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Athena
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I believe it is scientifically incorrect to say animals have morals. That is because they do not have language, so they can not think about morals

??? :blink: ???

 

Okay, what you've just said is so fantastically wrong I'm not even sure where to start. Animals absolutely do have language, and countless studies confirm this. Whether it be songbirds or elephants, whales, dolphins, or apes... There is even an entire wiki page just for the topic of animal language: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_language

 

Additionally, countless studies show moral behaviors in animals, whether you acknowledge this or not. Given your premises are so horrendously distant from the truth, I feel no need to address the rest of your post.

 

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/5373379/Animals-can-tell-right-from-wrong.html

 

Scientists studying animal behaviour believe they have growing evidence that species ranging from mice to primates are governed by moral codes of conduct in the same way as humans.

 

Until recently, humans were thought to be the only species to experience complex emotions and have a sense of morality.

 

But Prof Marc Bekoff, an ecologist at University of Colorado, Boulder, believes that morals are "hard-wired" into the brains of all mammals and provide the "social glue" that allow often aggressive and competitive animals to live together in groups.

 

He has compiled evidence from around the world that shows how different species of animals appear to have an innate sense of fairness, display empathy and help other animals that are in distress.

 

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/4632069/Morality-may-have-roots-in-our-primate-ancestors.html

 

Although morality has always been viewed as a human trait that sets us apart from the animals, it now appears our closest ancestors share the same scruples.

 

Scientists have that discovered monkeys and apes can make judgements about fairness, offer sympathy and help and remember obligations.

 

Researchers say the findings may demonstrate morality developed through evolution, a view that is likely to antagonise the devoutly religious, who see it as God-given.

 

Professor Frans de Waal, who led the study at Emory University in Georgia, US, said: “I am not arguing that non-human primates are moral beings but there is enough evidence for the following of social rules to agree that some of the stepping stones towards human morality can be found in other animals.”

 

 

The professor who led the above cited study also gave a talk on TED where he shared several different experiments and observations that are contrary to your point:

 

 

 

Whoo, how many science subjects do you discuss like an authority, without reading one book in that field of science?

You really ought not make comments like this when your own approach to discussion is so consistently flawed and based on inaccurate assertions and biased reasoning.

 

I don't think there is one science forum where a person would dare to argue without any back ground in the science.

Oh... dear. You really don't pay very close attention to what goes on in these fora then, do you?

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Did you really mean to say it is our capacity for math that really makes us divine? This is a very odd idea. Logic would say that either we share an identity with the Divine or we are not divine.

 

I understand that you meant this to be more than entertainment, and I'm all for talking about these issues. Just not in such an unscientific and endlessly inconclusive way. I think a discussion on a science forum should be more concerned with facts and data. Maybe it's just me though.

 

Good you are still here. Absolutely I meant what I said about math and being divine. The Greeks believed we are made in the image of the gods because we can reason (we have the power of speech). Chardin wrote, God is asleep in rocks and minerals, waking in plants and animals, to know self in man.

 

I think a problem in this thread is I am coming from Greek and Eastern philosophy and reasoning, and those who have not studied philosophy, are thinking only of God as the bible defines God. I chose math because math is a path to the idea that we are made in the image of the gods, and the path to understanding logos, reason, the controlling force of the universal. You know, as gravity is one of the laws that make our reality possible. It is the reason we do not fall off the ball we live on. With math comes ideas like a triangle is a triangle on earth, and on the moon, or any where else. A triangle is the power of the triad. "The triad is the form of completion of all things". Michomachus of Gerara. "A whole is that which has a beginning, middle and end". Aristotle. The book "A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe, The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science" by Michael S Schneider, gives us the concepts, for understanding logos, and Plato's forms, and later, what was picked by Christians as an understanding that perfection is not earthly, but is of another realm.

 

Greek math is built upon Egyptian math, and you know it was used to divine the time of floods, the time to plant, and eclipses. In Egypt, the priest were thought to be divine because they could divine.

 

I think when we contemplate God from the ancients point of view and Eastern philosophy, we have a different understanding than if all we know of God comes from the bible?

 

I am doing my best to be as factual as I can be, but may be metaphysics is not just about facts. Like not all concepts are facts, but they speak of truth, right? Math is so much more than a fact. It is a "Mind Tool" that can be used in many ways, but is the traid a fact or a concept? God is not a fact, but a concept, right?

 

??? :blink: ???

 

Okay, what you've just said is so fantastically wrong I'm not even sure where to start. Animals absolutely do have language, and countless studies confirm this. Whether it be songbirds or elephants, whales, dolphins, or apes... There is even an entire wiki page just for the topic of animal language: http://en.wikipedia....Animal_language

 

Additionally, countless studies show moral behaviors in animals, whether you acknowledge this or not. Given your premises are so horrendously distant from the truth, I feel no need to address the rest of your post.

 

 

http://www.telegraph...from-wrong.html

 

 

 

 

http://www.telegraph...-ancestors.html

 

 

 

 

The professor who led the above cited study also gave a talk on TED where he shared several different experiments and observations that are contrary to your point:

 

http://www.ted.com/t...ave_morals.html

 

 

 

You really ought not make comments like this when your own approach to discussion is so consistently flawed and based on inaccurate assertions and biased reasoning.

 

 

Oh... dear. You really don't pay very close attention to what goes on in these fora then, do you?

 

I am tired and going to bed. Maybe in the morning I deal with your personal attacks substituting of logical arguments, but not tonight.

 

I think you better do some research about animals and language. They make sounds and they respond to them, as mother responds to a crying baby or a child's giggles. However, these sounds are not language. Experiments with higher order primates pushes us believe animals are capable of language, however, they not be discussing politics any time soon. They do not the language necessary for contemplating if it is immoral to have sex before marriage.

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I think you better do some research about animals and language.

I have, and I ask you kindly to cease from making further assumptions about what I have and have not studied. It does your argument no good, and only serves to show your willingness to argue based on unfounded assumptions.

 

They make sounds and they respond to them, as mother responds to a crying baby or a child's giggles. However, these sounds are not language.

As I mentioned above, you can ignore the evidence all you want, but you are quite simply mistaken on this point.

 

Experiments with higher order primates pushes us believe animals are capable of language, however, they not be discussing politics any time soon.

