The Great Debate Really Has Nothing To Do with If A God Exists Or Not

The Great Debate Really Has Nothing To Do with If A God Exists Or Not

By Alan D. Griffin

The Great Debate has really nothing to do with if a God exists or not or what such a thing might consist of. That question is a complete distraction from what is actually being argued, what is actually thought to be at stake, and the strong emotions on both sides of the debate.
Theists use their various concepts of God to justify their behavior. Whether it has an overall net positive or overall net negative to the culture they find themselves in. These God Concepts are not only used to justify personal behavior or the personal subculture they find themselves in but as a foundation to influence social policies and laws of their overall culture and even justification for war.
The atheist sees the power and influence such concept have had, do have, and can have on the overall culture and attempts to deconstruct such concepts to weaken the influence and power of these concepts to lessen their effects on the overall culture, various subcultures, and personal justification for behavior or condoning the behavior of others.
This is what is actually the heart of the conversation which has little to do with if a God or Gods actually exists or not. That question is a tool in a battle for influence nothing more.
God is but an Abstraction of an idea in which people have orientated themselves to produce a functional society.
Atheists simply see the flaw in the use of such an abstract concept and its failure to produce an actual functional society. Atheists just as the thinkers of the Enlightenment found reason and logical Deduction to be a better fulcrum for people to orientate themselves around to produce a actual functional society or societies.
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Jesus was a Compassionist not a Deity

Jesus was a Compassionist not a Deity
By Alan D. Griffin

Jesus as I see him was an ideal humanist and a compassist but he was not a passivist. He was not passive in the way he lived, he was not passive in his core message, he was not a passivist against the use of violence against those who oppress and cannot be persuaded away from their oppression.

My problem with the Gospel of Paul is the emphasis on Jesus as deity deemphasized the Gospel of Jesus as a humanist, Jesus as a compassionist. Jesus as deity diminishes the Gospel of Jesus that the Kingdom of Heaven is all around us and men do not see it. Paul did a disservice to Jesus’ message and I don’t think that was his intention but it was the result.

Agape love as I see it is neither how God loves us nor how we love God but the love for our fellow man in the vein of how a God should love if there is one. It is living out the love we have attributed to our personification of such a virtue. It should not matter if the personification reflects an actual deity or not.

The Holy Spirit is the spirit of Jesus not a third persona of a triune Godhead. The Holy Spirit is viewing your fellow man and treating your fellow man the way Jesus viewed them, how Jesus treated his fellow man. It is a guideline to follow not a man or idea to be worshipped.

I don’t think Jesus was saying worship me or be like me, but instead do what I am doing but do it your way. To me his message is I am living out my abstract notion of the personification I call God. You should live out your abstract notion of the personification you call God and if we all do this the Kingdom of Heaven is all around us.

What the “secret” of the parables is, which I agree is not a secret but a mystery for those who lack the compassion and empathy to grasp them. (Mark 4:10-11, Matthew 13:10-15,

Luke 8:9-10)

The Gospel of Jesus to me is that the Kingdom of Heaven is all around us and men do not see it.

This is the Good News.

This is the point of his parables and why only those who have eyes to see will see it and ears to hear will hear it.

This is the Gospel of Jesus which I find to be vastly different than the Gospel of Paul.

Those with compassion will understand the point of the parables immediately and those who do not would not get it even if Jesus spoke plainly and directly.

This lack of empathy and compassion is why it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It has nothing to do with wealth but Selfishness and putting their own wellbeing above others.

English Translations of the Bible is the Bible to Many People.

English Translations of the Bible is the Bible to Many People.

By Alan D. Griffin

Towards the end of the YouTube show The Place produced by NCG Thursday night Titled “Beliefs part two” there were some comments about people discussing and arguing biblical concepts from English translations. That these people mainly atheists who use their knowledge and literacy of English translations of the bible to discredit, show the illiteracy, belittle, or or to argue against theologies and beliefs of others who are also basing their biblical understandings in English translations. They they are touting themselves or presenting themselves as greatly more literate or even as biblical experts.

I agree no one should be speaking or presenting themselves as biblical experts without knowing how to read the Hebrew Bible in Ancient Hebrew or the New Testament in Koine Greek. And not only being able to read it in these languages but be one that learned these languages at an early enough age to think in these languages largely unhinged from your primary language.

Now, that being said I think we would agree that most people’s beliefs concerning the bible and what they consider the bible to be, has nothing, nothing at all to do with what any of the books in the bible are getting at in the original languages.

Most people read the bible in English even in non- English speaking countries. The beliefs and theologies are build off of English translations and understandings.

So if one is attempting to make people stop and think about what they believe and why they believe it. Then you are speaking in the framework of English based reading and understanding that in many cases are vastly different and even unrecognizable from what is actually being said in the ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek.

