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Switch to Forum Live View Analytic thinking threatens beliefs
2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 10:22PM #51
Buggsy
Posts: 4,630

May 1, 2012 -- 10:17PM, SeraphimR wrote:


How should I analytically question my belief in, say, the Resurrection?  I know that it violates the laws of physics, but I am comfortable believing in miracles. 



But these are two differrent things - (1) belief and (2) the resurrection itself - or at the very least the theological idea of the resurrection which you believe.


In my view you can't analyse belief.  It would be like analysing love.  It's the objects of belief that may be analysed.  Personally I think these should always be questioned and analysed.  But belief itself is a feeling state of a person.


Let's say I believe in the Trinity.  I feel the Trinity best captures the events I read in the New Testament.  It complements the notion of family - the basic building block of civilisation and other things.  Now when I analyse the concept of 3-in-1 it's nonsensical and illogical.  Yet I believe it because it provides something that can't be explained otherwise


Many people who question their beliefs either lose confidence in an institution formed around the theology, become aware of problems inherent in certain ideas or have a personal tragedy that causes them to question whether the belief is providing comfort when they look to it for solace.

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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 10:35PM #52
SeraphimR
Posts: 8,328

May 1, 2012 -- 10:22PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 1, 2012 -- 10:17PM, SeraphimR wrote:


How should I analytically question my belief in, say, the Resurrection?  I know that it violates the laws of physics, but I am comfortable believing in miracles. 



But these are two differrent things - (1) belief and (2) the resurrection itself - or at the very least the theological idea of the resurrection which you believe.


In my view you can't analyse belief.  It would be like analysing love.  It's the objects of belief that may be analysed.  Personally I think these should always be questioned and analysed.  But belief itself is a feeling state of a person




I am content to follow the theological ideas about the resurrection analyzed for me by the Church.  They've mulled it over for a long time and I don't think I could have much to add.


---------------------------


You probably know that there are scientists who think they can analyze love via brain scans.


www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/news/201...

The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 10:39PM #53
Buggsy
Posts: 4,630

May 1, 2012 -- 10:35PM, SeraphimR wrote:


You probably know that there are scientists who think they can analyze love via brain scans.


www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/news/201...



Yeah I know it's pretty funny.  It's like analysing the car engine to determine where you'll go on vacation

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2 years ago  ::  May 01, 2012 - 11:35PM #54
Buggsy
Posts: 4,630

May 1, 2012 -- 10:17PM, SeraphimR wrote:

I am comfortable believing in miracles. . . .   I don't know how to analyze the question as to whether they are miracles or not. 



Think about it this way . . . It's argued by some that if miracles happen, there must be a God who performs them.  A religious believer considers miracles to be the direct result of God's mind acting on matter.    But if a divine mind can act directly on matter to produce miracles, then there's no reason to assume the human mind cannot do so.  In both cases, minds would be involved. The believer usually claims that God's mind is different from the human mind so that only God can perform miracles. But to make that claim would be to assume the very thing you are attempting to prove. But the presence of miracles can be used as evidence that some human minds have the power to perform miracles.


It's just as reasonable to assume that human minds can perform miracles.  Afterall, we don't see any person performing miracles the way we see people throwing footballs. But then again we don't see God performing miracles either.  In fact no one sees God at all.  In the argument for divine miracles God's existence is always inferred merely from the presence of what appears to be miracles.


Now, whether someone believes in divine miracles as an adequate explanation is another matter altogether.  However adequate explanations should never be assumed to be the correct and factual explanation.


I also think 'miracles' are being re-packaged in secular ways.  You hear about the miracle of life, the miracle of birth, etc.  People are expressing a sense of wonder not invoking a deity

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2 years ago  ::  May 02, 2012 - 12:47AM #55
SeraphimR
Posts: 8,328

May 1, 2012 -- 11:35PM, Buggsy wrote:


May 1, 2012 -- 10:17PM, SeraphimR wrote:

I am comfortable believing in miracles. . . .   I don't know how to analyze the question as to whether they are miracles or not. 



