• Hallucinogen
    261
    Is there a name for the doctrine which claims that all religions are epistemically/veridically disjunct from each other?

    To elaborate, a lot of critics of religion seem to presume that divergence of religion on any particular belief entails that they either don't refer to the same features of the world, or that they conceive of the world in an irreconcilable way. They express in certain common criticisms such as: "but which religion is the correct one?" or "which God?", and "God is a personal belief and varies greatly from religion to religion".

    Their view seems to amount to thinking that there can be no common framework that would provide the pathway of reasoning to a "correct" answer with regards to religious questions. In other words that religious disputes cannot be solved because there's no reliable source of reason for solving them? It seems to be a view a lot of atheists and agnostics have.
  • Hanover
    12.1k
    As to the question: "Is there a name for the doctrine which claims that all religions are epistemically/veridically disjunct from each other?"

    ChatGPT says: "Yes, the doctrine you are referring to is called religious exclusivism. Religious exclusivism is the belief that one's own religion is the only true religion and that all other religions are false. This belief can manifest in different ways, such as the belief that only those who believe in a certain religion will attain salvation, or the belief that other religions are based on false beliefs or worship false gods. Religious exclusivism stands in contrast to religious pluralism, which holds that multiple religions can be true or valid, and that different paths or ways of understanding the divine can coexist."

    And if ChatGPT doesn't know everything, ask Wiki:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_exclusivism
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    Thanks. Although this could provide the link to finding what I meant, I actually meant the idea that view that is critical of all religion, specifically on the basis that they're irreconciliable and that schisms aren't based on any kind of underlining logical framework.
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    It might be referred to as negative pluralism and irreducible plurality among religions.
  • Paine
    2.1k
    I actually meant the idea that view that is critical of all religion, specifically on the basis that they're irreconcilable and that schisms aren't based on any kind of underlining logical framework.Hallucinogen

    That framework sounds like what one would need to compare religions with each other. Are there critics of religion who reject such comparisons?
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    Their view seems to amount to thinking that there can be no common framework that would provide the pathway of reasoning to a "correct" answer with regards to religious questions. In other words that religious disputes cannot be solved because there's no reliable source of reason for solving them? It seems to be a view a lot of atheists and agnostics have.Hallucinogen

    As an atheist, I have some sympathy for this view. There is also a position called ignosticism which says that the concept of god's and goddesses are meaningless since there are no coherent or unambiguous definitions. I also have sympathy for this. Gods may be seen as either as a kind of magic man, or as a benign, unknowable, essentially amorphous 'energy' or force. It does seem incoherent.

    Obviously there are venerable and comprehensive traditions of syncretism and perennialism - which seek to find (often rather crudely) common themes and values of religions, or seek to blend traditions in the hope of arriving at an overarching truth - but it's worth remembering that since religion can't really be defined in the first place ( a discussion elsewhere on the forum), this kind of enterprise might be seen to be precarious, muddled and insecure.
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    It's a view I've seen espoused in places. It also seems implicit in the "which God?" response. A watered-down version is espoused by Thunderf00t here. It also sounds very close to what Sam Harris says. But it's hard to find someone making the exact claim that there is no common framework for religions, it just seems to me to be what they're shooting at with these types of comments.
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    Thanks. What do you think the problem is with standard definitions of "religion"?
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    People have tried to define religion - religious scholar Karen Armstrong writes about this - there's no one definition, or bespoke definition, that covers off on what religion is, probably because the subject itself is so multifactorial and diverse. Reducing it to a few motherhood statements is likely to do it a disservice.
  • Paine
    2.1k

    It is sophistical for Harris to use the diversity of religious expression to bolster his simple unitary view.

    His emphasis upon the propositions of what is believed reflects the ritual importance of reciting the creed in many versions of Christianity. To cancel all religions on the basis of this model is oddly as chauvinistic as those who insist that it is the only truth. No sincere effort to compare religions can afford such baggage.
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    Is there a name for the doctrine which claims that all religions are epistemically/veridically disjunct from each other?Hallucinogen
    Mythology (i.e. cults, folklores).
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k


    Would this be religious pluralism? To quote Wikipedia: "Religious pluralism holds that various world religions are limited by their distinctive historical and cultural contexts and thus there is no single, true religion. There are only many equally valid religions."

    Religious pluralism treats each religion as disjunct; to my mind that's what separates it from perennialism, which takes all religions to be pointing towards a single unified religious truth. Mythography treats all religions as fictions; thus it gives them all the same epistemological status.

    Indifferentism is used to describe the non-committal belief that no one religion is better than any other, and there is "apatheism," which denotes a lack of interest in the truth of religious claims.

    I am not sure if there is a specific sub-type of religious pluralism that specifies that all religions are epistemologically disjunct, but that each system is valid "onto itself." The term is fuzzy, and sometimes just used to denote tolerance, but some post-modern versions talk about "different types of truth."
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    Could you point to what the following definition, from the Oxford definition is lacking?
    "Action or conduct indicating belief in, obedience to, and reverence for a god, gods, or similar superhuman power; the performance of religious rites or observances."Oxford Dictionary

    Or the definition by Emile Durkheim? "A unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say things set apart and forbidden - beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a church, all those who adhere to them."
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    Interesting. Are you saying mythology itself holds this view or that the universe of each myth entails incompatability with all others?
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    Would this be religious pluralism?Count Timothy von Icarus

    I think it's negative pluralism (about religons) specifically. Positive pluralism would be that they're all disjunct but they all contribute toward greater understanding / they each contain truth value. Negative pluralism would be there's lots of them and they're all veridically empty.