It seems pointing out that the English translation is not equivalent and vastly different from the original languages and the languages of the oldest manuscripts and manuscript fragments we have is definitely useful to point out,

But…

If the beliefs themselves are based on English translations and English understandings. Then it seems ( except in regards to actual linguistic biblical scholars) that what the manuscripts actually say in the original languages is a moot point. The nuances and emphasis that is literally lost in translation play no part in the beliefs of people or what they consider as biblical.

So it seems to speak to people directly about their beliefs concerning the bible then in fact it must be a discussion concerning the English translations because this is what has actually informed and influenced their beliefs and has nothing at all to do with the original languages or the original intended meaning.

What say you?

Abjab and AUM

Abjab and AUM

By Alan D. Griffin

The Ancient Hebrew in which the TaNaKh was initially written is a “pure” abjab language.

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There is no pure preserved record of BIblical scriptures in any translation. Meaning and context is always lost when translating any writing from language to language and it is even more the case with Ancient Hebrew and Greek.

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An abjab is a type of writing system where each symbol stands for a consonant and requires the reader to supply the appropriate vowel. A pure abjab refers to scripts entirely lacking in vowel indicators and such is the case with the Hebrew Bible.
The intent of ancient abjad such as the language of the Hebrew Bible is for it to be understood poetically, and as poetry it can be viewed and understood in various ways resulting in a broad range of renderings and purposes.

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This makes the TaNaKh literally a living book because the reader takes a major role in inteepreting what the TaNaKh says.

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” Are there any coherent illustrations as to why we shouldn’t avow an ancient abjad (the writing system of the Old Covenant) as something that is intentionally and traditionally ambiguous, and yet, truly stunning and the masterpiece of art itself, i.e., in that it’s a creative writing febrile that’s so contagious, all inspiring and a sovereign of a different kind. And about this awe, there is a strange forsooth that shadows in a particular, and yet, it cannot yield the intent of an author accurately, but without hesitation, it speaks as if it were alive while it serves as the best template for the creative processes and the transitional states in theology and the poetic side of philosophy. As reinforcement for the traditional aspects of this abjad, a scroll of the Hebrew writings must contain only consonants, thus forcing the reader into a creative process by having to determine contextual grammar, non-contextual grammar, inflections and the pragmatics. Thus, Jewish law is linear and moving forward from the constant creation and interpretation of texts…” – Dr. Michael W. Jones

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So the Hebrew Bible is a collection of groupings of consonants.

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So what does this mean?

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It seems the power, the meaning, and the poetry of abjab languages is found in the vowels that the reader is left to supply.

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Campbell: “”AUM” is a word that represents to our ears that sound of the energy of the universe of which all things are manifestations. You start in the back of the mouth “ahh,” and then “oo,” you fill the mouth, and “mm” closes the mouth. When you pronunce this properly, all vowel sounds are included in the pronunciation. AUM.Consonants are here regarded simply as interruptions of the essential vowel sound. All words are thus fragments of AUM, just as all images are fragments of the Form of forms. AUM is a symbolic sound that puts you in touch with that resounding being that is the universe. If you heard some of the recordings of Tibetan monks chanting AUM, you would know what the word means , all right. That’s the AUM of being in the world. To be in touch with that and get the sense of that is the peak experience of all. A-U-M. The birth, the coming into being, and the dissolution that cycles back. AUM is called the “four-element syllable.” A-U-M – and what is the fourth element? The silence out of which AUM arises, and back into which it goes, and which underlies it. My life is the A-U-M, but there is a silence underlying it, too. That is what we would call the immortal. This is the mortal ( sound) and that’s the immortal (silence), and there wouldn’t be the mortal if there weren’t the immortal. One must discriminate between the mortal aspect and the immortal aspect of one’s own existence. In the experience of my mother and father who are gone, of whom I was born, I have come to understand that there is more that what was our temporal relationship… Of course there were certain moments… They stand out as moments of epiphany, of relevation, of the radiance.”

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Moyers: “The meaning is essentially worldless.”

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Campbell: “Yes. Words are always qualifications and limitations.”

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Moyers: “And yet, Joe, all we puny human beings are left with is this miserable language, beautiful though it is, that falls short of trying to describe – “

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Campbell: “That’s right, and that’s why it is a peak experience to break past all of that, every now and then, and to realize, “Oh… ah…” ( Joseph Campbell interview by Bill Moyers)

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It seemed when looking at both the concepts of both abjab and AUM that the “awe”, the “divine”, the very meaning of such scriptures are manifest in the supplier of the vowels, the individual reader.
Understanding this gives me a new perspective of the opening of the Gospel of John and Psalms 82:6.

