Does literalism/logicism get in the way of religion"?

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JSBACHlover
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27 Dec 2013, 2:41 pm

My topic is my question. I'm very interested. Thanks



sacrip
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27 Dec 2013, 2:53 pm

Yes. Symbolism and metaphor are present in just about every religion, so being unable to identify them as such will make appreciating the message very difficult. Plus, a person dedicated solely to logic and rationalism often assumes they are the highest form of human awareness. They're not.


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wozeree
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27 Dec 2013, 3:03 pm

I don't know about that, I'm pretty much into art and literature and symbolism and if there's anything that I still love about the Catholic Church it's all the ritual and symbolism (in fact I keep a nativity in my apartment all year long). Religion as a way of life/God - not so much.



doofy
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27 Dec 2013, 3:17 pm

I think you'll probably get moved to ppr pdq :)

For me - if i approach catholicism literally I find it abhorrent. Approached from the mystical pov I find it soothing.



mr_bigmouth_502
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27 Dec 2013, 3:22 pm

When I was younger, I had a very literal way of looking at things, and as such I had a hard time understanding or appreciating religion. Up until I was 12, I considered myself Catholic simply because I didn't think I was allowed to not be Catholic. I don't know how I finally realized that I didn't have to be religious, but when I did it was a major revelation (pun intended).



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JSBACHlover
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27 Dec 2013, 10:21 pm

So far this is interesting. I just wish more people would respond to the thread.



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28 Dec 2013, 12:28 am

I quit believing in god in 5th grade when I learned more about life like how earth was formed and realizing people are created by being born to their parents and they make them with their sperm and egg. Reason why I believed it when I was so little was because I lacked logic and I was so gullible. I even thought you turned into a star when you die because that is what my mother told me. I figured it out when I learned what stars were made out of from learning about space in school around third grade. But kids are gullible and will believe anything due to lack of life experience and knowledge. I was told the reason why I don't understand religion nor believe in it is because it's too abstract.


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28 Dec 2013, 12:30 am

I think most young children take any religion literally at first. By the time they are capable abstract thought, they either discard their religion or rediscover it symbolically.



delaSHANE
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28 Dec 2013, 1:49 am

@



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Callista
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28 Dec 2013, 2:24 am

It doesn't get in the way of religion, but it does get in the way of blind faith.

People whose thinking style is particularly logical and literal find it hard to believe something just because they want to believe it or because another person they trust believes it. We question everything. In order to believe something, we have to have verified that it is probably true.

For example, I am a Christian because the existence of God makes more sense to me than his non-existence, because monotheism makes more sense to me than polytheism/pantheism, and because the Christian Bible, especially the New Testament, is most in line with what I understand to be true good. I am always aware that I could be wrong. There could be no God at all, even in a functionally infinite multiverse. I could have picked the wrong belief system--a problem that's particularly nagging because my culture is mostly Christian and I worry that I have been too much influenced by that to make a clear decision.

But, yes, if you are very logical and very literal, you aren't going to be able to believe something just floating out in space somewhere, unsupported by reason. It's got nothing to do with being particularly smart or honest; it's just that with that thinking style, it simply feels wrong not to know something for sure. And the second you ask, "Is that true?" you've opened a box you can't close unless you can somehow prove it one way or the other, a hundred percent. Since a hundred percent is impossible in real life, living with that sort of a mind means you are always in doubt of everything, to some degree. Every day of my life I wonder whether I've reached the right conclusion about God, about morality, about pretty much anything where I can't produce experimental results with a small enough p-value to satisfy me.

Faith isn't something you can force. If you don't think something's true, you can't believe it. It just doesn't work. Maybe there are some people out there who can ignore the facts or the reason behind a belief system, but I can't.

For me, life is partly learning whatever I can know, and partly coming to terms with all the things I can never know.


