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Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

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.
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Belindi
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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by Belindi » October 9th, 2019, 4:21 am

GarylouisSmith wrote:
Why did you write "not known to the mind"? Yes, they are known to the mind. That knowing doesn't come through the senses but they are, nonetheless, known. The mind directly knows what is external to the mind. That is what a mind does. And the mind does not need concepts to go through to get at that external thing. It goes there to that thing directly, not indirectly through a concept.
Is your mind the subjective view of your brain? Or is your mind timeless and spaceless?

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by Belindi » October 9th, 2019, 4:49 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 2:19 am
Belindi wrote:
October 7th, 2019, 8:05 pm
Gary, What do you mean by "magical and occult"? These words appear in your post without any discernible content.

Similarly you say "religious" with reference to " the Boy" and nothing else that can pass for content. It's funny, some of your posts make sense and others such as the above post are meaningless.
What we are talking about is the abstract. Universals are one kind of abstraction. Most people on this forum are idealists. They think abstractions are creations of the mind and they reside in the mind as concepts. I as a realist think abstractions are real things external to the mind. They are not concepts created by the mind. They are out there and we stumble upon them by accident.

I have said that seeing abstractions is a matter of magic and the occult. So I suppose I should talk about that and describe just what an abstraction looks like. Fortunately, there has been a lot of prior work done that I can draw on. We will consider Abstract Art, which began in the late 1800s at a time when the paranormal was all the rage.

I will assume you know something about abstract art. I will attempt to state just what I think the thing is that those artists were painting. I will take the position that Abstract Art is representational, just as was the old art. The difference is that the object painted or sculpted is an abstract thing, not a concrete thing of everyday life. (Here I am going against much of the art theoretical interpretation that has gone on for decades.)

Now I have to hook that up with magic and the occult. Here are some shamanistic images that you can find in Nepal. The Bon religion is strongly represented here - https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366& ... CAc&uact=5

And then there is this interesting book - https://www.google.com/search?q=masto+g ... viz04MlnlM:

Modern Abstract Art is deeply embedded in African and Asian shamanistic masks and idols. If you don’t see that you don’t understand modern Abstract Art. And all that is of course magic and the occult.
For instance is reda universal? Including fantasised, dreamed, or hallucinated red unless the red you perceive has a shape how can you perceive it? Don't you think that anything that has a shape or form is not an abstraction but a particular?Even blobs have shapes. You may say and I'd agree that blobs may constantly change their shapes as happens with some living things or events; however the blob has a particular identity as it each shape of it is causally related to the next in a time sequence and in a rule of natural order.
Each universal (excepting existence itself) is relative to at least one other universal.

You can perceive red the universal if your whole world is red, but in that case you would not know red unless you also know at least one other colour.

Another fact about the relative aspect of red is red appears redder when it's in close proximity to green, and the more intense the hue the more the contrast is perceptible. Other universals are also relative to each other. There is not one universal, including truth, goodness, and beauty, which is not relative to a contrasting universal( except as I said previously , existence itself)

Staying with red as an example of a universal, besides hue there are also shades , and tones,
of red. These too are perceptible only because they relate to other shades and tones of the same hue or different hues.

I said " a rule of natural order" . I have a faith in natural order which is independent of my own mind. Do you believe in natural order or do you believe there is no such order and your own mind/brain makes order out of external chaos?
The difference is that the object painted or sculpted is an abstract thing, not a concrete thing of everyday life.
The made object, and also the natural found object, are abstract things when they become iconic.That's to say they are more than symbolic of some universal, they are the universal themselves. So Jesus is Jesus Christ. So Atman is Brahman. So the holy well is the spirit of the holy well. So Cathy was Heathcliff.

