• DoppyTheElv
    25
    Hi there!
    I'm totally new to this entire forum but have been lurking about for a small while. But in the while that I have been looking around, I have found several clues as to people disliking philosophy of religion.

    Referring to the topics within as a waste of time and just bad philosophy. I as a 18 year old feel very attracted to the question of God and feel like I need to settle my mind about it somehow. It all started at the classic christian literalist arguments and ended up being way more open ended.

    So my first ever question here is: Are people's dislike of PoR justified? Is there something wrong with the subset of philosophy? If so, why?

    Also thank you @relativist for unintentionally leading me here! (Momo from RF forums.)
  • Pfhorrest
    2.5k
    I think that a lot of people here are tired of poorly-done philosophy done by a constant stream of newcomers with primarily philosophy of religion interests. That topic seems to attract that kind of person. But I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with the topic itself, even though I too find that kind of poster tiresome. An interesting and well-reasoned discussion about philosophy of religion could be interesting. I imagine such discussions are hard to come by because people are generally irrationally attached to their religion, so eventually stop being well-reasoned in response to people arguing against them.
  • Daniel
    119
    I think the idea of god stalls philosophical discussion since it "solves" many of the unknowns with which philosophy deals. In my opinion, you cannot do philosophy when you assume a supernatural entity is the main cause of existence. You can believe in god and do philosophy, but your philosophy cannot be based on the existence of god.
  • DoppyTheElv
    25

    Yes in the lustrum that I've been trying to find out about God I noticed that there are different layers of discussion going on. I started out at the common discourse of : You have no shred of evidence for god - You believe your ancestor is a monkey and then gradually found out that there was a philosophical area that deals with the question. To hear then, that this area would also be looked down upon felt disheartening. I have very little experience in philosophy other than reading a WLC book. So I come to places where people have a reasonable idea of the goings on (I assume) and see what they think.

    Thanks for your response.
  • DoppyTheElv
    25

    Forgive my ignorance but what are those main unknowns? I've seen people argue that a God explanation is fundamentally different from a mechanistic explanation. For example: People who argue that God must be the ground of being/ first cause don't have a mechanism as to how he (I'm assuming an abrahamic God with the 3 omni features.) made that happen. So they argue that he is the efficient cause and that the means to how he did it could be the material cause. And from that the material cause can still be studied?

    I know I am one of the newcomers with a main interest in PoR. But I simply want to learn these things so I hope I don't get brushed away because of that.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.5k
    I know I am one of the newcomers with a main interest in PoR. But I simply want to learn these things so I hope I don't get brushed away because of that.DoppyTheElv

    You seem like an open-minded and reasonable person to me, so I don’t think you’re in the same category as those tiresome posters. You seem more interested in learning than in telling everyone else why they’re wrong, and that is the thing I think is most tiresome about that other kind of poster.

    I hope you have a good time here. If you’re interested, I recently had a thread where I laid out my complete philosophy of religion at someone’s request, which could maybe serve as a starting point for you here:

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/7860/on-the-existence-of-god-by-request/
  • DoppyTheElv
    25

    I'm really glad to hear that. I do my absolute best to remain open minded and to learn. What do you gain by being hard headed in a conversation about God/the divine anyway?

    I'm actually reading that post right now!
  • Daniel
    119
    I am not an expert myself. I do not have a degree in philosophy or religion or ethics, just so you know; so, I am an amateur just like you. For me, the purpose of philosophy is to provide evidence about god/the first cause/the origin by analyzing how the things that surround us behave. Some people tend to approach the problem the other way around, they explain how things behave by assuming the existence of god. The second approach sucks all the fun out of thinking. My best advice to you, keep always in mind that you know nothing. Assuming that we know nothing will lead eventually to good philosophy even if it is not accurate or the best philosophy.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    Noah Harrari who is a naturalist/atheist argues humans were able to dominate this planet using legal fiction and fiction. He says Apes can work in groups of ~150 and he went on to say there are ~155 nations on this earth. Check out his book "Sapiens" or watch some of his youtube videos.

    Legal fiction and fiction enable mass coordination.
  • SophistiCat
    1.3k
    Well, you can understand why many people take a dim view of the philosophy of religion if you take a look at the eponymous forum here, which is filled with irredeemable crap. Granted, the same is true of much of the rest of the forum, but not quite to the same extent. Of course, the quality of forum discourse hardly reflects on the academic discipline, but for that you would do better taking a course or reading books and articles.
  • DoppyTheElv
    25

    I shouldn't assume people know what they're talking about,should I? haha. Well, I ordered a book just now called the oxford dictionary of philosophy in the hopes to someday be able to separate the good from the bad.

    I know this deviates from my original OP but I personally do take some kind of value from what someone believes. And if that person knows their stuff their beliefs seem good to go off on and base mine own on. That's what i've been doing my entire life. So then may I ask you, What is your view of the theistic 3 omni God? Where does it fall short and why?

    Again my sincerest apologies if this is not the way it should be. I'm just ever so curious about what people think.
  • Wheatley
    1.2k
    I don’t think you should give a damn what other people dislike. If you’re interested in the philosophy of religion, then go post there. Enjoy yourself!
  • DoppyTheElv
    25

    It's a great sentiment but I'm terrible at not giving damns hehe. But what i'm getting at is that I don't want to slorp up misinformation and then think it's a representation of the actual PoR arguments.

