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Foot notes to The Metaphysics of Religious Mysticism

My clarification of my previous essay is at the moment too cumbersome to simply supplement the previous essay with. Unfortunately, logical precision must eventually be sacrificed for readability. However, since it took writing down my clarifications before being able to conclude that the clarifications run almost as long as the object of their clarification, I may as well post my thought on the matter. The first ambiguity is my use of the term religion. I new of this problem when I initially wrote it but I could not think of a word that was as ‘strong’ as ‘religion’. “Some kind of ‘ordering force’ upon which one basis some if not all of one’s decisions upon the assumption the ‘ordering force’ exists in the manner of one’s assumption†is weak terminology and I decided it would reduce the vigour of my essay.

However, I do explain I am using the word "religion" in a narrower sense than is sometimes implied. In paragraph 11 I state:

"Though, to ward off senseless quibbles, I would like to point out I use the term religion here in it’s colloquial form: as in ‘religions’. Theories that state: ‘there is no god, there is no truth (except this one): life is meaningless’ can be argued to be religions under certain definitions of religion. However, these are a precarious class of theories, since they state as a corollary it is meaningless to believe in them or voice them. There are of course theories that state that god does not exist but still hold life is meaningful, which can more closely be argued to be religions. However, I for my part classify them more as ‘doctrines’ since followers of such theories I have not been known to refer to themselves as religious, nor do I find people referring to such theories when they employ the utterance ‘religion’. For example, if I heard someone claim “I am not religious†I would not directly infer that they follow no method for making decisions."

In general, the meaning of words change over time with respect to their Latin roots. It is standard practice in philosophy to always attempt to use words in there colloquial sense. Religion is a very loaded word and I could of course be wrong in my observation of it’s use, which is why I explain myself.

As for "direct communication with god" I mean any form of ascertaining knowledge that excludes a communicable proof. If I hold A to be true, under normal circumstances I would assume I should be able (or it is at least possible) to convince someone of A, either through logic or through evidence. However, it is impossible to argue with "god told me", or any sort of communication with a "higher being or force" (which includes religious experience). And this last form of explanation is one of the points I am arguing against.

However, I think my point in all this has been lost. It is totally useless to discuss specific religions or "reliance" if the question of god and the after life is not agreed to first. I never imply that this question is a yes or no. To people could agree that there is a higher non personifies power of some sort, in which case discussion could go on beyond that point. Perhaps I should have specified: there must be an agreement on the existence of and nature of any higher power (or ordering force), before any less general question can discussed.

Remember, the sole purpose of my entire philosophy is the facilitation of argument. This article was not written with the attempt to convince anyone of my particular views, but to attempt to show that there is good discussion to have with all people from any position if there is an agreement to concentrate on the first "disagreement" from general principals. For instance, most people I run into agree that if A contradicts B, then either A is false, B is false, or both are false. A few mathematicians might know a bit about "exotic" quantifiers, or the fact that it is an accepted proof that a sphere can be cut into a finite amount of pieces and only using rotation and translation reconstruct the pieces into two spheres both equal to the volume of the original. And so we’d either discuss that, or I’d press them to accept the principle in practice if I’m trying to go anywhere. (The sphere proof requires immeasurable bits, of which no real sphere is made of, as atoms have measure).

However, as a logician I’m used to reading the religious arguments of other logicians, since those are the arguments that interest me. Logicians tend not to construct monotheistic theories either to believe or dispute for two reasons. It is not so much the high power of god(s) logicians are interested in but “ordering force†. For, it is not so much “what it’s like to be god(s)†that is relevant but how things are ordered, and this ordering cannot be assumed liable to arbitrarily change. Now, the god(s) may very well be liable to arbitrary change (a logician would not say it’s impossible), but if so then no further information can be derived from the assumption (as what pleases the god(s) one second might incur a smoting the next, or lead them to destroy time itself shortly thereafter: no action could be based on the belief of an arbitrary god(s)). When a line of reasoning reaches a point where no further information could be derived it is dubbed a tautology, and true or not, logicians stop talking about it.

Now, most people I find do not like logic as it is neither extreme or controversial, and most of all takes effort to interpret. The general rebuttal to logic is that “there are other forms of reasoning†. This may very well be true, and I am in fact quite certain of it. However, these other forms of reasoning cannot be used to argue. For instance, a religious experience is not a datum nor an analysis that can be entered into a discourse. It may very well be real, however it cannot form the basis of any argument. It can serve to explain one’s actions that one may be understood, but it cannot resolve any issues. The point of logic is not so much “what is truth?†as it is “what can two people be brought to agree upon, and through what methods?†. For instance, if you see something occur, you may be utterly convinced that it occurred essentially the way you see it, as in it is true, and no “classic logic†seemed to be used to come to the truth (or enough truth) of what occurred. However, “the experience†of what occurred cannot be entered into a conversation. To convince someone else that A. you are honestly reporting what you remember and B. what you remember represents what occurred, is the domain of logic.

As for religion, keep in mind that it is of no concern of mine what you do or do not believe. I don’t really care one way or another; it certainly affects me in no fundamental way. However, arguing about it is certainly mutually beneficial, and if you disagree, I’ll take you up on that argument.


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