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The Age of Reason - Thomas Paine

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Re: The Age of Reason - by Thomas Paine

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Quote:Taken out of context, it looks to me as though he's critiquing the reliability of revelation as a source of religion. No, he is saying that since religion is based on heresay, it should not be relied upon to establish governemtns and law and any other aspect of society where reason is the better system. Paine is at odds and rejects the organized religions, but himself believes in something. He is against the corruption that organized religion brings to the party.Quote:And yet, religion is a startlingly widespread phenomenon.So? Many widespread beliefs and/or practices that are/were/ widespread were not always 'good' or 'valid' as applied to human existence and morality in general. Disease can also be widespread.Quote:How would it be a tautology? Can you put it in logical expression to demonstrate the tautology?Hearsay is a very unrealiable source of information, so to base the unreliable concept of faith on an unreliable originating source of information and then be asked to accept both as valid is kinda silly. But where I see the circular reasoning is this: Faith (something very subjective in it's validity) is valid, because faith is based on hearsay (an weak source of info), which is a valid source of faith.Quote:Most epistemologists would agree that intuition is a grounds for certain kinds of knowledge. But is intuition simply a subconscious recollection of past experiences? We have so much knowledge stored that we cannot access at will, but it is there. Anyway, I do belive intuition can be helpful to us, but that does not mean that all that we may intuit is valid or true. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we do not. This is the plight of the pattern seeking animals that we are. Hits and Misses.Quote:And it seems to me that what you're saying is that you're only interested in arguments that dismiss faith, to the exclusion of arguments that present the other side. Have I misread you?Yes. I dismiss faith based on my what I have seen, experienced and read. Just because I dont accept or read what you do does not invalidate my life experience. Whenever I state my position, you tend to denigrate what I have figured out for myself through my life and research. It irks me as much as it did when you got irked when I kept referring to your faith as invalid in the beginning of our discourse together on this board...remember that? So I stopped and rose above it. I do not try to change your beliefs, just talk about topics. I am interested in the particular subject matter only insofar as it pertains to our topic at the moment. This is why it took me so long to resond to this...I was trying to not respond in hot, defensive tones. Faith is fake. That is my knowledge. Our discussions will never change that fact because I know it through reason. I am not emotionally weak and therefore will never be sucked back into the abyss of faith. It is a lie to the self and a crutch for the weak. As for Kiekegaard's book...I will have to pass as I am reading 4 different books now for the current book discussion.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Re: The Age of Reason - by Thomas Paine

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misterpessimistic ModeratorPosts: 1684(7/5/05 8:01 pm)Quote:Referring to the bible as a book of riddles which needs a revelation to explain itI think he was referring to REVELATION when he used the 'book of riddles' phrase. The rest of the bible is no riddle, as he shows when he systematically tears apart the story of Adam and Eve...among other blatant contradictions that shows this holy book for what it is...stories created by humans...and humans who were not able, or cared not to, corroborate their versions.His thoughts on prophecy are a little unclear to me. He states that prophecy, in the times of the writers of the bible, did not mean a foretelling of the future, but the creation of song, poetry and other forms of expression. A prophet was simply a poet.The definition of prophecy changed over time, Paine argues, to be imbued with a totally different meaning, which subsequently gave the old poets some supernatural abilities, and thus gave their words a more mystical and substantial impact on the lives of those who followed.Mr. P.
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Re: The Age of Reason - by Thomas Paine

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misterpessimistic ModeratorPosts: 1685(7/5/05 8:06 pm)But his reasoning goes deeper into the jist of things...Have you read the part about redemption and paying other peoples debts as it pertains to the idea of justice being served?The part on the battle of god and satan is interesting too. i will have to re-read before I can comment with any compelling info.Mr. P.
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marti1900Ph.D.Posts: 249(7/5/05 8:12 pm)OK, we're building up speed now, and I can just see Paine's pen scribbling faster, faster as this whole thought process is beginning to pull together.In Chapter IX, he writes:THE WORD OF GOD IS THE CREATION WE BEHOLD: And it is in this word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man. It is only in the CREATION that all our ideas and conceptions of a word of God can unite. The Creation speaketh an universal language, independently of human speech or human language, multiplied and various as they be. It is an ever existing original, which every man can read. It cannot be forged; it cannot be counterfeited; it cannot be lost; it cannot be altered; it cannot be suppressed. It does not depend upon the will of man whether it shall be published or not; it publishes itself from one end of the earth to the other. It preaches to all nations and to all worlds; and this word of God reveals to man all that is necessary for man to know of God. Wow. That is beautiful. Some pretty powerful stuff. The word of god is the creation we behold. Probably one of the best arguments around for being a theist. It does not depend upon the will of man whether it shall be published or not; it publishes itself from one end of the earth to the other. Here's your bible, folks.Even if you don't agree with his ideas, you have to admire how he brings it all together.And there's more! Stay tuned.Marti in Mexico
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Re: The Age of Reason - by Thomas Paine

