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#1Sinner
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« Reply #45 on: July 24, 2013, 12:46:53 PM »

Well I suppose I will flatly disagree with those that state that the existence of God cannot be known through logic and reason. Can we truly know God without revelation? Of course not. To state, however, that reason and logic cannot be employed is to deny a gift that God has granted: namely our Intellect which naturally reaches out to something beyond ourselves. I know it is fashionable for Orthodox to label anything Aristotelian or metaphysical as Latin scholastic heresy, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. What we need to be careful of is constructing an entire system of theology based on reason (scholasticism). But to employ logic to ascertain that there is a God is certainly good and praiseworthy.

To the original post I would suggest reading The Last Superstition by Edward Feser. He also has a blog I recommend: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #46 on: July 24, 2013, 01:08:22 PM »

Well I suppose I will flatly disagree with those that state that the existence of God cannot be known through logic and reason. Can we truly know God without revelation? Of course not. To state, however, that reason and logic cannot be employed is to deny a gift that God has granted: namely our Intellect which naturally reaches out to something beyond ourselves. I know it is fashionable for Orthodox to label anything Aristotelian or metaphysical as Latin scholastic heresy, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. What we need to be careful of is constructing an entire system of theology based on reason (scholasticism). But to employ logic to ascertain that there is a God is certainly good and praiseworthy.

To the original post I would suggest reading The Last Superstition by Edward Feser. He also has a blog I recommend: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/

Excellent point. I agree.
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« Reply #47 on: July 24, 2013, 02:28:16 PM »

Well I suppose I will flatly disagree with those that state that the existence of God cannot be known through logic and reason. Can we truly know God without revelation? Of course not. To state, however, that reason and logic cannot be employed is to deny a gift that God has granted: namely our Intellect which naturally reaches out to something beyond ourselves.

St Paul agrees with you:

Quote
Romans 1

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
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« Reply #48 on: July 24, 2013, 03:52:43 PM »

I'm glad to hear that you're not looking for scientific arguments, because I agree with you that those just don't stack up in favor of theism at all.

I don't know if this is comforting or depressing to most people, but I don't believe that Christianity (or even theism) is rational. At best, it's non-rational; at worst, it's just plain irrational. Someone mentioned Soren Kierkegaard on here earlier -- he's been a huge help to me as well. The bits I've read from his "Concluding Unscientific Postcripts," as well as William James' essay "The Will to Believe" and most of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novels have all kinda been the foundation of my faith (intellectually speaking).

I'm really hesitant to say much more, since those three men said everything I could say better than I could say it, but I'll try to outline one or two main reasons I have faith -- haha just please bear with me if I'm sloppy and clumsy.

There's a sort of strange assumption I grew up around that rationality is at the core of the universe, and that everything else in life must be sort of sandwiched under its umbrella. What's odd to me about this is that rationality can't even provide a rational reason for its own value! As Nietzsche put it, "How did logic come into existence in man's head? Certainly out of illogic...We have arranged for ourselves a world in which we can live -- by positing bodies, lines, planes, causes and effects, motion and rest, form and content; without these articles of faith nobody now could endure life. But that does not prove them. Life is no argument. The conditions of life might include error."

So, to me, there really is no rational foundation to base any belief system on -- why even value objective truth? what reason can I have to value it? Every person, at any given time, holds one belief above every other, and understands every molecule of every instant of their life in each passing moment through the lens of that first, supreme belief. That belief dethrones every other and the person basically forces everything in the universe into its submission.

(This isn't to say, for instance, that a person of faith can't value reason in other areas of life, (e.g. in political conversations), but it is to say that wherever faith and reason come into conflict, the person of faith will cast reason aside and hold to faith instead -- or else find himself dissatisfied and change his schema altogether).

Basically, William James (if you don't already know this) said that every philosophical/religious worldview exists to (1) satisfy a person's intellect and (2) improve their lives practically (i.e. through a sense of purpose, value, etc.). If that's true, then he pretty much suggested that we believe whatever satisfies (1) and (2) most entirely.

Before going to a job interview, for example, I might will myself to believe that I really am the best candidate for the job in the world, regardless of how 'true' I think that is. In fact, it may be that fostered faith in my ability that actually makes me the best candidate for the job in the world. In the same way, by willing myself to trust and faith in Christianity, I see its truth more and more each day I live it out. I was drawn to the Orthodox Church in particular because it has always valued personal experience -- it teaches that Christianity can only be understood by being lived. The only sort of 'evidence' I know of for Christianity is completely experiential and subjective; I don't know of any philosophical or scientific or reasonable argument in its favor. It's either all-consuming, filling every single minute and area of your life, or it's no good at all.

I hope that makes some sort of sense. I'll end with this quote (that explains my feelings better than I know how to):

"I confess that I am a child of unbelief and doubt up to this very moment, and I am certain that I shall remain so to the grave.

What terrible torments this thirst to believe has cost me and continues to cost me, burning ever more strongly in my soul the more contrary arguments there are. Nevertheless, God sometimes sends me moments of complete tranquility. In such moments I love and find that I am loved by others, and in such such moments I believe that there is nothing finer, profounder, more attractive, more reasonable, more courageous, and more perfect than Christ, and not only is there not, but I tell myself I tell myself with jealous love that there cannot be.

Even if someone were to prove to me that the truth lay outside Christ, I should choose to remain with Christ rather than with the truth.
" -- Fyodor Dostoevsky
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« Reply #49 on: July 24, 2013, 04:14:42 PM »

I'm glad to hear that you're not looking for scientific arguments, because I agree with you that those just don't stack up in favor of theism at all.

