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P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

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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Burning ghost
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Burning ghost » August 29th, 2018, 12:33 am

It is the geneal perspective taken up by atheists I believe.

Dogmatic how? Assuming you understand what “dogma” means you’re being nothing more than purposefully disingenuous. I was simply using the term as is commonly used. Atheists don’t rely on scripture - I find that to be a distinct way to distinguish between “religious” and “non-religious” don’t you?
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Dark Matter » August 29th, 2018, 1:19 am

Burning ghost wrote:
August 29th, 2018, 12:33 am
It is the geneal perspective taken up by atheists I believe.

Dogmatic how? Assuming you understand what “dogma” means you’re being nothing more than purposefully disingenuous. I was simply using the term as is commonly used. Atheists don’t rely on scripture - I find that to be a distinct way to distinguish between “religious” and “non-religious” don’t you?
Let’s go through this again. In answer to your question I said,
Religion is a person’s ultimate concern, something that they base their lives around as the most important thing. I agree. If a definition of God must be stated, "That than which no greater can be conceived" will do.
If defending the belief that atheism isn’t a religion isn’t your ultimate concern, it’s certainly appears to be high on your list. If it is your claim that you don’t have an ultimate concern or no ideal that can be articulated as “that than which no greater can be conceived,” the discussion ends here and now because our respective philosophies have nothing in common.

I know what dogma is, do you? It’s not what most people suppose. "Dogma" is derived from the Greek doxein, "having an opinion" in the Greek schools of philosophy. “Dogmata” are the differentiating doctrines of the different late Greek schools of philosophy, that’s all.

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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Burning ghost » August 29th, 2018, 2:46 am

DM -

You’re being overly defensive here.

It is not my ultimate concern nor is it high on my list. My point was that we can choose to frame literally everything as a religion or stick to an agreed definition of what a religion is.

I personally don’t see several things as being popularly held as a “religion”. These would be political views (such as conservativism, socialism and liberalism, to name the most commonly understood) and I actually regard atheism as a poltically driven force that has come about due to religious zealotry - when the beliefs of others are used to inhibit the freedoms of others.

Within common law all peple are free to express their views. What is held up is that the law is followed within a governmental system regardless of the personal views of the indivduals yet partly shaped by the collective of these individuals. If certain freedoms are inhibited to too great a degree the people rise up in protest and it is then up to the governing body to either change the law and/or readdress the social problem being expressed better. If you have a better way to distinguish “religion” from “non-religion” then please be my guest and express it. My own attempt was a limited expression and I have stated that at some point the line of distinction becomes a huge abyss of ignorance and confusion.

Other definitions of religion focus more on the supernatural. Maybe that suits the requirements better? Then there is something I have found to be overlooked too, that is the distinction between the institute of religion and personal religion - just like with Christians, Buddhists or atheists the label doesn’t tell us anywhere near as much about the individual beliefs as we’d like to assume. I’ve even heard the term “Christian Atheist” flung around! I guess given that many people in Europe do indentify as Christian yet they don’t hold any particular religious belief, belief in the supernatural nor belief in some higher consciousness as creator of the universe. Sometimes we just do things because that is tradition and comfortable plus it helps maintain a sense of community.

It makes no difference what the etymology of “dogma” is. My authority is me and I am well aware that it is less than perfect so to say I am being dogmatic when I am not espousing anything as a given and absolute truth is disingenuous.

I think your definition of the concept of god needs felshing out more for others to grasp hold of. I am not saying you’ll succeed in your attempts to make someone understand your view but you can but try. If I may expand on your definition and then you can tell me what you think of it:

So we start with “That which no greater can can be conceived”

The easiest way to attck this, which I won’t do only outline, is to ask what is meant by “greatest”. I’ve seen many people tie up the conversation there and skupper any reasonable discussion.

The problem many would then turn to is to ask what is the greatest thing you can conceive of then? To which I doubt very much any of us can articulate well enough without having to write several thousand volumes, yet we can nevertheless all appreciate that some things are better than others and it is enough to use that as a rule of thumb in understanding the proposal of some “greatest” song, cake or painting - and what is more as we develop in life and gain new experiences our aesthetic ability will no doubt alter. What is magnificent to a child of 6 is likely deemed of facile quality to an adult, be it in whatever form of artistic appreciation we cae to mention.

