• Tom Storm
    2.2k
    This can be a shattering experience in some cases.Wayfarer

    Maybe this is not the place but I'd like a few more words on this notion.

    I was often taken by this quote - pretty sure it's J Krishnamurti

    "Enlightenment is an accident, but some activities make you accident-prone."
  • Janus
    11k
    And how does Apollodorus know what he says is true? Is he enlightened? He certainly doesn't act like he is, judging by his own standard:

    That's why the enlightened don't go around preaching to the unenlightened.Apollodorus
  • Janus
    11k
    (And I do think he was/is a genuine sage, not a hoodoo guru.)Wayfarer

    How would you be able to tell the difference? I have known highly intelligent people who thought Osho was the real deal (including the eminent German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk who was a disciple for some time).

    I know you think Osho was a charlatan, but why would your opinion in such a matter be worth any more than anyone else's? It's obviously not, so it all really just comes down to personal interpretation and belief.
  • baker
    2.9k
    these people's knowledge is not derived from the observational, empirical knowledge, but is a (directly) received revelation from God.
    — baker

    Many Christians would never claim to know God directly.
    Wayfarer

    Knowing God through holy scriptures is a form of direct knowledge of God. Holy scriptures are a direct revelation from God, so when you read or hear them, you are directly knowing God.

    -- This, at least, is the epistemology that is put forward by some monotheists.

    The question of the nature of religious knowledge is very interesting in my view.

    Indeed, but to me, the interesting part is how opponents attempt to know religious/spiritual truth in every other way but the one actually put forth by the religion/spirituality. (And then, predictably, end up empty-handed.)

    But, generally, we don't know. We see 'through a glass, darkly' - hints and signs, feelings and intuitions. One day, maybe.

    I don't see it that way. If the monotheists say that God is to be known in a descending process, ie. that God reveals himself to man, and this is how man comes to know God -- then why should I dispute that?

    I don't dispute the methods through which, say, physicists come to their knowledge. Why would I dispute the methods through which theists come to their knowledge?
  • baker
    2.9k
    How would you be able to tell the difference? I have known highly intelligent people who thought Osho was the real deal (including the eminent German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk who was a disciple for some time).

    I know you think Osho was a charlatan, but why would your opinion in such a matter be worth any more than anyone else's? It's obviously not, so it all really just comes down to personal interpretation and belief.
    Janus

    So what are you really concerned about? The wellbeing of mankind? Or something more personal, such as are you afraid of being duped? Are you afraid of other people seeing you being duped?

    You sound so insecure, like a teenager.
  • Wayfarer
    13.8k
    I know you think Osho was a charlatan, but why would your opinion in such a matter be worth any more than anyone else's?Janus

    Take it or leave it.

    Knowing God through holy scriptures is a form of direct knowledge of God.baker

    But looking at the dire history of conflict and intra-religious persecution in Christianity hardly supports that idea. It's not as if the whole Church has ever come to a unified understanding of the Word, far from it. History is testimony to that.

    I don't dispute the methods through which, say, physicists come to their knowledge. Why would I dispute the methods through which theists come to their knowledge?baker

    Physicists and scientists generally study objective phenomena and the forces which act on them.

    In religious disciplines disciplines generally you are that which you seek to know. It's worlds apart.

    Again there are religious discipines that emphasis knowledge. You're very familiar with the early Buddhist texts, it's spelled out quite clearly there. But they're very hard paths to follow.

    I think there needs to be a clear awareness of the distinction between faith and knowledge, especially as this is a philosophy forum. You can't just declare that faith IS knowledge, it basically obliterates a real distinction. And I'm not saying that from the perspective of overall rejection of religion, like a lot of people.

    (This is an interesting conversation but I have to log out for a few hours I have an assignment. Back later.)
  • Janus
    11k
    In relation to this particular discussion I'm not concerned with anything other than clarifying the distinction between faith and knowledge. I don't know why you feel it necessary to make personal comments about someone you know next to nothing about; but that you do says more about you than it does about anyone else. What is it exactly that you feel you need to defend I wonder?
  • baker
    2.9k
    There is a certain quality of one's mind, or spirit, which, at any given time, one either has or doesn't have, and which cannot be obtained overnight, or by contemplating a syllogism.
  • Janus
    11k
    There is a certain quality of one's mind, or spirit, which, at any given time, one either has or doesn't have, and which cannot be obtained overnight, or by contemplating a syllogism.baker

    Yes, and one can certainly be deluded about the quality of one's mind or spirit or disposition or whatever you want to call it. In regard to self-knowledge it pays to remember that.

