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kirk10071
14-09-2009, 14:21
Does anyone know a French or English-speaking priest or nun that I could spend some time talking to?

I have done my best to teach my children the correct religious orientation, specifically, that anyone who actually, seriously believes in the myths and legends from Middle Eastern goat herders during the Bronze Age needs their heads examined and, furthermore, that anybody who runs around calling himself the "son" of a god, whether he does so now or two thousand years ago is either a con artist or schizophrenic. Using many examples, I think I finally convinced them that superstition in general -- and forcing it upon other or killing for it in particular -- are generally bad things and that enlightened people recognize religion for the farce that it is.

Nonetheless, my daughter would like an opposing view. She cannot understand why anyone would build all these churches and devote their life to "god" unless there were something behind it. She would like a professional religious person to answer questions as to why they believe, what the rituals of the church mean to them, and etc. etc.

I would like for her to be able to pose these thoughtful questions and receive serious thoughtful answers from somebody other than an protestant evangelical type, as this category invariably just "believes" and has actually considered the question about as deeply as my cat* (they just "know" and that's that). But people who choose a life devoted to a church have, in theory, undergone some sort of internal debate. Thus the idea to speak to a priest or nun. Russian Orthodox would be OK, too, but I find the beards a little creepy.

Any ideas on where I might find such a person would be appreciated. My daughter is French/English speaking.

The idea is to give her another side of the issue in order to make her own decisions about these questions (it being clear to her that if she eventually becomes the next Mother Theresa it is fine with me as long as I don't have to (a) give any money or (b) say the blessing at any meal).

Serious replies only please. Child molesters discouraged.

* My cat, like all cats, is stupid.

footballhound
14-09-2009, 14:38
I am not a priest or a nun but I am a believing Orthodox Christian with a fair grasp of theology. I am a mum raising her children as Christians. If she would be interested I would be happy to talk to her.


Added bonus I have no beard! :sunny:

J.D.
14-09-2009, 15:10
She would like a professional religious person to answer questions as to why they believe, what the rituals of the church mean to them, and etc. etc.


Child molesters discouraged.

.

Make up your mind.

Korotky Gennady
14-09-2009, 15:50
kirk10071, I know that you are kirk10071 but who is kirk10070 ? :confused:

SV1973a
14-09-2009, 16:17
That is a very interesting situation you are in. Basically I give the same education to my daughters (7 y.o. and 3 y.o), and am raising them to become people-loving atheists that will try to do good.
So far this is working out fine with the eldest.
I want my children to know religion (especially the christian one), just because it is part of our culture. But I also want them to understand that believing in God, Jezus, heaven, angels, hell, devils,... is utter nonsense. For me it is difficult to understand that grown up intelligent people still can believe in these fairy tales.
The interesting is that your daughter is now asking questions.

Nonetheless, my daughter would like an opposing view. She cannot understand why anyone would build all these churches and devote their life to "god" unless there were something behind it.
To this question I would simply reply that today people are building churches and devoting their life to god, just the same as in the past and in other places on this earth when they built temples, made sacrifices, etc. What happened to their gods?

SV1973a
14-09-2009, 16:18
Make up your mind.

Brilliant comment J.D.

RRM
14-09-2009, 16:21
I want my children to know religion (especially the christian one), just because it is part of our culture. But I also want them to understand that believing in God, Jezus, heaven, angels, hell, devils,... is utter nonsense. For me it is difficult to understand that grown up intelligent people still can believe in these fairy tales.
The interesting is that your daughter is now asking questions.


No matter which way you teach, you will already have conditioned their mind to be like you.

RRM
14-09-2009, 16:26
I would suggest reading the book by Jiddu Krishnamurthy called 'Life Ahead'. The discussions in this book are from around the world and basically focus on how to raise kids free of all fear. I can lend you this book, will have to check if it is in Moscow with me or in the States.

SV1973a
14-09-2009, 16:36
No matter which way you teach, you will already have conditioned their mind to be like you.

That is exactly my intention. I teach them to be kind to people, and not to believe in witches, ghosts, god and other fairy tales (only exceptions: Ded Moroz, daddy can do magic).

RRM
14-09-2009, 16:51
LIFE AHEAD: ON LEARNING AND THE SEARCH FOR MEANING by J. Krishnamurti (http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/lifeahead.htm)

Found some excerpts from Life Ahead.

kirk10071
14-09-2009, 16:54
No matter which way you teach, you will already have conditioned their mind to be like you.

Quite possibly true, but I owe them at least access to somebody else's point of view.


I would suggest reading the book by Jiddu Krishnamurthy called 'Life Ahead'. The discussions in this book are from around the world and basically focus on how to raise kids free of all fear. I can lend you this book, will have to check if it is in Moscow with me or in the States.

