Bias in Philosophy of Religion
Posted: 19 December 2017 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m taking an online course with Richard Carrier about Biblical Scholarship, but he also teaches about scholarship in general, like how to find resources. As an example, he supplied a PDF from JSTOR, just to show what you can find if you know where to look. I haven’t signed up for JSTOR yet, but I might after reading this.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/42751260  Diagnosing the Bias in Philosophy of Religion

He talks about the type of thing we all run into all the time. That is, you can’t talk to a religious person about their religion. They are completely incapable of looking at it from an objective point of view. Worse, the people who studied it and are getting paid to keep up on it usually have their livelihood tied directly to keeping a particular point of view. That’s theology and dogma. They disguise it as philosophy, but it’s not.

I ran into this when I tried to discuss my latest blog post with my ex-pastors. http://winter60.blogspot.com/2017/12/behold-i-bring-you-tidings-of-great-joy.html
I pointed out the correct Greek translation of “Peace on Earth good will toward men” is actually “Peace on Earth for those whom God like”. One of them even knew it said “favors” in the NSRB Bible. But he went on to say how that means God favors the poor. He ignores when God favors the rich and didn’t even begin to address the other much worse mis-translations and forgeries. They all agreed that the message of Jesus has been corrupted, but for the life of me, I can’t get them to say what that means. When I point out a corruption, they defend it as canonical, every time.

Anyway, got off track there. The article is about how people are biased, citing studies showing how they deal with factual material. They apply this to the philosophy of religion, pointing out stuff like the above. They start out saying that there is a thirst for discussion of philosophies that have come out of, or been expressed by religion, but that this bias makes it difficult to bring that work out into the open. I’m not sure I agree with that claim. Certainly churches aren’t interested in questioning dogma, but I’m not sure if there’s that much thirst for doing anything other than walking away from it.

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Posted: 19 December 2017 12:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Breaking down religion to its root we end up with “knowledge”. Or controlling some form of knowledge. We as humans thrive for knowledge. When it comes to the knowledge held by the churches, like afterlife and Jesus. It seems that humans cannot process this knowledge the same as math for example. That is why I think we have a religious gene that causes people to act differently when it comes to religious thinking. Could that be part of the bias you are talking about. I got more of the genes for women and beer than for religion. And I cannot process or understand women, but I can beer.

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Posted: 19 December 2017 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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MikeYohe - 19 December 2017 12:46 PM

Breaking down religion to its root we end up with “knowledge”.

No, we don’t. Only you do that. Nobody else. That’s your thing and you try to make every thread about your thing.

They do talk a little about the in-group cohesiveness of religious affiliation. Having a supernatural being that can somehow punish you if you are a free loader or cheater gives the group some confidence that you won’t be one of those. This creates some automatic trust when you join.

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Posted: 20 December 2017 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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One thing I learned a long time ago is that religion is totally personal and emotional. There’s literally zero reason involved. I remember having a discussion with the valedictorian of the large university I went to. He ended up getting full rides to the best graduate universities in the world. I mean this guy was smart! Yet when we discussed religion he was dumb as a rock, and trotted out the same garbage the lowliest Christian trots out. You just have to realize this applies to intellectuals as well, in religion, but in philosophy in general. So much of the ballyhoo the classic philosophers generated was just personal, subjective opinions dressed up in fancy talk to make it seem legit. So it’s no surprise we’d see the same thing today.

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Posted: 20 December 2017 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Think about what you are saying. Having a supernatural judge. Before there were supernatural being judging us. You got to judge yourself. Thus, you were watching yourself. And branches of those religions are still with us today.
 
Now, are you telling me that you want a judge with no knowledge? That this supernatural being is not knowledgeable? I don’t see it that way. When I look at the supernatural beings they all have one thing in common and that is knowledge on some subject. Common factors are important when trying to understand the history of religion. Knowledge is nothing more that comparing what we don’t know with what we know. And I think people today will say God knows everything. And I agree with what you are saying about people today and the way they look at religion.
 
Now, why “knowledge”. What I found was that before deities there were gods. How can you have a god without being a deity? Well it turns out that in pre-history the word god means “knowledge”. We had people of knowledge. And that was well understood at the time of Jesus. Just look at the Gnostic teachings. Gnostic is just another word that means “knowledge”. In other words, until modern times religion was about “knowledge”. And the bible is full of texts from the religion of knowledge (Gnostic).
 
Jesus’s inner circle was Gnostic. Or put another way, followers of “Knowledge”.
 
If you can’t break a subject down to it’s root core, then you might have a hard time fully understanding that subject. For example, a lot of the Jewish and Christian thinking evolved from the Ra thinking. Ra controlled all knowledge. The people had no knowledge until Ra gave them knowledge. With the Greek thinking of the brain, Ra faded into history. And this Greek thinking was part of what Jesus was dealing with.
 
