Is God universal?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by Blake Bowden, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Direct personal observation is the basis of personal knowledge. Lack of direct personal observation by one does not invalidate the direct personal observation of another. Those of us with direct personal observation know. I acknowledge that we may be in error. I long ago accepted that - Being in error puts me in good company so I don't worry about it. The issue of error is entangled with the problem of instrumentation. If the possibility of being in error when you state that I believe but don't know, that's your assertion for yourself and I am not required to accept it for myself.

    Knowledge does not mean infallibility. I know. Extension of knowledge comes with further uncertainty - I have faith that others know. I have faith that others believe. I have faith that others disbelieve. All depending on the individual and on their own personal observations.

    There are those among the atheists who do not have direct personal observation who take the further step of asserting that those of us who do are either lying or deluded. I long ago realized - Do unto others ... Why should I not conclude that those who take the stance are not themselves lying or deluded.

    General semantics - All knowledge is provisional. Science - All data has error bars and all theories require evidence. Those of us who chose to see the hand of the Divine in nature see that hand everywhere - Something like observational relativity?
     
  2. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    It's not existentialist. It's not a cop-out. It's honesty. Hume was not an existentialist. As for "test and observe", Newtonian physics was the end-all and be-all of "test and observe" for a while. Now it's just a "special case" taught to first-year undergrads. What was "certain knowledge" about "natural law" is now just a first-order approximation.
     
  3. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    It most certainly is. Knowable things are objectively knowable by anyone who chooses to look. If you hear G_d speak and nobody else does, that is, by definition, a subjective "experience", not an observation.
    This is exactly what I mean when I refer to intellectual honesty. Falling back on something like, "you can't prove it wasn't 'real' for me, because we don't really know what 'real' is..." is, well, lame.
     
  4. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    This is what I called the problem of instrumentation in my other post. The problem of instrumentation is not an existentialist cop-out but there are people who treat it as such.

    In philosophy everything begins with direct personal observation. In science everything begins with instrumental detection. Vast numbers of people have direct personal observation of the divine but no instrument has ever been able to record the divine. It's a problem that leads to a possible clash between science and religion.

    Some in science have failed to learn that science never has come with a guarantee that science can or should explain every direct personal observation, and that it might never do so. Maybe someday someone will invent a "Star Trek life signs detector". They will point it at a prayer group and it will detect that extra entity many experience and religion will gradually transition into a branch of science. Maybe no one will ever invent such an instrument.

    Some in science think that if science does not explain something then it did not happen. That's not how science has ever actually worked. The incorrect notion has lead to some in science denying the experiences of many and that has lead to conflict. Those of us who learned what science really is supposed to be know not to make this error. Those of us who have had the experiences know that the divine exists because for us it's a matter of direct personal observation. There should be no conflict.
     
  5. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Quote SPECIFICALLY where I made such a statement. I never said any such thing. Respond to what I write, not what you wish I had written. It has been shown quite nicely that actual knowledge is likely to be impossible and can only at best be approximated. Admitting to this is not a cop-out.
     
  6. CStevenson

    CStevenson Registered User

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    What a question! In my belief, God is absolutely universal. I respect others beliefs, but have always wondered why some feel the need to draw a boundary around God. To say he is this or that, looks like this or that, call him by this name or that name only. I believe that God is all power, all knowing, and all present. There is nothing but God.
     
  7. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    That's a definition for objective not for knowable. Knowable things include problems that require infinite calculation which can therefore only be approximated to an arbitrarily chosen precision. Objective things can be predictably observed by others.

    [/QUOTE]If you hear G_d speak and nobody else does, that is, by definition, a subjective "experience", not an observation.[/QUOTE]

    Being subjective does not make it not an observation. Being subjective makes it an observation that so far no one has been able to duplicate by instrumentation.

    [/QUOTE]This is exactly what I mean when I refer to intellectual honesty. Falling back on something like, "you can't prove it wasn't 'real' for me, because we don't really know what 'real' is..." is, well, lame.[/QUOTE]

    The problem with the fact of direct personal observation of deity being subjective is the vast numbers of people who have it and who have had it since before writing was invented. While it is true that every experience of the divine is personal and unique, it is also true that such experiences fall into definite categories. Many of them can be explained by cultural bias but not all. Many seers, mystics or whatever term you chose who could not have known something in religion report it independently.

