Making rules and definitions is hard.  You have to make them broad enough to given them proper meaning, but narrow enough scope to have a use.  For example, what is an airplane?  Well, saying something that has two wings, a rudder a pilot and co-pilot and a rudder would be too inclusive and disqualify biplanes.  If we say, a flying machine to carry humans, that would include blimps.  You have to get it just right.

Words are also often shaped by our use of them, even if we don't mean to specifically redefine the word.  For example, if we say that a movie is entertaining because it makes us cry, it blurs the line of what entertainment is to the point that it's hard to use it for anything.  Another example would be if we were to say that Superman 64 is not a bad game.  If that's not bad, well, what exactly is?

So, I now pose my question: If believing in a religion--at least the abrahamic religions--does not qualify as insane or at least ridiculous, what does?  This is not a mockery, it's a serious question for evaluation.  By all means, the claims made about miracles in any other scope other than religious would immediately be regarded as delusional behaviour.

There is a fair option, though.  Extraordinary claims are not absolutely always false, but we most certainly cannot accept them on faith.  What is required is justification -- evidence.  All a religion need do is provide adaquate evidence of the claims made.  By all means, that's not an unfair request.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" - Carl Sagan.

If you are willing to accept that statement, most certainly you can accept mine.

Posted by Ellyoda Thu, 10 Jul 2008 23:53:33 (comments: 46)
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Fri, 11 Jul 2008 00:22:10
Superman 64 is not bad! You are right, Superman 64 is worse than shit. Superman 64 is shit taking a shit.
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 02:05:48
Its called faith, all abrahamic religions are based on faith...You know like blockbuster movie, featuring "The One", relgion in itself is based on a belief that the rules that exist in this world are temporal and therefore are not absolute. So I really don't understand your point.
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 02:10:06
that*, this word goes before blockbuster movie, lol.
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 02:22:59
Furthermore, if their was extraordinary evidence, then religion itself would cease to exist, because as I mentioned earlier all religions are faith based. And when it comes to proving whether or not their is a God, that is impossible in of itself, the idea in itself is so beyond the human realm of knowledge and awareness. Unless we are to depend on the rules that exist in this world, which would lead to wholly unsubstantial findings. The law of motion, which exists in our world, for example would lead us to believe that their is a God or at least an "Uncaused Cause" or an "Unmoved Mover"
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 02:52:12
Faith is exactly my point.  Faith is belief without reason -- belief in things without reason, outside the realm of religion, is the basis for what we commonly refer to as "crazy."

If I believed unequivocably that someone was trying to kill me, that would cause concern for my mental capacity.  Can this kind of "faith" be distinguished from religious faith.  If so, how?

Also something that requires clarification is the distinction between a belief that there is likely a god or gods and a devotion to a religion, particularly from what I know, the Abrahamic religions.  These include things that ARE falsifiable, an obvious one just for example being Noah's ark, which is demonstrably false.

Your last sentence is ambiguous. There are three laws of motion.
1. An object at rest stays at rest.
2. F = ma.
3. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

You probably meant the conservation of energy for "uncaused cause".  Both are arguments of infinite regress that needlessly pushes the seeming need for an eternal existence back one step (what caused the cause, what moved the mover).

You also wouldn't call gravity "God" but is the "cause" of objects falling toward Earth.  If a naturalistic fluctuation hypothetically resulted in an alternate dimensional plane, that would be misleading and pointless to call it a god.
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 03:03:45
An couple other notes, I'm not sure the laws of motion even apply to quantum mechanics, such as the uncertainty principle being at odds with the first law.  I am no physicist, however.

The "unmoved mover" explanation for the first law of motion is pointless as that argument is at odds with the third law of motion.

