Horrible Ideas Inspire The Most Philosophy—Faith

The simplicity of the gospel has publishers rolling in cash generated from Christian publications.

Before self publishing access boomed in the early 2000’s, about 7500 new Christian titles every year crowded book stores shelves in USA English with cluttered explanations on every jot and tittle. This is when publishers could filter out the weak from the sellable versions. Now the numbers are around 786,935 English language books published are assigned a catalog number per year in the U.S. on Christianity alone. Finding new and improved ways to exonerate the confusion and simplicity of the gospel is a competitive cash-cow of cleverly worded conjecture.

One publisher stated, “Most of our (traditional) publishers are trying to figure out how to get more out of fewer books“. It’s the same story over and over—good luck with that.

We often turn to the Greeks for their wisdom and eloquence in presenting wordsmithing sense into religion using philosophy. Remember, it is a cleverly worded failure from a collapsed society that mixed religion and politics with the grandest, most beautiful of explanations. We still look to anything scribbled in Greek to conjure up validation. They were so eloquent in their words that even fiction has spawned archaeology hunts.

If shear volume of religious commentary are any indication of another society in the brink, Christianity today is ripe for collapse. And someday, hopefully, we’ll all write about surviving that blessing. The most declinitive words to ever influence the numbing of human thought, leading whole civilizations to their celebrated stagnation—Do you believe in god?

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

97 thoughts on “Horrible Ideas Inspire The Most Philosophy—Faith”

    1. I would guess we have enough trial to go around. Justice is easily served when one can easily discount total freewill. Life is full of luck and unluck. Thanks for the follow. Hope you enjoy good conversation. Could you explain your comment just a bit for clarification.

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  1. Two thoughts: 1) I would imagine than any book that was indeed the inspired word of the supreme being of the entirety of everything, aka GOD, would be the first and last book anyone ever needed. In other words, there should be ONE and only ONE book at the Christian bookstore. 2) The author of such a book, aka GOD, being so awesome, would not need the help of mere mortals to get his (everyone knows that GOD is man, right?) point across. True believers apparently have no neural net than can process the concept of irony for even the simplest cases.

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    1. Thanks Frank. Well said. After repetition, indoctrinations, and the concept of faith and surrender, the problem in now physiological. The neurons are hard wired to ignore contradiction or facts. Thanks. Good to see you.

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    2. Call this the “no surprises” argument, viz:

      • If God were real, he would be unsurprising.
      • It is surprising that… [fill in the blank] God needs the help of mere mortals to get his point across.
      • Ergo, God is not real.

      You can also state this argument as, “If I were God, here’s how I would do it…”

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      1. Call this the “no surprises” argument, viz:

        • If God were real, he would be unsurprising.
        • It is surprising that… [fill in the blank] God needs the help of mere mortals to get his point across.
        • Ergo, God is not real.

        From reading Frank’s comment it is clear that he is talking about the christian god
        The christian god is defined to be one that is all knowing, all powerful and can do anything.
        Frank’s point stands that if this is the god that supposedly wanted to pass a message across to all of humanity, then he or she or it would not need the help of mere mortals not just because it is far inefficient, also because humans could alter the message in transmission and translation ( compare the dead sea scrolls to the masoretic texts and the Septuagint text, compare all the different gospels account that we have, compare the different new testament manuscripts we have and see the result of humans transmitting a message, look at the long ending of mark, look at Johannine Comma, look at the contradictory accounts of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, his crucifixion and supposed resurrection )
        The christian god is said to be all knowing, then he or she or it would have known the effects of a poorly transmitted message would have. Look at all the different denominations fighting on what is the correct interpretation of this or that, they number of people who died because of the Catholic church and the protestant conflict on doctrinal issues that arose from a poorly transmitted document

        Because, we don’t have the original manuscripts of the gospels, scholars have been trying for many centuries to try to figure out what the original version would have said, what’s the outcome of this, many people end up with an erroneous translation of the bible
        Many biblical translators have intentionally and unintentionally mistranslated the bible to support their own doctrine

        An imperfect translation can never contain the perfect message of a supposedly perfect being

        The christian god is said to want to have an intimate relationship with us, it therefore implies that god would want to get his message across in the best way possible ( since god is supposedly all powerful he can do that while avoiding the pitfalls of using mortals ) and will also make the evidence of his existence very obvious ( as obvious as the evidence for my father, the sun, or air or gravity or even something not too obvious as dark energy and the atom)
        BUT—
        What we observe is the opposite of what would be expected from someone who fits the christian god’s profile
        It is tenable to say that a being meeting the christian god’s profile does not exist
        Keep in mind that this does not necessarily mean that a god who doesn’t meet the christian god’s profile does not exist

        • Ergo, God is not real.