    Even though there is no instrumental detection, calling billions of mystics across time all deluded or all lying just doesn't make sense. The science can not detect the cause of their experiences is not contrary to science, it's only outside of today's science. Not only is each subjective experience an observation that does not produce objective evidence, these experiences keep coming and keep coming generation after generation.

    Calling these experiences not knowable works for those who don't have them, but it fails to work for those who do. Calling these experiences subjective works for those who do not have them, but it's a stretch among those who do. Calling these experiences not observations, not a definition I'll accept thanks.
     
  8. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    Lots and lots of folks have such experiences, ...and are subsequently hospitalized and medicated until they don't. <i>For them</i>, the "experience" was as real as anything can be. While we must admit to the possibility that "the voice" really was that of the Divine, the fact remains that the experience was not perceived via the individual's sense organs. As such it can't be validated any more than it can be dismissed. So we are, at best, left with nothing more than <i>belief</i> regarding the nature of the experience.
     
  9. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    By your fruit shall ye be known. I'm okay with observing those who have not had direct personal observation of the divine and noticing what effect that has had on them across the decades. I'm okay with observing those without direct contact who have chosen faith and noticing what effect that has had on them across the decades. I'm okay with observing those who have had direct personal observation of the divine and noticing what effect that has had on them across the decades.

    We aren't going to agree on this point. You're on one side of the problem of instrumentation; I'm on the other.
     
  10. FlBrother324

    FlBrother324 Registered User

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    Br. Flotsam,

    I say this with the highest respect to you as a Brother:

    Though I may agree with some of your views, your approach can be a bit "sharp" to those who don't agree.

    I understand your zeal for making a point during these discussions, posted in these forums. However, it seems no matter who is relating otherwise to " your" point of view, you seem to go on an all-out aggressive stance hoping to make those who oppose your views change their minds.

    We as Brothers are obligated to keep control over such zeal, so as not to create a sense of "hostility" amongst our Brethren. Sometimes we just have to Agree to Disagree, and move on to helping each other as Brothers. This, by no means makes either of the individuals involved perceived to be more right than the other. It just means there are differing opinions or statements being levied in the discussion.

    You may very well be correct in your arguments, or not, but we aren't discussing how to prevent the next World War in these posts. It is supposed to be a forum for our Brethren to discuss in a Brotherly fashion, those issues we as Masons relate to on another level, compared to those less enlightened.

    We are all Brothers for the most part in this forum, what kind of message does it send to those non-Masons observing our actions here, if we appear to be unable to work past our differences?

    I appeal to your sense of Brotherly respect, and honor of the Fraternity to realize we are all in this together, and that there are many non-Masons ready, willing, and anxious to see to our demise as a Fraternity.

    May you be blessed by the GAOTU, and He light your path from above.

    Yours, in His service.

    Br. Corcoran



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    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013
  11. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Let's step back and think about that for a bit. How many people do you know in each of the two states?

    Folks who've been to a big city may have seen someone on the street corner ranting. There's a spectrum of functionality all the way to Nash being a Nobel laureate. If you know someone who sees things it can become obvious anywhere from the first second to a few weeks of friendship depending on their level of function. The percentage of schizophrenics is low among the general population and the lower the social functioning the less social contact they have. I don't know how many have never encountered a schizophrenic, likely very many people. I knew a college friend who went schizophrenic and in his case it was obvious as well as very sad.

    As a percentage of the population at least 30% have a religious experience in their life. There are several types so it runs closer to 10% who have direct personal observation of deity. You definitely know several such people. In most cases you don't even know because there's no way to tell without asking. And since we don't discuss religion in our assemblies you don't know which brothers are among them.

    I suggest that your preconceived notions don't match the population percentages and you have made an erroneous presumption that sane people around you have not had direct personal observation of deity. Many have.
     