Also, the knowledge thinking started to go away when the Roman rulers started titling mothers, brothers, sisters and other family members as gods. It was changing the meaning of how people looked at gods.
 
Therefore, if history shows that religion was about knowledge. And we can see the Gnostic painting in the church.  And the Gnostic text in the bible. Today if there is no connection to knowledge in religion then it is a different religion than the people used a thousand years ago.

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Posted: 20 December 2017 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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CuthbertJ - 20 December 2017 11:20 AM

One thing I learned a long time ago is that religion is totally personal and emotional. There’s literally zero reason involved. I remember having a discussion with the valedictorian of the large university I went to. He ended up getting full rides to the best graduate universities in the world. I mean this guy was smart! Yet when we discussed religion he was dumb as a rock, and trotted out the same garbage the lowliest Christian trots out. You just have to realize this applies to intellectuals as well, in religion, but in philosophy in general. So much of the ballyhoo the classic philosophers generated was just personal, subjective opinions dressed up in fancy talk to make it seem legit. So it’s no surprise we’d see the same thing today.

They address the studies that show people who are smart are sometimes also better at making arguments for things that aren’t true. They also point out that there are non-theists who study the philosophy of religion. From the non-academic perspective, we don’t see that. We see pastors using pseudo-scholarship to make bad apologetic arguments. This is the dominant force of the studies, but there are 30% non-theists specializing in philosophy of religion (English speaking). Still, it’s difficult to have a decent debate when the 70% is dominated by Christians.

Their recommendation is for those Christians to practice making well constructed arguments AGAINST their cherished positions. Ya, I’m sure they’ll get right on that.

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Posted: 20 December 2017 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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MikeYohe - 20 December 2017 01:33 PM

Think about what you are saying. Having a supernatural judge. Before there were supernatural being judging us. You got to judge yourself. Thus, you were watching yourself. And branches of those religions are still with us today.
 
Now, are you telling me that you want a judge with no knowledge?

I want a judge that is real. You are an example of the problem Mike. The problem is, there are philosophies of religion that don’t require belief in an all-knowing being capable of dispensing judgment. But you are incapable of having that discussion. To keep on your pet theory, you have invented entire cultures that never existed with dictionaries full of words only you know.

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Posted: 20 December 2017 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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CuthbertJ - 20 December 2017 11:20 AM

One thing I learned a long time ago is that religion is totally personal and emotional. There’s literally zero reason involved. I remember having a discussion with the valedictorian of the large university I went to. He ended up getting full rides to the best graduate universities in the world. I mean this guy was smart! Yet when we discussed religion he was dumb as a rock, and trotted out the same garbage the lowliest Christian trots out. You just have to realize this applies to intellectuals as well, in religion, but in philosophy in general. So much of the ballyhoo the classic philosophers generated was just personal, subjective opinions dressed up in fancy talk to make it seem legit. So it’s no surprise we’d see the same thing today.

I hear what you are saying. I try and keep things simple. Please show me one book about “GOD”. Jesus was a teacher. Did he teach about GOD? Or did he teach what past knowledge showed worked for managing people. Genesis is just based on older genesis stories with upper and lower gods. And that takes us back to the time that there were no deities and the word god meant knowledge. I guess one could look at this like Santa Clause. Is the story about Santa? Or is it about teaching young people. In history has religion been about God or Knowledge is the question you need to answer.

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Posted: 20 December 2017 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Lausten - 20 December 2017 02:13 PM
MikeYohe - 20 December 2017 01:33 PM

Think about what you are saying. Having a supernatural judge. Before there were supernatural being judging us. You got to judge yourself. Thus, you were watching yourself. And branches of those religions are still with us today.
 
Now, are you telling me that you want a judge with no knowledge?

I want a judge that is real. You are an example of the problem Mike. The problem is, there are philosophies of religion that don’t require belief in an all-knowing being capable of dispensing judgment. But you are incapable of having that discussion. To keep on your pet theory, you have invented entire cultures that never existed with dictionaries full of words only you know.

 
The bookstore is full of new books on religion. Gnostic has a lot of new books out. Why do you think that I live in a world that I made up? Today we have thousands of scholars who are studying religious subjects.  The doors of our past history are just beginning to open up. And I got to admit, there are theories I don’t agree with. I try and keep it as simple as possible. And that requires the use of a timelines. I think society really needs to revalue religion. And that’s not going to happen unless you go to the root core. The beginning of the subject. You will never get a Muslim or Christian to rethink religion by looking at its philosophy. 
 
