmony with Reason and Observation. I say *in harmony *with not provable by. Natural Reason alone can not lead us to God, but it leads us to the idea of God. How can God be completely “unknowable” if we even have this idea in our minds? Here is a brief summary of Descarte’s argument in his *Meditations *(Hackett 1998, p. 73-6):

I have an idea of God as “a supreme deity, eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, and the creator of all things other than himself” (p. 73) in me. Or (p. 76) “infinite, independent, supremely intelligent, and supremely powerful, and that created me along with everything else that exists.”

This idea has the greatest degree of objective reality of all my ideas. (Cf. p. 77)

“There must be at least as much [reality] in the efficient and total cause as there is in the effect of that cause” (p. 73).

The same reality must be formally in the causes of my ideas as is objectively in the ideas themselves (Cf. p. 74).

Hence, the cause of the idea of God must have at least as much formal reality as the idea has objective reality.

The idea of God, however, has more objective reality than I as a finite thinking substance have formal reality.

Only God has as much formal reality as the idea of God has objective reality.

Thus, “I must conclude that God necessarily exists” (p. 76).

What is reality? How do we gain knowledge of it? Doesn’t belief follow thought and reasoning? It must, unless one is ignorant. There are beliefs which can not be proven from either observation or reasoning, and yet they are contradictory to neither. This is Faith. How do we know which Faith is True? That is the question which every Religion of the world purports to answer. In Christianity, we believe God has revealed Himself, has made Himself known to us, through the God-Man Jesus Christ.

I realize now that I have only answered your first couple of questions Raynd, but I’ll stop here, since this post is already too long. As for morality without religion, you almost answered that one yourself; “would we worship a god if there wasn’t punishment?” Would we do what is moral without a Higher Power to define morality and enforce it? Would we not have to become “gods unto ourselves” as Nietzsche said? If reason is our only absolute, would we not define our own right and wrong, individually? You can’t kill a god who doesn’t exist, much less empty out his pockets first.


#15

[quote=Neithan]Here is a brief summary of Descarte’s argument in his *Meditations *(Hackett 1998, p. 73-6):
[/quote]

Descartes! :eek: Not the surest cannon in the arsenal.


#16

See …now we are really getting into the nitty gritty which is what I so much wanted… ideas!. (the last few posts were really nice…I appreciate the strength) I apologize for the way that I phrased the questions…I didn’t realize that they would be so scrutinized. I just fired them off. I should have taken more time. In my humble opinion…Ayn Rand has had many problems with her epistemology…but I think she is probably the last shining light regarding modern philosophical concepts…and that in fact her metaphysics as far as “objectivity” is concerned pretty much crushes everything. That which it doesn’t crush…it strings up nicely.

Look. I’m not anti-catholic…anti-religious…anti-anything…(well at least dealing with men/women, and their wonderful ideas)…

But this is what leads me to “relevance”…I would guess that human beings ultimately worship gods…out of fear. The simple fear of not knowing. The simple fear of nothing beyond their life. The simple fear of punishment for a perceived wrong. Who wants to burn in hell? This was at the heart of some of my questions. I believe that the fear is instilled from a young age…or it is acquired…but this is where objectivity forever comes into play…and it’s been rearing it’s beautiful head since the fifth century BCE. How can we fear something that we cannot know? Now some of you have postulated that you CAN indeed “know” God though his works…but do not fool yourself. This omniscient, omnipotent, commander of space and time, unmovable etc…etc… is decribed to us…through what? Human speech…think about it. The aformentioned all powerful biggest of the big…spake to moses…through a burning bush… God in the midst of timeless space…unfathomable distance…created an itsy bitsy planet. He put people on it. They have the choice to worship him. If they don’t…off to hell. Have we really sat down and thought about this in it’s most rudimentary state?..Because that’s what it boils down to.
This is why faith…and reason cannot co-exist. They are diametrically opposed. In our daily lives…we all strive for objectivity…believe it…we all strive for reality. We want receipts for our goods…we want statements. If we are unlucky enough to be arrested…we want it to be proven that we are indeed in the wrong… etc…etc…etc…But we are willing to throw every bit of it out the window when it comes to religion (remember we are speaking of western stuff here)…because if you seriously think about it…there is no inherent logical reason to practice one religion over another. There are many ancient texts…there are gods who have been ressurrected…there were other disciples…The greek philosopher Thales in 585 BCE postulated a SOUL! …so what is the relevance? Are we not intelligent people? Can we not have a civilized society…free…just…without a belief in a God…because really that is what God is right?
Exodus 5,3
Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword!.
God evolved into the policeman…he is the judge…I’ve realized that this post is getting long so I will nip it now…but let me just leave you with a journey…start studying history…start with the hellinistic period…study the stories of ancient egypt…Zoroastrianism…It became really clear to me where our present day god came from…If you have and you still came to the conclusion that Christianity explains out existence…then I ask - what is the relevance? How did 80% of indonesia come to Islam?..how is it that intelligent people of all walks of life have developed over 200 different religions thoughout the ages?..not denominations…religions. You chose a faith …you make a choice. It is arbitrary at the core…because it cannot be solidified through any empirical means…its fashion.
We have a social contract with eachother…we don’t live our lives in a way that infringes upon anyone’s ability to live their life…man is soverign…man is free. …when we break this contract…man is intelligent enough to hold the responsible accountable. Why in our enlightened times would we ever think that a god had something to do with it? Why?..hope you say? You hope for a heaven…but a human beings concept of happiness is rooted through experiences right here on the dirt of the earth…You haven’t been to heaven…there are no pictures…there are “descriptions”…but are they?..when there is no conceptual basis for it? Imagination? This is not objective…Have you ever been to the moon? Explain to me what a ride through space feels like…

