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Author Topic: To Keep the Faith, Don't Get Analytical  (Read 1912 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 26, 2012, 07:57:21 PM »

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Many people with religious convictions feel that their faith is rock solid. But a new study finds that prompting people to engage in analytical thinking can cause their religious beliefs to waver, if only a little. Researchers say the findings have potentially significant implications for understanding the cognitive underpinnings of religion.

Psychologists often carve thinking into two broad categories: intuitive thinking, which is fast and effortless (instantly knowing whether someone is angry or sad from the look on her face, for example); and analytic thinking, which is slower and more deliberate (and used for solving math problems and other tricky tasks). Both kinds of thinking have their strengths and weaknesses, and they often seem to interfere with one another. "Recently there's been an emerging consensus among [researchers] … that a lot of religious beliefs are grounded in intuitive processes," says Will Gervais, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, in Canada and a co-author of the new study, published today in Science.
....
"It's very difficult to distinguish between what a person believes and what they say they believe," says Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and Nobel laureate at Princeton University who has done pioneering work on the contributions of intuitive and analytical thinking to human decision making. "All they have shown, and all that can be shown, is that when you're thinking more critically you reject statements that otherwise you would endorse," Kahneman says. "It tells you that there are some religious beliefs people hold that if they were thinking more critically, they themselves would not endorse."

To Gervais and Norenzayan, the findings suggest that intuitive thinking, likely along with other cognitive and cultural factors, is a key ingredient in religious belief. Greene agrees: "Through some combination of culture and biology, our minds are intuitively receptive to religion." He says, "If you're going to be unreligious, it's likely going to be due to reflecting on it and finding some things that are hard to believe."

I wonder how the researchers defined "religious belief"?
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 08:00:20 PM »

That's a good question.
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2012, 08:34:50 PM »

It is a good question, but my bet is they probably didn't. Not in any objective way, at least.

Aside from different things being considered religious or not, I think there are different kinds of religious experiences and thus different kinds of religious beliefs. Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi were both Catholic, but the former seemed to take an analytical view of his own beliefs, the latter, a more mystical view. It might be interesting to throw that consideration into the mix, but I'm not sure how a psychologist would go about it.

For that matter, the methods they did use seem pretty amenable to making stuff up. Show one group a picture of The Thinker and another a statue of a man throwing a discus? Okay...I'm not a psychologist, but it just seems very messy. So some people wrote about how intuition has benefited them, and registered stronger religious beliefs. Perhaps that exercise simply reinforced a conviction about the utility of intuition, which they then associated with religion as a 'feeling thing.' Perhaps these psychologists are seeing in the results what they want to see. I do not say this because I think the article threatens religious belief. It clearly does not. But like a lot of things in psychology, it seems very questionable to me.

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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 12:07:09 AM »

a new study finds that prompting people to engage in analytical thinking can cause their religious beliefs to waver

What!? Impossible! Who are these people of which they speak? Grin  angel
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 12:16:32 AM »

Wow. This is one of those things like when some organization gets $100K from some government agency to study why people break out of prison. Screw you, researchers. I could have used that grant money to study something not easily inferred by looking at Asteriktos' posting history.
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 12:20:16 AM »

Telling someone to not get analytical in order to keep their faith is like telling someone to not think so that they do not confused, don't eat so you don't get fat, don't listen to music so you don't get a song stuck in your head or don't have sex so you don't contract a disease or to not do their homework so that they do not need to sharpen their pencil.
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 12:28:11 AM »

"a new study finds that prompting people to engage in analytical thinking can cause their religious beliefs to waver"


Thats why its called FAITH!

Lets face it our religion and many others are not Logical and do not stand up to rational analitical thinking.

yet the majority of the world belives in some sort of religion that fits into the above.

Analitical thinking is 2nd to intuitive thinking, and aslo came second, there must have been a time where we were so dim-witted that intuition as all we had.
We did not do to bad with it?
took me a long time to realise that---i used to scoff at people who would say thinks like "i just know"
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« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2012, 12:31:31 AM »

Lets face it our religion and many others are not Logical and do not stand up to rational analitical thinking.

I disagree. Rather, I find that religion tends to answer different types of questions than rationalism. Rationalism tells you the mechanics of things/'how' questions and religion tells you who you are and focuses on the 'why' type of questions.
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2012, 12:42:14 AM »

I think they have hit on a major reason why most formerly popular forms of Christianity in Western societies are failing (mainline Protestantism, for instance). They don't accept logical paradox, and in their over-rationalization/quasi-scientific analysis of everything that previous generations or other types of Christianity comfortably lived with, they find that religion "doesn't make sense" or some such silliness. "Enlightenment" rationalism really was/is the death knoll of what most people in this country think of as Christianity or religion. So, yes, don't get too analytical in your approach to your faith. It has nothing to do with not thinking, except maybe not thinking that religion must answer certain specific questions outside of its traditional purview.

I work in linguistics (one of the social sciences, but no less analytical than the "hard"/beaker and test tube sciences), but not to prove that God exists. I go to church and affirm that reality in communal worship. Two interrelated, not contradicting, spheres of life. More people should try this. While it may seem counter intuitive, it is the opposite stance (the stance of the rationalistic "science validates or displaces everything" crowd) that leads to so much neurosis and existential lethargy in people.
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2012, 12:45:35 AM »

I suppose what stopped me from being religious was that I could no longer justify faith; when left with only reason, I could no longer believe what I was taught. I sometimes wonder if faith is more than just a psychological coping mechanism (my view). I have been brought up in a secular society, where reason is championed and intuition and looked down upon. Many other cultures and subcultures strike a different balance... it's possible if I grew up in one of those, faith would come naturally to me. But it does not, and I can see no other way to believe in a god than through faith.
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2012, 12:50:53 AM »

While it may seem counter intuitive, it is the opposite stance (the stance of the rationalistic "science validates or displaces everything" crowd) that leads to so much neurosis and existential lethargy in people.

