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Should theistic fact claims be subjected to the same standards of scrutiny as other fact claims?
Posted: 29 August 2013 01:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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The standard definition of knowledge is true justified belief. So if you know something you believe it.

Stephen

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Posted: 29 August 2013 02:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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I find it weird that people can believe in something of which they have no knowledge. But I guess that is called “faith”.

[ Edited: 29 August 2013 02:47 AM by Write4U ]
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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
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Posted: 29 August 2013 04:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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Occam. - 28 August 2013 10:04 PM

Quoting PC:

Our using those words doesn’t add to the sum total of misunderstanding; on the contrary, it gives us an opportunity to bring greater clarity.

Well. . . ., yes and no.  If we can discuss a word and reach an agreement with the other person, we’ve made progress, however, if the other person insists on using a common word over and over duirng a discussion with a definition that’s not acceptable, it’s difficult to have the conversation be meaningful.  Lois’ example of “belief” ia a case in point.  If the person KNOWS that it’s synonymous with “truth” and uses it as such, it makes it difficult to carry on a meaningful discussion.

Occam

Of course but that’s true with anything. It’s always hard to get through to people who have their minds made up and feel strongly about it. It’s rather like trying to have a discussion with secularists who react emotionally to certain words and get them to admit that they do it; or to admit that their reaction impedes their ability to have a meaningful discussion.

In post 61, Stephen Lawrence makes a simple, and true, observation. He writes as though he’s wondering how the hell a collection of seemingly intelligent people got into an argument about the meaning of “belief” and whether it’s a word we “should” use. If that’s what lies beneath his post, it’s understandable. You can draw the finest and most incisive analytical lines you like, Occam, but the fact remains that some secularists react emotionally to words. I’ve seen it, for decades. Lois admits it. Why is there such resistance to admitting that we have a problem of our own making within secularism, when it’s so obvious that we do?

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 29 August 2013 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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PLaClair - 29 August 2013 04:44 AM

In post 61, Stephen Lawrence makes a simple, and true, observation. He writes as though he’s wondering how the hell a collection of seemingly intelligent people got into an argument about the meaning of “belief” and whether it’s a word we “should” use.

Yep.

Beliefs, very general, are propositions or theories one thinks to be true. Some of these one thinks are true because they are (empirically) proven (which one then calls ‘knowledge’), some of them are thought to be true and in principle can be found out (e.g. go somewhere to check if a fact is true, or doing an experiment), and some that principally cannot be found out.

Just as a simplified schema of ‘beliefs’:

|              |        True              |      False
|------------------------------------------------------------------
|              |          
1               |        2     
|              | Facts                    None
Justified    Established scientific   |              
|              | 
theories                 |
|              |                          |              
|------------------------------------------------------------------
|              |          
3               |        4    
|              |  Prognosis               Theistic religions
Unjustified  |  Hypothesis              Metaphysics(?)
|              |  
Expectations            |
|              |                          |              
|------------------------------------------------------------------ 

This is of course an atheistic view. Theists might like to put ‘Theistic religions’ in block 3, with the difference with the other examples in this block that there is no way that a theist proposition or theory ever gets in block 1 because we have no observations or experiments that would be needed to get into block 1.

Theists however have captured the word ‘belief’ for their purposes, and I think that explains the aversion atheists have against the word ‘belief’.

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GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

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Posted: 29 August 2013 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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GdB - 29 August 2013 05:28 AM

Theists however have captured the word ‘belief’ for their purposes, and I think that explains the aversion atheists have against the word ‘belief’.

Yep.

To add to my latest, since when is a definition “not acceptable”? However someone is using the word, is that person’s definition. To be clear, I do not recommend that we use idiosyncratic definitions, just that when someone does that, there is no point fighting over what the word means. Words have no intrinsic meaning. As Humpty observed, they mean what the speaker means by them; that’s not a defense of Humpty’s peculiarity, only an observation about the best course of action to take when it happens. People bring all kinds of baggage into their discussions. As rationalists, our commitment should be to get that baggage out of the way as best we can - and not dump our own baggage on the pile!

A case is point is brmckay, who was recently posting here. He used words whose meaning he may have understood but they were not clear to me. Had we been able to cut through a few other layers of content in his case, we might have asked him what he meant by “God,” for example. It wasn’t at all clear to me, and I had the sense it wasn’t clear to him. But there would have been no point in my trying to convince him that the word “God” means “x.”

[ Edited: 29 August 2013 07:02 AM by PLaClair ]
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Posted: 29 August 2013 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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GdB - 29 August 2013 05:28 AM

Theists however have captured the word ‘belief’ for their purposes, and I think that explains the aversion atheists have against the word ‘belief’.