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John 1:1-5 ( NRSV)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life,[a] and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

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Psalms 82:6-7 ( NRSV)
I say, “You are gods,children of the Most High, all of you; 7 nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince.”

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Campbell: “It’s been said that poetry consists of letting the word be heard beyond words. And Goethe says, “All things are metaphors,” Everything that’s transitory is but a metaphorical reference. That’s what we all are.”.
Moyers: “But how does one worship a metaphor, love a metaphor, die for a metaphor?”

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Campbell: “That’s what people are doing all over the place – dying for metaphors. But when you really realize the sound, “AUM,” the sound of the mystery of the word everywhere, then you don’t have to go out and die for anything because it’s right there all around. Just sit still and see it and experience and know it. That’s a peak experience.”

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My Warrant for Stating Agnosticism is an Epistemological Position not a Psychological Stance.


My Warrant for Stating Agnosticism is an Epistemological Position not a Psychological Stance.
By Alan D. Griffin

By Alan D. Griffin
By Alan D. Griffin

Agnosticism is a Epistemological position not a Psychological stance.
We do not suspend judgment psychologically we have psychological stances on every proposition, concept, idea, we are presented with we do not psychologically leave anything in “limbo”. We do not leave blanks.

“Did you know that your brain regularly fills in for missing information, much of the time without your even knowing that this is going on? It’s one of the marvelous little efficiencies of the magnificent organ beneath your skull. Since it happens so very quickly and without conscious knowledge or intent, it can be difficult to identify this quirky capability.” – Sara Rosenquist, PhD

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” What happens when we don’t have all the information? We assume, we guess, we suppose, we interpret, we read between the lines, and we form our own conclusions. As would be expected, these conclusions, which are derived from limited knowledge and a limited perspective of the event that has then been filled in with our own imagination tends to result in thinking that is largely irrational.” -Psychological and Mental Health Resources
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We have the capacity for rationality and reason.
We can make intellectual judgments and can determine certain propositions are lacking proper justification needed to determine if it can properly be evaluated as true or false.
We are more than capable of suspending judgment intellectually as a matter of reason.
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We can hold to the Epistemological Position that we cannot know with any certainty if the proposition is true or false.
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Psychologically, It is simply the case that we are hardwired to interpret sensory data and information about the world through patterns and categorization.
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Our brains are constantly seeking patterns and categorizing information.
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This need to seek patterns and categorization is why we cannot suspend judgment psychologically speaking. We will lean one way or the other on every proposition we are given psychologically. We will have an opinion, we will hold a belief towards the proposition.
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We are not wired to suspend judgment psychologically we will fill in the blanks it may be a preliminary or superficial categorization but we will categorize it.
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There are some people which claim to suspend judgment psychologically.
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That they have no mental state concerning the question or proposition they have been presented with.
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It seems this is done out of pretentiousness and the need to appear as rationally superior or out of fear they will appear to be irrational.
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So the safe thing to do is claim to not have an opinion, to claim that they do not hold any belief towards the proposition noteven at the most superficial level.
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That they are a Tabla Rasa towards the question or proposition.
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But, as we know from human psychology the mind abhors a vacuum, and we have extreme anxiety associated with the unknown.
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Since this is the case we will fill in the blank, we do lean one way or the other, belief is ultimately binary, we will psychologically conclude that the proposition is more likely to be true or more likely to be false. We do this involuntarily even if we understand rationally that neither position is sufficiently justifiable for such a belief.
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Some beliefs are very superficial and you can be persuaded differently quite easily with only a bare minimum amount of justification provided to alter your psychological stance.
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Other beliefs are deeply held with strong emotional attachments which could also be a foundational belief in which many other beliefs are dependent or contingent upon. These beliefs need an enormous amount of justification to alter someone’s psychological stance away from such beliefs. There are also other psychological obstacles to overcome to alter these deep seeded beliefs such as the primacy effect, confirmation bias, and cognitive dissonance. These obstacles are extremely difficult to overcome and become near impossible if the belief in question is foundational for a person’s entire set of beliefs.
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It also seems that Doxastic Involuntarism is the case. It seems quite evident that we cannot simply choose what we believe. We cannot simply Will ourselves to believe anything. We simply believe what we find most reasonable to believe based on perceptions of experiences and the world, and warranted by our deeply held foundational beliefs many of which formed very early in life normally before the age of 5.
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“Beliefs are energy saving shortcuts in modeling and predicting the environment. Beliefs are our brain’s way of making sense of and navigating our complex world. They are mental representations of the ways our brains expect things in our environment to behave, and how things should be related to each other—the patterns our brain expects the world to conform to. Beliefs are templates for efficient learning and are often essential for survival. The brain is an energy-expensive organ, so it had to evolve energy-conserving efficiencies. As a prediction machine, it must take shortcuts for pattern recognition as it processes the vast amounts of information received from the environment by its sense organ outgrowths. Beliefs allow the brain to distill complex information, enabling it to quickly categorize and evaluate information and to jump to conclusions.” – Dr. Ralph Lewis M.D.