Even here we find that if we were to select and distill all the greatest experiences of human activity into one singular item then would we be able to grasp it as a singular item? Are we limited to the degree of “greatness” we can comprehend? If we were could we know? These are rhetoricsl questions don’t feel the need to answer them I don’t.

In my life I conceive of a better future and then try to work towards it and by doing so I find that once it’s reached has in fact slipped by and dormed into another posibble future - and more often than not on my way to the “better future” the path teaches me something new and I reevaluate my target and then shift my direction.

So the above is an atheistic view of or concept of god. The theistic view would pertain to an actual over ruling being that punishes and rewards each human attempt to be more like god, more forgiving, more loving and more courageous. In both situations “good” behaviour is not enough to reap in success. The god/self may just as easily reward or punish an individual for reasons unseen. We prefer to point the finger at others though and stick to our conceptual view of the world if someone is actively challenging the foundations on which we stand - this is something the anthropologists Eliade and Geertz both comment on, where some part of a tribes conceptual foundation is torn out and the whole people are thrown into disarray - often leading to death and destruction due to their lack of conceptual grounding.

Here I would comment that there appears to be a distinction (and it’s quite a grey area) between how foundational concepts of social groups are maintained. For the more “religious” (for want of a better term) often an abstract concept is given physical form - a staff or symbol of power held by the leader (spiritual or otherwise.) If some misfortune befall this item the people are scared and feel like their world is falling apart - which for them it is. To us it may seem silly, but we’re no less prone to these things it’s that in modern society they are so in our face now we don’t see them. For the less “religious” (again poor wording, and I feel that this is where the term “religiosity” comes into play more readily) they tend to keep the conceptual foundation abstract and even here a change can cause havoc because there is nothing physical with which to see any particular change so if the conceptual change proposed is too dramatic people are less willing to shift from it given no physical evidence of a “broken staff” or “burned sacred text”. Funniliy enough if you are willing to look hard enough there are boons to both perspectives and from both I would say rationality and scientific method arose, yet I cannot help but feel something of the more “religious”, making concrete of the abstract, has not been fully developed yet in line with remedying the movement from broken staff to newly made staff - so to speak.

My concern is to understand what people talk about when they say “god” be them theist or atheist. I thought that was clear. I am willing to, and have to a degree, set out questions to both sides of what I believe to be reasonably equal strength. I sympathize with both the theistic view and the atheistic view, but at the extreme ends of each I am not too interested in conversing with them because I’d rather not talk in circles with people who believe the Earth was created in 7 days or who believe that all religious people are deranged morons who have a childish view of the world - I don’t think many on this forum are quite like either of those extremes, but some appear to be beyond my patience so it is up to them to settle down and drop the emotional side of their argument and speak more plainly ... or not.

Antagonism serves only to derail a reasoned and level discussion, but we’re all prone to it. Such is life :)
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Eduk » August 29th, 2018, 3:32 am

but if he can include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken, and without a border (for every border is a division or break) then his mind will tend to move in a similar way [/qoute]
Yeah I have no idea what that means. Are you saying you are harmonious, because your posts rather refute that?
I mean how do I put this. How would you demonstrate this improved mind of yours? Personally I have seen harmonious atheists and harmonious theists. I've never felt that theists were more harmonious than atheists on the whole and vice versa.

Burning ghost. You could say atheism was a political movement. Though it wouldn't describe my kind of atheism. I think it's fair to say that not all atheists are members of a political ideology. Indeed I rather find political beliefs to be the same as religious beliefs in many cases.

Atheism is a religion in the same way that not drinking is a form of drinking.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Burning ghost » August 29th, 2018, 4:03 am

Eduk wrote:
August 29th, 2018, 3:32 am
but if he can include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken, and without a border (for every border is a division or break) then his mind will tend to move in a similar way [/qoute]
Yeah I have no idea what that means. Are you saying you are harmonious, because your posts rather refute that?
I mean how do I put this. How would you demonstrate this improved mind of yours? Personally I have seen harmonious atheists and harmonious theists. I've never felt that theists were more harmonious than atheists on the whole and vice versa.