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » October 9th, 2019, 5:00 am

Belindi wrote:
October 9th, 2019, 4:21 am
GarylouisSmith wrote:
Why did you write "not known to the mind"? Yes, they are known to the mind. That knowing doesn't come through the senses but they are, nonetheless, known. The mind directly knows what is external to the mind. That is what a mind does. And the mind does not need concepts to go through to get at that external thing. It goes there to that thing directly, not indirectly through a concept.
Is your mind the subjective view of your brain? Or is your mind timeless and spaceless?
I am not a materialist. I think the mind and the brain are two separate things. I think you already know that I think that. As for my thoughts, I am a bare particular that exemplifies a thought. Thoughts are universals. That is to say that other bare particulars, other minds, can exemplify the same thought. I as a bare particular exemplify time relations with other bare particulars, therefore you could say that i am in time. I do not believe there is such a thing as substantial time, however, only temporal relations. I,I. e the mind that I am, do not exemplify space relations with other particulars. My mind is not in space. Space as such, like time, does not exist, only spatial relations. As for universals, they do not exemplify either spatial or temporal relations with any other
thing. The thoughts that I exemplify are directly tied to what they are of. They do not go through intermediaries to get at it.

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » October 9th, 2019, 5:09 am

Belindi wrote:
October 9th, 2019, 4:49 am
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 2:19 am


What we are talking about is the abstract. Universals are one kind of abstraction. Most people on this forum are idealists. They think abstractions are creations of the mind and they reside in the mind as concepts. I as a realist think abstractions are real things external to the mind. They are not concepts created by the mind. They are out there and we stumble upon them by accident.

I have said that seeing abstractions is a matter of magic and the occult. So I suppose I should talk about that and describe just what an abstraction looks like. Fortunately, there has been a lot of prior work done that I can draw on. We will consider Abstract Art, which began in the late 1800s at a time when the paranormal was all the rage.

I will assume you know something about abstract art. I will attempt to state just what I think the thing is that those artists were painting. I will take the position that Abstract Art is representational, just as was the old art. The difference is that the object painted or sculpted is an abstract thing, not a concrete thing of everyday life. (Here I am going against much of the art theoretical interpretation that has gone on for decades.)

Now I have to hook that up with magic and the occult. Here are some shamanistic images that you can find in Nepal. The Bon religion is strongly represented here - https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366& ... CAc&uact=5

And then there is this interesting book - https://www.google.com/search?q=masto+g ... viz04MlnlM:

Modern Abstract Art is deeply embedded in African and Asian shamanistic masks and idols. If you don’t see that you don’t understand modern Abstract Art. And all that is of course magic and the occult.
For instance is reda universal? Including fantasised, dreamed, or hallucinated red unless the red you perceive has a shape how can you perceive it? Don't you think that anything that has a shape or form is not an abstraction but a particular?Even blobs have shapes. You may say and I'd agree that blobs may constantly change their shapes as happens with some living things or events; however the blob has a particular identity as it each shape of it is causally related to the next in a time sequence and in a rule of natural order.
Each universal (excepting existence itself) is relative to at least one other universal.

You can perceive red the universal if your whole world is red, but in that case you would not know red unless you also know at least one other colour.

Another fact about the relative aspect of red is red appears redder when it's in close proximity to green, and the more intense the hue the more the contrast is perceptible. Other universals are also relative to each other. There is not one universal, including truth, goodness, and beauty, which is not relative to a contrasting universal( except as I said previously , existence itself)

Staying with red as an example of a universal, besides hue there are also shades , and tones,
of red. These too are perceptible only because they relate to other shades and tones of the same hue or different hues.

I said " a rule of natural order" . I have a faith in natural order which is independent of my own mind. Do you believe in natural order or do you believe there is no such order and your own mind/brain makes order out of external chaos?
You are confusing a universal with the particular that has the universal. They are two, not one. You are also confusing the generic universal with the specific forms of that universal. There is no such thing as natural order. There is, however, logical order, but that's something entirely different. Neither my mind nor my brain are agents that can give order to anything. Nothing happens in the natural world of necessity. Everything that happens could have been different.