From my point of view, faith causes that neurosis (although I can empathize with someone who sees it from the opposite angle). I feel like I have to force myself to believe, to give into a natural human weakness in order to feel good about myself. I see it as a cop out, a self delusion. That really bothers me. Makes me feel not genuine, a pretender. Of course, living in an existential lethargy is difficult, but it feels true to me.

BTW, I'm really not trying to belittle anyone's faith, I'm just describing my own difficulties with attaining my own.
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2012, 01:06:19 AM »

If you don't mind me asking, who or what do you feel like you need to justify faith to? I don't understand that (and I too was raised in a secular society). As I've asked atheist friends before -- if I believe in something that cannot be justified or proven by some objective standard, what then? That's kind of the end of the road. The more rationalistic say "I don't understand why you'd do that/that's dumb/I don't like you" or whatever it is they're going to say, and then what? Does the world stop turning on its axis? Do I start WWIII? What exactly is the issue? It'd be like discussing the composition of the moon with someone who is convinced that the moon is made of cheese. You probably couldn't convince them that they're wrong, which is probably pretty frustrating, but that's all.

When stripped of pseudo-scientific rationalizations, it seems to me that many people who give up on religion (I don't mean you, LS, since I don't know you) have an underlying fear or uncomfortableness with the idea that they might been seen as stupid or illogical by someone, somewhere (and/or this fetishization of rationalism and epistemological certainty makes them feel stupid about themselves, so they jettison their beliefs to get in line with what what the world thinks is smart/what smart people think is cool).

I guess I don't care what smart people think is cool, and increasing exposure to smart people in academia is only confirming that bias.  If I had dollar for every snide comment I've heard about Christianity or Christians even over just this semester, I could commission quite an icon of Carl Sagan. I bet all the anti-Christians in the department would buy one, too. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2012, 01:07:15 AM »

While it may seem counter intuitive, it is the opposite stance (the stance of the rationalistic "science validates or displaces everything" crowd) that leads to so much neurosis and existential lethargy in people.

From my point of view, faith causes that neurosis....
Faith in what, exactly?
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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2012, 01:09:40 AM »

From my point of view, faith causes that neurosis (although I can empathize with someone who sees it from the opposite angle). I feel like I have to force myself to believe, to give into a natural human weakness in order to feel good about myself. I see it as a cop out, a self delusion. That really bothers me. Makes me feel not genuine, a pretender. Of course, living in an existential lethargy is difficult, but it feels true to me.

BTW, I'm really not trying to belittle anyone's faith, I'm just describing my own difficulties with attaining my own.

What do you mean by "give into a natural human weakness to feel good about myself"? Maybe I'm twisted, but I never thought that Christianity was about feeling good about oneself in the first place. It's not a self-help or self-improvement program, though much of modern Christianity has repackaged it as that.
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2012, 01:13:37 AM »

If you don't mind me asking, who or what do you feel like you need to justify faith to? I don't understand that (and I too was raised in a secular society). As I've asked atheist friends before -- if I believe in something that cannot be justified or proven by some objective standard, what then? That's kind of the end of the road. The more rationalistic say "I don't understand why you'd do that/that's dumb/I don't like you" or whatever it is they're going to say, and then what? Does the world stop turning on its axis? Do I start WWIII? What exactly is the issue? It'd be like discussing the composition of the moon with someone who is convinced that the moon is made of cheese. You probably couldn't convince them that they're wrong, which is probably pretty frustrating, but that's all.

When stripped of pseudo-scientific rationalizations, it seems to me that many people who give up on religion (I don't mean you, LS, since I don't know you) have an underlying fear or uncomfortableness with the idea that they might been seen as stupid or illogical by someone, somewhere (and/or this fetishization of rationalism and epistemological certainty makes them feel stupid about themselves, so they jettison their beliefs to get in line with what what the world thinks is smart/what smart people think is cool).

I guess I don't care what smart people think is cool, and increasing exposure to smart people in academia is only confirming that bias.  If I had dollar for every snide comment I've heard about Christianity or Christians even over just this semester, I could commission quite an icon of Carl Sagan. I bet all the anti-Christians in the department would buy one, too. Smiley

Who do I need to justify faith to? Myself and only myself. When I left religion, I felt duped, manipulated. I can't see faith as anything more than a delusion, so I can't in good conscience accept things on faith.

I definitely do not, at least on a conscious level, want to appeal to any societal standard or trend. I don't associate with the rationalists, atheists, or humanists. In the context of the universe (and what lies beyond it, if anything does), I know nothing. I don't worship the mind, but at the same time, I have a personal aversion to going to the "faith" zone for answers (probably a result of trauma during my religious life). It feels like an unnatural surrender, a compromise of self for the sake of comfort.
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« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2012, 01:19:20 AM »

What do you mean by "give into a natural human weakness to feel good about myself"? Maybe I'm twisted, but I never thought that Christianity was about feeling good about oneself in the first place. It's not a self-help or self-improvement program, though much of modern Christianity has repackaged it as that.

I'm not talking about Christianity in particular. I feel that my own religious experience, and by extent, the common religious experience of others, is sought out of a desire to lessen the pain of a world that is confusing and uncertain. I didn't mean "feel good" in a self-aggrandizing way; the tradition I came from was certainly not one of ego (although plenty people showed it). I would agree that some modern "spiritual" movements do tend to elevate the self over a higher being though (but that's really a separate topic that it seems like we're in agreement with).