This made me laugh.  Christians have been using the word belief for two thousand years.  We haven’t “captured” anything.  Since belief an integral part of our faith, atheists want nothing to do with it and go to extreme lengths to insist they have “no beliefs.”  This was the first conversation I had when I came to this board and was called a troll for saying atheists do have a belief, they believe there is no God.  I think you can put atheism in box 4 as well. 

Atheists have contorted the English language in their zeal to reject religion and that leads to discussions like this where simply words like belief are said to no longer mean what everyone knows it means.  It’s been “captured” by the overwhelming majority of people speaking the language who happen to be theists, including those who write the dictionaries.

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Posted: 29 August 2013 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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LilySmith - 29 August 2013 07:55 AM
GdB - 29 August 2013 05:28 AM

Theists however have captured the word ‘belief’ for their purposes, and I think that explains the aversion atheists have against the word ‘belief’.

This made me laugh.  Christians have been using the word belief for two thousand years.  We haven’t “captured” anything.

OK, you have your laugh. It wasn’t meant as a historical account.

LilySmith - 29 August 2013 07:55 AM

Since belief an integral part of our faith, atheists want nothing to do with it and go to extreme lengths to insist they have “no beliefs.”  This was the first conversation I had when I came to this board and was called a troll for saying atheists do have a belief, they believe there is no God.  I think you can put atheism in box 4 as well.

It makes no sense to put the non-belief of anything in the schema, that is the point you do not accept. You should put yourself also in box 4 as an ‘a-Zeusist’, as an ‘a-flying spaghetti monsterist’ etc. Do you really think that makes sense? The only reasonable position is that the non-belief in something is itself not a belief. Atheists may have all kind of beliefs, but belief in a God does not belong to it. It is just a rhetorical trick to make from the non-belief in something, a belief in the non-existence of something.

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Posted: 29 August 2013 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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LilySmith - 29 August 2013 07:55 AM
GdB - 29 August 2013 05:28 AM

Theists however have captured the word ‘belief’ for their purposes, and I think that explains the aversion atheists have against the word ‘belief’.

This made me laugh.  Christians have been using the word belief for two thousand years.  We haven’t “captured” anything.  Since belief an integral part of our faith, atheists want nothing to do with it and go to extreme lengths to insist they have “no beliefs.”  This was the first conversation I had when I came to this board and was called a troll for saying atheists do have a belief, they believe there is no God.  I think you can put atheism in box 4 as well. 

Atheists have contorted the English language in their zeal to reject religion and that leads to discussions like this where simply words like belief are said to no longer mean what everyone knows it means.  It’s been “captured” by the overwhelming majority of people speaking the language who happen to be theists, including those who write the dictionaries.

I call you a troll because you don’t engage the conversation in any reasonable manner. You have responded in only a minimal way to the lengthy explanations of how people go about determining truth. You make no effort to reflect what they say or show any attempt at understanding. It would be convenient for you if everyone agreed that we can’t figure out anything and belief is the only the correct word when saying anything about God, but we’re not here to make you feel comfortable. You would like to think you are in some sort of majority, but you aren’t. There is no majority opinion on what Christianity is.

Besides, I read 1 Timonty 2:12, so why should I listen to you anyway?

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Posted: 29 August 2013 09:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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Lausten - 29 August 2013 09:23 AM

Besides, I read 1 Timothy 2:12, so why should I listen to you anyway?

Touché

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You cannot have a rational conversation with someone who holds irrational beliefs.

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Posted: 29 August 2013 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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She didn’t follow 1 Timothy 2:11 so what makes you think she’ll follow 2:12?


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 29 August 2013 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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GdB - 29 August 2013 08:22 AM
LilySmith - 29 August 2013 07:55 AM

Since belief an integral part of our faith, atheists want nothing to do with it and go to extreme lengths to insist they have “no beliefs.”  This was the first conversation I had when I came to this board and was called a troll for saying atheists do have a belief, they believe there is no God.  I think you can put atheism in box 4 as well.

It makes no sense to put the non-belief of anything in the schema, that is the point you do not accept. You should put yourself also in box 4 as an ‘a-Zeusist’, as an ‘a-flying spaghetti monsterist’ etc. Do you really think that makes sense? The only reasonable position is that the non-belief in something is itself not a belief. Atheists may have all kind of beliefs, but belief in a God does not belong to it. It is just a rhetorical trick to make from the non-belief in something, a belief in the non-existence of something.