She's 9. She wants to know what all the candles and robes are about. These are symbols of what and why and how do they help? But this is probably useful reading for me.

SV1973a
14-09-2009, 16:54
I would suggest reading the book by Jiddu Krishnamurthy called 'Life Ahead'. The discussions in this book are from around the world and basically focus on how to raise kids free of all fear. I can lend you this book, will have to check if it is in Moscow with me or in the States.

He, who believes in God, must not fear,
He, who does not believe in God, certainly must not fear

kirk10071
14-09-2009, 16:55
LIFE AHEAD: ON LEARNING AND THE SEARCH FOR MEANING by J. Krishnamurti (http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/lifeahead.htm)

Found some excerpts from Life Ahead.

You know, I read this. It was actually very interesting.

kirk10071
14-09-2009, 16:58
I am not a priest or a nun but I am a believing Orthodox Christian with a fair grasp of theology. I am a mum raising her children as Christians. If she would be interested I would be happy to talk to her.


Added bonus I have no beard! :sunny:

This is kind. I'll keep this in mind. :)

RRM
14-09-2009, 17:02
Quite possibly true, but I owe them at least access to somebody else's point of view.



She's 9. She wants to know what all the candles and robes are about. These are symbols of what and why and how do they help?

Besides, Krisnamurthy sounds like a cult leader. Or some spicy goat dish.

No he is not a cult leader, refused to have any followers until he died. He disolved any means that could make him a leader from the beginning. Basically he talks about getting rid of any conditioning that is all.

kirk10071
14-09-2009, 17:24
No he is not a cult leader, refused to have any followers until he died. He disolved any means that could make him a leader from the beginning. Basically he talks about getting rid of any conditioning that is all.

Cool. I'll look him up. The reading you posted was very thoughtful. Thanks for the link. I'll try to find out more about him.

rusmeister
15-09-2009, 06:33
Hi Kirk,
How old is your daughter? And does she speak Russian?
If you really want a personal meeting with an intelligent priest, I could arrange that, if you didn't mind stepping outside of Moscow to do so. You can pm me if so.

If not, then fbh's recommendation of Metropolitan Anthony (and other deep and intelligent writers like Alexandr Schmemann (http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/index.html) and Alexandr Men' (http://www.alexandermen.com/Main_Page)) is about the best that we can do.

I think it great that you support her in seeking the (intelligent) opposing point of view! I have a lot more respect for the thoughts of unbelievers who do really seek out the best of what they do not believe in, rather than the worst.

is4fun
23-09-2009, 21:27
Does anyone know a French or English-speaking priest or nun that I could spend some time talking to?

I have done my best to teach my children the correct religious orientation, specifically, that anyone who actually, seriously believes in the myths and legends from Middle Eastern goat herders during the Bronze Age needs their heads examined and, furthermore, that anybody who runs around calling himself the "son" of a god, whether he does so now or two thousand years ago is either a con artist or schizophrenic. Using many examples, I think I finally convinced them that superstition in general -- and forcing it upon other or killing for it in particular -- are generally bad things and that enlightened people recognize religion for the farce that it is.

Nonetheless, my daughter would like an opposing view. She cannot understand why anyone would build all these churches and devote their life to "god" unless there were something behind it. She would like a professional religious person to answer questions as to why they believe, what the rituals of the church mean to them, and etc. etc.

I would like for her to be able to pose these thoughtful questions and receive serious thoughtful answers from somebody other than an protestant evangelical type, as this category invariably just "believes" and has actually considered the question about as deeply as my cat* (they just "know" and that's that). But people who choose a life devoted to a church have, in theory, undergone some sort of internal debate. Thus the idea to speak to a priest or nun. Russian Orthodox would be OK, too, but I find the beards a little creepy.

Any ideas on where I might find such a person would be appreciated. My daughter is French/English speaking.

The idea is to give her another side of the issue in order to make her own decisions about these questions (it being clear to her that if she eventually becomes the next Mother Theresa it is fine with me as long as I don't have to (a) give any money or (b) say the blessing at any meal).

Serious replies only please. Child molesters discouraged.

* My cat, like all cats, is stupid.

I would strongly discourage anything of the sort. She can learn all she needs to know about religion in her history lessons. Better to send her to a respected University (France would be a good area for learning French and science as it was the birth place of Descartes) but beware; good idea to do a background check to verify no theologians are on staff as some who tend to teach history also tend to live in the past.

Bogatyr
24-09-2009, 04:51
... She can learn all she needs to know about religion in her history lessons...