Whether or not something can reasonably be defined as language is not contingent upon the subject or topic being explored by said language.

 

They do not the language necessary for contemplating if it is immoral to have sex before marriage.

This is a positive assertion. You are here now making a claim and putting it forth as fact. It serves as a foundational pillar of your entire position. Can you now supply any evidence whatsoever to support it? I seriously doubt you can, despite the clear rules in this forum that you must, but I will here now formally request it all the same.

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Sorry I don't have time to find the sites that explain animals do not use language. Nor time to read everything carefully, and I promise to do so as soon as possible.

 

In the mean time, for those who think "truth" is all we need, that would be truth about what? God covers many things and religions gives us moral principles, how do we achieve this without religion or a concept of God? I have said how this done, but wonder if that was noticed?

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Sorry I don't have time to find the sites that explain animals do not use language. Nor time to read everything carefully, and I promise to do so as soon as possible.

 

In the mean time, for those who think "truth" is all we need, that would be truth about what? God covers many things and religions gives us moral principles, how do we achieve this without religion or a concept of God? I have said how this done, but wonder if that was noticed?

 

 

God gives us moral principles? Which ones? Do you really need god to know that hurting others is bad? Can't we do without all the horrific stuff gods have supposedly told us to do in their names?

 

Animals do not use language? I think you need to support that one... Even insects communicate with each other...

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Sorry Athena, I have to agree with Moontanman on this. There is no evidence that God gives us moral principles, nor that animals do not use language.

 

It does seem true that many people believe that without God there can be no moral principles, but it is not a necessary view. Hobbes' Leviathon and all that. I missed your bit about how to have morals without God but would agree that this is no problem. It may even be a lot easier.

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Sorry Athena, I have to agree with Moontanman on this. There is no evidence that God gives us moral principles, nor that animals do not use language.

 

It does seem true that many people believe that without God there can be no moral principles, but it is not a necessary view. Hobbes' Leviathon and all that. I missed your bit about how to have morals without God but would agree that this is no problem. It may even be a lot easier.

 

Laugh, I am dealing with mother nature, because I garden, and I think she is a wonderful teacher of morals. For this reason I have agreed to share my plot with my daughter in law who seriously annoys me! As long as she is working the garden, it will not be my garden, but her learning experience that is what will have to give me satisfaction. I remember so well, the first year I did a garden and bulked at harvesting when mother nature said it was time to harvest. I lost most my produce, and never again tried to do things my way instead of mother's nature way. I think everyone should have to grow their own food for at least 3 years. It would be a shame if they gave up instead of learning from their mistakes, and trying again the next year. We learn morals through experience and with our human communication, parables, plays and movies, folk tales, studying philosophy, etc..

 

I am often amazed by how difficult communication is. People keep confusing Christianity with what I am saying, and this results in a complete break down in communication. If people were coming from classical philosophy, this would not be a problem in my communication. I really am offended by the idea that "without God there can be no moral principles", unless we also say, without God there would be no gravity, because logos, is reason, the controlling force of the universe. We are born equal under the sun and what is moral for one is moral for all. The only difference is some are aware of morals and others are not, but how do we become aware of them? Plant a garden and see what mother nature has to teach. Pick up a book and read what science has revealed. Study philosophy. A moral is a matter of cause and effect, and it is the same for Christians and non Christians. Speaking of Christianity there is this little problem with the idea that a God can be manipulated with sacrifices, prayers, or other rituals. God or mother nature will not change the course of nature, because we want to go vacation and will not be back to water your garden for a week. How do I say? God does not go against the laws of nature, and our sacrifices, prayers, etc. do not get us special favors, nor do the laws treat those pagans any differently from the pious.

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Laugh, I am dealing with mother nature, because I garden, and I think she is a wonderful teacher of morals. For this reason I have agreed to share my plot with my daughter in law who seriously annoys me! As long as she is working the garden, it will not be my garden, but her learning experience that is what will have to give me satisfaction. I remember so well, the first year I did a garden and bulked at harvesting when mother nature said it was time to harvest. I lost most my produce, and never again tried to do things my way instead of mother's nature way. I think everyone should have to grow their own food for at least 3 years. It would be a shame if they gave up instead of learning from their mistakes, and trying again the next year. We learn morals through experience and with our human communication, parables, plays and movies, folk tales, studying philosophy, etc..

 

I am often amazed by how difficult communication is. People keep confusing Christianity with what I am saying, and this results in a complete break down in communication. If people were coming from classical philosophy, this would not be a problem in my communication. I really am offended by the idea that "without God there can be no moral principles", unless we also say, without God there would be no gravity, because logos, is reason, the controlling force of the universe. We are born equal under the sun and what is moral for one is moral for all. The only difference is some are aware of morals and others are not, but how do we become aware of them? Plant a garden and see what mother nature has to teach. Pick up a book and read what science has revealed. Study philosophy. A moral is a matter of cause and effect, and it is the same for Christians and non Christians. Speaking of Christianity there is this little problem with the idea that a God can be manipulated with sacrifices, prayers, or other rituals. God or mother nature will not change the course of nature, because we want to go vacation and will not be back to water your garden for a week. How do I say? God does not go against the laws of nature, and our sacrifices, prayers, etc. do not get us special favors, nor do the laws treat those pagans any differently from the pious.

 

 

Carol, I was very careful in my post to make sure I was not referencing any particular god or gods, please do not assume I am talking about a christian god because I am not. I was referring to the concept of god in general...

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That's already refuted. You know what Homer said about Athena in the Odyssey? "The minds of the everlasting gods aren't suddenly changed".

 

If you can't change your mind on the simplest conclusion when you get new information how can you advocate liberal education? Obstinately holding to a regimented view is everything you rail against and it's all you're doing.

 

Read the relevant chapter in the report. The 1917 vocational education act is founded on non-military concerns.

 

Excuse me, I am speaking facts and these facts come out of books. They are not something you or I can change. The reasoning for vocational education, just happened to come up when the US mobilized for the first world war. According to the book covering the 1917 National Education Association Conference, Industry wanted to close the schools, claiming the war caused a labor shortage, and they were not getting their monies worth from education, because they still had to train new employees. Teachers argue an institution good for making good citizens is good for making patriotic citizens, and if you could see my library I would show the physical proof, in the form of form of books and documents, that public education was used to mobilize for both world wars. That is, the teachers won the argument. However, this was the first time National Defense, Industry and Education sat on the same board. Granted the whole reason for adding vocational training to education was not for military purpose in 1917, but never again was our education free of military and industrial control, which controls for something besides the original purpose of public education.

