[Reader-list] Some difference in viewpoints

Jamie Dow jamie.dow at pobox.com
Fri Dec 20 19:12:50 IST 2002

Hmmmm. There is something fundamentally right about this questionning
approach to religion. I fully endorse it. It seems to me to spring from the
very same roots as produces good science.

What is more surprising to me is how satisfied contributors seem to be with
mere assertion "I believe x", "I don't believe y". If the instinct is
correct that drives us to inquire and seek out reliable ways of getting
knowledge, then we would perhaps expect some appeal to evidence underpinning
both assertions and denials within the religious (as any other) arena.

If religious claims are to be assessed as true or false, then we need to
look specifically at what their truth claims are. And then at what evidence
there is that they are true.

If religious claims are to be treated as ways of life, nothing more than
ethics, then we will need to determine whether they are desireable or not,
i.e. would it be good to adopt this way or life & behaviour? In order to do
this, we will need some independent desires, or measures of desireability,
and measure the claims against them. A number of candidates have proved
popular here!

In both types of assessment, there will be found to be radical differences
between the claims of different religions. The kind of blanket assessment of
"spirituality" characteristic of the debate so far runs the risk of
producing results and assessments that don't apply to any actual religion.

It is interesting to see how different these issues look depending on one's
background. Certainly in the view from my own eyes, UK based and Christian,
I see Christians flocking into the natural sciences (I rather wish there was
greater interest in the Arts sometimes, but I suppose perhaps that viewed
historically there's been enough!), some becoming very eminent, and some
very eminent scientists becoming Christians. This doesn't seem to require
the excising of all but rational elements from the Christian worldview, but
it does seem to require at least that the Christian worldview be justifiable
in the way that any worldview may be by appeal to evidence. If this is in
place, then less calculating aspects can have their place, just as they do
within the security of relationships with family and friends.

Perhaps a different schema of evaluation is required, where truth-claims
take a less central place. There might be such thing as a mystical
epistemology, a spiritual heuristic .... I'm not sure what they would look
like, but perhaps others might care to venture suggestions.

-----Original Message-----
From: reader-list-admin at mail.sarai.net
[mailto:reader-list-admin at mail.sarai.net]On Behalf Of Cyril Gupta
Sent: 20 December 2002 23:17
To: reader-list at sarai.net
Subject: [Reader-list] Some difference in viewpoints


I don't share exactly your views.. There are several important differences.

God as a higher form of life (not an omnipotent super-being). Maybe an
alien life form that played a role in our existence and we regard that as
god. (x. Robots if intelligent enough or if programmed to might consider
their creators as god).

I don't think God governs our life, or believe in things like heaven and

I don't believe that God punishes the sinners or rewards the pious people.
(corollary of the earlier point.)

I don't believe God is listening to our prayers.

I don't believe in prophets or that God has outlined a code of conduct for
us as provided in the scriptures.

I don't believe in religion.

In other words, strip all Godlike powers from God. What you have left is my
interpretation of God.

It is possible that God is dead.

God might as well be a human invention.

To understand what I am suggesting, please try and read Arthur C Clarke's
2001 a Space Odyssey, and look for the aliens who arrive on Earth in the
beginning of time, they might as well be our Gods.


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