Monday, July 29, 2013

WHY SHOULD WE BELIEVE IN THEISM?-- Jersey Flight

We are asking more or less an honest question, or at least we are asking in an honest way: what is it about one’s “particular theism” that should compel us to believe one’s theism?

How many moral conclusions are drawn about the person who does not believe? He is said to be defective in some way; but on what basis? How are these beliefs sustained?

In order to posit that one has a defect (in lack of belief toward a specific God) one must first be able to establish the virtue of belief in God; one must first be able to prove that belief in God is equivalent to intelligence (or some other positive attribute).

But how does the theist do this? Does he not bear the burden of proof to establish the value of belief in his specific God? Does one leap or does one abide by reason; or does one argue that all reason is a leap, and therefore, makes the leap of one’s theism equivalent to the leap of reason? [I say the latter is an analogical confusion.]

We have been exposed too volumes of theism (a labyrinth of persuasion); we have lived with the arguments for the existence of God for several ages, but none of them has ever established the existence of God! What does the theist really have besides the insistence of his belief?

We are still waiting for that grand champion to set us straight, to master us in the arena of dialectic, nay, to bring forth his belief as truth!

Why are we supposed to believe in one’s particular theism (and here the question is most subtle because all men seem to have a different kind of theism)?

If there is a sphere of reason/ evidence, which imparts the truth of theism, I want to hold this persuasive, compelling sphere in my hands--- but as of yet we have received no such sphere!

Will the theist argue that the evidence is overwhelming; that we have simply interpreted nature in light of Naturalistic ideals? In other words, even if the most compelling evidence for one’s God were to smack us sharply in the face, “we would simply reinterpret that evidence to accord with our Naturalistic presuppositions.” This is nonsense: all presuppositions are Naturalistic/ there is no way around it! (Or at least the person who thinks there is bears the burden of proof to demonstrate his claim). Even further, this is a ploy of confusion, a kind of hyper-controlling contrast. One, in effect, creates a distorted narrative so as to put forth the appearance of a rational thesis.

We only need to ask the question as to how men by nature interpret the events and objects of nature? To stand before a tree is to admit to the existence of an object we can touch, taste and see... to go beyond this is to go too far. The reason this logic cannot be inverted is because there actually is an object before us (call it what you will, explain it how you will, but what is not controversial, is that an object is there)! [One is free to deny it, but in the face of such radical skepticism, any hope for theism would be dead as well.*] We have no choice but to begin where we must.

Man exists: this means something, but more importantly, the fact that man exists, commits him to something, and it is this commitment (a commitment which is forced by existence) that does not permit him to affirm whatsoever he wills or desires. Philosophy begins in existence; dialectic presupposes existence and existence necessitates living, and living necessitates commitment. It is altogether disingenuous for a man to abide by the authority of induction, as he seeks to intelligently live his life, and then forsake that principle in favor of transcendental theism. Of course we explain phenomena in light of Naturalistic principles--- we don’t have any other principles by which to explain phenomena! Those who say we do bear the burden of proof/ must establish the existence and authority of their extra-dimensional principles. As far as we know, man has, as of yet, never escaped himself or the universe. 
  

NOTES-----------------------------

*This point cannot be emphasized enough. In most cases the theist reverts to a dialectic of radical skepticism, but HE NEVER turns this dialectic on his own suppositions! Suppose we find an apple on the ground, we ask the question as to what caused it to fall, Newton says gravity (and then explains the mathematical properties of gravity given the rotation of the earth); the theist at this point plays the part of the radical skeptic, he seeks to prove that the explanation of gravity is theoretically absurd--- but what does he offer in its place--- the theist claims that some vague concept of deity (an invisible phantom!) caused the apple to fall to the ground! As if radical skepticism would not all-the-more shatter his eccentric thesis! Even if problematic, according to the invincible precepts of radical skepticism, Newton still comes out vastly stronger in his explanation. A good way to demonstrate this to the theist is to swap his theistic explanation for an alternative metaphysical explanation (one he will have no choice but to admit as absurd) contrasted with a more rational, more sane, scientific explanation. The fact that the theist will admit the insane eccentricities of the alternative view, but still insists on the truth of his own, is proof of one thing: it is time to leave the conversation--- you are dealing with an incompetent-ignorant. [Of course, be sure to tell him why he is incompetent and ignorant before you leave the conversation, which effectively amounts to the fact that he can’t comprehend the fallacy of special pleading in concert with his confirmation bias. He doesn’t realize (simply can’t see) that his own explanation is vastly worse than the one he seeks to criticize.]   