 

In 1958 the industrial and military controlling forces, completely replaced liberal education with education for technology and that changes our discussions of God. In fact , as I said in my post before this one, it has made a discussion of God coming from Greek and Roman classics, almost impossible, because the liberal reasoning is no longer common, and everything I say is interpreted with knowledge of Christianity and not knowledge of the philosophy.

 

Anyway I have a house guest and she has waited too long for my attention, so please excuse for not reading and addressing every more carefully.

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!

Moderator Note

http://www.sciencefo...post__p__692849

http://www.sciencefo...post__p__693707

http://www.sciencefo...post__p__693840

http://www.sciencefo...post__p__698177

Moved to Ethics. You were asked 4 times to keep to the thread topic and not let this thread devolve into another drawn out rail against modern education with overtones of the need for god to found morality.

Do not open any further threads on the topic of modern education and morality / god please unless you have something substantively different to say.

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The fact that yours is more of a deist god does not suddenly make it any more necessary or relevant to a conversation about morals and law.

 

Let's see, I am working with Greek and Roman philosophy, and I think you all will greatly appreciate it, when you know about it, because it has everything to do with morals and law, everything! We give Athens credit for the philosophy that is the foundation of Roman law and what makes the west the west, separate from the east, comes from Greek philosophy and Roman law. The gods are the quarks and neutrons of civilizations. As we name a new atomic particle when we ask a new question and think we have a new answer, the ancients named a new god. These gods, from the time humans began thinking in terms of many gods, are nature beings. This became more formal when civilizations became so large humans needed to organize with bureaucracies, and began appointing people to different positions of authority. When they began doing this, they realized the one God the, Earth Mother, could not possibly manage everything alone, and gradually She was replaced with Him and we shifted from matriarchy to patriarchy.

 

I think other distortions in this natural human thinking also arouse. The Sumerian story of creation seems most obvious to me a stories of weather extremes, a flood, and then an extremely long drought and death of a river, followed with a return to normal weather, and than another flood. Commonly primitive people humanized nature, just we name our machines. It is in our nature to do this and it makes the stories we tell easier to remember. As these stories convey survival information, that is very important. Later when the people who came to be known as Hebrews, translated these stories, and adjusted them to fit the idea that there is only one God, the truth behind the story is lost. I mean, the stories no longer carries the knowledge of natural events, but seems to the Hebrews a good story of creation and sin being the cause of our troubles. The Greeks give us the same story with minor deviations. The story or Adam and Eve and Pandora and the Box filled with miseries, are the same story, with slightly different reasoning.

 

Now when we come to Roman law it is based on Laws of Nature. This is not the sciences making laws, as the sciences have not been developed, but what is natural to humans. Greek philosophy establishes, laws may vary from place to place, but the morality, that in this forum, we have established is in our animal nature, is common to all man. Rome dared to rule over many city/states with different laws, and its courts had to make legal judgements when dealing with court cases involving people from different city/states with different laws. They used the Law of Nature to do this. That is they took what was common in the different laws, and effectively this became the Truth based on the Laws of Nature. Later this becomes Christianity which is a blend of popular religions, but unfortunately the religion got separated from math and philosophy which is the foundation of science. Anyway, the bottom line is, our understanding of morals and law comes out of our understanding of God even if we are Atheist, because the past philosophy and religion is what shapes our culture, and it is our culture that shapes our consciousness. Thinking you are not dealing with religion when you make judgements, is like thinking you aren't using sugar with when you use an imitation creamer for your coffee. It is in there, even you aren't aware of it. Democracy begins with the belief that we are equal under the sun, and capable of reasoning, and therefore, we are capable of governing ruling ourselves with reason. This is reasoning beyond the animal level of reasoning. Animals do not identify laws, put them in writing and regulate their lives with written laws.

 

!

Moderator Note

http://www.sciencefo...post__p__692849

 

http://www.sciencefo...post__p__693707

 

http://www.sciencefo...post__p__693840

 

http://www.sciencefo...post__p__698177

 

Moved to Ethics. You were asked 4 times to keep to the thread topic and not let this thread devolve into another drawn out rail against modern education with overtones of the need for god to found morality.

 

Do not open any further threads on the topic of modern education and morality / god please unless you have something substantively different to say.

 

 

I am editing what I said in the heat of emotion. It is not my intention to offend, but I wonder about judgment. How much reading did you do before making your arbitrary decision to move my thread and tell me what I can talk about? Why it is wrong to question, what the change in education has done to our understanding of God, and therefore, our culture and understanding of democracy? This by the way means, giving Christians an excessively restricted understanding of God that is closer to fundamentalist Islam than the liberal understand of God we had. Might there be some benefit in understanding how education shapes what we think, and even what we think about? When we think of God, we think of everything, and this is not the case when think of physics or chemistry. Our technological society is also a specialized society, and this becomes a thinking and relationship problem. How is trying to control what I say about education and God, and of God and morals and laws, different from the church trying to control what people are made aware of and discuss? Like some religious people want to end discussion of evolution, while others want to end discussion or god. Why prevent awareness of ideas?

 

Carol, I was very careful in my post to make sure I was not referencing any particular god or gods, please do not assume I am talking about a christian god because I am not. I was referring to the concept of god in general...

 

 

Moontanman, What do you know of any other explanation of God, besides the Christian one? How did you become aware of these other ways of thinking about God? Please, bring other concepts of God, and your knowledge of philosophy into this discussion. Perhaps you might share what know of native American spirituality.

