Monthly Archives: November 2016

On Logic …

Some think logic entails truth. Logic entails to validity and nothing more. In Logic, the use of the term “truth” is particular jargon that means “proof” in a computational/mathematical sense. In the ordinary use of the word “true”, we mean “is the case in reality” and logic cannot and does not provide us that.

Logic is a formal language derived completely from reasoning and is descriptive of how folks think. It is not independent of reasoning beings, as if it is a “thing in the world” on its own, reified. It is from thinking about how we think that all the terms, definitions, principles, and laws have been derived.

For the actual student of Logic, saying any of this is non-controversial.

“The bottom line is that logic alone can tell us nothing new about the real world.”

“Traditionally logic was considered a normative description of the workings of an ideal mind.”

“[The principles of logic] are non-contingent, in the sense that they do not depend on any particular accidental features of the world.”

“The principles of logic … are derived using reasoning only, and their validity does not depend on any contingent features of the world.”


“… the proof of the validity of these inferences depends upon the assumption of the truth of certain general statements concerning relatives.”

“Of these two conditions, the logician as such is concerned only with the first [validity]; the second, the determination of the truth or falsity of the premises, is the task of some special discipline or of common observation appropriate to the subject matter of the argument.”

“When the conclusion of an argument is correctly deducible from its premises, the inference from the premises to the conclusion is said to be (deductively) valid, irrespective of whether the premises are true or false.”


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What’s The Point Of God-talk?

I wish more Theists were intuitive in talking about “Why God at all?” It should be simple. Years of study in Epistemology will all distill to a single, simple fact of the matter answered from another question, “Why do you feel God exists [or doesn’t]?”

The Theist answers “I get the impression God exists”, and then goes about defining God. We can talk about the Atheist response, but it begins and ends with simply adding to that response “don’t”; “I don’t get the impression God exists”.

Being that “God” is a metaphysical proposition, there are no facts for any person to know what “the case with God” is, and so we are left with impressions. Each of us are justified in our respective responses to the question. Anyone arguing other “facts” of the matter of God is not rational to the extent needed in order for someone else who is, to take them seriously. And for the Theist, all of his work is ahead of him, for the Atheist is justified in simplicity; sticking just to the impression alone. While the Theist, also having an impression (in both cases, Theist and Atheist, the impression takes more work to doubt than believe), has to tread carefully about the comprehended “God” he MUST create in order to attempt to describe the incomprehensible God he feels exists. That work, for the Theist, is nearly undone completely and always in arguments that never connect the Theist nor the Atheist. Worse, that some purported connection with his God fails to connect him to humanity and then every narrative he could construct would have no practical end but the effect of even the most devout Theist rejecting each and every one of them. And all of this must naturally exclude from any conversation those holding to “credo quia absurdum”!

Is there any work though for the non believer? Only inasmuch as owning all beliefs must be justified, owning no facts exist to satisfy his perhaps venting appeal to Positivistic thinking that “all beliefs must have evidence to justify them” (which is untrue), and particularly owning that reason itself is not that which justifies his belief “The assertion ‘deity exist’ is false”; given the rational premises of arguments are irrationally accepted on the sole condition that they “make sense” rather than being inherent truth-containers — for rational proofs prove only sentence structures and sentence relations, and some please us and “feel” right where others do not; and of course that it is a trivial matter to produce any logically valid argument for the existence of God, given the premises indeed only need to conform to essentially, syntax rather than actually having any real quality or appearance of “being the case”.

The justification for either believer or non believer is only, and can only be, “it makes sense to me that …”.

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Do tell!

​In Philosophy and Psychology, belief is action. Belief is an attitudinal disposition toward a state of affairs. So to believe in x means one will “act as if x”. And to believe doesn’t solely mean one has to be aware or consciously deliberate about what to think; fit instance, we all believe the sun will rise in the morning because we act as if it will yet few ever think of the sun and whether or not it will rise.
This begs the question for the believer. What does it mean to believe in deity? What does that mean you will “act as if”? Does it mean that if a non believer acts exactly as you do, he also believes?
For the Christian, a central belief for some is the idea of the Trinity, for example. Unless it can be made comprehensible, there’s nothing to believe. One doesn’t know what it is being proposed, and a result, there is no way to act in response to thinking the Trinity is a reality. This goes for all Christian dogma as well, for thinking Jesus was born of a virgin can only lead a person to “act as if” “Gee, that’s a neat trick!”
The truest idea of what your faith is is in asking yourself how you’re behaving differently as a result of religion and what ideas in it actually produce that behavior, because the rest is only ancillary.

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John’s Word

​I think a first century reader of John would have understood “The Word” to be divine mind, will, intent, purpose et. al..

In that case, the entirety of John can be read without the idea that Jesus is ontologically God. Indeed, the church fathers (Justin Martyr copiously) believed Jesus was divine but imply through distinction, he was not God (Yahweh) in any hypostatic sense or otherwise.