Think about it this way . . . It's argued by some that if miracles have happened, there must be a God who performed them.  A religious believer considers the presence of miracles to be the direct result of God's mind acting on matter.    But if a divine mind can act directly on matter to produce miracles, then there's no reason to assume the human mind cannot do so.  In both cases, minds would be involved. The believer usually claims that God's mind is totally differnt from the human mind so that only God can perform miracles. But to make that claim would be to assume the very thing you are attempting to prove. And the presence of miracles (as they are assumed) can be used as evidence that some human minds have the power to perform miracles.


It's just as reasonable to assume that human minds can perform miracles.  Afterall, we don't see any person performing miracles the way we see people throwing footballs. But then again we don't see God performing miracles either.  In fact no one sees God at all.  In the argument for divine miracles God's existence is always inferred merely from the presence of what appears to be miracles.


Now, whether someone believes in divine miracles as an adequate explanation is another matter altogether.  However adequate explanations should never be assumed to be the correct and factual explanation.


I also think 'miracles' are being re-packaged in secular ways.  You hear about the miracle of life, the miracle of birth, etc.  People are expressing a sense of wonder not invoking a deity




I can't follow that analysis at all.  First off, I think human minds perform miracles all the time, and throwing footballs is one of them.  Aleister Crowley defined magic as the production of change in conformaty to the will.  If a man intends to throw a football, and the football indeeds get thrown than that is a miracle.  To deny miracles is to deny mind at all,  and some materialists have asserted as much.  I am baffled by the assertion of such an absurdity, but such is the result of a slavish devotion to analytical thinking.


The miracles of God are a difference of degree, not kind, I suspect.  The human mind has only a limited amount of matter under its perview.  God has all of creation.  If we measure mind by the amount of matter it might directly affect, then we can suppose God's mind to be infinite while man's is finite.


I don't know that we ever go beyond adequate explanations for anything.  Certainly we are willing to sentence a man to prison, or even death, so long as we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.

The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
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2 years ago  ::  May 02, 2012 - 7:03AM #56
newsjunkie
Posts: 5,741

May 1, 2012 -- 9:40PM, Buggsy wrote:


newsjunkie


I don't think you can apply analytical thought to belief


Belief is a state of mind.  If you're referring to religious concepts then okay anaytical thought (i.e. critical thinking) can be used to examine the elements of ideas and concepts.  When I say I believe in God I'm referring to a state of mind concerning a thought but I'm not referring to the thought itself.  Critical thinking is a discursive method of thought - a methodology.  But belief is a frame of mind.


Are you saying that analytical thought should be used to examine religious concepts?  If so then I agree.


Let me put it another way . . . when I say I agree with Obama on health care, I am talking about my state of mind - agree. Obama's view on health care is the object of my agreement




If you're called to serve on a jury, the question is whether you believe the prosecution (or plaitiff in a civil suit) or the defense. Often both side's accounts have some truth to them, and can both sides can make claims that you may doubt. You will likely use your intuition in your deliberations, but you will analyze the evidence and arguments made by both sides also (one hopes).


Maybe it's because I grew up in a household where my dad was Catholic and my grandmother was a non-practicing Methodist, and because I went to a Catholic grade school but also attended my Evangelical neighbor's "Good News Club," but I knew about the different claims of religion at a young age, and I thought about them. Regarding God, as a young child of course I simply believed! But when I got a little bit older, I began to wonder why God could let so many bad things happen (I had a dysfunctional family). That's analytical thinking. By age 12 I didn't believe the major dogmas of the RCC. By the time I graduated in high school I considered myself agnostic/atheist. It was intuitively obvious to me that both my Evangelical neighbor who thought praying to Mary was idolatry and the sisters teaching religion at my school couldn't both be right. My intuition was (and still is) that people's claims about God say more about the person than about God. I did think about the claims of various religions. I took religious studies courses in college and learned about Hinduism and Buddhism.


I went back to RCism in my early 40s because I had a feeling I should. I knew I would have trouble with some of the beliefs, but I told myself to keep an open mind. Initially, I did try to simply accept the miraculous claims as miraculous, that God maybe didn't have to obey the rules of physics that He set up. I went along like that for 2 or 3 years. I also put rules of the RCC that I couldn't follow, because I didn't think (intuitively or analytiaclly) that they were right, aside. But that only worked for a time. Whether it was primarily my intuition or primarily my analytical thinking (clearly it was both), I had to figure out what I believed and what I didn't, and the conclusion was I not only can't be Catholic, but I can't be Christian either. 


