Announcement: Your votes are in! The January 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month is The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt.

What is Theism Reducible to?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
Spectrum
Posts: 5160
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Spectrum » March 13th, 2018, 12:16 am

If we look at 100% of all human thinking and acts we can reduce them to basic elements like;
  • 1. Basic survival - avoid premature death
    2. Sex - procreation - next generation
    3. Food - nutrition to facilitate survival
    4. Security
    5. Health
    6. Others ??
Consider the activities of grooming and looking nice.
While grooming may have secondary reasons, I don't think many can relate this to its ultimate root cause, i.e. producing the next generation via attraction of the opposite to get together and ultimately to have sex and produce the next generation.

It is the same with anything to do with food, the production of food, the ways food are prepared for consumption. At present there are abuses, but this is reducible to it original and still is re the intended function of nutrition and survival to produce to the next generation.

Now almost 90% of humans are theists believing in the common ideology of theism in manifesting is various forms of theism and theistic religions. Seemingly the theistic impulse is more critical and override even the sex and food impulses.

So what is theism and its forms are reducible to at the fundamental level?

Views.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Dark Matter
Posts: 1343
Joined: August 18th, 2016, 11:29 am
Favorite Philosopher: Paul Tillich

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Dark Matter » March 13th, 2018, 3:02 pm

Why do you ask questions whose answers you don’t want to hear?

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3138
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by LuckyR » March 13th, 2018, 6:06 pm

Hhmmm... your mind works very differently than mine does...
"As usual... it depends."

Spectrum
Posts: 5160
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Spectrum » March 13th, 2018, 10:14 pm

LuckyR wrote:
March 13th, 2018, 6:06 pm
Hhmmm... your mind works very differently than mine does...
This is a philosophical forum where the default is to view issues from every angle and keep questioning.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Spectrum
Posts: 5160
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Spectrum » March 13th, 2018, 10:20 pm

Dark Matter wrote:
March 13th, 2018, 3:02 pm
Why do you ask questions whose answers you don’t want to hear?
Do you know the main purpose and value of Philosophy, and this is a Philosophy forum?

Take this from Russell,
Thus, to sum up our discussion of the value of philosophy;
Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves;

because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation;
...
Your problem is the internal desperation of the existential crisis has driven you to the 100% certainty of the existence of a God which knows everything with certainty, so no need for serious continual philosophical questioning.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Dark Matter
Posts: 1343
Joined: August 18th, 2016, 11:29 am
Favorite Philosopher: Paul Tillich

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Dark Matter » March 14th, 2018, 1:06 am

Spectrum:

I'm guessing you do not remember saying you do not do philosophy.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3138
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by LuckyR » March 14th, 2018, 2:31 pm

Spectrum wrote:
March 13th, 2018, 10:14 pm
LuckyR wrote:
March 13th, 2018, 6:06 pm
Hhmmm... your mind works very differently than mine does...
This is a philosophical forum where the default is to view issues from every angle and keep questioning.
True dat. My #6 Other (which takes up about 40% of my thoughts) would be: cool, pleasurable stuff. Fun activities both past and future (and the cool products to acquire to perform them), admiring attractive folks I encounter and the fun conversations that can follow. Great meals, fashion, travel experiences (and the accompanying toys) to actually do, aspire/plan to do or to unrealistically consider doing.
"As usual... it depends."

Alias
Posts: 2450
Joined: November 26th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Terry Pratchett

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Alias » March 16th, 2018, 1:55 pm

Now almost 90% of humans are theists believing in the common ideology of theism in manifesting is various forms of theism and theistic religions. Seemingly the theistic impulse is more critical and override even the sex and food impulses.

So what is theism and its forms are reducible to at the fundamental level?
The need to control.

The universe and its natural processes are inexorable. Man tries to put a human face on them - some entity with which he can communicate; someone he can bribe, con or wheedle into giving him what he wants and protecting him from what he fears.

In nature, rivers flood, sweeping away whoever gets in their way.
In theistic belief, sinners drown and the righteous land up on Mt. Ararat.

Even if terrible things happen to you, you're still nominally in control: you lit the wrong coloured candle on the wrong saint's day, or mixed up the words of the incantation, or your faith is being tested - in any case, you'll get it right next time and earn the prize. (And they won't)

In real life, **** happens. In religion, designer **** happens for an unknowable reason.

Lone Wolf
Posts: 49
Joined: March 1st, 2015, 9:33 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Pooh

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Lone Wolf » December 8th, 2018, 1:59 pm

While I agree with Alias on the perception of control, I think maybe we should also look at a basic need of man to find his way to God. Theism promises such a solution. I believe this was shown in the movie Star Trek The Movie when "V-ger" wanted to merge with its creator. Personally I believe in something beyond my comprehension, but I don't practice any religion because I don't need a higher power to blame for my failures or give thanks to for my successes.

Fooloso4
Moderator
Posts: 3496
Joined: February 28th, 2014, 4:50 pm

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Fooloso4 » December 8th, 2018, 5:47 pm

Particular theologies may be reducible to key concepts and attitudes, but theism is too broad and varied a term for it to be reducible to elements common to all forms, beyond the obvious inclusion of the term theos or god. The “Postmodern” theology that arose out of continental philosophy following Heidegger for example, is quite different than either classical theism or theological personalism. Even within this narrow subdivision, however, there are significant differences.