 

Perhaps you would like to explain how God is not integral to the universe? You might want to argue the logic of these quotes:

 

"You cannot conceive the many without the one...The study of the unit is among those that lead the mind on and turn it to the vision of reality." Plato

 

"One principle must make the universe a single complex living creature, one from all." Plotinus

 

"Everything an Indians does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round." Black Elk

 

"The eye is the first circle, the horizon which it forms is the second: and through nature this primary figure is repeated with end." Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

"It is a fallacy of the old schools to divide man into parcels, elements, thoughts, emotions, intuitions, etc. All human faculties consist of an interconnected whole." Alfred Korzybski

 

"All are but parts of one stupendous whole". Alexander Pope

 

"Whence shall he have grief, how shall he be deluded who sees everywhere the Oneness" Isha Upanishad

 

How about answering this question, do the gods say things are wrong because they are wrong, or are things wrong because the gods say they are? What does it mean to say, even the gods are subject to reason? What are we talking about when we speak of the Laws of Nature? How is it that are Laws of Nature? Might we want to understand the Laws of Nature before flying a plane, or doing chemistry? What might want to know before governing ourselves? Why don't give gods the responsibility of voting?

Edited by Athena
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Athena - Have some sympathy. All these quotes are meaningless without some context. Like throwing confetti at the bride. There is a great deal of confusion and lack of rigour. For example, you challenge Moontanman to say how, if God is not integral to the universe, he would explain a long list of statements. I could explain them all given time, for not one of them supports the idea that there is a God. For the writers of some of these quotes it would even be unrigorous to speak of 'One', since this concept would depend on Two or Many as a complement and is thus partial, not whole. Thus we have the word advaita to describe the worldview of the Upanishads from which you quote, meaning 'not-two' but not meaning 'one', and certainly not implying God.

 

The Upanishad doctrine has no God and has instead a system of ethics and behaviour based on the nature of reality itself, 'ethical' behaviour occuring naturally for anyone able to see the truth of our common identity. No Gods required or even a rulebook. We just try, as sentient beings, to avoid self-harm. People who know about gravity don't jump off cliffs. This juist happens naturally as a result of knowledge. This is what compassion is all about in Buddhism, learning to behave as we would behave if we knew the truth, assuming we don't know it already as a living reality from our practice, and thus do it spontaneously.

Edited by PeterJ
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Athena - Have some sympathy. All these quotes are meaningless without some context. Like throwing confetti at the bride. There is a great deal of confusion and lack of rigour. For example, you challenge Moontanman to say how, if God is not integral to the universe, he would explain a long list of statements. I could explain them all given time, for not one of them supports the idea that there is a God. For the writers of some of these quotes it would even be unrigorous to speak of 'One', since this concept would depend on Two or Many as a complement and is thus partial, not whole. Thus we have the word advaita to describe the worldview of the Upanishads from which you quote, meaning 'not-two' but not meaning 'one', and certainly not implying God.

 

The Upanishad doctrine has no God and has instead a system of ethics and behaviour based on the nature of reality itself, 'ethical' behaviour occuring naturally for anyone able to see the truth of our common identity. No Gods required or even a rulebook. We just try, as sentient beings, to avoid self-harm. People who know about gravity don't jump off cliffs. This juist happens naturally as a result of knowledge. This is what compassion is all about in Buddhism, learning to behave as we would behave if we knew the truth, assuming we don't know it already as a living reality from our practice, and thus do it spontaneously.

 

The Upanishads have no gods? Will you stop misrepresenting these traditions for god sake?

 

The Vedas and the Upanishads is based on Kathenotheism, Do you know what Kathenotheism is?

 

Kathenotheism

 

 

 

 

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

 

III-ix-1: Then Vidagdha, the son of Sakala, asked him. ‘How many gods are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ Yajnavalkya decided it through this (group of Mantras known as) Nivid (saying), ‘As many as are indicated in the Nivid of the Visvadevas – three hundred and three, and three thousand and three’. ‘Very well’, said Sakalya, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘Thirty-three’. ‘Very well’, said the other, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘six’. ‘Very well’, said Sakalya, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘Three’. ‘Very well’, said the other, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘Two’. ‘Very well’, said Sakalya, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘One and a half’. ‘Very well’, said Sakalya, ‘how many gods exactly are there, Yajnavalkya ?’ ‘One’. ‘Very well’, said Sakalya, ‘which are those three hundred and three and three thousand and three ?’

 

III-ix-2: Yajnavalkya said, ‘these are but the manifestation of them, but there are only thirty-three gods.’ ‘Which are those thirty-three ?’ ‘The eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras and the twelve Adityas – these are thirty-one and Indra and Prajapati make up the thirty-three’.

 

III-ix-3: ‘Which are the Vasus /’ ‘Fire, the earth, air, the sky, the sun, heaven, the moon and the stars – these are the Vasus, for in these all this is placed; therefore they are called Vasus.’

 

III-ix-4: ‘Which are the Rudras ?’ ‘The ten organs in the human body, with the mind as the eleventh. When they depart from this mortal body, they make (one’s relatives) weep. Because they then make them weep, therefore they are called Rudras.’

 

III-ix-5: ‘Which are the Adityas ?’ ‘The twelve months (are parts) of a year; these are the Adityas, for they go taking all this with them. Because they go taking all this with them, therefore they are called Adityas.’

 

III-ix-6: ‘Which is Indra, and which is Prajapati ?’ ‘The cloud itself is Indra, and the sacrifice is Prajapati’. ‘Which is the cloud ?’ ‘Thunder (strength).’ ‘Which is the sacrifice ?’ ‘Animals’.

 

III-ix-7: ‘Which are the six (gods) ?’ ‘Fire, the earth, air, the sky, the sun, and heaven – these are the six. Because all those (gods) are (comprised in) these six.’

 

III-ix-8: ‘Which are the three gods ?’ ‘These three worlds alone, because in these all those gods are comprised.’ ‘Which are the two gods ?’ ‘Matter and the vital force.’ ‘Which are the one and a half ?’ ‘This (air) that blows.’

 

III-ix-9: ‘Regarding this some say, ‘Since the air blows as one substance, how can it be one and a half ?’ ‘ It is one and a half because through its presence all this attains surpassing glory’. ‘Which is the one god ?’ ‘The vital force (Hiranyagarbha); it is Brahman, which is called Tyat (that).’

 

 

"For the language of the Vedanticwriters ceased to be understood; their figures, symbols of thought, shades of expression became antique & unintelligible. Hence passages which, when once fathomed, reveal a depth of knowledge & delicacy of subtle thought almost miraculous in its wealth & quality, strike the casual reader today as a mass of childish, obscure & ignorant fancies characteristic of an unformed and immature thinking. Rubbish & babblings of humanity’s nonage an eminent Western scholar has termed them not knowing that it was not the text but his understanding of it that was rubbish & the babblings of ignorance."