Faith in what, exactly?

Faith in and of itself. The concept of faith, or turning to irrationality when rationality can offer no answers. I guess I'd rather feel incomplete and on edge by having nothing to fill the voids that can't be explained by reason, than feel (more) complete and (relatively) at ease by having them filled with faith. Maybe that makes me a masochist. I do have a lot to sort out...
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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2012, 01:34:41 AM »

I'm not talking about Christianity in particular. I feel that my own religious experience, and by extent, the common religious experience of others, is sought out of a desire to lessen the pain of a world that is confusing and uncertain. I didn't mean "feel good" in a self-aggrandizing way; the tradition I came from was certainly not one of ego (although plenty people showed it). I would agree that some modern "spiritual" movements do tend to elevate the self over a higher being though (but that's really a separate topic that it seems like we're in agreement with).

Ah. I can't speak for non-Christian religions, but seeking out religion in order to lessen pain also doesn't really strike me as being in keeping with Christianity, what with all of the "take up your cross and follow Me", centuries of martyrdom and persecution, asceticism practiced in desert monasteries and other inhospitable places, fasting, etc. I don't mean to make Christianity seem masochistic or extreme, but it seems to me to be more transformative than ameliorative. Pain can be blunted by medicine, psychology, introspection, etc. (I suppose religion may be included in that "etc." as well, I'm only saying that I don't see that as the "goal" of religious life, if you will). Christ conquered death and gave us the power to become sons of God. These are fundamentally different endpoints, it seems.
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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2012, 01:50:11 AM »

"a lot of religious beliefs are grounded in intuitive processes"
Enough time lurking Christology threads here would indicate the opposite.
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« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2012, 01:55:17 AM »

I'm not talking about Christianity in particular. I feel that my own religious experience, and by extent, the common religious experience of others, is sought out of a desire to lessen the pain of a world that is confusing and uncertain. I didn't mean "feel good" in a self-aggrandizing way; the tradition I came from was certainly not one of ego (although plenty people showed it). I would agree that some modern "spiritual" movements do tend to elevate the self over a higher being though (but that's really a separate topic that it seems like we're in agreement with).

Ah. I can't speak for non-Christian religions, but seeking out religion in order to lessen pain also doesn't really strike me as being in keeping with Christianity, what with all of the "take up your cross and follow Me", centuries of martyrdom and persecution, asceticism practiced in desert monasteries and other inhospitable places, fasting, etc. I don't mean to make Christianity seem masochistic or extreme, but it seems to me to be more transformative than ameliorative. Pain can be blunted by medicine, psychology, introspection, etc. (I suppose religion may be included in that "etc." as well, I'm only saying that I don't see that as the "goal" of religious life, if you will). Christ conquered death and gave us the power to become sons of God. These are fundamentally different endpoints, it seems.

I agree that the goal is much more nuanced. Religion can certainly be transforming; it harmonizes the body and mind (and soul, if you believe in it) and causes you to grow through overcoming incredible challenges. You definitely accept a bumpy road for the sake of god, and for yourself. You allow yourself to feel pain and discomfort because you believe that those serve a higher purpose.

But in order to believe that there is a god, I, at least, would have to acknowledge that there is a reason for what I perceive as evil, or what I do not understand. I would have to believe that there is something beyond the unfeeling natural world. And I would also believe that this god is a personal god and cares about me. And that would make me feel good. That would get rid of the tension I feel from being alive. That would allow me to take on challenges, knowing that even if I will not be saved, I will still be acting for good. Belief creates clarity, purpose. For me, that's a very ameliorative thing. That fills the void of complete uncertainty, doubt, and despair.

... and I cannot believe in god because I feel that is the only reason I would believe... to achieve that clarity, to lessen the pains of doubt. I see no other reason to believe.
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« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2012, 01:32:14 PM »

I suppose what stopped me from being religious was that I could no longer justify faith; when left with only reason, I could no longer believe what I was taught. I sometimes wonder if faith is more than just a psychological coping mechanism (my view). I have been brought up in a secular society, where reason is championed and intuition and looked down upon. Many other cultures and subcultures strike a different balance... it's possible if I grew up in one of those, faith would come naturally to me. But it does not, and I can see no other way to believe in a god than through faith.

May I ask where you grew up?
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« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2012, 01:47:29 PM »

Christ is Risen!

To Keep the Faith, Don't Get Analytical ... if, of course, you're Orthodox faith is still on an ideological level and you don't fully understand it.  Those whose faith has reached the experiential level will not be bothered, worried, or insecure when getting analytical.  Because, in fact, the consensus of the Fathers is that God loves to be investigated.  He has promised us over and over in Holy Scripture that He is real, He will never leave us, and that we can, in fact, test Him.  The fact that Orthodox Christianity has stood the test of time, the test of extreme torture, and the test of Enlightened thinking should speak volumes to those who understand.  Of course, it goes without saying that the faithful do not need proof and the for skeptics there will never be enough proof.  
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« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2012, 02:15:22 PM »

"a new study finds that prompting people to engage in analytical thinking can cause their religious beliefs to waver"


Thats why its called FAITH!

Lets face it our religion and many others are not Logical and do not stand up to rational analitical thinking.

yet the majority of the world belives in some sort of religion that fits into the above.