As far as deities, you are making it harder than it has to be. You can analyze the subject to death. Again, keep it simple. If you really believed that a deity existed. Then you would live your life 100% for that deity. You would be willing to die at anytime for that deity. That is a lack of knowledge symptom. We either believe people have the mental ability to reason out of this state of mind given the correct knowledge. Or we will have to have big brother watching every text, phone call, book and friends around the clock on millions of people. The point I am getting at is that the answer may be in the religion itself. But we first have to pinpoint where religion went wrong and try fixing it from that point. Now, do you think a blind faith believer will be willing learn more about his deity? If the answer is yes. Then we might be able to fix the problems religions are causing today. But if we ourselves really can’t understand religion or the history of religion then we should just open the doors for big brother.

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Posted: 20 December 2017 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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MikeYohe - 20 December 2017 03:08 PM

 
The bookstore is full of new books on religion. Gnostic has a lot of new books out. Why do you think that I live in a world that I made up?

Because you constantly do what you just did. You say you read a book, but you don’t say what book. On the rare occasion you have cited a source, it’s a crap source. Even when your source is good, you mess it up. You take some information and scramble it and make it into something it’s not.

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Posted: 20 December 2017 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I can understand you saying what you are saying. As I told you in the past, I don’t think you or others can understand religion by just reading the bible. The bible is only a part of religion. And a small part at that. Just like you can’t understand that Knowledge was a religion. It was even the name of the religion and most people don’t understand that it is a big part of religion. And one of its teachers was Jesus. Now you imply that I made up this religion or have the information scrambled. What I am saying is that your take on religion is bias by Christian thinking. When I say that there are a lot of new books out about Gnosticism. It should be understood, that there are many new books about the religion of knowledge, same thing.  Muhammad conquered a city and they said we will give you all our gold and silver. Muhammad said no, what we want is your books of knowledge. As the Christians were destroying knowledge, Muhammad was rebelling and building the religion with knowledge. So how is it that Jesus is a prophet to Muslims? Did Muhammad see Jesus as a teacher of knowledge? Never have I heard anyone on this atheist site talk about the religion of knowledge or Gnostic as it is known in the time of Jesus. Yet the religion of Ra was also a religion based upon knowledge. 
 
So why was the church destroying all knowledge during the Dark Ages? Knowledge on everything from astronomy to plumbing was destroyed. Is it possible that they connected all knowledge with the religion of knowledge and wanted to wipe out the religion? If that was their goal, they did a good job. 
 
I bet you are thinking, where is the experts on what Mike is saying? They are not talking about it, so it is just some thing Mike has made up. That’s hard to argue against. Any expert would be putting his or her career on the line to talk about hot religious items. Me, I don’t care. I have nothing to lose or gain either way. 
 
Back to my point. If Muhammad built a religion based upon the older religions of knowledge, then today’s Muslims terrorists are practicing a religion that can’t be what Muhammad intended. And I keep hearing that all the time from Muslims that Islam is not a what the terrorist claims it is. This is why I think we should explore the feasibility of using religious teachings to correct the religious problems we are having today. Sort of like using math to fix a math error. 
 
The biggest problem I am seeing is that people really don’t understand religion or god beyond the Christian viewpoint, which has greatly limited the scope of what can be done to fix the problems. Today in the news, the government wants more secret powers to combat terrorists. They are claiming that they must have these new and more powerful secret powers to be able to fight terrorists today. And then we have the Republicans that are interviewing the FBI for possibility using these same secret powers to change our democratic voting. It is not good, and a little knowledge can be dangerous. I think understanding religion is the best answer to fixing religion. The path we are taking right now has guns and death and big brother watching everybody.

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Posted: 21 December 2017 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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You’ve never heard an atheist talk about Gnosticism because you only hear what you want to hear. Have you tried googling that?

“experts are afraid to take your position”, classic red flag for crack pottery.

There are many Muslims doing exactly what you suggested. They don’t need your crack pot ideas.

I already stated the idea that understanding religion is the key to fixing it. You seem to think I need convincing of that. Where did you get that? How did you miss that I already said that? What I don’t do is go off on tangents about government conspiracies.

Go find someone else’s thread to hijack.

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Posted: 21 December 2017 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Lausten sorry, the title grabbed me, this conversation lost me. 

I think I just stopped in to ask,
isn’t Bias in Philosophy of Religion sort of an oxymoron?

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Posted: 21 December 2017 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Citizenschallenge-v.3 - 21 December 2017 07:58 AM

Lausten sorry, the title grabbed me, this conversation lost me. 

I think I just stopped in to ask,
isn’t Bias in Philosophy of Religion sort of an oxymoron?

Probably seems like that to anyone who is not trying to approach it as an actual philosophical inquiry. The problem is not however that there is only one way to approach religion, and the only option is to abandon it. This is a cultural artifact of how the Western mind was closed in the 4th century. Once you strip away the dominance of Christianity, you find things like cultural Judaism and the natural tendency toward pantheism, or the more sophisticated versions of Deism or iteism. We can refuse to address these but they don’t go away. They aren’t just other forms of magical thinking. They are part of who we are and they present viable alternatives to the corrupted and antiquated churches of today.

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