The OP indicated a desire for an opposing view. Since the typical academia viewpoint is the one she already gets at home (religion = fairy tales), she won't find what she's seeking in "history lessons." Speaking with an amenable Russian Orthodox priest or monk would be best, since they live in Russia. There probably are no simple/fast answers that may satisfy her (I think the daughter in question is fairly young, right?), but it would be a good place to start to get an understanding from the point of view of believers. Also, books are very impersonal, sometimes you only can "get" what the Faith and the Church are about from live experiences with people.

rusmeister
24-09-2009, 07:05
I would strongly discourage anything of the sort. She can learn all she needs to know about religion in her history lessons. Better to send her to a respected University (France would be a good area for learning French and science as it was the birth place of Descartes) but beware; good idea to do a background check to verify no theologians are on staff as some who tend to teach history also tend to live in the past.


I have a lot more respect for the thoughts of unbelievers who do really seek out the best of what they do not believe in, rather than the worst.

I think it's about knowing the best your opponents can throw at you. The alternative, offered by is4fun, is ignorance.

AND what Bogatyr said. Books alone will not really enlighten you.

J.D.
24-09-2009, 08:17
No he is not a cult leader, refused to have any followers until he died. He disolved any means that could make him a leader from the beginning. Basically he talks about getting rid of any conditioning that is all.

Mohommad also tried not to become, if not a cult leader certainly not a diety. That was his reasoning for forbiding images of himself. He didn't want to be worshiped. Well he failed and many Muslims do think of him as a diety even using 'no images of Mohommad' as a venue for promoting his importance.

People are going to do what they want to do, and think what they want to think, and people want a hero in the short run and a God in the long run. This is probably evidenced by Kirk's daughter's searching right now.

RRM
24-09-2009, 11:01
Mohommad also tried not to become, if not a cult leader certainly not a diety. That was his reasoning for forbiding images of himself. He didn't want to be worshiped. Well he failed and many Muslims do think of him as a diety even using 'no images of Mohommad' as a venue for promoting his importance.

People are going to do what they want to do, and think what they want to think, and people want a hero in the short run and a God in the long run. This is probably evidenced by Kirk's daughter's searching right now.

Thats similar to the Buddha as well. If he were alive he would be totally disapointed.

But to answer the questions that are being raised by Kirk's child, they seem simple to her but she is asking those only to someone she can trust which is the most important to understand. The environment is ideal at home to teach these things and yet you want to provide the right answer and not an answer that is aimed at silencing them. These are sort of the things that are discussed in the form of Q & A around the world by this man in that book. That is why I thought it was a good read.

Culture plays an important role in these rituals and hence history does answer a lot about the type of questions she is asking. A child form India might ask why the Mongolian Buddhists have symbols of Gargoyles etc and why they pray them when the Buddhists in India where the religian originated does not have such things. In this case, to answer this question, you would have to know history behind thiese symbols, the Mongolian culture and how Buddhism went to Mongolia from India and in what form and several other things.

J.D.
24-09-2009, 12:02
Kirk if you would just step up and be that hero and tell your daughter what to think instead of this critical thinking crap life would be a lot more simple for you and her.

GaNozri
24-09-2009, 21:19
But I also want them to understand that believing in God, Jezus, heaven, angels, hell, devils,... is utter nonsense. For me it is difficult to understand that grown up intelligent people still can believe in these fairy tales.

To me it is difficult to understand, how grown up, intelligent people fail to comprehend the metaphoric substance of these "fairy tales". These "fairy tales" is where philosophy in particular, and human spirituality in general originates from. Calling them tales of "Middle Eastern goat hearders" is pure ignorance. I pray, that your kids will eventually find a spiritual authority somewhere in their future life, since obviously they are deprived of same at home.

is4fun
24-09-2009, 22:27
The OP indicated a desire for an opposing view. Since the typical academia viewpoint is the one she already gets at home (religion = fairy tales), she won't find what she's seeking in "history lessons." Speaking with an amenable Russian Orthodox priest or monk would be best, since they live in Russia. There probably are no simple/fast answers that may satisfy her (I think the daughter in question is fairly young, right?), but it would be a good place to start to get an understanding from the point of view of believers. Also, books are very impersonal, sometimes you only can "get" what the Faith and the Church are about from live experiences with people.

Too funny! You know all this from a synopsis about a young girl and her father's wishes that she'll get an unbiased opinion from a fabricator of fantasy (or fabricator's assistant most likely)? LOL. This gentleman did the right thing, Mr. Kirk... His daughter will know the truth very quickly.

is4fun
24-09-2009, 22:30
I think it's about knowing the best your opponents can throw at you. The alternative, offered by is4fun, is ignorance.

AND what Bogatyr said. Books alone will not really enlighten you.


"Books alone will not really enlighten you."
Enlightenment... Meaning turned on?

What do books do exactly?