So I surely do think religious beliefs can be examined analytically; I've done it a few times! And intuition has much to do with all of our thinking. Sometimes our intuition is right, other times it isn't. Same with the analytical thinking.

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2 years ago  ::  May 02, 2012 - 7:23AM #57
newsjunkie
Posts: 5,741

May 2, 2012 -- 12:47AM, SeraphimR wrote:


I can't follow that analysis at all.  First off, I think human minds perform miracles all the time, and throwing footballs is one of them.  Aleister Crowley defined magic as the production of change in conformaty to the will.  If a man intends to throw a football, and the football indeeds get thrown than that is a miracle.  To deny miracles is to deny mind at all,  and some materialists have asserted as much.  I am baffled by the assertion of such an absurdity, but such is the result of a slavish devotion to analytical thinking.


The miracles of God are a difference of degree, not kind, I suspect.  The human mind has only a limited amount of matter under its perview.  God has all of creation.  If we measure mind by the amount of matter it might directly affect, then we can suppose God's mind to be infinite while man's is finite.


I don't know that we ever go beyond adequate explanations for anything.  Certainly we are willing to sentence a man to prison, or even death, so long as we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.




The miracle of birth, that's one thing. The miracle of a virgin conceiving and giving birth is one of an entirely different order. Sure I believe in the "miracle" of birth and of human achievement, and other "miracles" of nature as well. It's a miracle we're here at all! The sense of wonder and awe I feel when experiencing nature or the fine arts is profound and very important.


But that doesn't mean that every claim is real and that I should believe it. That's where the analytical thinking comes in.


Your last paragraph is important. Humans certainly have limitations in what they can detect with their senses and conjure up in their minds (through intuition or analysis). Science seeks explanations, not merely adequate ones, but its methods are applied to find the best explanation from what may be many competing adequate explanations. If new information comes along that shows a long-held scientific theory is incorrect and there is a better one, science has to abandon the old theory and accept the new one.


But relgions, at least the dogmatic ones, claim they have the Absolute Truth. Religious people may admit they don't know everything about God and the various claims of their religion, but they also are reluctant to say that if new information comes to light they will change their beliefs accordingly. I think it's better to change in light of new evidence.

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2 years ago  ::  May 02, 2012 - 7:53AM #58
newsjunkie
Posts: 5,741

Quick question: 


What is the difference between intuitive thinking and magical thinking?


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2 years ago  ::  May 02, 2012 - 9:54AM #59
TemplarS
Posts: 6,249

How are we to define miracles in a scientific age?


The definition used by many people, an event unexplainable by natural law and hence attributable only to a divine act, is no longer suitable.  Because our understanding of natural law is changing day by day.


Let us say that next week a biologist someplace discovers a "natural" mechanism whereby a woman could give birth to a male child without intercourse (I understand that this premise goes contrary to current thinking- but so have many other novel discoveries).


Where would this leave the traditional Christian belief in the virginal conception of Jesus?  Some might be delighted that a traditional belief has been vindicated by science; others might be disappointed that another cherished "miracle" has been shown to be nothing but another natural occurrence.


But maybe it makes little difference; maybe the miracle is all in the context- that child, in that time and place.  God created the laws that underpin the universe; is it necessary that he violate those laws to make his point?  Who is to say he does not work his"miracles" through and not contrary to natural law. 

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2 years ago  ::  May 02, 2012 - 9:54AM #60
Paladinsf
Posts: 3,660

May 2, 2012 -- 7:53AM, newsjunkie wrote:

Quick question: 


What is the difference between intuitive thinking and magical thinking?



For some of us - none at all.


And for these who can't (or won't) see the difference it doesn't matter.


They are more comfortable with they want to believe that dealing with a reality that is shows how wrong they are.

The World is divided into armed camps ready to commit genocide just because we can't agree on whose fairy tales to believe.
The belief in supernatural religion will kill us all if we don't outgrow it.

When I first read "End of Faith" I thought Sam went too far. The more I read and listen to these "believers" the more I wonder if maybe he wasn't right after all.
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