From: "psypher" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: virus: Maxims: the universe and truth To: email@example.com Date sent: Thu, 20 May 1999 23:29:38 -0400 (EDT) Send reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
> ...I get the impression that you're conflating the attributes
> generally ascribed to a particular sort of christian conception of
> god with the idea of god in general. A great many theological systems
> have nothing at all to do with "benevolent but severe masters who
> must be obeyed".
This is the conception common to Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism, as well as some forms of Hinduism.
> ...The incarnation of Brahman described in the Bhagavad Gita comes a
> little close, maybe, when translated into English and passed through
> those filters, but the very christian god of a mystic like Meister
> Eckhardt, who admits prima facie the folly of attempting to describe
> the attributes of god bears very little resemblance to what you've
For mystics, God=Mystery, that of which they are self-admittedly and necessarily ignorant yet somehow manage to claim that they love (my devotion is not so cheap as to be offered to an unknown/unknowable X).
> ...a philosophy like Taoism would even reject the label of "god" as
> loaded with assumptions and imputed qualities.
The Tao is not a God, but a description of the changeable nature of the natural world as a whole, a cosmological viewpoint which Buddhism largely shares (did I mention that I have taught comparative religion at the college level - no crow, but just to let you know I know).
> And I don't know what
> Thomas Aquinas would say, having described god as "that than which no
> greater (thing)can be imagined". [caveat, I'm not sure about the
> (thing) and it may have been Saint Augustine, but one of them said it]
It was a feeble and self-contradictory attempt to define a being into existence. It failed. Words don't have executive power over reality.
> ...are you willing, despite your admission that hypothetical
> constructs in the mind can be a source of valuable perspective on the
> world of space-time, to dismiss all the thought of all the people on
> the matter of what may exist outside the range of our senses?
Not all; merely those who substitute belief in the absence of evidence for an honest admission of knowledge based upon evidence, or the lack of same. Our language is superfluous, allowing us to create descriptions of impossibilities. For instance, a God could not at once be omnipotent and omniscient, for if it knew the future for certain it would be unable to change it, and if it could change the future it could not know it for certain; these two terms are mutually exclusive, yet are commonly combined. The terms "space" and "time", on the other hand, are an illegitimate linguistic bifurcation of a single perceptual manifold, born of the abstraction and absolutization of our differing perceptual paths' various manners of grasping information from it (in vision the spatial aspect predominates and in audition the temporal does, but both aspects are present in both sensory modalities, and in our most primordial sense, taction, these aspects of the manifold are equipresent). I also would like to remind you that the ad populum argument (appeal to the general populace) was proven to be a fallacy by the Greeks 2700 years ago and I doubt if you'll be able to resuscitate it's dead validity now, while also stating that, with the possible exception of the Snow Leopard fundie borg-collective, you are unlikely to find many theists on a list which considers the various religions to be different species of cognitive virii.
> ...if your answer to this is yes, then I'll drop the dialogue like a
> hot potato, conceding that we have no common ground on this matter.
If you don't, your superstitious presuppositions and preconceptions will be badly burned here.
> > Ludwig Feuerbach, in his work THE ESSENCE OF CHRISTIANITY,
> > points out that religion is simply anthropology that is unaware of
> > itself as such. The idea of benevolent but severe masters who
> > must be obeyed is parentally imprinted in the developing infant
> > mind, providing a substrate which is so intertwined with the
> > developing self-image and self-identity that its adherents become
> > deeply emotionally invested in reifying it to the point of forsaking
> > reason, logic, rationality, and the subsequent evidence of their own
> > senses, and the attributes of any deity are the crystallized and
> > absolutized attributes we admire in human beings (strong becomes
> > omnipotent, wise becomes omniscient, special becomes unique,
> > good, true and beautiful get capitalized, and so on). If people had
> > wings, their god-concept would be of a big bird; we create our gods
> > in our own image (not the other way around), and it has ever been
> > thus.
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