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Religion? Phoo-ey: Society has been hurt far more by philosophy
Free Lance-Star ^ | 9/6/2003 | DAVID P. YOUNG

Posted on 09/08/2003 3:05:17 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe

I SENSED A KINSHIP with Martin Luther when reading Professor Thomas L. Johnson's comment ["Truly free? Not as long as religion plays a role in government," Aug. 19]. When Luther read Erasmus' diatribes he responded: "Your workstruck me as so worthless and poor that my heart went out to you for having defiled your lovely and brilliant flow of language with such vile stuff.It is like using gold and silver dishes to carry garden rubbish or dung."

Johnson assumes we experience philosophical ideas only in the philosophers' writings. This is erroneous. We meet these ideas in movies, television, and the lyrics of music.

They are in books such as Hillary Clinton's "It Takes a Village." The raising of a child is too important to be left to the parents; it takes a village. This belief is from Plato's "Republic." Movies and television have often portrayed the "anti-hero hero"--the individual who makes his own way and his own laws, and refuses to submit to authority. This is the "superman" of Nietzsche.

Johnson's own polemic on Christian "virtues" betrays the influence of Nietzsche's "Will to Power." These ideas are found in marketing: Get it here and now because here and now is all you have.

One does not have to read the philosophers to encounter the ideas they have promulgated. Even the U.S. Army has kowtowed to philosophy with the slogan "An army of one."

The contemporary church, as well, has been shaped by the philosophers. Rudolf Bultmann turned to the atheistic existential philosophy of Heidegger as the way to interpret the Bible, pushing many into a subjective approach. But perhaps it was Immanuel Kant in his "Critique of Pure Reason" who had the greatest impact on culture and church when he built his wall between the transcendent (God, the self, and essences) and the world as we perceive it. The Christian community abandoned its traditional rational arguments for God and turned to leaps of faith. Thus the church, like the culture, found itself separated from God, the self, and essences, and the answers to the important questions: What is Good, Beautiful and True? We have all bowed the knee to Father Kant and his disciples, even if we have never heard their names.

The history Johnson asserts is more wretched than his views on philosophical effect. In ancient Rome, Christians were executed for not worshiping the emperor. Christians stopped the practice of infanticide. It was the church's opposition that ended the games where people were butchered for the amusement of the mob.

Throughout history Christians have resisted tyranny--at Runnymede and the signing of the Magna Carta, in central Europe when the German Princes opposed Charles V, and in the Dutch war of independence. All these events were carried out by Christians. Parliament's victory over the King in the English Civil War was the work of Christians, as was the American Revolution. The history Johnson offered, of Christians as docile, willing servants of despots, is at its best abject knavery, at its worst odious slander.

The dictatorships of this past century, of which Johnson took little notice, were nearly all anti-religious. These opposed Judeo-Christianity and adopted Karl Marx's creed "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his need." Lenin and Stalin attempted to exterminate religion. Communist China's human disasters ("The Great Leap Forward" and the "Cultural Revolution") were not the result of Christian complicity. These tragedies, along with those perpetrated by the Pol Pot regime and numerous others, lay with proponents of anti-religious, anti-Christian socialism.

Johnson protests that both political parties are making government bigger, and they are. We have only ourselves to blame, having become enthralled with the politics of envy, greed, and guilt, justified by Marx's creed. This is the result of the marriage of agnostic socialism and 19th-century liberal theology, which is not Christian, as J. Gresham Machen so ably pointed out in "Christianity and Liberalism."

Professor Johnson may assert the contrary, but with God banished from, statehouse, schoolhouse, and courtroom, Caesar is now on the throne. Where humans rule rather than the law, tyranny will follow. Big government is the heritage of this exile.

We all suffer from Pascal's dilemma of being able to think of a better existence than we have, but being unable to bring it about. We as a culture have turned to a human institution, government, for our needs and wants. Many are ready to lay covetous hands on the public treasury. This is the legacy of the 19th- and 20th-century socialist movements, which abandoned the orthodox teachings of Judaism and Christianity.