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“Although you’re wired to solve problems, you’re not wired to accurately define them. In the fight for survival, which determines your inherent characteristics, the ability to make a quick decision was more important than making an accurate one. You’re wired for speed and not precision. Imagine your ancient ancestor observing the rustling of the grass approaching him on the prehistoric Savannah. This was either a saber-toothed tiger or the wind blowing the tall grass. The ancestor who made a quick decision to run was the one who survived, passing this trait on to you, the one who stayed to determine the source of the rustling grass was more apt to be eaten by the tiger. His genes and aptitude for problem analysis, were taken out of the gene pool long before modern times. Speed of thought is in your genetic makeup. It served your ancestors well in life threatening problems, but now causes you to misdiagnose the not-so -life threatening problems you now face” – David Kord Murray
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The only actual agnostics are those who have never been presented with the proposition ” God Exists” or have never been presented with a concept of “God”

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Those that self-label as gnostic as a psychological stance are simply exaggerating their certainty in what they believe.

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Those that self-label as agnostic as a psychological stance are simply exaggerating their uncertainty and denying they hold any belief whatsoever.

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Which from Human Psychology we can deduce that this is simply not the case.

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Psychological stance are concerning the thinking subject ( you, me, whoever in which the proposition is presented) not the object of thought ( the proposition and a proper evaluation of it).
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Epistemological positions are not concerning the thinking subject ( you, me, whoever in which the proposition is presented) but the object of thought ( the proposition and the proper evaluation of it.).

Foundationalism

  • Foundationalism is that all knowledge or justified belief rest ultimately on a foundation of
    noninferential knowledge or justified belief.
    A little reflection suggests that the vast majority of the propositions we know or justifiably
    believe have that status only because we know or justifiably believe other propositions.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justep-foundational/
    Foundationalism is the position that there are certain beliefs which cannot be proven false and
    cannot be justified or cannot be justified without employing the very belief itself resulting in
    either circular reasoning or infinite regress, and are not reducible to a more basic belief. These
    properly basic beliefs are assumed to be true and are the foundational beliefs in which all other
    beliefs emerge.
    from
    A belief is what we find rational to be true or that which we have a commitment to act as if it
    were true.
    There are quite a few of these properly basic beliefs I have listed below some of the most
    common and universal properly basic beliefs.
    I want to know what your thoughts on beliefs that are found to be basic to hold to be considered
    as a rational agent but are not themselves justifiable.
    I want to see what other properly basic beliefs can you come up with that can not be reduced to
    one of the beliefs listed below.
    Universally Held Properly Basic Beliefs:
    The existence of a mind independent world or that an objective external world exists.
    The validity preserving characterization of formal logical Deduction.
  • The reliably of inductions from experiences or That the future tends to resemble the past in
    general aspects.
    Causation: some events or actions bring about other events or actions.
    Acceptance of the Notion of Truth and Falsity or that one must employ a notion of truth to
    determine if something is true.
    The existence of other minds/ other minds exist outside of your own who are having subjective
    experiences.
    The Reliability of perception/That we interpret sensory data reliably most of the time.
    The Reliability of Memories/ That we recall the past generally accurately.
    The concept of self as an independent agent.
    ” 1) They are all unstated assumptions (though one can become or be made aware of them). You
    were never taught to trust your senses, to rely on your memory, look for causes, think of yourself
    as a self, or apply induction, etc.
    2)They are all universally-held. Good luck finding anyone who or any culture which don’t make
    these assumptions.
    3) They are an ingredient to rationality and reasonableness to such a degree that their denial
    manifests itself as obvious irrationality and even madness. Try to imagine a person who lived as
    if his sense weren’t reliable, who never assumed that something was an effect of some other
    thing, who invariably violated basic norms of deduction (such as believing manifest
    contradictions, not just failing to recognize contradictions), etc. Such a person would seem daft,
  • if not utterly incomprehensible and we’d l of ikely institutionalize the person for his or her own
    good.
    4) They cannot be defended except on pain circularity.
    And so, they are
    5) Irrevisable (not to be confused with indubitable, or inerrant). We have no grounds for
    rejecting them because we’d have to employ them in the very act of reasoning about why
    rejecting them. It’s not that we couldn’t be mistaken about the, but grounds for rejecting them are
    lacking, except on pain of circularity.
    They constitute, in other words, the very basis by (from) which we can reason and arrive at the
    rest of our beliefs. This sets them apart.”
    – Ozymandias Ramses II