        From Frank’s comment, it was clear that he was referring to the christian version of god and not all the versions of god

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        1. We always see the opposite of what we are told and what we read. It’s actually quite comical how superbly scammed Christianity, hook line and sinker, has been able to swallow the rhetoric and not even flinch.

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        2. @Jonathan: What we observe is the opposite of what would be expected

          Exactly my point. If we require God to conform to the expectations of our finite minds — i.e., God must in no way surprise us — then denying God becomes trivial (and meaningless).

          From Frank’s comment, it was clear that he was referring to the christian version of god and not all the versions of god

          All statements about God refer to a particular, limited and imperfect version of God (either the speaker’s, or her interpretation of someone else’s). As with any other statement denying God, Frank can only speak to his own particular, limited and imperfect version of God. It is impossible to deny all possible conceptions of God (as you would agree, I gather).

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          1. Why don’t you just move the goalposts out yonder Loy? Since god in incomprehensible and so outside of our abilities to understand, words to describe him would also be undiscovered and unimaginable to the mere mortal. You have virtually stated in all your explanations you can’t know god at all. It’s the ultimate in contradictions.

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            1. The more I learn, the less I know. That’s what most wise, or at least honest, people experience in life, regardless of their feelings about God.

              The summit hasn’t moved. It’s always been far off, and remains far off. We see it, but dimly, partially; we approach steadily; we contemplate.

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            2. Contemplating a contrivance is hardly an honor as I see it. There are other disciplines that actually go somewhere. Philosophical conjecture of an imagination is the ultimate preocupación, a continuación of superstición that we are about to outgrow.

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            3. The more I learn, the less I know

              This statement is wrong, they is no way that the more you study has a direct correlation with a reduction in knowledge. This is a view that is not supported by empirical evidence

              I think what you mean is that the more you learn, the more you realize that some things you thought you knew you don’t actually know

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            4. Yes, that’s what I have learned in my sixty years – that the more I have learned, the more I realize how much there IS to learn. However, invisible spirits – not so much. They remain invisible and unprovable. I don’t know how much more a person could ever learn to prove there’s something where there’s so obviously nothing.

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            5. I have also learned that, no matter how many truths are discovered and how much logic one understands, what goes on inside one’s head is still sometimes insurmountable. Some people will still insist that there’s something where there’s so obviously nothing.

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            6. Or, the more you learn, the more you realize there is to learn

              This is true

              I haven’t heard of people who fit the more you study the less you know that Loy is proposing

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          2. It is impossible to deny all possible conceptions of God (as you would agree, I gather).

            What most atheists argue against is a person god, anthropomorphic god, a god that is involved in the affairs of the universe, a god that wants to have a relationship with us

            Most atheists I know, wouldn’t argue against the deist god

            Other than we don’t have evidence for time travel or aliens. Many atheists wouldn’t argue against the view that what religions call god(s) are just aliens or time travelers

            Many atheists I know wouldn’t argue against the pantheist who doesn’t believe in a conscious and personal god but says that god,the divine, nature and the universe are the same thing

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    3. Frank, I’m currently in the process of writing a blog post on the bible. I may want to quote you on this comment (which I find quite good) if you don’t mind.

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    1. Some do escape it. That was a whole ‘nother level above my experience, although mine was pretty thorough. One of the problems these kids face is they have no where to go. So they wind up in it or at another compound. Sounds like a remarkable woman. Thanks Mary.

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  2. The Greeks were so revered by European culture that many of their bad ideas persisted far longer than they should of. Forget about the Greek Gods, their reverence for geometry is what led Copernicus to mistake the true nature of the orbits of the planet. Circles being a perfect shape, must exist in nature, and thus Copernicus believed that all planets orbited in perfect circles. Just think…the romanticizing of geometric shapes persisted for 1500 years. Their reverence for geometry prevented the number zero become part of mathematics for about the same amount of time. Why, because zero doesn’t make sense in geometry. Thankfully the Arab world of mathematics was not pinned down by Greek philosophy.
    Ptolemy was so revered as a geographer that his maps of the world would persist to the times of Christopher Columbus, even though Ptolemy was wrong about the size of the Earth (actually an ancient Greek by the name of Eratosthenes did calculate the correct circumference of the Earth). As a result Columbus was lost and though he landed in India when it fact he was quite far from it.