The threat to freedom is not from the community of faith. It is from the culture's desire to have the state meet our desires and free us from accountability. In a family environment this would be called codependency.

The late Vince Lombardi, observing the American scene in 1970, said, "People no longer understand the difference between liberty and license." I see in Professor Johnson's diatribe that lack of understanding.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: christians; faith
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1 posted on 09/08/2003 3:05:18 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe
good article. bump.
2 posted on 09/08/2003 3:08:55 PM PDT by Puddleglum
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To: Puddleglum
LOL Great name "Puddleglum"
May I ask what inspired that?
3 posted on 09/08/2003 3:11:26 PM PDT by b9
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To: Puddleglum
He may be right in part, but what gawd-awful writing! How long do we put up with going from Luther to Johnson to Hillary and then to Plato within 20 or so words?
4 posted on 09/08/2003 3:13:51 PM PDT by cornelis
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And then Nietzsche and then Bultmann and then Kant!
5 posted on 09/08/2003 3:14:50 PM PDT by cornelis
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To: cornelis
And then the U.S. Army! And the Magna Carta!
6 posted on 09/08/2003 3:15:53 PM PDT by cornelis
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To: Tailgunner Joe
. But perhaps it was Immanuel Kant in his "Critique of Pure Reason" who had the greatest impact on culture and church when he built his wall between the transcendent (God, the self, and essences) and the world as we perceive it. The Christian community abandoned its traditional rational arguments for God and turned to leaps of faith. Thus the church, like the culture, found itself separated from God, the self, and essences, and the answers to the important questions: What is Good, Beautiful and True? We have all bowed the knee to Father Kant and his disciples, even if we have never heard their names.

Yes, but that is because Kant had no other choice, when given the skeptical premises of the naturalist philosophers. All of what we know comes from experience. This is common sense; Hume, Locke, etc. made it clear and showed with force how this is so. Yet this is the premise that forced Kant - and God - into the box of the metaphysical. For the extent to which anything we can know from experience (and not apriori) requires an ability, even hypothetical to experience and verify. Kant justified faith with reason, or rather justified kinds of "necessary truths" akin to faith as based on reason, yet by using philosophic reason as the axiom; just as Auqinas and the scholastics justified faith with reason, yet the scholastics took faith itself as axiomatic.

Faith is the Will to Believe. The Will to be Wise. We've lost that and only the Will to Power remains. But there are 3 wills: The Will to Power (existence), Will to Knowledge (Faith,Reason) and Will to Virtue. The philosophers havent figured that out yet (I have).

And yet is Kant so wrong? If God works miracles, physical miracles, then he is part of the world, and we can experience him. If he works only through the laws of nature, then we can only experience him through that veil of nature. The modern critique of Kant is not to release God from metaphysics, but to dissolve the metaphysical entirely. "The Remnant" of Christian faith holds on to but a plot of barren land holding out against materialism, and the positivists and existentialists are ready to evict.

The real culprit in history has been the rationalist faith in ideas - pure ideas - as something real and with more meaning than experience. This was the heart of Plato's rationalism, and was carried on by philosophers after Descartes. After him and into the 20th century, the post-Christian rationalists created ideologies immune to empirical inspection yet without the goodness of Christian virtue.

It is a good article and a good retort. And yet the fineness of Christians past and mean-ness and danger of atheistic ideologies is not an argument that addresses the core truth of the matters.

I liked the comment of Blaise Pascal. We feel what is possible but we cannot experience it. Perhaps he saw it before many of us, the denouement of irreligion and its dissolution of hope in the human spirit. But how to recapture that? You can only fight philosophy with philosophy, truth with truth. That means a defense of the proper sort, attending to matters of knowledge, virtue and existence.

