Belief, choice and education

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Comments

  • Yes, some people started using "intersubjective" instead of objective, but you could argue that many things are, including gods.
  • I wonder whether it might be better to frame faith in another way, whoever we're talking to about it. In meditation, we need to set our thoughts aside so that we become still in spirit. We may come to know God in the stillness, although some won't express it that way.

    We may surely introduce children to the concept of spirituality at a very early age.
  • @quetzalcoatl I don't disagree with you - I was just trying to describe how both become part of reality and are not in that sensee as distinct as many are trying to make them. I agree that God is at least an intersubjective reality. I think intersubjectivity is a much neglected category, but then I have a feeling it's a fruit of philosophical labour some time in the 20th century. I shall do a little light research and return.
  • I think that's right, but don't some theists equivocate by using words such as truth and reality, to indicate their own beliefs? I was saying on the baptism thread that believing in God seems different from believing in stars, but someone could say that stars and God are both "reality".
    The simple fact is that the former can be observed in several ways, the latter can
    not.
  • SusanDoris wrote: »
    Those of us who taught at Primary Schools sighed and went on teaching facts and how to work the process. I used the analogy of use of a hammer. I'd ask them if they knew how to use a hammer. Answer, yes. Then I'd ask, do you understand how the fulcrum and lever work? Answer no! 'Use the tools,' I'd say and they liked that idea. Some would go on to learn in greater depth and some would not, but that's okay.
    If you teach someone to how to use a hammer, they will successfully pound nails. If you teach them the principle of the fulcrum and lever, they will successfully solve problems.
    You teach both things.
  • @quetzalcoatl I don't disagree with you - I was just trying to describe how both become part of reality and are not in that sensee as distinct as many are trying to make them. I agree that God is at least an intersubjective reality. I think intersubjectivity is a much neglected category, but then I have a feeling it's a fruit of philosophical labour some time in the 20th century. I shall do a little light research and return.
    @quetzalcoatl I don't disagree with you - I was just trying to describe how both become part of reality and are not in that sensee as distinct as many are trying to make them. I agree that God is at least an intersubjective reality. I think intersubjectivity is a much neglected category, but then I have a feeling it's a fruit of philosophical labour some time in the 20th century. I shall do a little light research and return.

    I am off to do a little light drinking, and I may return or not, depending.
  • Among other things, culture is what is going on around you. We all absorb this, as if we were in petri dishes. This is, as far as I can see, a universal condition of being human. It's part of the socialisation. Is is possible to bring up children aculturally, and in particular is it possible to do so without leaving them as anxious, even paranoid loners, or sociopaths? I would suggest not. Therefore, every child will absorb what they experience, and this will form them even as they question, especially in adolescence. It's inevitable, and a lot better than the alternative.
    I think it is an impossible task to raise a child with no culture. And that is not the point. The point is to teach them how to evaluate things as objectively as possible.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    Those of us who taught at Primary Schools sighed and went on teaching facts and how to work the process. I used the analogy of use of a hammer. I'd ask them if they knew how to use a hammer. Answer, yes. Then I'd ask, do you understand how the fulcrum and lever work? Answer no! 'Use the tools,' I'd say and they liked that idea. Some would go on to learn in greater depth and some would not, but that's okay.
    If you teach someone to how to use a hammer, they will successfully pound nails. If you teach them the principle of the fulcrum and lever, they will successfully solve problems.
    You teach both things.
    Of course,but not necessarily at the same time. It depends on the ability of individual children to understand the principle.

  • SusanDoris wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    Those of us who taught at Primary Schools sighed and went on teaching facts and how to work the process. I used the analogy of use of a hammer. I'd ask them if they knew how to use a hammer. Answer, yes. Then I'd ask, do you understand how the fulcrum and lever work? Answer no! 'Use the tools,' I'd say and they liked that idea. Some would go on to learn in greater depth and some would not, but that's okay.
    If you teach someone to how to use a hammer, they will successfully pound nails. If you teach them the principle of the fulcrum and lever, they will successfully solve problems.
    You teach both things.
    Of course,but not necessarily at the same time. It depends on the ability of individual children to understand the principle.
    Children understand the principle of the hammer before they know the word. Pounding is ine of a child's first activities. If they are not at the beginning of the point where they can understand levers, they are not at the point where they should be allowed to be using real hammers anyway.