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misterpessimistic ModeratorPosts: 1686(7/5/05 8:28 pm)Thoughts on this:"...the Church has set up a system of religion very contradictory to the character of the person whose name it bears. It has set up a religion of pomp and of revenue, in pretended imitation of a person whose life was humility and poverty." Mr. P.
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Re: The Age of Reason - by Thomas Paine

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misterpessimistic ModeratorPosts: 1702(7/6/05 7:11 pm)There are on-line versions available.At the beginning of the first Paine thread, Chris listed one.Mr. P.
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Re: The Age of Reason - by Thomas Paine

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marti1900Smarty PantsPosts: 252(7/6/05 8:28 pm)Tarav, I am reading the online version at Project Gutenberg. I like Project Gutenberg because if you choose the Read Online option, and not download the book, it automatically creates a Bookmark for you. If you go to MY BOOKMARKS on their site, it lists the books you are reading online there. Then just click on the Continue Reading column, and it takes you to where you left off reading. I love this feature.www.gutenberg.org/etext/3743Marti in Mexico
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Re: The Age of Reason - by Thomas Paine

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marti1900Smarty PantsPosts: 253(7/7/05 11:26 am)It seems to me that he is talking about posterity. He is writing this as he sits in jail, so I would think that thoughts of one's mortality and what one can leave behind for posterity would be uppermost in his mind. Just a guess.What is the difference between a diest and a theist? I didn't chose my word with any care, just typed something. Maybe I meant diest.Marti in Mexico
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Re: The Age of Reason - by Thomas Paine

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A few more thoughts leading up to chapter XIII.Mircea Eliade (whose book, "The Forge and the Crucible", as it turns out, I was finishing up as I started "The Age of Reason") gives a fairly compelling explanation for why Paine's "true theology" likely would never take off as intended. (Eliade was not talking specfically about Paine, incidentally; it just happens that his comments are relevant.) To wit, the modern scientific era -- which is part and parcel of Paine's Age of Reason -- depends on the desacralization of Nature. Whereas persons in previous eras could have viewed nature as imbued with sacred force, and thus as a hierophany or revelation of divine purpose, the practice of modern scientific method depends on the treatment of nature as a more or less inert material. That isn't to say that certain individuals couldn't overlook the "common sense" of the era (oops, unintentional pun). Paine certainly seems to have done so, and his assertion that everyone in any time or place ought to be able to think as he does is typical of the Enlightenment but not really practicable today. He seems rather oblivious to the tendency of the new Reason away from the notion of a rational religion. The modern era permits no hierophanies, so the choice for Paine really ought to come down to revealed religion or nothing at all.His footnote in chapter XII seems to ignore the fact that the blossoming of Athenian scientific and philosophical thought during the 6th and 7th century took place under the auspices of a religious system that was both revealed and polytheistic. But that's all part of his general harangue against revealed religion. Plato even tells the story of Socrates' visit to the oracle at Delphi, the source par excellance of revelation in the ancient world.For the record, there are strong, rational reasons for the "fraud" Paine refers to in chapter XI. He calls "the Christian system" to task for calling the sciences "human inventions". Presumably, for Paine, the sciences are based on a direct knowledge of the principles of which govern the universe. But any knowledge of the principles behind nature must rest ultimately on either inductive reasoning (a problematic assumption, as Hume reveales) or on an intuitive grasp. Nor is appeal to "mathematical demonstration" much help for Paine's case -- math is just as much a human invention as any other language, as Nicolas of Cusa pointed out several centuries before Paine. In this instance, Paine seems to be arguing from conclusions rather than observance. His point of view depends on the absolute validity of science, so he supposes that validity as an a priori premise.On the whole, Paine seems eager to blame Christianity specifically for trends that took place during the reign of Christendom. As Mr. P pointed out in another thread, not everything that takes place under a particular banner is the result of that banner -- the same must apply in the case of blame as it does in the case of praise. Paine's criticism of Christianity effect on education is typical -- it's more likely that feudalism was responsible for the medieval decline of education and scientific inquiry, but what matters for Paine is the accusation of an intentional retrogression. He argues that true educational progress would have called Christianity into question, so the Church fathers suppressed all education but linguistics. In support of this view, he cites an incident from the Renaissance period (Galileo's near suppression) and an incident that, according to an editor's footnote in the copy I'm reading, Paine has largely misrepresented (that of Virgilius). Aside from that, no other evidence, and his theory smacks of conspiracy.
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Quote:Whereas persons in previous eras could have viewed nature as imbued with sacred force, and thus as a hierophany or revelation of divine purpose, the practice of modern scientific method depends on the treatment of nature as a more or less inert material.To me, the fact that nature has potentially NO 'intelligent' creator makes it even more awe-inspiring. It is just too mundane to think it was merely an experiment of a god, don't you think?Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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