The Theist Thread - Let's Share

Paleocon wrote:
Didn't mean to be offensive in my question (and am still straining to see how it was) but if it was, apologies all around.

I didn't find it offensive.

And speaking of that other thread, kinda funny how it was supposed to be a place for atheists to share stories of prejudice towards them for being 'out' and it's descended into a discussion about how some Christians have no humor as they have the same exact conversation they blamed the theists for derailing them into.

Paleocon wrote:
Not exactly where I was going with my question. My point was that to some sincere theists I know, the historicity of their mythology doesn't matter as much as their "personal relationship " . To others it is a dealbreaker.

For myself, for instance, it was. But when I was in Asia, I encountered lots of folks who could accept that Taoist miracles never really happened but still remain devout Taoists. It struck me as incongruous but also refreshingly less absolutist.

I would like to second the thought; I'm assuming it's okay to talk about local religious practices here, in this here theist thread.

To me and to many Christians of my acquaintance (Catholic, natch), the historical accuracy of biblical account is somewhat of secondary concern, as the core value of the belief and the religion is in the moral code and the social and religious traditions. Passages in the New Testament themselves outright say that the purpose of the Bible is to instill belief, rather than to serve as a historical document. In other words, it's a propaganda book, through its own words; this view has been supported by every Catholic priest I've asked.

I'm not sure how universal this is among Asians, but in my locality, your belief is your personal thing; it's considered rude to impose your belief system on others forcibly. This probably explains the profound lack of outright evangelical practices, and the somewhat ill welcome Mormon missionaries generally receive.

I'm traveling today, so I'm still on my phone. I apologize that this will be short as well. I know no ill will was intended and I regret bringing it up when I couldn't give it the treatment it needs. As my comment stands I'm afraid it came off as attempting to shut down conversation which was not my intent.

The short version is that the Pharisees became the Rabbis

If it doesn't offend, I'd like to explore my train of thought a bit further.

I remember watching an interview a while back in which Bill Moyers asked Tenzin Gyatso what effect it would have on Tibetan Buddhism if it could be conclusively proven that something fundamental like reincarnation was false. He stated after some thought that Tibetan Buddhism would "have to change". He also then went on to say that it would be very hard to prove the negative. Such is the nature of faith, I guess.

I admired the fact that he was at least willing to open the door that crack, but also just recently have been thinking about how most people of faith I know seem to fall into one of two camps. As I mentioned above, there are those who believe that the facts don't matter as much as the experience. And, as evidenced by Tenzin Gyatso, there are others who believe that the facts matter quite a bit.

The question I have is whether or not the former group defines a different kind of religiosity than the traditional or whether it is even faith at all. Can, for instance, someone be a Christian and accept that the bible may be untrue and that the figure of Yeshuach bar Yusef was not accurately depicted in it? Can someone be a Jew and accept that something as pivotal as the Exodus may never have happened? Or are these dealbreakers that define faith?

edit: btw, the most visible example of the experiential behavior in America is probably the Unitarian Universalist Church, who are universalist in that they are generally despised by all other faiths.

Rubb Ed wrote:
Problem is, then, that I don't have a place to fit into, and on some level that bothers me. I'm just wondering if anyone else has been through this themselves. (Unfortunately, trying to "Find Jesus" doesn't work for me because I've tried and it doesn't do anything for me)

Rubb Ed: This is pretty much where I'm at. I have beliefs and feelings about the supernatural. For example, I regularly petition God and my own ancestors for guidance and strength or even just to chat. And I do hope to see family members that have passed on in the hereafter. I also believe in some sort of accounting or judgment after death, although I can't really define it and don't focus on it that much. Pretty much had to turn that over so that I can focus on things that I can actually affect.

Again, these beliefs and behaviors may just be reflexive or a result of the conditioning of a religious upbringing. I've been called some very vile things by friend and family alike for my apostatcy. But I'm not interested in fitting myself to any group's definition when it comes to belief and I'm not going to lie about what I believe for their benefit. It's about as futile as trying to wear their eyeglasses.

What I find funny is that in any other context than religious, these behaviors might be considered a psychosis. To drop a pop culture reference, last season of Survivor had two contestants who professed belief in the supernatural. One professing devout mainstream religious belief while another professed beliefs of a more animist/ancestor worship bent. Guess which one was the 'real theist' and praised for his faith and which was the head case that was roundly dismissed?

