Genuine Christian Belief

What do they believe? What do you think? Talk about religion as it exists today.
gmx
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:35 am

Genuine Christian Belief

Post by gmx » Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:51 am

I wonder how many of the clergy (across all the Christian flavors), and particularly the insiders of the "vatican machine", truly believe in the supernatural aspects of the gospel story. The virgin birth, the raising of the dead, the curing of the blind, the re-appearance of Moses and Elijah, the multiplying of limited food, etc, etc...

On what do modern, intelligent, rational human beings hang these beliefs?
I saw a Naked girl ,Slowly emerge in front of me,Greek hairstyle,Very beautiful,She has a beautiful [fine] profile.; She is fine in profile. the view of profile,hard to tell.

Adam
Posts: 641
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:28 pm

Re: Genuine Christian Belief

Post by Adam » Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:47 am

So, what's your problem? I have 144 IQ, two master's degrees, two teaching credentials, and earned a CPA license, and I don't see any difficulty believing any of these, and have believed them firmly since 1962 after six years as an agnostic. It's much harder to believe any alternative.
I would have become a clergyman myself, I suppose (more likely a seminary professor), except that I could not make up my mind which denomination I most believed in (still have that problem). By the time I came down on Roman Catholicism as the one I decided to be baptized in, I was already married and the career was closed to me.
I'm not still Roman Catholic, but my current Lutheranism includes things Martin Luther himself believed in such as Purgatory and the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.
Edited to Add:
Allow me to add that I am not a Fideist. My Higher Criticism of the gospels led me independently to the realization that Jesus had no biological brothers, they were first cousins instead (the RC teaching as against the Eastern Orthodox step-brothers based on the Proto-Evangelium of James), but not apostles as believed by Roman Catholicism. I found out in 1970 that RC theologians no longer believed in Purgatory (having thrown it out temporarily after Vatican II along with the still-discarded Limbo), but my independent studies led me to affirm that Origen was right (if we prune out later "orthodox" Bowdlerization) that Haredi Jews are right about reincarnation.

neilgodfrey
Posts: 3423
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Genuine Christian Belief

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:19 pm

Intelligence is a tool that can be used in many ways. All roads, wherever they lead, might be said to be paved with reason to some extent, and the more intelligent one is the more capable one is of finding a way to justify a reasonable approach to any goal.

Intelligence enables one to rationalize one's commitment to belief systems. The more intelligent one is the more capable one is of justifying and finding clever arguments to support all sorts of nonsense and pick holes in counter-arguments.

Two case studies to illustrate:

1. I studied indoctrination and propaganda at a post grad level and emerged without any dint at all to my commitment to dogmatic church teachings;
2. Adam above, with an IQ of 144, has no difficulty believing in the virgin birth or resurrection of the dead.

perseusomega9
Posts: 509
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:19 am
Contact:

Re: Genuine Christian Belief

Post by perseusomega9 » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:27 pm

Isn't this the wrong forum? Shouldn't this be in general religious discussion?

gmx
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:35 am

Re: Genuine Christian Belief

Post by gmx » Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:51 pm

Adam wrote:So, what's your problem? I have 144 IQ...
Sorry... I shouldn't have included "intelligence" in my question. It was completely spurious...

My "problem", essentially, is the final question, minus the "intelligence" facet...

On what do modern, rational human beings hang these beliefs?
I saw a Naked girl ,Slowly emerge in front of me,Greek hairstyle,Very beautiful,She has a beautiful [fine] profile.; She is fine in profile. the view of profile,hard to tell.

gmx
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:35 am

Re: Genuine Christian Belief

Post by gmx » Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:52 pm

perseusomega9 wrote:Isn't this the wrong forum? Shouldn't this be in general religious discussion?
You are very correct... was reading other posts on the forum and this question occurred to me... I should have filtered it.
I saw a Naked girl ,Slowly emerge in front of me,Greek hairstyle,Very beautiful,She has a beautiful [fine] profile.; She is fine in profile. the view of profile,hard to tell.

neilgodfrey
Posts: 3423
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:08 pm

Re: Genuine Christian Belief

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:25 pm

Pending the move to another forum . . . .

