AuthorTopic: CFS and Religion  (Read 1632 times)

Offline Ka

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CFS and Religion
« on: April 19, 2013, 11:10:49 AM »
I need to reply to the following, but moved it here to avoid derailing the UBI thread.


The problem in the current system is, solving those problems requires the people learn to use CFS. That's been bred out of humanity over the last two thousand years, at least in the west.  Remember that until the reformation, showing that you had enough brain cells to be useful to humanity usually resulted in death at the hands of the religion.  Still happens in many places where variants of the desert religions hold sway.

I don't remember that. Those who were put to death were judged to be heretics, and I can't offhand think of a heresy of that time that we would say showed smarts that were any more "useful to humanity" than orthodox Christianity. Or is it your opinion that Manicheism is more useful? Or practicing Judaism secretly while proclaiming you were Christian? Not that such beliefs were less useful, but I don't see them as more useful. So perhaps you should give an example of a pre-reformation thinker whose ideas were clearly more useful to humanity who was put to death for promoting those ideas. You know, like Socrates, or Jesus, but after Constantine.

Also, to say that Christianity "bred [CFS] out of humanity" ignores that what we call CFS is rooted in Aristotle's metaphysics, preserved and developed by the medieval scholastics. The scientific revolution, in its rejection of the Aristotelian notion of final causes in nature, is actually counter-CFS. Or do you deny that there is any intentionality at work in (non-human) nature? So if there has been any breeding CFS out of humanity, it is more the work of modernist materialist philosophers.

But I suppose what you are trying to say is that since the reformation there has been a growth in the idea that we should learn to think for ourselves, and not just submit to authority. I agree with that, but it is not something that was bred out of humanity by Christianity. Do you think ancient Egyptians thought for themselves? No one did, except for a few Greek philosophers. Instead, it took two millennia for the modern idea of the self to develop, so that the masses could think for themselves (which of course is still only a partial accomplishment). That development was the result of the marriage of the "desert religions" with Greek rationality.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 11:13:32 AM by Ka »

Offline DoomerSupport

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Re: CFS and Religion
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 12:56:44 PM »
I need to reply to the following, but moved it here to avoid derailing the UBI thread.

Thank you.


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The problem in the current system is, solving those problems requires the people learn to use CFS. That's been bred out of humanity over the last two thousand years, at least in the west.  Remember that until the reformation, showing that you had enough brain cells to be useful to humanity usually resulted in death at the hands of the religion.  Still happens in many places where variants of the desert religions hold sway.


I don't remember that. Those who were put to death were judged to be heretics, and I can't offhand think of a heresy of that time that we would say showed smarts that were any more "useful to humanity" than orthodox Christianity.

Galileo was who I specifically had in mind, spending nine years under house arrest for coming up with a theory that dared define what the dominant religion said was the way the world really was.  How many others failed to pursue avenues of thought that would have advanced our knowledge of the universe but fear of the church dissuaded them?


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Or is it your opinion that Manicheism is more useful?

No, I believe that we are in this world to grow and learn from it, not to take Aestheticism to an extreme level.  I do not see the world as dark and the spirit as light, but rather see all of creation as one.  While I have some beliefs that are accord with Gnosticism (such as the deity that Paulinity worships being a Demiurge) I do not agree with the idea that we "in the world but not of it."   



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Or practicing Judaism secretly while proclaiming you were Christian?

When the choice is to pay crippling taxes or "convert"?  Today that would be seen as "entrapment".   


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Not that such beliefs were less useful, but I don't see them as more useful. So perhaps you should give an example of a pre-reformation thinker whose ideas were clearly more useful to humanity who was put to death for promoting those ideas. You know, like Socrates, or Jesus, but after Constantine.

Good question.  Bruno comes to mind, but that's still on the heliocentric "heresy" of the early 17th century. 

You make my point for me.  Where are the great thinkers between the forth and the seventeenth centuries? Either they wrote in terms and language that did not disagree or contradict the doctrines of the Church, or they were probably murdered before they wrote their magnum opus's. 


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Also, to say that Christianity "bred [CFS] out of humanity" ignores that what we call CFS is rooted in Aristotle's metaphysics, preserved and developed by the medieval scholastics.

True.  Scholars like Aquinas developed and integrated a lot of early greek philosophy - once it was rediscovered around the 12th century in the hands of Muslim scholars. But the Church cannot take any credit for it's preservation, that credit belongs to Islam.   


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The scientific revolution, in its rejection of the Aristotelian notion of final causes in nature, is actually counter-CFS. Or do you deny that there is any intentionality at work in (non-human) nature?