With that in mind, I find too much boldness about religious claims to be immodest. I keep my claims soft and open-ended and give others the benefit of the doubt when we disagree since there's generally nothing objective to point to depending on the topic. It's about as intellectually honest about my faith as I can be.

Paleocon wrote:
If it doesn't offend, I'd like to explore my train of thought a bit further.

I remember watching an interview a while back in which Bill Moyers asked Tenzin Gyatso what effect it would have on Tibetan Buddhism if it could be conclusively proven that something fundamental like reincarnation was false. He stated after some thought that Tibetan Buddhism would "have to change". He also then went on to say that it would be very hard to prove the negative. Such is the nature of faith, I guess.

I admired the fact that he was at least willing to open the door that crack, but also just recently have been thinking about how most people of faith I know seem to fall into one of two camps. As I mentioned above, there are those who believe that the facts don't matter as much as the experience. And, as evidenced by Tenzin Gyatso, there are others who believe that the facts matter quite a bit.

The question I have is whether or not the former group defines a different kind of religiosity than the traditional or whether it is even faith at all. Can, for instance, someone be a Christian and accept that the bible may be untrue and that the figure of Yeshuach bar Yusef was not accurately depicted in it? Can someone be a Jew and accept that something as pivotal as the Exodus may never have happened? Or are these dealbreakers that define faith?

edit: btw, the most visible example of the experiential behavior in America is probably the Unitarian Universalist Church, who are universalist in that they are generally despised by all other faiths. ;)

Well, it really depends on what you mean by the Bible being "untrue". Do you mean not factual? If that is the sense you are using, then yes...from a Christian perspective...you can say the Bible is not factual in some areas. That being said, something does not have to be factual to be true. The story of the Tortoise and the Hare...if we go out of the Bible for a second. It's a story that did not happen factually, but still contains truths: slow and steady, overconfidence can be a downfall, etc. There are many things in that Bible that follow that same pattern...and that is part of the issue I see all the time and usually points to a shallow or non-existent understanding the different senses of the Bible (generally speaking, not you specifically Paleocon) . You see it in evangelical fundamentalists like Falwell (...that nut job who thinks everyone but him is going to hell...), and you certainly see it in an atheist like Dawkins (...you know, the guy who thinks we're stupid...)....both of these types of people take the Bible literally, i.e. a surface understanding is all that is needed, and both of those types are fools.

Going after things like Yeshuach bar Yusef are irrelevant, and avoid the main issue. Again, from Christianity, the main crux of the matter is the Resurrection. If you want to disprove Christianity, you can't avoid trying to rip into it. Many have tried, none have succeeded, clearly...I wish you luck. If you can disprove it, well...you need to write a book about it immediately so that you can get rich and go on speaking tours

Basically I'm saying, that if the Resurrection is not true, then to hell with it.

Oh..and certainly guys, I did not mean this to be a Christian only thread. We're mostly North American, so most are just speaking to what they know...so that tends towards Christianity. Anything Theistic is fine...I'm certainly curious about other faiths/philosophies.

The reason I called out Paleocon as "borderline" was because I saw him bring up the same questions/thought in the Atheist thread and concluded it was a bleed over. I answered because I sensed that Paleocon was being quite sincere in the framing of the question.

Regarding the historicity of Jesus. From what I've read/watched/studied, the "Jesus is a Myth" camp is quite small. Most serious NT scholarship, e.g. NT Wright, Marcus Borg, etc, etc, conclude that his historicity is more probable than not. The argument that stating such a fact is fallacious, i.e. that large number of scholars conclude such a thing, is really not honest debate....because, it is indeed a fact that these scholars have concluded this. Now, we can have this debate if you want, but I really think it's another thread and will ultimately come down to a "did not"/"did so" argument with very little value. Read the scholarship, pro and con and come to your own conclusion.

When talking Christianity in this thread, I think we should assume the historicity of Jesus is a given in order to not bog down interesting discussion, i.e. not "did so/did not". I would also assume the same for Buddha, Mohammed, etc.

