For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.
LilySmith – “Unless you’ve talked to James Madison from the grave, I don’t know why you think he was agnostic.”
Lausten – “It’s called history. You don’t actually need to have been there to have an opinion about someone. Direct personal experience can be just as distorting anyway. The fact that many teachers were priests and ministers, and that colleges at the time required religious studies has led to much confusion on this issue. I would say the lack of evidence of his feelings about religion is pretty good evidence that he was open minded.”
I’m sure that you are not assuming that being “open minded” means that one is agnostic.
Lois – ” Humans create morality every day, on our own, and this goes for Christians, as well. They simply don’t realize where it is actually coming from and misattribute it to their false religion. “
Religions can’t actually be “false”. They’re exactly what they are, religions.
The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.
There may be some pretty bizarre looking fingers out there, but what’s that got to do with the moon?
Write4U – “Perhaps you did not read close enough or I failed to make it clear that the concept of being filled with the Holy Spirit is natural phenomena and is expressed both in religious fervor or in the synchronization of herd (group) behavior. Both are natural phenomena and the ’emotional identification’ is generated in the same part of the brain.
Let me illustrate with a very amazing (but not Holy) synchronization of ovulation in women, where the natural cycle of a dominant female seems to induce a synchronicity in all the females to ovulate at the same time as the dominant.
This is a real time phenomenon and is also related to the function of mirror neural network, IMO.”
I wasn’t quibbling, and understood your original post. Just was actually curious.
The sense of the sacred has played a major role in human history. As with all aspects of our behaviour, the degree of quality/veracity/authenticity varies from individual to individual, group to group, religion to religion. I would say that a large part of being human is this exaggerated range of relativity in our subjective experience. I’m not talking about intelligence per se, but about the nature of our self reflection.
Mindfulness meditation would be an excellent starting place for theists as well as atheists. The practice of increasingly honest objective study of the subjective moment. No expectations, agenda or pre-existing parameters. The definition of God/Reality becomes more authentic as the parallax of relativity subsides.
For me, this is the actual pressure motivating evolution. Self discovery. The conventional understanding; based on randomness, survival, and propagation only describes a holding pattern. A state of inertia. Unapplied potential of consciousness.
Defining God/Reality can no more ignore the study of consciousness than it can the study of physics.
Write4U – “There is nothing special (holy) about this common phenomenon.”
I’m curious what phenomena would qualify as “special(holy)”? If there is such a condition, what criteria might be applied in discerning it?
LilySmith – “Since the existence of God cannot be proven either way, both a theist and an atheist have a belief concerning the existence of God. Their positions are by faith since no proof exists.
It has nothing to do with God being the Creator or anyone’s definition of a ‘good Catholic.’ Nor does it matter whether a theist believes in creation or evolution. If he believes in God, he is a theist. If he believes no God exists, he’s an atheist. That’s the end of it.”
I vote for LilySmith’s take on this. Especially the reference to “God” rather than “a god”, “gods”, “supernatural beings”, etc.
Rather than define Atheist, better to improve the definition of God. Then, theist and atheist can both at least try to refer to the real deal. Whether in belief or disbelief.
I would though, point out that the expression, “existence of God” is a small flaw in an otherwise excellent summary. Existence being better thought of as the inherent nature of God, rather than something God does. This might explain why “proof” is difficult.