Burning ghost. You could say atheism was a political movement. Though it wouldn't describe my kind of atheism. I think it's fair to say that not all atheists are members of a political ideology. Indeed I rather find political beliefs to be the same as religious beliefs in many cases.

Atheism is a religion in the same way that not drinking is a form of drinking.
Fair enough. Badly worded on my part. I was highlighting the more recent movement but didn’t name it as such where people used the term to push back against religious doctrine in education - that was political.

As with DM I could argue semantics over your analogy with water, but I get the gist well enough. There no doubt “atheistic” organisations rising up right now. Kind of ironic and maybe that is the kind of thing DM is referring to and the saem kind of thing religious people get annoyed about when some zealot calls for rhe death of this or that person. People will go too far sometimes.

It remains for DM to explain how religion is conceptualised in such a way as to then say atheism is a religion. The question goes to you too, in the sense of where there is a dividing line between religion and non-religion and the areas where the distinction is more fuzzy than not.

Maybe DM could tell us what a religious perons acts like and what kind of things they believe in. I am sure if we spoke to enough people we’d regard their actions and thoughts as “religious” or “non-religious” even if they were adamant they were otherwise. From my experience certain sects of Buddhism do a fairly good job of straddling the distinction between atheistic and theist ideas - and in those cases the use of concrete symbolism is sparse. Then there is Taoism, which is hardly a religion at all in the western sense of the word.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Dark Matter » August 29th, 2018, 4:14 am

I think your definition of the concept of god needs felshing out more for others to grasp hold of.
How’s this: “God” is that what must be in order for what is to be as it is? As such, God is my ultimate concern.

You used a lot of words, BG, but said little about your ultimate concern and nothing at all about what you believe what must be in order for what is to be as it is. These are not unimportant issues.

It is disappointing, but not unexpected, to see you cling to bigoted ideas about religion.

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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Burning ghost » August 29th, 2018, 4:59 am

What “bigoted ideas”? I was not aware I’d made any.

I think I made quite clear what my concern here is. To repeat, it is to understand how different people express their concepts of god and what it is that that means. I have also made some attempt outline my own views in the matter a little.

If it offended you so be it. It wasn’t my intention though.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Eduk » August 29th, 2018, 5:13 am

There no doubt “atheistic” organisations rising up right now.
There are certainly. And those are political movements, as you said. I guess it is slightly ironic being drawn to a group based off what you don't believe but I imagine in practice it's not so simple.
The question goes to you too, in the sense of where there is a dividing line between religion and non-religion and the areas where the distinction is more fuzzy than not.
Categorisation is notoriously difficult but I personally feel like regarding atheism as a religion is mostly something the religious do to troll. Although it's an odd troll because it's using religion as an insult.
For example not believing that homeopathy works is not a form of homeopathy. Although the same person who doesn't believe in homeopathy may well believe that vaccines cause autism. So in this sense both people have unreasonable beliefs and are the same. In this way your average theist and your average atheist are indistinguishable overall.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Burning ghost » August 29th, 2018, 5:31 am

Eduk -

I wouldn’t call every single theist as holding “unreasonable beliefs.” I doubt it was meant as an insult, more of a request to explain,how religion is different from non-religion.

Again, Buddhists (at least some) have no belief in the concept of god or supernatural beings. Does this mean they aren’t religious or that they are unreasonable by default of falling into the category of “religion”?

Note: some people don’t define Buddhism as a religion.

What about if I said to you I am religious yet have not belief in the supernatural nor in any god, and that my religon was a form paganism. Would such make me “unreasonable” by default?