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by Belindi » October 9th, 2019, 5:29 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
You are confusing a universal with the particular that has the universal. They are two, not one. You are also confusing the generic universal with the specific forms of that universal. There is no such thing as natural order. There is, however, logical order, but that's something entirely different. Neither my mind nor my brain are agents that can give order to anything. Nothing happens in the natural world of necessity. Everything that happens could have been different.
Universals without particulars are inconceivable.
You can't say there is no such thing as natural order and claim to be a theist and be reasonable in your claims. Natural order, see Genesis, is the basis of theism.Chaos is what God made order out of.

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » October 9th, 2019, 6:23 am

Belindi wrote:
October 9th, 2019, 5:29 am
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
You are confusing a universal with the particular that has the universal. They are two, not one. You are also confusing the generic universal with the specific forms of that universal. There is no such thing as natural order. There is, however, logical order, but that's something entirely different. Neither my mind nor my brain are agents that can give order to anything. Nothing happens in the natural world of necessity. Everything that happens could have been different.
Universals without particulars are inconceivable.
You can't say there is no such thing as natural order and claim to be a theist and be reasonable in your claims. Natural order, see Genesis, is the basis of theism.Chaos is what God made order out of.
Universals without particulars or other universals, that is to say, universals as isolated are what I call creepy. A vision of an isolated universal is always strange and queer and it will make you tremble. Thus it is a religious experience. It is a vision of a god. You, like so many today, think of God in terms of being some kind of Creator who establishes some kind of causal order. I think it would be an interesting study to figure out why most people today think that. I guess it is some kind of rationalism. It hasn't always been like that and I suspect it's something that will not last much longer. I am a theist and I never think of God as creator or some kind of law or rule or order giver. I think of God in terms of what I wrote at the beginning of this paragraph.

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by Belindi » October 9th, 2019, 6:40 am

You, like so many today, think of God in terms of being some kind of Creator who establishes some kind of causal order.
Yes, I do, but not of course in the sense of a personal god named God.

I also think of god as man's quest for truth beauty and goodness. However I don't understand mystic religious experiences that involve something I can identify as god or God.

Anybody who claims to be magical or have ' occult' power I suspect of charlatanism, or at best therapy by means of suggestion.

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » October 9th, 2019, 6:58 am

Belindi wrote:
October 9th, 2019, 6:40 am
You, like so many today, think of God in terms of being some kind of Creator who establishes some kind of causal order.
Yes, I do, but not of course in the sense of a personal god named God.

I also think of god as man's quest for truth beauty and goodness. However I don't understand mystic religious experiences that involve something I can identify as god or God.

Anybody who claims to be magical or have ' occult' power I suspect of charlatanism, or at best therapy by means of suggestion.
LOL Yes, you know me well. I am a charlatan. A magician. A cultist. An Occultist. I have no idea what you mean by "therapy by means of suggestion". There is no need or necessity for you to understand mystic religious experiences that involve something you can call god or God. It's really not your thing. Please, just be yourself; it's quite enough.

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by Tamminen » October 9th, 2019, 11:00 am

Consul wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 3:58 pm
The point of my anti-idealistic argument is that we can see pictures of unseen objects, i.e. ones which were seen by nobody when the pictures were made (automatically). If the objects hadn't been there, no pictures of them could have been made; but if we have pictures of them, we have evidence for their existence during the time when nobody saw them, which is evidence for their perception-independent existence (since a camera is not a conscious perceiver).
What is independence? Let us suppose we have a subject s and an object o. Then we have relations between s and o. Also independence is a relation. We can say that independence is a relation where all other relations are absent. There is nothing between s and o.

But both s and o must exist to create a concrete relationship of independence between them. So also the subject must exist. Any concrete relationship presupposes the existence of its members. Therefore, as I have said many times, the existence of the world is impossible without the existence of the subject. This should not be difficult to understand.

So, to say that the existence of objects is independent of the existence of the subject already presupposes the existence of the subject. Saying that the existence of the subject is not necessary is saying that nothingness is possible, which is absurd. Eliminating the subject means metaphysical suicide. We cannot posit our nonexistence as a concrete possibility.

