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ericd777

The Presuppositions of Christian Neo-Objectivism

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Christian Neo-Objectivism starts with the symbiotic relationship between reason and the human conscience, the inborn inner pressure to do what is right. Reason discovers and understands the conscience while the conscience, in turn, gives reason the valuation of good.

Here is an assertion that supports the conscience as a universal experience. Lying is universally valued as wrong by the conscience. No parent has ever said to a child, "I am so glad you have started lying to me; now you will have many advantages over people who do not lie."

What does anyone think about these premises?

Now, does everyone here discuss philosophy only if they can continue to believe exactly what they already do believe? And does everyone here believe to be true whatever they wish to be true? Just asking.

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First of all, Objectivism (specifically Objectivist Metaphysics and Epistemology) is incompatible with faith. Any sort of religion, therefore, is completely incompatible with Objectivism. If something is "Christian" it can in no way be "Objectivism", Neo or otherwise. You can call it (whatever "it" is) Christian Un-Objectivism or Christian Anti-Objectivism if you want to.

Second, Reason and Conscience are not "symbiotic" (what does that even mean?). Consciousness is a necessary condition for Rationality. Reason is a means to discover and understand existence, of which consciousness is a part. Consciousness, on the other hand, can't "give" reason anything. Being conscious is just a fact (either you are or you are not), not a process.

Third, consciousness does not "value" anything. Reason is the tool used for valuation.

And finally, here we discuss all sorts of philosophical issues, to find the truth, to better understand the truth, to discover error when we are in error. And no Objectivist thinks truth has anything whatsoever to do with his or her wishes.

Edited by mrocktor

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...does everyone here discuss philosophy only if they can continue to believe exactly what they already do believe? And does everyone here believe to be true whatever they wish to be true? Just asking.
Actually no. I, in particular, discuss things here only to get reinforcement from people who share my illusions. So, be warned: any attempt to do otherwise and you will be banned.

Next question.

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Hello swNerd,

As I said, Just asking. Look at mrocktor, he's already bashing me and he doesn't even know what symbiotic means, he is mixing up "conscience" and "consciousness", and he says I do not have his permission to call myself a Christian Neo-Objectivist. So, I think it is very reasonable to ask those questions immediately.

Hello mrocktor,

As I said in my earlier post, I define "conscience" as the inborn inner pressure to do what is right. I think you are a little mixed up. Although reason has no limitations, every human mind is limited in discovering facts and applying reason. I suggest that no one is completely reasonable. Therefore, my questions.

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Christian Neo-Objectivism ...

I strongly object to the name of your idea, as it so far has nothing to do with either Christianity or Objectivism. The little bit that you did present appears to be lifted from Kant's view of conscience and the moral law.

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Apparently, "Christian Neo-Objectivism" begins with nonsense and ends with evasion and a stolen term, with a dollop of victimhood on top. Next topic: the philosophy of "Unreal Neo-Reality" - is it true if we wish for it hard enough? Discuss.

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Next topic: the philosophy of "Unreal Neo-Reality" - is it true if we wish for it hard enough? Discuss.

I consulted with my conscience, and he thinks that, yes, this is a good idea. But you have to wish really, really hard. I'm talking mega-hard. Most people can't do it. But my mama can.

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Christian Neo-Objectivism starts with the symbiotic relationship between reason and the human conscience, the inborn inner pressure to do what is right. Reason discovers and understands the conscience while the conscience, in turn, gives reason the valuation of good.

Here is an assertion that supports the conscience as a universal experience. Lying is universally valued as wrong by the conscience. No parent has ever said to a child, "I am so glad you have started lying to me; now you will have many advantages over people who do not lie."

What does anyone think about these premises?

Now, does everyone here discuss philosophy only if they can continue to believe exactly what they already do believe? And does everyone here believe to be true whatever they wish to be true? Just asking.

From what you say above it seems that you are asserting that conscience is an innate quality of man, to be discovered as were stars or physical properties of atoms. The conscience is a set of values accepted by the individual that retains it. The important term here being accepted, as in, chosen. Because this is so the conscience cannot be as you said what gives reason the valuation of good. I feel its important to consider my argument at this level because if I am right it would negate everything after it in the line of logic that you proposed.

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Hello swNerd,

As I said, Just asking. Look at mrocktor, he's already bashing me and he doesn't even know what symbiotic means, he is mixing up "conscience" and "consciousness", and he says I do not have his permission to call myself a Christian Neo-Objectivist. So, I think it is very reasonable to ask those questions immediately.

You don't understand. He was not saying you don't have his permission. He was saying you mis-used the word Objectivism. That is based on what the word means not on his permission or lack there of. And he is right, Christianity or beliefs based on Christianity are not compatible with Objectivism or the meaning of the word, so therefore there is no such thing as Christianity Neo Objectivism, as a term with a contradictory meaning cannot refer to anything real. It might be meant to refer to something real but it will only fail to do so.

