Religion without Belief: Contemporary Allegory and the Search for Postmodern Faith

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As a philosopher, I tend to want my beliefs to be based on either direct experience or reasoned arguments?

The five major world religions - John Bellaimey

It seems to me one could and should have much the same attitude toward religious belief.? The general principle then is one ought not to believe in things that are not based on arguments or direct experience. As for the former it seems that this has been shown to be an overly stringent view of rationality. If we have learned anything in our introductory epistemology courses it is that arguments for other minds, induction, the external world, that the world wasn? Still this seems to most to be a problem for those arguments and our need for them not for belief in other minds, etc.

If our belief in other minds, etc. The latter then is most likely where I would place belief rational belief since it seems rationality has extended beyond? Your objection here seems to be that the experience is not great enough. That experience is not enough to? This seems arbitrary at best. How much experience is enough to continue on in belief? If there is something else that we have learned in our intro courses its when you find that most of the arguments run out pretty much everything is in the realm of doubt.

It seems pretty stringent Descartes stringent! As for pure faith, the? I believe because its ridiculous? I think Pascal, Kierkegaard, and Turtullian would have liked Plantinga and his cohorts. One last point. This seems unlikely, if this standard is held I would love to hear your arguments for belief in other minds, induction, the external world, that the world wasn?

Assuming you? Most likely your belief in other minds is based on experience and perception.

What if, like your account of the experience of God, that experience just isn? Who gets to say that? Especially when all of the evidence or arguments for other minds, etc. Again this doesn? OK, we can look at how a person conceives of, say, an airplane, then proceeds to design, build, and, finally, fly it. From this we deduce that, at least on some level, existence depends on having a maker, which presupposes a designer, which presupposes a conceiver.

Upon this premise, we deduce from observing the material universe that it must have been conceived, designed, and created by someone or something. Question: by what or by whom? Faced with this First Cause question in a philosophy class decades ago, I was unable come up with an answer suitable to support a belief in God.

Later, following experiences that I could not explain rationally, or consistently from a materialistic point of view, I re-examined various beliefs couched in the idea of a creator, and eventually came upon the Tao te Ching, and the concept of "The Eternal Tao. For me, contemplating the Tao does not answer the question, "Is there a god. Rather, it keeps me questioning and questing, which enriches my life immeasurably by expanding my experience of life and all it offers.

Thanks for your program. I look forward to it every week. Monday, November 6, -- PM. I enjoyed the show and found enough of interest in what Phil Clayton said to ask him some questions, but I am not expecting that he will overcome my impression shared by caller Paul that there is no meaningful content to the question of existence or non-existence of the god that Phil appears to be talking about. In the end, talk of such a god seems to amount to no more than the naming of an apparently unanswerable question and no matter whether we call it 'God' or 'Tao' or something else, it has no moral or other implications.

Postmodern Religions

This is not to imply that thinking about it in an "appropriate" way might not have some kind of beneficial calming effect on the human mind - but then so might thinking about any other abstract problem in mathematics or philosophy. Another concept of god, which arose in Ken and John's response to Rob's conundrum about the comfort of acting as a believer despite not believing , was as a "flag" or symbol for the body of shared human values.

To me the confounding of these two concepts reason and "purpose" for the existence of the universe, and "purpose" or values of human species and individuals seems highly presumptuous, but Phil appeared to be claiming some linkages so I have asked him about that in response to his follow-up posting. Perhaps it is true that finding some consoling sense of substantiation re both is a common human need, but that doesn't imply that they both require the same "god" and perhaps some religions - eg Hinduism - are closer to recognizing this distinction than others.

In fact, the "source of values" concept is what strikes me as being closer to what most people seek from religion, so I want to follow up with you, Ken, about some aspects of that. First, in response to part of what you say in the blog posting, I think it exemplifies a kind of faith that is not in conflict with reason. One way to achieve this is by having the beliefs devoid of empirical content as I have suggested that belief in Phil's god may be. But this does not preclude meaningful content. For example many beliefs are exhortatory in nature. Commandments have impact but are not empirically falsifiable.

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Whether encouraging such beliefs is a good thing is something I would question in fact I would strongly deny it, but that's not the topic here so I must hold back , but I don't believe that they can be successfully challenged on purely rational grounds. Second, and this may be a simple question for you to answer, but I was unable to see a clear distinction between what is represented by the "fictionalist" label you used for Howie Wettstein's "positing", and the "semantic agnostic" applied to Rob's finding comfort in faithless participation and in fact, if I was going to make a distinction, I'd be inclined to reverse the labels.

Either way, I was disappointed by the comfort you gave to Rob. He should, I believe, have been supported instead in his apparent willingness to acknowledge and deal with the fundamental dishonesty of his position. To adjust the semantics so that a statement of faith is not a lie to oneself does not avoid the misleading effect that making that statement might have on others.

In the case of religion, those who find comfort by making a statement that means something different to others than it means to themselves do harm in various ways. One is by undermining and discouraging the truth-seeking of others who may be in a similar doubting position; and another is by lending credibility to the words themselves rather than the concept you mean by them, which empowers those who would turn the same words to a vastly different and often quite evil meaning.

This happens all too often with scriptural religion, so I think we need to do all we can to encourage the overt rather than covert denial of literalism. Tuesday, November 7, -- PM. I haven't had time to read all of the other posts on this topic, but I will go ahead and state my humble opinion. There is a God. I believe that if you ask people what God is then you will receive many different answers.

Thus, God is what believe it is. People have believed in God in some form or fashion since the birth of civilization. I believe that several things can be learned from holding a belief in God. And, depending on your beliefs, a belief in God can foster advances in all realms of human activity. Looking to the past, our ancient ancestors perceived God in many different forms, and each form deserved respect. However, in the scientfic age of today 'things' have been reduced to numbers and all sorts of complex calculations that I won't pretend to understand.

But, what do those numbers and calculations represent? I believe that God exists in everything.

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Should we not pay respect to world we live in and the universe that created it? What would happen if we no longer believed in a God different from the abolishment of religion? In conclusion, God seems to be just a word that people use to describe the concert of magnificent forces that surround them.

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However, whether these forces act in We don't have to give it to him, but bad things tend to happen when there is a lack of respect for anything. Thursday, November 16, -- PM. I think that if you want a good definition of God, you need go no further than St. Augustine's Confessions. Sure, it's a "starter level" book, but St.