To sum up: the existence of an object does not depend on anyone's perceiving it but it depends on the existence of some subject somewhere, some time. There has to be a subjective presence, a “here and now” somewhere in the spatiotemporal universe to make sense of the fact that the universe exists. Nothing can exist without its essence, and the subject's consciousness is the essence of the universe.

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by Felix » October 9th, 2019, 11:45 am

GaryLouisSmith: I as a realist think abstractions are real things external to the mind. They are not concepts created by the mind. They are out there and we stumble upon them by accident.

Felix: If they are not known to the senses and not known to the mind, what does that leave? How are they known?

GaryLouisSmith: Why did you write "not known to the mind"?
Nothing known can be "external to the mind," that's a contradiction. Objects of sensory perception are said to be external to the mind since they can be apprehended by any conscious person and there can be objective consensus about their existence. But there can be no such consensus about your subjective mental perceptions, only you can be directly aware of them. Therefore your statement that "abstractions are real things external to the mind" is incoherent, it's like saying, "I sensed something that cannot be sensed." If they are subjective mental perceptions, they are not real things external to the mind - at least until you own one of Mr. Tesla's thought cameras.

Mystical visions are real to the person who has them, but they cannot be said to be external to their mind. However, I suppose that is a definition of theism: the belief that the subjects (deities or heavens) envisioned are real things external to one's mind. Still, we should distinguish between the actual vision and any conceptions we may have about it.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » October 9th, 2019, 7:30 pm

Tamminen wrote:
October 9th, 2019, 11:00 am
Consul wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 3:58 pm
The point of my anti-idealistic argument is that we can see pictures of unseen objects, i.e. ones which were seen by nobody when the pictures were made (automatically). If the objects hadn't been there, no pictures of them could have been made; but if we have pictures of them, we have evidence for their existence during the time when nobody saw them, which is evidence for their perception-independent existence (since a camera is not a conscious perceiver).
What is independence? Let us suppose we have a subject s and an object o. Then we have relations between s and o. Also independence is a relation. We can say that independence is a relation where all other relations are absent. There is nothing between s and o.

But both s and o must exist to create a concrete relationship of independence between them. So also the subject must exist. Any concrete relationship presupposes the existence of its members. Therefore, as I have said many times, the existence of the world is impossible without the existence of the subject. This should not be difficult to understand.

So, to say that the existence of objects is independent of the existence of the subject already presupposes the existence of the subject. Saying that the existence of the subject is not necessary is saying that nothingness is possible, which is absurd. Eliminating the subject means metaphysical suicide. We cannot posit our nonexistence as a concrete possibility.

To sum up: the existence of an object does not depend on anyone's perceiving it but it depends on the existence of some subject somewhere, some time. There has to be a subjective presence, a “here and now” somewhere in the spatiotemporal universe to make sense of the fact that the universe exists. Nothing can exist without its essence, and the subject's consciousness is the essence of the universe.
I am intrigued by your assertion that independence is a relation. Would you say that that relation exists external to what it relates - in this case s and o? Is it a thing separate from what it relates? If a relation does not have full existence by itself, then does it depend on mind? How does that work?

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by Felix » October 9th, 2019, 9:20 pm

GaryLouisSmith: If a relation does not have full existence by itself, then does it depend on mind?
Interdependant: subject/object. As they they say in Zen, they are "mutually arising."
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by Consul » October 9th, 2019, 9:48 pm

Tamminen wrote:
October 9th, 2019, 11:00 am
What is independence? Let us suppose we have a subject s and an object o. Then we have relations between s and o. Also independence is a relation. We can say that independence is a relation where all other relations are absent. There is nothing between s and o.

But both s and o must exist to create a concrete relationship of independence between them. So also the subject must exist. Any concrete relationship presupposes the existence of its members. Therefore, as I have said many times, the existence of the world is impossible without the existence of the subject. This should not be difficult to understand.