  • Actually, that wasn't what I was hoping to highlight. The important aspect of the story isn't Muslims and homophobia but the idea that any community has a right to control what children born within that community learn.
    Using non-neutral examples can reinforce harmful stereotypes. Using Muslims could be implicit racism or it could be the random example that popped into your head. Critically thinking about the point one trying to make would lead one away from a contentious example.
    I see it as the role of each successive generation to examine and if necessary modify or reject the previous generation's values.
    It should be every person's goal to do this even within their own generation.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    I think that's right, but don't some theists equivocate by using words such as truth and reality, to indicate their own beliefs? I was saying on the baptism thread that believing in God seems different from believing in stars, but someone could say that stars and God are both "reality".
    The simple fact is that the former can be observed in several ways, the latter can
    not.
    The simple fact is that there are many things which cannot be observed which we accept the reality of: Julius Caesar, for example, or love, for another. Direct observation is not the only means by which reality may be deduced.
  • SusanDoris wrote: »
    I think that's right, but don't some theists equivocate by using words such as truth and reality, to indicate their own beliefs? I was saying on the baptism thread that believing in God seems different from believing in stars, but someone could say that stars and God are both "reality".
    The simple fact is that the former can be observed in several ways, the latter can
    not.

    Yes. There are lots of interesting differences, one of them is about being wrong. Science is built on wrongness, isn't it? Can't think of a more elegant phrase, I think Feynman said it relies on being wrong. No doubt, religions are wrong at times, but how?
  • BroJames wrote: »
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    I think that's right, but don't some theists equivocate by using words such as truth and reality, to indicate their own beliefs? I was saying on the baptism thread that believing in God seems different from believing in stars, but someone could say that stars and God are both "reality".
    The simple fact is that the former can be observed in several ways, the latter can
    not.
    The simple fact is that there are many things which cannot be observed which we accept the reality of: Julius Caesar, for example, or love, for another. Direct observation is not the only means by which reality may be deduced.
    For Julius Caesar we have multiple records from different sources with no reason to fabricate him.
    With God we have series of related sources with no external corroboration and with a definite agenda. And the same sort of evidence for every other god/pantheon.

  • Boogie wrote: »
    @Cameron said -
    Confirmation is about affirming faith (or not, I suppose) when you are able to do so, typically around the age of 13-14 I think. That seems a good age by which critical thinking should be strongly encouraged. I do think that some kids of that age will always choose the opposite view to their parents, though.

    You say that as if it’s awkward/deliberate of them. I don’t think so, it’s the age where they (hopefully) start to think for themselves.

    My son was due to read in Church at that age. He got upset and didn’t want to do it. He was a very shy boy so I started giving him help on overcoming his nerves. He said “It’s not that- I don’t believe it, any of it.” So we had a good chat and I made sure he knew that his beliefs were entirely his choice. He did do the reading in the end - but just as he would reading any story out loud.

    At the time his two best friends were Muslim and Hindu. The three of them talked about religion a lot and decided Hindu was the best - more parties!

    He remains an atheist to this day, aged 33 - and I am gradually catching him up ;)

    I generally agree with you, @Boogie - the key word In the last quoted sentence was “some”, which is different from “all” or even “most”. I also echo comments about your warm and caring approach to parenting.
  • SusanDoris wrote: »
    I think that's right, but don't some theists equivocate by using words such as truth and reality, to indicate their own beliefs? I was saying on the baptism thread that believing in God seems different from believing in stars, but someone could say that stars and God are both "reality".
    The simple fact is that the former can be observed in several ways, the latter can
    not.

