• Banno
    9.3k
    One aspect of the debate on forum quality that might be addressed is the preponderance of low quality thread of a theological bent.

    Here's a few titles, by way of example:
    • Was Judas a hero and most trusted disciple, or a traitor?
    • Is Yahweh breaking an objective moral tenet?
    • An Argument Against Eternal Damnation
    • Was Jesus aware of being Yahweh?
    • Does Yahweh/Jesus live by the Golden Rule?
    • How much is Christ's life, miracles, and resurrection a fraudulent myth?

    These threads take scripture or revelation as a starting point for discussion; theology, not philosophy.

    God is not a suitable tool for philosophical explanation because god is omnipotent and omniscient. Any question is given a sufficient reply by blaming god. Hence, philosophical discussion stops at god. Of corse, that does not imply that god is the correct answer.

    Hence a good rule of thumb is that philosophers should were possible avoid using god. And generally speaking this rule is followed; it is not common, for example, to explain the differences between machine poetry and human poetry by using god, or the deity as an excuse for racism; and doing so would almost certainly result in a ban for low post quality.

    This is not to rule out the use of philosophical techniques to examine the notion of god. Reason, sense-perception, introspection, other philosophical techniques can be applied to examining the coherence and consistence of the notion of god. Here we can draw a line at the introduction of revelation. So for instance it would be inappropriate, in a discussion of the conflict between divine omnipotence and benevolence, to simply say that since the bible or the Pope or the Bhagavad Gita says god is such-and-such, it must be so.

    More common and more aggravating are bad-faith members who enter into conversation on a topic with a pretence of seeking an open discussion, but who are actually quite certain of their opinion and unwilling to even countenance an open discussion. These folk will present an argument and then do whatever is needed to avoid critique. They will ignore replies, or repeat their argument without addressing the critique, or indulge in a range of fallacious ad hoc rhetoric, or just blatantly make stuff up; anything that avoids meeting the criticism head on. @Devans99 was a blatant example; there are plenty of others. Many can be readily spotted by their heart-on-sleeve names.

    In summary there are three things that identify a move from a philosophical enquiry to mere theology:
    • claiming that god is the answer to a philosophical question
    • using scripture, revelation or other religious authority in an argument
    • entering into a philosophical argument in bad faith.
    These merit deletion or banning.
  • StreetlightX
    6.1k
    I can't tell if we're picking on theists or not picking on them enough :fear:

    In any case I don't think there is any bright line dividing theology from philosophy; from the thread titles you gave as examples alone, at issue in each seems less the positing of God as an answer than a question about the nature of God or the divine. I do agree that theological discussion tends to be of a lower quality than other discussion, but this is largely contingent, not of essence. And certainly bad-faith discussion is certainly not limited to religious folks - if only!
  • Banno
    9.3k
    To be sure, the titles listed are examples to be discussed, not examples of what should be banned. And yes, the answer is not hard-and-fast.

    So take the topic Was Jesus aware of being Yahweh? This topic is dependent entirely on scripture, and has no philosophical merit.
  • Benj96
    215
    I agree for the most part with what you're saying. However I would make the clear distinction between my views and yours by welcoming religious debate within the realm of philosophy ( as philosophy of religion is an area of study) and also because ontology, epistemology as well as several other concepts relating to origins, the universe etc are inextricably linked to non-secular writings/doctrine.

    But yes absolutely there should be a disciplined approach to such topics, in that one (religious or otherwise) should employ critical thinking, rationality and reasoning in their arguments either for or against God. More importantly I think any debate regarding God(s) should begin by establishing a definition of said God. Because it is rather pointless to talk cross-purposes with someone if they both hold completely different notions of what/how a god is.

    Theists in essence try to define God. That is all. The byproduct of such an endeavour is all the writings, parables and stories surrounding it. I think rather than using science against religion and using religion against science/empirical data, we would be wiser to integrate both and try and establish commonalities. What did both parties get right? Within a loose metaphorical sense.

    "Preaching" - is coming to the forum with an established view and the intent to convert or forcibly change others views without due philosophical process or evaluation. I think if their is a God he/she would be reasonably open minded so we ought to be also
  • Banno
    9.3k
    I've argued elsewhere against over-reliance on commencing with definition. it's often better to allow the definition to grow alongside the conversation. Further what I said in the OP does not so far as I can se rule out all discussion of god, but rather delineates some of the discussions that are not appropriate for a forum such as this.