    Greece was impressive for it’s time and by all means understanding their culture and what they believe can be enriching, but by no means should we ever think that they held some special wisdom about every facet of the universe.

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    1. They are trying to re-emphasize the real name of the church to prove to the world they are real Christians. It’s in our name, see? Too bad their striving to fit in with another make believe—suited for the twilight zone.

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  3. No visitation? I feel cheated. At least a bonk on the head and a convulsion could lead me to authoritative religious eloquence followed with a secret handshake. It’s gotta be big! Really big!

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  4. Yes. I know a lady (did some beta reading for her) who had never written a book, but had a publisher all lined up to publish a feel-good, how to be a mo’ betta’ Christian, book about the beach. I recall struggling with her metaphor of using sunglasses to see JC better. I mean, why be blinded by the truth? LOL. Sorry….no I’m not. Point is she probably was published with a book that had not one word of news for any Christian.

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  5. Sweet Neptune, I had no idea the number was that high. Three quarters of a million books every year proclaiming three quarters of a million different versions of the “one” religion.

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    1. Incredible isn’t it? And because of it were redefining the word truth. Fact is irrelevant as truth comes from a conglomeration of seething deceptions. God is wise

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  6. “If we had attained the full vision of Truth, we would no longer be seekers, but become one with God, for Truth is God. But being only seekers, we prosecute our quest and are conscious of our imperfection. And if we are imperfect ourselves, religion as conceived by us must also be imperfect. We have not realized religion in its perfection, even as we have not realized God. Religion of our conception, thus imperfect, is always subject to a process of evolution and re-interpretation. Progress towards Truth, towards God, is possible only because of such evolution. And if all faiths outlined by men are imperfect, the question of comparative merit does not arise. All faiths constitute a revelation of Truth, but all are imperfect and liable to error. Reverence to other faiths need not blind us to their faults. We must be keenly alive to the defects of our own faith, and must not leave it on that account but try to overcome those defects.” — Mahatma Gandhi

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    1. But his own religion clearly outlined a starting point of a much higher moral standard than Christianity has ever done—or lived. A better god perhaps? I would have to say yes.

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        1. It’s not really an opinion. Another hand wave Loy? Good one. A single line in Jainism slaughters a million volumes of Christian morality. You could even ask an untrained child to compare the difference. The version of the god you worship came from a time where brutality and destruction and warring faction was a way of life. It is made evident in the god they invented. They went with what they knew. God had to be a reflection of themselves. You can see the disposition of the creator by his deeds. They made a god to justify their cruelty.

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          1. Apparently you choose not to heed Gandhi’s admonition above, namely, that since “all faiths [and all theologies] outlined by men are imperfect, the question of comparative merit does not arise.” In other words, comparing theologies is irrelevant, if not directly contrary, to the point he is making. Talk about hand-waving.

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            1. But the comparison arises naturally when you claim one true God. Your god has fallen short of a concise, decent morality. Others have done much better. If your giving credit to Gandhi employing all religions as collectively for good, there is not one true god nor his infallible word. If I start the church of jim and make a any moral claim or inspiration, you would have to accept it as truth too.

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    2. All faiths constitute a revelation of Truth but all are imperfect and liable to error.

      This is one of the reasons I prefers Gandhi approach to truth than that of christianity ( and monotheism in general) which see their own religion as the only way to the complete truth
      ( Though like almost everything about christianity, different denominations view of the amount of truth gotten from other religions vary from partial truth to no truth at all)

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    3. Gandhi was a very great man, but his vision of “god” was certainly not a christian view. I’m not about to put words in his mouth, but I believe his god was both creator and destroyer, not omnescient but always destroying what he had created in an imperfect way, seeking to improve on earlier attempts. The christian god could learn something from Gandhi’s god, but he is too arrogant to allow that he might have been wrong. His version of perfection limps stumblingly along–letting mere mortals try to explain what he means just compounds his blindness. It is definitely time to punch the restart button. Hopefully he had not restored his hard drive recently, on he will just repeat his errors.

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    4. Gandhi certainly accepted that Christians seek the same Truth. Leaving aside the bible-thumping “born again” strain of “Christians”, most professed disciples of Jesus would readily agree with that sentiment.

