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dream_weaver

Is there any reason, any religion should still exist?

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DA said:

What is this unknowable existent of which you speak, I know not.

Ok, I am about done. I haven't proposed an unknowable existent. You aren't even keeping track of your own hypotheticals. You introduced a question that included the possibility of part of existence being unidentifiable. I then asked you a direct question about what would constitute evidence of the non-identifiability of an existent, that you have not answered. Now you are claiming I am arguing for such a inaccessible existent.   

DA said: 

Is there is some natural limitation on consciousness that prevents an ability to identify?  If so, then omniscience, defined as knowing everything that is knowable, isn't possible; but then consciousness as a means of identification also becomes dubious.  Otherwise omniscience not only possible but implied by the axioms.

Your just reasserting the same invalid deduction while ignoring my responses to your prior claims.

 

Edited by Plasmatic

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     ...

Your just reasserting the same invalid deduction while ignoring my responses to your prior claims.

If we are agreed that all existents are knowable and consciousness is the only means of knowing them, then we are just speaking past each other at this point; which may be my fault.  My argument is bust if there is any part of existence that has identity but cannot be identified.  I've acknowledged the possibility that existence may be so vast that consciousness may not be able to identify everything.

I just point out (optimistically?) that consciousness, being capable of identification, could eventually know everything that is knowable in a finite universe.

Your criticism has been useful to me, and I appreciate it.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
removing italics

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Difficult question but yes, though not exactly in the form in which it exists today. Religion is a primitive form of philosophy and every member of society does not have intellectual ability or inclination to grasp complex philosophical abstractions, Aristotelian and Objectivist principles. It is alright if they are not aware about branches of philosophy like metaphysics, epistemology etc but ethics is essential for day to day life. And that is what religion deals with. 

Though some modifications are required are something like a moral treatise in the name of religion has to be developed.

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51 minutes ago, Jacob Smith said:

Difficult question but yes, though not exactly in the form in which it exists today. Religion is a primitive form of philosophy and every member of society does not have intellectual ability or inclination to grasp complex philosophical abstractions, Aristotelian and Objectivist principles. It is alright if they are not aware about branches of philosophy like metaphysics, epistemology etc but ethics is essential for day to day life. And that is what religion deals with. 

Though some modifications are required are something like a moral treatise in the name of religion has to be developed.

I don't think I agree, but you might be using a different concept of "religion". Can you clarify?

Also, how would you modify religion (assuming for the moment that you could)? I assume you mean you would strip away the completely arbitrary concrete injunctions (e.g. don't work on Saturday, don't eat pork, and other such crap). Then, one would frame the fiction (e.g. Adam and Eve were the first humans, or Moses existed) as being illustrative, and not to be taken literally. Finally, I assume you would end up with a set of in junctions that are rational ethical rules to follow, but which are packaged with stories and without too much abstraction.

Is that what you're talking about?

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3 hours ago, Jacob Smith said:

...

Though some modifications are required are something like a moral treatise in the name of religion has to be developed.

Read as allegories with the primary focus being on deriving non-contradictory moral content is a good place to start.

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23 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

I don't think I agree, but you might be using a different concept of "religion". Can you clarify?

 

21 hours ago, Devil's Advocate said:

Read as allegories with the primary focus being on deriving non-contradictory moral content is a good place to start.

This is something which I was suggesting. Ordinary people do need a moral content which is not beyond their mental capacity or inclination to understand.

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5 hours ago, Jacob Smith said:

 

This is something which I was suggesting. Ordinary people do need a moral content which is not beyond their mental capacity or inclination to understand.

Do you think it helps if such "ordinary people" actually believe the stories are historical fact? Or is it just as good to know they're fiction... e.g. reading "The Fountainhead" for its lessons, without needing to believe that Roark actually existed?

Basically,  I agree that most people don't want to dive deep into abstract philosophy. (Aside: Personally, I find most of it boring -- and 'duh obvious' ---- beyond a certain level of abstraction). However, I think the mysticism and belief that the religious stories are actual historical fact make them weaker for ordinary folk and for everyone else too.

 

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Ordinary people understand that writing requires a human hand, so the existence of the writer is a historical fact.  The veracity of a particular account can be measured against information provided by other writers describing persons, places and things, and by ones own experience in the here and now.

The problem is that establishing a credible setting doesn't necessarily translate to credible moral content.  Stephen King, one of my favorite authors, suggests that monsters are less interesting than how real people deal with monsters.  When he writes, "Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win", the moral content is made self evident by introspection, and the reality that humans sometimes behave like monsters.

I guess my point is, whether the story comes from today's best seller list or the Dead Sea Scrolls,  an ordinary person recognizes true moral content when they read it.

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1 hour ago, Devil's Advocate said:

I guess my point is, whether the story comes from today's best seller list or the Dead Sea Scrolls,  an ordinary person recognizes true moral content when they read it.