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28 Dec 2013, 2:37 am

Of course it does. That's why as society becomes more scientific and technologically advanced, religions are losing members as people gravitate towards fact based evidence over everything that can't be explained fully being attributed to God or good & evil etc. I still see a purpose for being spiritual, though, as there are still a lot of metaphysical things in life that science has yet to be able to explain. But religious in the more traditional sense? I don't really have a great use for it in my life.


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28 Dec 2013, 3:12 am

I believe genes play a role. I think a person has a genetic tendency to believe, not believe or lean in either direction. There are many religious people on Wrong Planet and they probably have literal tendencies. I am a non-believer. I just don't see it. Either I am blind like a blind person does not see the sky or the religious people are delusional. I don't know.


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TallyMan
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28 Dec 2013, 3:18 am

(Thread moved from Autism discussion to PPR)


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28 Dec 2013, 5:48 am

As others said, religions use symbols and metaphors and they are used to describe abstract things using common human experience, thus - they work if you have that experience. Religions aren't illogical, quite the opposite. What is the problem is that their fundamental principles can't be proven, so, you have to make a leap of faith and either accept it or not. If, however, you do accept them, other thing become logical, because it is a system. Depending on religion, there are various degrees of certainty - how many clear rules are there. You have Hinduism, with many paths, and then there is Islam where there is much more clarity about what to do when.
I've been thinking about how the concept of God is in fact fundamental to objective logic. I am not talking about bearded guy sitting in clouds, but a Being which main attribute is being as opposed to not being. If there is something rather than nothing, and that something is building block of reality, there are certain rules and mechanisms and there is objective logic regarding those rules. However, if there is nothing, and if everything is a pure chance and randomness, then logic is logic only because it makes sense to us, subjectively. Then, logic is a tool with which we make sense of a senseless cosmos and consequently - you can't find real, objective, certainty in that logic. What is going on in modern world is not very different from ancient world - people re trying to find meaning, we cannot live our life without meaning, and many people are depressed today because there ain't no meaning given by societal structure. You have to choose, you are free and that is both great blessing and a curse. So, you have science, and religion, and movements and so on - each seemingly try to give a all encompassing model of meaning and yet, it seems so fragmented that we are living in an illusion that one thing excludes the other. Why? The only thing that comes to my mind is interest.

Science cannot, in fact it does not, intend to give all the answers. It is not religion vs. dogma thing ass much as it is difference in methods. Scientific breakthrough was not result of people suddenly realizing that God does not exist, it is the result of changing methods of understanding concrete physical world. ancient Greeks used speculation, deduction, contemplation to understand nature. Early and medieval Christianity borrowed heavily from this, first from Plato, later Aristotle. Scholastic philosophy was trying to understand nature going from God all the way down. Then, there was movement in theology (so, originates in Christianity) called nominalism and it said - you can't understand anything in physical reality by trying to grasp some objective transcendental realities. You can only understand them by focusing on individual objects. That paved way to Bacon and Descartes alike. First and foremost - they said that it is a rational individual who understands - certainty shifted from God to thinking subject, a person. Descartes went to rationalism (believing that there are a priori truths inborn into us, and senses are deceiving) and Bacon developed empirism (your senses are the thing to rely on to gain knowledge and understanding). It was Bacon who wrote novom organum or new tool in which he tries to replace Aristotle's Organum. He proposes induction, experiment and observation as best way to understand concrete world and that is what science as we know it today is.

However, all this does not denounce logic from religion, it is simply a matter of how you use logic. Logic says nothing about truth - All cows can talk, Peter is a cow, therefore, Peter can talk. It is (I hope so :)) logically correct conclusion but premises are not true.

Wow, gotta stop here and now. Sorry, you hit one of my obsessions so it's hard for me to stop.