Then there is the Jedi religion. If you find it easy to draw lines please explain where these fall and why. Thanks.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Eduk » August 29th, 2018, 6:05 am

As I said categorisation is notoriously difficult, I wouldn't dream to be able to easily categorise every single human into theist or non-theist. People have a massive range of contradictory beliefs which change over time. People do things for complex reasons. People are not fully conscious. People lie, to themselves. I'm sure you can contrive a situation where I cannot answer your question. This quote from Wikipedia is rather telling
Religion may be defined as a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion
Personally if someone tells me they are religious I am inclined to believe them and if someone tells me they are not religious I am also inclined to believe them (unless I have cause to believe otherwise - such as the religion of Jedi where I doubt any proponents are being literal). Of course this is not a perfect system but thus far the error has not proven to be a problem for me.
Again, Buddhists (at least some) have no belief in the concept of god or supernatural beings.
As you point out it depends on the Buddhist. I was in a Buddhist temple in china just the other day. Certainly seemed like a religion to me. Big temple, monks, idols, preying etc.
What about if I said to you I am religious yet have not belief in the supernatural nor in any god, and that my religon was a form paganism. Would such make me “unreasonable” by default?
Having an unreasonable belief in something doesn't mean that that encapsulates your entire being such that you are unreasonable. For example many people are unreasonable when it comes to their sports team but reasonable when it comes to other people's sports teams (unless it's their sports teams enemy).
Regarding whether religions 'must' be unreasonable to be categorised as religions, I think I would have to say yes. I can't think of a religion which makes no epistemological claims?
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Thinking critical » August 29th, 2018, 6:39 am

Dark Matter wrote:
August 29th, 2018, 12:24 am
Also, your dogmatic assertion that atheism is not a religion is just amusing. :wink:
Those who insist that Atheism is some form of religion obviously struggle to grasp the concept that in order to fall into the category of atheism only one criteria needs to be met, that being the absence of a belief in gods. Religion entails the pursuit or interest in a particular belief system founded on the idea that some sort of supreme entity exists.

As Dawkins puts it, atheism is no more a religion than not playing football is a sport.

As for "ultimate concern", mine personally, is to do everything I can to maintain the well being of my wife and kids.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 29th, 2018, 7:54 am

Burning ghost wrote:
August 29th, 2018, 5:31 am

Note: some people don’t define Buddhism as a religion.
Here's your confusion. Buddhism is not a theism, though many branches of Buddhism have gods, depending on where in the world it is.

Religion does not have to include a god.

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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Eduk » August 29th, 2018, 8:05 am

Buddhists do idolise Buddha though? It reminds me of the way Stalin or Kim Jong-Un give themselves powers akin to a god, line gets blurry for me to point where I don't really see a substantive difference.
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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Hereandnow » August 29th, 2018, 9:33 am

Perfection? "Greatest" possible being? What ever do these terms even mean? A perfect circle, say: perfect because there is equal distance from every point along the perimeter to the center. But the question is begged: why is THIS perfect? Pure geometrical perfection. And this, why is this perfection at all important? What good is perfection without an account as to why the perfection, mathematical, equational, or whatever, is GOOD? All perfection is contingent upon the value imposed upon it by an agency of valuation.

Perfection is not GOOD beyond the terms that apply to measure its value. It is therefore the value that is GOOD, and if you're going to talk about god, you must eo ipso talk about something else entirely to describe god's perfection.

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Re: P2. God, Imperatively Must Be Absolutely Perfect

Post by Burning ghost » August 29th, 2018, 10:51 am

Dark Matter -

This is what I didn’t do (what I refused to do):
Hereandnow wrote:
August 29th, 2018, 9:33 am
Perfection? "Greatest" possible being? What ever do these terms even mean? A perfect circle, say: perfect because there is equal distance from every point along the perimeter to the center. But the question is begged: why is THIS perfect? Pure geometrical perfection. And this, why is this perfection at all important? What good is perfection without an account as to why the perfection, mathematical, equational, or whatever, is GOOD? All perfection is contingent upon the value imposed upon it by an agency of valuation.

Perfection is not GOOD beyond the terms that apply to measure its value. It is therefore the value that is GOOD, and if you're going to talk about god, you must eo ipso talk about something else entirely to describe god's perfection.
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