...and for those of you stuck at a desk today doing tasks, here is some stuff to listen to while you work:

Talk on 10 Uncommon Insights Into Evil from Lord of the Rings
http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/04_...

And...

Christianity in Lord of The Rings
http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/28_...

darrenl - There is a difference between "Jesus was a myth" and "Jesus is just a myth". I believe Jesus was a real person, but don't believe everything that the bible says about him as historical. Like you said it could be true but not factual. To me that is what myths are. Truth or an attempt at truth through stories. Jesus did this all the time in his telling of parables.

tag

goman wrote:
darrenl - There is a difference between "Jesus was a myth" and "Jesus is just a myth". I believe Jesus was a real person, but don't believe everything that the bible says about him as historical. Like you said it could be true but not factual. To me that is what myths are. Truth or an attempt at truth through stories. Jesus did this all the time in his telling of parables.

I cautiously understand the thrust of your argument.

I can't really go further than that because you're not being to specific...so I won't either

darrenl wrote:
Oh..and certainly guys, I did not mean this to be a Christian only thread. We're mostly North American, so most are just speaking to what they know...so that tends towards Christianity. Anything Theistic is fine...I'm certainly curious about other faiths/philosophies.

The reason I called out Paleocon as "borderline" was because I saw him bring up the same questions/thought in the Atheist thread and concluded it was a bleed over. I answered because I sensed that Paleocon was being quite sincere in the framing of the question.

Regarding the historicity of Jesus. From what I've read/watched/studied, the "Jesus is a Myth" camp is quite small. Most serious NT scholarship, e.g. NT Wright, Marcus Borg, etc, etc, conclude that his historicity is more probable than not. The argument that stating such a fact is fallacious, i.e. that large number of scholars conclude such a thing, is really not honest debate....because, it is indeed a fact that these scholars have concluded this. Now, we can have this debate if you want, but I really think it's another thread and will ultimately come down to a "did not"/"did so" argument with very little value. Read the scholarship, pro and con and come to your own conclusion.

When talking Christianity in this thread, I think we should assume the historicity of Jesus is a given in order to not bog down interesting discussion, i.e. not "did so/did not". I would also assume the same for Buddha, Mohammed, etc.

Hmm. My question was not so much whether or not Yeshuach's life depicted in the bible was historical or not. It was whether one can be a Christian and reject it and/or accept that the miracles may have been added to teach a lesson or create a different image. As I pointed out, I know of several people who insist that even the resurrection doesn't really matter (though I'd disagree. It's pretty delicious.)

There are some, perhaps the majority, of believers who insist that "facts" (no matter how unlikely and unsupported) are pivotal to faith. To them, it is crucial that Mohammed actually moved a mountain, Yeshuach died and came back to life, Moses led his people out of Egypt, or Joe Smith found a gold paged book in the wilderness. To others, it is just mythology and the underlying moral message (e.g.: Sublimis ad invicem. Semper partis, dude.) provides reason enough.

Does the latter represent a new kind of theism? Is it theism at all? Are the two compatible?

Paleocon:

Wouldn't call it new. It seems to me that the Chinese have always been somewhat pragmatic about their religion, on the whole, for a pretty long time. For that matter, the rajahs of the Visayas Islands simply said "yes" to conversion to Catholicism, probably mostly as a matter of form in sealing the alliances and such. It doesn't strike me as likely that they had a sudden realization of "THE TRUTH" so much as it was some form of "Okay, if you say so, white dude. Let's just get your rituals over with, m'kay?"

LarryC wrote:
Paleocon:

Wouldn't call it new. It seems to me that the Chinese have always been somewhat pragmatic about their religion, on the whole, for a pretty long time. For that matter, the rajahs of the Visayas Islands simply said "yes" to conversion to Catholicism, probably mostly as a matter of form in sealing the alliances and such. It doesn't strike me as likely that they had a sudden realization of "THE TRUTH" so much as it was some form of "Okay, if you say so, white dude. Let's just get your rituals over with, m'kay?"

I don't know why, but your description totally made me think of this.

Paleocon wrote:

Hmm. My question was not so much whether or not Yeshuach's life depicted in the bible was historical or not. It was whether one can be a Christian and reject it and/or accept that the miracles may have been added to teach a lesson or create a different image. As I pointed out, I know of several people who insist that even the resurrection doesn't really matter (though I'd disagree. It's pretty delicious.)