JSBACHlover
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28 Dec 2013, 10:42 am

Agathon wrote:
As others said, religions use symbols and metaphors and they are used to describe abstract things using common human experience, thus - they work if you have that experience. Religions aren't illogical, quite the opposite. What is the problem is that their fundamental principles can't be proven, so, you have to make a leap of faith and either accept it or not. If, however, you do accept them, other thing become logical, because it is a system. Depending on religion, there are various degrees of certainty - how many clear rules are there. You have Hinduism, with many paths, and then there is Islam where there is much more clarity about what to do when.
I've been thinking about how the concept of God is in fact fundamental to objective logic. I am not talking about bearded guy sitting in clouds, but a Being which main attribute is being as opposed to not being. If there is something rather than nothing, and that something is building block of reality, there are certain rules and mechanisms and there is objective logic regarding those rules. However, if there is nothing, and if everything is a pure chance and randomness, then logic is logic only because it makes sense to us, subjectively. Then, logic is a tool with which we make sense of a senseless cosmos and consequently - you can't find real, objective, certainty in that logic. What is going on in modern world is not very different from ancient world - people re trying to find meaning, we cannot live our life without meaning, and many people are depressed today because there ain't no meaning given by societal structure. You have to choose, you are free and that is both great blessing and a curse. So, you have science, and religion, and movements and so on - each seemingly try to give a all encompassing model of meaning and yet, it seems so fragmented that we are living in an illusion that one thing excludes the other. Why? The only thing that comes to my mind is interest.

Science cannot, in fact it does not, intend to give all the answers. It is not religion vs. dogma thing ass much as it is difference in methods. Scientific breakthrough was not result of people suddenly realizing that God does not exist, it is the result of changing methods of understanding concrete physical world. ancient Greeks used speculation, deduction, contemplation to understand nature. Early and medieval Christianity borrowed heavily from this, first from Plato, later Aristotle. Scholastic philosophy was trying to understand nature going from God all the way down. Then, there was movement in theology (so, originates in Christianity) called nominalism and it said - you can't understand anything in physical reality by trying to grasp some objective transcendental realities. You can only understand them by focusing on individual objects. That paved way to Bacon and Descartes alike. First and foremost - they said that it is a rational individual who understands - certainty shifted from God to thinking subject, a person. Descartes went to rationalism (believing that there are a priori truths inborn into us, and senses are deceiving) and Bacon developed empirism (your senses are the thing to rely on to gain knowledge and understanding). It was Bacon who wrote novom organum or new tool in which he tries to replace Aristotle's Organum. He proposes induction, experiment and observation as best way to understand concrete world and that is what science as we know it today is.

However, all this does not denounce logic from religion, it is simply a matter of how you use logic. Logic says nothing about truth - All cows can talk, Peter is a cow, therefore, Peter can talk. It is (I hope so :)) logically correct conclusion but premises are not true.

Wow, gotta stop here and now. Sorry, you hit one of my obsessions so it's hard for me to stop.


I find this response to be considerably thoughtful and encompassing.

1) As others have said above, the absolute and abstract nature of a "God" is hard to grasp for Aspies because we are concrete and desire definitive proof. But there is no "proof" for the existence of God except for two kinds: 1) a convergence of probabilities suggesting that there is an ontological relationship between cause and effect and not a merely pragmatic one (see the brilliant work of one of my professors at Princeton, Bastian Van Fraassen for his de-ontological views); and 2) an argument which demonstrates that disbelief in a God results in paradoxes and contradictions, so the opposite must be true (e.g. arguments from the high scholastic period).

2) Nevertheless, unlike the physical sciences, no empirical tests (aside from miracles) can be established to verify a God-hypothesis.

3) Yet, if one accept a religion axiomatically, then one can treat it as a science, and test it for its internal logical consistency, logical "completeness", and its accord with our own subjective experience of reality. Which is a fascinating study in itself.

But I still invite more feedback from you. On a personal note, some of you may know that I am an Aspie who is also a Catholic priest. Theology and religion became a special interest of mine when I was 20 years old, and after 3 years of intense independent study, I chose to become Catholic (I was raised Reform Jewish), and then I found a career in which I could develop and communicate with others my special interest.

Yet I want all of you to know that I am not on this forum to convert anyone. I am here to listen to your Aspie experiences. I want to assess how other Aspies think about transcendental matters. Please continue to respond to this thread. Thank you.