I don't know if this is comforting or depressing to most people, but I don't believe that Christianity (or even theism) is rational. At best, it's non-rational; at worst, it's just plain irrational. Someone mentioned Soren Kierkegaard on here earlier -- he's been a huge help to me as well. The bits I've read from his "Concluding Unscientific Postcripts," as well as William James' essay "The Will to Believe" and most of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novels have all kinda been the foundation of my faith (intellectually speaking).



Care to elaborate on this? I find the idea that the Cosmos is a big accident with no cause or purpose and that we are products of that random, irrational occurrence is, well, irrational.

Are you familiar with the Aristotelian, metaphysical arguments in favor of a deity? I'm not talking Creationism here but more the "God of the philosophers." What do you find irrational?
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« Reply #50 on: July 24, 2013, 04:24:10 PM »

Care to elaborate on this? I find the idea that the Cosmos is a big accident with no cause or purpose and that we are products of that random, irrational occurrence is, well, irrational.

Are you familiar with the Aristotelian, metaphysical arguments in favor of a deity? I'm not talking Creationism here but more the "God of the philosophers." What do you find irrational?

I'm probably not as familiar with those as I should be; I've watched lots and lots of debates and such where lots of those arguments were used, but I should research further.

Basically, the burden of proof falls on both the theist and the atheist, but not on the agnostic. The theist has to prove his claim "There is a god" with some sort of provable, valid evidence. The atheist has to prove his claim "There is no god" with the same standard. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

So yeah, our finely tuned existence strikes me as miraculous, but that doesn't prove theism at all to me. Science doesn't always have perfect answers, but it's always looking for the best answer to explain things that it can find. I think, strange though it may seem, some sheer happenstance of nature is more probable scientifically than the active existence a creator who seems otherwise almost entirely absent from creation. Plus, if we're dealing with literally an infinite number of possible 'accidents' throughout a potentially infinite amount of time in the universe, it doesn't seem so far-fetched to imagine that one accident in infinity happened to sustain life as well as we know it.

Now if you're speaking loosely enough about the word 'deity' to include something like the idea of a 'god particle' that mindlessly started everything, that's perfectly plausible to me scientifically -- it's just really not what anybody means nowadays by the word 'god' or even 'deity.'

Does that make sense? I feel like maybe I'm missing something.. correct me!
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« Reply #51 on: July 24, 2013, 04:25:01 PM »

Whether God can be known is one thing, how God can be known is another. Obviously God, at least in some way, can be known--otherwise you'd have to be crazy to worship him. But is he known through philosophical argument? Logical proofs? Mathematics? Personal experience?
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« Reply #52 on: July 24, 2013, 07:47:27 PM »

The bits I've read from his "Concluding Unscientific Postcripts," as well as William James' essay "The Will to Believe" and most of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novels have all kinda been the foundation of my faith (intellectually speaking).
Even if someone were to prove to me that the truth lay outside Christ, I should choose to remain with Christ rather than with the truth." -- Fyodor Dostoevsky

Interesting that you should mention Dostoyevsky as I am currently reading The Idiot and have read The Brothers Karamazov.  He is one of my favorite authors of all time and I am aware that he was (and through his great literary works still is) a great proponent for Theism.  But discussion of Dostoyevsky's philosophy would probably warrant a whole new thread.
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« Reply #53 on: July 25, 2013, 02:50:38 PM »

Well I suppose I will flatly disagree with those that state that the existence of God cannot be known through logic and reason. Can we truly know God without revelation? Of course not. To state, however, that reason and logic cannot be employed is to deny a gift that God has granted: namely our Intellect which naturally reaches out to something beyond ourselves. I know it is fashionable for Orthodox to label anything Aristotelian or metaphysical as Latin scholastic heresy, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. What we need to be careful of is constructing an entire system of theology based on reason (scholasticism). But to employ logic to ascertain that there is a God is certainly good and praiseworthy.

To the original post I would suggest reading The Last Superstition by Edward Feser. He also has a blog I recommend: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/

If you mean me than be sure that is not what i was implying. I was saying that God is logical indeed but like in everything He is above logic. I am a big fan of systematic and apophatic theology and on using reasonable capacities fully when employed in theology.
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« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2013, 03:13:36 PM »

Interesting that you should mention Dostoyevsky as I am currently reading The Idiot and have read The Brothers Karamazov.  He is one of my favorite authors of all time and I am aware that he was (and through his great literary works still is) a great proponent for Theism.  But discussion of Dostoyevsky's philosophy would probably warrant a whole new thread.

That's great to hear! He's one of my favorites too. If you already haven't, you may want to check out the short story "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" sometime, and of course Crime and Punishment is fantastic as well. The Idiot disappointed me just a tad bit compared to his other stuff.
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« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2013, 03:57:05 PM »

Well I suppose I will flatly disagree with those that state that the existence of God cannot be known through logic and reason. Can we truly know God without revelation? Of course not. To state, however, that reason and logic cannot be employed is to deny a gift that God has granted: namely our Intellect which naturally reaches out to something beyond ourselves. I know it is fashionable for Orthodox to label anything Aristotelian or metaphysical as Latin scholastic heresy, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. What we need to be careful of is constructing an entire system of theology based on reason (scholasticism). But to employ logic to ascertain that there is a God is certainly good and praiseworthy.

To the original post I would suggest reading The Last Superstition by Edward Feser. He also has a blog I recommend: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/

If you mean me than be sure that is not what i was implying. I was saying that God is logical indeed but like in everything He is above logic. I am a big fan of systematic and apophatic theology and on using reasonable capacities fully when employed in theology.

I didn't have any one poster in mind. I was addressing an overall idea I see perpetuated sometimes. I am in complete agreement with what you state above. Logic can only bring us so far until Revelation takes over.
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