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      1. And if we are imperfect ourselves, religion as conceived by us must also be imperfect.

        Most “professed disciples of Jesus ” and christian denominations I know don’t agree with this. The don’t agree that the christian religion is something created by man, but rather created by god ( or Jesus or the holy spirit ). Certainly not many muslim would agree that their religion is an imperfect man made creation

        All faiths constitute a revelation of Truth, but all are imperfect and liable to error.

        Again most “professed disciples of Jesus ” and christian denominations I know don’t agree with this. They don’t believe that christianity is only partial truth

        Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

        It is right there in the bible. It is stated clearly that Jesus is the only path to god and Jesus is “truth”. It then follows that only those who follow Jesus have access to the “truth”

        Religion of our conception, thus imperfect, is always subject to a process of evolution and re-interpretation.

        Sure if you agree that all the world religions including christianity is a man made creation with no divine revelation then this statement has value. But, if you believe that your religion was founded by god and your sacred texts are literally the word and dictates of an all wise, all knowing, unchanging god, then no this your statement has no value. For if you have to re-intepret it based on new data then it is no different from all other human endeavors that have no divine component and that would imply the whole dictates of religion are only the thoughts of humans living at those time periods. If religion and their teachings evolves then they are not the words of any divine being but rather human thoughts and human thoughts only

        We must be keenly alive to the defects of our own faith, and must not leave it on that account but try to overcome those defects.

        If “most believing” christians agreed with this statement, then christians should not be sending missionaries to evangelize, should not attempt to convert someone to their beliefs, should not proselytize. But that is not what we observe neither is that what is stated in the bible

        @Loy I don’t see how most “believing christians” would agree with what Gandhi is saying, unless they cherry pick the bible. Gandhi’s position is one that is common among polytheists and not monotheists.
        It is common among monotheistic religions to claim that their religion is the one true path to truth and the being the only path to god. ( The most the would conceed is that other paths only bring you to partial truth while theirs takes you to the complete truth )

        It is mostly polytheistic religions that permit the notion of multiple paths to truth

        We have not realized religion in its perfection, even as we have not realized God

        They is nothing as a perfect religion and religion can NEVER be perfect.
        And what is meant by not realizing god
        Pantheist believe that nature is god. I don’t see how this statement holds true for them

        WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN BY TRUTH
        And

        for Truth is God.

        How is “truth” the same as “god’

        All faiths constitute a revelation of Truth

        I disagree with this statement. How does faith ( a strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof ) constitute a revelation of “truth”
        It is evidence that “constitutes a revelation of truth”

        But being only seekers, we prosecute our quest and are conscious of our imperfection.

        What fits this statement most closely is science/curiosity and NOT religion

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      2. My question for you is, where do you think you can find capital T Truth? In 68 plus years I have never seen Truth. As far as my experience of life, Truth is not possible here on earth. I doubt this is what Plato meant when he said, “I know nothing,” but it is still true. We here can only see physical reality, and even then the more we know, the less it seems we used to know. But capital T Truth is not physical, so it is not knowable here in the physical realm. Yet we love to theorize, only we think we can know. We cannot. There is no Truth. There is no use looking for it.

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    5. I am not sure what this quote proves, other than to give Gandhi’s opinion on religion and God. But there is no proof or evidence in this. To be fair humans have also conjured up things that are entirely fictitious because of our imperfections. Why isn’t God one of those? It is an idea yet to have any evidence, and somehow we are all still supposed to take it seriously. But even if it was true that no religion has it right, but there is still a God, then what are we dogmatically following religions for? And how do we know it’s just one God, and not two, or three? How do we know it’s a personal god, and not just a creator, who is simply content to sit back and watch it all play out? If we’re going to play the no religion has it right card, then how do we know we are looking for anything that should even concern us or impact our daily lives? The opinions of men do not constitute truth in any way. I might as well just throw a Dawkins quote up here, and just say…”Ha, see there is no God.” The only way we understand how the universe works is by evidence. If this God interacts with our universe there will be evidence for it. You can say all you want that how did we get these physical laws, how did we get the physical constants of the universe just right, how did universe come to be as evidence of God, but it is not so. It is things we don’t know, and simply assigning things we don’t understand to God is a game that’s been going on for a long time…and God keeps losing the battle. Imagine a piece of paper with two columns…one column “Things God is no longer responsible for”…this list grows longer with time…and the other side is “Things we don’t understand”. This is atheist categorization. There are many things in this column.