7 posted on 09/08/2003 3:34:07 PM PDT by WOSG
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To: cornelis
And why not jump around? He's defending the whole of western civilization from a philosophe-buffoon who knows no history, or is rewriting it.

8 posted on 09/08/2003 3:38:24 PM PDT by WOSG
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Thought provoking article. Thanks for posting.

One comment though. The critic flirted with the issue, but failed to emphasize, that religion (including Christianity) is shaped by popular culture and philosophy of it's day. It is not "pure" from influence either.
9 posted on 09/08/2003 3:57:56 PM PDT by Lorianne
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Religion? Phoo-ey: Society has been hurt far more by philosophy

Whether they know it or not, every human being has a philosophy they live by, and a large number of individuals live, in part, to their personal religious philosophy.

It is also a fact that certain religious philosophies have proven themselves evil -- the evil within the 9/11 attack, for instance, has a religious base.

10 posted on 09/08/2003 4:02:06 PM PDT by thinktwice
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To: Tailgunner Joe
SPOTREP
11 posted on 09/08/2003 4:03:38 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: WOSG
WOW. Good answer! Any suggestions of a reading list for those of us not so knowledgable?
12 posted on 09/08/2003 4:10:11 PM PDT by walden
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To: cornelis
what gawd-awful writing!

It's just one of those 1-pagers you have to turn in if you skip a philosophy class and don't want to drop a grade.

13 posted on 09/08/2003 4:11:41 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
The writer's historic comments are basically correct, so far as I can tell. But he has basically defined a dichotomy where none actually exists. Philosophy and religion are both concerned with finding the truth. The philosopher or theologian may fail in the pursuit; their writings are fair game for other philosophers or theologians to challenge; but there is no inherent conflict between either field of pursuit and the other.

As for where we encounter philosophy? Each sentient being is engaged in its pursuit from his first waking hour, after coming into this world. We just get a little better at the pursuit as we grow towards adult hood. Thereafter, some continue to get better at the pursuit--that is called wisdom;--but many get set in certain mental traps, and stagnate. The worst of those mental traps--because it not only causes mental stagnation, but a neurotic rejection of truth itself--is what we call "Liberalism" today--that Socialist denial both of the realities of human life, and the awesome nature of the Creation (the Natural Laws that govern all objects, animate and seemingly inanimate).

William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site

14 posted on 09/08/2003 4:15:26 PM PDT by Ohioan
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To: doodlelady
(I don't know the author, but "Puddleglum" is a name of a character in C. S. Lewis's Chronicals of Narnia. Tall quiet dude with webbed feet who lived in the swamps.)
15 posted on 09/08/2003 4:22:23 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: Tailgunner Joe
3 in a row. You are on a roll, dude!
16 posted on 09/08/2003 4:47:46 PM PDT by sauropod ("How do you know Sheila Jackson Lee's a queen?" "Because she doesn't sit with the little people")
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To: WOSG
After him and into the 20th century, the post-Christian rationalists created ideologies immune to empirical inspection yet without the goodness of Christian virtue.

Modern Secularist Religion.

17 posted on 09/08/2003 4:57:54 PM PDT by nosofar
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To: cornelis
from Luther to Johnson to Hillary and then to Plato ...And then Nietzsche and then Bultmann and then Kant! And then the U.S. Army! And the Magna Carta!

Not to mention Vince Lombardi and The American Scene.

He left out Lenny Bruce, Bach and Shakespeare. Maybe you have to read his book to cover everyone.

18 posted on 09/08/2003 5:00:44 PM PDT by Yeti
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To: cornelis
How long do we put up with going from Luther to Johnson to Hillary and then to Plato within 20 or so words?

'20 or so words.' What, you're too lazy to scroll and count the exact number?

19 posted on 09/08/2003 5:06:06 PM PDT by JoeSchem (Which way is Arnold's political weather vane pointing today?)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Johnson protests that both political parties are making government bigger, and they are. We have only ourselves to blame, having become enthralled with the politics of envy, greed, and guilt, justified by Marx's creed.