Aren't you the one calling the kettle black! LOL

Bogatyr
26-09-2009, 02:50
Too funny! You know all this from a synopsis about a young girl and her father's wishes that she'll get an unbiased opinion from a fabricator of fantasy (or fabricator's assistant most likely)? LOL. This gentleman did the right thing, Mr. Kirk... His daughter will know the truth very quickly.

It is hard to make sense of what you write. He does not want an unbiased opinion, he wants an informed biased opinion from someone who holds the opposite to his biased opinion.

is4fun
27-09-2009, 22:56
It is hard to make sense of what you write. He does not want an unbiased opinion, he wants an informed biased opinion from someone who holds the opposite to his biased opinion.

I must admire K's wisdom as to have brought up such an intelligent young child to contemplate these questions at such an early age. With intelligence such as this at such an early age it is more than probable the child will be free from religious indoctrination. If children are able to discriminate at the earliest of age between fact and fantasy then they will be free from the continual psychological manipulation of religious Charlatans throughout the world. We don't really want our children growing up to believe in Puff the Magic Dragon, God, Dracula, Mohamed, Baba Yaga, or Santa Clause do we? I think not. I would recommend adult supervision throughout the inquiry with the child's family as she is still quite young and vulnerable to manipulation. At her age we need not have her exposed alone with a crafty someone such as Peter Popoff, Jimmy Swaggart, or Benny Hinn.

J.D.
28-09-2009, 06:13
I must admire K's wisdom as to have brought up such an intelligent young child to contemplate these questions at such an early age. . . We don't really want our children growing up to believe in Puff the Magic Dragon, God, Dracula, Mohamed, Baba Yaga, or Santa Clause do we? I think not. I would recommend adult supervision throughout the inquiry with the child's family as she is still quite young and vulnerable to manipulation. .


But wouldn't this at the very least violate the spirit of his intention?

is4fun
28-09-2009, 16:40
But wouldn't this at the very least violate the spirit of his intention?

Not necessarily, safety precautions must always be taken, especially with children. If one had decided to study hardened criminals they too would require protection would they not? I am not referring to all Religious people as criminals, mind you, but I think you understand my point.

Bogatyr
28-09-2009, 20:13
... With intelligence such as this at such an early age it is more than probable the child will be free from religious indoctrination. If children are able to discriminate at the earliest of age between fact and fantasy then they will be free from the continual psychological manipulation of religious Charlatans throughout the world...

Including you? The irony of course of what you write is that you yourself hold inflexible religious (in the way that you yourself apparently define the term from what I've seen of your writings) views -- the religion of science and all things material: that science and only science and only that which you can perceive with your physical senses defines and holds all the answers to life, the universe, and everything.

It is a good sign that the father wishes to expose his child to opposing ideas. I agree that it is a good sign that the child does not swallow her parent's teaching hook, line, and sinker, when faced with evidence to the contrary. She has a hope of being freed from scientific and materialistic indoctrination.

is4fun
28-09-2009, 22:25
Including you? The irony of course of what you write is that you yourself hold inflexible religious (in the way that you yourself apparently define the term from what I've seen of your writings) views -- the religion of science and all things material: that science and only science and only that which you can perceive with your physical senses defines and holds all the answers to life, the universe, and everything.

It is a good sign that the father wishes to expose his child to opposing ideas. I agree that it is a good sign that the child does not swallow her parent's teaching hook, line, and sinker, when faced with evidence to the contrary. She has a hope of being freed from scientific and materialistic indoctrination.

I am not a religious gent my good man (as a gesture of courtesy) as you may have gathered from all of my posts. If you feel I perceive science as a religion you have not understood my posts nor do you understand the foundation of science.

Here is a definition as to what religion is defined as:

Religion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion#Definitions_of_religion)

and here a definition of science:

Science - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:PrirodneNauke.svg" class="image"><img alt="PrirodneNauke.svg" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ae/PrirodneNauke.svg/100px-PrirodneNauke.svg.png"@@AMEPARAM@@commons/thumb/a/ae/PrirodneNauke.svg/100px-PrirodneNauke.svg.png

Science will eventually reveal the answers to life, the universe and everything, given time. The belief of a god has only stifled progression of an understanding of our universe and continues to do so for many to this day.

Scientific and material indoctrination? Give me a break! Prove your beliefs. Make everyone understand them. I suspect that you wish to say that you have felt the hand of god (or continually feeling him). Well, if so, let me feel him.

In the next few years the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva will reveal more information of our existence than a few millennium of religious fantasy had ever fabricated. Wake up! If you have children, do them a favor and send them to school! And not bible school.

Bogatyr
29-09-2009, 02:52
I am not a religious gent my good man (as a gesture of courtesy) as you may have gathered from all of my posts. If you feel I perceive science as a religion you have not understood my posts nor do you understand the foundation of science.