    Indifferentism is used to describe the non-committal belief that no one religion is better than any otherCount Timothy von Icarus

    I think it's relativism.

    I am not sure if there is a specific sub-type of religious pluralism that specifies that all religions are epistemologically disjuncCount Timothy von Icarus

    I think it's irreducible plurality (about religions).
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    Are you saying mythology itself holds this view or that the universe of each myth entails incompatability with all others?Hallucinogen
    Neither. I'm saying that "all religions" are myths and that they can be – most, especially dead religions, have been – studied as such. They have the same function (re: pacifying false fears with false hopes) even though their contents may be "incompatible" like e.g. 'styles of art' or 'varieties of medicines' or 'tribal/territorial identities' throughout history and across cultures. I suppose this implies the "doctrine" of religious skepticism.
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    They have the same function (re: pacifying false fears with false hopes)180 Proof

    Would you say that they are all devoid to true content (in their claims)?

    their contents may be "incompatible" like e.g. 'styles of art' or 'varieties of medicines' or 'tribal/territorial identities' throughout history and across cultures.180 Proof

    But what about the claims of religions, are those incompatible, or are you unsure?
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    Would you say that they are all devoid to true content (in their claims)?Hallucinogen
    Yes, "religious claims" have never been publicly demonstrated to be true.

    But what about the claims of religions, are those incompatible, or are you unsure?
    Usually. No.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    Could you point to what the following definition, from the Oxford definition is lacking?
    "Action or conduct indicating belief in, obedience to, and reverence for a god, gods, or similar superhuman power; the performance of religious rites or observances."
    — Oxford Dictionary
    Hallucinogen

    It's religious scholars who often argue the subject can't be adequately defined. Take it up with them. I'm not preoccupied with definitions, I'm more interested in usage. No doubt there are many definitions of religion but they lack or distort the idea. I always liked Ambrose Bierce's definition:

    “Religion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.”
  • public hermit
    18
    Religious exclusivism is the view that the various religions are ultimately incompatible. I would say it is some form of informal fallacy (fallacy of composition? I don'tthink that's it) to assert religion as a whole should be rejected because they are ultimately incompatible with each other (assuming they are, in fact, incompatible, which is an arguable point). It could very well be the case that two or more are valid in some general respect, or that one is true to the exclusion of the rest The idea of rejecting all because, as a whole, they're incompatible with each other would be like rejecting all positions regarding the best form of government because they are all, ultimately, incompatible with each other.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    I think the issue is is that religions hold to the idea that they are custodians of The Truth and they tell adherents, 'This is how you attain The Truth'. When these accounts are so different that they contradict each other, it is safe to say that religions are unlikely to be in the truth business and can be circumvented. At the very least, it seems impossible to say which one should be taken seriously.

    Some vague notion that religions all focus on the idea of oneness or transcendence is so slippery and inexact it would seem to be foundational quicksand.

    Your comparison with governments seems a false equivalence, as governments are nominally cooperative and administrative entities and by definition flexible and subject to constant modifications and never deal in transcendence or Truth. And don't forget that anarchists would seek to abolish governments precisely because they are contradictory and there are no best forms of government.
  • public hermit
    18


    At the very least, it seems impossible to say which one should be taken seriously

    From the outside, it is. I can't really say someone else's experience isn't valid. If the Buddhist tells me they have experienced Nirvana, I can't reject the veracity of that claim simply because it's presumably incompatible with the dogmatic claims of Roman Catholicism. That makes no sense. No religion can be reduced to a set of truth claims. They all assume that one must practice it, immerse one's self in it, to understand it. I would have to experience the same thing as the Buddhist before I could present a legitimate critique against their experience. Thats the problem.

    The problem with the various religions is not their seeming incompatibility to the outside observer. It's the fact that in order to give a legitimate critique of the various religions, one would have to have a lived experience of each one of them, which is not practical since most religions worth their salt assume it takes a whole-life orientation to become suitably immersed to call a religion one's own. Religion escapes legitimate critique precisely because, at its best, it deals in experience. You and I might not get it, but we can't say much about it until we have the experience.