This very same thing demonstrates itself on threads about trade here at FR. One would easily find statements against those who have money and speak and/or think strictly in terms of class warfare. Envy and covetousness are the root of such thought.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Psalms 23:7


20 posted on 09/08/2003 5:10:16 PM PDT by rdb3 (Which is more powerful: The story or the warrior?)
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To: AnalogReigns
(I don't know the author, but "Puddleglum" is a name of a character in C. S. Lewis's Chronicals of Narnia. Tall quiet dude with webbed feet who lived in the swamps.)

May I respectfully point out that you DO know the name of the author? ;)

21 posted on 09/08/2003 5:38:33 PM PDT by exDemMom (Michael Jackson for Governor!)
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To: doodlelady
LOL Great name "Puddleglum"
May I ask what inspired that?

Old Puddleglum was a gloomy but usually correct character in C.S. Lewis's The Silver Chair. It was either that or Eyore (sp)!

22 posted on 09/08/2003 5:51:04 PM PDT by Puddleglum
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To: cornelis
He may be right in part, but what gawd-awful writing! How long do we put up with going from Luther to Johnson to Hillary and then to Plato within 20 or so words?

I agree there's some leaps in there, but for me it was a good brain tickler making me remember what I knew about these philosophers.

I sometimes think these later philosphers are just the tail wagging the dog; Nietsche lets people feel like their nihilism had a pedigree. I've never ceased to be amazed at people who cite Neitsche and Heiddegar like they were new under the sun, when really most of them are regurgitated heresies from the first few centuries AD.

I have to disagree that God was ever attainable by Reason though, except among the Neo-Platonists. I don't think Jesus would have had to come down to us if we just skip up a ladder of Reason and meet God face to face. At most Reason takes you up to something like God's footprint, but he's still deus absconditus (an analogy errily close to Bigfoot).

23 posted on 09/08/2003 5:59:26 PM PDT by Puddleglum
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To: Tailgunner Joe; Puddleglum; doodlelady; cornelis; WOSG; Lorianne; thinktwice; LiteKeeper; walden; ..
Religion? Phoo-ey: Society has been hurt far more by philosophy

Everything that is wrong with philsophy is, "religion," or at least the fundamental principle of religion, mysticism.

When mysticism, (so-called knowledge that has no rational or evidential basis), is embraced, it is superstition. No one calls it superstition, however, they call it faith.

Men so despise the truth and reality, they will do anything rather than give up their superstitions, including corrupting their own philosophy.

Mankind, generally hates reality, just because mankind does view reality as ruthless, demanding, cruel, and unforgiving. What mankind wishes for is a reality that is pliable, easy-going, kind, and forgiving. At bottom, mankind hates reality, hates the necessity of having to work hard all the time, hates the necessity of having to learn so much, hates never being able to act on whim, or passion, or impulse without consequences, hates knowing they cannot do wrong and get away with it, hates knowing you cannot get something for nothing.

What mankind wants is exemption from consequences and a shortcut to success, wealth, happiness, or whatever else their current whims and fancies convince them they want. Reason does not show them how to have or achieve what they want the way they want it. Reason only enables them to understand the truth that describes reality as it is. They don't want truth, either. The truth just condemns them for their hate of reality. They hate the truth, too.

Here, finally, is the secret, that unrevealed factor, the mystery of why almost all men prefer their superstitions to the truth.

At the heart of all superstitious beliefs, sometimes explicit, but always implicit, is the promise that there is something more than reality, something above reality, something which cancels the requirements of reality, a secret that enables those who know it to rise above mere reality, to defy it and get away with it. Superstition, which is never called superstition, is a magic wand that makes exist what in reality cannot exist, a metaphysical wild card that makes one automatically a winner, the universal "get-out-of-jail-free" card that allows one to escape the consequences of their choices and actions, the flying carpet that defies all of reality to give its owner a free ride to success and happiness.