Analitical thinking is 2nd to intuitive thinking, and aslo came second, there must have been a time where we were so dim-witted that intuition as all we had.
We did not do to bad with it?
took me a long time to realise that---i used to scoff at people who would say thinks like "i just know"

I disagree. Our faith goes above and beyond the rational/analytical thinking and raises us to the transcendant/mystical encounter with God, although it isn't "irrational" or contradictory.
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« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2012, 04:28:47 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Slanted study with ostentatious agenda Wink

Of course analysis begins to challenge faith, but the is entirely the point of faith.  Faith doesn't answer big questions and analysis merely presents them. If is very rational then that when people think analytically their faith is challenged, but that is entirely what faith is, an irrational answer to deep, inner questions that are simply beyond the range and scope of analysis. Faith is like that joke that you don't get, and it will just never be funny until that moment of Epiphany.  If all the analysis in the world can't explain how one joke can be funny, how can we expect to use this line of thinking to address the bigger, existential, moral, and philosophical questions of the human experience?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2012, 05:49:03 PM »

This is good advice. Im always thinking myself into some theological crisis.....it really weighs me down at times.

PP
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« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2012, 06:39:04 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Slanted study with ostentatious agenda Wink

Of course analysis begins to challenge faith, but the is entirely the point of faith.  Faith doesn't answer big questions and analysis merely presents them. If is very rational then that when people think analytically their faith is challenged, but that is entirely what faith is, an irrational answer to deep, inner questions that are simply beyond the range and scope of analysis. Faith is like that joke that you don't get, and it will just never be funny until that moment of Epiphany.  If all the analysis in the world can't explain how one joke can be funny, how can we expect to use this line of thinking to address the bigger, existential, moral, and philosophical questions of the human experience?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

very nice analogy
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« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2012, 06:44:15 PM »

"a new study finds that prompting people to engage in analytical thinking can cause their religious beliefs to waver"


Thats why its called FAITH!

Lets face it our religion and many others are not Logical and do not stand up to rational analitical thinking.

yet the majority of the world belives in some sort of religion that fits into the above.

Analitical thinking is 2nd to intuitive thinking, and aslo came second, there must have been a time where we were so dim-witted that intuition as all we had.
We did not do to bad with it?
took me a long time to realise that---i used to scoff at people who would say thinks like "i just know"

I disagree. Our faith goes above and beyond the rational/analytical thinking and raises us to the transcendant/mystical encounter with God, although it isn't "irrational" or contradictory.

Hummm?
i dont know if i expressed myself correctly.

what im saying is........ok here is an example, the Virgin Mary gave borth to Christ, a virgin birth! Go a head and ratinally explaing that to me without using Faith.
I dont think it can be done?
So, thats why i said
"Lets face it our religion and many others are not Logical and do not stand up to rational analitical thinking". and thats not a zing on religion rather its to point out that our religion (and most religions) can not survive without FAITH!

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« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2012, 06:55:53 PM »

Quote
Scientists have revealed one of the reasons why some folks are less religious than others: They think more analytically, rather than going with their gut. And thinking analytically can cause religious belief to wane — for skeptics and true believers alike.

The study, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, indicates that belief may be a more malleable feature of the human psyche than those of strong faith may think.

 Roll Eyes

- GTA
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« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2012, 07:00:50 PM »

Quote
Scientists have revealed one of the reasons why some folks are less religious than others: They think more analytically, rather than going with their gut. And thinking analytically can cause religious belief to wane — for skeptics and true believers alike.

The study, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, indicates that belief may be a more malleable feature of the human psyche than those of strong faith may think.

 Roll Eyes

- GTA

What about it? I was under the impression that it wasn't religious people, but specifically conservative/fundamentalists who generally regard questioning beliefs and doubts as sinful. But that's pretty cool.

Ah, this. Cool.

Quote
Scientific interest in the cognitive underpinnings of religious belief has grown in recent years. However, to date, little experimental research has focused on the cognitive processes that may promote religious disbelief. The present studies apply a dual-process model of cognitive processing to this problem, testing the hypothesis that analytic processing promotes religious disbelief. Individual differences in the tendency to analytically override initially flawed intuitions in reasoning were associated with increased religious disbelief. Four additional experiments provided evidence of causation, as subtle manipulations known to trigger analytic processing also encouraged religious disbelief. Combined, these studies indicate that analytic processing is one factor (presumably among several) that promotes religious disbelief. Although these findings do not speak directly to conversations about the inherent rationality, value, or truth of religious beliefs, they illuminate one cognitive factor that may influence such discussions.

Seems pretty noncontroversial, really.
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« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2012, 07:53:56 PM »

So how many people actually have a subscription to Science and read the actual paper, not just the abstract, before commenting? Just curious.
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« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2012, 11:25:55 PM »

When you apply analytical thinking, and holding scripture up to church practice, you end up in a spot like me.  Smiley

However, my questions more or less surround the "side dishes", and not the meat and potatoes.
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« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2012, 12:58:34 AM »

I suppose what stopped me from being religious was that I could no longer justify faith; when left with only reason, I could no longer believe what I was taught. I sometimes wonder if faith is more than just a psychological coping mechanism (my view). I have been brought up in a secular society, where reason is championed and intuition and looked down upon. Many other cultures and subcultures strike a different balance... it's possible if I grew up in one of those, faith would come naturally to me. But it does not, and I can see no other way to believe in a god than through faith.

May I ask where you grew up?

The liberal part of Southern California. No religion, found it later in life then lost it.
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« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2012, 11:18:07 AM »

"a new study finds that prompting people to engage in analytical thinking can cause their religious beliefs to waver"


Thats why its called FAITH!

Lets face it our religion and many others are not Logical and do not stand up to rational analitical thinking.

yet the majority of the world belives in some sort of religion that fits into the above.