Hello mrocktor,

As I said in my earlier post, I define "conscience" as the inborn inner pressure to do what is right.

We have no such thing. All value judgments are a matter of choice, not inborn pressure. We chose our values using volition and either reason or faith, never inborn pressure. Inborn pressure leaves no room for choice, making a theory based on that incompatible with human nature as volitional creatures.

Edited by DragonMaci

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He was not saying you don't have his permission. He was saying you mis-used the word Objectivism.
Others said that, I made no comment about his Christianity, and definitions and so on. That, in itself, would not warrant a clarification. However, the particular thing to which I was responding is unrelated to his definitions and so on. He made a sterotypical polemic "attack" that bares further explaining.

EricD777 ended his intellectual point with the following footnotes:

..., does everyone here discuss philosophy only if they can continue to believe exactly what they already do believe?

... does everyone here believe to be true whatever they wish to be true?

Just asking.

The two questions can be translated as follows, in plain English:

  • Are you guys intellectually honest? and,
  • Are you guys really intellectually honest?

But, why would someone ask that of an opponent in this type of context, in an opening post? He's "just asking"? Baloney! The man protests too much. The "just asking" is evidence that he realizes that his question is inappropriate.

He could as well have said something like: "I'm right in the point I make above, but I don't know if you guys are honest enough to see the truth".

So, in response to that, one can say something like: "yes, I'm honest, go on now...tell me more". If a friend asked me that question, it would obviously be in a context where he's trying to prep me to be particularly focused on reality, and I might assume that he has reason for giving me the warning. However, why would I assume that of some random stranger?

What reply can I give to such stranger? Should I say "yes, I'm honest?" to his presumptuousness? No, rather I chose to confirm his worst fears openly, naming the essence of his question. "Yes", I say, "I am dishonest". This implies that he should not talk to me, because it is pointless. So, either he should shut up about his intellectual position, or he should be the one who now goes through a struggle to convince me that he thinks I will listen honestly.

None of this is addressed to Eric, BTW -- I already PMed him separately. I just wanted to explain to DragonMaci, the particular polemic approach Eric was adopting and the polemic I used in reply.

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If something is "Christian" it can in no way be "Objectivism", Neo or otherwise.

Hey, unlike Kelly et al, these people at least had the decency to change the name. You may not think the name is sufficiently descriptive of what they believe, and I agree, but since they are not going to call their beliefs "Christian ZOMGFAILZ0rZ!!!111," or "How do I shot Primacy of Consciousness?"* that is basically a lost cause.

*If you don't get it, don't ask.

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I can't believe there's another /b/tard here. :D I thought it would be the most anti-Objectivist movement on the web.

I don't know if I'd go as far as to call /b/ a movement. It's definitely a something, though.

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*** Mod's note: Merged topics - sN ***


So I've offically joined facebook and I'm navigating through friends and groups and I come across "Christian Objectivists". Maybe you're familiar with them already, I just found this insane. The group memo states:

Christian objectivism is a concept built on Christianity, the main tenant of which is that Christianity is so open to the truth that it itself is willing to be proven untrue.

In other words, a Christian objectivist has objectively looked at all available facts and come to the conclusion that Christianity is true. However, because he is objective, he is open to the idea that Christianity is not true.

A good example is the certainty of 1 + 1 = 2. I am so convinced it is true, that I always welcome dissenters to prove otherwise if possible. Moreso with the truth of the Gospel. This is why, for example, Jesus was easily confident to say to his sworn enemies, "Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does" (John 10:37).

Christianity provides the framework for the original level playing field, where all religions and worldviews have the opportunity to present themselves for the world to judge what agrees with the laws of nature and of nature’s God. Let us remember that the laws of God our written on our hearts, so this is possible for everyone and can be done. This level playing field consists at its root of me saying, "Because I ask you to question everything you think you know and allow me the opportunity to convince you of something otherwise, I will do the same." The reason I can be comfortable in doing this is that I am so convinced that 1+1=2, that I am willing to be convinced otherwise if you can show me the proof. In other words, I am so convinced that Christianity is true, that I am willing to be convinced otherwise if you can show me ample and convincing evidence.

Reverend John C Rankin's work provides the basis for what I have labeled "Christian Objectivism"


I mean.. really? Ridiculous.

Edited by softwareNerd
Merged topics

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In other words, a Christian objectivist has objectively looked at all available facts and come to the conclusion that Christianity is true. However, because he is objective, he is open to the idea that Christianity is not true.

What "available facts" lead to that logical conclusion? (rhetorical since you are not him (or even mostly him)) :)

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I used to have this position as a minister. It is what allowed me to move on intellectually to the realization that "god" cannot exist with certainty! I love meeting Christians like this. Knowing the theology, as well as its negations, makes them usually sit there in bewilderment. " Ive never met an atheist like you!,You don't fit any of the usual patterns of ideas!???". Its the ones who bang away about faith without question who are useless to talk to.

