Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Jake & Elwood's mission from God

Jake & Elwood Blues (whom I'm guessing is a male individual), of Famulus Deus are on a mission from God.

His mission is, apparently:
  1. to reach out to secularists that are seeking to have a relationship with God
  2. get “traditional” theists to look into and learn more about why they believe what they believe
  3. to show atheists that there are theists like myself in society that are willing to have intelligent and rational conversations about their beliefs as well as listen with patience, respect, and love not prejudice, condemnation, and distain
J&E seems like a nice guy and definitely a non-asshole, and I have no reason to doubt his sincerity. Still, his mission seems... well... difficult to understand.

A secularist is, on one view, someone who values and wants to maintain the separation of church and state (on another view, it's just another term for atheist; obviously an atheist has no interest in having a relationship with God). This point, however, raises two questions: Why specifically secularists? And does J&E consider himself not a secularist?

The second part of the mission is also difficult to understand. J&E has already told us everything we need to know about why he believes what he believes: he chooses to have faith. "To make that statement it takes faith and that in and of itself is a choice." It's a free country, and you can choose to believe whatever you want, be it Jesus Christ and Jehovah, Muhammad and Allah, Joseph Smith and Moroni, or David Icke and the lizard people. It's your brain, you can do what you please with it.

The last point is also hard to understand. How can you have a rational and intellectual discussion about a belief you've chosen? You chose the belief: end of discussion. And you can't have a rational, intellectual discussion about the implications and entailments of a chosen belief with someone who hasn't chosen that belief.

This is why I don't "debate" with theists: There's nothing intellectual to discuss. It's about choices, and choices are moral questions, not rational questions, which means the discussion — if there is any discussion at all — has to be judgmental.

15 comments:

  1. What makes evidentiary support of one particular viewpoint better than another?

    Isn't almost every belief merely someone's opinion or (hopefully) well educated guess?

    Speaking of education, I will further educate myself on rationalist philosophy and ask questions / revisit that particular topic at a (much) later date. Thank you Barefoot Bum for the slack that has been cut for me.

    In my haste to post here and on my blog, as well as replies to you and your reader's posts, I admittedly take some "shortcuts". One of those is to "lump" people into 3 groups. In my sphere of influence the term secular has been used for mainstream society. It may be erroneously used in this way, but that is how some Christians refer to the nontheistic portion of society. And even that reference may not be the correct terminology either. Anyone have a better idea on how to categorize 3 groups of society better? (especially since I like the number 3 ; )

    BB "You just told us everything we need to know about why you believe what you believe: You choose to believe it. It's a free country, you can choose to believe anything you want. What more needs to be said?"

    Plenty! Partial assumption follows: Just like you would want “your group” to be ready answer questions from both internal (like thinking) and external (differing thinking) groups, so I too would want “my group” to be prepared. In fact I am commanded by His word to be ready1 Peter 3:15

    BB “This is why I don't debate with theists: There's nothing intellectual to discuss. It's about choices, and choices are moral questions, not rational questions, which means the discussion — if there is any discussion at all — has to be judgmental."

    IMHO, and as I have stated from the beginning, there is a difference between being close minded and being unreceptive to new ideas, hence the “grey area” references. Since you adhere to personal choice = no room for discussion then is that not in and of itself judgmental from the lexis you used? As a result of that train of thought is the “door for rational discussion” summarily closed from your side and not from mine?

    I believe that it would be fitting to place this reply on The Barefoot Bum's blog Famulus Deus and Rob's rants

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  2. What makes evidentiary support of one particular viewpoint better than another?

    I'm not sure I understand: Are you asking why evidentiary support is a better way of justifying knowledge than other forms, such as faith?

    In my sphere of influence the term secular has been used for mainstream society.

    Ah. You mean "secular" in the sense of "worldly"?

    One must ask: With no disrespect indended, why would someone want to talk to you if they wanted a relationship with God? Couldn't they just talk to God directly?

    so I too would want “my group” to be prepared.

    Prepared for what?

    "Why do you believe in God?"

    "Because I want to."

    "Oh, OK then."

    What do you need to be ready for?