At the beginning of Christianity, Christians did reject a belief in Zeus and the pagan gods to accept the Christian understanding.  Christians were called atheists by pagans for that reason.  Christians had accepted a different belief from the prevailing belief of that day.  The very word atheist defines you based on your relation to a theist.  In my view it is a different belief concerning God, not just an empty head until someone gives you evidence for something.  You have chosen a world view that is based on a rejection of the existence of God.  You can present it as if everyone is an atheist until someone presents evidence and proof of a God, but that’s not the real world we live in.  If it’s truly a non-belief, why call yourself an atheist at all; why define yourself based on your rejection of God?

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Posted: 29 August 2013 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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Sorry guys but we’re circling our wagons around the wrong tree.  You can discuss definitions of words all you want. What matters is, WHATEVER the person says they believe, HOWEVER they define their words, are they willing to act upon them or rather, behave as if they thought the beliefs were true? (I *think* this is Alfred North Whiteheads definition of true belief.) 

So in #53 I asked of the theists in this thread:

Do you theist believe your God will spare your life if you jump off this bridge, or if He doesn’t, He’d have good reason not to (thereby still allowing you to go to Heaven even though you’ve apparently just committed suicide)?

If you truly believe (i.e. are willing to act as if your beliefs are true) what you say about God and His love for you, you will jump off the bridge.  If you DON’T truly believe, and basically you’re just fooling yourself about a so-called god for psychological reasons, then you won’t jump.

Now I’m sure there are some who would actually jump right off.  But my guess is, put to a real test of beliefs like I’ve suggested, most “believers” would not follow through. (And I personally wouldn’t want them to.)

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Posted: 29 August 2013 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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I second Cuthbert’s comments. Thornton Wilder wrote that “wherever human beings are involved, there are layers and layers of nonsense.” People say they believe everything in the Bible, literally, but I’ve never met one person who really did. Sometimes the consequences can be comic, other times tragic, and yet other times both - like the evangelical Christian I used to date who said that sex outside marriage was a sin as we sat naked on her bed arguing about theology. (Lois and Occam: Note how I use the word “believe”  to my advantage as a secularist. Instead of bemoaning how some of our common language has been hijacked, take words that our adversaries use, and put them to your use.) Meanwhile, people like Smith think they’ve uncovered some chink in the secularist armor, and persist long after the matter has been explained to them.

In the end, while the thoughts behind our actions shape those actions and therefore are indispensable to an ethical life, the final test of what we believe is what we do. So have a few drinks and a few laughs, everyone. A long weekend is coming up.

[ Edited: 29 August 2013 11:13 AM by PLaClair ]
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Posted: 29 August 2013 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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LilySmith - 29 August 2013 10:05 AM

If it’s truly a non-belief, why call yourself an atheist at all; why define yourself based on your rejection of God?

In a better world, I would just say I am a human being. I could express my care for others and my feelings of connectedness openly and not have anyone mention their unjustified beliefs. But I live in a world where the man who came who close to being the leader of the free world came from an organization that until very recently held as doctrine that races should be kept separate and not equal. I care about my fellow humans and my planet enough to make a statement about the dangers of belief.

I feel as strongly about this as a liberal open-minded theist cares about how fundamentalists get their religion wrong. I see both of them as wrong in different ways and to different degrees. In fact, before I called myself an atheist, I was arguing exactly that. I could show you the passages about homosexuality and tell you why they did not say we should not have gay marriage. Now I see it as all wrong, and anything agreeable, like the Golden Rule, I see as not coming from theology. And I can show you why I see it that way.

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Posted: 29 August 2013 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
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CuthbertJ - 29 August 2013 10:35 AM

Do you theist believe your God will spare your life if you jump off this bridge, or if He doesn’t, He’d have good reason not to (thereby still allowing you to go to Heaven even though you’ve apparently just committed suicide)?

If you truly believe (i.e. are willing to act as if your beliefs are true) what you say about God and His love for you, you will jump off the bridge.  If you DON’T truly believe, and basically you’re just fooling yourself about a so-called god for psychological reasons, then you won’t jump.

Now I’m sure there are some who would actually jump right off.  But my guess is, put to a real test of beliefs like I’ve suggested, most “believers” would not follow through. (And I personally wouldn’t want them to.)

Your premise is flawed.  God never promised those who believe in Him that if they jump off a bridge he will spare their lives.  That’s not what Christians “truly believe in.”  In fact, God isn’t going to spare our lives at all.  We will all die.  The promise is that there is an eternal existence beyond this temporal world, and those who believe in Jesus as the Christ will be given eternal life.

“On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.”

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’”

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