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Ch. 5: The Metaphysical Claims of Religion Are False 
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There are many myths, legends and fables that are told with the sole purpose of delivering some sort of message.

Take little red riding hood. Essentially a warning to young girls to not be too trusting with strage men. This message is deliverable in any number of media, with different cheracters, settings, and subtext. We don't need the wolf. If we aknowledge that the cheracters of the bible are plot devices used to deliver a message and have no relation to historic reality (The bible being set agains historic events does not make it a historical document. Spider-man is set in new york and the publishers document such things as the 911 attacks and terrorism. That does not mean this is a source we should look to.) then these cheracters should be disposable.

We could easily produce additional stories in which Jesus delivers new lessons that are applicable to new circumstances in our time. This would meet with considerable resistance because people believe the story of the Jesus cheracter to be historically accurate.

If we are to view these cheracters as messengers of truth, rather than as literal historic persons then what harm would there be in re-writing the bible to take out all of the insanity?


Numbers 16:16-49
The escaped Israelites had been complaining to Moses about the lack of water, sustenence and food in the desert that they have been led to by Moses.
16 Moses commands that 250 of them must come to the tent and present incense at the altar. They do so.
21God says, "Stand back from these people, and I will destroy them immediately."

22 "But Moses and Aaron bowed down and said, "O, God, you are the source of all life. When one man sins, do you get angry with the whole community?"

31-34 "the ground under Dathan and Abiram split open and swallowed them and their families, together with all of Korah's followers and their possessions. The earth closed over them, and they vanished. All the people of Israel who were there fled when they heard their cry. They shouted, "Run! The earth might swallow us too!
35 Then the Lord sent a fire that blazed out and burnt up the 250 men who had presented the incense."

41 "The next day the whole community complained against Moses and Aaron and said, "You have killed some of the Lords people"

45 God speaks to Moses, "Stand back from these people, and I will destroy them on the spot!"

Good lesson?
How about these?

2Kings 2:23-24 [NIV]
"Elisha left Jericho to go to Bethel and on the way some boys came out of a town and made fun of him. "Get out of here, Baldy!" they shouted. Elisha turned around, glared at them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys to pieces."


1 Samuel 6:19 [NIV]
""But God struck down some of the men of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy [1] of them to death because they had looked into the ark of the LORD. The people mourned because of the heavy blow the LORD had dealt them, "

There are better ways to deliver sound moral teachings than this story which has so much grisly baggage.



Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:36 am
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Interbane wrote:
God is a magical creature. There is no way around it, unless your definition is so warped as to become meaningless. If you're attempting to drain the superstition and magic from christianity, you'll also be draining away the christian god.
Now Interbane, that is just sloppy. God is a creator, not a creature. The question is, is a real creative principle at work in our universe, and can this be identified with the Christian concept of God? If so, then the supernatural myths of tradition should be seen as metaphors enabling the general public to engage with a complex and difficult idea which cannot be explained easily in simple terms. If the magic is a metaphor for a scientifically accurate idea, then of course we need to drain away the magic to disclose the reality. Again, this is what Jesus was talking about in the parable of the wheat and tares, and what Malachi alluded to in his story about gold and dross.



Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:54 pm
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RT: "The question is, is a real creative principle at work in our universe, and can this be identified with the Christian concept of God?"

No, the real question is, what is god? Skirting the issue of defining him is a side effect of attempting to hang onto the concept of a god when all the myth that surrounds him is slowly whittled away. There is so much in the bible that is false that it is most definitely written by man without divine inspiration. If god is a creator, you then define him as an entity. As an entity, he'd have to be more complex than the infinite universe he has created, which is ridiculous. The story of Jesus has no more credibility than most fiction novels, so speaking of the parables and allusions contained in it is meaningless. You hang onto the concept by a thread of non-falsifiability and surrounded by much that has been falsified, and that's a terribly weak position.



Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:42 pm
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My comment that God is a creator was in response to your statement that there is no way around the view that God is a magical creature 'unless your definition is so warped as to become meaningless'. I don't think rejection of God as creature necessarily implies that God is an entity. Rather, the meaning of the term creature, which you may not have intended, is something made by something else. To speak of God as creature implies the creator is man.