"if their was extraordinary evidence, then religion itself would cease to exist"

And if someone doesn't believe they're multiple people, they aren't schizophrenic; that's not a justification. I also don't actually agree with the premise, as there is extraordinary evidence for biological evolution, for example, which many still manage to deny. Now that takes real faith LOL
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 03:57:58
Oh yes I'm well aware that the Unmoved Mover theory isn't entirely plausible, but that was part of my point, in that it is impossible to prove that God doesn't exist using our experience on earth as such would really be counter intuitive. Religious faith is different from the example you gave, in that its foundation can neither be proven nor disproved by evidence. I just don't understand your standpoint on faith, are you against faith in of itself?... Don't worry, I am not trying to take you in circles, and I really do have a point.
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 04:11:53
My main point is surrounding the basis on which faith is founded.  I use the example of insanity and delusion because it's the only other instance where this occurs.

What it ultimately comes down to, if you have no reason to believe something is true, what is the basis for claiming something that is unfalsifiable is not true?  You can make any number of currently or forever unfalsifiable claims, such as a riverdancing hominid at the core of Pluto.  As for apparent delusion/insanity, you can't disprove that the person acting like there's a purple elephant in the room isn't in a shifted reality in which one exists only to him.  It's a matter of burden of proof.

"I just don't understand your standpoint on faith, are you against faith in of itself?"

Yes, though my point is mainly that faith is a matter of compartmentalization that has no function and would be directly harmful in any practical application.
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 05:49:36
You're making the types of blogs that I've been wanting to make, yoda! Sad lol

We all need some measure of faith because we aren't omniscient when it comes to life, but faith is only really "ok" (knowledge is always preferable) when what you're having faith in is nothing significant and you couldn't get the facts easily enough. When it comes to one's own fate, however, I'd think people would be more careful about their reasoning. The more important something is, the more reasoning there should be in trying to ascertain the truth.

That's the paradox with religion, IMO. But the thing is, very few come to religion via carefully reasoned arguments, if any. It's really just a cultural phenomenon playing on people's psychology, ignorance, and/or lack of philosophical sophistication (not trying to offend anyone, BTW). If everyone started out as nonbelievers with a good grasp on reason, there would be no conversions to religion, since faith is only a "good reason" for belief for those who already have faith.

As for the Abrahamic religions relying on faith, that may be true now in general, but in the holy books' stories, we see plenty of convincing reasons for belief given. Many people in those stories didn't have to rely on faith, or at least not nearly as much. But let's not go assuming that the stories are true--I was just making a point.

"when it comes to proving whether or not their is a God, that is impossible in of itself, the idea in itself is so beyond the human realm of knowledge and awareness."

Not when people actually put forth descriptions, definitions, and attribute actions to said entity. As long as we have a description or know what the entity does, there is no problem.

I think that talk about "rules of this world" and such doesn't hold water. The fact is that things just behave in certain ways, and the "rules" are just the commonalities that we've been able to tease out from experience. If a god existed, it would behave in a certain way, too, having certain effects on things. It would also have a certain inherent nature. If we're not able to comprehend that, then it is automatically implied that there is actually no reason to believe in said god in the first place. Faith is just an excuse, though maybe the one who has faith doesn't recognize it as such.

You're right, yoda: In no other area of human thought and interaction is faith taken to be a good thing, and for good reason. Say, have you heard about the goings-on in Europe with Islam? It's like the countries over there are submitting slowly to Islamic rule just so they don't offend anyone. Recently a police card was sent out to the people of some neighborhood, and it had the cute police dog on the front. Muslims were offended because it is considered an unclean animal, so the police are taking measures to appease them, including putting little booties on the dogs' feet for when they enter Muslim households! Sheesh!
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 05:51:27
Very few people are rational. WinkWink In fact it is natural to delude yourself into believing what you believe. It is natural to manipulate evidence, and even find evidence when there is none.

Here's an interesting thing that you may or may not have heard of, people who have temporal lobe epilepsy are often highly "spiritual" and religious.

There are many practical uses for faith. One being the status-quo using it for manipulation, secondly it can be used as quite an effective coping mechanism.
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