It is also instructive to note at which point the theist takes on the role of the radical skeptic. Just so long as the premise of gravity in no way interferes with his theism it will not be denied (will even be admitted as uncontroversial and sane), but the moment the authority of the thesis of gravity conflicts with his theism is the moment the theist becomes an inconsistent, radical skeptic. This would perhaps, be not so controversial, if the theist was not himself (from the very foundation of his criticism) committed to Naturalistic principles, that he is, at this very moment, seeking to deny. It would perhaps not be so hypocritical if his own view could withstand, his lately-adopted, mock skepticism. Why does Netwon still come forth with a stronger position? Because the theist shares (necessarily so) more of the presuppositions conducive to Newton’s position, which is simply to say, in order to make the claim that a particular belief of theism is true one must first assume the validity of certain Naturalistic principles; principles which are now being criticized in order to argue for the authority of theism. This is what we call ontological and epistemological dishonesty.  

QUALANCES:

[1] It is clear that one could seek to give us a hard time (the theist always desires to reverse reason--- not that one can blame him). How many moral conclusions are drawn about the person who does believe? But even here one must have the conversation as to the justification and truth of one’s conclusions.

[2] The idea of reason being a leap is not something I will presume to establish (I make no such positive claim), but something I will address if the right person can make the argument. From the start I would draw a distinction between that which is necessary and that which is arbitrary. In the long run I believe this would be more than proficient to refute the reduction of reason to the equivalent of faith.  

[3] By “bring forth his belief as truth,” I do not mean a kind of absolute certainty or objectivity (unless this is the claim or standard being made by the theist), but that which is consistent with our existential commitments. For my part I know of no other way beyond that of rational and evidential probability. Any philosopher is entitled to prove that he or she can climb higher.

[4] The battle of theism is to be fought precisely on the ground of presuppositions. The claim of the theist is not consistent with his existential commitments. All men start with self, which already serves to limit the possibility of the metaphysical conclusion. The power of this approach is that it actually settles the issue as to what qualifies as proof!

Friday, July 12, 2013

THE FANTASTIC IDEA OF REVELATION-- Jersey Flight

The question as to the existence of revelation...

Can we even define such a thing? The very concept implies something from without; something that cannot be obtained from within; something that must be given or bestowed upon man, but in order for revelation to exist (in the theistic sense of the term) it must first be established that A God of Revelation exists. Hence, natural theology is a necessity to the theist. But the tragedy of natural theology is that it limits the outcome of theism. In effect, this is a vicious circle: the concept of revelation presupposes the necessity of the existence of God, while the concept of God presupposes the necessity of revelation. The concept of God, in order to be specific, requires content— natural theology has no choice but to produce theistic particularity on the assumption of the authority of revelation (which is really nothing more than a subjective interpretation). God has no value without incorporeal attributes, but incorporeal attributes cannot be deduced from nature (theism requires a text)— nature theology does not go far enough to establish the existence of a transcendent, personal God (let alone a Christian concept of God)!

This is clearly seen in Christianity (though Christianity is quite distinct from theism): “As Christians we have the testimony of God living within us, the Holy Spirit who bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God... How does the believer know that Christianity is true? He knows because of the self-authenticating witness of God’s Spirit who lives within him.” William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, third edition pg.46 

Insanity, absurdity, hyper superstition, a God of theological conspiracy!  