There are some, perhaps the majority, of believers who insist that "facts" (no matter how unlikely and unsupported) are pivotal to faith. To them, it is crucial that Mohammed actually moved a mountain, Yeshuach died and came back to life, Moses led his people out of Egypt, or Joe Smith found a gold paged book in the wilderness. To others, it is just mythology and the underlying moral message (e.g.: Sublimis ad invicem. Semper partis, dude.) provides reason enough.

Does the latter represent a new kind of theism? Is it theism at all? Are the two compatible?

First, the "facts" you mention should always be supported (... philosophically, logically, historically, etc), or they form a weak faith that falls easily to reasonable argument.

Getting to the point I think you're highlighting...certainly though, some people will put more emphasis on certain Biblical/Koranic/etc events than others, and certainly confusion could set in regarding the understanding of the sense of that event, i.e. is it literal, metaphorical, historical, poetic, etc. One example is using Genesis as a literal account of the creation of the universe instead of a poetic narrative. Some have chosen to make this important to them. If you dig deeper into their position, it's just personal/political preference reinforced with bad theology. Really, that's not a "new Theism", that's just very sloppy hermeneutics.

You really got to take it case by case, and then really dig as deep as you can for each event that you see as an issue. Once you've done that digging as honestly as you can, it is certainly still up to you to either reject it or accept it....but be prepared to defend it either way.

darrenl wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Hmm. My question was not so much whether or not Yeshuach's life depicted in the bible was historical or not. It was whether one can be a Christian and reject it and/or accept that the miracles may have been added to teach a lesson or create a different image. As I pointed out, I know of several people who insist that even the resurrection doesn't really matter (though I'd disagree. It's pretty delicious.)

There are some, perhaps the majority, of believers who insist that "facts" (no matter how unlikely and unsupported) are pivotal to faith. To them, it is crucial that Mohammed actually moved a mountain, Yeshuach died and came back to life, Moses led his people out of Egypt, or Joe Smith found a gold paged book in the wilderness. To others, it is just mythology and the underlying moral message (e.g.: Sublimis ad invicem. Semper partis, dude.) provides reason enough.

Does the latter represent a new kind of theism? Is it theism at all? Are the two compatible?

First, the "facts" you mention should always be supported (... philosophically, logically, historically, etc), or they form a weak faith that falls easily to reasonable argument.

Getting to the point I think you're highlighting...certainly though, some people will put more emphasis on certain Biblical/Koranic/etc events than others, and certainly confusion could set in regarding the understanding of the sense of that event, i.e. is it literal, metaphorical, historical, poetic, etc. One example is using Genesis as a literal account of the creation of the universe instead of a poetic narrative. Some have chosen to make this important to them. If you dig deeper into their position, it's just personal/political preference reinforced with bad theology. Really, that's not a "new Theism", that's just very sloppy hermeneutics.

You really got to take it case by case, and then really dig as deep as you can for each event that you see as an issue. Once you've done that digging as honestly as you can, it is certainly still up to you to either reject it or accept it....but be prepared to defend it either way.

But is there a non-negotiable point in any given faith? As my Israeli paratrooper friend is fond of saying "There is but one God and his name is Allah.....maybe".

Is a Christian a Christian if, for instance, he rejects the resurrection? Is a Jew a Jew if he rejects the Exodus? Or are these points of no return that define them as something else entirely?

It would seem that the 325AD Council of Nicea attempted to answer that question by creating that "no go" point with the Nicene Creed and it has been the most often used stick in the sand for Christianity ever since (though folks still seem to vary from it).

Paleocon wrote:

But is there a non-negotiable point in any given faith? As my Israeli paratrooper friend is fond of saying "There is but one God and his name is Allah.....maybe".

Is a Christian a Christian if, for instance, he rejects the resurrection? Is a Jew a Jew if he rejects the Exodus? Or are these points of no return that define them as something else entirely?

It would seem that the 325AD Council of Nicea attempted to answer that question by creating that "no go" point with the Nicene Creed and it has been the most often used stick in the sand for Christianity ever since (though folks still seem to vary from it).