    Take it or leave it.Wayfarer

    Well of course I'll leave it. The more interesting question is as to why you take it.
  • baker
    2.9k
    Knowing God through holy scriptures is a form of direct knowledge of God.
    — baker

    But looking at the dire history of conflict and intra-religious persecution in Christianity hardly supports that idea. It's not as if the whole Church has ever come to a unified understanding of the Word, far from it. History is testimony to that.
    Wayfarer

    So? I don't see the multitude of what is being put forward as the word of God or how to properly understand it as a deterrent from the principle that knowing God through holy scriptures is a form of direct knowledge of God. (This principle is something that various monotheisms agree on, even if they radically disagree on the details.)

    Religion/spirituality is not a charity; it doesn't have a no child left behind policy; it's not egalitarian; it's not democratic. Once one understands this, one's expectations about religion/spirituality change dramatically, and the usual objections (such as those put forward by atheists) become irrelevant (as one comes to see them being born either out of infantile insecurity, or blind, habitual aggressiveness).

    Physicists and scientists generally study objective phenomena and the forces which act on them.

    In religious disciplines disciplines generally you are that which you seek to know. It's worlds apart.

    Only if one approaches the religious discipline on one's own terms. It's a strange thing to do religion/spirituality with the intent to "find oneself", and thereby mean "find oneself" in some worldly sense that is extraneous to the religious/spiritual path one is pursuing.

    I think there needs to be a clear awareness of the distinction between faith and knowledge, especially as this is a philosophy forum. You can't just declare that faith IS knowledge, it basically obliterates a real distinction. And I'm not saying that from the perspective of overall rejection of religion, like a lot of people.

    Indeed, this is a philosophy forum, and philosophers should know better than to attempt to do religion/spirituality on the terms of science or philosophy. I'm amazed that they don't; I wonder why this is so. I mean, they are supposed to be so much smarter than I! So why are they making such a basic mistake?!
  • Janus
    11k
    Indeed, this is a philosophy forum, and philosophers should know better than to attempt to do religion/spirituality on the terms of science or philosophy. I'm amazed that they don't; I wonder why this is so. I mean, they are supposed to be so much smarter than I! So why are they making such a basic mistake?!baker

    The only people who seemed to be concerned with "doing religion/ spirituality on the terms of science or philosophy" seem to be those who consider themselves to be religious/ spiritual. And they seem to want to claim that there is real knowledge to be had in religious/ spiritual practices. instead of admitting that it is all a matter of personal feeling and faith.
  • Apollodorus
    2.7k
    And how does Apollodorus know what he says is true?Janus

    Basic logic. Either someone has access to truth, or they don't. If they do, then they know that preaching the truth, as suggested by Tom Storm, will "set them on a collision course with others". Therefore, they will avoid communicating it except to a select few.
  • Janus
    11k
    No one can ever know that they have access to truth in any absolute sense. We can know things are true within certain contexts, but that is a different conception of truth, because believing we may have that is based on inter-subjectively accessible observations which are capable of corroboration..

    Capital T truth is a kind of mirage. We can say the real thing is "out there", but we can only guess at it, and we don't even really know what we are saying when we say it is out there.

    So, what you call "having access to the truth" really amounts to just someone believing they have access to the truth.
  • baker
    2.9k
    The only people who seemed to be concerned with "doing religion/ spirituality on the terms of science or philosophy" seem to be those who consider themselves to be religious/ spiritual.Janus

    Eh?

    Sure, there are some religious/spiritual people who do that, but what I'm saying refers primarily to people like yourself, people who are proponents of science.
  • baker
    2.9k
    No one can ever know that they have access to truth in any absolute sense.Janus

    So ironic.
  • Janus
    11k
    No, you're dead wrong and actually have it backwards: I am concerned with arguing that religion/ spirituality cannot be done on the terms of science or philosophy, or on any terms analogous to them. In other words they are matters of faith, not knowledge.

    And just for the record; I'm not saying there is anything wrong with having religious or spiritual faith, provided you are intelligent and honest enough to realize that that is what it is, and not to conflate it with knowledge. Such a conflation is dangerous; it is the first step towards fundamentalism.

    No one can ever know that they have access to truth in any absolute sense. — Janus


    So ironic.
    baker

    No, I wasn't being ironic. How could anyone possibly have access to absolute truth?
  • Apollodorus
    2.7k
    No one can ever know that they have access to truth in any absolute sense.Janus

    Well, you don't know that, do you? You only think so.