Ok I have to stop…bring it on.


#17

Ok, there’s a lot in the last post. I’ll just focus on one point.

[quote=Raynd]But this is what leads me to “relevance”…I would guess that human beings ultimately worship gods…out of fear. The simple fear of not knowing. The simple fear of nothing beyond their life. The simple fear of punishment for a perceived wrong. Who wants to burn in hell? This was at the heart of some of my questions. I believe that the fear is instilled from a young age…or it is acquired…but this is where objectivity forever comes into play…and it’s been rearing it’s beautiful head since the fifth century BCE. How can we fear something that we cannot know? Now some of you have postulated that you CAN indeed “know” God though his works…but do not fool yourself. This omniscient, omnipotent, commander of space and time, unmovable etc…etc… is decribed to us…through what? Human speech…think about it. The aformentioned all powerful biggest of the big…spake to moses…through a burning bush… God in the midst of timeless space…unfathomable distance…created an itsy bitsy planet. He put people on it. They have the choice to worship him. If they don’t…off to hell. Have we really sat down and thought about this in it’s most rudimentary state?..Because that’s what it boils down to.
[/quote]

I think people who make this sort of criticism haven’t really gotten to know an actually religious person. Fear does not consume my day. It is not the case that God created people to feed his ego through worship, and when they fail he casts them into hell like a petulent child. That is a charicature that is not worthy of a reasonable person like yourself.
God made us for himself, to know his goodness, share his happiness. He made us in order to enjoy himself who is goodness, to know himself who is truth. Creating us did not add to God’s goodness, feed his ego or any such non-sense. He made creatures, that creatures may be made, that they be good, and that they share his goodness. Creatures are the winners in this story.
God has made us for himself, and we are restless until we rest in him. Turning aside from the Good for which we were created brings ourselves misery. Final rejection of God brings ultimate misery, not because God zaps the infidels, but cut off from the only sourse of happiness, those without God condemn themselves to the misery of their own, miserable company. No one can escape themselves, but you can escape goodness (this is free will). I suppose God created the condition and possibility of hell, but only for the sake of real, free love. Without the ability to reject God, there is no real ability to freely love him. But God does not send souls to hell; souls send themselves to the hell of an eternity without the One who would make them happy.


#18

Look…do we really know anyone? Our perception of someone is solely based on our experiences with them…or maybe what they have told us…and what we observed. This could all be wrong…it may be right. To use something that may rub you wrong…but it is the first thing that pops out at me, and I feel it may drive home a strong point…Did all of those parents who let their children spend time with a priest…know he was a pedophile? Of course not. We make assumptions. Obviously I made an assumption regarding “fear” … I’m not implying that you run around in a sweat…seriously scared of death, unknowing etc…it’s that little nagging fear. The same reason an athlete wears a certain arm band before big games or whatever. I feel that this is what faith is ultimately born from (it’s obviously just an opinion)… Now onto ego. I was not trying to imply that god had an ego? Even though it is written in the bible that he is a “jealous” god…Whether or not you feel I think people are here to massage his ego is besides the point…What I said is the bottom line…God created everything…we have choices…if we make the wrong choices…off to hell. That is it in a nutshell. I don’t think that this can be disputed. Now onto happiness. This is not objective…it is subjective. You stated “Final rejection of God brings ultimate misery, not because God zaps the infidels, but cut off from the only sourse of happiness, those without God condemn themselves to the misery of their own, miserable company. No one can escape themselves, but you can escape goodness”…no offense but this is ridiculous…people come to happiness a million and 1 ways. Buddists, Muslims, athletes, practioners of yoga…etc… What god are you talking about?..people who find strength and happiness in other gods are not really happy? They can’t be right? Because they are heading to hell?..There is no logic in your statement. I’ve never stepped foot in a church in my life (ok once for a wedding I think) …my parents were secular…my whole family was. I wasn’t told about god…I’m very far away from being unhappy…I can tell you that much.(at the risk of sounding defensive) Would you state that I am not truly happy because I don’t know the Christian God? …let’s be objective. Happiness is a completely subjective state of mind that may or may not correlate to anything…including rationality and reason…Anyone could easily make the statement…I led an empty boring, and miserable life…until I discovered horticulture! Now everything is ok…but I’m not out to disprove god…I’m out to discover the relevance…this has yet to be answered.