 

- Aurobindo, Commentary on the Isha Upanishad.

 

Suffice to say your understanding of the Vedas and the Upanishads sucks.

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What leads you to this conclusion? The passages quoted? I agree with every word Aurobindo writes, and have just finished writing a review by request for a new book on Aurobindo's psychology. I'd suggest reading Professor Radhakrishnan's Philosophy of the Upanishads, which is a very clear and authoritative exposition of this worldview. If you disagree with Aurobindo or Radhakrishnan then you disagree with me. But if you're going to quote either at me then we'll have nothing to disagree about. Do you really think that the Upanishad's endorse thirty-three gods? If so then Aurobindo's point is made. Really it is ridiculous that a person can quote Aurobindo and verify his criticism at the same time. Do you not see that saying someone's understanding of the vedas and upanishads sucks is enough by itself to demonstrate the thoughtlessness of your view? It's a childish remark where there needs to be a valid objection. Is this how you talk about science? Or do you save the wild stuff for religion? Or, I suppose we could say that if you believe that the upanishads endorse theism, other than as a linguistic tool for the description of natural forces and phenomena, then we belong to different religions.

Edited by PeterJ
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What leads you to this conclusion? The passages quoted?

 

Those are anthropomorphic gods with whom you can have a dialogue with, they have forms and they are formless, they exist in a different realm. Remember this is the true Advaitic philosophical doctrine.

 

I agree with every word Aurobindo writes, and have just finished writing a review by request for a new book on Aurobindo's psychology. I'd suggest reading Professor Radhakrishnan's Philosophy of the Upanishads, which is a very clear and authoritative exposition of this worldview that I've ever found. If you disagree with Aurobindo or Radhakrishnan then you disagree with me. But if you're going to quote either at me then we'll have nothing to disagree about.

 

Do you really think that the Upanishad's endorse thirty-three gods? If so then Aurobindo's point is made. Really it is ridiculous that a person can quote Aurobindo and verify his criticism at the same time.

 

How do you think Aurobindo is agreeing with you? He is actually criticizing the positivism of science and logic of the metaphysicians.

 

The Secret of the Isha

 

 

It is now several thousands of years since men ceased to study Veda and Upanishad for the sake of Veda or Upanishad. Ever since the human mind in India, more & more intellectualised, always increasingly addicted to the secondary process of knowledge by logic & intellectual ratiocination, increasingly drawn away from the true & primary processes of knowledge by experience and direct perception, began to dislocate&dismember the many sided harmony of ancient Vedic truth & parcel it out into schools of thought & systems of metaphysics, its preoccupation has been rather with the later opinions of Sutras & Bhashyas than with the early truth of Scripture. Veda & Vedanta ceased to be guides to knowledge & became merely mines & quarries from which convenient texts might be extracted, regardless of context, to serve as weapons in the polemic disputes of metaphysicians.

 

 

I have said that the increasing intellectualisation of the Indian mind has been responsible for this great national loss. Our forefathers who discovered or received Vedic truth, did not arrive at it either by intellectual speculation or by logical reasoning. They attained it by actual & tangible experience in the spirit,—by spiritual & psychological observation, as we may say, & what they thus experienced, they understood by the instrumentality of the intuitive reason. But a time came when men felt an imperative need to give an account to themselves & to others of this supreme & immemorial Vedic truth in the terms of logic, in the language of intellectual ratiocination.

 

- Aurobindo

 

 

Its very clear that Aurobindo is criticizing the metaphysicians for applying logic and reasoning to study the Vedas and the Upanishads. The seers of Vedas and the Upanishads arrived at the truth by Revelation not through logic or based on empiricism. This is what he is criticizing, stop applying your metaphysical approach to the Upanishads, your methodology to study the Vedas and the Upanishads is wrong.

 

Yes, the Upanishads and the Vedas take the gods very seriously and they exist in a different realm. Aurobindo is right that they are more psychological. The sacrifices to gods were meant to be psychological.

 

Do you not see that saying someone's understanding of the vedas and upanishads sucks is enough by itself to demonstrate the thoughtlessness of your view? It's a childish remark where there needs to be a valid objection. Is this how you talk about science? Or do you save the wild stuff for religion?

 

There is no better way of criticizing someone's view when they are absolutely wrong.

 

Or, I suppose we could say that if you believe that the upanishads endorse theism, other than as a linguistic tool for the description of natural forces and phenomena, then we belong to different religions.

 

What do you call the muddle, I call the very soul of the Religions of the world.

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The Upanishads have no gods? Will you stop misrepresenting these traditions for god sake?

 

The Vedas and the Upanishads is based on Kathenotheism, Do you know what Kathenotheism is?

 

Kathenotheism

 

 

 

 

 

"For the language of the Vedanticwriters ceased to be understood; their figures, symbols of thought, shades of expression became antique & unintelligible. Hence passages which, when once fathomed, reveal a depth of knowledge & delicacy of subtle thought almost miraculous in its wealth & quality, strike the casual reader today as a mass of childish, obscure & ignorant fancies characteristic of an unformed and immature thinking. Rubbish & babblings of humanity's nonage an eminent Western scholar has termed them not knowing that it was not the text but his understanding of it that was rubbish & the babblings of ignorance."

 

- Aurobindo, Commentary on the Isha Upanishad.

 

Suffice to say your understanding of the Vedas and the Upanishads sucks.

 

Excuse me, I didn't know there is a law against using philosophy to understand God. Who wrote that law? It is obvious who is enforcing it. My bad I guess. You tell me exactly how are we to think of God, and who is the authority I should give the right to define God for all of us?

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Excuse me, I didn't know there is a law against using philosophy to understand God. Who wrote that law? It is obvious who is enforcing it. My bad I guess. You tell me exactly how are we to think of God, and who is the authority I should give the right to define God for all of us?

 

I am afraid, there is a law. Just go by evidence.

 

 

In the view of leading quantum physicist Bernard d’Espagnat, any tentative philosophical approach to a world-view should take information coming from contemporary physics into account quite seriously.”