But, of course it doesn't provide either success or happiness but only a kind of insanity that results in events like 9/11, which astonish and amaze everyone except those that understand the nature of superstition, or faith, or mysticism, or religion, or whatever name one wishes to give to those attempts of men to escape the necessity of living according to the truth and being responsible for their own lives.

(Quote is from The Autonomist, "What is Superstition")

Hank

24 posted on 09/08/2003 7:44:53 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Bump for a great article.
25 posted on 09/08/2003 7:51:18 PM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Hank Kerchief
When mysticism, (so-called knowledge that has no rational or evidential basis), is embraced, it is superstition.

To allow human agency, you must have faith. It is the one faith that "statist" will cannot allow themselves because the "state is great" mindset has no faith in the ability of individuals to choose for themselves.

26 posted on 09/08/2003 7:52:22 PM PDT by cornelis
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To: Hank Kerchief
The spiritual is more real than the physical.


27 posted on 09/08/2003 7:53:57 PM PDT by rdb3 (Which is more powerful: The story or the warrior?)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
A very sketchy article. Christians have certainly resisted and opposed tyranny throughout the ages, but not always. Charles V was as much a Christian as the German Princes. Just because one is a Christian does not mean that one resists tyranny. Most Christian Germans supported the tyranny of the Nazis. And recently didn't John Paul II oppose the overthrow of Saddam Hussein?
28 posted on 09/08/2003 8:05:49 PM PDT by moni kerr (Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way)
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To: cornelis
To allow human agency, you must have faith. It is the one faith that "statist" will cannot allow themselves because the "state is great" mindset has no faith in the ability of individuals to choose for themselves.

Faith is what individuals who hate the truth settle for. All religions, are at bottom, collectivist in nature. An autonomist has not use for a "state" or superstition, which you call "faith."

Hank

29 posted on 09/08/2003 8:06:41 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: rdb3
The spiritual is more real than the physical.

Reality is all that is, the way it is. There is nothing but reality. Nothing can be more real than anything else.

Hank

30 posted on 09/08/2003 8:10:53 PM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: yall; Tailgunner Joe; Everybody
"The threat to freedom is not from the community of faith. It is from the culture's desire to have the state meet our desires and free us from accountability."
-our author-


So... What else is new?

-- Just who was saying that:

'The threat to freedom is from the community of faith?'



31 posted on 09/08/2003 8:36:34 PM PDT by tpaine ( I'm trying to be Mr Nice Guy, but politics keep getting in me way. ArnieRino for Governator!)
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To: tpaine
'The threat to freedom is from the community of faith

That statement has more truth to it than you might like.

All collectivist organizations set rules, regulations, commandments, etc. -- some wise, and some totally arbitrary and ridiculous.

As such, all collectivist organizations present threats to individuals -- and individual freedom.

32 posted on 09/08/2003 9:12:58 PM PDT by thinktwice
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To: rdb3
Couldn't agree with you more. Envy and desiring something that belongs to someone else is at the bottom of so many societal problems. Maybe that is why it's mentioned about as often as bitterness, pride and greed. All of which fester like sores till the person afflicted with them is so rotten that their stench rises to the heavens, making it a truly grueling experience to even be forced to associate with them.

Allright. I got a little graphic but I think I described most leftists *~_^.
33 posted on 09/08/2003 9:20:01 PM PDT by kuma
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To: thinktwice
Well said.
34 posted on 09/08/2003 9:23:39 PM PDT by tpaine ( I'm trying to be Mr Nice Guy, but politics keep getting in me way. ArnieRino for Governator!)
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To: Hank Kerchief
Don't know much about Judaism or Christianity do ya? Also the author of that copy & paste job must not have known to many phrases such as "you reap what you sow", "you have sown into the wind and now you will reap the whirlwind" etc... those things sort of all tie into that sin = death thingy too ~_~.
35 posted on 09/08/2003 9:23:58 PM PDT by kuma
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To: nosofar
"After him and into the 20th century, the post-Christian rationalists created ideologies immune to empirical inspection yet without the goodness of Christian virtue."