3 men sit on a park bench…they have almost identical lives. Except one is of a religion other than Christianity…one is a Christian…one is a non theist.
They have loving children…happy marriages. They are law abiding citizens…morally stong. Help old people across the street. Give to charity. Engage in physical fitness…don’t use drugs…and are just generally happy people. BUT 2 of them are going to hell…what is the relevance of religion in modern society…modern intellect…what does a god provide outside of the own power of our mind that is rooted in objective reality? …

[quote=aridite]Ok, there’s a lot in the last post. I’ll just focus on one point.
I think people who make this sort of criticism haven’t really gotten to know an actually religious person. Fear does not consume my day. It is not the case that God created people to feed his ego through worship, and when they fail he casts them into hell like a petulent child. That is a charicature that is not worthy of a reasonable person like yourself.
God made us for himself, to know his goodness, share his happiness. He made us in order to enjoy himself who is goodness, to know himself who is truth. Creating us did not add to God’s goodness, feed his ego or any such non-sense. He made creatures, that creatures may be made, that they be good, and that they share his goodness. Creatures are the winners in this story.
God has made us for himself, and we are restless until we rest in him. Turning aside from the Good for which we were created brings ourselves misery. Final rejection of God brings ultimate misery, not because God zaps the infidels, but cut off from the only sourse of happiness, those without God condemn themselves to the misery of their own, miserable company. No one can escape themselves, but you can escape goodness (this is free will). I suppose God created the condition and possibility of hell, but only for the sake of real, free love. Without the ability to reject God, there is no real ability to freely love him. But God does not send souls to hell; souls send themselves to the hell of an eternity without the One who would make them happy.
[/quote]


#19

The way that I see it there are three basic ontological viewpoints on how God is determined and discovered by humans.

The first I will call the Cartesian viewpoint for lack of a better word. This is the view that we have knowledge of God because we have had prior contact with him before coming to this realm. It comes from the very earliest stages of Empiricism.

In Rene Descartes’ famous meditation of “cogito ergo sum” or I think there for I am he needed to prove that the world existed outside of us and was not a huge lie created by our senses. The way that he went about doing this is to prove that God existed and that God is not capable of deception – hence the external world exists.

To prove that God exists Descartes held the belief that for someone to have knowledge of a thing they must have had prior contact with such a thing. So, since a person has a concept of the infinite, and God is the only infinite thing, he must ipso facto have had contact with God at some point, therefore God exists.

The Second Viewpoint I will call the Dialectic of Neo-Platonian viewpoint – once again for lack of knowledge or a better word.

It is the view that things in the external world are such that they direct us to an understanding of God. It is a combination of “Tabula Rosa” (blank slate) as described by John Locke (arguably the most prolific Empiricist) and the opposite as described by Plato (Mickey Mouse’s Dog.) We construct God from what we see around us but compile it with that which we are aware of due to our pre-existing soul.

We are separated from God at birth and the universe around us reminds us of his greatness and directs us back to him.

David Hume (my favorite empiricist) stated this best in a Series of Essays in which he presented the viewpoints of the Epicurean, Stoic, Platonist, and Skeptic through the eyes of an Empiricist. In the Platonist Hume wrote:

“Divinity is a boundless ocean of bliss and glory: Human minds are smaller streams, which, arising at first from this ocean, seek still, amid all their wanderings to return to it, and to lose themselves in that immensity of perfection…

Can we be so blind as not to discover an intelligence and a design in the exquisite and most stupendous contrivance of the universe? Can we be so stupid as not to feel the warmest raptures of worship and adoration, upon the contemplation of that intelligent being, so infinitely good and wise?..

But it our comfort, that, if we employ worthily the faculties here assigned us, they will be enlarged in another state of existence, so as to render us more suitable worshippers of our maker: And that the task, which can never be finished in time, ill be the business of an eternity.”

The third viewpoint I will call “post hoc, ergo proctor hoc” or “since this therefore because of this.” This is the belief by existentialists and skeptics that we have no actual knowledge of God but construct him out of what we see around us and our inability to explain things fully.

They believe that in our ignorance and desire to explain things beyond our grasp we create a Deity. The volcano explodes because God is angry at us, the Ocean is turbulent because we have upset God, etc.


#20

I would also like to add that “Atlas Shrugged” was quite possibly, almost defiantly, the worst book that I have ever read – and I have read some pretty bad books. It not just the content and it is not religious bias, as I was agnostic at the time I read it, it is simply bad writing. The content sucked pretty bad though…


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