 

It is obvious that philosophers, even while reflecting on general matters not related to nature, often rely on concepts and notions pertaining to classical physics such as locality, distinguishability, continuity, and absolute space and time. Most of these notions, however, are either no more valid or have a restricted domain of validity in today’s physics.

 

- Jonathon Duqette, philosopher of Religion.

 

This is the reason why atheists criticize theists that they don't agree with a concept of God with each other.

 

God is a religious concept and it belongs to Religion, don't corrupt the word God.

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Hi Immortal - You say that it's very clear that Aurobindo is criticizing the metaphysicians for applying logic and reasoning to the study of the Vedas and the Upanishads. It is not clear to me. Indeeded, I would say he is criticicising them for not doing this.

 

It is true that western philosophy in general, despite exceptions, has almost no understanding of this doctrine, but it is not going to reach one unless by the application of logic and reason to it, unless it is by taking up the practice and trusting to empiricism. The idea that religion requires us to abandon logic and reason is a most pernicious and dangerous one. It would render any analysis pointless, and would mean that there is no point in using our god-given brains as a guide to truth. Anything at all might then be true.

 

Until we know that it is pointless I would suggest that we must use logic and reason as a guide to the plausibility of a cosmological doctrine just as we would for a scientific theory. And they are not unconnected areas of work. One advantage of Aurobindo's view is that it makes some sense of nonlocal effects, for example, while theism sheds no light at all on them. It also survives philsophical analysis, which monotheism does not. The trouble with theism is that it is nonreductive.

 

In his Enneads Plotinus advises us that when we read the literature of the more profound views of religion we should always preface statements about reality with the words 'It is as if'. This saves us from taking talk of God too literally, and reminds us of the contraints placed on us by language and conceptual thinking. In this respect Kabbalism is an interesting example, since here the idea that God is not fundamental is made clear and explicit.

 

However, just to be conciliatory, I would be happy to concede that God is an important and useful phenomenon, even if an ultimate ontology would leave him out, since His existence would be a close approximation to the truth. If we lived as if the literalist Christian God existed then we could not go far wrong. But I'm with the Buddhists, who explain God as misinterpreted meditative experience. Not a false experience, but the anthropomorphisation of a deeper truth. This is the orthodox view in the wisdom traditions, and the reason why it has for so long been dangerous to belong to one.

 

I know you will disagree, but I see no way to solve this disagreement. I believe totally in logic and reason, at least up to the point where they must give way to empiricism. so can only keep appealing to them.

Edited by PeterJ
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The Upanishads have no gods? Will you stop misrepresenting these traditions for god sake?

 

The Vedas and the Upanishads is based on Kathenotheism, Do you know what Kathenotheism is?

 

Kathenotheism

 

 

 

 

 

"For the language of the Vedanticwriters ceased to be understood; their figures, symbols of thought, shades of expression became antique & unintelligible. Hence passages which, when once fathomed, reveal a depth of knowledge & delicacy of subtle thought almost miraculous in its wealth & quality, strike the casual reader today as a mass of childish, obscure & ignorant fancies characteristic of an unformed and immature thinking. Rubbish & babblings of humanity's nonage an eminent Western scholar has termed them not knowing that it was not the text but his understanding of it that was rubbish & the babblings of ignorance."

 

- Aurobindo, Commentary on the Isha Upanishad.

 

Suffice to say your understanding of the Vedas and the Upanishads sucks.

 

 

Thank you for expanding our understanding. This is very important to our discussion.

 

I thought it was well understood in India that when we speak of one thing, we are also speaking of the opposite?

 

Perhaps this is the place to mention how culture defines reality for us? I forget the name of the book and author, but he explained in every culture there is a consciousness and subconscious, just as is so for individuals, and also taboos. Our cultures limit what we become aware of, and other cultures can have very different awarenesses. I am told in France there is something like 5 words for love, and wouldn't this give a better understanding of love? The Eskimo have something like 5 words for rain, and each contains information about weather that is important to their survival. What we can be aware of and what we remain unaware of is totally dependent on the words we have to express our thought, and our right to speak of such things.

 

Sumerians did not have words to categorize trees differently from bushes, and this ability to categorize things, is essential to science. So language and culture is essential to what we can be aware of.

 

The art of Aztecs, was similar to the art of people in European mental institutions, indicating a difference in what these cultures accepted. It appears our country, that once lived for God, and has a form of government dependent on an understanding of logos and morals, has now made it taboo to use some words, preventing us from have a developed consciousness of some things, including the reasoning for democracy.

 

Why god? because of all the things we think about and discuss when we have the word "god". Not only do we discuss many things when discussing god, but we see the relationships and unity. Now why not have a word such as god in our vocabulary? Let us take a lesson from the Unpanishads, and speak of the opposite of consciousness of god. What comes to mind, is without god there is mental chaos, a lack of a means and failure to be conscious of relationships and unity. Perhaps an individualism that is like a cancer destroying the integrity of the body?

 

Hi Immortal - You say that it's very clear that Aurobindo is criticizing the metaphysicians for applying logic and reasoning to the study of the Vedas and the Upanishads. It is not clear to me. Indeeded, I would say he is criticicising them for not doing this.

 

It is true that western philosophy in general, despite exceptions, has almost no understanding of this doctrine, but it is not going to reach one unless by the application of logic and reason to it, unless it is by taking up the practice and trusting to empiricism. The idea that religion requires us to abandon logic and reason is a most pernicious and dangerous one. It would render any analysis pointless, and would mean that there is no point in using our god-given brains as a guide to truth. Anything at all might then be true.

 

Until we know that it is pointless I would suggest that we must use logic and reason as a guide to the plausibility of a cosmological doctrine just as we would for a scientific theory. And they are not unconnected areas of work. One advantage of Aurobindo's view is that it makes some sense of nonlocal effects, for example, while theism sheds no light at all on them. It also survives philsophical analysis, which monotheism does not. The trouble with theism is that it is nonreductive.

 

In his Enneads Plotinus advises us that when we read the literature of the more profound views of religion we should always preface statements about reality with the words 'It is as if'. This saves us from taking talk of God too literally, and reminds us of the contraints placed on us by language and conceptual thinking. In this respect Kabbalism is an interesting example, since here the idea that God is not fundamental is made clear and explicit.