Modern Secularist Religion."

Yes, an apt description for Marxism and Freudian psychology - both violate heavily the "verifiability" principle of the scientists and empiricists. IOW, they can be considered nonsense scientifically; yet they pose 'scientific' to hold a place above mere religious-style postulates.

36 posted on 09/08/2003 9:34:05 PM PDT by WOSG
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To: WOSG
The part of Kant that seems to trouble most modern philosphers is his point about time as well as space being an illusion. Despite the fact that Einstein clearly demonstrated this point, most still deny it.

The belief that, of all things in the Universe, time is not an illusion is a direct opposition to the concept of eternal life, and perhaps that is why so many secularists choke on it.

And still, so many Christians insist that God will appear as an illusion when he is not.

37 posted on 09/08/2003 9:45:03 PM PDT by Held_to_Ransom
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To: walden; Hank Kerchief
hmmmm. ... im going through a bookshelf of the classics of western philosophy in recent months and days, I cant 'recommend' one thingor even much except the whole canon - or avoid it because it induces one to navel gazing

Anyway for me the 3 great 'synthesizers' of the rational and empirical were Aristotle, Aquinas, and Kant - merging of differing schools into a common thread. Kant is good for insomnia. I am about to attack "grouding for the metaphysics of morals' I trust the empiricists more than the 'rationalists'. Locke is good. The only modern work with enough clarity is A J Ayer's work - this is an attack on metaphysics from the posivitism/materialism's view. I have identified the 'chinks' and the strong points and want to compare vs Kant.

Existentialism is IMHO cr*p and mere proof of Chesterton's remarks about non-Christians believing in anything. From this I conclude that the only modernist philosophy worth anything is the materialist philosophy of the positivists.

Also, the utilitarians are wrong for reasons I can go into at length elsewhere. (think prisoner's dilemma test.)

As a retort to the quotes about mysticism, it is *not* correct to call mysticism the sole ("soul"? :-) ) source
of religious motivation and faith. Indeed religion has a
moral/ethical, and in primitive culture a factual/evidentiary motive and basis. Christian theology since the TIME OF ST AUGUSTINE has been informed by reason by incorporating the works of the ancient philosophers and adding to it. The modern philosophers are descendents of those ancient philosophers, sallying forth to ask and answer the same questions and build knowledge in different ways.

Also, consider that much of art and poetics is a form of mystic expression - the emotional/moral/feeling side of human experience and expression. there is more to human expression than pure reason.
Nevertheless, mysticism seeps in and makes claims
it cant support; when it does - when mysticism tries to sustitute for superior ways of knowing (like fact-based reason and evidence) it does harm. (see also my comment on marxism and freudianism).

The real enemy of orthodox Christianity is not reason and philosohpy, with which it has coexsited for 1500 years, but these baser forms of moral schemata.
38 posted on 09/08/2003 9:53:04 PM PDT by WOSG
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To: Held_to_Ransom
Define 'time'. Reality changes in the Universe. Things are not static. I am not sure what part of time Kant called illusory.

We should understand that skepticism is a process, not a result, so one might deny some thing as 'known' even if possibly true. At the same time, if some physical reality/experience conflicts with something supportive of faith, do you just chuck your reason to hold to faith?

"The belief that, of all things in the Universe, time is not an illusion is a direct opposition to the concept of eternal life, and perhaps that is why so many secularists choke on it."

I do not see how time is an illusion, though, either.
39 posted on 09/08/2003 10:03:34 PM PDT by WOSG
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To: Hank Kerchief
"Faith is what individuals who hate the truth settle for."

Manifestly false. *Ignorance* is what individuals who hate the truth settle for ...

