Faith, Science, and Religion

Discussions on a ranges of philosophical issues including the nature of truth and reality, personal identity, mind-body theories, epistemology, justification of beliefs, argumentation and logic, philosophy of religion, free will and determinism, etc.
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Deborah
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#16

Post by Deborah » Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 pm

One thing Lord God expects from his children is faith, he even provides us ALL with a measure of faith, it's what we do with that measure that matters. Do we build on it or do we squander it.
If we have faith, if we are honest, meaning we confide in god how we truly feel he rewards us with his friendship. Abraham had friendship with god, he was honest, he stood up for Sodom and got the lord from 50 to 10 rightious and the city would be saved. However there was not 10 rightious men but god allowed the rightious to leave. Mosses and Noah had similar friendships with god, built on honesty and trust.
Non believers put an incorrect idea to what god is, they see our god often as a tyrant. They don't believe, yet often I have heard they say Your God rules by fear and fear alone.
One can not respect one they fear, I do not fear God, I fear his judgement, (does that make sense?) God wants us to love him, he loved us first. God made us for his enjoyment I know that sounds bad, but it isn't. Parents have children for enjoyment of watching them grow, and this is how god is. But god wants us to grow towards him not away from him. We all have a part of us that was made in gods image, and that is our soul/spirit. If you don't believe in that there is nothing that can help you, because this is the part of us that is capable of having a relationship with god. Our soul is the part of us that must rule our lives, too often our heads rule our lives and deny our heart and soul. I need to train myself to include my heart and soul in the ruling of my life and as it is my soul that is most able to converse with god, then it is my soul that must lead.
Church tradition tells us that when John, son of Zebadee and brother of James was an old man, his disciples would carry him to church in their arms.
He would simply say, “Little children, love one another”
After a time his disciples wearied at always hearing these same words and asked “Master why do you always say this?
He replied, “it is the Lords command, and if done, it is enough”

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#17

Post by Joel Freeman » Sat Mar 05, 2005 3:27 am

Deborah wrote:One can not respect one they fear, I do not fear God, I fear his judgement, (does that make sense?)
That's an interesting statement. It kinda puts a new aspect to fearing God.

I fear God, but I do not live in fear of God. I live in Fellowship with God.

I guess I see it as a relationship with your parents (God is our, father afterall). When I was young, and I was in trouble, I was afraid of my parents because I knew I was gonna get spanked, or grounded. Because I knew the consequences I didn't want to do things to get me in trouble. I was afraid of being punished. It's pretty much the same for me with God. I know the consequences of sin, and because of that I strive to be christlike, and I seek God with all of my heart, but fear isn't the root of my desire to be like christ. God's abundant love is probably the biggest reason why I want to be with him. I always grew up as a child hearing "God loves you" and the like, but it never really hit me until I felt and knew that God loves me. Then I was completely blown away and wanted more and more of God.

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#18

Post by Kurieuo » Sat Mar 05, 2005 8:12 am

Alien wrote:That's why I do understand the concept of faith, but I do not understand how acts of faith can be mixed with science.
I'm wondering, have you ever examined the relationship between faith and reason? Or has it been an assumption of yours that no such relationship exists?

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#19

Post by August » Sat Mar 05, 2005 8:55 am

Alien,
That's why I do understand the concept of faith, but I do not understand how acts of faith can be mixed with science.
Do you observe these phenomena? How do you arrive at conclusions?
n my case, I cannot see any design simply because every phenomena is a succession of events over time. Without time, no events could exist, no phenomena could be experienced, we would even not exist.
Back to my first question, how do we "experience" phenomena? How do you know what these phenomena mean?
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

//www.omnipotentgrace.org
//christianskepticism.blogspot.com

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#20

Post by Anonymous » Sun Mar 06, 2005 1:52 am

Alien:
In a few words only, what I don't understand is the need to mix religion with science.
Science -- The study and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena in an orderly way; knowledge acquired through experience.