The Warrant For My Disbelief

The Warrant For My Disbelief
By Alan D Griffin
The only warrant my Atheism needs is the lack of sufficient justification that a god or gods exist.
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Evidence comes from the term evident.
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Evident: obvious to the senses or the mind.
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So if evident is what is obvious to the senses or the mind then evidence is what is provided which makes X obvious to the senses or the mind.
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Justification is about providing reasons or physical artifacts which is used in an attempt to convince or persuade others to accepting X, Y, Z is the case. This is what is typically meant by the term evidence.
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I draw a line in usage between Warrant and Justification.
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Warrant is about justification for one’s individual beliefs or conclusions. ( That which allows you to accept that x,y,z is the case yourself.)
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While, Justification is about attempting to convince or persuade others that X,Y,Z is the case.
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Perceptions of personal experiences could be the only warrant one needs to accept X,Y, Z but it is not Justification for X,Y,Z.
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So it seems the request for evidence is to request justification, a request to provide that which makes X, Y, Z obvious to the senses or the mind ( of others).
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Evidence lies beyond perceptions of experiences and is available to be discussed and scrutinized.
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The lack of evidence is not evidence of absence.
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The lack of evidence is only evidence of the lack of evidence.
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It seems it is the case that words have usages not inherent meaning. With that in the forefront of our minds let’s take a look at a few terms and their various usages, and meanings, which are significant in the definitions most commonly used in association with the terms/ labels referred to in the “Great Debate” Such as Theism, Atheism, Gnosticism, Agnosticism, and Ignosticism.
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Belief: A psychology stance associated with our perceptions of our experiences and the world around us.
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Belief: A commitment to act or a commitment to act as if X is the case.
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Belief: The state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case regardless of emperical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.
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Belief: A mental state or attitudinal disposition towards the likelyhood of something being true.
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These are several definitions of the term belief, these meanings represent the most common usage of the term belief, not that they are the only meanings.
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Beliefs are held for a myriad of reasons some are rational, others are not.
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Some beliefs are strongly held with deep psychological and emotional ties.
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Some beliefs are not, they are held as a preliminary stance or held very superficially.
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We all hold beliefs, they are binary.
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We either believe X is the case or we do not believe X is the case.
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We do not suspend judgment psychologically we have psychological stances on every proposition that has been presented to us.
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We do not psychologically leave anything in “limbo”.
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Now rationally or in intellectual judgment of a proposition we are more than capable of suspending judgment.
.
It is simply the case that we are hardwired to interpret sensory data and information about the world through patterns and categorization.
Our brains are constantly seeking patterns and categorizing information.
.
This need to seek patterns and categorization is why we cannot suspend judgment psychologically speaking. We will lean one way or the other on every proposition we are given psychologically.
.
We are not wired to suspend judgment psychologically we will fill in the blanks it may be a preliminary or superficial categorization but we will categorize it.
.
There are some people which claim to suspend judgment psychologically, they have no mental state concerning the question or proposition. It seems this is done out of pretentiousness and the need to appear rationally superior or out of fear they will appear to be irrational. So the safe thing to do is claim to not have an opinion, to claim not to hold a belief even at the most superficial level, that they are a Tabla Rasa towards the question or proposition. But, as we know from human psychology the mind abhors a vacuum and we have extreme anxiety associated with the unknown. Since this is the case we will fill in the blank, we do lean one way or the other, belief is ultimately binary.
.
Some beliefs are very superficial and you can be persuaded differently quite easily with only a bare minimum amount of justification provided to alter your psychological stance.