Here is a definition as to what religion is defined as:

Religion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion#Definitions_of_religion)

and here a definition of science:

Science - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science)

Science will eventually reveal the answers to life, the universe and everything, given time. The belief of a god has only stifled progression of an understanding of our universe and continues to do so for many to this day.

Scientific and material indoctrination? Give me a break! Prove your beliefs. Make everyone understand them. I suspect that you wish to say that you have felt the hand of god (or continually feeling him). Well, if so, let me feel him.

In the next few years the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva will reveal more information of our existence than a few millennium of religious fantasy had ever fabricated. Wake up! If you have children, do them a favor and send them to school! And not bible school.

If you carefully consider the very definitions you just referred to, you'll see that indeed science is your religion :).

Religion:


According to this definition, religion refers to one's primary worldview and how this dictates one's thoughts and actions. Thus religion is considered by some sources to extend to causes, principles, or activities believed in with zeal or conscientious devotion concerning points or matters of ethics or conscience, and not necessarily including belief in the supernatural.


Science:


In its more restricted contemporary sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method, and to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.

It is my surmise based on what you've written that your worldview and thoughts are formed by belief only in "information" that is acquired via the "scientific method," that is, by those who also hold your beliefs and apply them according to the agreed upon methods. Thus the conclusion that science is your religion. You do not believe in anything that can't be "proven" according to the set of beliefs that you hold to be true and only true (the scientific method). You treat with disdain those who do not hold to your beliefs. Sounds a lot like what people think of as a "religious bigot." In my personal experience this is a very common trait among believers in science.

Note that I do not believe that the information gathered with the scientific method is not true, but that science itself is fundamentally limited to explaining only (very limited portions of) the "what?" of creation.


Prove your beliefs.

Again, phrasing and thinking only inside the religion of science and the material. If you or those whom you believe in ("scientists," or those who follow your firmly held dogma of the truth of the scientific method) can't "prove" (a process belonging to the scientific belief framework that determines "truth" via repeatable experiment using the physical senses) something, it must not be true.


Make everyone understand them.

Understanding requires effort on the behalf of the one trying to understand. I can't force anybody to understand anything. Rusmeister and I have posted repeatedly links to materials that can help to acquire this understanding. Read the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church. Visit churches and monasteries and speak with the priests and monks (this is easy if you live in Russia).


I suspect that you wish to say that you have felt the hand of god (or continually feeling him). Well, if so, let me feel him.

Why would you presume to know what I would wish to say? I do not believe I am consumed with "prelest" [spiritual pride that comes from belief in one's own rightousness] to say that I have or haven't feld the hand of God. But I do know that those few who have felt it (the Saints) are far beyond me in their spiritual journey. It is a long, hard, narrow path that the Saints followed, that all are called to follow. If you pursue and follow this path assiduously, maybe you will. I think I can guarantee that you will feel something, whether or not it is "the hand of God," I can't say though, it's not for me to say. What I think I can say fairly confidently is that if you do not follow the narrow path of repentance and ascetic practices, that you probably will not feel anything of God.

Finally, as much as I do enjoy tackling these topics, I have limited time, so I'll close this from my part with regards to what is the truth: we'll all see, pretty soon.

Bogatyr
29-09-2009, 03:42
Finally, as much as I do enjoy tackling these topics, I have limited time, so I'll close this from my part with regards to what is the truth: we'll all see, pretty soon.

One thing more: here's a site with some questions and answers, hopefully it will help shed some light for those who seek it:

FAQ on Orthodoxy: Fr. Maxim Kozlov (http://www.ehellenism.com/OrthodoxFAQ.html)

Bogatyr
29-09-2009, 10:02
If you carefully consider the very definitions you just referred to, you'll see that indeed science is your religion

Is4fun,

Upon further reflection, I do not think this sub-theme of mine attempting to place a label on your worldview serves any useful purpose other than serve as a boost to my pride . It was wrong of me to bring it up, will you please forgive me?

is4fun
29-09-2009, 14:49
Is4fun,

Upon further reflection, I do not think this sub-theme of mine attempting to place a label on your worldview serves any useful purpose other than serve as a boost to my pride . It was wrong of me to bring it up, will you please forgive me?

There was never any ill will on my part and non taken thus forgiveness need not be necessary. You do have a right to speak your mind as all others. Thank you for doing that.

MickeyTong
29-09-2009, 15:35
Bogatyr....

The scientific method is the only non-biased method of assessing facts.

The religious method is based on: subjective personal experience, testimonies of personal experiences, texts purporting to be divine revelations.

People from all religions have experienced epiphany.

The testimonies of Orthodox saints may well be impressive and inspiring, but so are the reports of outstanding people from other religious traditions.