What God is or even if this is the right question to ask does not yield a singular answer. Some see religion as the answer but others as the question, but what the answer is and what it answers as well as what the question is does not follow a particular path or pattern or conclusion. Some are closer to anthropology in the sense of a logos or study or talk of man as opposed to a logos of a God who is always beyond words. For some obedience is central but for others freedom. For some there is the goal of union or oneness but for others difference or alterity. For some it is about what God does but for others what we do. For some God completes man but for others man completes God.

User avatar
Papus79
Posts: 174
Joined: February 19th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Papus79 » December 10th, 2018, 2:16 am

While I'm a big fan of evolutionary psychology in explaining the counter-intuitive things we do or the things that break hard with reason but server more basal purposes I do think there's a sort of mathematical optimization going on, at least in enough people, where sensing a lack of residual progress in their environment or within themselves bothers them. There might be enough people who want to fit in with their culture or simply don't want to 'go to hell', that's basic survival, or one may be in a place where the culture is religious and a non-religious person is assumed to be immoral or not a good choice to marry (add reproduction), you also find community - which I guess could count as security albeit I think security is closer to basic survival. Still other people might be irritated by the notion that their own efforts and pain might not amount to anything, they may hope that there's some sort of redemptive quality to it for them, those close to them, or their community and I think that's more what tends to drive our non-familial selflesness when we do show it.

For a lot of people life is suffering and it's a constant balancing act to figure out how to make your way forward without the best of who you are, especially what sort of 'breathed the magic into life' in your early years, completely dying or giving a way to a complete sense of dead mechanism and guaranteed doom. For people who aren't in religion for more sociological reasons it seems to often be an implement for dealing with these sorts of interior problems.

User avatar
Mark1955
Posts: 501
Joined: July 21st, 2015, 4:02 am
Favorite Philosopher: David Hume
Location: Nottingham, England.

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Mark1955 » December 10th, 2018, 12:54 pm

Alias wrote:
March 16th, 2018, 1:55 pm
In real life, **** happens. In religion, designer **** happens for an unknowable reason.
The question is why are we so much happier believing there's an unknowable reason that just accepting **** happens.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

Belindi
Moderator
Posts: 1595
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Belindi » December 10th, 2018, 3:03 pm

Mark1955 wrote:
December 10th, 2018, 12:54 pm
Alias wrote:
March 16th, 2018, 1:55 pm
In real life, **** happens. In religion, designer **** happens for an unknowable reason.
The question is why are we so much happier believing there's an unknowable reason that just accepting **** happens.
Isn't it because of the mental pain of our unquenchable existential angst?

Fooloso4
Moderator
Posts: 3496
Joined: February 28th, 2014, 4:50 pm

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Fooloso4 » December 10th, 2018, 3:37 pm

Alias:
In real life, **** happens. In religion, designer **** happens for an unknowable reason.
This is is a false dichotomy. There are many religious thinkers, going back at least to the author of Job, who do not ascribe to the notion of a reason for why things happen as they do. Furthermore not all religious thinkers accept the notion of a designer.

Alias
Posts: 2450
Joined: November 26th, 2011, 8:10 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Terry Pratchett

Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Alias » December 10th, 2018, 3:48 pm

Mark1955 wrote:
December 10th, 2018, 12:54 pm
[In real life, **** happens. In religion, designer **** happens for an unknowable reason.]
The question is why are we so much happier believing there's an unknowable reason that just accepting **** happens.
(Not all of us are - in fact, I wonder whether any of us really are happier believing. For example, what percent of people so immersed in a religious culture that they can't imagine thinking outside of its actually happy at all.)
But suppose we [most of us] are.
Part of the answer is the one I started with: the illusion of control. The universe is immense, indifferent and unfathomable. The forces of nature can squash you like less than a bacterium and never notice. Wouldn't it be nice to have an "inside man" who cares about your needs and fears?
Another part is, human have always been clever and self-preoccupied. They have to put themselves at the center of every explanation they make up about the world; see their own stories in the clouds and stars, rearrange piles of rock to form human figures; paint themselves on cave walls: everything is about us. So when they imagine a mover behind all the things that move, he has a human face and human desires.
Another part is: a long lived social animal forms deep emotional attachments to others of its kind, as well as its environment. It's hard to accept that one will never again have a father's approval and a mother's love, their guidance and comfort. It's hard to accept that one will never see those green hills or sail those blue waves or kiss those grandchildren's downy heads, ever anymore. When something is hard to accept, humans have a tendency to deny it, and keep denying it, right in the teeth of reality.
And the most compelling reason is: theism props up power structures. It promotes obedience and sacrifice. Once a god and his demands are woven into the fabric a culture, people take all kinds of abuse without question; they become far more docile and productive.
Fooloso4 -- This is is a false dichotomy. There are many religious thinkers, going back at least to the author of Job, who do not ascribe to the notion of a reason for why things happen as they do. Furthermore not all religious thinkers accept the notion of a designer.
Certainly, the author of Job did ascribe a purpose [reason] to the protagonist's tribulations. The way I recall that story, God put him through all that hell and killed off a bunch of innocent bystanders, just to show the devil how faithful Job was... to win a bet. That's a reason, and there is certainly a designer behind it.
Of course, you're right: I generalized too broadly. Not all religions are theistic. But the OP was concerned with theism, not thinkers.

Post Reply