I can only speak for Christianity...so...take this for what it's worth.

No...there are no non-negotiables in faith. When I came to the Catholic faith I did not believe in the Resurrection. Jesus rising from the dead? Pffft...whatever. But, I knew that I needed to look into it, cause it's kind of a big deal...so I did and over the course of about 3-4 months I figured it out. I'm doing the same thing right now for Transubstantiation. A Christian can still be a Christian and not believe in any of the doctrines the Church holds...but if they are honest, they will be doing their best to study them and try. The problem is when they reject something but lack the ability or will to actually investigate and form reasons for that rejection....in other words, they're just being pigheaded and for some reason enjoy floating by.

darrenl wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

But is there a non-negotiable point in any given faith? As my Israeli paratrooper friend is fond of saying "There is but one God and his name is Allah.....maybe".

Is a Christian a Christian if, for instance, he rejects the resurrection? Is a Jew a Jew if he rejects the Exodus? Or are these points of no return that define them as something else entirely?

It would seem that the 325AD Council of Nicea attempted to answer that question by creating that "no go" point with the Nicene Creed and it has been the most often used stick in the sand for Christianity ever since (though folks still seem to vary from it).

I can only speak for Christianity...so...take this for what it's worth.

No...there are no non-negotiables in faith. When I came to the Catholic faith I did not believe in the Resurrection. Jesus rising from the dead? Pffft...whatever. But, I knew that I needed to look into it, cause it's kind of a big deal...so I did and over the course of about 3-4 months I figured it out. I'm doing the same thing right now for Transubstantiation. A Christian can still be a Christian and not believe in any of the doctrines the Church holds...but if they are honest, they will be doing their best to study them and try. The problem is when they reject something but lack the ability or will to actually investigate and form reasons for that rejection....in other words, they're just being pigheaded and for some reason enjoy floating by.

Pigheaded isn't precisely the word I would have chosen. I don't really think that's how belief works. I suppose by shear force of will one might be able to alter one's thinking such that it doesn't comport with one's own experience or examination of evidence, but that sounds pretty Winston Smith and is probably best avoided.

Paleocon wrote:

Pigheaded isn't precisely the word I would have chosen. I don't really think that's how belief works. I suppose by shear force of will one might be able to alter one's thinking such that it doesn't comport with one's own experience or examination of evidence, but that sounds pretty Winston Smith and is probably best avoided.

lol..yes. My snark failed there

I agree with you, if you can't come to your faith using intelligence, reason and logic, then you've got a problem. Looking at history, there are plenty of strong personalities to draw on as role models who clearly did not sacrifice their intelligence for faulty examination of evidence, e.g. Aquinas, Chesterton, Thérèse of Lisieux etc etc etc.

darrenl wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Pigheaded isn't precisely the word I would have chosen. I don't really think that's how belief works. I suppose by shear force of will one might be able to alter one's thinking such that it doesn't comport with one's own experience or examination of evidence, but that sounds pretty Winston Smith and is probably best avoided.

lol..yes. My snark failed there

I agree with you, if you can't come to your faith using intelligence, reason and logic, then you've got a problem. Looking at history, there are plenty of strong personalities to draw on as role models who clearly did not sacrifice their intelligence for faulty examination of evidence, e.g. Aquinas, Chesterton, Thérèse of Lisieux etc etc etc.

I don't doubt their intelligence, but I do wonder how someone like Aquinas would have handled the information we have available today. It is one thing to be a man of one god when the known world believes as you do and natural phenomena are best explained supernaturally because of lack of other working theories. It is an entirely different thing to be one in a world replete with competing gods and mounting evidence that support other theories of cosmology and human origins.

It may be true that we rest on the shoulders of giants, but our view is still higher than theirs.

Paleocon wrote:
darrenl wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Pigheaded isn't precisely the word I would have chosen. I don't really think that's how belief works. I suppose by shear force of will one might be able to alter one's thinking such that it doesn't comport with one's own experience or examination of evidence, but that sounds pretty Winston Smith and is probably best avoided.

lol..yes. My snark failed there

I agree with you, if you can't come to your faith using intelligence, reason and logic, then you've got a problem. Looking at history, there are plenty of strong personalities to draw on as role models who clearly did not sacrifice their intelligence for faulty examination of evidence, e.g. Aquinas, Chesterton, Thérèse of Lisieux etc etc etc.