      The theist however makes a third a column on his/her sheet. They take some or many of things we don’t understand and put under their third column “Things God is responsible for”. The theist categorization throughout history has also seen their third column get shorter, and the first column get longer…but they hang on to their sheet tightly. They refuse to drop the third category…because there will always be questions…and as long as their are things we don’t know, we can always just use God as the answer to keep the religion going.

      And the sad thing is that most theists I’ve talked to don’t even know many of the things we do understand, so they can make their third column even longer, instead of picking up a science textbook.

      Gandhi was a great man in many ways, but he was also racist, and a misogynist. He as a man of his times and I don’t fault him, but he was far from perfect and so the fact that he couldn’t be completely wrong about the existence of God is an untenable notion. He was as indoctrinated as anybody else into his culture and religion.

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      1. This … The only way we understand how the universe works is by evidence. … is what believers are simply unable to accept. No matter how many times or how many different ways it is pointed out, they continue to dig in their heels.

        You write quite well, Swarn, and have a way of getting your point across without being dramatic or over-scientific or antagonistic. I would love to see how our favorite self-made apologist would react to your measured tone. Would he insult you as he has done others who have contributed to his site? Hmmm.

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        1. Thank you Nan. It’s kind of you to say. In my long conversation with Loy on another post, I found him to be quite civil, and I don’t think he is dumb by any means…just to be a theist one has to buy into certain arguments that are logically fallacious. There literally is no other way. I don’t care much about that, because it clearly comes down to emotion, and if Loy feels good believing what he does that’s fine, but if he’s looking to logically support his beliefs he’s barking up the wrong tree. There is no greater evidence of his ability to default to fallacious arguments by using a quote by Gandhi as if it is suppose to refute any of the claims made by jim in this piece.

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          1. Perhaps you read Loy differently than me. To me, his efforts to validate his beliefs are nothing but a plethora of words that seemingly (at least to me) go nowhere.

            And yes … I agree that for the believer, it truly comes down to emotion. Why else would our favorite self-made apologist use insulting and disdainful remarks to counter his opponents?

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            1. Loy has had his disingenuous Branyan moments. Ark and he have been jabbing. Loy tries to be vague enough to escape his own words. It’s mostly a word game for him but he has had a few reasonable statements. Ben won’t reply to him any more and Ben is pretty patient.
              It does however, give Swarn an opportunity to lay out some good reason that we are learning from as well. I’ll take that any day!

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      2. @Swarn: The only way we understand how the universe works is by evidence.

        Agreed. But we’re not talking here about “how the universe works”. Rather, we’re talking about who we are, how we discern what matters, and how to live our lives.

        If this God interacts with our universe there will be evidence for it.

        As Gandhi puts it: “God [Truth] to be God [Truth] must rule the heart and transform it.” The seeker’s “transformed conduct and character” — their “every smallest act” — bear witness to the Truth they encounter. They join “an unbroken line of prophets and sages in all countries and climes.”

        Does that in itself justify any particular theology or conception of God? No, inasmuch as, in Gandhi’s words, “all are imperfect and liable to error.” But a seeker whose heart has been thus transformed is moving in the right direction, toward Truth.

        The opinions of men do not constitute truth in any way.

        Including that one! This is just echoing what Gandhi said above. No man or woman has yet “attained the full vision of Truth”.

        I might as well just throw a Dawkins quote up here, and just say…”Ha, see there is no God.”

        Well, yes… that’s pretty much what Dawkins does. There’s no reason to believe that Dawkins’s version of “God” is real.

        Gandhi was a great man in many ways, but he was also racist, and a misogynist.

        That’s an opinion, and an ad hominem. (Not to be confused with a valid argument.)

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        1. Agreed. But we’re not talking here about “how the universe works”. Rather, we’re talking about who we are, how we discern what matters, and how to live our lives.

          Loy, this was not what we were talking about neither was this what Gandhi’s quote was saying
          Gandhi’s quote was not talking about how we discern what matters, how we live our lives, who we are

          Go back and read that your comment, it seems you have forgotten what you posted

          God [Truth] to be God [Truth] must rule the heart and transform it.” The seeker’s “transformed conduct and character” — their “every smallest act” — bear witness to the Truth they encounter.

          God
          1. the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.
          2. a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.