God — The Supreme Being; the ruler of life and the universe.

Faith — the belief in the value, trustworthiness of someone or something; belief and trust in God, the Scriptures, other religious writings.

Religion — An organized system of beliefs, rites, and celebrations centered on a supernatural being power.

Theology — The religious study of the nature of God, beliefs, practices, and ideas.

God created everything so -- all that can be known (that is all knowledge) pertains to Him in one way or another. Science has not cornered the market on knowledge, as scientists seem to suppose.

To put it another way: Everything and I mean every thing, every phenomena, everything was made by God -- from the sub-atomic things yet to be discovered to the mysteries of the most distant part of the universe. So, how could I say, “Though He made it all I cannot “mix” Him with it nor consider Him in my search for knowledge”?

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#21

Post by Kurieuo » Sun Mar 06, 2005 10:07 am

Just came across an article applicable to this discussion that I thought people might be interested to read:
So the right question is not "Is there a conflict between science and religion?" Rather, the question is more properly framed as "Is there a conflict between 'science' and theistic religions?"
...
One kind of science is completely objective in its goal ("objective science"). It is purely theoretical and always open to criticism and the need to change its explanations when new evidence arises. It seeks to let the evidence dictate its explanations, not any bias.
...
The other kind of science is biased in its goal ("biased science"). Its ultimate goal is to infer only natural or material causes for the origin, existence and operation of all natural events and phenomena.

Science, religion debate asking wrong question
Kurieuo.
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Alien
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#22

Post by Alien » Wed Mar 09, 2005 6:32 am

Kurieuo wrote: I'm wondering, have you ever examined the relationship between faith and reason? Or has it been an assumption of yours that no such relationship exists?
This is exactly the point. I am trying to examine faith and reason. But, separately, first. I am trying to make no starting assumption as far as possible.
I know that in the past there were religious philosophers who were convinced that existence of God can be demonstrated with the reason (St Thomas of Aquino, I think, is an example). Today, other people like them say something very similar. The pope, I think, has reiterated the two concepts and put them on the same level.

I have noticed that also the opposite is said by other people, and I call these people atheists.

But there are also intermediate positions. Or, better, positions with different combinations of the two elements faith-reason. There were and are people who possess the faith and do not want to mix it with the reason. They believe in God, but only because of faith. They say that the reason does not disprove God, but also it does not prove him.

I just feel comfortable with these positions, because I feel that faith is something really subjective, while the reason is objective (can anyone agree with this?). The only difference between those people and myself is that I don't feel a subjective need for having faith. But I agree that faith does not need reason, and viceversa.
August wrote:Alien,
Do you observe these phenomena? How do you arrive at conclusions?
...
Back to my first question, how do we "experience" phenomena? How do you know what these phenomena mean?
These are big questions.

Yes, my studies and orientations are scientific, therefore I observe all phenomena, in principle.
We all can say we experience phenomena in many ways, but primarily by using our senses. The experience of phenomena is therefore something subjective. But it can become objective, in some cases. The objective experience arrives when another one is able to repeat my experience with the same conditions and results.

If I am able to invent a sort of model that describes the phenomenon, then this can be called a theory. This theory is either falsifiable or not. If it is not falsifiable, it cannot be called a scientific theory. If it is falsifiable, it can be called scientific. A scientific theory can be proven wrong, in whole or part, and this happens continuosly, just by finding counterexamples.

But, important consideration, I don't come to a conclusion, never. The process of scientific knowledge is never complete and for any scientific theory there are obscure or unexplained parts. Therefore, I don't feel comfortable with the concept of "conclusion".

The meaning of these phenomena is something disputable and subjective. The model I was talking about is objective. It could be wrong, but still objective. If I start to find a meaning in every phenomena, then this becomes subjective.
Rip Rap wrote:God created everything so -- all that can be known (that is all knowledge) pertains to Him in one way or another. Science has not cornered the market on knowledge, as scientists seem to suppose.