Faith, skepticism, mysticism, reason, experience, prejudice, conjecture, curiosity, are all *approaches* to devining knowledge. Some better than others; some of our greatest philosophers and scientists were men of faith or raised in faith (eg the skeptic Hume was raised Calvinist, Newton studied theology, Copernicus was a priest, etc.). Faith didnt harm critical faculties for them.

Though science has developed a sophisticated truth-procedure than other forms of modelling the universe, imho only those able to converse in quantum mechanics can really claim to have a better cosmology in hand than a person of faith.

You cant abjure faith and claim to cling to 'truth' - that itself is a faith, and a false one to boot. "All I know is I know nothing" - Socrates.

"All religions, are at bottom, collectivist in nature. "

All social organizations are "collectivist". Some tyrannies have used religion. Many have not.

The concept of Freedom, based on Natural Law, however, came to us from Aquinas the Christian theologian, in addition to the philosophy of the ancients (which never did much for Athens' democracy btw - why, because Plato hated democracy!). We say our rights are granted by God, and that is a surer protection for liberty than "Will to Power".




40 posted on 09/08/2003 10:14:20 PM PDT by WOSG
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To: kuma
...phrases such as "you reap what you sow", "you have sown into the wind and now you will reap the whirlwind" etc... those things sort of all tie into that sin = death thingy too ...

Gal. 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Hos. 8:7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

In case you forgot the references. You have freepmail.

Hank

41 posted on 09/09/2003 4:42:29 AM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: WOSG
Thanks for the interesting comments.

As a retort to the quotes about mysticism, it is *not* correct to call mysticism the sole ("soul"? :-) ) source of religious motivation and faith.

All religions are an amalgum of undeniable facts, (you will find things about eating, for example, in almost all religions, so they all at least admit that physical food has some value) with some aspects of credulity, {just believing something is true, without basis in either evidence or reason}. The general religious term for this credulity is faith. The generic term for credulity is superstition.

An ideology or system of beliefs that included no elements of credulity would not be a religion. It is those elements of belief (by which I mean only those things held to be true, and can inlude both the rational and irrational) that require "faith" that distinguish between religious and non-religious ideologies. The unnamed source for all notions or beliefs call faith based only on credulity is mysticism. Exclude mysticism, and whatever you have, it is not religion.

the emotional/moral/feeling side of human experience and expression. there is more to human expression than pure reason.

Just one comment. Emotion and feelings are generally terms for the same class of human experience, though feeling is broader and includes some things that could not rightly be called emotions (like the physical sensations). It is a bad mistake to mix feeling and morals. Moral or ethical values are rational, based on the nature reality, and determine what is correct or incorrect behavior for moral (rational/volitions) beings who must live by conscious choice.

More often than not, for those people who confuse moral values and feelings, their emotional experience and their moral values are in conflict. Those who clearly understand, truth is truth, right is right, and regardless of how one feels, the truth cannot be violated and one cannot do wrong and get away with it, do not suffer emotional conflicts. The feelings reflect values. First you must have the values, then the emotions can evaluate them and provide the visceral experience of them. Those who look to their feelings for values have it backwards and their experience (and behavior) will relfect it.

Locke is good.

Yes, and then came Hume, and that was the end of philosophy. Every philospher since Hume, whether following his lead or refuting him has implicitly or explicitly accepted his false premsises, and thus perpetuated the errors. Because all philosophers since Locke embrace Hume and Plato (whether they know it or not) and reject Aristotle, there is no sound philosophy today. The Objectivists, for all their faults, at least reject Plato and Hume explicitly, and for the right reasons, and do embrace Aristotle, which at least is a beginning.

Hank

42 posted on 09/09/2003 5:31:04 AM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
Faith is what individuals who hate the truth settle for.

Faith is trust in the truth of another. Such trust is required with or without a state. I can't imagine a classroom without such faith, or a family. There's faith outside of your fear of collectivism as well as outside your fear of superstition. Faith, at bottom, is the assent to the agency of another as sufficient for good.