None of these ideas can be deduced from nature— they desperately require something (a text??) in order to be established. But what can a text do for those who refuse to affirm its authority? And yet, in order to provide theism with content one must go beyond natural theology, but where, what is left to man? How does one deduce the proposition that God is living in us? How does one deduce, that most fanatical and absurd concept of the Holy Spirit from nature? How does one establish the authority and existence of the beyond and then direct its favor toward that of particular theism (holy spirits and trinities)? This is simply ridiculous (only fools would advocate a kinder word). 
   
The Christian’s answer is always the same, never lacking in subterfuge, never lacking in craftiness: “Now at first blush it might seem self-defeating or perhaps circular for me to appeal to scriptural proof texts concerning the witness of the Spirit, as if to say that we believe in the Spirit’s witness because the Scripture says there is such a witness. But insofar as ours is an “in-house” discussion among Christians, it is entirely appropriate to lay out what Scripture teaches on religious epistemology. In interacting with a non-Christian, by contrast, one would simply say that we Christians do in fact experience the inner testimony of God’s Spirit.” Ibid. pg.44  
  
Never mind that this is self-defeating, never mind that it is circular, never mind that the author does believe in the idea of the Spirit, and the Spirit’s witness, because he affirms the truth of the words of an ancient document as he sees fit to interpret those words (affirms the authority of his interpretation)... But au contraire, as if to save one’s self from criticism by that which is most convenient (one just happens to have a parachute in one’s back pocket): all of this is simply nullified by the fact that the Christian is having an “in-house” conversation! “In the circle we believe that magical little fairies breathe life dust into our nostrils, but outside the sphere we play the game of having lungs and a world full of air,” but never mind the fact as to what one really believes (what happens in the circle bears no burden).

How could one possibly prove that they experience the “inner testimony of God’s Spirit?” How could one possibly prove that God has a “Spirit” or a “testimony” apart from the assumption of revelation?

[All of this makes for bad reading and poor thinking. One should seek out more worthy opponents: Christian theism is too easily refuted! A competent philosopher desires a challenge in order to increase his skill; in order to advance his conversation in the world. If one only refutes fanatics one’s power will remain small.]

Perhaps it will be claimed that if revelation does exist it would itself be an evidence. “By god if there were such a thing as revelation, given the fact of the transcendental nature of the claim, the only way to prove that it was revelation, would be the claim of revelation itself.”

The problem is the idea of knowledge from another realm... how does one establish such a premise? How does one prove that such a thing exists? Clearly the claim of revelation itself is insufficient to establish the conclusion of revelation. If this were the case then every claim of revelation would have to be taken at face value (but this is never the case with theism).* The theist is only interested in his own revelation, and all those claims which contradict his claims, must be violently rejected. “Clearly (x) must be false in that it does not agree with (p)!”   
    
What then is the criterion of revelation? I posit there can be no such thing. Even if revelation does exist there is no way man could possibly know it. Our rational methods are simply not suited to discover whether or not revelation exists. One might believe it exists; one might claim it exists, one might interpret, one might insist, one might assert, but none of this will establish the claim that there is such a thing as revelation!

THE CONCLUSION IS:

Even
if
there
were
such
a
thing
as
revelation
there
is
no
way
man
could
know
it.

To every theist who thinks different, by all means, step up and defend your claim.  


NOTES--------------------------    

*The other interesting thing here is the evidential and rational attempt to resolve competing revelatory claims. Notice what this proves: it proves that revelation is not itself an authority, but that it must appeal to something more primitive; something more essential; something more authoritative than itself (it proves that something stands above revelation)! How then can one appeal to revelation, if one must first appeal to evidence and reason in order to establish revelation? By way of existential commitment, this would necessarily prove that one believes in the authority of evidence and reason above that of revelation. The only way to escape this commitment would be to resolve competing claims of revelation on the authority of revelation, but since revelation is not authoritative, in and of itself, there is no way to resolve the tension apart from evidence and reason.

