Contradictions awaiting resolution
Certain ideas in opposition, trying to unify, always remain as two. Rather than struggle endlessly about it, here they are.
Some might cajole: give up the quest — switch to pure Catholic, or Orthodox, or fundamentalist evangelical Protestant, or join that denomination down the street and believe what they say, or even give up religion altogether. But alas, I am propelled to follow truth where it leads. Each view leads to the same end: cognitive dissonance.
For some of these, I merely need to think harder about it, and one day, I will remove it from this article and correct other statements on my website.
The two views...
- We should only accept things as true if the apostles actually taught it.
- We should accept things as true if the apostles would agree with it if had they thought of it.
The opposing views...
- Should figures of speech be allowed at all?
- Symbols are real, but they reside in the spiritual realm.
- How to detect valid figures of speech from literal descriptions?
- How can fiction be considered strictly literal? My answer: fiction is by definition literally true because it is 100% literal fabrication originating in the spiritual realm, in the mind of the author. It doesn't claim to represent historical factual events in the physical realm and thus is literally true in what it claims.
The two views...
- All life has a soul.
- Everything in the spiritual realm is living including symbols.
Does this mean symbols have a soul? Or that the universe has a soul?
The two views...
- It's inerrant and infallible, yet...
- The apostles taught error.
The opposing views...
- The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God, yet...
- It has errors, contradictions, anachronisms (bad history). It mismatches or collides with archaeology, anthropology, history. It has fictional passages and books (how can fiction be inerrant and infallible?)
- The Bible was written by humans, having fictionalized passages (for example, dialogs no one witnessed) but approved by God. Why would God approve of such things?
Good and Bad
God doesn't do evil, nor does he even see evil. Such things as...
- Animal sacrifice
- Circumcision (it's a barbaric practice)
These things certainly are not from God yet various Bible passages seem to say they are from God.
New Heavens and New Earth
Conditions in the new heavens and new earth defy logic. Some examples...
- This economics of this world is based on resource scarcity but this will not be the case then. How can this universe operate in that mode?
- Carnivores are designed to eat other animals. How will they eat then since there will be no killing?
- How can we avoid eating altogether? The body is designed to require food constantly.
- If you have children ongoing forever how can you have a close relationship with them all?
- What happens when the earth fills with people?
Philosophy and Science
So many views (including mine) about the nature of reality. Some unanswered (unanswerable?) questions...
- Why do we lose consciousness when sleeping? Are we actually still conscious in the spiritual realm but forget upon waking? Why would we forget?
- I'm not the only one having questions about the nature of reality, and of life, and of human existence.
Notes about Philosophy
Truth — A proposition about reality. It's within the study of epistemology (truth, belief, knowledge) or metaphysics (reality).
Proposition — The meaning of a sentence having the following: (1) it is true or false, having "truth value", and (2) it represents the world as it is or the world as it could be.
Belief — A proposition a person accepts as true (even if it's false — beliefs can be wrong).
Knowledge — Belief in a true proposition, a right belief.
Argument — A set of propositions such that: (1) one proposition is the conclusion, the proposition we are claiming as true or false, and (2) the other propositions are premises which provide the evidence. An argument is good or bad, not true or false.
Two kinds of objects of reason — (1) relations of ideas (from pure conceptual thought and logic), and (2) matters of fact (from interactions with the world.)
A key question is whether our beliefs are justified; whether they are worthy of being believed? We should wish to discard wrong beliefs. We should wish to accept new right beliefs, as many as we can. This involves diligent study, seeking new knowledge.
We should base our beliefs upon science, in other words, we should reject any belief contradicted by science. A few hundred years ago scientific knowledge was primitive having many errors. Before this, the Christian religious system insisted people must hold the most absurd views, sometimes upon threat of burning at the stake. And even before this, the early philosophers thought they had accurate explanations for the working of the universe but these were nonsensical.
My views are in harmony with the correspondence theory of truth, that certain true propositions correspond with reality. This is the Christian perspective. I reject postmodernism which emphasizes perception and belief (something is true if you believe it to be true, and there is no absolute truth). Certainly we are constrained in our analysis just as claimed by the coherence view of truth (all we have to work with are our beliefs).
The key ingredients of my views...
- There is a physical universe just as claimed by atheistic (and other) scientists.
- There is a spiritual realm in which the soul and the mind and the spirit reside. (I'm not claiming the soul and spirit are distinct as some Christians vehemently insist.)
- There is two-way interaction between both — from physical to spiritual via the senses and perception; from spiritual to physical via the will which triggers bodily movement and action. (Probably this two-way interface is via quantum mechanics.)
- God knows the true reality, but we are constrained by our mind to having a limited view.
- It is possible to have true knowledge about reality.
- Truth does not depend on belief.
- There is uncertainty whether any particular proposition is true.
- The quest for knowledge involves: (1) discovering the characteristics of reality, and (2) creatively describing it in new ways. We do not "invent" reality — we merely discover it and describe it.
- We can learn which historical philosophical systems are founded upon false propositions by observing the effects they have had, whether they have resulted in pain, suffering, and death (thus, indicating false views); or whether they brought about a world closer to the characteristics of the new heavens and new earth, of utopia (thus, indicating true views).