43 posted on 09/09/2003 5:50:06 AM PDT by cornelis
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To: cornelis
Faith is trust in the truth of another. Such trust is required with or without a state. I can't imagine a classroom without such faith, or a family. There's faith outside of your fear of collectivism as well as outside your fear of superstition. Faith, at bottom, is the assent to the agency of another as sufficient for good.

Many English words have more than one meaning or connotation, which a careful thinker will take care to distinguish. In most cases, the meaning or connotation of a word can be established by the context in which it was used.

For example, the word "faith" has several connotations, including trustworthiness (he is a man of good faith) confidence in something (when we sit on a chair we have faith it will no collapse beneath us) or confidence in someone (most of us have faith in our doctors) or religious faith (no one can prove there is a God, you must accept it by faith).

Since this thread is about philosophy and religion, it is obviously "faith" in the last sense that is meant by, "faith is what individuals who hate the truth settle for."

When someone intentionally uses a word with one connotation, such as faith meaning "confidence in another," to justify or put over the another meaning of the word, such as faith meaning, "blind credulity," as in religion, it is essentially dishonest. I know that is not your intention, of course, and that you were only mistaken about the different connotations of the word. This is why we have to be so careful about the exact meaning of words.

Hank

44 posted on 09/09/2003 6:30:46 AM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
Since this thread is about philosophy and religion, it

Aristotle made it clear that there are undemonstrable first principles, a feature common to both philosophy and religion.

45 posted on 09/09/2003 6:43:52 AM PDT by cornelis
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To: WOSG
And why not jump around?

I liked it. He raises important points, not the least of which is that we are all influenced by philosophers, whether we know their names or not.

Another thing worth considering is that philosophical revolutions generally spring from a philosopher, develop in the universities and become conventional wisdom within a span of 3 or 4 decades. This gives me pause considering that the prevailing philosophy in academia is "deconstructionism."

46 posted on 09/09/2003 6:46:35 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Puddleglum
I have to disagree that God was ever attainable by Reason though

You might like this.

47 posted on 09/09/2003 6:49:18 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Aquinasfan
the prevailing philosophy in academia is "deconstructionism."

My view is that the prevailing philosophy is American pragmatism.

48 posted on 09/09/2003 7:00:53 AM PDT by cornelis
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To: cornelis
Religion according to our founding fathers should be a personal thing and not for the state to preach or be partial to. States that become obsessed with religions become surely oppressive, fanatic, and backward. The Judge in Alabama should follow the Ten Commandments in his own heart, and attempt to teach it to his own children. If he and others so called evangelical born again nut cases take care of their own log in their eyes before attempting to remove the spike in other people's eyes; we would be better off.

I observed as Moslems Arabs speak, in general, they would say: if god willing, god will help me, god wants that, god knows, god so and so. Every other word in their vocabulary is god or Allah. By being so obsessed with this god/Allah thing, are they being better human beings? No, and hell no! This god thing is nothing but superficial language, in their treacherous hearts there is nothing but hate and vengeance.

The Christ I know is a meek, forgiving humble Christ. He has nothing to do with the superficial fanatical born again evangelists of today. Their entire cry about god/prayers in school is nothing but hypocrisy. If they teach their children to pray, that should be enough. If some parents do not want their children to pray, they cannot be compelled to pray. Moslems claim that Mohammed said THERE IS NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION! The Moslem religion fanatics practice otherwise. The religion police beat women if they don’t cover their heads, or if someone is found eating in Ramadan! Our fanatic born again Christians gang would beat our children if they did not pray before meals!

49 posted on 09/09/2003 7:41:23 AM PDT by philosofy123
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To: philosofy123
Of course it's personal. And only a totalitarian government would attempt to sanitize the public of the personal.

Meanwhile, Aristotle made it clear that there are undemonstrable first principles, a feature common to both philosophy and religion.

50 posted on 09/09/2003 8:04:38 AM PDT by cornelis
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