.
Other beliefs are deeply held with strong emotional attachments which could also be a foundational belief in which many other beliefs are dependent or contingent upon. These beliefs need an enormous amount of justification to alter someone’s psychological stance away from such beliefs. There are also other psychological obstacles to overcome to alter these deep seeded beliefs such as the primacy effect, confirmation bias, and cognitive dissonance. These obstacles are extremely difficult to overcome and become near impossible if the belief in question is foundational for a person’s entire set of beliefs.
.
It also seems that Doxastic Involuntarism is the case. It seems quite evident that we cannot simply choose what we believe. We cannot simply Will ourselves to believe anything. We simply believe what we find most reasonable to believe based on perceptions of experiences and the world, and warranted by our deeply held foundational beliefs many of which formed very early in life normally before the age of 5.
.
“Although you’re wired to solve problems, you’re not wired to accurately define them. In the fight for survival, which determines your inherent characteristics, the ability to make a quick decision was more important than making an accurate one. You’re wired for speed and not precision. Imagine your ancient ancestor observing the rustling of the grass approaching him on the prehistoric Savannah. This was either a saber-toothed tiger or the wind blowing the tall grass. The ancestor who made a quick decision to run was the one who survived, passing this trait on to you, the one who stayed to determine the source of the rustling grass was more apt to be eaten by the tiger. His genes and aptitude for problem analysis, were taken out of the gene pool long before modern times. Speed of thought is in your genetic makeup. It served your ancestors well in life threatening problems, but now causes you to misdiagnose the not-so -life threatening problems you now face”
– David Kord Murray
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The common theme in these definitions of belief is that belief is internal and perceptions of the mind.
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This does not mean our beliefs are necessarily not warranted or justified.
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Knowledge: A Justified, True, BELIEF ( JTB)
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Knowledge: A Justified, BELIEF. (JB)
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Knowledge: A Reliably- produced, True, BELIEF. (RTB)
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There are other definitions of knowledge as well as various interpretations of the terms Justified, True, and Belief.
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It seems in most epistemological definitions of Knowledge, Belief is a component.
But, not simply belief, belief is internal and a psychological stance. It seems Knowledge must also be Justified or reliably- produced. There is additional criterion which must be met for something to be considered knowledge beyond merely believing.
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We believe what we find to be most rational or what we find most likely to be the case.
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The terms atheism and theism are simply labels of beliefs, psychology stances toward the question of God’s existence.
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Agnosticism, gnosticism, and ignosticism are labels of Epistemological positions towards the proposition “God exists.” with regards to if we can determine if the proposition is True or False, if we cannot determine if the proposition is True or False, or if the proposition is even coherent enough to make any kind of assessment at all.
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Knowledge is a Belief which is justified or reliably produced.. (if you hold that truth is a requirement for knowledge the justification must also be sufficient to conclude the belief is true.)
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The proposition “God exists” is a Knowledge Claim it is a statement of fact, not a question. The proposition is the same as stating God exists ( is true.)
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Since the proposition is about knowledge not merely belief there are a few epistemological positions one can take towards the proposition “God exists is true.”
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Let’s look at the etymology of the terms gnostic or gnosticism.
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The root word is gnost or gnosis which means to know, relating to knowledge,” especially mystical or esoteric knowledge of spiritual things, 1650s, from Greek gnostikos “knowing, good at knowing, able to discern.
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So gnostic or gnosticism is to know or the ability to know.
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The prefix “a” means not.
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So agnostic or agnosticism is to not know or not having the ability to know.
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Huxley and the coining of the term agnostic:
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The English biologist, T.H. Huxley said that he originally invented the word “Agnostic” to denote people who, like [himself], confess themselves to be hopelessly ignorant concerning a variety of matters, about which metaphysicians and theologians, both orthodox and heterodox, dogmatise with the utmost confidence. (1884).

