Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rational Religious

I'm going to have to make this post into two different parts, I was planning on writing a post on rational religion and the far reaches of ancient sophists' relativism. However, since that would lead to a very long post I'll break up the two topics. Again, stuck on philosophy... I had more time in my car than usual today so I listened to two episodes of the History of Philosophy and I have even more time later (it's lunch time), though I might switch to listening to Korean for the remainder of my car time today.

Today's topic of rational religion actually comes from the episode on Hippocrates' corpus. That may seem like a stretch to go from the father of modern (western) medicine to religion but if you listen to the episode you'll see from where I draw my topic.

Here's a question for you: Why do people naturally assume all religious people are irrational? Why can't a religious person be logical/rational/scientific? Why can't religion be rational or logical (I can understand why not technically scientific in some cases)? That's one of the points professor Adamson makes with the Hippocratic corpus. Sometimes it may seem like they (the corpus was probably written by a number of people but all attributed to Hippocrates because he was famous) are trying to wrest medical study from the religious and place it into rational philosophy's (capable) hands, but not necessarily. Because, the way they seemed to view the gods made the study and treatment of aliments or medical study in general was actually a higher form of piety.

The same should be true in Christianity! It seems like atheists/agnostics (especially antagonistic ones) like to use the extreme examples. Often times such antagonists set up straw man arguments pointing out extremists and claiming those extremists are an equal/fair representation of that particular religion or of all religions as a whole. I'm religious, and I have no problem with taking a critical view of the world. LOTS of people in religion are not open-minded, but atheists, despite their claims to the contrary, can also be close-minded. AND, just being dogmatic on one particular issue doesn't mean one cannot be rational. The book I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist uses pretty clear arguments that atheism is (just as) dogmatic on the idea that there isn't a god as deists are that there is.

Makes me think of the whole "grass is always greener on the other side" cliche; though oftentimes it's the opposite! People raised in the country stereotype the city (and it's inhabitants) as being full of crime and poverty, while city folk often stereotype the country dwellers as backwards and uneducated etc. People on one side of an issue, often times without realizing it (but sometimes intentionally), vilify those on the opposite side of the issue. A clear example is in the debate (which saddens me because there shouldn't be a debate) about abortion: those for abortion call themselves "pro-choice" and vice versa "anti-abortion," those against abortion call themselves "pro-life" and "pro-abortion." Honestly, the point broke down a little bit there because pro-lifers don't really have a negative term for pro-abortionists. But, in the case of "pro-choice" advocates it's clear that just the term "anti-abortion" clearly has a negative connotation to vilify the enemy.

Is it unreasonable to assume a deity? As I pointed out yesterday the concept of infinity points to the idea that there's a deity... That's not the only argument either. The evident design of the observable universe indicates a deity, a universal/common moral compunction points towards a deity, as well as many other apologetic arguments. Interestingly enough on this topic of apologetics, in my search for the link to that book I found an interesting book: Apologetics Never Saved Anyone I just might have to read it.

Okinawan glass blowing