I don't doubt their intelligence, but I do wonder how someone like Aquinas would have handled the information we have available today. It is one thing to be a man of one god when the known world believes as you do and natural phenomena are best explained supernaturally because of lack of other working theories. It is an entirely different thing to be one in a world replete with competing gods and mounting evidence that support other theories of cosmology and human origins.

It may be true that we rest on the shoulders of giants, but our view is still higher than theirs.

Damn, great post and great line.

In any event, it isn't my intent to question any particular doctrine in this thread. I was just trying to explore the nature of faith and whether honest intellectual limits are compatible or contradictory to religion as experiential. I'm not sure I'm any closer to an answer, so I'll duck out before this turns into something else entirely.

Paleocon wrote:
darrenl wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Pigheaded isn't precisely the word I would have chosen. I don't really think that's how belief works. I suppose by shear force of will one might be able to alter one's thinking such that it doesn't comport with one's own experience or examination of evidence, but that sounds pretty Winston Smith and is probably best avoided.

lol..yes. My snark failed there

I agree with you, if you can't come to your faith using intelligence, reason and logic, then you've got a problem. Looking at history, there are plenty of strong personalities to draw on as role models who clearly did not sacrifice their intelligence for faulty examination of evidence, e.g. Aquinas, Chesterton, Thérèse of Lisieux etc etc etc.

I don't doubt their intelligence, but I do wonder how someone like Aquinas would have handled the information we have available today. It is one thing to be a man of one god when the known world believes as you do and natural phenomena are best explained supernaturally because of lack of other working theories. It is an entirely different thing to be one in a world replete with competing gods and mounting evidence that support other theories of cosmology and human origins.

It may be true that we rest on the shoulders of giants, but our view is still higher than theirs.

Well...not sure if I agree with the premise since there seems to be a mixing of disciplines from the use of the word "theory". If you're talking scientific knowledge, sure...but Aquinas was not a scientist. He was a Philosopher and Theologian and his works are just as potent today as they were in the 13th century. I encourage you to read his works.

Aquinas is still studied and applied by men/women today who are just as bright, more so if we go on the conclusion that we now have a higher view given our modern understanding of the world. Unless the assertion is that those great men and women in philosophy today are also superstitious, but I think some tough work is needed to prove that case.

It's easy to point to the calender and say we're the epic of human intelligence, but I think points more to a temporal elitism than anything else, and it certainly does not further the argument that Aquinas was wrong or mistaken philosophically (...if that indeed is the argument...)....actually, it avoids the question entirely.

SallyNasty wrote:
Paleocon wrote:
darrenl wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Pigheaded isn't precisely the word I would have chosen. I don't really think that's how belief works. I suppose by shear force of will one might be able to alter one's thinking such that it doesn't comport with one's own experience or examination of evidence, but that sounds pretty Winston Smith and is probably best avoided.

lol..yes. My snark failed there

I agree with you, if you can't come to your faith using intelligence, reason and logic, then you've got a problem. Looking at history, there are plenty of strong personalities to draw on as role models who clearly did not sacrifice their intelligence for faulty examination of evidence, e.g. Aquinas, Chesterton, Thérèse of Lisieux etc etc etc.

I don't doubt their intelligence, but I do wonder how someone like Aquinas would have handled the information we have available today. It is one thing to be a man of one god when the known world believes as you do and natural phenomena are best explained supernaturally because of lack of other working theories. It is an entirely different thing to be one in a world replete with competing gods and mounting evidence that support other theories of cosmology and human origins.

It may be true that we rest on the shoulders of giants, but our view is still higher than theirs.

Damn, great post and great line.

No kidding. That is getting sigged, space be damned.

Garden Ninja wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:
Paleocon wrote:
darrenl wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

Pigheaded isn't precisely the word I would have chosen. I don't really think that's how belief works. I suppose by shear force of will one might be able to alter one's thinking such that it doesn't comport with one's own experience or examination of evidence, but that sounds pretty Winston Smith and is probably best avoided.

lol..yes. My snark failed there

I agree with you, if you can't come to your faith using intelligence, reason and logic, then you've got a problem. Looking at history, there are plenty of strong personalities to draw on as role models who clearly did not sacrifice their intelligence for faulty examination of evidence, e.g. Aquinas, Chesterton, Thérèse of Lisieux etc etc etc.