Analitical thinking is 2nd to intuitive thinking, and aslo came second, there must have been a time where we were so dim-witted that intuition as all we had.
We did not do to bad with it?
took me a long time to realise that---i used to scoff at people who would say thinks like "i just know"

I tend to agree with you but I would note that I don't think that the majority actual believe in a religion which stands up to rational, analytical analysis - they just believe that they believe in such a thing.

Again, I go back to St. Paul and his words to the church in Corinth: " For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.. " It is all about Faith, hope and charity/love. Doesn't mean you don't need to study it and learn about it, it just means don't keep trying to prove that which can not be proven.

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« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2012, 12:06:43 PM »

When you apply analytical thinking, and holding scripture up to church practice, you end up in a spot like me.  Smiley

However, my questions more or less surround the "side dishes", and not the meat and potatoes.

you should start your own church! Wink
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« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2012, 12:47:08 PM »

Of course, it goes without saying that the faithful do not need proof and the for skeptics there will never be enough proof.

Quite a bind someone like me is in then, huh? I entertain the option of giving religion another chance (knowing that I came out of a very miserable and twisted form of religion, of my own making), but because I've lost faith and require rationale (and it's hard to describe what, exactly, I'm looking for... but there's this part in my mind where faith used to be and I need to fill that with something I consider more "concrete"), it's impossible for me to return.

I don't want it to sound like I'm putting words in your mouth, but by this logic, it can easily be extended (again, not your words or your meaning) that some cannot be saved because they refuse to embrace faith.

I gave into faith once and I rejected it. I don't really think I want to "give it another shot." So if there is a god and a hell and I am damned, well then, I really am damned from the start, aren't I? I can't pretend to believe... wouldn't that just be more damning to this supposed all-knowing god?

BTW, I'm not trying to come off as confrontational and argumentative. If these are things the forums do not want to discuss, I understand. But these are the issues I deal with after leaving religion and I'm just trying to get some perspective.
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« Reply #34 on: April 28, 2012, 01:05:22 PM »

Of course, it goes without saying that the faithful do not need proof and the for skeptics there will never be enough proof.

Quite a bind someone like me is in then, huh? I entertain the option of giving religion another chance (knowing that I came out of a very miserable and twisted form of religion, of my own making), but because I've lost faith and require rationale (and it's hard to describe what, exactly, I'm looking for... but there's this part in my mind where faith used to be and I need to fill that with something I consider more "concrete"), it's impossible for me to return.
....
There's some evidence that the tendency to "believe" may be influenced by one's genes.
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« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2012, 11:31:52 PM »

Of course, it goes without saying that the faithful do not need proof and the for skeptics there will never be enough proof.

Quite a bind someone like me is in then, huh? I entertain the option of giving religion another chance (knowing that I came out of a very miserable and twisted form of religion, of my own making), but because I've lost faith and require rationale (and it's hard to describe what, exactly, I'm looking for... but there's this part in my mind where faith used to be and I need to fill that with something I consider more "concrete"), it's impossible for me to return.
....
There's some evidence that the tendency to "believe" may be influenced by one's genes.

I am curious about this one Jetavan. If you mean that some one that has a predisposition to dying at age three would not likely have much belief, then this makes sense. If you mean that by some freak of nature (also equivalent to divine intervention) we are genetically predisposed to "believe", that is OK as well. If you mean that the predisposition to believe has been selected evolutionarily. I would assume (but I am not sure) the selection had to begin at the onset of a fairly sophisticated language. There does not seem to be a lot of time for a selecting this fairly complex frame of mind, let alone the rational for it.  What are the facts? Just curious, if you do not have the details at hand I certainly understand, especially since I am in idle curiosity mode right now.
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« Reply #36 on: April 29, 2012, 12:27:50 AM »

Of course, it goes without saying that the faithful do not need proof and the for skeptics there will never be enough proof.

Quite a bind someone like me is in then, huh? I entertain the option of giving religion another chance (knowing that I came out of a very miserable and twisted form of religion, of my own making), but because I've lost faith and require rationale (and it's hard to describe what, exactly, I'm looking for... but there's this part in my mind where faith used to be and I need to fill that with something I consider more "concrete"), it's impossible for me to return.
....
There's some evidence that the tendency to "believe" may be influenced by one's genes.

I am curious about this one Jetavan. If you mean that some one that has a predisposition to dying at age three would not likely have much belief, then this makes sense. If you mean that by some freak of nature (also equivalent to divine intervention) we are genetically predisposed to "believe", that is OK as well. If you mean that the predisposition to believe has been selected evolutionarily. I would assume (but I am not sure) the selection had to begin at the onset of a fairly sophisticated language. There does not seem to be a lot of time for a selecting this fairly complex frame of mind, let alone the rational for it.  What are the facts? Just curious, if you do not have the details at hand I certainly understand, especially since I am in idle curiosity mode right now.
There's some evidence that dopamine plays a role in "religious" belief and behavior.

I don't think language is necessary for religious belief or behavior, though language might certainly make it easier for religiosity to spread through a population.
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« Reply #37 on: April 29, 2012, 12:34:10 AM »

I don't think language is necessary for religious belief or behavior, though language might certainly make it easier for religiosity to spread through a population.