So, to say that the existence of objects is independent of the existence of the subject already presupposes the existence of the subject. Saying that the existence of the subject is not necessary is saying that nothingness is possible, which is absurd. Eliminating the subject means metaphysical suicide. We cannot posit our nonexistence as a concrete possibility.

To sum up: the existence of an object does not depend on anyone's perceiving it but it depends on the existence of some subject somewhere, some time. There has to be a subjective presence, a “here and now” somewhere in the spatiotemporal universe to make sense of the fact that the universe exists. Nothing can exist without its essence, and the subject's consciousness is the essence of the universe.
There are two kinds of existential independence:

1. x is rigidly existentially independent of y =def It is possible that x exists and y doesn't exist.

2. x is generically existentially independent of Ys =def It is possible that x exists and Ys don't exist (there are no Ys).

Such statements of existential independence can very well be true even if y actually doesn't exist or Ys actually don't exist. That is, as opposed to existential dependence, existential independence of x from y or Ys doesn't entail the coexistence of x and y/Ys. You cannot depend on what doesn't exist, but you can be independent of what doesn't exist. For example, you are existentially independent of mammoths, because you and mammoths are actually and thus possibly non-coexistent (since actuality implies possibility). Existential independence excludes necessary coexistence, but it doesn't exclude contingent coexistence. That material objects and subjects (perceiving them) coexist is a contingent fact!
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » October 9th, 2019, 9:57 pm

Felix wrote:
October 9th, 2019, 9:20 pm
GaryLouisSmith: If a relation does not have full existence by itself, then does it depend on mind?
Interdependant: subject/object. As they they say in Zen, they are "mutually arising."
As Nagarjuna, the great Mahayana Buddhist, said mutual arising doesn't exist.

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Re: Do you think a theist can understand atheist?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » October 10th, 2019, 12:55 am

Here’s a bit of ontological analysis. Let’s say you are walking about in the near twilight and you see a ghost. It seems to you like a clear act of perception. You right then are the thought that that is a ghost. So now there is the particular that has the form of a ghost and there is the thought that that is a ghost. (The thought may or may not be fused with English text.) You are the thought and that is a ghost and the thought that you are is united to its object.

Many people have had that same thought. It gets around. You are tied to that thought, but you are a different thing from that. The thought is a universal and like all universals, it is timeless and placeless. It is an eternal thing, like God. And so is the nexus that ties thought to object. Thoughts are outside you. They come to you and when you are thinking them you have been tied to them by the nexus of exemplification. You are a bare particular tied to that form, that thought.

The upshot of all that is that you are only a bare particular and when you think you are tied with an ontological nexus to a thought, which is a universal form. And that thought is tied with a different nexus to its object. The nexus is all important.

The thought that this is a lovely evening is tied to the fact that this is a lovely evening. And you are tied to the thought as have been so many others throughout space and time. So many bare particulars; but only one Form intending a fact. The Nexus of Intentionality.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that the bare particular that exemplifies the thought also exemplifies a Form of thought: perception, belief, imagining, doubting, remembering and so many others.

Bare particulars, Forms and various nexus. So very strange to the everyday mind. Mystical and difficult. The human being disappears. Eternal things. Violent in their simplicity. Nuance is gone. Change and life is nowhere in sight. Ontology is hard-edge spirit. God is cutting analysis. And there’s more.

I walk the streets of this god-infested Kathmandu and I see eternal forms exemplified everywhere. And I know that I as one bare particular am not the only one who has been invaded, possessed by the Thought that these are gods. That’s all there is to it. Nothing changes. Around and around and around the prayer wheel. It’s all a trance. Magic oozes out and in. And the moonlight is ever present.


I study Hindu philosophy. It’s all right there. A shot to the head. Erotic. This is not Vedanta, which says that thought and object are one thing, but it is a realism which says that there is a nexus that unites separate things. Differences are maintained. Even the nexus is different from what it unites. That nexus is the Lingam. This is Tantra. I am passive to that joiner. A shameful thing.

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