    Plus, the person who has been outside the cave does not necessarily know the whole truth or know it "absolutely". It is sufficient for them to know more than those inside, which they will logically do once they've seen the world outside.

    It is not a matter of being omniscient. It is enough to know that you know something that you didn't know before. Of course, in theory it could be imagination, but I think most people with a certain level of intelligence and education would be able to tell the difference.
  • Janus
    11k

    Well, you don't know that, do you? You only think so.

    Plus, the person who has been outside the cave does not necessarily know the whole truth. It is sufficient for them to know more than those inside, which they will logically do once they've seen the world outside.

    It is not a matter of being omniscient. It is enough to know that you know something that you didn't know before. Of course, in theory it could be imagination, but I think most people with a certain level of intelligence and education would be able to tell the difference.
    Apollodorus

    I do know that because it is true. And it is not an absolute truth, so there is no contradiction or inconsistency. It is a contextual truth; humans beings cannot be infallible. Also the idea of absolute truth is an idea of an otherworldly or eternal truth. We are beings of this world, and can know truths only in the context of this world.

    In any case, even if for the sake of argument it is granted that some people might know the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life the Universe and Everything", it could never be formulated or communicated, and even if it were it would be as meaningless to the human mind as "42", so it would be incapable of demonstration.

    Of we are not and cannot be omniscient and that is just what it would mean to know the Absolute Truth. And of course we all experience knowing that we know something we didn't know before at times. In theory and in practice it could be imagination, and I think it is hubris to think that "a certain level of intelligence and education" would necessarily enable you to tell the difference. We tell the difference between what we know and what we think we know by checking with others.
  • Apollodorus
    2.7k
    In theory and in practice it could be imaginationJanus

    It could be but it doesn't have to be.

    I think it is hubris to think that "a certain level of intelligence and education" would necessarily enable you to tell the difference.Janus

    1. You think. You don't know.

    2. You can't exclude the possibility.

    3. I didn't say "necessarily".

    We tell the difference between what we know and what we think we know by checking with others.Janus

    Sure. But (1) we first check with ourselves, and (2) we can't check with those inside the cave as they have no means of knowing.
  • Apollodorus
    2.7k
    We are beings of this world, and can know truths only in the context of this world.Janus

    That isn't necessarily true. If another world or dimension exists, then there may be a possibility of establishing contact with it.

    Otherwise, if we deny the possibility, we are like those inside the cave who insist that nothing else exists. I think Plato is saying the opposite.
  • hanaH
    13
    Knowing God through holy scriptures is a form of direct knowledge of God. Holy scriptures are a direct revelation from God, so when you read or hear them, you are directly knowing God.baker

    Unless God just is the text, you are abusing 'direct' here. 'I don't want to sit and talk about Jesus,...I just want to see his face.'
  • hanaH
    13
    And just for the record; I'm not saying there is anything wrong with having religious or spiritual faith, provided you are intelligent and honest enough to realize that that is what it is, and not to conflate it with knowledge. Such a conflation is dangerous; it is the first step towards fundamentalism.Janus

    I agree, but the fun of religion is precisely in the wickedness. A 'reasonable' religion is something you can buy and sell at the mall. 'Keto' is a religion. For some maybe Tesla is a religion.
  • hanaH
    13
    Our education remains an education in images. It is not merely an education by means of images, but what Plato provides is an education about images.Fooloso4
    :up:
    Imagology...
    https://www.artforum.com/uploads/guide.003/id18182/press_release.pdf
  • Janus
    11k
    That isn't necessarily true. If another world or dimension exists, then there may be a possibility of establishing contact with it.Apollodorus

    Maybe, but you could never demonstrate that you have, so the possibility that it could be an illusion remains. We should be open to such numinous and transformative experiences and yet draw no conclusions from them in my view.

    It could be but it doesn't have to be.Apollodorus

    That is a possibility, but there could be no way to know. No matter how certain we might be that we know something transcendent, the possibility that it is an illusion remains. You can't get from a feeling of certainty to an absolute certainty that could not be mistaken.

    1. You think. You don't know.

    2. You can't exclude the possibility.

    3. I didn't say "necessarily".
    Apollodorus

    I know that education and intelligence are finite and necessarily limited, no matter how great they might be. So I can exclude the possibility of knowing that you have knowledge of the absolute truth. I could grant that you might think you have and actually do have it. just like you might think something about a distant planet that you know nothing about which just happens to be true.

