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What Can We Believe, Then?
#1
What Can We Believe, Then?

I'm wondering how, if I profess atheism, I can now profess any kind of certainty in anything. The question's setup follows--the real question behind it is in bold at (appropriately) the bottom of it.

I read and appreciated Ryft's comment on the difference between faith and belief ("Please stop equating 'belief' and 'faith' ") from a little over a month ago. I got from his post that the belief of modern scientists and philosophers is considered to be entirely subjective--belief today is used as describing an attitude, a "seems" not an "is". Here are some words I quoted from his text.

"Contemporary analytic philosophers of mind generally use the term 'belief' to refer to the attitude we have, roughly, whenever we take something to be the case or regard it as true,"
Insofar as belief is characterized by contemporary philosophers as a 'propositional attitude', he writes, it constitutes "the mental state of having some attitude, stance, take, or opinion


Question: What is a Propositional Attitude? Isn't it the attitude conveying a belief in ultimate, objective reality? Why on earth would you propose something if it didn't have some kind of objective vision to contribute to or fit into? Doesn't such an objective reality require a form, some type of identifiable unity? If there is such a unity of reality, doesn't it have to include personhood (or the phenomenology of personhood and of experiencing other persons) somewhere in the mix of elements it includes (since persons or at least the experience of them are part of reality)? Now, as an atheist, is it possible to deny the fundamental Personal facet of Objective Reality (otherwise known as God), and still retain intellectual integrity in proposing that I believe in an objective reality? If I can't--can I/should I really claim to believe anything, or is my propositional attitude a sort of hypocrisy from what is at its base a kind of nihilism--a denial of the fundamental, comprehensive and knowable unity of reality?

Rephrasing: If I disbelieve in a deity who grounds all facts in an objective context--can I really say that I believe aything else objectively? Does it make sense to say that I believe something could be true in certain circumstances, if those very possible circumstances are uncertain? If there is no place or person where the buck of reality stops, so to speak, and all is possible, then aren't all my theories pretty much equally meaningful--equally meaningless? I'm caught in a mind-set right now where all such speculations of science and otherwise are just that for me--speculations. It's scary--like trying to put together a puzzle with pieces that have no set shape or objective context. Is that the choice I face if I would choose continue in atheism?

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#2
RE: What Can We Believe, Then?
(March 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm)QuestingHound08 Wrote: I'm wondering how, if I profess atheism, I can now profess any kind of certainty in anything. The question's setup follows--the real question behind it is in bold at (appropriately) the bottom of it.

Who cares? What matters is whether or not we have good reason to believe that something. If you have some need for certainty that's not my problem and I frankly couldn't care less.

Quote:I read and appreciated Ryft's comment on the difference between faith and belief ("Please stop equating 'belief' and 'faith' ") from a little over a month ago. I got from his post that the belief of modern scientists and philosophers is considered to be entirely subjective--belief today is used as describing an attitude, a "seems" not an "is". Here are some words I quoted from his text.

Entirely subjective? No. The method by which the belief was arrived at can be objectively right or wrong, reaching a belief via the scientific method gives you some level of objectivity as your belief is not entirely grounded in personal attitudes.

Quote:"Contemporary analytic philosophers of mind generally use the term 'belief' to refer to the attitude we have, roughly, whenever we take something to be the case or regard it as true,"
Insofar as belief is characterized by contemporary philosophers as a 'propositional attitude', he writes, it constitutes "the mental state of having some attitude, stance, take, or opinion

Sure, that's what a belief is.

Quote:Question: What is a Propositional Attitude? Isn't it the attitude conveying a belief in ultimate, objective reality? Why on earth would you propose something if it didn't have some kind of objective vision to contribute to or fit into?

No, that's not at all what it is.

A propositional attitude is an attitude towards a proposition... You do not propose something, you have a belief about a proposition. It has absolutely nothing with some supposed 'objective vision'.

And why would you need some 'objective' vision before you can make a proposition? That makes absolutely no sense, it is not a valid prerequisite for making a proposition about reality. You do not even need to believe something to be true to propose it, you can propose something to be 'not impossible'.