    Nor do I see religion as antithetical to science, so much as irrelevant. As it is to ethics.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    Here's a few titles, by way of example:Banno

    They’re all from that gnostic proselytiser who ought to have been banned long since IMO.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    They are? That wasn't intentional.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    well maybe not all but that guy has been openly proselytizing here for a long while. I thought such activities breached the ToS but to be honest I didn’t look into it.
  • Benj96
    215
    Nor do I see religion as antithetical to science, so much as irrelevant. As it is to ethics.Banno

    You think religion is completely irrelevant to ethics? I think the principle tenet of religion (be kind to one another) is fundamental to ethics. That isnt to say that religion isnt full of other contradictions and has been used practically in very immoral ways but they do have ethical principles at their base aside from human error trying to abide by them.

    Secondly, by saying religion is irrelevant to science is to say science cannot be employed to understand any of the content of religion - as it is irrelevant - which is to say science cannot tackle creation or the nature of being etc which it very much can and does. So religion and science cannot be irrelevant to one another as they both give explanations for the same phenomena.
  • Wayfarer
    10.1k
    Ok not all, but more than half of them.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    I think the principle tenet of religion (be kind to one another) is fundamental to ethics.Benj96

    Perhaps it is; but it is not so because it is the principle tenet of religion. If religion happens to be ethical, it's not because it is religion. Consider the Euthyphro.

    science cannot be employed to understand any of the content of religionBenj96

    Oh, go ahead. Science might be relevant to religion, but not vice versa.
  • emancipate
    152
    Glad I am not the only one who feels this way. We might as well argue how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.
  • SophistiCat
    1.4k
    In any case I don't think there is any bright line dividing theology from philosophyStreetlightX

    I think most of what "Gnostic Christian Bishop" dumps on the forum is a pretty clear case of theology*, and he doesn't even make any effort to disguise it as philosophy.

    * Attempted theology, which is not like attempted murder, because it's worse, not better than the real thing.
  • Frank Apisa
    2.1k
    Banno
    8.2k
    One aspect of the debate on forum quality that might be addressed is the preponderance of low quality thread of a theological bent.

    Here's a few titles, by way of example:
    Was Judas a hero and most trusted disciple, or a traitor?
    Is Yahweh breaking an objective moral tenet?
    An Argument Against Eternal Damnation
    Was Jesus aware of being Yahweh?
    Does Yahweh/Jesus live by the Golden Rule?
    How much is Christ's life, miracles, and resurrection a fraudulent myth?

    These threads take scripture or revelation as a starting point for discussion; theology, not philosophy.

    God is not a suitable tool for philosophical explanation because god is omnipotent and omniscient.
    Banno

    With this comment, you are playing into the hands of people against whom you seem to be arguing.

    The notion of whether or not gods exist...IS a worthy consideration of philosophers. But with this statement, you are arguing against one particular notion of a god (God, rather than a god) and suggesting that doing so is unworthy of philosophical consideration.

    Frankly, considerations of (the possibility of gods or of no gods) do fall into the realm of philosophical intercourse. Fact is, until relatively recent times, it was the sole focus of philosophers.

    Just sayin'.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    What? Not following your post at all. I did not say that philosophers should not consider god.
  • Frank Apisa
    2.1k
    Banno
    8.2k
    ↪Frank Apisa What? Not following your post at all. I did not say that philosophers should not consider god.
    Banno

    I didn't say you said that you did. (Mostly I agree with the posts you make, Banno...and I agree with the underscore of this OP.)

    My argument goes to the question of particularization...by mentioning "god" (not a god) and ascribing characteristics...omniscience and omnipotence...you seem to be limiting yourself to one particular god.

    Gods, on the other hand, MAY be suitable tools for philosophical explanations...whatever you mean by that...IF ANY GODS DO IN FACT EXIST.

    If any gods exist...they may be suitable tools for ALL philosophical explanations.

    No big deal, we do not know if any gods exist or not...and probably should proceed as though none do for the purposes of establishing our moral and societal codes.

    In any case, those threads you mentioned were started by one person...am I correct?