    Some vague notion that religions all focus on the idea of oneness or transcendence is so slippery and inexact it would seem to be foundational quicksand

    I agree. But, again, if it's true, it's not going to be subject to evaluation by an outside observer. Mystics from various religions will talk about a common element (perennial philosophy, if you will) but you and I can't hand wave it away until we experience the same. I would be interested in hearing from someone who had a mystical experience, say some experience of Nirvana, and said, "Yep, that's complete nonsense. I just had indigestion." Lol


    Your comparison with governments seems a false equivalence, as governments are nominally cooperative and administrative entities and by definition flexible and subject to constant modifications and never deal in transcendence or Truth. And don't forget that anarchists would seek to abolish governments precisely because there are no best forms of government

    Perhaps it is a false equivalence. I'm thinking a monarch that has absolute power, for instance, is going to be incompatible with a democracy, e.g, the kind Plato deplored. I like your suggestion regarding anarchists, but I think the general idea that a set whose members are incompatible somehow nullifies the veracity of any of the individual members is fallacious, as a principle. All it takes would be one true member, and regardless of the mutual incompatibility of the members in the set, the principle fails.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    If the Buddhist tells me they have experienced Nirvana, I can't reject the veracity of that claim simply because it's presumably incompatible with the dogmatic claims of Roman Catholicism. That makes no sense.public hermit

    If a Christian says that their faith tells them that God hates fags and thinks women should stay at home and black people are inferior - do you accept that claim because it is faith based and they experience the truth of these claims? How do you determine what religious claim you will accept? The same Christian religion will also have people who say faith tells them that god loves and endorses gay people and wants women to work and is a feminist. You might say that the same religion 'cancels itself out.'

    Religion escapes legitimate critique precisely because, at its best, it deals in experience. You and I might not get it, but we can't say much about it until we have the experience.public hermit

    I don't think experience is a 'get out of jail free' card. Is there anything that can't be justified through claiming experience?

    I think the general point is not that all religions are 'rubbish' but that no religion has demonstrated why it or others deals in Truth about reality. Until this happens, why take any of them seriously? I am not saying none of them are true, I am saying none of them are in a position to demonstrate their truths. And all religions justify their diverse 'authenticities' using similar arguments - personal experience, causation, meaning, truth, morality, etc.
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    I always liked Ambrose Bierce's definition:

    “Religion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.”
    Tom Storm
    :cool: :up:
  • Janus
    15.7k
    Some vague notion that religions all focus on the idea of oneness or transcendence is so slippery and inexact it would seem to be foundational quicksand.Tom Storm

    Can you point to any religion that does not have some notion of transcendence as central?
  • public hermit
    18

    If a Christian says that their faith tells them that God hates fags and thinks women should stay at home and black people are inferior - do you accept that claim because it is faith based and they experience the truth of these claims? How do you determine what religious claim you will accept? The same Christian religion will also have people who say faith tells them that god loves and endorses gay people and wants women to work and is a feminist. You might say that the same religion 'cancels itself out

    I don't think we can say someone's experience is not what they experienced. Who is in a position to do that? Your conclusion that adherents in the same tradition that differ somehow cancels out the tradition is hasty. Whether adherents within a particular tradition are incompatible, say in Christianity, could simply be the difference between one who has had a legitimate experience and one who has not. I think Jesus said my followers will love as I do, or some such thing. The one who says they follow Jesus and yet hates others might be one who is not an actual follower. The tradition has not been canceled by that incompatibility; it's just that one adheres and one does not.


    I don't think experience is a 'get out of jail free' card. Is there anything that can't be justified through claiming experience

    Experience doesn't necessitate validity; however, the legitimacy of another's experience can't be denied out of hand. Someone who hallucinates and sees a three legged elf is surely hallucinating, but it would be inaccurate to claim they are not seeing a three legged elf. My point is not that every experience is valid; my point is that no one is in a position to discount a whole set of experiences, in this case religious experiences, simply because they are incompatible.

    I think the general point is not that all religions are 'rubbish' but that no religion has demonstrated why it or others deals in Truth about reality. Until this happens, why take any of them seriously? I am not saying none of them are true, I am saying none of them are in a position to demonstrate their truths. And all religions justify their diverse 'authenticities' using similar arguments - personal experience, causation, meaning, truth, morality, etc.

    I don't really disagree since I have been saying that their reliance on experience makes them virtually impervious to critique from the outside. Whether one takes them seriously or not is a matter of personal choice, I suppose. What I reject is someone claiming they're all invalid since, as a whole, they're mutually incompatible. As I have shown, that's fallacious.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    Can you point to any religion that does not have some notion of transcendence as central?[/quote]

    No.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    What I reject is someone claiming they're all invalid since, as a whole, they're mutually incompatible. As I have shown, that's fallacious.public hermit

    But that’s not the argument. The argument, which I stated earlier, is that they all make contradictory claims using the same justifications and so there is no way to demonstrate if any are true, or even how we would begin such a process of discernment. So best we move on until there’s a breakthrough. We’ve been waiting for millennia.
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    Can you point to any religion that does not have some notion of transcendence as central?Janus
    Advaita Vedanta comes to mind first ... but I suppose it depends on what's meant by "transcendence".
  • Janus
    15.7k
    :up: Just to complicate matters, as I understand it brahman is thought as being both immanent and transcendent.
  • Hallucinogen
    261
    But what about the claims of religions, are those incompatible, or are you unsure?Hallucinogen

    Usually. No.180 Proof

    Would you say that religions qualify as theories? Would you say theories among scientific theories or theories among historical theories are incompatible with each other?
    If your answers to these two questions aren't both "yes", what is the substantive difference between religion and theories (historical/scientific)?
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