How Ought I to Respond

Can philosophers help resolve the real problems that people have in their lives?

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Gary Childress
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How Ought I to Respond

Post by Gary Childress » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:12 am

Suppose someone says, "I believe Jesus Christ is Lord because I 'felt' the presence of his spirit during a religious ceremony yesterday". It seems like an utterly unprovable and unfalsifiable statement. It seems entirely unscientific. It's not based on any evidence which can be replicated or examined objectively. In some sense you might even say the statement is true. If the person was at a Christian religious ceremony then in some sense the "spirit" of Christ was at the ceremony in so far that the historical human being named Jesus Christ inspired the ceremony.

The question for me, as a person who doesn't practice Christianity, becomes: how to respond to a statement like that? Should I say, "gee that's very sweet." and leave it at that. Do I try to convince the person that their statement is somehow false or meaningless or whatever? Is it important for me to do so?

Thoughts?

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Lacewing
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Re: How Ought I to Respond

Post by Lacewing » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:24 am

Believe it or not, although I curse and make confrontational statements on HERE :D , in person I would respond with a genuine smile and say: "That's very nice", or "That's wonderful". And I would mean it. Because I think anything that has meaning for a person is wonderful... and they can learn from it (and be opened to seeing MORE if they want to). My objection is when they try to push one idea on me, and tell me that everything else is untrue or worthless. Then that's just ignorance, and I don't like that being spewed around.

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Gary Childress
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Re: How Ought I to Respond

Post by Gary Childress » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:45 am

Lacewing wrote:Believe it or not, although I curse and make confrontational statements on HERE :D , in person I would respond with a genuine smile and say: "That's very nice", or "That's wonderful". And I would mean it. Because I think anything that has meaning for a person is wonderful... and they can learn from it (and be opened to seeing MORE if they want to). My objection is when they try to push one idea on me, and tell me that everything else is untrue or worthless. Then that's just ignorance, and I don't like that being spewed around.
You definitely have a good point. It's best to be tolerant and understanding. But to take it a little further: in the macroscopic realm of society things often seem to evolve into a battle over social resources and such. For example, wanting to teach the Bible in public schools or universities. Obviously it might be best if people just sent their kids to private schools that taught whatever they wanted their children to learn but then there's also the conflict of evolution vs. creation and whether a child's education should mandatorily (by law or something) include one or both or whatever. It's easy to see how tension can be created by having different beliefs about the nature of the world and society.

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Lacewing
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Re: How Ought I to Respond

Post by Lacewing » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:58 am

That's why there's a difference for me between being supportive and respectful of what someone finds personally meaningful -- and what they try to force on everyone else. It's two different things... and I don't support the latter -- in fact, that's when I might stop hugging them and start cursing. :lol: Because that's really foolish and intoxicated and dangerous -- and it's valuable to know when someone has crossed that line.

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Gary Childress
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Re: How Ought I to Respond

Post by Gary Childress » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:13 am

Lacewing wrote:That's why there's a difference for me between being supportive and respectful of what someone finds personally meaningful -- and what they try to force on everyone else. It's two different things... and I don't support the latter -- in fact, that's when I might stop hugging them and start cursing. :lol: Because that's really foolish and intoxicated and dangerous -- and it's valuable to know when someone has crossed that line.
So if I were a high school teacher and I teach evolution instead of "creationism", am I "forcing" my view on a child who's parents want their child to believe in creationism?

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Lacewing
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Re: How Ought I to Respond

Post by Lacewing » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:56 am

Gary Childress wrote:So if I were a high school teacher and I teach evolution instead of "creationism", am I "forcing" my view on a child who's parents want their child to believe in creationism?
I think that public school should only teach/include what can be proven... and leave all the rest of it out.

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Gary Childress
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Re: How Ought I to Respond

Post by Gary Childress » Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:01 am

Lacewing wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:So if I were a high school teacher and I teach evolution instead of "creationism", am I "forcing" my view on a child who's parents want their child to believe in creationism?
I think that public school should only teach/include what can be proven... and leave all the rest of it out.
Can evolution be proven? Can creationism be disproven?

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Lacewing
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Re: How Ought I to Respond

Post by Lacewing » Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:28 am

Gary Childress wrote: Can evolution be proven? Can creationism be disproven?
As for creationism... it seems kind of pointless to try disproving that which cannot be supposedly proven.

As for evolution... I'm thinking we should only teach what is known and proven.

If you were a teacher in a high school, what would you want to do?

Skip
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Re: How Ought I to Respond

Post by Skip » Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:48 am

Gary Childress wrote:Suppose someone says, "I believe Jesus Christ is Lord because I 'felt' the presence of his spirit during a religious ceremony yesterday". It seems like an utterly unprovable and unfalsifiable statement. It seems entirely unscientific. It's not based on any evidence which can be replicated or examined objectively. In some sense you might even say the statement is true. If the person was at a Christian religious ceremony then in some sense the "spirit" of Christ was at the ceremony in so far that the historical human being named Jesus Christ inspired the ceremony.

The question for me, as a person who doesn't practice Christianity, becomes: how to respond to a statement like that? Should I say, "gee that's very sweet." and leave it at that. Do I try to convince the person that their statement is somehow false or meaningless or whatever? Is it important for me to do so?

Thoughts?
I'd probably say something like: "Really? What was it like? What did he say?" because I'm interested in psychology. I don't have a calling to disabuse people of their fantasies and delusions.... unless Jesus or Quatzequatl or Muhammad or some other imaginary friend told them to place bombs under the cars of women who advocate birth control. Then I'd have to object. If the imaginary friend is benign - and in some cases I know, benevolent - why the hell shouldn't they enjoy his company?

Anyway, that's what a friend of mine thought about a relative of hers, who was involved in missionary work. Until a third-world client of her relative was arrested for sedition. The client was twelve years old, and the missionary said: "Sacrifices must be made." It is not known what happened to the child.

Superstition always has a cost. We can't always predict who will pay it.

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Gary Childress
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Re: How Ought I to Respond

Post by Gary Childress » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:02 am

Lacewing wrote:
Gary Childress wrote: Can evolution be proven? Can creationism be disproven?
As for creationism... it seems kind of pointless to try disproving that which cannot be supposedly proven.

As for evolution... I'm thinking we should only teach what is known and proven.

If you were a teacher in a high school, what would you want to do?
If I were a high school teacher I would want to teach evolution and not creationism.

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Greta
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Re: How Ought I to Respond

Post by Greta » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:38 am

Gary Childress wrote:Suppose someone says, "I believe Jesus Christ is Lord because I 'felt' the presence of his spirit during a religious ceremony yesterday". It seems like an utterly unprovable and unfalsifiable statement. It seems entirely unscientific. It's not based on any evidence which can be replicated or examined objectively.
I'd ask them about it. How did it happen? What happened in the moments immediately beforehand? How did it feel? What did JC look/feel like? What was his voice like? What did he say?

I see no benefit in debating the point. Once someone interprets the bliss of a possible peak experience as Jesus, you know you have someone who you'll never get through to.

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:53 pm

If the religionist isn't takin' food of your table, money out of your pocket, or shingles off your roof, probably the best response is 'good on you' as you walk away.

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