To put it another way: Everything and I mean every thing, every phenomena, everything was made by God -- from the sub-atomic things yet to be discovered to the mysteries of the most distant part of the universe. So, how could I say, “Though He made it all I cannot “mix” Him with it nor consider Him in my search for knowledge”?
The fact that God created everything is an assumption, not a conclusion. And it's an act of faith.

An unrepeatable phenomenon as "creation of everything" is not falsifiable (again, it's faith) and therefore cannot be defined as a scientific theory.

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#23

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:34 am

Alien wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:I'm wondering, have you ever examined the relationship between faith and reason? Or has it been an assumption of yours that no such relationship exists?
This is exactly the point. I am trying to examine faith and reason. But, separately, first. I am trying to make no starting assumption as far as possible.
...
I just feel comfortable with these positions, because I feel that faith is something really subjective, while the reason is objective (can anyone agree with this?). The only difference between those people and myself is that I don't feel a subjective need for having faith. But I agree that faith does not need reason, and viceversa.
But you have made assumptions in believing that faith is subjective, and reason objective, and that the two can't or need not mix. Within my studies, I've had the opportunity to look a little into the relationship between faith and reason, which lead me to the conclusion that both work together to help us increase in knowledge and understanding. Anyone who thinks they can have reason on things without faith is deluded or in denial, for faith provides beliefs with which we reason about. And anyone who thinks they can have faith without reason is blind and gullible.

To restate slightly differently, reason (oddly enough) relies upon faith in our experiences as facts in order to be useful. For example, we can see, hear, touch, smell, and even taste the world around us; yet, in order to accept anything as real we have to cross a faith boundary to trust our experiences of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. That is not to say experience diminishes reason, rather it empowers reason by providing additional facts the reasoner can work with. Martin Luther King, Jr. summarised the relationship of reason and experience well when he wrote: The reasoner, then, starts his search with the facts of experience. It must be remembered that it is the duty of reason to examine, interpret, and classify the facts of experience. In other words, experience is the logical subject matter of reason.

Therefore to say reason does not require faith (i.e., faith in experiences), demonstrates an inadequate grasp upon their relationship. Surely you do see the sense in what I've written in the previous paragraph? I too once thought of them as incompatible opposites, which I why I recommended looking into their relationship as you may end up as suprised as I was.
Alien wrote:I know that in the past there were religious philosophers who were convinced that existence of God can be demonstrated with the reason (St Thomas of Aquino, I think, is an example). Today, other people like them say something very similar. The pope, I think, has reiterated the two concepts and put them on the same level.
Reading Descartes' Meditations, one sees skepticism pushed to its limits. While we may reason we ourselves exist (e.g., "I think, therefore I am"), there are problems with trying to demonstrate with 100% certainty anything else. For all we know, our senses deceive us. This may sound strange and absurd, but unless we come to grips with faith, we can't really have certainty about anything. Have a read of the final paragraph of Descartes' first meditation:
I will suppose, then, not that Deity, who is sovereignly good and the fountain of truth, but that some malignant demon, who is at once exceedingly potent and deceitful, has employed all his artifice to deceive me; I will suppose that the sky, the air, the earth, colors, figures, sounds, and all external things, are nothing better than the illusions of dreams, by means of which this being has laid snares for my credulity; I will consider myself as without hands, eyes, flesh, blood, or any of the senses, and as falsely believing that I am possessed of these; I will continue resolutely fixed in this belief, and if indeed by this means it be not in my power to arrive at the knowledge of truth, I shall at least do what is in my power, viz, [ suspend my judgment ], and guard with settled purpose against giving my assent to what is false, and being imposed upon by this deceiver, whatever be his power and artifice. But this undertaking is arduous, and a certain indolence insensibly leads me back to my ordinary course of life; and just as the captive, who, perchance, was enjoying in his dreams an imaginary liberty, when he begins to suspect that it is but a vision, dreads awakening, and conspires with the agreeable illusions that the deception may be prolonged; so I, of my own accord, fall back into the train of my former beliefs, and fear to arouse myself from my slumber, lest the time of laborious wakefulness that would succeed this quiet rest, in place of bringing any light of day, should prove inadequate to dispel the darkness that will arise from the difficulties that have now been raised.