Where you see "rejection" I see "supercedure".  The language of science is far more suited to our current understanding of the universe than the four causes of the ancient Greek ideas.  Supplanting prior theories as human knowledge improves is not unusual, we rarely refer to the four humors in medicine these days, and few believe that the sky is made of perfect crystal spheres. 

I don't see them as "counter-CFS" though.  "When I was a child, I thought like a child..." For centuries the possibility of a new way of viewing the world was not possible because the dominant power - The Church - would lose that power.

We see the same thing today with capitalism.  While there are alternatives that would serve humanity better, the existing power system tries to destroy competitors.


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So if there has been any breeding CFS out of humanity, it is more the work of modernist materialist philosophers.

I would say it is the heart, not the head, that the modern materialists have bred out of humanity. 


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But I suppose what you are trying to say is that since the reformation there has been a growth in the idea that we should learn to think for ourselves, and not just submit to authority. I agree with that, but it is not something that was bred out of humanity by Christianity.

Not blindly submit to authority.  I think perhaps it would be more accurate for me to say that I believe the ability to think outside the limits imposed by dogma has been bred out of a lot of people. I believe that was primarily done by religion, today it's done by political dogma.  Either way, it's a dumbing down of the masses. 


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Do you think ancient Egyptians thought for themselves? No one did, except for a few Greek philosophers.

I agree, the role of the individual in the social structures back then were probably more akin to eastern attitudes today, where family, tribe, culture was more emphasis than the individual, with the exception of the ruler.

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Instead, it took two millennia for the modern idea of the self to develop, so that the masses could think for themselves (which of course is still only a partial accomplishment). That development was the result of the marriage of the "desert religions" with Greek rationality.

I argue that it may have occurred centuries earlier without the negative influence of an oppressive religion, and we're still seeing the effects of that repression today. It's not the only factor that keeps us trundling along like lemmings to the resource depletion cliff, but I think it's a significant one. 

From a spiritual perspective, I see the religious opposition to contraception and abortion as archetypal manifestation of "infinite growth"  Heaven is built on an infinite growth model, with generation after generation adding to the "wealth" the Demiurge has swept into his coffers.

Thanks for the reasoned response and new thread!

H

Offline Ashvin

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Re: CFS and Religion
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 02:12:59 PM »
Sorry to intrude, but I felt compelled to respond to some of these points...

Galileo was who I specifically had in mind, spending nine years under house arrest for coming up with a theory that dared define what the dominant religion said was the way the world really was.  How many others failed to pursue avenues of thought that would have advanced our knowledge of the universe but fear of the church dissuaded them?

It's interesting that nearly all of the "founding fathers" of modern scientific investigation were devout Christians who were heavily influenced by their Christian worldview - Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Boyle, Pascal, etc. It gave them a philosophical grid for such inquiry:

The scientific method is founded on four presuppositions rooted in the Christian worldview:

1) The physical/material world exists as an objective reality.

2) The world had a beginning with a linear progression of history.

3) The creation reflected the rational nature of the Creator was therefore orderly and uniform.

4) Humankind was uniquely created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27), and thus capable of reasoning and discovering the intelligible
order that God had made.

This wasn't a result of biological evolution within humanity (or Christianity "breeding" anything out before the Reformation), but rather a shift in sociopolitical circumstances, which led to a shift in philosophical presuppositions when studying scripture during the Reformation era and applying that to the study of nature as well.

“Modern science was conceived, and born, and flourished in the matrix of Christian theism. Only liberal doses of self-deception and double-think, I believe, will permit it to flourish in the context of Darwinian naturalism.” -Alvin Plantinga

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While I have some beliefs that are accord with Gnosticism (such as the deity that Paulinity worships being a Demiurge) I do not agree with the idea that we "in the world but not of it."

A fundamental basis of Gnostic belief is that the monstrous "Demiurge" created a corrupted material universe and entrapped our spirits within material constraints. The point of gnosis is to awaken the spirit and get rid of these corrupt material shackles. I don't see how you can uphold Gnostic teachings on the demiurge while also respecting the beauty, power, love, etc. found within material creation.

The Bible, otoh, teaches us that it is not our material circumstances which keep us from true freedom, but our own egos and our lack of trust in God and his eternal truths.

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You make my point for me.  Where are the great thinkers between the forth and the seventeenth centuries? Either they wrote in terms and language that did not disagree or contradict the doctrines of the Church, or they were probably murdered before they wrote their magnum opus's.

Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Calvin, Jacobus Arminius, etc. and many of the early scientists we already mentioned -  many of them were heavily persecuted, but their ideas obviously lived on.


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True.  Scholars like Aquinas developed and integrated a lot of early greek philosophy - once it was rediscovered around the 12th century in the hands of Muslim scholars. But the Church cannot take any credit for it's preservation, that credit belongs to Islam.