This may be true Jetavan, I just can't see how it works without language right now. May be it will come to me once I get some sleep.
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« Reply #38 on: April 29, 2012, 12:43:38 AM »

As far as I understand it, it is not that religious belief (specifically) developed in humans because of evolution, but rather, belief as a rudimentary ability developed in all primates because of evolution, and then much later on humans took this ability to believe and refined it (through more powerful cognitive capabilities, through language, through culture on some level), and applied it to religion.
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« Reply #39 on: April 29, 2012, 01:24:01 AM »

As far as I understand it, it is not that religious belief (specifically) developed in humans because of evolution, but rather, belief as a rudimentary ability developed in all primates because of evolution, and then much later on humans took this ability to believe and refined it (through more powerful cognitive capabilities, through language, through culture on some level), and applied it to religion.

This would be a purely secular theory, of course.
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« Reply #40 on: April 29, 2012, 01:28:13 AM »

As far as I understand it, it is not that religious belief (specifically) developed in humans because of evolution, but rather, belief as a rudimentary ability developed in all primates because of evolution, and then much later on humans took this ability to believe and refined it (through more powerful cognitive capabilities, through language, through culture on some level), and applied it to religion.

This would be a purely secular theory, of course.

Not in my world Smiley
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« Reply #41 on: April 29, 2012, 01:31:20 AM »

As far as I understand it, it is not that religious belief (specifically) developed in humans because of evolution, but rather, belief as a rudimentary ability developed in all primates because of evolution, and then much later on humans took this ability to believe and refined it (through more powerful cognitive capabilities, through language, through culture on some level), and applied it to religion.

This would be a purely secular theory, of course.

Not in my world Smiley

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« Reply #42 on: April 29, 2012, 01:43:39 AM »

a new study finds that prompting people to engage in analytical thinking can cause their religious beliefs to waver

What!? Impossible! Who are these people of which they speak? Grin  angel

Can't imagine.. Cheesy
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« Reply #43 on: April 29, 2012, 01:50:49 AM »

Christ is Risen!

To Keep the Faith, Don't Get Analytical ... if, of course, you're Orthodox faith is still on an ideological level and you don't fully understand it.  Those whose faith has reached the experiential level will not be bothered, worried, or insecure when getting analytical.  Because, in fact, the consensus of the Fathers is that God loves to be investigated.  He has promised us over and over in Holy Scripture that He is real, He will never leave us, and that we can, in fact, test Him.  The fact that Orthodox Christianity has stood the test of time, the test of extreme torture, and the test of Enlightened thinking should speak volumes to those who understand.  Of course, it goes without saying that the faithful do not need proof and the for skeptics there will never be enough proof.  

"Those whose faith has reached the experiential level".  Are you referring to hesychasm?   I fail to see how anyone can actually know God through all of that Greek philosophy which was employed by the Oecumenical Councils.  It would make much more sense to say "Hey, God spoke to the prophets and laid down some commandments.  Let's follow those." 

It seems to be unclear as to what extent the Bishops were ever familiar with the Judaic understanding of the Tanakh.  They certainly knew their Greek and Roman philosophy without a doubt! Such decisions as the "Two Natures" of Jesus at Chalcedon, seems to be based entirely off of Greek philosophy.   Why must we ask ourselves "What is God like? What are his characteristics?"  why not instead simply observe the teachings he sent down through the prophets of old.. without all of the extra stuff.. 
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« Reply #44 on: April 29, 2012, 02:40:14 AM »

Christ is Risen!

To Keep the Faith, Don't Get Analytical ... if, of course, you're Orthodox faith is still on an ideological level and you don't fully understand it.  Those whose faith has reached the experiential level will not be bothered, worried, or insecure when getting analytical.  Because, in fact, the consensus of the Fathers is that God loves to be investigated.  He has promised us over and over in Holy Scripture that He is real, He will never leave us, and that we can, in fact, test Him.  The fact that Orthodox Christianity has stood the test of time, the test of extreme torture, and the test of Enlightened thinking should speak volumes to those who understand.  Of course, it goes without saying that the faithful do not need proof and the for skeptics there will never be enough proof.  

"Those whose faith has reached the experiential level".  Are you referring to hesychasm?   I fail to see how anyone can actually know God through all of that Greek philosophy which was employed by the Oecumenical Councils.  It would make much more sense to say "Hey, God spoke to the prophets and laid down some commandments.  Let's follow those." 

It seems to be unclear as to what extent the Bishops were ever familiar with the Judaic understanding of the Tanakh.  They certainly knew their Greek and Roman philosophy without a doubt! Such decisions as the "Two Natures" of Jesus at Chalcedon, seems to be based entirely off of Greek philosophy.   Why must we ask ourselves "What is God like? What are his characteristics?"  why not instead simply observe the teachings he sent down through the prophets of old.. without all of the extra stuff.. 
Extra stuff like Jesus Christ?
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« Reply #45 on: April 29, 2012, 02:59:44 AM »

I mean extra stuff like "Two Natures"... "Of One Essence, Light from Light, God from God" via the Nicene Creed.   Not Jesus himself, but all of those doctrines which were hammered out later..
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« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2012, 03:00:08 AM »

"Those whose faith has reached the experiential level".  Are you referring to hesychasm?   I fail to see how anyone can actually know God through all of that Greek philosophy which was employed by the Oecumenical Councils. 
I don't know how you linked hesychasm with the ecumenical councils.
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« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2012, 03:00:31 AM »

I mean extra stuff like "Two Natures"... "Of One Essence, Light from Light, God from God" via the Nicene Creed.   Not Jesus himself, but all of those doctrines which were hammered out later..
Hammered out to combat the attacks of bad neoplatonists, that is.
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« Reply #48 on: April 29, 2012, 03:05:06 AM »

"Those whose faith has reached the experiential level".  Are you referring to hesychasm?   I fail to see how anyone can actually know God through all of that Greek philosophy which was employed by the Oecumenical Councils. 
I don't know how you linked hesychasm with the ecumenical councils.