I've also been fascinated by the question and found interesting insights by Scot Atran in In Gods We Trust. The main points are in two posts -- Science and Religion: Four Fundamental Differences and Fantasy and Religion: One Fundamental Difference (Or, Why God’s Word Will Never Fail): Excerpt from the second of these:
Accepting a text on authority and faith implies that the listener or reader suspend the universal constraints on ordinary communication . . .

In ordinary communication, the listener or reader “automatically” attempts to fill the gap in understanding between what is merely said or written and what the communicator intends the listener or reader to think or do as a result.
Atran illustrates. Normal communication works like this:

Someone says to you, “That’s just fine.” You immediately try to figure out from the previous conversation or immediate environment what “that” means, what is “fine” about it, and why it is “just” fine.

Tone and inflection in the way “That’s just fine” will be taken into account. You will recall that previously you had asked to taste your dinner host’s special reserve. You will have noticed since then the broken wine bottle on the dining room floor. You will draw upon your background information to understand that your host is ironic when angry.

You will, further, believe that the speaker understands all of these factors, too, and that he knows you also grasp them.

You will stop processing all these factors (intonation, recent memory, background knowledge, surrounding environment, theory of mind, etc) the moment the communication, “That’s just fine”, makes sense.

That’s significant. You stop processing and working out the right interpretation of the communication once its function is clear.

That’s not how one interprets a religious authoritative text, however. Such normal rules of communication — called “relevance criteria” — are bypassed.

Believers generally assume that the words in a sacred text are authorless, timeless and true. As a result, people do not apply ordinary relevance criteria to religious communications. (p. 92)

Authorless

Since the divine text is essentially “authorless” — the author is thought to be a channel for the mind and wisdom of God — there is no thought or need to try to infer the intent from the way the words are spoken or the context in which they are heard, etc. (The preacher’s gesticulations and intonation are his own, not the deity’s.)
Interpreting what the speaker (preacher) intends by uttering the passage is one thing; interpreting what the deity intends can be indefinitely many things (expressed, in part, by indefinitely many speakers and interpreters).
Timeless
Timelessness implies that cues from the surrounding environment, background knowledge, and memory are all irrelevant — or equipotentially relevant, which amounts to irrelevance.
And that is why God’s message can apply to any and all contexts in an indefinite number of different ways. Certainly believers do interpret God’s word in specific ways for specific contexts, but

they have no reason to ever stop interpreting.


True

Unlike normal communication that context, memory, surroundings, intonation, etc may lead you to understand as metaphor, satire, or lighthearted nonsense, etc. communication from God that is accepted as true on faith can never be false, deceptive or merely figurative.

(Of course the Gospels do have Jesus speaking figuratively, but the meaning or doctrine itself is always seriously literal.)
Ordinary preoccupation with lying and false belief in communication therefore plays no role in interpretation (or at least no consistent role). Neither can failed attempts at verification or confirmation of this or that aspect of the information represented in a religious statement, or inferred from it, undermine the audience’s belief in the statement’s truth. (p. 92)
This is not how ordinary communication works. It is a special type of communication reserved for religious faith.

Adam
Posts: 641
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:28 pm

Re: Genuine Christian Belief

Post by Adam » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:21 pm

gmx wrote:
On what do modern, rational human beings hang these beliefs?
I appreciate the nuances you and Neil are factoring into this discussion.
However...
As to my state in all this, I regard myself as a Rationalist a la Descartes whose "Rationalism" included a firm (in his mind, which is all "Rationalism" requires, as seen in its offspring "Idealism") "proof" of the existence of God. (It was the existence of the WORLD that he had trouble is--is it all a dream or induced by a demon?)
Thus nothing in my response needs any change.

andrewcriddle
Posts: 1733
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Genuine Christian Belief

Post by andrewcriddle » Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:40 am

neilgodfrey wrote:Pending the move to another forum . . . .