The implication is that any claim about God other than as a fantastic invention is warped and meaningless. This goes back to Feuerbach's claim in The Essence of Christianity that God is nothing else than man, the outward projection of man's inward nature.

This idea of religion as solely imaginary wish fulfillment has a basic flaw in its rejection of the idea of fate, revealed in acts of God. The insurance industry calls natural disasters acts of God, not because they postulate an entity planning all events, but from the same view as Saint Paul in Romans 1 that God is manifest in nature.

My suggestion that the Christian concept of God can be identified with a real creative principle at work in our universe does not imply God is an entity. Such an implication fails the test of Ockham's Razor, an unnecessary hypothesis which adds needless complexity.

The underlying issue here is that religious claims about such an entity do have a strong basis in Feuerbach's wish-fulfillment psychological framework, and are of course central to the language of religious text. So, if that language is to be meaningful, it seems this 'entity' idea needs to be considered as a metaphor for something real that operates in the observed universe. I think it is possible to re-interpret faith on these lines.

Your argument that the meaning of parables hangs on the historical truth of the gospels was discussed above by me with reference to Aesop and by Johnson with reference to Little Red Riding Hood. These are meaningful fictional parables.



Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:56 pm
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So, if god is not an entity, is he a force? Perhaps a force we haven't yet had the pleasure of being influenced by? This is still quite meaningless, as any undiscovered force is not god, it is only a force. To say that man is the creator of god makes sense to me, just as we've created Santa Claus. If you can't define god, perhaps that is simply because once a definition is proposed, it will fall through like all the rest. The last bastion is perhaps 'he simply exists', but then that would reek of denial.

When you speak of fate and insurance companies, you're placing stock in the gap of the unknown. To be sure, reality is immensely complex and therefore incapable of being known, but to encapsulate that complexity into an easy to swallow term like fate or god is to pretend there is more to it than a mechanistic process. There is no evidence to layer more and more explanations on what we know. God has had many reasonable footholds in our history with respect to the unknowns we see him accountable for, and has steadily backpedaled as we've made new discoveries.

When you say god is a creative force, do you mean he sometimes bends our universe to his will? Show me what can't be explained by anything other than God, and I'll show you a foothold that will be overtaken by the progress of human knowledge. If you propose a metaphysical realm in which god dwells, I propose a super-metaphysical realm where a super-god exists. This again becomes meaningless, so we are left with the observably mechanistic.

To say that the parables are meaningful is all well and good, but so are other fictional stories. Are you attempting to understand the universe, or use a fictional story as a source of wisdom? In this case, the two are mutually exclusive in purpose.



Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:25 am
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johnson1010 wrote:
There are better ways to deliver sound moral teachings than this story which has so much grisly baggage.


Hitchens makes much of similar critiques of the Old Testament. So did Jesus. For example at Matthew 5:38 Jesus says

Quote:
38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[Lev. 19:18] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you,


The point here is that Christianity is primarily based on the New Testament. Texts such as that just quoted indicate a new interpretation of God, a new covenant rejecting the wrathful vengeful God of the Old Testament in favour of a God who is manifest primarily in love and forgiveness.

Admittedly, the church has not lived up to this teaching, and the New Testament is not totally consistent. However, the aim should be to look to a core message and critique that, rather than using the straw man argument of attacking Christianity by blaming it for 'baggage' which its central text specifically disavows.



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Interbane wrote:
So, if god is not an entity, is he a force? Perhaps a force we haven't yet had the pleasure of being influenced by? This is still quite meaningless, as any undiscovered force is not god, it is only a force. ...When you say god is a creative force, do you mean he sometimes bends our universe to his will? Show me what can't be explained by anything other than God, and I'll show you a foothold that will be overtaken by the progress of human knowledge. ... Are you attempting to understand the universe, or use a fictional story as a source of wisdom? In this case, the two are mutually exclusive in purpose.

Interbane, you are insisting on trying to bend religious language into an empirical framework.