"Are you referring to hesychasm?" was meant to be separated in context from "I fail to see how anyone can actually know God through all of that Greek philosophy which was employed by the Oecumenical Councils."   

My bad, typing errors.   police
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« Reply #49 on: April 29, 2012, 03:09:04 AM »

"Those whose faith has reached the experiential level".  Are you referring to hesychasm?   I fail to see how anyone can actually know God through all of that Greek philosophy which was employed by the Oecumenical Councils.
I don't know how you linked hesychasm with the ecumenical councils.

"Are you referring to hesychasm?" was meant to be separated in context from "I fail to see how anyone can actually know God through all of that Greek philosophy which was employed by the Oecumenical Councils."    

My bad, typing errors.   police

Fair enough.

The ecumenical councils weren't really meant to be a source of experiencing God. They made statements designed to guard against heresy.

Con-fusing the two is sort of like trying to analyse Da Vinci's artistic style by staring very hard at the watchman guarding the Mona Lisa.
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« Reply #50 on: April 29, 2012, 10:10:20 AM »

As far as I understand it, it is not that religious belief (specifically) developed in humans because of evolution, but rather, belief as a rudimentary ability developed in all primates because of evolution, and then much later on humans took this ability to believe and refined it (through more powerful cognitive capabilities, through language, through culture on some level), and applied it to religion.

This would be a purely secular theory, of course.
I doubt it's "purely" secular. Asterikos' theory could be seen as describing how the God-created laws of nature made it possible (via evolution) for living organisms to develop the capacity to acknowledge the Source of Being (God) via their cognitive (and emotional and physical) abilities. Perhaps molecules like dopamine, as well as the genetic structure of Homo sapiens in general, are the physical pre-conditions for communing with Divinity.
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« Reply #51 on: April 29, 2012, 10:12:40 AM »

As far as I understand it, it is not that religious belief (specifically) developed in humans because of evolution, but rather, belief as a rudimentary ability developed in all primates because of evolution, and then much later on humans took this ability to believe and refined it (through more powerful cognitive capabilities, through language, through culture on some level), and applied it to religion.

This would be a purely secular theory, of course.
I doubt it's "purely" secular. Asterikos' theory could be seen as describing how the God-created laws of nature made it possible (via evolution) for living organisms to develop the capacity to acknowledge the Source of Being (God) via their cognitive (and emotional and physical) abilities. Perhaps molecules like dopamine, as well as the genetic structure of Homo sapiens in general, are the physical pre-conditions for communing with Divinity.

A theory that is contrary to the understanding of "first" humans, a soul (there was once a creature that was not human... and then it's kid earned a soul for being smart enough??), sin and death, etc.

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« Reply #52 on: April 29, 2012, 10:25:47 AM »

As far as I understand it, it is not that religious belief (specifically) developed in humans because of evolution, but rather, belief as a rudimentary ability developed in all primates because of evolution, and then much later on humans took this ability to believe and refined it (through more powerful cognitive capabilities, through language, through culture on some level), and applied it to religion.

This would be a purely secular theory, of course.
I doubt it's "purely" secular. Asterikos' theory could be seen as describing how the God-created laws of nature made it possible (via evolution) for living organisms to develop the capacity to acknowledge the Source of Being (God) via their cognitive (and emotional and physical) abilities. Perhaps molecules like dopamine, as well as the genetic structure of Homo sapiens in general, are the physical pre-conditions for communing with Divinity.

A theory that is contrary to the understanding of "first" humans, a soul (there was once a creature that was not human... and then it's kid earned a soul for being smart enough??)....
I think Genesis 1 (the chapter in Genesis that contains a narrative most similar to the evolution narrative of modern science) is pretty vague about exactly how humans were created by God. Genesis 1 doesn't say God created Man ex nihilo, or from the earth, or (for that matter) from non-human creatures -- but all those are viable, possible ways of interpreting human origins from a reading of that first chapter.
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« Reply #53 on: April 29, 2012, 10:27:15 AM »

A theory that is contrary to the understanding of "first" humans, a soul (there was once a creature that was not human... and then it's kid earned a soul for being smart enough??), sin and death, etc.

All animals have souls. Some even say plants have souls, though I think that goes a bit too far. Christians managed to grapple with heliocentrism, and now we'd laugh at the idea that such a thing would pose a challenge to religious faith. The same will eventually happen with evolution...
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« Reply #54 on: April 29, 2012, 10:43:17 AM »

A theory that is contrary to the understanding of "first" humans, a soul (there was once a creature that was not human... and then it's kid earned a soul for being smart enough??), sin and death, etc.

All animals have souls. Some even say plants have souls, though I think that goes a bit too far. Christians managed to grapple with heliocentrism, and now we'd laugh at the idea that such a thing would pose a challenge to religious faith. The same will eventually happen with evolution...

Is this the same for all articles of faith? If it appears contrary, we must be ready to reject it?

Why is current scientific though automatically correct? In contrast to a heliocentric universe, we have less evidence, and many more counter-theories.
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« Reply #55 on: April 29, 2012, 12:10:33 PM »

A theory that is contrary to the understanding of "first" humans, a soul (there was once a creature that was not human... and then it's kid earned a soul for being smart enough??), sin and death, etc.

All animals have souls. Some even say plants have souls, though I think that goes a bit too far. Christians managed to grapple with heliocentrism, and now we'd laugh at the idea that such a thing would pose a challenge to religious faith. The same will eventually happen with evolution...

Is this the same for all articles of faith? If it appears contrary, we must be ready to reject it?