    Is there a way to keep up with actual academics?
  • Wheatley
    1.2k
    Understood. I suggest you take a look at contemporary PoR philosophers. I heard Alvin Plantinga is a popular one.
  • Baden
    10.6k
    The same bad arguments get posted again and again by religious posters and get attacked in a similar way again and again by non-religious posters and it's all very boring and pointless. On top of that, it attracts creationists and other kooks who lower the quality of the site. That does not mean there is no worth to philosophy of religion or that a philosophy forum shouldn't have such a section, but more that it tends not to be utilised well and requires more work to maintain than other sections of the site.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.5k
    I heard Alvin Plantinga is a popular one.Wheatley

    Be aware of biases though. Plantinga is very much laying out an apologetics, an attempt to philosophically justify religion. You'll also want to temper that with someone philosophically critical of it. Or maybe look into someone like Russell who went back and forth between both sides of the course of his life, criticizing his own earlier arguments in later ones, back and forth.
  • Wheatley
    1.2k
    Be aware of biases though. Plantinga is very much laying out an apologetics, an attempt to philosophically justify religion.Pfhorrest
    True, but he is at least better than William Lane Craig.
  • Wheatley
    1.2k
    Look what I found: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPdA9zLPgLvFTgWa4jJfRFrkAxwTSzj-u

    Why I am not a Christian: https://youtu.be/NdDYvvevLZk

    Russel-Copleston debate: https://youtu.be/Kz2GjKPbQds

    I also like A.C Grayling a lot.
  • DoppyTheElv
    25

    You guys are helpful. Thank you.

    The reason why I asked as well was because the recent post to remove PoR from the forum reminded me of a statement made in a rather old article : https://crucialconsiderations.org/rationality/theism-and-expert-knowledge/

    In which the author has remarks about PoR at the end. I'm going to paste a part of it here.

    "The findings of this post fit with other findings on reasoning and religion: It has been argued that many philosophers of religion suffer from cognitive biases and group influence, and that the field as a whole is too partisan, too polemical, too narrow in its focus, and too often evaluated using criteria that are theological or religious instead of philosophical. Recent work in cognitive science of religion suggests that analytic thinking is a pathway to atheism (Norenzayan and Gervais 2013), and it has been observed that analytic thinkers show weaker religious belief and tend to lose their religious fervour, even if they were originally raised in a religious environment (Shenhav et al. 2012). Experimental work supports these correlations and provides additional evidence for causal connections between analytic thinking and erosion of religious beliefs (Gervais and Norenzayan 2012)."

    And I'm going to be honest here. I have barely a clue what this all means. Perhaps due to the expensive words used and me being a non-native speaker. What is the difference between a theological approach and a philosophical one? (I know this is basic stuff and I'm sorry.)

    And quite honestly, How should I view the fact that most of the philosophers are indeed not theists? The theist would tell me that expert opinion matters a bit more and that one shouldn't make arguments ad populum anyhow but..Surely that might say something about the integrity of their arguments?

    A quote from the article again: “I would not be the first to say that philosophy of religion, especially “analytic theology”, is simply not philosophy. It’s Christian apologetics, and it often is poorer philosophically because of that. A Christian bias pervades everything, and, once one becomes a non-Christian, the irrational faith-based assumptions and intuitions start to stand out.”

    What is this christian bias they speak of? Is it the bias towards the Abrahamic God concept? Or is it that the work within the field is too one sided?

    I'm sorry for asking so much and veering away from the OP ever so slightly. But it's something I really wish to understand and get my head around. Also, you should probably get used to me saying sorry about a hundred times! :razz:
  • DoppyTheElv
    25

    You're an angel! Honestly this is so helpful.

    Could you tell me what the deal with WLC is? I've heard him get a lot of criticism too.
  • Wheatley
    1.2k
    Truth is I really don’t know much about William Lane Craig’s academic reputation. I just don’t like him (which doesn’t mean much btw).
  • DoppyTheElv
    25

    That very fair. And thank you for reminding me that I shouldn't pull conclusions from that!
  • Banno
    8.4k
    Philosophy of religion is a good place to start doing philosophy, but a bad place to stay. One can learn much about the methods and history of philosophy from Phil of R; and one will be provided with many fine examples of how not to proceed.

    Were I a mod, God forbid, I would insist on philosophy of religion hereabouts being confined to natural theology - that is, posts that refer to scripture would be removed.

    And as a rule of thumb, as soon as someone claims that mathematicians are wrong, they should be banned.

    It would just save us all a lot of time.
  • Baden
    10.6k
    Philosophy of religion is a good place to start doing philosophy, but a bad place to stay.Banno

    Took the words out of my gob. It's a natural place to gravitate for newbies, especially newbie atheists who fancy themselves hot shit.
  • 3017amen
    1.9k


    That's actually an ignorant answer Baden. Please then explain why over at least 75% of the philosophical domains invoke God's existence? It's invoked in ethics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, and contemporary philosophy.

    If I'm incorrect I'll stand corrected. If I'm correct, it might support my theory that there are more angry and bitter atheists on this forum than not.
  • Banno
    8.4k
    at least 75% of the philosophical domains invoke God's existence3017amen

    Pfff. What bullshit (using the word in the technical sense).

    99% of statistics are made up on the spot.
  • 3017amen
    1.9k


    You must be one of the angry atheists LoL

    Provide statistics that prove me wrong. And by the way, I don't recommend hiding behind ad hominem; if you're scared say you're scared.
  • Banno
    8.4k
    You must be one of the angry atheists LoL3017amen

    Yeah, I'm a bit pissed at bad philosophy. Like when someone lays claim to a statistic and when challenged shifts the burden of proof.

    I've yet to see you say something worthwhile. Indeed, I'm surprised you are still allowed to write to the forums.
  • DoppyTheElv
    25

    Would you mind expanding on why it's a bad place to stay?
    Other than that I'm very thankful for the input.
  • 3017amen
    1.9k


    It's invoked in ethics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, and contemporary philosophy.

    True or false? This is really philosophy 101.
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