The Bible says God is love. (1 John 4:8) This is a matter of definition - where ever we encounter love we encounter God.

This idea is not proposing anything contrary to the laws of physics, but adding a 'law' regarding the relationship between human life and the universe, that life in love is good.

Love works creatively through nature, and does not bend the universe to a supernatural will. However, when people lose their connection to love, they face a high risk of destruction, understood in purely Darwinian adaptive evolutionary terms.

This framework shows how the 'fictional story' helps to understand the universe in a way that is not open to merely empirical science. Love is a force that we have been influenced by, even if we find it hard to quantify.



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Robert Tulip wrote:
The point here is that Christianity is primarily based on the New Testament. Texts such as that just quoted indicate a new interpretation of God, a new covenant rejecting the wrathful vengeful God of the Old Testament in favour of a God who is manifest primarily in love and forgiveness.

Admittedly, the church has not lived up to this teaching, and the New Testament is not totally consistent.

A major part of this inconsistency, pointed out by Hitchens, is that the NT raises to a destructive and far-reaching doctrine the idea of eternal punishment in hell. It is Jesus who makes reference to this in the NT. I thought Hitchens was exaggerating when he claimed that the evil of the NT exceeds that of the OT. I still think he may be, but not as much, after he makes this point in a later chapter.


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Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.

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Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:04 am
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I'm not trying to bend religious language into anything. First of all, there's a difference between what you consider religious language, and the language from the bible. The bible fails empirically, so where does that leave you? The religious language you are using and quoting from other theologians continually avoids empirical and logical consideration. It's as if it god doesn't exist(which he doesn't), so the only way to hang onto the idea is continue backpedaling out of reach of everything we have at our disposal that works at discovering the universe. Well, not everything; we can rationalize the concept to our heart's content. :P

If you say that wherever we encounter love we encounter god, I say this is a foothold that human knowledge will soon overcome, leaving your definition hanging out to dry. Even though hypothetical, what do you say to the idea that love is an evolved human characteristic that has the survival advantage of connecting us to our mates and offspring? What else would keep rational adults tending day and night to a screaming, pooping, anti-social miniature human?



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There’s been a lot of activity here since I checked, so this will be long. My apologies.

“God is a creator, not a creature.”

Interbane’s point on creature vs creator is really the crux. You are asserting a divine force is present and that we must begin debates with that subject settled. I say, that that is exactly the point in contest.

Either there is a supernatural entity with unlimited, complete power and dominion over everything that ever was or will be. One who made the world for our enjoyment and rewards good people, utilizing his universe-level powers to respond to our demands and improve our individual lives, and punishes the people we can’t get even with in life. For which there is no empirical evidence to be found, all proofs arising from the introspective and anthropomorphized projections of man.

Or.

We made it up to feel good about ourselves.

One of these adds layers and layers of complex unknowable opacity, while the other deals with readily studied psychological processes observed on a daily basis throughout the animal kingdom.

If you hadn’t been raised with a notion of God impregnated in your imagination from youth, as an adult, which of these solutions would be the more likely?

If you are subtracting a divine being, which some of your statements lead me to believe, and asserting instead a divine “force for good” or love, then what are we really talking about? Any force for good must have some differentiating component to distinguish good form bad (or it would just be a force) and that makes it a reasoning, or at least discriminating entity, and we are back to a nonsensical man in the sky (or entity god) plagued with the same infinite improbabilities.

If there is simply a creative principle, such as when conditions are right for the formation of a water molecule, the molecule does form, this does not lend itself to anything written in the bible.

Explaining a complex and challenging idea in terms a layman can understand does not necessarily need to invoke magical thinking.
Two ways to simplistically describe a Laser, for instance.

Generate a powerful beam of energy, focus it with mirrors and lenses to a tiny concentrated area.

Elves deep in the earth burn infinitely hot furnaces and poor the heat into bags that pixies deliver to our scientists and dump into a box called a laser. Then, flip a switch and all that magic heat comes out, if it weren’t for the invisible hands of the Kraken holding that energy into a single beam, the energy would go everywhere.