 

However, just to be conciliatory, I would be happy to concede that God is an important and useful phenomenon, even if an ultimate ontology would leave him out, since His existence would be a close approximation to the truth. If we lived as if the literalist Christian God existed then we could not go far wrong. But I'm with the Buddhists, who explain God as misinterpreted meditative experience. Not a false experience, but the anthropomorphisation of a deeper truth. This is the orthodox view in the wisdom traditions, and the reason why it has for so long been dangerous to belong to one.

 

I know you will disagree, but I see no way to solve this disagreement. I believe totally in logic and reason, at least up to the point where they must give way to empiricism. so can only keep appealing to them.

 

 

For sure, we should not take God to literally! God is an abstract. There seems to be a problem with understanding of the meanings of words. I have taken a lot of heat for talking about what education for technology has done to our ability to think abstractly, but I can not of any of other reason for our communication problem, other than some people interpreting the word God too literally.

 

No, having a notion of god does not mean not being empirical. All along I have said is science vital to our knowledge of God and morals. We can not study God, but the philosophical approach to this is to study nature and imply something about God. It is 100% based on science and reason. One of the most important reasons for understanding this is, to end false concepts of God. Repeatedly I have stressed the harm done by believing in supernatural beings. I am strongly opposed to believing in supernatural beings. Believing in supernatural beings, totally distorts democracy and our understanding of morals. This has become an education problem. Without liberal education we no longer understanding the reasoning behind democracy, and this why I write.

 

Whose idea is it that religion has to abandon reason? When we had liberal education, no one thought this, because liberal education taught "how" to think, not "what to think". Education for technology is about what to think, because its defined purpose is education that serves industry and military purpose and it does not serve humanity as liberal education did. Making it taboo for me to say is the worse possible violation of the meaning of freedom of speech. We must know how and why education was changed, if we are to any power to create our reality, instead of being subject to the reality that a few have been creating for us.

 

Atheist are making matters so much worse by standing in the way of discussion of God. Their behavior regarding the God issue, reenforces religious fanaticism. When we can openly discuss God, we can achieve what many who rely on science, want to achieve. Making the word "God" taboo creates a problem that is best avoided. If we insist there is no God, this prevents the reasoning that is essential to correct erroneous beliefs through reason. Preventing a rational discussion of God, by insisting there is no God, brings us to war with religious fanatics who are driven to create war. How is this different from the church trying to restrict what people can talk about? How can preventing reasoning through what we think lead of rule by reason?

Edited by Athena
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Excuse me, I didn't know there is a law against using philosophy to understand God. Who wrote that law? It is obvious who is enforcing it. My bad I guess. You tell me exactly how are we to think of God, and who is the authority I should give the right to define God for all of us?

Yes. We really have no choice but to think about these things, and when we do so its philosophy we're doing.

 

I can agree with Immortal, however, if he means that the only sure way to understand God is in our own experience, by gaining immediate knowledge, or maybe what Kant call 'non-intuitive immediate knowledge'. By identity in other words. But failing that we must use our brains. Otherwise we might as well pick our religious beliefs by personal preference and temperament. It cannot be unreasonable to suppose that the most plausible religious cosmology is the one that works best according to our reason.

 

Sorry we keep wandering away from your topic but it is not all irrelevant. I think that to have a sound theory of ethics we must have a sound theory of the universe from which we can derive our ethical system. Even if, as you suggested earlier, it is God who gives us morality, this does not explain why anyone should or does behave morally. Maybe I don't care what God wants from me. Schopenhauer explains Aurobindo's view of ethics briefly and well at one point, so I'll look for a passage to quote.

 

In essence I think the main difference of opinion here is between those who think that God is a phenomenon 'out there' somewhere', and thus unknowable to us, but nevertheless having an existence we must take on trust, and those who think 'God', (as a useful word to describe the phenomenon), is just as much 'in here', and thus knowable to us, and as transcending the distinction between existence and non-existence, 'beyond the coincidence of contradictories' in the words of one Christian mystic. Aurobindo quotes the Upanishads when he states 'The Unknown is not the Unknowable', and this would be my view, partly because it would follow naturally from the structure of Aurobindo's universe.

 

That is, I do not think we have to guess at the truth of God's existence or otherwise.

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Hi Immortal - You say that it's very clear that Aurobindo is criticizing the metaphysicians for applying logic and reasoning to the study of the Vedas and the Upanishads. It is not clear to me. Indeeded, I would say he is criticicising them for not doing this.

 

It is true that western philosophy in general, despite exceptions, has almost no understanding of this doctrine, but it is not going to reach one unless by the application of logic and reason to it, unless it is by taking up the practice and trusting to empiricism. The idea that religion requires us to abandon logic and reason is a most pernicious and dangerous one. It would render any analysis pointless, and would mean that there is no point in using our god-given brains as a guide to truth. Anything at all might then be true.

 

Until we know that it is pointless I would suggest that we must use logic and reason as a guide to the plausibility of a cosmological doctrine just as we would for a scientific theory. And they are not unconnected areas of work. One advantage of Aurobindo's view is that it makes some sense of nonlocal effects, for example, while theism sheds no light at all on them. It also survives philsophical analysis, which monotheism does not. The trouble with theism is that it is nonreductive.

 

In his Enneads Plotinus advises us that when we read the literature of the more profound views of religion we should always preface statements about reality with the words 'It is as if'. This saves us from taking talk of God too literally, and reminds us of the contraints placed on us by language and conceptual thinking. In this respect Kabbalism is an interesting example, since here the idea that God is not fundamental is made clear and explicit.

 

However, just to be conciliatory, I would be happy to concede that God is an important and useful phenomenon, even if an ultimate ontology would leave him out, since His existence would be a close approximation to the truth. If we lived as if the literalist Christian God existed then we could not go far wrong. But I'm with the Buddhists, who explain God as misinterpreted meditative experience. Not a false experience, but the anthropomorphisation of a deeper truth. This is the orthodox view in the wisdom traditions, and the reason why it has for so long been dangerous to belong to one.

 

I know you will disagree, but I see no way to solve this disagreement. I believe totally in logic and reason, at least up to the point where they must give way to empiricism. so can only keep appealing to them.

 

Please read the following statement. I don't have to be rude.