http://www.wright.edu/cola/descartes/meditation1.html
Now reason can be used to provide to prove God's existence (as I have been convinced via much reason), but there is also the role that faith plays. Yet, there is also no amount of reason or evidence that can be presented to prove God to all, as proof is a matter of subjective judgement to the one it is presented to. This subjectiveness is because of what you pointed out in your last paragraph—faith is subjective. For example, if we end up believing we ourselves are the only thing in the world that is real, it is because "we" did not the faith to believe in anything further. I'm sure you'd find people such as these in institutions to protect themselves. Perhaps this is also why a few philosophers end up killing themselves, as if they don't come to grips with faith, they reason so much that even their own reasoning becomes futile and they are lead to embrace nihilism.

Anyway, I'll end with a story I've read elsewhere which I like to mention in relevant discussions:
[There was a] man who went to a psychiatrist convinced that he was dead. The psychiatrist was unsuccessful at talking him out of his illusion. Finally he asked him, "Do dead men bleed?" The patient said no, they don't. The psychiatrist pulled out his Swiss army knife, reached over and nicked the man's finger. Amazed, the patient exclaimed, "Well, how about that! Dead men DO bleed!"

—http://www.probe.org/docs/e-evidence3.html—
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#24

Post by Alien » Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:21 am

Kurieuo wrote:But you have made assumptions in believing that faith is subjective, and reason objective, and that the two can't or need not mix.
I don't think it's only an assumption. It seems that the difference is implicitely included in the definitions.

Both faith and reason are products of our mind. Therefore, if I take ANY product of my mind, for example, I can initially say that it is subjective by definition.
But, analysing a bit more, even if there are products generated within a subjective mind, some of them can be considered objective simply because they can be shared by every subjective mind. Any statement that cannot be made general for any mind is by definition subjective. And an act of faith can not be made general, because otherwise it would become an act of reason.

We decide what is subjective and what is objective.

"2+2=4" is objective.
"God exists" is subjective.
"God does not exist" is also subjective.

At a psychological level, I can see that in many instances subjective is mixed with objective. This is certainly true for many considerations. But the fact that this happens does not necessarily mean that I accept it as the best way of thinking and evaluating the world. I surely did it many times, I accept this. But I am only saying that I try on my own to use a certain approach for everything (religion included) and the best approach I can see is to avoid as far as possible this mixing between what is subjective and what is objective. This approach can produce some progress that otherwise would be almost impossible.

My next step is then to call "religion" all what is based on the faith and "science" all what is based on reason.

Therefore, religion is subjective and science is objective. I personally find difficult to challenge this statement, because there are different religions and there is only one science.
Kurieuo wrote: Within my studies, I've had the opportunity to look a little into the relationship between faith and reason, which lead me to the conclusion that both work together to help us increase in knowledge and understanding.
...
To restate slightly differently, reason (oddly enough) relies upon faith in our experiences as facts in order to be useful. For example, we can see, hear, touch, smell, and even taste the world around us; yet, in order to accept anything as real we have to cross a faith boundary to trust our experiences of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting.
I agree that there are subjective experiences when we use our senses, I agree that we might use faith in interpreting these experiences, but I disagree that it is essential to use faith in order to describe the world. You may do it, of course, and in effect I think you do it, but it is not the only way. Or, better, it is not the most efficient way.