Both give possible explanations for the workings of lasers. One sends the student down a ridiculous goose chase in which all this extra information must be learned about elves, and how long are the Kraken’s arms (or how many angels fit on the head of a pin).

If we don’t know specifically what is involved in creation, it does us no favor to attribute it to magic. Just say we don’t know yet, but we are working on it. In the mean time, here are the theories we are working on. Maybe some of the people you tell will take up where others left off and discover how these things really work instead of trying to find pixies.

“To speak of God as creature implies the creator is man”
“My suggestion that the Christian concept of God can be identified with a real creative principle at work in our universe does not imply God is an entity. Such an implication fails the test of Ockham's Razor, an unnecessary hypothesis which adds needless complexity.”

When you speak of the history of religion, the answer is yes: God (magical entity with limitless power who is obsessed with humanity while he has the entirety of creation to preside over) was created by man.

If you speak of a creative force, then why associate that with the concept of god? You burden yourself with unnecessary supernatural stories. These stories would seem to only apply if you are talking about some version of the Christian god, not a force such as electromagnetism. Otherwise your creative force may well be simply Strong Atomic Force.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong_interaction

“The insurance industry calls natural disasters acts of God, not because they postulate an entity planning all events, but from the same view as Saint Paul in Romans 1 that God is manifest in nature”

Hurricanes are an act of weather patterns. We know why hurricanes form. They require no god. Likewise we know how earthquakes happen, mudslides, lightning strikes, wild fires and lamp poles falling on your car. Any of these might be labeled as an act of god, but they are all events with well understood causes.

Imagining they are the work of a beneficent god bears us no fruit except guilt and hysteria. Would you rather be told, that built up tectonic energy was released and caused the destruction of your home, or that God was pissed at YOU and destroyed your house by having the earth swallow it up? Understanding brings peace of mind, and perhaps the wisdom to not build on a fault line.

“Your argument that the meaning of parables hangs on the historical truth of the gospels was discussed above by me with reference to Aesop and by Johnson with reference to Little Red Riding Hood. These are meaningful fictional parables.”

But not to be understood as historically accurate, or that a talking wolf does indeed dwell in the woods waiting to lure children into bed. Common religious teaching is that the parable delivered in the bible are the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Based on this, the metaphysical claims of religion are false.

“38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[Lev. 19:18] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you,

The point here is that Christianity is primarily based on the New Testament. Texts such as that just quoted indicate a new interpretation of God, a new covenant rejecting the wrathful vengeful God of the Old Testament in favour of a God who is manifest primarily in love and forgiveness.”

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (the Old Testament) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law (the Old Testament) until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)"
Could this not be viewed as explicit backing of the old testament and all it entails? Does this not just illustrate that the writings are contradictory, and therefore not the product of divine inspiration, and one mind working to build a source of ultimate truth?

You do note that the NT is inconsistent and seem to say we should not throw out the good with the bad. It also seems that you are indicating that things included in the bible are not wholly true, and that it is really a parable. If it is only a parable, and one found to be faulty in many respects, why should it dominate any moral agenda? Why should anyone live their lives by a parable? Parables in themselves, I think you would agree do not merit a real person’s strict adherence. No one should live their lives by the code of the three little pigs, or be confined by the doings of Paul Bunyan. To seize these particular parables you are exposing an underlying desire for them to be correct. Let them stand or fall on their own merit.

I accept the notion that you should “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” which comes from the bible. This is a good point of view and a solid way to live. That does not mean that any other portion of the bible needs to be followed. Just as I accept that I should build a sturdy house lest it be devastated by storms. That does not mean I should lend any credence to the big bad wolf.

“Interbane, you are insisting on trying to bend religious language into an empirical framework.”

Shouldn’t we? Why are exercises of the mind permitted this abstention from analysis which has proven so trustworthy in all of recorded history? Shouldn’t religion, which is often a power base from which to command others, be held to at least this level of accountability?

“This idea is not proposing anything contrary to the laws of physics, but adding a 'law' regarding the relationship between human life and the universe, that life in love is good.