Quote:Doesn't such an objective reality require a form, some type of identifiable unity? If there is such a unity of reality, doesn't it have to include personhood (or the phenomenology of personhood and of experiencing other persons) somewhere in the mix of elements it includes (since persons or at least the experience of them are part of reality)?

You're speaking pseudo-philosophy babble, try again when you are being somewhat more coherent.

Objective reality exists, unless you are a solipsist, we are all trying to determine what it is. Is there some identifiable unity? What the fuck do you mean by that? And why do you qualify it with Identifiable? What if there is some unifying element to reality that is NOT identifiable?

And what the hell does experiencing persons have to do with anything?

Quote:Now, as an atheist, is it possible to deny the fundamental Personal facet of Objective Reality (otherwise known as God), and still retain intellectual integrity in proposing that I believe in an objective reality? If I can't--can I/should I really claim to believe anything, or is my propositional attitude a sort of hypocrisy from what is at its base a kind of nihilism--a denial of the fundamental, comprehensive and knowable unity of reality?

Again, that is mostly incoherent pseudo-philosophical babble. State your question clearly and without all the farting around.

And it would help if you use the term 'propositional attitude' correctly, as I've corrected you earlier.

Quote:Rephrasing: If I disbelieve in a deity who grounds all facts in an objective context--can I really say that I believe aything else objectively?

At what point in this augment did the existence of a deity become established? You have no epistemic justification for the existence of a deity, therefore I don't give a shit. Claim all you like about one being able to 'ground all facts in an objective context', I simply do not care. You haven't passed step 1, provide a good reason to believe that this deity exists, so anything else contingent upon that is a waste of time.

Quote:Does it make sense to say that I believe something could be true in certain circumstances, if those very possible circumstances are uncertain?

What???

When we say "something might be true given these conditions" we ARE giving a hypothetical set of certainties. If X and Y and Z then A. It's not "this might be true if this and this might be true", a statement which makes no sense at all.

Quote:If there is no place or person where the buck of reality stops, so to speak, and all is possible, then aren't all my theories pretty much equally meaningful--equally meaningless?

And now we're dealing in post modernism?

This is the most incoherent post I've read for a significant period of time.

Quote:I'm caught in a mind-set right now where all such speculations of science and otherwise are just that for me--speculations.

Are you serious? You think Gravity is a speculation? No, it's demonstrable. Is the scientific method speculation? No, it's pragmatically justified as a matter of fact, it gets results. Speculations do not get results.

Quote:It's scary--like trying to put together a puzzle with pieces that have no set shape or objective context. Is that the choice I face if I would choose continue in atheism?[/b]

No, that would be the choice you face if you pick post-modernism, and post modernism is complete bullshit.
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#3
RE: What Can We Believe, Then?
I believe that matter objectively exists and starting from that assumption, that reality is real, I can proceed to other evidence based beliefs no God/god or gods required.

Why do you believe in a being that magiced reality into being?

Why don't you believe that He made only you, and the entirety of your experience is an illusion maintained by that being?
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#4
RE: What Can We Believe, Then?
I guess my question is how can you still call yourself a

Quote:Roman Catholic


after all the despicable conduct of those sanctimonious bastards?


Maybe you should give a little thought to that?
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#5
RE: What Can We Believe, Then?
(March 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm)QuestingHound08 Wrote: Now, as an atheist, is it possible to deny the fundamental Personal facet of Objective Reality (otherwise known as God), and still retain intellectual integrity in proposing that I believe in an objective reality?

Nice fallacy there.

Reverend Jeremiah's Bunghole Wrote:A rabbi, a priest and a minister walk into a bar.

The bartender looks up and says, "What is this, a joke?"

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#6
RE: What Can We Believe, Then?
One can profess certainty in *anything at all*. Please don't pretend that one being certain that a thing is true means that it is so.

Being a christian, taoist, atheist, monkey with three toes, or high school bookworm is irrelevant to believing/certainty/faith.
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#7
RE: What Can We Believe, Then?
(March 22, 2011 at 5:59 pm)Minimalist Wrote: I guess my question is how can you still call yourself a

Quote:Roman Catholic


after all the despicable conduct of those sanctimonious bastards?


Maybe you should give a little thought to that?

Thank your for your comment.