    Is it possible you just have a problem with the kinds of threads that person starts?
  • Banno
    9.3k
    I'll read your comments again tomorrow.
  • Wheatley
    1.3k
    An Argument Against Eternal DamnationBanno
    Go ahead and report it. I give you permission.
  • Pinprick
    385
    These threads take scripture or revelation as a starting point for discussion; theology, not philosophy.Banno

    Personally, I don’t see the issue with this. Can’t philosophical methods be used in theology? As you note, the starting point is an assumption that many would consider false or unjustified, but can’t philosophy still be used within those parameters? For example, discussing whether or not Calvinism’s view of free will is warranted. This seems similar to political discussions; discussing a particular feature within a particular system (I.e. the concept of property in socialism).

    God is not a suitable tool for philosophical explanation because god is omnipotent and omniscient.Banno

    I agree, but I don’t think that’s what was going on in the threads you mentioned. We can discuss the merits of Judas without using god as a justification for our view, for example.

    using scripture, revelation or other religious authority in an argumentBanno

    The other bullets I have no contention with, but this seems relevant in certain contexts. If I want to claim that Jesus promoted homophobia, I would need to provide scripture as evidence/justification of my claim.
  • Benj96
    215
    Oh, go ahead. Science might be relevant to religion, but not vice versa.Banno

    Well that would depend on the religion wouldnt it? None of the major religions likely have much in the way of scientific contribution. But religion is not a finite and historic human phenomenon. There will probably be many more religions in the future. They, like science ...evolve and reshape. I for one have spiritual beliefs that dont contradict current scientific discovery but rather facilitate the philosophical and conscious aspect of the phenomena we have defined scientifically.
    There are parties which wish things to be conserved as they are and parties which wish to shift the paradigm to a better interpretation in both religion and science. Perhaps a religion that integrates science or at the least aligns itself with such scientific facts as not to be contradicted while still pertaining to an ultimate singular force or God from which things develop may one day exist and maybe even already. Or a unified humanitarian view that encapsulates both religion and science and there interplay in a larger umbrella belief, view, finding or state of knowledge.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    You went for the science; the ethics arm of the argument might have been more fun.

    I'll try to be clear. Science operates independently of religion, in that science actively seeks to remove the influence of all biases, including religious biases. Science explicitly rejects being based on such things as revelation, mysticism or ecclesiastic authority. So no, one could not, as you suggest, design a scientific religion The best that you might hope for would be a religion that attempted to base itself on science, which to me would seem to be no more than wishful thinking. Science is by its nature in a state of flux, so putting a body of scientific dogma in the place of revelation would inevitably result in schism, as science moves on.

    Or else, the result of putting science in the place of revelation would be humanism.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    Seems this thread has had the unintended consequence of getting @Gnostic Christian Bishop banned.

    Result.
    Your damnation thread is at best borderline. The notion of damnation derives from religious revelation, so there's that. If your point is that eternal damnation is incompatible with both a loving god and most brands of ethics, then it is trite.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    I've re-read this with eyes that are less wearied, but still think it muddled.

    Yes, i was thinking of omnipotent deities when I wrote the OP. But I don't see how Thor or The God Of Small Things would be useful as the answer to a philosophical conundrum.


    Edit: actually, the God of Small Things might be an exception...
  • Wheatley
    1.3k
    If your point is that eternal damnation is incompatible with both a loving god and most brands of ethics, then it is trite.Banno
    I'm sorry. :roll:

    It's not like you post the most interesting threads either.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    It's not like you post the most interesting threads either.Wheatley

    And yet you reply in my threads, not I in yours.
  • Wheatley
    1.3k
    I'm perfectly happy without you posting in my threads.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    And hence, so far as I am aware, I haven't.
  • Wheatley
    1.3k

    You don't like my threads. Tell me why I should care?
  • Banno
    9.3k
    You shouldn't.
  • Wheatley
    1.3k
    It's settled then.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    Taking your example, a discussion of Calvin's view of free will might take either of two paths. In one, it would be argued that it is true because the view was due to Calvin's authority or scriptural veracity. That's not acceptable. In the other, Calvin's view might be accepted for good psychological or ethical reasons. That would be doing philosophy.

    So @Wheatley's damnation thread might be accepted if the discussion was about the inherent logical inconsistency of the associated concepts, but not if it were about listing the sins that are suitable for damnation. As it stands, it wavers betwixt the two.

    Otherwise, I think we are in broad agreement.
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