Love works creatively through nature, and does not bend the universe to a supernatural will. However, when people lose their connection to love, they face a high risk of destruction, understood in purely Darwinian adaptive evolutionary terms.

This framework shows how the 'fictional story' helps to understand the universe in a way that is not open to merely empirical science. Love is a force that we have been influenced by, even if we find it hard to quantify.”
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Love is powerful and what you say about it’s absence is true, but where do you get the concept that love exceeds the confines of the animal kingdom? Do volcanoes love? Do meteors love? Love is an evolutionary construct to ensure survival. Love does a fair job of keeping us all alive without the bible. There is no need to tie an artificial deity to the concept of love for it to work, or to be understood by the masses.

In any case when we look at the bible and read what it says we can see that what is written there is not empirically correct. If we take a point of view like what you express, that the bible is a sort of, I guess “interpretive” way of understanding god then we have already imposed a filter over what is written to try to shoe-horn it into sensibility. If it were right there would be little need to interpret it, or explain away the many contradictions.

If we keep it as just a moral lesson, then we would put it on the same level as tales by the Brothers Grim with not greater hold on the ultimate truths than any other, and it should hold no grip on us other than it’s merit as a story device.



Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:59 pm
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wow, that was long.



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At the Plato thread Grim provided this useful link to a summary of Plato’s analogy of the cave. I find this very helpful in explaining the Bible. Plato says people see shadows cast by something real and mistake the shadows for reality. This is exactly how people see metaphors for God and mistake the metaphor for reality.

The underlying point is there must be something real to invest people with such confidence that the metaphor is the ultimate truth. My opinion is that the metaphor of ‘God as entity’ has been a way to explain the reality of ‘God as cosmic principle’.

The bible gives us the shadows – as Jesus said at Matthew 13, he speaks in parables for the reason explained in Isaiah 6:
Quote:
"Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'[a] 16But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”



Jesus links his use of parables, intended as a way to popularise a hidden message, to the argument in the parable of the talents, that this method is a source of abundance for those with understanding. Hence it is invalid to say that the literal falsity of the parable invalidates the meaning of the message.

A key point here is that the very idea of a personal God is a parable, to be understood on the Platonic model as a shadow of the reality.

Even a parable such as the rich man and Lazarus, alluded to by DWill as an example of the evil teaching of eternal torment in hell, can be interpreted as a metaphor - those who find meaning solely in accumulating possessions are on a path to destruction.

Again, this parable can be understood in a purely Darwinian evolutionary sense. That the things valued by the world are not the things valued by God can be interpreted to mean that human adaptation to our planetary niche requires a shift in our values from temporal priorities, such as selfish control, to eternal priorities, such as love.

The church has twisted many teachings to serve its temporal agenda of political control. A prime example is that the metaphors of hell and eternal life have been reified into literal teachings regarding the consequence for failure to accept church authority. There is an immense amount of deconstruction required to clear away the distractions of dominant false interpretation.
RT



Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:16 pm
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johnson: "I accept the notion that you should “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” which comes from the bible."

Actually, the golden rule of morality has been found in many instances before the bible was written, and in many different forms. It did not originate with the bible. Also, the way it's worded comes under question, since it assumes you know how other people want to be treated, which may differ from how you think they want to be treated. Hardly divine.

RT: "The underlying point is there must be something real to invest people with such confidence that the metaphor is the ultimate truth."

Are you saying there must be a reason that so many people are confident that god exists? There is a lot of evidence for that reasoning, and it is not that god actually exists.

RT: "Hence it is invalid to say that the literal falsity of the parable invalidates the meaning of the message."

So what you're saying is that the parables may very well be false, but they hint at the truth via their inherent meaning? It seems that the literal falsity means they are false, and the meaning you distill to support your idea of a god is merely subjective. If you did not first believe in god, you'd see that the parables can be interpreted and distilled of meaning a thousand ways.

RT: "A key point here is that the very idea of a personal God is a parable, to be understood on the Platonic model as a shadow of the reality."