  12. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

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    I suggest that your assumptions about me and my understanding of mental illness are in error. I have more than a little first-hand experience in dealing with those poor souls who suffer from schizophrenia and other debilitating mental disorders, usually when they are most acute. While there is much about the function of the brain that we don't understand, it is pretty well established that the hallucinations experienced by some of the mentally ill (not to mention those who have otherwise had their brain's chemistry altered) are as "real" as anything perceived via one's "normal" senses. I have been told as much by more than one (when they were in a more "stable" state). And yes, some of them can be quite functional, on most levels, while suffering profoundly from "first-rank" symptoms like hallucinations (auditory being the most common), delusions of being controlled, "thought insertion", etc.
    Again, I will not pretend to know that such experiences are, or are not, Divine in nature. There is, to understate it again, too much that we don't not understand about how our brains work to make such conclusions. And that is my whole point. There is no knowing that an "experience" one has, when it's genesis is apart from our normal senses, is or is not "real". The exact same goes for "religious experiences". Those of us who have had them choose to believe, or not. Mind you, I make no judgement whatsoever about such choices, nor should anyone. Such is the nature, and privilege, of faith. By the same token, I would not cheapen anyone's faith by equating that with knowledge of the kind that can be acquired by sight, sound, touch, etc.
     
  13. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    The supreme being is universal. We, however, are tribal in nature. We see through a prism alright.

    Peter, Paul, and Mary put it best: "When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn?"
     
  14. FlBrother324

    FlBrother324 Registered User

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    Brothers,
    Is visitation the same as God being Universal? Maybe we would be better off putting this discussion in a different thread ?
    Both of you seem to have lumped "visitation" from one's God or Deity into His being Universal.

    Not to confuse the issue, but what about those that have had "visitation" while in a "dream state" ?

    Not during a conscious state but during sleep, or while in a "comatose" condition due to trauma or medical emergencies, or near death experiences?

    Some claim "out of body experiences"...?
    Seeing the white light calling them, reassuring them, etc...?
    Having visited with their Deity or other Holy Spirits?
    Many have probably just kept it to themselves for fear of others not believing them, or trying to rationalize it to themselves.

    I don't believe they are being classified as "crazy" because of these types of situations are they?

    Just curious?




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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  15. FlBrother324

    FlBrother324 Registered User

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    Have started a different thread if you'd like to answer some of these questions above for me?
    I'd be quite interested in some Brotherly dialogue regarding them .

    Yours, in His service.


    My Freemasonry HD
     
  16. Mosaic

    Mosaic Registered User

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    Brothers, I dont mean to detract from this wonderful discussion, but why do some elect to omit the letter o in God? (As in, G_d)?

    Pardon my darkness...
     
  17. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    A matter of reverence. For many, the name of Deity is inneffible, and to say or spell out one of 72 (ad infinitum) names is improper.
     
  18. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    It's a custom that was adopted by those who think that "God" actually is the name of the being we refer to as "God". Observant Jews are to never speak the name of God, but it is represented as יהוה or "YHWH" using Latin letters, some English-speakers believe that they are acting accordingly. What they are ignorant of is that the omission of vowels in יהוה is not a matter of piety but of historical preservation. At the time Torah was written and assembled, it was not usual for vowels of any sort to be written in Hebrew. It used a strict abjad, not a full alphabet. Later, vowel signs were added, but they were not added to יהוה out of historical reverence. I consider it to be a harmless affectation since at no time in any Scripture used by Christians, is the Name of God stated to be "God". English makes matters more confusing vs. Greek, for example. In Greek, one refers to "Ὁ Θεος"
    ("the" God), distinct from any ordinary "θεος" (god). Hebrew uses the plural word "אֱלֹהִ֔ים" (Elohim) but treats it as if it is singular to mean what is meant in English by "God" and as plural to mean what is meant in English by "god". However, neither Greek or Hebrew speakers treat these as the actual Name of God.

    English, on the other hand, has never had a native Name. Thus, people mistake the term that refers to Him by function and rank as His name.
     
  19. usmcvet

    usmcvet Registered User

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    I am going to steal that one! My son has asked a few times and I tried sports as an analogy. Their are different teams but it's all the same game. I like yours better.
     
  20. BroBook

    BroBook Premium Member

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    Yes the wisest , strongest and most beautiful Being we can imagine is universal and according to our Bible HE will one day come and destroy the gods that did not create the earth !!!


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