Reading more of John’s gospel, Jesus being the way, the truth, and the life unmistakably speak of Jesus in exemplar fashion rather than as a gatekeeper. As hodos, as alethea, and zoe, plus Jesus as logos, Jesus is the revelation of the fullness of humanity, the way all humanity was meant to be, and through Jesus, we see what mode that way of being is.

By analogy, were I a jet fighter designer, I may say that the F15 is everything I had in mind for fighter planes to be. From this is a universality to things in which beliefs about an F15 actually having anything to do with me, its designer, its “father”, clearly don’t matter and miss the point. What does is understanding what an F15 is, what it does and how.

All that can matter is how we think we ought to be as human beings and whether or not Jesus is the epitome of that picture. Salvation wouldn’t hinge on the latter but instead, on pursuing the former.

Again using the Greek, pistis is not episteme but persuation. Faith is pistis in that sense, not in the new post-enlightenment, Fregean, propositional sense. Grace, God’s active presence in the world, produces faith, a draw to God; which is to say, a draw to goodness, which is universal once again.

Ditching the mistaken “faith or works” false dichotomy, and given the teleology and eschaton of the Kingdom Of God, Heaven and Hell are not of any concern. Jesus didn’t speak of them in any sense that at least Protestants have in mind today. Salvation is the result of atonement which is a result of acting on faith. In other words, atonement is the experience of participating in the good and in those experiences, one is transformed and, this is salvation. And again, this needs no acknowledgment of God or Christ and why it is written that salvation is for all and especially those who believe in Christ. Meaning simply that a Christian is one who affirms that the mark for humanity is Jesus but that recognition or belief or confession isn’t necessary eschatologically, not a requirement of salvation. If it is true that Jesus is the fullness of humanity, then obviously it makes sense that those understanding Jesus would better understand salvation. Just as obviously, it doesn’t mean salvation is impossible without knowledge of Jesus.

We see in Christ what God had in mind for us all when we were created; each of us embodying His will, which is goodness itself.

Just a thought.

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On The Ontology Of Ethics

​The study of ethics and morality is the study of “the good”, which ultimately can only be said to be denoted best as, “the admirable”; and this is instead, to understand the psychology of being human rather than noting how we govern ourselves, or ought to. It is merely a study of aesthetics; no more or less meaningful than art or music, no more or less universal, and no more or less objective. It is also the realization that some are born with the natural ability for it, and some simply will never have but an awkward relationship to it; much like that fella who has no idea of what a beat or rhythm is and God bless the feet of his dance partner.

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​I think even most fundamentalists will hold back from saying scripture is inerrant. It simply isn’t possible to say. So, what you will find are those who say the original scriptures are error-free.

Why this matters at all is because “Inerrantists” want to appeal to scripture to settle some matter, theological or otherwise, but this is odd!

Even if the first writing of one of the books of the Bible had no errors, we have problems of interpretation that do not go away in any case. First is the obvious; to say there are statements that can contain error is to already interpret scripture as one form of communication versus another (historical narrative, myth, legend, history proper, non fiction, and so on), and scripture doesn’t help us know which it is. Would we think to talk about “The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn” in terms of errors at all, for example? Second is that in saying the “originals” are error-free, one owns that what scripture one has before them in fact contains error. Third, no originals exist.

The point of saying scripture is error-free, then, doesn’t at all do for anyone saying so what they’d hoped. There is no objective basis for claims about the ontology of the Bible in terms of inerrancy. Saying that scripture is authoritative then is simply saying one’s own interpretation is authoritative. The basis of these sorts of statements are generally hope, also called “faith”, or hubris.

I don’t see that either make a difference at all in the life of a person seeking God or trying to understand Christ.

In fact, since such statements only invoke dissonance and division, I think such beliefs, posited as facts of the matter to settle other matters, is a dangerous and wasteful occupation altogether.

Just a thought.

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​E Pluribus Unum

Jesus’ message above all things purportedly said of him was about the Kingdom of God. That kingdom is through sacrament; visble manifestations of the divine on Earth. God is present wherever and whenever there is good. Salvation is an emancipatory collaboration then, and begun by the Church; which is to say, anyone being that sacrament. This is faith, participation with the good; episteme has only ancillary value, and no efficacious value at all for salvation.
Perhaps this way of thinking about salvation is restricted to the Jew, the Catholic, and the Muslim, and in thematic exactness with the compassion predicated ideology the Buddha held, as well as most other world religions and ethical systems of philosophy, including Secular Humanism; perhaps especially.

E Pluribus Unum, an emancipatory collective in which we already are participants; each and every one of us.

“Wherever two or more are gathered in my name …” The name and the person it signifies is never the point, is it. We come together in such groups to do something. And just as the name of “Susan G. Komen” is “Awareness”, the name of “Jesus” is goodness and human well-being. In so much as there are details about either person we can discuss, they are unnecessary to being aware of breast cancer, or what human goodness looks like and the mode well-being takes.

Here is Crossan in his own words … Around the 20:30 mark is a good start to that discussion. This is a great overview of a new book about the nature of God, the nature of Jesus and of man and the participatory nature of salvation.

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