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He was disputing the fact that metaphysicians and theologians were stating their beliefs as if they were knowledge. He was not upset at their beliefs per se but how they were presenting them to other as immutable or established fact.

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They were presenting their psychological stance as if it were justified to the extent to be taken as knowledge.

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Gnostic and agnostic are more than psychological stances but declarations of knowledge or lack of knowledge.
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Merely believing a proposition is true does not meet the necessary justification to determine epistemologically if the proposition is true.
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So there are a few epistemological positions one can take:
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One can conclude that their is sufficient justification to conclude that the proposition is true. ( gnostic)
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One can conclude their is sufficient justification to conclude that the proposition Is false. (gnostic)
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One can conclude their is not sufficient justification to conclude if the proposition is true nor false. (agnostic)
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Then there is another consideration concerning propositions in which a term in the proposition is so ambiguous or polysemantic that the proposition itself can be deemed incoherent.
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Theological noncognitivism is the position that religious language, specifically, words such as “sanctified”, “spirit:”, “God” etc. – are not cognitively meaningful.
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Ignosticism is the idea that the question of the existence of God is meaningless because the term god has no coherent and unambiguous definition.
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Ignostic or ignosticism is the epistemological position that the proposition is unanswerable not due to lack of justification but because the proposition itself is incoherent and meaningless.
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So there are four basic Epistemological positions towards the Proposition “God exists is true.” :
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It is justified or justifiable to conclude the proposition is true. ( gnostic)
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It is justified or justifiable to conclude the proposition is false.( gnostic)
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There is no justification or justifiablity to conclude if the proposition is true nor false. ( agnostic)
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The proposition is incoherent therefore concluding anything about the proposition is impossible. ( ignostic)
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It is the case terms have usages not meanings and you can use these terms as you wish as long as you clarify how you are using the term and the idea you are attempting to convey with such terms. I am simply pointing out that colloquially this is the primary uses of these terms and they have the most utility if used in the way I have set forth.
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It eliminates correlating atheists with rocks since do not hold psychological stances.
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It eliminates correlating theological non-cognitivism with atheism since atheism is a psychological stance not a response to the proposition which in the case of theological non- cognitivism that it is a non- proposition or the proposition is simply incoherent and without meaning.
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It eliminates the use of agnosticism to avoid answering the question of beliefs pertaining to the existence of God. Since agnosticism is an epistemological position not a psychological stance of what one believes.
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I am sure there are other ways using the terms in this way eliminates confusion and increases clarity but these are the ones that come to mind right away.
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As an atheist, I am also an ignostic.
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Ignostic because my initial response to the question “Does a God or Gods exist ?” Must be, “What do you mean or what are you referring to with the term God? “
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The term is so ambiguous that a particular definition and related attributes must be put forth for the question itself to have any meaning whatsoever.
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The term God is very ambiguous. The uses of this term incapsulates a whole host of ideas and attributes that are not consistent nor intrinsically attached to the term God in any meaningful way.
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I also cannot claim that no God/Gods exists only that all of the concepts of God/ Gods which I have been presented with lack the sufficient justification needed for thinking they exist. I don’t KNOW if a God or Gods exist or not.
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So I am agnostic, this is my Epistemological position towards the proposition “God exists.”
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All the Gods with proper names from whichever religion or mythology all lack sufficient justification to reasonably accept that they actually exist.
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The same is true of the Gods built on similes. There is not sufficient justification why God is like a, b, c rather than x,y, or z. There does not even seem to be a basis or foundation for making such comparisons. It seems this is also the case of statements such as “God is Love” or “God is Goodness” any more than there is sufficient justification for saying God is Hate or God is Evil.
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This is what is intended when you hear atheists say atheism is not a claim but a rejection of a claim.
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Now if someone associates the term God as the neighbor’s dog then I can find sufficient justification that this God exists. Or that God is merely an abstract concept, because it seem God is minimally an abstract concept, since we are able to have a discussion about a God or Gods. If God is just a substitute term for some scientific principle or principles then I can except those concepts of God as existing. Such as saying God is the singularity from which the universe expanded, or God is the law of physics, or God is Energy, etc.
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Atheism in common usage is the disbelief in God. Since the term God can be used for virtually anything or any concept it seems to me unreasonable to hold a general disbelief in a term which can be represented by any object, living thing, or concept.
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I don’t think that is what anyone is trying to communicate with the term or label of athiest or atheism.
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Atheism to me is not actually a disbelief in the existence of a God or Gods per se because first it would have to be clear on exactly what a God is before you could determine if it is sufficiently justified as existing or not.
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It is a disbelief in what people associate with the term, what attributes, qualities, and characteristics that are described as being embodied by the term God/ Gods which lacks any credible and sufficient justification.
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So does my disbelief in the Existence of God have sufficient justification to determine if The proposition “God exists” is false?
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No. I would say no it does not.
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But, it is sufficient warrant for my disbelief.
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Morals, Altruism, and Self-preservation

Morals, Altruism, and Self-preservation

By Alan D Griffin

It seems to me a ” moral apparatus” is simply the ability to control our behaviors beyond that of simple action/ reaction and instinct. But “proper” behavior is learned and is a matter of what the consensus is of how to behave within a specific society or subculture of a society.
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Now it does seem what bubbles up as proper behavior in most cultures and subcultures is they usually have some notion of the harm principle and biological altruism attached to them. But I would argue this is still a product of self preservation or at least the preservation of our genes.
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I would go as far to say the ability to have empathy and sympathy developed from a place of self preservation.
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We develop a system of proper behaviors as a safety net for the unknown or to have some predictability of outcomes. We don’t know which side of a situation we will find ourselves on so an agreement to behave in such a way which reduces the potential for harm in others reduces the chances of harm coming upon ourselves or our offspring.
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The same is true of Altruism. The soldier who jumps on the grenade comes from a place of believing that other soldiers would do the same thing for you. The vervet monkey sounding an alarm that a predator is near reveals his location to the predator but is done in hopes the monkey on the otherside of the group will do the same if a predator approaches from their direction. It is a probability bet. The probability is the predator is going to approach from a different direction from the side you are on more often than it will approach from your side. Same with the grenade is it more probable that the grenade will land closer to someone else than it will you.
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Now we don’t like to admit that the harm principle or altruism comes from a place of self preservation. But something noble and selfless.