    Weren't you suggesting that a certain level of intelligence and education would enable you to "tell the difference"? If it is only that they might enable you to tell the difference, then you are back to my position; that is that you cannot be sure you can tell the difference. So, the "necessarily" seems to be necessary to your argument.
  • Janus
    11k
    I agree, but the fun of religion is precisely in the wickedness. A 'reasonable' religion is something you can buy and sell at the mall.hanaH

    Sure, but do you really want to valorize a wickedness that may not merely be "wicked" (in the sense of a wicked sense of humour) but truly wicked in the sense of the Spanish Inquisition?
  • hanaH
    13
    but do you really want to valorize a wickedness that may not merely be "wicked"Janus

    It's tempting at times, but no. Reading @baker reminds me of offensive thinkers like Kierkegaard. I use 'wicked' because it's a sort of indulgence to believe against reason and decency (the universal is transcended by XXX.) . God commanded Abraham to murder a boy, his own son, and his obedience is presented as heroic or saintly. If it was just your neighbor who killed his son in the woods because the voices told him to, well then it's just madness. But Abraham was good-crazy somehow (because there really is an equally good-crazy God, I guess.)

    I recently finished Enlightenment Now (Pinker), and I basically agree with him, but there's nevertheless a sort of sterility or humorlessness about his grand case for Humanism which he does not seem to recognize.
  • Janus
    11k
    I recently finished Enlightenment Now (Pinker), and I basically agree with him, but there's nevertheless a sort of sterility or humorlessness about the enterprise, which he does not seem to recognize.hanaH

    I haven't read that, but I get what you mean by "sterility or humorlessness about the enterprise". Some, like Dawkins and the so-called "Four Horsemen" seem to want to dismiss, even eliminate from human life, all religion, and that is in my view a ridiculous, not to mention arrogant, aim.

    I think it's fine that people have their faiths, and I think religious faith can even be transformative in ways that nothing else can. My whole argument is merely that conflating faith with knowledge is where the danger begins.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.1k
    And you have not read the Catechism of the RCC, I presume?

    And look, even in the passage you quote, it is said first: "Hence the existence of God, in so far as it is not self-evident to us, can be demonstrated from those of His effects which are known to us."

    Aquinas assumes the existence of God can be self-evident to us. Making inferences based on His effects is only a secondary epistemic method.
    baker

    Aquinas might have thought that the existence of God "can be "self-evident", but he explicitly said, "in so far as it is not".

    I think you misunderstood me baker. I did not deny that a person could have a personal relation with God, I denied that this could be called "knowledge" of God, because knowledge requires justification. That you claim "the existence of God is self-evident" does not make it self-evident.

    You keep insisting on approaching the topic of knowing God on your own terms that are extraneous to monotheism (and you interpret standard monotheistic references to suit this agenda of yours).baker

    It's not strictly "my terms". It's what's accepted in the philosophical community, as specified by epistemology. Knowledge requires justification. You can't just say "I know God because I talk to Him every night". Such a use of "know" is unacceptable by epistemological standards. So in reality, it's you who is relying on idiosyncratic use of words. Your use of "know" is not consistent with philosophical standards.

    I'm just trying to get you to see the disjoint between the way you think and the way others think. And simply insisting that your way is right doesn't get you anywhere because you need to demonstrate that you are right. Of course, if what you are insisting on is that you do not need to demonstrate what you are insisting on, then you have a problem.
  • Wayfarer
    13.8k
    Only if one approaches the religious discipline on one's own terms. It's a strange thing to do religion/spirituality with the intent to "find oneself", and thereby mean "find oneself" in some worldly sense that is extraneous to the religious/spiritual path one is pursuingbaker

    You do sound like you're lecturing here.

    this is a philosophy forum, and philosophers should know better than to attempt to do religion/spirituality on the terms of science or philosophy. I'm amazed that they don't; I wonder why this is so. I mean, they are supposed to be so much smarter than I! So why are they making such a basic mistake?!baker

    Who are you referring to? I think there are philosophers and even scientists who have a clear understanding of these distinctions. The point I was trying to get across was in response to your question "why is 'religious' knowledge any different to physics?' And the answer I was trying to give, is that it is of a different order, it is not concerned with objective measurement, but with your state of being. I don't see that as a controversial distinction. There is such a discipline as 'sacred science' (scientia sacra) which can be found in the classical tradition of Western philosophy and theology, but it's worlds apart from the approach of modern science. And knowledge of it is not a pre-requisite for the faithful in any religion, to my understanding.
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