Our senses are subjective, I agree. Our experience, because based on the senses, is therefore subjective. But we can always build a theory that inductively explains one of these experiences. A theory is then again a product of the mind and therefore it is still subjective in principle. But it can be made objective. If it becomes objective, it is a scientific theory. It if remains subjective, it is still an act of faith and as such it is not scientific. A scientific theory tries to explain the world in a way that can be accepted by everyone. A non-scientific theory tries to explain the world in a way that someone finds not acceptable.
Kurieuo wrote: While we may reason we ourselves exist (e.g., "I think, therefore I am"), there are problems with trying to demonstrate with 100% certainty anything else. For all we know, our senses deceive us. This may sound strange and absurd, but unless we come to grips with faith, we can't really have certainty about anything.
I agree with the first part. Nothing can really be demonstrated 100%. That's why I am agnostic.

But the aim of science is not to demonstrate anything to 100%. The aim of science is to reduce uncertainties down to a minimum. And, to do that, science has got to be objective. And, to do that, science has got to use different methodologies than faith.

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#25

Post by Mastermind » Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:41 am



"2+2=4" is objective.
"God exists" is subjective.
"God does not exist" is also subjective
No. They are all objective. Whether God exists or not has nothing to do with somebody's opinion. He either exists or He doesn't.
Are you threatening me Master Skeptic?

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#26

Post by Felgar » Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:10 am

Mastermind wrote:
"2+2=4" is objective.
"God exists" is subjective.
"God does not exist" is also subjective
No. They are all objective. Whether God exists or not has nothing to do with somebody's opinion. He either exists or He doesn't.
I agree MM.

For contrast, these statements would be subjective:
"I believe that God exists"
"I believe that God does not exist"

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#27

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:41 pm

Alien wrote:Our senses are subjective, I agree. Our experience, because based on the senses, is therefore subjective. But we can always build a theory that inductively explains one of these experiences. A theory is then again a product of the mind and therefore it is still subjective in principle. But it can be made objective. If it becomes objective, it is a scientific theory.
You've admitted theories are subjective in principle as they are based on subjective experiences through our senses. You then say if something becomes objective it becomes a scientific "theory." Yet if theories are subjective then how can scientific theories be both subjective and objective? Which one is it. And how can something subjective "become" objective?
Alien wrote:It if remains subjective, it is still an act of faith and as such it is not scientific. A scientific theory tries to explain the world in a way that can be accepted by everyone.
Well, aren't acts of faith required to trust our experiences from our senses, and then with reason science can be performed? If so, then faith is still required to perform science. It is truly amusing how many try to assume science is totally objective when at its bottom it is built upon pillars of faith. To be honest, I personally didn't like finding out this conclusion as I like pinning things down 100%. It was shocking to see that I couldn't pin down practically any one of my beliefs 100%. Descartes really took away my faith at this time that we can truly know anything.
Alien wrote:I agree with the first part. Nothing can really be demonstrated 100%. That's why I am agnostic.
And what does your agnosticism mean to you?
Alien wrote:But the aim of science is not to demonstrate anything to 100%. The aim of science is to reduce uncertainties down to a minimum. And, to do that, science has got to be objective. And, to do that, science has got to use different methodologies than faith.
I'd agree that science cannot demonstrate anything to 100%, however, if it can't then can science ever truely be 100% objective?

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education and god

#28

Post by Anonymous » Wed Apr 13, 2005 11:17 pm

need there be any explanation if or who or what is god?what if i told u to many people are being educated to a point to only lose there faith in there religion,i think that sums up the answer you are looking for i am aware of many and good people to who went down this path but i can tell u if u had known god before then why do u look at god different now,can u explain that? well anyway if u had trouble in your life and you asked for gods help well he would help you he helped me many times and i still need god in my life forever,and if u had a after death experience you would know that there is a god why do you need so much evidence that there is should there be any doubt of our creator?I think not..

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#29

Post by Battlehelmet » Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:26 am

Faith+Science+Religion=God

Celestial arithmetic=Celestial logic

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#30

Post by Alien » Fri Apr 22, 2005 7:47 am

Mastermind wrote:
"2+2=4" is objective.
"God exists" is subjective.
"God does not exist" is also subjective
No. They are all objective. Whether God exists or not has nothing to do with somebody's opinion. He either exists or He doesn't.
Accepted. I didn't use good examples.

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