Yes--yes I should definitely give thought to that--of course, I'm also a school-teacher, after hearing about countless (much higher rate, actually) abuses of children by them. Thankfully, that doesn't actually destroy what the profession is supposed to be--it just affects what people who watch the news for their understanding of it, think of in connection with it.

Being Roman Catholic means, despite the press which is far from impartial here: standing with the ancient body that has protected and put forth more statements about the dignity of the human individual, the need for mutual respect and cooperation, and the inherent worth of all life, than any other in the history of man. And not only statements of words, but deeds--the Catholic Church feeds and clothes and tends to more poor and sick than any other institution in the world--she backs up her bill. Even more--she hasn't contradicted her official teaching for 2000 years--the expressions and rituals of the Church may have been updated, but the foundation has never been contradicted. If anyone ever showed me undeniably that it had, I wouldn't be Catholic. But I sure as heck wouldn't leave over somebody acting like a jerk, who calls themselves Catholic--even if that person were a higher-up...because the Catholic Church is an institution and a religion, not a breakfast club you pick just for the company. You're always going to have people--sometimes even a LOT, who just plain ignore the rules they profess. They're called hypocrites, and they're hypocrites exactly because they do NOT give a good example of what they believe...to hear us talk in the news nowadays, you'd think that Sodomy, Pedophilia, and Cover-Ups are what the Catholic Church endorses and believes. Sheesh. It's happened before in every religious body around the globe, and, God help us, its going to continue to tempt people--you've just got to say no do hurting other people and falsifying your integrity. Some do, some don't. But just because some don't that doesn't change the meaning of the word integrity, or make the creed of Catholicism false.

If you or any other person take examples of a couple, a dozen or a hundred of play-acting priests who don't know what it means to do their job, and who consciously actually go against everything the profession stands for--if you try to dress that up as "The Church" you are doing yourself and the Church and the world that listens to you, a grave disservice. Believe what they do or not, their insitution is the foundation of most of our legal individual rights (the valuing of the individual based on the idea he or she is in the image of God). Even today, they continue to embody (albeit, including an idea of the supernatural) everything an Atheist Utopian dreamer could come up with for the affirmation of natural human dignity and individual rights. That's not an accident.

So no...I don't let sanctimonious hypocrites play the red-herring and distract me from the chief concern--whether or not Catholicism is true. And this comes from a person who has friends and teachers who have been abused by priests. I know its there. I also know that they're human--and being Catholic is no guarantee of being a Saint--its just the road that's given us to walk. And I believe its the right road.

JMJ
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#8
RE: What Can We Believe, Then?
So, why would you focus on Min's post when there are people who actually answered your question and not just attack your character?
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#9
RE: What Can We Believe, Then?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Ch..._evolution
http://www.reformed.org/webfiles/antithe...canon.html
http://www.christiantruth.com/articles/assumption.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_...lic_Church

How one gets the impression that the RCC of today is anything like the RCC of yesteryear is beyond me. I also wouldn't put the RCC forward as a champion of human dignity, or you'll end up with page after page of church mandated atrocities, carried out by the clergy, with full support of the faithful. That they feed the poor is commendable, their stance on birth control contributes to this problem greatly and so they have a responsibility to do something about it, I'd say. The misdeeds of clergy were bad, of course, and not really the fault of the RCC per se. Their actions in suppressing the release of this information, and shielding clergy from the law are squarely on the shoulders of the RCC as a whole, since it was no small effort limited to a few individuals. I'm sorry if I can't take the idea of the RCC as "the good guys" seriously. You, as a roman catholic, sure, you're probably a decent guy. The RCC just has too many skeletons in it's closet for me to even try to withhold judgement.
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#10
RE: What Can We Believe, Then?
Because I hit him where it hurts, Rhiz.


Quote:I'm also a school-teacher, after hearing about countless (much higher rate, actually) abuses of children by them


Whether or not that's true it is also largely irrelevant. If your definition of "catholic goodness" is that they are not as big a bunch of child fuckers as another group then I think you really have drunk way too much of their cool aid.

You see, your priests...and their hierarchy which enabled them to abuse children...claim some sort of moral high ground which "teachers" do not.

For every "glorious" part of the church you can come up with I can run of a string of crimes against humanity.

All of the the bastards should be in jail.
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