View Single Post
Old 07-30-2009, 03:02 AM   #77
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,204
Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
I was just demonstrating that it did not fit the first definition. As for the second definition, I'm not convinced one can call it a misunderstanding (or erroneous) if the belief does not necessarily entail the possibility of "steering one wrong".
But religion (christianity specifically because that's the topic) does entail this possibility.

Which points of christian doctrine do we have any evidence for? If we have no good reasons for thinking that any of them are correct, then it stands to reason that every single one of them "necessarily entail the possibility of 'steering one wrong'".

If I accept the story of the virgin birth, either through childhood indoctrination or a momentary lapse of skepticism, then unless there are good reasons for accpeting this story, I have been "steered wrong". Granted the virgin birth is a very risk for me. Accepting it probably won't be the end of the world. But what about when we start getting into the heavier stuff like accepting jesus as being the only way to avoid eternal torment in a lake of fire? None of this sounds like superstition to you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
For example, if the belief that a spell will protect you from physical harm leads you (or will lead you) to hurt yourself, that belief was superstitious (def. 1). But modern Christianity entails no such necessary gamble.
Apologies, Samuel. I don't see the whole "accepting jesus as your personal savior" (and all it's repercussions) as being anything other than such a gamble.

That your example entails a physical body which is known to a exist and mine involves a non-physical soul which the believer believes exists seems irrelevant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
It is these facts alone which I am saying cannot be superstition.
And again, I think this sounds like special pleading. Claims should be tested. If claims cannot be tested, they should not be accepted. And claims that are accepted without good reasons would certainly seem to invoke the first definition of superstition, per your source.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
My point in all of this talk of history of Christianity was to show that the things said by Christianity are not necessarily claims about the nature of the world, even if they are couched in the terms common to such claims.
I guess I would be interested in knowing how you think we should distinguish between claims and things that couched in terms common to claims?

"jesus was a man, born of a virgin, and the son of god who lived ~2,000 year ago in the Middle East" sounds like a claim. It sounds like a very specific claim. It does not matter that the original claim made very different proclamations thousands of years ago when first uttered by human lips, it is the claim made today.

"Bobby stood on the street corner, wearing a blue shirt" and "Bobby stood on the street corner, wearing a blue shirt with purple shorts" are two separate claims. Even if we were to verify the first claim, it doesn't make the second claim is automatically true (in whole) also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
And that's the only thing I've tried to say: that some - not all, perhaps not even very many - Christians do not hold superstitious beliefs.
My test remains as it was before: show me a single rational component to christian doctrine and I will hopefully be able to see your point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
In this case I am not saying that the origin of these religious beliefs changes their current truth value; I am saying that their current truth value (or lack thereof) can only be evaluated through the social practices within which they exist-- and a look at the history of the phenomena helps bring this out.
And I don't see how this is anything other than special pleading. These beliefs should be subject to the same tests and consideration as any other belief. I have yet to see a good argument for exception.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
God's omnipotence is entirely natural given the sort of being he is in the framework of the religions that describe him.
This reasoning seems circular. It is natural to consider god to be omnipotent because that's how we should expect god to be. Please help me understand what I'm misunderstanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
However, merely because some Christians try this approach does not mean all must, implicitly or explicitly.
This goes back to a point I tried to raise earlier. All christians adhere to some part of christian doctrine. Otherwise their just humanists. I don't see how anyone taking on the mantle of "christian" can escape unscaythed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
I realize that it's typical for something which is not rational to seem as if it were irrational, bad, or somehow lacking in rationality that it needs in order to be respectable. This is simply a metaphysical prejudice carried over from dualistic thinkers who held that (untenably) the mind was superior, or at least separate from, the body. Curiously enough, Christianity has been fighting such teachings at least since the Manichean heresy, roughly AD 387. Modern analytic philosophy has been trying to rid itself of dualistic ways of thinking for at least 70 years now; it's a lot harder than it sounds. Many ideas which seem very significant, like Descartes' "I think, therefore I am" (everyone loves that, I know), solipsism, and any other radically subjective ideas must be abandoned completely.
I think this confuses "dualism" and "dichotomy". I think you and I have discussed dualism in the past, and hopefully you'll recall that I don't accept it. However that doesn't mean that trying to frame things in a "rational vs. irrational" dichotomy is also intellectually bankrupt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kylilin View Post
Am I the only one here who thinks that there are bigger fish to fry than worrying about what's carved on a wall? I think Californians should worry more about saving their state from going broke.
Indeed, the list of things more important than this is long and wide. If Dan Lungren wasn't lobbying to get his religious sentiments permanently etched onto a goverment building with taxpayer money, there probably wouldn't be very much to discuss, would there?

I think you are right. Clearly someone has their priorities mixed up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kylilin View Post
Personally, although I am no fan of the Christian right or organized religion for that matter, I couldn't care less if "In God We Trust" was displayed on or in a government building.
And that's your right. Hopefully you won't begrudge those of us who have a right to care.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,