I've also been fascinated by the question and found interesting insights by Scot Atran in In Gods We Trust. The main points are in two posts -- Science and Religion: Four Fundamental Differences and Fantasy and Religion: One Fundamental Difference (Or, Why God’s Word Will Never Fail): Excerpt from the second of these:
Accepting a text on authority and faith implies that the listener or reader suspend the universal constraints on ordinary communication . . .

In ordinary communication, the listener or reader “automatically” attempts to fill the gap in understanding between what is merely said or written and what the communicator intends the listener or reader to think or do as a result.
Atran illustrates. Normal communication works like this:

Someone says to you, “That’s just fine.” You immediately try to figure out from the previous conversation or immediate environment what “that” means, what is “fine” about it, and why it is “just” fine.

Tone and inflection in the way “That’s just fine” will be taken into account. You will recall that previously you had asked to taste your dinner host’s special reserve. You will have noticed since then the broken wine bottle on the dining room floor. You will draw upon your background information to understand that your host is ironic when angry.

You will, further, believe that the speaker understands all of these factors, too, and that he knows you also grasp them.

You will stop processing all these factors (intonation, recent memory, background knowledge, surrounding environment, theory of mind, etc) the moment the communication, “That’s just fine”, makes sense.

That’s significant. You stop processing and working out the right interpretation of the communication once its function is clear.

That’s not how one interprets a religious authoritative text, however. Such normal rules of communication — called “relevance criteria” — are bypassed.

Believers generally assume that the words in a sacred text are authorless, timeless and true. As a result, people do not apply ordinary relevance criteria to religious communications. (p. 92)

Authorless

Since the divine text is essentially “authorless” — the author is thought to be a channel for the mind and wisdom of God — there is no thought or need to try to infer the intent from the way the words are spoken or the context in which they are heard, etc. (The preacher’s gesticulations and intonation are his own, not the deity’s.)
Interpreting what the speaker (preacher) intends by uttering the passage is one thing; interpreting what the deity intends can be indefinitely many things (expressed, in part, by indefinitely many speakers and interpreters).
Timeless
Timelessness implies that cues from the surrounding environment, background knowledge, and memory are all irrelevant — or equipotentially relevant, which amounts to irrelevance.
And that is why God’s message can apply to any and all contexts in an indefinite number of different ways. Certainly believers do interpret God’s word in specific ways for specific contexts, but

they have no reason to ever stop interpreting.


True

Unlike normal communication that context, memory, surroundings, intonation, etc may lead you to understand as metaphor, satire, or lighthearted nonsense, etc. communication from God that is accepted as true on faith can never be false, deceptive or merely figurative.

(Of course the Gospels do have Jesus speaking figuratively, but the meaning or doctrine itself is always seriously literal.)
Ordinary preoccupation with lying and false belief in communication therefore plays no role in interpretation (or at least no consistent role). Neither can failed attempts at verification or confirmation of this or that aspect of the information represented in a religious statement, or inferred from it, undermine the audience’s belief in the statement’s truth. (p. 92)
This is not how ordinary communication works. It is a special type of communication reserved for religious faith.
The above seems to resemble how SCOTUS interprets the Constitution.

Andrew Criddle

Gingerbaker
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:32 am

Re: Genuine Christian Belief

Post by Gingerbaker » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:58 am

Adam wrote:So, what's your problem? I have 144 IQ, two master's degrees, two teaching credentials, and earned a CPA license, and I don't see any difficulty believing any of these...
I recall reading the abstract of a psychology study which looked at the correlation between high IQ and gullibility. The study demonstrated that high IQ was associated with a much higher likelihood to accept absurd arguments and conclusions if the rationale for them was complicated or intellectually elegant. (The study used a dialectic 'proving' that black = white.)

People of normal IQ more readily identified bunk as bunk.

That you choose to believe the impossible may be due to your intelligence and education, not despite them.

Post Reply