          Where does the requirements to rule the heart comes from
          ( just to be on the same page, I hope we are not talking about the literal heart but the seat of thinking in the brain)

          No man or woman has yet “attained the full vision of Truth”

          It seems what you mean truth is just another word for god
          Then Gandhi’s is right, no man or woman has attained truth and will ever attain your truth, because the truth you are talking about does not exist

          There’s no reason to believe that Dawkins’s version of “God” is real.

          This is a nonsensical statement
          Dawkins is an atheist ( if you don’t know the meaning of an atheist – it is someone who does not believe in the existence of god ). So how can you be talking about Dawkins version of god being real or not

          THERE IS ZERO EVIDENCE THAT YOUR TRUTH EXISTS

          But a seeker whose heart has been thus transformed is moving in the right direction, toward Truth.

          People’s “heart” have been transformed because of many different reasons most of which are mutually exclusive
          The person who changed after becoming a muslim implies that his or her conversion to islam is in the right direction of truth
          The person who changed after becoming an atheist implies that his or her deconversion is in the right direction of truth

          The opinions of men do not constitute truth in any way.

          Including that one! This is just echoing what Gandhi said above

          Loy, you are playing word games here. You defined truth as = god. But in this instance you are changing the meaning of truth

          Truth
          1. the quality or state of being true
          2. that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
          3. a fact or belief that is accepted as true
          How does any of the above, standard definitions of the word “truth” look or sound like something that implies a being that created the universe or something or someone that rule the heart and transform it or something or someone that transforms conduct and character

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        2. That’s an opinion, and an ad hominem. (Not to be confused with a valid argument.)

          It’s not ad hominem at all nor an opinion. We know from his writings and people who knew him how he felt about women and black people. This just one article, and there are many others if you care to research it yourself:

          https://www.africanexponent.com/post/8960-gandhi-was-very-racist-and-had-an-inherent-hatred-for-women

          But my point in bringing this up is that when you present a man’s opinion…as Gandhi’s quote contains no support from empirical evidence, then the character of the person is very much in question. He is imperfect that much is true, but to say he had some special insight into truth and religion when he himself was unable to raise himself out of his own prejudice certainly cast aspersions on his opinions. Since you committed your own logical fallacy here what was appeal to authority, it’s worth questioning what kind of authority Gandhi actually was.

          Rather, we’re talking about who we are, how we discern what matters, and how to live our lives.

          But see this is the same problem you had in our last conversation. You talk about humans as if they are not part of the universe. That we are by our very nature tapped in to some other plane of existence. This again an unsupported notion. Part of understanding how the universe works, is understand how life works, because life is in the universe, and we are a kind of life along a continuum of life that we know about. Understanding us is as subject to empiricism as anything else. Simply because we are complex in no way means that we aren’t as understandable as anything else in the universe by data. Using God as an answer to complexity is the same as using God as an answer to things we don’t understand, and that simply isn’t a valid form of argumentation.

          Gandhi’s quote might be considered insightful if there was a God, but his logic once again relies on an unproven premise and so why is it that we should take Gandhi’s quote here seriously?

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          1. @Swarn: Couple of points: One, criticizing a person’s character rather than simply addressing their ideas is the definition of an ad hominem argument. And it is indeed an opinion, specifically a moral judgement (surprising coming from someone who holds there is no objective morality, only contingent social norms).

            And two, I haven’t cited Gandhi as some kind of authority figure, but rather as one of many examples of those whose lives bear witness to their faith. And in his case, it’s someone who happened to leave behind an eloquent explication of his thinking.

            Understanding us is as subject to empiricism as anything else. Simply because we are complex in no way means that we aren’t as understandable as anything else in the universe by data.

            Partially understandable by data, and subject to empiricism, sure. But not only that. And not only because we are “complex”, but because we are persons. You’re free to choose to believe otherwise — to fervently believe that empirical methods and data must be sufficient to give a full account of every unique human person. But that’s nothing more than an opinion, an opinion as fallible and debatable as any other. (As you’ve already pointed out, opinions do not constitute truth.)

            Using God as an answer to complexity is the same as using God as an answer to things we don’t understand, and that simply isn’t a valid form of argumentation.

            Okay, but that’s not my argument. The question is not whether you can in principle exhaustively explain nature. The question is whether there is sufficient warrant for the belief that nature is identical with reality, and therefore you and everyone you love have no real existence except within the mindless patterns of nature.

            why is it that we should take Gandhi’s quote here seriously

            I can’t tell you what to take seriously. But if you don’t understand it, or it challenges your settled opinions, then that would seem to be as good an indication as any to take it seriously, no?