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The term "Christian Objectivism" combines two contradictory terms: Christianity is the primacy of consciousness over existence (God is above that which exists, by definition, and men are above their material selves too, they have eternal souls that go to heaven and become magical, etc.), Objectivism is the primacy of existence over consciousness. There are no facts, as defined by Objectivism, that can be used as evidence of God's will over existence and identity. In Objectivism (and in any attempt at making a logical argument really), existence as a primary presupposes facts.

To put it bluntly: if God is omnipotent, he controls existence, he is not subject to any laws, not even the law of identity (which, in Objectivism, all entities are subject to). He can choose to make facts that prove his existence. According to Christian dogma, he chose to to not make any such facts, because he wants men to believe in Him despite the absence of evidence:

"The Catholic Church", says the Vatican Council, III, iv, "has always held that there is a twofold order of knowledge, and that these two orders are distinguished from one another not only in their principle but in their object; in one we know by natural reason, in the other by Divine faith; the object of the one is truth attainable by natural reason, the object of the other is mysteries hidden in God, but which we have to believe and which can only be known to us by Divine revelation."

That such Divine faith is necessary, follows from the fact of Divine revelation. For revelation means that the Supreme Truth has spoken to man and revealed to him truths which are not in themselves evident to the human mind. We must, then, either reject revelation altogether, or accept it by faith; that is, we must submit our intellect to truths which we cannot understand, but which come to us on Divine authority.

(That's from the old Catholic Encyclopedia", fully sanctioned by the Church)

So, what facts, if Catholicism (and the various offshoots say the same thing, it's not just Catholicism) clearly states that faith is above reason, and there are no facts to prove Divine revelation?

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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Someone is holding a seminar on reconciling Christianity and Objectivism.

 

Timothy Sandefur comments:

 

Objectivism rejects any claim to a supernatural or non-physical dimension to existence—contrary to John 4:24. It holds that we know about the universe solely through reason and logic alone—contrary to John 20:29. It holds that the individual exists solely for the purpose of his own rational happiness and not in order to serve others or make other people happy—contrary to Galatians 5:13 and Luke 18:22. It holds that the only morally proper political system is laissez-faire capitalism—contrary to Matthew 21:12-14 andActs 2:42-47….

 

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It seems, from the description of the webinar and the summary and comments on his book on Amazon, that Mark Henderson is not trying to form some 'Christian Neo-Objectivist' philosophy or achieve a complete reconciliation of Objectivism and Christianity on every single point.  Rather, his goal seems to be to identify, in addition to the vast differences between the two philosophies, the areas of common ground between the two (indeed, his book's subtitle is 'Ayn Rand, Christianity, a Quest for Common Ground').  The following quote is taken from an Amazon review of his book:
 

Mark considers these philosophies using the voices of his father ("Dad") and stepfather ("John") - each articulating the best understanding of their respective philosophies/worldviews.... the two-voices approach brings the differences in philosophy to life and demonstrates how those differences flow into key areas of life (e.g., money, sex, power). Henderson does not merely examine differences though; he defines the common space between the philosophies. His conclusions are surprising, thought provoking and provocative.


It looks like his main goal is to foster an appreciation, on the part of Objectivists and Christians alike, of the under-appreciated points of commonality between the two (admittedly quite different) philosophies.  This sounds like a much more fruitful task than the construction of some new 'Neo-Objectivist' philosophy which literally combines the two.  Indeed, in her letters Rand engaged in a similar task on a few specific philosophical points, as noted here.  It seems an especially important undertaking for those of us with deep personal relationships with people of the opposite philosophy (a group of which I am certainly a member).  I'm sad that I missed the webinar, but I'll probably listen when it's posted online.

Edited by Dante

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It looks like his main goal is to foster an appreciation, on the part of Objectivists and Christians alike, of the under-appreciated points of commonality between the two (admittedly quite different) philosophies.  This sounds like a much more fruitful task than the construction of some new 'Neo-Objectivist' philosophy which literally combines the two.

What's the difference between a commonality and a combination of these two philosophies? It's hard to get much more opposing than supernatural metaphysics and faith-based epistemology. In my experience, there is no reconciliation, there's only inconsistently followed Christianity in the form of compartmentalizations.

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Rather, his goal seems to be to identify, in addition to the vast differences between the two philosophies, the areas of common ground between the two...

Thanks for the follow-up.

 

What's the difference between a commonality and a combination of these two philosophies?

I suppose commonality just means pointing out the common points (i.e. a comparative study), not suggesting that the reader should pick and choose elements from one or the other philosophy.

Objectivism seems to go "though the horns" of many a philosophical dilemma. It allows Objectivism to point out common ground with either "horn".

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The problem with John Shuck calling himself a Christian is because it is not based on a "proper definition", per Andrew Rappaport.

 

The distinguishing characteristic(s) of the units to which God refers vs. the distinguishing characteristic(s) of the units to which Christianity refers. Hmm. A [c]ymbolic crash of symbols?

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