All religious texts are claimed to have divine authorship or guidance.

Deciding that one religious metaphor is The Truth and all the others are erroneous is not based on objective, unbiased assessment.

rusmeister
29-09-2009, 20:00
Bogatyr....

The scientific method is the only non-biased method of assessing facts.

The religious method is based on: subjective personal experience, testimonies of personal experiences, texts purporting to be divine revelations.

People from all religions have experienced epiphany.

The testimonies of Orthodox saints may well be impressive and inspiring, but so are the reports of outstanding people from other religious traditions.

All religious texts are claimed to have divine authorship or guidance.

Deciding that one religious metaphor is The Truth and all the others are erroneous is not based on objective, unbiased assessment.

Hi Mickey,
I object to your idea that, first of all, we should be perfectly 'unbiased' in assessing facts, and secondly, that the only ascertainable truths are scientific truths.

There is not, and cannot be, such a thing as a thoroughly unbiased person. That includes scientists. Especially when the subject they are studying is themselves. When man is the subject of the study of man, then he cannot be objective for the simple reason that he really is subjective.

Any person who has come to a final conclusion is necessarily biased - and rightly so. Again, Heretics, ch 20. (Have you read that excerpt yet? I've posted it a couple of times.)

Whether the human mind can advance or not, is a question too little discussed, for nothing can be more dangerous than to found our social philosophy on any theory which is debatable but has not been debated. But if we assume, for the sake of argument, that there has been in the past, or will be in the future, such a thing as a growth or improvement of the human mind itself, there still remains a very sharp objection to be raised against the modern version of that improvement. The vice of the modern notion of mental progress is that it is always something concerned with the breaking of bonds, the effacing of boundaries, the casting away of dogmas. But if there be such a thing as mental growth, it must mean the growth into more and more definite convictions, into more and more dogmas. The human brain is a machine for coming to conclusions; if it cannot come to conclusions it is rusty. When we hear of a man too clever to believe, we are hearing of something having almost the character of a contradiction in terms. It is like hearing of a nail that was too good to hold down a carpet; or a bolt that was too strong to keep a door shut. Man can hardly be defined, after the fashion of Carlyle, as an animal who makes tools; ants and beavers and many other animals make tools, in the sense that they make an apparatus. Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human. When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined scepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded. This indicates the necessity of becoming biased, as one develops reasonable dogmas.

So your dichotomy of 'scientific method vs religious method' is a false one. One can think reasonably outside of the boundaries that you set. Or if you prefer, I would describe it as genuinely scientific, as opposed to a science that assumes before any investigation has begun that there can be no phenomena that it cannot examine.


The testimonies of Orthodox saints may well be impressive and inspiring, but so are the reports of outstanding people from other religious traditions. It's a side note, and possibly a distraction from the main idea (in which case I'll let it go), but this seems to ignore the ways in which the Orthodox (Christian) saints and martyrs, especially the martyrs, really differ dramatically from all other confessions of faith.

MickeyTong
29-09-2009, 21:07
Hello Rusmeister,

Water boils at the same temperature whether the kettle is heated by a Hindu, an animist, a Presbyterian or an atheist.

Knowing that you have the truth about God is very different for a Catholic, a Jew, a Mormon or a Seventh Day Adventist.

The truth is that the only way to make water boil is to apply heat. This hypothesis can be tested by trying other methods.

How do you test that Jesus is the Son of God? Or that Atman and Brahman are the same? Or that there is life after death?

When you talk about "faith", what do you mean? How does one acquire it? How does know that one's own "faith" is valid whilst that of others may be misplaced?

footballhound
29-09-2009, 23:25
Hello Rusmeister,

Water boils at the same temperature whether the kettle is heated by a Hindu, an animist, a Presbyterian or an atheist.

Depends on the altitude ;)




Knowing that you have the truth about God is very different for a Catholic, a Jew, a Mormon or a Seventh Day Adventist.

No, the knowing is the same, its what we know that is differs


[quote=MickeyTong;581077]The truth is that the only way to make water boil is to apply heat. This hypothesis can be tested by trying other methods.

err you can make water boil by lowering the surrounding air pressure (see above)


How do you test that Jesus is the Son of God? Or that Atman and Brahman are the same? Or that there is life after death?

Now that is a leap of faith:10641:


When you talk about "faith", what do you mean? How does one acquire it? How does know that one's own "faith" is valid whilst that of others may be misplaced?


Funny stuff faith, not available at the average market, its a gift, like being able to hold a tune. I have it but proving it to someone who doesn't would be:11513:.


Rusmeister is a far brighter crayon than I am, but that's my half penny worth...

MickeyTong
30-09-2009, 01:18
At sea level water boils at the same temperature whether the kettle is boiled by a Hindu, an animist, etc.........