Why can't they both take credit?   


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I don't see them as "counter-CFS" though.  "When I was a child, I thought like a child..." For centuries the possibility of a new way of viewing the world was not possible because the dominant power - The Church - would lose that power.

Again, this ignores that the modern scientific revolution was borne out of a framework of Biblical theism in the West. We should not confuse a power-hungry organization claiming to be the "one true church" with the Christian worldview in general.

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Not blindly submit to authority.  I think perhaps it would be more accurate for me to say that I believe the ability to think outside the limits imposed by dogma has been bred out of a lot of people. I believe that was primarily done by religion, today it's done by political dogma.  Either way, it's a dumbing down of the masses.

Then why does Paul say stuff like this - "test everything that is said, hold fast to what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21) or John say stuff like this - "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God" (1 John 4:1)

IMO, it's difficult to read passages such as those and get the idea that we should refrain from thinking outside certain limits. Blame should be placed where it's due, and I have yet to hear any good reason why it should go back to Paul.


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From a spiritual perspective, I see the religious opposition to contraception and abortion as archetypal manifestation of "infinite growth"  Heaven is built on an infinite growth model, with generation after generation adding to the "wealth" the Demiurge has swept into his coffers.

Couldn't this just be a vast over-simplification of Christian theology? Just because God has commanded our early ancestors to "be fruitful and multiply", that does not contradict his other commands to be responsible stewards of our surroundings and project God's loving qualities, ultimately manifested through Jesus Christ, into the world. One of the supreme values is preserving the life of all [innocent] humans, made in the image of God, even when we are tested by practical/material concerns.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 02:18:04 PM by Ashvin »

Offline Ka

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Re: CFS and Religion
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 08:12:18 PM »
Galileo was who I specifically had in mind, spending nine years under house arrest for coming up with a theory that dared define what the dominant religion said was the way the world really was.  How many others failed to pursue avenues of thought that would have advanced our knowledge of the universe but fear of the church dissuaded them?

Galileo and Bruno were post-reformation, not pre-. And that is pretty much my point. It was the Reformation (and the Renaissance) that marked the emergence of the idea of questioning authority. Which, of course, the Catholic Church didn't like, and tried for a while to suppress new ideas like Galileo's (though actually the story there is more complicated. If Galileo had agreed to say that the Copernican system was "just a more useful way to calculate orbits", or "just a hypothesis", he wouldn't have been arrested. His crime was to say that the Earth really revolved and moved around the sun.)

It should also be noted that the Reformers weren't tolerant of their opponents either. It was going to take a while for religious tolerance to take form, and as you noted, is still lacking in many places.

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You make my point for me.  Where are the great thinkers between the forth and the seventeenth centuries? Either they wrote in terms and language that did not disagree or contradict the doctrines of the Church, or they were probably murdered before they wrote their magnum opus's. 

In addition to Ashvin's list, there was Boethius, John Scotus Erigena, Peter Abelarn, Roger Bacon, Robert Grosseteste, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Eckhart (who did get in trouble, but wasn't murdered), Nicholas of Cusa,......

Of course, if you are automatically eliminating religious/philosophical thinkers from the category of "great", and only to those who contradicted the church, then you are judging the Middle Ages through modernist glasses. Which is to say, prejudicially.


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Also, to say that Christianity "bred [CFS] out of humanity" ignores that what we call CFS is rooted in Aristotle's metaphysics, preserved and developed by the medieval scholastics.

True.  Scholars like Aquinas developed and integrated a lot of early greek philosophy - once it was rediscovered around the 12th century in the hands of Muslim scholars. But the Church cannot take any credit for it's preservation, that credit belongs to Islam.   

Yes, a lot was preserved by Islam -- another desert religion, by the way, but the Christian church did a lot of preserving as well (Aristotle's Logic for example), and I suspect would have done a lot more if much hadn't been lost due to barbarian invasion. It was that, not suppression by the Church, that caused so much to be lost in Christendom.


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The scientific revolution, in its rejection of the Aristotelian notion of final causes in nature, is actually counter-CFS. Or do you deny that there is any intentionality at work in (non-human) nature?

Where you see "rejection" I see "supercedure".  The language of science is far more suited to our current understanding of the universe than the four causes of the ancient Greek ideas.  Supplanting prior theories as human knowledge improves is not unusual, we rarely refer to the four humors in medicine these days, and few believe that the sky is made of perfect crystal spheres. 

