virus: Religion & Logic

Ken Pantheists (
Wed, 17 Apr 1996 12:05:28 +0000

Pat Bunt wrote:
> >
> >In my mind faith has the burden of proof. When I choose a belief, I'll
> >call this belief "c", then I require a logical "a + b" to arrive at "c".
> >For instance if c = 3 and a & b are not some combination of numbers that
> >add up to 3, then I have a problem. If I were going to choose a belief
> >that does not follow from this logic, I would just invent my own. It
> >would be every bit as logical and I would like it much better.
> >
> Logic shows itself to be superior to religion (bootstrap argument),
> but you have ignored my point that the two are not necessarily incompatible.
> While your invented system of belief may be stronger logically, it holds no
> value spiritually or socially (in the sense that Christianity is reassuring
> to the soul, and provides a good place to meet once a week).

I agree with Pat (good work on the dialogue between Socrates and Punk)
Science and logic are in no position to replace spiritual thought. The
ABC formula illustrates good problem solving and is an excellent tool
for learning a new piece of knowledge, but does not do the same thing as
spirituality or religion.

I have a bone to grind with the rationalists who say that everything can
be put into a rational equation (which I agree with) and anything that
does not conform to rationalism is unneccessary or inferior (which burns
me up).

I view art, language, spiritual inquiry as a technology as well. They
are EXTREMELY undervalued technologies (especially art). They have a
purpose, they are used as tools. They not only "sooth the soul" (I don't
quite understand that statement because it makes the oul sound like a
liability, like some kind of unpleasant rash.) They provide us with a
sense of ourselves as individuals, as a member of a culture, as a member
of a species and they give us tools to express very complex and
sophisticated ideas. These ideas can sometimes only be expressed in

A pure rationalist could say that, due to the over population of certain
areas there needs to be a certain amount of serial killers in order to
thin the population and ensure the survival of the species. A person
thinking about the act of murder from a spiritual side would consider
what the act does to him/herself as an individual, what he or she loses
by doing it. The rationalist would only worry about getting caught and
punished by a manmade law (one that is purely punative and doesn't even
address the meaning of the act itself but the punishment for it.)

This is turning into another long message-- sorry. I'll try to tie this
up by saying I would just *love* to see a time like the renaissance when
**all** aspects of human endeavor were considered scientific.Art,
language, spritualism, technology, and the persuit of individual
happiness are difficult values to keep together when someone is in a lab
thinking up rational ways to kill more people on a battlefield somewhere
or how to squeeze another decade of prosperity out of the overburdened
capitalist/industrail machine. But we can at least try to keep it all

Would you reinvent the computer everytime you sat down to write a
program? I believe someone posted a thing in the Belief string that he
thinks we will eventually get to a point in understanding belief where
a=b and b=a. I think that's called a Zen state. People have been working
on that for centuries already. What makes it so bad?

You open this
> statement with "In my mind..."; logically, everything that follows is
> entirely subjective, and rests on your own belief. Christianity makes the
> same claim, so I still don't see how logic and religion are incompatible,
> when fundamentally, both rest on faith, as you can quickly discover with the
> Socratic method:
> Atheist: "Christianity is a mass deception."
> Socrates: "What is the alternative?"
> A: "Why, Logic, of course."
> S: "Why is Logic superior?"
> A: "Because it relies on empirical evidence, and ensures that all of your
> beliefs are true. Christianity relies on Faith, which cannot be proven."
> S: "How do you know that truth can accurately and universally derived from
> the object, when that punk Aristotle claims that knowledge of the thing
> exists only in the mind? Logically, two contradictory truths can be derived
> from the same empirical evidence, through selective ignorance of parts of
> the data."
> A: "One derives truth from the object by standing the two contradictory
> conclusions against one another, and determining which conclusion has a
> stronger foundation."
> S: "By what criterion is either foundation stronger?"
> A: "By subjection to reason."
> S: "And on what does reason stand?"
> A: "On itself."
> S: "As does Faith."
> Okay, it's a little stilted for the sake of brevity (feel free to
> pick it to bits if I've put words in your mouth that don't belong there),
> but my point is that faith is necessary to cement the parts of logic that
> are unstable. Unless you are a nihilist like Socrates, (Socrates: "Nothing
> can be known". Punk: "How do you know?") somewhere deep down there's an
> unsupported assumption holding everything else up.
> (I'm not trying to convert you to Christianity here- far from it.
> I'm trying to illustrate that not all Christians are blinding themselves to
> logic, but that the spirituality involved is separate from logic. I suppose
> I should also admit to a bit of devil's advocatism here- "Are you really
> free of this faith that you reject? How can you be sure?"...)
> Patrick D. Bunt
> 812-857-7149
> "Most people who criticize Karl Marx have not read his works. Of course,
> most people who support him have not read his works either. This guy writes
> a nine hundred page treatise on economic theory and calls it Volume One,
> it's a wonder anybody has read his works."