The adherents of different faiths cannot cannot all know the truth about God: if that were the case then it would not matter which faith a person accepts.

Funny stuff faith, not available at the average market, its a gift, like being able to hold a tune. I have it but proving it to someone who doesn't would be.....
And yet people persist in trying to prove faith to the faithless: if faith is a gift which you may not give, why do the faithful go through the motions? Isn't that like someone with a good voice singing to the tone deaf? Why? To elicit deference? To make the non-singer feel embarrassed or ashamed in comparison? A foretaste of the delights of Heaven, where the faithful will see (and presumably enjoy) the torments of the damned?

I'm sure you are a nice chap, Footballhound, and Rusmeister is probably an excellent neighbour, but why should I leap into your faith rather than jump into Judaism or hop into Hinduism? There are devout Jews and Hindus of impeccable character, their religions have saints and martyrs and profound depth.....

rusmeister
30-09-2009, 06:19
At sea level water boils at the same temperature whether the kettle is boiled by a Hindu, an animist, etc.........

The adherents of different faiths cannot cannot all know the truth about God: if that were the case then it would not matter which faith a person accepts.

Funny stuff faith, not available at the average market, its a gift, like being able to hold a tune. I have it but proving it to someone who doesn't would be.....
And yet people persist in trying to prove faith to the faithless: if faith is a gift which you may not give, why do the faithful go through the motions? Isn't that like someone with a good voice singing to the tone deaf? Why? To elicit deference? To make the non-singer feel embarrassed or ashamed in comparison? A foretaste of the delights of Heaven, where the faithful will see (and presumably enjoy) the torments of the damned?

I'm sure you are a nice chap, Footballhound, and Rusmeister is probably an excellent neighbour, but why should I leap into your faith rather than jump into Judaism or hop into Hinduism? There are devout Jews and Hindus of impeccable character, their religions have saints and martyrs and profound depth.....

Mickey, we CAN'T 'prove' faith (that faith is true), and we are not trying to. We CAN, however, demonstrate that things can be true without being provable, such as the validity of human reasoning.


What modern people want to be made to understand is simply that all argument begins with an assumption; that is, with something that you do not doubt. You can, of course, if you like, doubt the assumption at the beginning of your argument, but in that case you are beginning a different argument with another assumption at the beginning of it. Every argument begins with an infallible dogma, and that infallible dogma can only be disputed by falling back on some other infallible dogma; you can never prove your first statement or it would not be your first. All this is the alphabet of thinking. And it has this special and positive point about it, that it can be taught in a school, like the other alphabet. Not to start an argument without stating your postulates could be taught in philosophy as it is taught in Euclid, in a common schoolroom with a blackboard. And I think it might be taught in some simple and rational degree even to the young, before they go out into the streets and are delivered over entirely to the logic and philosophy of the Daily Mail.

Much of our chaos about religion and doubt arises from this--that our modern sceptics always begin by telling us what they do not believe. But even in a sceptic we want to know first what he does believe. Before arguing, we want to know what we need not argue about. And this confusion is infinitely increased by the fact that all the sceptics of our time are sceptics at different degrees of the dissolution of scepticism.

Now you and I have, I hope, this advantage over all those clever new philosophers, that we happen not to be mad. All of us believe in St. Paul's Cathedral; most of us believe in St. Paul. But let us clearly realize this fact, that we do believe in a number of things which are part of our existence, but which cannot be demonstrated. Leave religion for the moment wholly out of the question. All sane men, I say, believe firmly and unalterably in a certain number of things which are unproved and unprovable. Let us state them roughly.

1. Every sane man believes that the world around him and the people in it are real, and not his own delusion or dream. No man starts burning London in the belief that his servant will soon wake him for breakfast. But that I, at any given moment, am not in a dream, is unproved and unprovable. That anything exists except myself is unproved and unprovable.
2. All sane men believe that this world not only exists, but matters. Every man believes there is a sort of obligation on us to interest ourselves in this vision or panorama of life. He would think a man wrong who said, "I did not ask for this farce and it bores me. I am aware that an old lady is being murdered down-stairs, but I am going to sleep." That there is any such duty to improve the things we did not make is a thing unproved and unprovable.
3. All sane men believe that there is such a thing as a self, or ego, which is continuous. There is no inch of my brain matter the same as it was ten years ago. But if I have saved a man in battle ten years ago, I am proud; if I have run away, I am ashamed. That there is such a paramount "I" is unproved and unprovable. But it is more than unproved and unprovable; it is definitely disputed by many metaphysicians.
4. Lastly, most sane men believe, and all sane men in practice assume, that they have a power of choice and responsibility for action.