Rather than use Plato's allegory to grasp for support of a belief, why not fast forward a few thousand years and use newer, far better philosophical tools, including empiricism? Either the parable is the truth, or it is false. We can't know for certain of course, but we can come damn close. If it reflects the truth, then where is this god?

In the end I think it boils down to the fact that you simply believe in god, and interpret biblical sources to support that belief. When those interpretations lead you to think of god as only knowable via parables and hiding behind shadows, it's an irrational stretch. It evades definitions which would surely discredit your belief, so the obscurity is necessary to maintain that belief.

You've come close though, saying that god is a cosmic principle. I could say that globbertoobie is a cosmic principle, and both would have the same amount of evidence. Saying natural phenomena such as 'love' is evidence is false. Love does not need god to be explained.



Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:34 am
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Interbane wrote:
Are you saying there must be a reason that so many people are confident that god exists? There is a lot of evidence for that reasoning, and it is not that god actually exists.
This fixation on the theme of “existence” is a serious distraction. Of course, if you define the argument such that an affirmative answer is impossible, ie by demanding that religionists must claim an impossible being exists, then you can only arrive at one conclusion, that it does not exist and that religion is false. However, if the terms of debate are shifted, so the question becomes whether the concept of God is meaningful, the argument becomes much more problematic. Hitchens elides from the valid observation that an entity called God does not exist to the invalid debating point that the concept of God is meaningless. People are wrongly confident that God exists precisely because the concept of God is meaningful, because a wholistic spiritual connection between humanity and the cosmos provides a basis for ethical values.
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So what you're saying is that the parables may very well be false, but they hint at the truth via their inherent meaning? It seems that the literal falsity means they are false, and the meaning you distill to support your idea of a god is merely subjective. If you did not first believe in god, you'd see that the parables can be interpreted and distilled of meaning a thousand ways.
Again, this dichotomous logic of true/ false ignores the ambiguity inherent in metaphorical parabolic language. Of course many parables are literally false – there never was a race between a rabbit and a tortoise, and nor did the poor man Lazarus go to heaven to laugh at Dives rotting in hell. However, the moral of the tale, for example ‘slow and steady wins the race’ is hardly ‘merely subjective’. Even the existence of Jesus Christ has not been proved, but again, the metaphorical nature of religious truth means that the literal truth of the story is irrelevant to its meaning, except by the corrupt standards of the church.
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Rather than use Plato's allegory to grasp for support of a belief, why not fast forward a few thousand years and use newer, far better philosophical tools, including empiricism? Either the parable is the truth, or it is false. We can't know for certain of course, but we can come damn close. If it reflects the truth, then where is this god?
The point of Plato’s allegory is that popular belief is but a shadow of the actual reality. Empiricism is good, but it does not enter the archetypal terrain where we can begin to understand the meaning of love, beauty and justice. Plato’s argument is that ordinary understanding derives from the ultimate truth in a distorted way. The authors of the Gospels seem to have used this Platonic method, presenting a set of ideas amenable to the growth of belief, recognising that the abstract truth could only be transmitted to a mass audience by being packaged as metaphor. The shame is that the church confused the gift with the wrapping paper.



Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:18 am
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RT: "This fixation on the theme of “existence” is a serious distraction."

You're saying there is no god, but the idea of him is meaningful? I've never questioned that people can find meaning in god or religion, but there are other better sources more applicable to modern life.

RT: "Again, this dichotomous logic of true/ false ignores the ambiguity inherent in metaphorical parabolic language."

It's an essential dichotomy! You're obfuscating the matter by throwing meaning in the mix, which is categorically different. You elevate this meaning so much that it becomes more important than whether or not there is any truth to the writings. There are better sources!

RT: "Empiricism is good, but it does not enter the archetypal terrain where we can begin to understand the meaning of love, beauty and justice."

Empiricism is one leg of the critical thinking triad. Rationalism and Skepticism are the other two. Rationalism can tackle such questions as the meaning of love, beauty, and justice. Skepticism is the filter preventing us from accepting too many false ideas, as long as it isn't overextended into rejecting true ideas.



Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:11 am
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