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anaglyph

Let me throw you a question though: if that effort of will happens to convince you that the population of the Earth was brought here by an evil Galactic Overlord named Xenu and we've been paying for it ever since, why is that not acceptable? (I mean, I don't find it acceptable, and I doubt Ratzinger would find it acceptable. I obviously can't speak for you. And yet, thousands of people apparently believe this as truth).

My problem is, and has been for a long time, with the nomination of 'God'. Ratzinger for all his philosophizing is most explicitly not taking about the same God you are. If he was there'd be a whole lot less of a problem with these things. He is also not talking about the Gods of Old Egypt, or the Gods of the Assyrians or of the Polynesians or the Anasazi or the Pitjantjatjara.

If it is the 'numinous' that we're talking about, why give it a name? Why factionize it and pretend we understand it at even the faintest level? What, seriously, is the point of that? If it's beyond our comprehension then it's beyond our comprehension.

Saying that the leap to faith has always been problematical is a sidestep of massive proportions. It should be read as 'The leap to MY faith' is problematical. Humans have no trouble at all making the leap to faith. They leap all the time to believe in all manner of things.

No, the issue is not at all to do with believing. It is to do with who has the monopoly on what to believe.


gail

"if that effort of will happens to convince you that the population of the Earth was brought here by an evil Galactic Overlord named Xenu and we've been paying for it ever since, why is that not acceptable?"

Because then you would be an idiot. People can believe anything by an act of will. People can believe there is no God by an act of will. People can believe God is a snowflake by an act of will. We choose what kind of evidence we will accept and what we will do with it. What counts is the amount of intelligence and sense and conscience and good will or lack thereof that go into the choice.

gail

"who has the monopoly on what to believe."

Nobody does. Belief is an individual choice. The desire to impose a set of beliefs on someone else against their will or against their conscience is wicked. It is also self defeating. Since belief is an act of will, to attempt to make someone believe something by manipulating or circumventing their will makes it impossible for them to believe because their will is no longer free to make the decision to believe or not to believe.

gail

"Saying that the leap to faith has always been problematical is a sidestep of massive proportions. It should be read as 'The leap to MY faith' is problematical."

Both are problematical. Why would they not be?

anaglyph

And who gets to judge that intelligence/sense/conscience?

If Scientologists sincerely believe what they claim, and act in good conscience, how can you claim they are idiots? And how, exactly, are they different from Roman Catholics?

>>We choose what kind of evidence we will accept and what we will do with it.

Exactly. So why were the Ancient Egyptians wrong? Why are Scientologists wrong? Why do you not believe the world was made by a singing rainbow-coloured snake?

anaglyph

>>Both are problematical. Why would they not be?

Like I said - a leap to faith is not problematical. People leap that way all the time. There is no problem with getting people to believe things; Angels, UFOs, homeopathy, Resurrection, alien abductions, life after death, reincarnation...

Leaping to faith belief of some kind seems to be surprisingly easy for humans.

But getting them to believe the thing you believe is problematical.

anaglyph

oops. sorry about the unclosed emphasis.

anaglyph

cripes Let's see if that works.

gail

You're actually asking me to defend the whole magisterium in a blog response? All I can say is that my beliefs are based on history, tradition, logic, culture, and personal inclination. But I can't go into every one of those elements and explain them in detail. For one thing, I simply don't want to. It sounds like an incredibly boring exercise.

I would never call the ancient Egyptians, or Hindus or any other culturally evolved religion "wrong." The cultural development tends to ratify the belief system. That's not to say that I have to believe everybody's mythology. Mythology and belief are very different things. There are plenty of Christians, including myself, who don't accept many of the mythological stories in the Bible for instance, or don't see them as scientific explanations. I have nothing against the image of the world being created by a rainbow colored snake. It just isn't part of my cultural heritage, but I would never call the poetry or the spirituality of it stupid. On the other hand when a science fiction writer decides to get rich by making up a religion -- within recent memory -- and people fall for the scam, that's another matter.

gail

"getting them to believe the thing you believe is problematical"

As well it should be for the reasons I mentioned before. Will, intellect, good intentions, natural skepticism, etc., have to work together over time and across a large number of people before a philosophy or a world view or a religion or a system of ethics can evolve. It should be hard to convince people of things. It has to be a very high bar.

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