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            1. The question is whether there is sufficient warrant for the belief that nature is identical with reality, and therefore you and everyone you love have no real existence except within the mindless patterns of nature.

              Nature is reality, all the evidence points at this
              How does nature being mindless implies that human beings have no real existence

              Couple of points: One, criticizing a person’s character rather than simply addressing their ideas

              Gandhi’s quote does not contain any evidence
              You said that “Truth” must rule over the heart and affects how one behaves
              You then cited Gandhi as someone who was living the “Truth”
              I don’t see how Swarm comment about the character of Gandhi is an ad hominem attack in this instance

              As you have said that beliefs that are “Truth” must affect ones character. So based on your comments, you see Gandhi’s position on women and black people as “Truth”

              Liked by 2 people

            2. It’s not unfair to examine a person’s character to evaluate an opinion. But as I said, since you were using his quote as some sort of authority on truth and faith, then examining his character is an important part of understanding how well he understands truth.

              And again, his racism and misogyny is well evidenced, this is empirically supported. Even if you say you aren’t using him as an authority that he has just eloquently put something that many feel, that is an appeal to popularity which is an equally fallacious argument.

              I also don’t understand why my lack of belief in objective morality would prevent me from objectively calling Gandhi a racist and a misogynist. Just because there is no objective morality, doesn’t mean that one can’t objectively evaluate morality. Gandhi’s views are inconsistent within his own set of values he claims to espouse. Gandhi’s views are also immoral by today’s norms, so I can objectively evaluate those against that criteria. Now it may be that the norms of today are all wrong, but one can still objectively evaluate against subjective criteria.

              My question as to why to take it seriously is that the statement only has meeting if there is a God. It’s a line of reasoning that rests on an unproven premise. I understand it perfectly, but it in no way makes God real, or make the statement true that God is Truth. Scientists are just as much seekers of truth, but not all of us think that we are searching for God. I mean again, if we want to loosely define God as the universe as a whole, that’s fine, but this certainly isn’t the God that most religions worship, and it certainly doesn’t imply anything about God being a being with intention. Gandhi’s quote doesn’t challenge my settle opinions…it simply provides no new information, while trying to assert the existence of God without the basis for doing so. The fact that we aren’t perfect and get things wrong isn’t news or insightful.

              God and religion are very much a product of our imperfection. Specifically our propensity for making Type I errors, because it was evolutionarily costly to not make such errors. The existence of God is not a revelation or discovery, it’s an invention. The fact that it feels like a revelation is part of the flaws that Gandhi speaks about. The fact that different cultures have all made similar errors is not surprising giving the similarity in our genetic make up and living most of our lives being extremely confused about what the hell was going on.

              Liked by 3 people

            3. What’s the difference between an invention, a discovery and a revelation? Was the number zero invented, discovered, or revealed? How does the invention / discovery / revelation of zero differ from that of God? Both derive from abstract reasoning, not directly or primarily from empirical observation.

              Man discovers God when he realizes the futility and absurdity of seeing nature as an end in itself — no matter how thoroughly explained nature ultimately may be.

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            4. Was the number zero invented, discovered, or revealed? How does the invention / discovery / revelation of zero differ from that of God? Both derive from abstract reasoning, not directly or primarily from empirical observation.

              For one, there is no place in the history of the number zero where the claim of divine revelation is found

              A lot of things in the science, first exist as a hypothesis ( which is usually a product of reasoning), then if the empirical observation matches the proposed hypothesis then the hypothesis is given credibility
              Einstein theories of relativity as is many things in theoretical physics were largely gotten through abstract reasoning
              Direct and indirect empirical observation and experiment are what are used to validate an idea

              Even in mathematics, because you came up with an idea through reasoning, does not automatically make it correct. In mathematics, the idea has to be proven

              If you want to proof that god is mathematical axiom, then go ahead

              But if god is a supernatural being that created the universe then you need to have empirical evidence

              Thinking about it, zero and god are very similar. Zero was created by man, so was god. Zero is nothing, so too is god

              Liked by 2 people

            5. Considering the source, I’m happy to collect my zero points. Zero is not nothing — far from it. God created zero, as well as everything else the mind of man can conceive, as well as everything the aggregated intelligence of the universe ever could conceive, and everything it cannot conceive. God is neither “supernatural” nor “a being”.