The problem in context: If a theist seeks to claim that there is such a thing as revelation then he bears the burden of proof; he must demonstrate the veracity of what he claims. However, and in most cases unbeknownst to the theist, the problem of revelation is first and foremost a problem of the existence of God, and not just any God, but A God of Revelation is something painfully specific! The ontology of the claim requires that the theist first establish the existence of a very specific God.    

Thursday, July 11, 2013

THE RELEVANCE OF THEISM-- Jersey Flight

Is theism worth refuting? This is a most interesting question; should we deal with it at all? Perhaps we should simply ignore it? It seems altogether possible (in this day and age) to live beyond the pestilence of theism [one can simply walk away]. And the fact that we can ask such questions; and the fact that such questions have relevance; and the fact that such questions must be asked (if one would not to waste one’s life) is only further evidence of the growing insignificance of theism; a kind of forced nullification (theism has been pacified)! Theism is in violent decay; a kind of absolute decadence (not a transfiguration but a mutilation from which it will not return).

We have rejected theism out of necessity. (This is very much like the skeptic who desires truth but realizes he cannot obtain it). In this sense skepticism is an organic conclusion. Theism cannot be defended, and as such, cannot be affirmed (in this sense Naturalism is an organic conclusion).

One might ask us how we explain the longevity and success of theism in previous ages. The answer here is simple: human nature longs for a thesis of certainty in the face of uncertainty; yearns for comfort in the face of death; for a sure word to stabilize a dark existence [from the time of birth everything is mystery]. That which succeeded in theism was not the ideals of theism (theology is void of power), but that which succeeded in theism was the Naturalism of theism*--- in that it formed communities--- in that it was (or at least appeared to be) a better alternative than barbarism (it was at one time relevantly pragmatic). Needless to say, we are beyond this point in human history; man does not need theism in order to advance... theism is the stone of the past it can do nothing but hold us down... and as the fluctuating waters of evolution swell it would cause us to drown. At this point in human history theism is barbarism; it is an example of the primitive!      
  
We have nearly completed the stage wherein theism can simply be dismissed (this is to be expected in that the Naturalistic framework is nearly complete). Culture is no longer theocentric (or at least it is swiftly drifting away from theism). What is left is nothing more than a few enthusiastic jugglers who occupy the street; a few frivolous sheepherders, piddling preachers (those who know how to annoy us with the decibels of their empty speech)... needless to say, they will soon be swept away; the gutters are ripe with their decay.

What is the audience of the theist if not the theist himself? Their straw-men infatuations; their exotic emphasis; their theatrical-seriousness is easily incinerated, nullified by rational pragmatism [existence itself!]: men do not turn to God for healing they turn to science; even the best of their theologians affirms the authority of science... (need we say more?)--- above that of their own theism!

Make no mistake, be not discouraged; for the authority and power of this pragmatic, Naturalistic line will continue to grow, and the terror of the theist (his white ghostly face) is due to the fact that theism has no equivalent by way of power; the theist can say everything, but that is the trouble with theism--- there is nothing behind the passion of the claim!


NOTES-----------------------------

*Most specifically stated: theism does indeed presuppose the supremacy of Naturalism, even as it speaks from the premise of Naturalism. Every supernatural claim in theism is first and foremost an argument for the supremacy of Naturalism. That which has authority is not theism but Naturalism; a thesis, which at every point in theism, is confirmed by theism. A conclusion in theism means the authority of the premise of Naturalism. And in our case this is not simply an empty assertion toward the appearance of power-- dramatic machinations. Naturalism, as it exists, as it is presupposed by theism, contains the actual ability of the thesis of power; it is the axiom of supernaturalism! This can easily be defended beyond the mark of mere assertion.