It is more "suited to our current understanding" because it defined our current understanding. And though it increased our knowledge of dead nature, it greatly hurt our relation to live nature. In the larger picture -- that is, not just scientific -- it was a major disaster to our understanding of reality. In spiritual terms, we became more deluded, not less. But I think we've past the worst of it, and are starting to recover. Part of that recovery lies in learning what was good in pre-modern thinking, rather than dismissing it all as dogmatic blindness.

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I don't see them as "counter-CFS" though.  "When I was a child, I thought like a child..." For centuries the possibility of a new way of viewing the world was not possible because the dominant power - The Church - would lose that power.

Indeed, one should look on pre-reformation society as being somewhat child-like, and that is why there was no struggle against the Church. It wasn't a case of repression, but of the Church being a parent.

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We see the same thing today with capitalism.  While there are alternatives that would serve humanity better, the existing power system tries to destroy competitors.

Capitalism (and other modernisms, like the myth of progress) can, then, be seen as adolescent-like. Struggling against authority and against each other. But still pretty clueless.


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I would say it is the heart, not the head, that the modern materialists have bred out of humanity. 

I wouldn't. I would say contemporary society is more sentimental -- and easily manipulated by sentiment, e.g., nationalism, or fear of terrorism -- than in prior times. Look at how we think of arranged marriages, for example.


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Not blindly submit to authority.  I think perhaps it would be more accurate for me to say that I believe the ability to think outside the limits imposed by dogma has been bred out of a lot of people. I believe that was primarily done by religion, today it's done by political dogma.  Either way, it's a dumbing down of the masses. 

I see no evidence of that "breeding out". That ability was never there in the masses. It is only in the modern age that a sufficiently self-conscious ego developed so that the option to not submit came about.


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Do you think ancient Egyptians thought for themselves? No one did, except for a few Greek philosophers.

I agree, the role of the individual in the social structures back then were probably more akin to eastern attitudes today, where family, tribe, culture was more emphasis than the individual, with the exception of the ruler.

And that was still the case through the Middle Ages, hence no "breeding out". And that is why the Inquisition was welcomed. A community felt that permitting heresy in their midst put the whole community in danger.

Quote
Quote
Instead, it took two millennia for the modern idea of the self to develop, so that the masses could think for themselves (which of course is still only a partial accomplishment). That development was the result of the marriage of the "desert religions" with Greek rationality.

I argue that it may have occurred centuries earlier without the negative influence of an oppressive religion, and we're still seeing the effects of that repression today. It's not the only factor that keeps us trundling along like lemmings to the resource depletion cliff, but I think it's a significant one. 

Well, here's where I have to appeal to Owen Barfield's book Saving the Appearances on the evolution of consciousness, for arguments why it couldn't have happened centuries earlier. In any case, neither the populace nor the intellectual elite regarded their religion as oppressive. Again, you are judging through modern eyes.

Offline DoomerSupport

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Re: CFS and Religion
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 11:05:34 PM »
Well, here's where I have to appeal to Owen Barfield's book Saving the Appearances on the evolution of consciousness, for arguments why it couldn't have happened centuries earlier. In any case, neither the populace nor the intellectual elite regarded their religion as oppressive. Again, you are judging through modern eyes.

Just ordered the book.  House full of unexpected but welcome guests, so apologies for not being able to respond earlier.

Offline Petty Tyrant

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Re: CFS and Religion
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2013, 05:51:35 AM »
Quote from: Ashvin link=topic=1340.msg21143#msg21143

[b
The scientific method is founded on four presuppositions rooted in the Christian worldview[/b]:

1) The physical/material world exists as an objective reality.

2) The world had a beginning with a linear progression of history.

3) The creation reflected the rational nature of the Creator was therefore orderly and uniform.

4) Humankind was uniquely created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27), and thus capable of reasoning and discovering the intelligible
order that God had made.

I thought you were an academic. Its a long time ago, but Im sure I would remember that primitive desert tribesman conception of understanding the universe having been expounded in scientific methodology 101. It was not. Find anywhere other than BJU (BJ university) where "god made man in his image" is incorporated into any lecture material or journal.
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Offline Ashvin

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Re: CFS and Religion
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2013, 06:40:47 AM »
I thought you were an academic. Its a long time ago, but Im sure I would remember that primitive desert tribesman conception of understanding the universe having been expounded in scientific methodology 101. It was not. Find anywhere other than BJU (BJ university) where "god made man in his image" is incorporated into any lecture material or journal.

It isn't incorporated, because the secular scientific community has manufactured a fantasy world in which Christian theism during the Reformation era had no influence on the pioneers of the modern scientific method (almost all of them were devout Christians). That's the "liberal doses of self-deception and double-think" Plantinga was talking about. Any serious student of history and philosophy can see the true roots of the scientific revolution for themselves. Don't fall for the contrived, secular mainstream narratives, bob.

 

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