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            6. You’re conflating. Can I get you a napkin? One has a useful function. God is only a disempowering distraction. An undecipherable notation on the side of the page. Irrelevant comes to mind.

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  7. I’m a little ashamed to say that I contributed greatly to the sales numbers of Christian publications. When I was searching for “truth”, for some reason the Bible wasn’t enough. I bought many books by Christian authors to help erase doubt from my mind. You would think that the source material (scripture) would be enough to convince us all, yet Christian books still exist and new ones pop up every day. It’s funny how I couldn’t see that Christian authors were just people like me. No smarter than me and no more qualified to understand the “Word”. I know that a lot of the books I read helped calm my fears, push aside doubt, further my faith and keep it going. If I only had the Bible to go by during all that time, I would have left Christianity much, much sooner.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Since the word of god is too ambiguous for mere mortals, you must use a hired gun to do the convincing. Preachers and purveyors can correct your misnomers while you foot the bill. Pretty slick business model. I asked a friend of mine where he learned to script phone apps. “Manuals” he replied. Oh Jesus man, that’s boring. But, just from reading the manuals he has an app in use today by a billion dollar company. The Bible is supposed to be our manual. What a joke. The indecipherable hidden meanings of god requires you to pay money to an expert to tell you what it all means.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. If a manual needs a manual to understand it, there’s a problem. If there are hundreds of thousands of new and different versions of a manual for a manual every year, there should be red flags popping up non-stop and people should be seeing that the original manual is fraudulent. Yet most seem ignorant and blind to that fact. One true manual should be sufficient. Millions of explanatory manuals for that manual over the years? Yikes.

        Liked by 6 people

        1. You don’t relish in the sound of one finger typing? Tap tap… I’ve been a 35 word a minute guy for 35 years. You’d think guitar or piano would cross over a little, but I guess what I needed was musical typing lessons. Maybe that would’ve stuck.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Wanna know something? In my final year of High School, I dropped Physics and took Typing (it was one of the few options open, as it was a few weeks into the Term). My mother just about blew a gasket, as I was heading for University the next Fall – as a Math major. Well, my university experience didn’t go well and I was a drop-out just past my eighteenth birthday that Fall. I got married when I was 19 and had four children by the time I was 25. I then decided (after 10 years) to go back to University. This time as an English major. From the beginning, it was apparent that the typing class I took in High School was extremely valuable. Keyboarding skills were a good thing to have, as I typed all my own reports (my mother bought me a typewriter) and when computers came on stream I knew my way around the keyboard. One never knows about the skills one hones.
            I watch one-finger ‘pokers’ in great amusement. 🙂

            Liked by 3 people

            1. I had a personal philosophy with my kids schooling Keyboarding and be bilingual. Everything else was up to them. With keyboarding and Spanish they can work anywhere, anytime. Especially here in the states with so few bilingual Americans.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. Yes, so true. We have French Immersion in all the schools but only our eldest took advantage of it. She gets along ok in French and her husband is bilingual. It’s one of my dreams. .. I took French for two years at Uni but of course can only barely manage when I teach – I’m about the same level as the Gr. 9’s; where I was last week. ..

              Liked by 2 people

            3. Hey, 1 finger pokers are people too! I taught myself to type on a old Remington, probably circa 1940. One finger (right hand) for the keys, and one finger, one thumb (left hand) for caps and space bar. At my best I was timed at 30 words per minute after some joker claimed the fastest a “hunt and peck” typist could do was 7 wpm. Blew his poor little mind. But that was before computers. Nowadays I’m down to about 20 wpm. I’ve tried many times to learn how to type two hands, but my nerve pathways are too set in the past. Maybe next incarnation I will learn…

              Liked by 2 people

            4. Imagine a workplace with a hundred employees all talking to their computers at the same time? I hope keyboards at least stick around till AI can read your mind well enough. Probably not in my lifetime.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. Hey Jonathan,
              Could be computers will be so advanced we will carry them under our skin, and we will talk to them like we talk to ourselves right now. The difference will be they will answer us, not like we do ourselves, but like “other!” All knowledge will really be at our fingertips, as long as we know how to ask the right questions. Otherwise it will still be garbage in, garbage out. I doubt that will ever change, lol.

              Liked by 2 people

            6. Only subject I learned in high school worth knowing was how to type. I did not do well grade wise. But that was a better reflection on my attitude and behavior. I can type better than most PhDs I know.

              Liked by 2 people

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