Religious Fallacy

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Bullypulpit, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    A common fallacy among the current crop of religious fundamentalists, regardless of their religion, is that they take the writings of their respective religions literally. When these scriptures are taken literally, they are open to interpretation by anyone, for any purpose...up to, and including, suicide and mass murder.

    Understanding these writings as metaphor and allegory allow us to put them in their proper perspective...that being that they serve as guideposts, pointing us in the general direction we need to go so that we might become human beings. The trick lies in not becoming so entranced by our own personal vision of these guideposts that we concretize them and attempt to apply them to all, regardless of their fit. It is like claiming a garment is fit for all to wear, when, in fact, some might find it too loose. Others might find it too tight. Yet others might find the fit to be perfect.

    The true measure of a person's spiritual and moral mettle lies not in how loudly they sing in church, nor in how boldly they proclaim their virtue. Rather, it lies in how they live their lives. Do they live their lives in accordance with the tenets of their chosen faith? Do they let their actions speak for them? If they do, they are the ones to follow, not the charlatans who strut across their stages or stand upon their soapboxes preaching their gospels of hatred, intolerance and death.

    So long as we fail to understand the dangers of this literalism we will continue to see these self proclaimed holy-men insisting that they, and they alone, have a direct line to god. We will continue to see atrocities committed in the name of religion.
     
  2. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Which religions are you refering to? Islam? Christianity? Buddhism? All of them? And how "literal" should those religions consider their writings? Should Christians, for example, believe that God is real? Or not? How about Jesus - was He real, or just a legend whose example should inspire us? And who would make that determination?

    So if all religions are guideposts, and none of them hold the ultimate Truth, where would one go to find that Truth? If none of them have it, then what is the point of religion? Why not just live however you want to?

    I agree, actions do speak louder than words. And it is also true that God will judge us by our actions, but also on our beliefs. But one's beliefs will almost always show in their actions. As Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits. A good tree does not bring forth bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bring forth good fruit."

    I read from this that you are denying that anyone could know the way to God, which I think is false. I think God has actively shown us the way to Himself.
     
  3. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    The fallacy isn't taking the text literally, it's trying to take certain parts of the text literally while ignoring other parts completely. For example, those who argue against equal rights for gay people do so on biblical grounds, citing various passages. Then, they entirely ignore the other parts, where slavery is acceptable, fortune tellers and disobedient children are to be executed, etc. etc.

    People have to find their own "Truth" regardless of what various dogmas say. Many of my Christian friends tell me that God gave us free will, so I ask does that mean He wants us to explore the world and come to our own decisions? They look at me, puzzled, and say, he knows what you will do, right or wrong, before you do it, exploration is the way to His truth. But wait, I say, I have free will...so how can God know what I'm going to do? That would mean it's already been decided, which means I don't have free will, right? Once again, puzzled looks.

    For me, the only Truth is, I'm human, and that makes my range of understanding very limited.

    acludem
     
  4. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    God did give us free will, which means that you get to decide what you will believe about Him. And He is omniscient, and already knows what you are going to choose. But that doesn't mean that He's decided for you. You are the one who makes the ultimate decision, not God.

    And I disagree about finding your own truth. There can only be one truth about God and the afterlife. Either there is a God, or there isn't. Either there is a heaven, or there isn't. Saying that "if that's what you want to believe, that's cool for you" is the intellecually easy way out, IMO.
     
  5. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    No disrespect meant at all Jeff, but would you mind explaining that one further. To me that seems like a logical contradiction. If He knew all along what i'd choose, why would He create me if i was to make the wrong decision all along? To me that seems like releasing a prisoner you knew would be reoffend.
     
  6. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    None taken.

    God created us because He wants to enjoy a relationship with us. He doesn't relish the fact that many of us are going to reject Him. In fact, I think that, throughout our lives, God gives each of us opportunities to learn about Him and to accept Him. Some people take advantage of those opportunities, some don't. But I think it would be against the nature of God to create someone who had no chance to be saved (i.e. make the right decision).
     
  7. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    Any and all. These writings were cmopiled in a time when we understood the difference between logos and mythos. But we have lost that understanding over the years and have tried to make the allegorical literal. Historical evidence points to Jesus having actually lived, but he was crucified for being political, not religious.

    Do you want ultimate truth or absolute certainty? The latter is the philosophical underpinning of the former. Can we have absolue certainty? Only if we were omniscient, and we're not...The best we can do is ascertain the truth of what is presented to our senses. Religion...served, and still does, as a controlling mechanism for the masses. Living however you want is nothing more than nihilism, and is ultimately destructive.


    Indeed, but...Which god?


    The God described in Christianity, and other religions, is omniscient, omnipresent and eternal. Given these beliefs, such a being would be completely unavailable to human experience. We are beings of finite life and experience, and such a being would be beyond our perception. The best we could do is speculate about the existence of such a being. But everyone has a different idea of what this godhead is, and thus we have the turmoil and strife between so amny of the worlds religions. Everone wants to be right.
     
  8. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    But if God creates a person He knows will not be saved, the person really really has no chance to be saved? If there is to be predestiny, than to me, it seems to preclude the chance for free will. It seems to me, to logically be a paradox?

    I'm not trying to refute what you believe at all Jeff, I'm just trying to get a logical understanding of it.
     
  9. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    I'd love to know exactly what "historical evidence" you have that states that. The four biographies I've read about Jesus clearly state that he was killed because His claims to be the Son of God were held as blasphemous by the Jews.

    While God certainly is omniscient, omnipresent and eternal, He is not unavailable. To say that God, in all His abilities, would not be able to make Himself known to His own creation is illogical - especially the God of love described in the Bible. And we have no need to speculate, because God has already revealed Himself to us. In fact, Christians believe that God assumed human form and lived with us for a time, in the person of Jesus Christ.
     
  10. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    How do you know that God "Certainly is omniscient, omnipresent and eternal"? Has He(She?) told you?...Did someone else tell you?...Did you read it in a book?...Did you have direct and independently verifiable experience of these qualites? Certainly not the last, and while the first may be plausible, it is not independently verifiable. So your experience of this has, at best, been second hand and/or wholly subjective. It does not constitute proof of any of the qualities of the godhead we have been discussing.

    How has God revealed Him(HER?)self to us? While one may point around oneself and say that all of existence is proof, it does not. Current scientific cosmological theories are adequate to describe the existence of the world around us. One may point to the existence of humankind. We have no difficulty accepting that a fully formed and functional human being can start as a few cells and reach maturity in a score of years. What is the difficulty in accepting that the same process could have occured over a period of hundreds of millions of years, starting with the primordial soup of earth's first oceans?
     

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