I don't doubt their intelligence, but I do wonder how someone like Aquinas would have handled the information we have available today. It is one thing to be a man of one god when the known world believes as you do and natural phenomena are best explained supernaturally because of lack of other working theories. It is an entirely different thing to be one in a world replete with competing gods and mounting evidence that support other theories of cosmology and human origins.

It may be true that we rest on the shoulders of giants, but our view is still higher than theirs.

Damn, great post and great line.

No kidding. That is getting sigged, space be damned.

That line is about 300 years older than Paleocon.

Issac Newton wrote:
“If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants.”

Get out of our theist thread Paleo, you've making us all look dumb!

CheezePavilion wrote:
Get out of our theist thread Paleo, you've making us all look dumb!

By misquoting lines from one of the most famous scientists of all time, who also happened to be a devout theist?

Nomad wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
Get out of our theist thread Paleo, you've making us all look dumb!

By misquoting lines from one of the most famous scientists of all time, who also happened to be a devout theist?

He did not misquote it. He rephrased it and it has a slightly different meaning but it does not make it untrue.

Nomad wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
Get out of our theist thread Paleo, you've making us all look dumb!

By misquoting lines from one of the most famous scientists of all time, who also happened to be a devout theist?

By taking one of the lines from one of the most famous alchemists of all time, and pointing out that however humble the sentiment it may have expressed, it nevertheless acknowledges that we can see farther than they did.

Paleocon wrote:
The question I have is whether or not the former group defines a different kind of religiosity than the traditional or whether it is even faith at all. Can, for instance, someone be a Christian and accept that the bible may be untrue and that the figure of Yeshuach bar Yusef was not accurately depicted in it? Can someone be a Jew and accept that something as pivotal as the Exodus may never have happened? Or are these dealbreakers that define faith?

This is something I've been thinking a lot about recently, and I don't think there's a clear answer. Ultimately, it depends who you ask. Personally, what I feel is important about each religion is the philosophy rather than the nuances of belief. Whether or not Jesus was as the Bible says is really a separate issue from whether his teachings are worth following. Self-avowed Christians hardly all agree on the veracity of the Bible regarding Jesus' life, but I think most do agree that his teachings are key. The problem seems to be that people fight over where they differ rather than uniting over where they don't. If someone doesn't believe that Jesus was divine but they follow his teachings to the letter, are they Christian? I'd say yes.

Rubb Ed wrote:
If you looked at the atheism thread, they split out the theism/atheism dichotomy and the gnostic/agnostic dichotomy to explain different types of believers. I think I fall into the "agnostic theist" realm. I've had experiences where I deeply feel like I've experienced communion with a divine power, but I don't know how to classify it.

Problem is, then, that I don't have a place to fit into, and on some level that bothers me. I'm just wondering if anyone else has been through this themselves. (Unfortunately, trying to "Find Jesus" doesn't work for me because I've tried and it doesn't do anything for me)


I'm in somewhat the same boat as you, although my background is quite different. I think it's important to distinguish between finding a community where you belong vs. finding a theology you agree with. I'm not entirely clear which you're lacking, but possibly both? I've spent the better part of my life going to various churches with various family members and of those I've been to one that I really enjoyed attending. The community was very works-oriented and the sermons were almost more bible study than lecture. There, it didn't really matter to me that I maybe didn't agree with the entirety of the stated beliefs because I really enjoyed doing the charity work with great people and the sermons were fascinating.

Theologically, if I understand where you're coming from it can really fit any number of things. "The Way" of Taoism, for example, is in many ways similar to the core concept of the Christian God. But Taoism is inwardly focused while Christianity is outwardly focused, which has a significant effect on the application of the philosophy. Perhaps sadly, I haven't found a better fit for the agnostic theist bent than Christianity. You just have to be willing to jettison the parts that don't work for you and then find a community where you fit, assuming you want to be a part of a religious community (and it seems like you do).