Surely it might be possible to establish some plain, dull statement such as the above, to make people see where they stand. And if the youth of the future must not (at present) be taught any religion, it might at least be taught, clearly and firmly, the three or four sanities and certainties of human free thought.

Philosophy for the Schoolroom (http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/philosophy.html)

rusmeister
30-09-2009, 06:30
Rusmeister is a far brighter crayon than I am, but that's my half penny worth...
Thank you, fbh! (Where's the 'blush' icon?)

Actually, I credit C. S. Lewis and especially G. K. Chesterton with the most valuable aspects of my intellectual education, and I recommend them (esp. Chesterton, aka "GKC") to everyone. Unfortunately, it requires a nearly lost type of reading skill, that of reading something more than a news soundbite or a paragraph out of a crank history textbook (approved for public schools). It requires actually thinking as you read. And while there are many gifted writers out there, I challenge you to find ones that are:
a)highly intelligent, better yet, an actual genius
b)funny - that make you laugh every paragraph or so
c) humble - that don't see themselves as God's gift to the world, and
d) that their enemies (philosophical foes) openly admire

Chesterton is all of those. Lewis is (a) and (c).

So if it seems there's anything good in what I have to say, check them out! They are (still) my teachers (leaving out the ones that assume faith).

kirk10071
30-09-2009, 10:44
Here is an update on the status of this.

I contacted a person who in turn has contacts in the Catholic church in Moscow. He asked the priest there to speak with me about this. The priest was very kind and arranged a meeting with one of the sisters and my daughter. She will go tomorrow and ask all her questions. I have to say that the effort made by this church and their kind offers to assist did not go unnoticed. They are really the nicest people.

Korotky Gennady
30-09-2009, 19:51
She would like a professional religious person to answer questions
....

is4fun
30-09-2009, 22:46
Thank you, fbh! (Where's the 'blush' icon?)

Actually, I credit C. S. Lewis and especially G. K. Chesterton with the most valuable aspects of my intellectual education,

If people were to draw all conclusions of life from two obscure authors then they, in the eyes of their readers, would indeed consider them as geniuses. I am hardly circumspect that the two mentioned authors had gained their knowledge from a fabricated story rewritten to suite their own means.

and I recommend them (esp. Chesterton, aka "GKC") to everyone.

Why would you not? Apologists are noted for it.

Unfortunately, it requires a nearly lost type of reading skill, that of reading something more than a news soundbite or a paragraph out of a crank history textbook (approved for public schools).

Iíve heard of reading between the lines, is this the skill we are referring to? LOL Let me think, nope, canít get it. Reading is just what it is: reading. There may be hidden symbolism that the author embeds in his storiesÖ Is this what you are referring to? I guess Iíve lost the gift of reading. I canít read anymore. Iím sad. But hey, I can write! 

It requires actually thinking as you read. And while there are many gifted writers out there, I challenge you to find ones that are:

a)highly intelligent, better yet, an actual genius

Einstein, Descartes, Newton, Tesla, Darwin, Pascal, Picasso, Dr. Seuss, Da Vinci. Only a few of my favourites.

b)funny - that make you laugh every paragraph or so

Samuel Langhorne Clemens aka Mark Twain hands down! This Guy is FUNNY!

c) humble - that don't see themselves as God's gift to the world, and

Charles Darwin and Da Vinci for sure!

d) that their enemies (philosophical foes) openly admire

All of the scientists who proved the errors made by the church.
Who was it who proved the earth revolved around the sun, Galileo. Was he respected by the clergy of the time? hehe

Chesterton is all of those. Lewis is (a) and (c).

Chesterson and Lewis are non of these men who challenged what was always wrong. They simply went along with it and provided their own interpretation of what is today considered bu****it.

So if it seems there's anything good in what I have to say, check them out! They are (still) my teachers (leaving out the ones that assume faith).

Iíve checked them out. There is nothing in these authors other than pure fantasy. One can read them and get a sense of comfort much like those who turn to the horoscope for their daily ďIím not confident with my life and need to read what someone else has in store for me for the rest of my day and lifeĒ fix. No explanation or reasoning behind what is written.

rusmeister
30-09-2009, 23:09
Here is an update on the status of this.

I contacted a person who in turn has contacts in the Catholic church in Moscow. He asked the priest there to speak with me about this. The priest was very kind and arranged a meeting with one of the sisters and my daughter. She will go tomorrow and ask all her questions. I have to say that the effort made by this church and their kind offers to assist did not go unnoticed. They are really the nicest people.

That sounds pretty good, Kirk!

Of course, she'll still be in the dark about Orthodoxy (something that, living in Russia, one might be just a little curious about)...

Best of luck to you and yours! :)

is4fun
11-10-2009, 01:39
So what is the verdict Kirk? A believer in a God?