 

"Our forefathers who discovered or received Vedic truth, did not arrive at it either by intellectual speculation or by logical reasoning. They attained it by actual & tangible experience in the spirit,—by spiritual & psychological observation, as we may say, & what they thus experienced, they understood by the instrumentality of the intuitive reason."

- Aurobindo.

Without an intuitive access to the numinous you will never understand the truth behind the Vedas and the Upanishads and all your linguistic and logical arguments are not suffice and incomparable with the wisdom obtained from intuitive reason solely based on experiences. If you want to learn this doctrine then you must apply eastern standards to it.

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Please read the following statement. I don't have to be rude.

 

"Our forefathers who discovered or received Vedic truth, did not arrive at it either by intellectual speculation or by logical reasoning. They attained it by actual & tangible experience in the spirit,—by spiritual & psychological observation, as we may say, & what they thus experienced, they understood by the instrumentality of the intuitive reason."

- Aurobindo.

Without an intuitive access to the numinous you will never understand the truth behind the Vedas and the Upanishads and all your linguistic and logical arguments are not suffice and incomparable with the wisdom obtained from intuitive reason solely based on experiences. If you want to learn this doctrine then you must apply eastern standards to it.

Great. For the first time we completely about something. I would never say anything to suggest any of this was not true.

 

We can agree about all this. 'Eastern' religion, if we must call it that, and a lot of 'western' religion, is about empiricism, not speculation. This is what esotericism, gnosticism, nondualism, mysticism, call it what you will, is all about. BUT, and it is a fantastically important 'but', the doctrine that emerges from this empirical research makes complete sense in philosophy. Most people do not know this, and certainly very few professional scientists and philosophers. Nobody has yet written a book explaining this. although it is there to see for any literature review. It It is not an area of research that many people venture into. Accordingly, most people have no idea that it is possible to demonstrate that this metaphysical doctrine, if we present it as such, as Nagarjuna does, is the only one that cannot be refuted in logic. They assume that Eastern religion is incomprehensible, a bunch of people describing untestable and illogical first-person non-ordinary experiences that are not in any sense scientific, or even of any use in philosophy.

 

In reality this doctrine is the only one that can be defended in philosophy. I do not know why this is not taught in schools. The issues are simple enough. By studying the philosophical scheme of this doctrine we are able to deduce in logic that Aurobindo is correct in what he says here.

 

For any true doctrine or 'theory fo everything' logic and empricism would fit together as hand and glove, and for this doctrine they do. I don't think we should undersell it by suggesting that there is no point in thinking about it, that there is nothing to be learnt from thinking. It is perfectly possible to become completely convinced that Sri Arobindo's cosmological doctrine and that of the Upanishads must be true by only thinking about it, with nothing but 'everyday' experiences (as if) to go on. I know this from experience. It was all quite surprising. I also know from experience that logic must be abandoned for true knowledge. Aristotle himself teaches us this. But the intellect may step in later to debrief oneself, as it were, such that 'what they thus experienced, they understood by the instrumentality of the intuitive reason.'

 

So we can agree about most of this. But we must note that for Aurobindo the experience is not the understanding. He does not suggest that we should misutrust our reason or that there is no point in using it. There is nothing to prevent reason and experience from preceeding hand in hand and in perfect harmony, and they are no threat to each other.

 

We might wonder why a scientifically-minded person would ever become interested in the Upanishads if the doctrine it endorses cannot be defended on logical grounds. It would be poor marketing for this worldview to suggest that the only way to understand it is in experience, achieved by years of work and practice. Aurobindo spent a lot of time and effort trying to explain his view and presumably did not think this was a pointless project.

 

If we do the sums and actually calculate which philosophical doctrine comes out best in philosophy then we will be struck by the fact that this is same doctrine on which all the major prophets and sages have converged since time immemorial. We will also see that this cannot be a coincidence. If we do not do the sums, and believe it would be a waste of time, then unless we take up the practice it will alway seem to us as if Aurobindo's view must be a conjecture, not knowledge, and we will not see the rigour of his writings but think he is making it up as he goes along.

 

Philosophical analysis, which is thinking about the issues, allows us to logically deduce that the scriptures must contain a lot of truth, or are at least plausible and unfalsifiable. I would not say such a thing if it could not be demonstrated. I suspect that the only reason why people within religion are so often dismissive of logic, of taking an analytical approach, is that they are not aware of this. It is not a well know fact. It is likely that they will not hold the religious view that logic endorses and this keeps the research field fairly uncrowded, more or less empty in fact, and it's mostly amateurs. Few people would have the time. Also, professional philosophers confuse the issues to such an extent that the discipline is in chaos, beset by problems on all sides, which makes it very difficut for the layman to see that it might be worth doing some, and even for the average physicist. This failure of philosophy is a western phenomenon though, not a global failure of philosophy.

 

Sorry, Too long again.

Edited by PeterJ
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I am afraid, there is a law. Just go by evidence.

 

 

 

This is the reason why atheists criticize theists that they don't agree with a concept of God with each other.

 

God is a religious concept and it belongs to Religion, don't corrupt the word God.

 

 

Do you mean Isis and all the Egyptian gods, and Zeus and all his brothers and sisters, are equal to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, because God is a religious concept? I am afraid I can not agree with you on this one. I think the religions that claim to be God's revealed truth, are distinctly different from the understandings of god that came before these religions. I refuse to allow these 3 religions to define God for me, and think it is best that we all stop allowing those religions to define God.

 

"Our forefathers who discovered or received Vedic truth, did not arrive at it either by intellectual speculation or by logical reasoning. They attained it by actual & tangible experience in the spirit,—by spiritual & psychological observation, as we may say, & what they thus experienced, they understood by the instrumentality of the intuitive reason."

 

We get our best ideas, such as the theory of relativity, when we stop working on the idea, and are sleeping or driving or walking.

 

Edited by Athena
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Do you mean Isis and all the Egyptian gods, and Zeus and all his brothers and sisters, are equal to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, because God is a religious concept? I am afraid I can not agree with you on this one. I think the religions that claim to be God's revealed truth, are distinctly different from the understandings of god that came before these religions. I refuse to allow these 3 religions to define God for me, and think it is best that we all stop allowing those religions to define God.

 

No, those religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam should be understood and defined in the context of Hellenistic and Egyptian priests.

 

Philo of Alexandria.

 

Philo's view of God.

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