    Since you adhere to personal choice = no room for discussion then is that not in and of itself judgmental from the lexis you used?

    You're making a mistake in assuming I'm not judgmental: I'm very judgmental. But why should you care — since I'm not going to actually do anything about it — about my judgments about your beliefs?

    The point is that wanting to do something (all things considered) is a sufficient justification for doing it. You don't need to rationally justify the point further. Since I'm not going to stop you from believing in God, you don't need to persuade me to allow you to do so.

    Now, if you want to try to persuade me to believe in God, we have a discussion on our hands. But that you want to believe in God, and do so on that basis, is as unobjectionable and not-discussion-worthy as that you like Westerns, or Romance Novels, or Rocky Road ice cream. Ok, that's what you like, good for you, I know what to get you on your birthday, but that's about it. I don't believe in God, and I'm not interested in Westerns, etc. Ok, now you know what not to get me for my birthday.

    I'm "shutting the door" only in the sense that, at the narrowest level, you've already "won". You want to believe, wanting something is a rational justification for doing it, so go believe.

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  3. (Note that while you wanting to do something (all things considered) is sufficient rational justification for you doing something, it is not by itself sufficient rational justification for me to allow you to do it.)

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  4. JEB:

    In generalizing your comment to more than one thread, it loses coherence. I don't understand what you're driving at here.

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  5. I fail to see a problem since all the threads are on the same string and the replies are pushed to the top and/or referenced. Sorry if this is the blog equivalent of passing gas.

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  6. Well, the comments to each post stay with the post. I also have a feed of the latest comments on the sidebar, but that's transient.

    It's easier to keep replies to specific comments as comments to the same post as the original.

    But no worries, it's a minor issue.

    I'm still curious (and in the dark) about the substantive nature of your position.

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  7. Ok, now I too am in the dark. I thought I addressed your questions specifically above, and as duly noted, in the wrong place so I fail to see how I can further substantiate my position with you, as pel-mel as it may seem. In fact I suggested a "marination" period so others can postulate both your and my musings on God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or other topics on our blogs. Let us see what develops then. I am not giving up, throwing in the towel, or throwing my hands up. I sense a disturbance in the, no wait that is something else. What do you say, that for now we sit back and "give it a rest". Besides, not to be a wise apple, I have some catching up to do on atheist and rationalist philosophy, remember. ; )

    (I also have a trip to get ready for - do you have directions to the Honorable Richard J. Daley Plaza?)

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  8. FYI: I'm lurking here but will stay on J&E's blog.

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  9. This is why I don't "debate" with theists: There's nothing intellectual to discuss. It's about choices, and choices are moral questions, not rational questions, which means the discussion — if there is any discussion at all — has to be judgmental.

    Dude, I'm no philosopher, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, but didn't you have a huge fucking "debate" with Pastor Rob, and aren't you starting another one with Jake & Elwood right here and now?

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  10. but didn't you have a huge fucking "debate" with Pastor Rob, and aren't you starting another one with Jake & Elwood right here and now?

    No, I didn't have a debate with Pastor Rob. He came here, talked some shit, and I called him on his lies. That's not a debate, it's a shouting match.

    And I'm just asking J&E questions. He hasn't yet put forth a substantive issue, so there's nothing yet to debate.

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  11. Well it is a free country (still) so he can do whatever he wants over on his blog. I really don't care. I agree Bum that the mission statement doesn't make sense but once again, why should I care?

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  12. I'm still confused as well. We'll see how things go.

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  13. No, I didn't have a debate with Pastor Rob. He came here, talked some shit, and I called him on his lies. That's not a debate, it's a shouting match.

    And I'm just asking J&E questions. He hasn't yet put forth a substantive issue, so there's nothing yet to debate.


    Hmm. Again, I'm not a philosopher, so maybe I am using "debate" in a vernacular sense, and not philosophically, but I would call those debates, and say, "I WIN!!!1111!!!1"

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  14. ... eleventy-one.

    You're certainly free to interpret the discussion as you please. Assuming you mean that I won, I'm not going to complain too much.

    ReplyDelete

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