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But why is someone who acts in such a way considered noble or selfless and then admired?
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Because someone is willing to do without for others or sacrifice their self for others that type of person is beneficial to our own self preservation.
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Consequences for acting improperly are not only as a way to insure we are all holding to the agreed upon behavior but also it gives us predictive ability of what the consequences may come to us if we decide to act improperly.
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This is the part of punishment or consequences no one wants to admit or cop to but having stated consequences for improper behavior comes down again as a tool for self preservation and risk/reward decision making.
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A “moral apparatus” is then abilty to act in the interest of others self- preservation ( to care for others) with the assumption it will be reciprocated ( care for me).
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Loyalty it seems is a notion that I can count on you to adhere to the agreed behaviors to give me a sense of security and allow me the predictive ability to gage how and when you will behave that is in the best interest of my self preservation.
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Disloyalty is the breaking of the agreement to behave in a certain way, which then takes away my sense of security and my predictive ability to gage how and when you will behave in such a way which puts my self preservation at risk.
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Fairness is also a matter of self preservation.
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I may kill the buffalo today and I share it equally among the tribe not out of the goodness of my heart or out of an innate sense of fairness but because I know I might not kill a buffalo tomorrow or in the next months but others will and by being fair today will lead to my fair share tomorrow or next week. When someone acts unfairly it incenses us because we were counting on our fairness being reciprocated and when it is not it endangers my self preservation and disrupts my abilty act fairly due to the insecurity of self preservation based on someone’s unfairness. It is a basic breakdown of social constructs which were constructed in the first place for self preservation.
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The whole idea of morality comes down to self preservation. Biologically speaking.
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What the Great Debate is Really About

What the Great Debate is Really About
By Alan D. Griffin

Ultimately, I believe that more genuine compassion toward our fellow man is what we are all striving toward and concerned about at the end of the day.

The Great Debate at its heart seems to me has less to do with if a God exists or not and more about how the concept of God is used.

It can be a concept that delivers hope and a sense of community ( which is why theist argue in defense of it) and then it is also used to divide humanity into in-group/ out groups and to justify the mistreatment of various people groups ( which is why atheists rail against it).

The concept of God is a neutral vessel on its own, it is what we fill the concept with that makes it emotionally charged and divisive.

The Sensation of “Otherness” and “Other Than”

The Sensation of “Otherness” and “Other Than ”

By Alan D. Griffin

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The idea of the Sensation of “Otherness” and “Other than” seems to be a reoccurring theme in relation to God-talk.

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My question is this:
Isn’t the sensation of the presence of “selfness” a better explanation than the sensation of “otherness”?

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Please someone explain to me why the sensation of “otherness” should lead to a belief that there is an “other” would make more sense than the sensation of “otherness” is the result of one simply experiencing one’s true self?

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Our identities are built from without, not from within. From the very moment we arrive in this life what we label as self is anything but the self. what we identify as self is wholly “other”.

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Are we a good son/ daughter?
We determine this solely from our perception of our parents perception of us.

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Are we a good student?
We determine this solely from our perception of our teachers perception of us.
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Are we a good friend?
We determine this solely from our perception of our friends perception of us.

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Are we funny?

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Are we annoying?

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Are we loving?

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Are we caring?
All are determined by our perception of other’s perceptions of us.

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So and and so forth etc. etc… we build our perception of self from others and wholly from others.

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We label this ” otherness” as self.

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So when we are able (and if we are able) to perceive ourselves unhinged from our perception of other’s perception of us. This is quite a different sensation. This is the “self”, the authentic “self” wholly built within and not from without.

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But then we find this to be quite a conundrum.

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We have already from a very young age associated “other” as “self”.

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So what do we do when we experience the “self” unhinged from the ” other” ?

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We feel quite compelled to label the ” self” the authentic “self” as “other.”

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Thus the sensation of experiencing oneself is mislabeled as a sensation of experiencing “otherness”.

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Can anyone give justification for why this is not the case?

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Why does this explanation make less sense than there is some unknown “other” that is being sensed?

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“There was a young man who said though, it seems that I know that I know, but what I would like to see is the I that knows me when I know that I know that I know.” — Alan W. Watts
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This sense of ” other than” seems to me to be a product or by-product of the level of awareness we have reached.

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It comes from the fact that we are not simply aware but aware that we are aware. The fact that we have introspection, retrospection, and abstract thinking creates the sensation of “other than”.

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I think the Alan Watts limerick speaks directly to this.

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I know ( aware)

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I know that I know ( aware of being aware)

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I know that I know that I know ( aware that we are aware of being aware).

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The I that knows me when I know that I know that I know. ( The Sensation of “other than”).

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This “other than” in my opinion is the infinite regress of the infinite progress of higher levels of consciousness.

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If I were to see the I that knows me when I know that I know that I know. I would simply strive to see the I that knows the I that knows me when I know that I know that I know. and so on and so forth at infinitum.

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We are able to step out of ourselves and look back at ourselves as “other than” Thus we have the sensation that there exists something “other than”.

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I find this makes quite a lot of sense. I find it has warrant and justifiablity. Is it fact ( an undebateable proposition) far from it. But, I feel it has legs.

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your thoughts?