Why is current scientific though automatically correct? In contrast to a heliocentric universe, we have less evidence, and many more counter-theories.

Actually, I am stubbornly waiting to read something that refutes the geocentric compatibility of Einstein's theory of general relativity. For example, from Martin Gardner's book, Relativity Simply Explained (Dover Books 1997; p.158):

"One could just as legitimately assume the Earth to be fixed and the entire universe, with its great spherical cloud of black-body radiation, to be moving. The equations are the same. Indeed, from the standpoint of relativity the choice of reference frame is arbitrary. Naturally, it is simpler to assume the universe is fixed and the Earth moving than the other way around, but the two ways of talking about the Earth’s relative motion are two ways of saying the same thing."

Of course Sauron would probably just say that Martin Gardner is an idiot and leave it at that. There is a simplistic elegance to this argument but it is not fulfilling.

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« Reply #56 on: April 29, 2012, 05:11:05 PM »


All animals have souls.
All animals ARE souls.
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« Reply #57 on: April 29, 2012, 05:35:48 PM »

"Those whose faith has reached the experiential level".  Are you referring to hesychasm?   I fail to see how anyone can actually know God through all of that Greek philosophy which was employed by the Oecumenical Councils.
I don't know how you linked hesychasm with the ecumenical councils.

"Are you referring to hesychasm?" was meant to be separated in context from "I fail to see how anyone can actually know God through all of that Greek philosophy which was employed by the Oecumenical Councils."    

My bad, typing errors.   police

Fair enough.

The ecumenical councils weren't really meant to be a source of experiencing God. They made statements designed to guard against heresy.

Con-fusing the two is sort of like trying to analyse Da Vinci's artistic style by staring very hard at the watchman guarding the Mona Lisa.

I can understand your answer.  However, what makes something a heresy is unclear to me. Even though the Apostles were said to have had disciples, and they became ordained as Bishops later to lead the churches across the known world -- it's still easily possible for things to get lost in translation.  Just imagine a bunch of kids at a party, whispering a rumor in each other's ear.. and by the time it gets back to your ears, it was nothing at all like what you had actually stated.  Humans are naturally faulty creatures like that..
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« Reply #58 on: April 29, 2012, 05:46:18 PM »

Of course, it goes without saying that the faithful do not need proof and the for skeptics there will never be enough proof.

Quite a bind someone like me is in then, huh? I entertain the option of giving religion another chance (knowing that I came out of a very miserable and twisted form of religion, of my own making), but because I've lost faith and require rationale (and it's hard to describe what, exactly, I'm looking for... but there's this part in my mind where faith used to be and I need to fill that with something I consider more "concrete"), it's impossible for me to return.
....
There's some evidence that the tendency to "believe" may be influenced by one's genes.
Sounds like the parable of the talents. No conflict there...
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« Reply #59 on: April 29, 2012, 06:11:17 PM »

Of course, it goes without saying that the faithful do not need proof and the for skeptics there will never be enough proof.

Quite a bind someone like me is in then, huh? I entertain the option of giving religion another chance (knowing that I came out of a very miserable and twisted form of religion, of my own making), but because I've lost faith and require rationale (and it's hard to describe what, exactly, I'm looking for... but there's this part in my mind where faith used to be and I need to fill that with something I consider more "concrete"), it's impossible for me to return.
....
There's some evidence that the tendency to "believe" may be influenced by one's genes.
Sounds like the parable of the talents. No conflict there...
I agree.
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« Reply #60 on: April 29, 2012, 07:15:34 PM »

I entertain the option of giving religion another chance...
I assumed there was a reason you're participating on an Orthodox forum. 

(knowing that I came out of a very miserable and twisted form of religion, of my own making), but because I've lost faith and require rationale...
I'm glad you decided to leave your old religion, esp. if you were miserable.  That's one of the reason's I left my old religion.  If you want faith, you will acquire it for, as Blaise Pascal noted, "Faith is different from proof; the latter is human, the former is a Gift from God."  And there's nothing wrong with using our intellect, it's just that our intellect will only take us so far. 

... it can easily be extended (again, not your words or your meaning) that some cannot be saved because they refuse to embrace faith.
Orthodox Christians cannot say who is or who will be saved.  Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, will see the heart and mind of all and will judge us differently than we judge each other.

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« Reply #61 on: April 29, 2012, 09:13:38 PM »


All animals have souls.
All animals ARE souls.

i think there is some disconnect here based on what definition of "soul" we are using...
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« Reply #62 on: April 30, 2012, 01:06:01 AM »

"a new study finds that prompting people to engage in analytical thinking can cause their religious beliefs to waver"


Thats why its called FAITH!

Lets face it our religion and many others are not Logical and do not stand up to rational analitical thinking.
i don't agree with that. There are many areas where analytical thought will strengthen one's faith, rather than weaken it. Take for example, the existence of consciousness in the universe. Looking at it analytically, I don't see where consciousness or self reflection can arise from a bunch of hydrogen atoms. Or take the beginning of the universe. As we know, the universe is inflating and going back in time brings us to the big bang. But how and why did this big bang start? The use of  analytical reasoning alone can show, via the Borde Guth Vilenkin theorem, that, given our current assumptions about the universe, the universe did have a beginning.
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« Reply #63 on: April 30, 2012, 01:30:23 PM »

Wouldn't encouraging analytical thinking in anything cause a person to express their opinion on a matter more conservatively? If you're thinking analytically, you're opening yourself up to the idea that you could be wrong. This doesn't mean that, after the exercise, you won't conclude that you're right. Like the article said, this experiment didn't make atheists out of anybody.
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