Obviously the moral content can be recognized in fiction and in non-fiction. I think non-fiction is actually more powerful, if the person reading it knows that it is non-fiction. After all, if something actually happened that's more convincing than an author imagining that something happened. On the other hand, fiction that is passed off as non-fiction has an element of lie, and to that degree has an element of danger.

 

However, the more important point is that it is wrong to call this "religion". If one uses the concept of religion like this, then "Fountainhead" is a text from a religion. This defines the concept by inessentials and thus broadens it so much that it becomes conceptually useless.

Edited by softwareNerd

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I've read a few chapters in many years ago. I don't have much recollection of it any longer.  I recall he looked for similarities and differences comparing folklore around the globe.

I thought about it when I ran across this outline of Atlas Shrugged on Shmoop

Secondly, Akston links Galt to the "Minerva myth." Minerva is the Roman name for the Greek goddess Athena, and Jupiter is the Roman name for Zeus. In mythology, Minerva sprang out of her dad's (Jupiter's) head as an adult. This isn't the first time that Galt has been tied to mythology. Two strangers tell Dagny that he discovered the lost city of Atlantis and the fountain of youth. And Francisco ties Galt to the Prometheus myth:

John Galt is Prometheus who changed his mind. After centuries of being torn by vultures in payment for having brought to men the fire of the gods, he broke his chains – and withdrew his fire – until the day when men withdrew their vultures. (2.5.1.266)

What's really interesting about this is that Francisco gets the Prometheus myth wrong. Prometheus stole fire and knowledge from the gods and gave it to people on earth. Zeus, the head-honcho god, punished Prometheus for his theft by chaining him to a rock and letting vultures come and pick out his liver every day. Yuck. Francisco makes it sound like "men" sent the vultures, though. So what gives? Well, over time the Prometheus myth had come to represent rebellious, anti-establishment ideas, with Zeus standing in for things like government, organized religion, parents, etc. So Francisco seems to be substituting powerful, oppressive humans for "Zeus" here.

So what's the deal with Galt's mythological connections? Well, this could be a way to emphasize his status as a living legend. In fact, for over half the book, characters like Dagny don't even think Galt is a real person. He's a totally mysterious figure, possibly a legend, possibly an actual person with legendary abilities.

Rand substitutes stealing fire (and per other accounts taught them the arts of civilization, such as writing, mathematics, agriculture, medicine, and science) from the gods with withdrawing the products of his and other like-minded minds. Most of the other mythological records claim an eagle was (or birds were) sent to eat the regrown liver, rather than a vulture representing altruism. The stories that include the rescue by Hercules is within a time frame of about 30 years.

Far from powerful, oppressive humans, she described them in the paragraph after introducing the Thompson Harmonizer.

[Thompson] was only the pawn of a silent machine—a machine that had no center, no leader, no direction, a machine that had not been set in motion by Dr. Ferris or Wesley Mouch, or any of the cowed creatures in the grandstands, or any of the creatures behind the scenes—an impersonal, unthinking, unembodied machine, of which none was the driver and all were the pawns, each to the degree of his evil.

 

Also found, while looking into Prometheus is the ARI 2015 Atlas Shrugged winning essay, written about the mythological parallels found therein.

Edited by dream_weaver

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10 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

I've read a few chapters in many years ago. I don't have much recollection of it any longer.  I recall he looked for similarities and differences comparing folklore around the globe.

Yes, that's right, although he is also drawing on what we would otherwise describe as "religion" (it is all "mythology" to Campbell).

As I attempt to describe this, a few caveats: I'm only halfway through the work, thus far; it is dense, and I cannot pretend to understand it all; he ties many of his ideas and claims into Freudian psychology, which is another field where I am not sufficiently knowledgeable enough to either make (or dismiss) any particular claims.

But this is Campbell's underlying thesis, as it thus far appears to me: the core of religious/mythological cultural teaching around the world is, at heart, the same. This is because these myths speak to universal truths about humanity, and are designed to help men psychologically -- especially as we transition through significant changes in our lives (into adolescence; into parenthood; approaching death; etc.). The myths themselves, and many ritual observances bound to them, are symbolic of these kinds of changes, and they help prepare us to deal with them.

I don't know what-all to make of it, but I find it an interesting idea. Usually when I think of the role of religion, I think about it in terms of (supposedly) moral instruction and divisive dogma, but Campbell is dismissive of that (and somewhat scornful of the way most of the world approaches religion, accordingly), instead praising the ability of myth/religion to allow people to... see themselves as "transcendent," I suppose, in that we transcend what was once our identity in order to embrace something new (as in moving from child to adult).

Does this amount to an argument that "religion," as such, still has a role to play in modern society? I don't think so. But as I try to understand and chew these ideas over, it does lead me to think more about the purpose religion has had historically, and possibly to revise my approach somewhat, which has usually been simply to counter mistaken religious claims (with respect to ethics, science, etc), and consider that satisfactory. It may be that there is a deeper role which religion has traditionally filled in human affairs that may need further exploration and understanding, in a rational world which has rejected the dogmatic beliefs, and associated moral teachings, of traditional religion.

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