    Yes. There are lots of interesting differences, one of them is about being wrong. Science is built on wrongness, isn't it? Can't think of a more elegant phrase, I think Feynman said it relies on being wrong. No doubt, religions are wrong at times, but how?
    Feynman said science must be willing to be wrong. And that is kinda antithetical to religion.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    I see it as the role of each successive generation to examine and if necessary modify or reject the previous generation's values.
    It should be every person's goal to do this even within their own generation.

    This level of reflexivity is very difficult. It is not a trivial matter to come up with a set of (superordinate) values that you use to evaluate your value-set. It can end up just revealing the underlying values that were privileged all along, or drive one into an endless spiral of questioning and self-doubt.

    One possible way to accommodate radical reflexivity is through dialogue, in which one seriously entertains alternative points of view, with the possibility of horizons being expanded on both sides.
  • Cameron wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I see it as the role of each successive generation to examine and if necessary modify or reject the previous generation's values.
    It should be every person's goal to do this even within their own generation.

    This level of reflexivity is very difficult. It is not a trivial matter to come up with a set of (superordinate) values that you use to evaluate your value-set. It can end up just revealing the underlying values that were privileged all along, or drive one into an endless spiral of questioning and self-doubt.
    Always questioning ≠ self-doubt. It means allowing the possibility of being wrong.
    Cameron wrote: »
    One possible way to accommodate radical reflexivity is through dialogue, in which one seriously entertains alternative points of view, with the possibility of horizons being expanded on both sides.
    Alternate points of view, yes. Both sides? Not every issue has two, equal sides. Or even two sides at all.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    I think that's right, but don't some theists equivocate by using words such as truth and reality, to indicate their own beliefs? I was saying on the baptism thread that believing in God seems different from believing in stars, but someone could say that stars and God are both "reality".
    The simple fact is that the former can be observed in several ways, the latter can
    not.

    Yes. There are lots of interesting differences, one of them is about being wrong. Science is built on wrongness, isn't it? Can't think of a more elegant phrase, I think Feynman said it relies on being wrong. No doubt, religions are wrong at times, but how?
    Feynman said science must be willing to be wrong. And that is kinda antithetical essential to religion.

    Religion that is unwilling to be wrong is idolatry.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Cameron wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I see it as the role of each successive generation to examine and if necessary modify or reject the previous generation's values.
    It should be every person's goal to do this even within their own generation.

    This level of reflexivity is very difficult. It is not a trivial matter to come up with a set of (superordinate) values that you use to evaluate your value-set. It can end up just revealing the underlying values that were privileged all along, or drive one into an endless spiral of questioning and self-doubt.
    Always questioning ≠ self-doubt. It means allowing the possibility of being wrong.
    Cameron wrote: »
    One possible way to accommodate radical reflexivity is through dialogue, in which one seriously entertains alternative points of view, with the possibility of horizons being expanded on both sides.
    Alternate points of view, yes. Both sides? Not every issue has two, equal sides. Or even two sides at all.

    I think that: it is difficult for us to be aware of our own contradictions, even when they are stated in close succession; and we don’t appear to be in a dialogic situation. So I will leave this strand of the conversation.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    I think that's right, but don't some theists equivocate by using words such as truth and reality, to indicate their own beliefs? I was saying on the baptism thread that believing in God seems different from believing in stars, but someone could say that stars and God are both "reality".
    The simple fact is that the former can be observed in several ways, the latter can
    not.

    Yes. There are lots of interesting differences, one of them is about being wrong. Science is built on wrongness, isn't it? Can't think of a more elegant phrase, I think Feynman said it relies on being wrong. No doubt, religions are wrong at times, but how?
    Feynman said science must be willing to be wrong. And that is kinda antithetical essential to religion.

    Religion that is unwilling to be wrong is idolatry.
    Religion, or at least most of them, need a core stability. Peripherals can change, but if the core does, then it is no longer anything resembling a "spiritual truth". For example, Christianity could not survive Jesus being an alien prankster.

  • Not sure lilbuddha

    There is a school of thought that continuity of form rather than continuity of understanding is the important aspect. Then some that think that sometimes understanding changes and sometimes the form changes but as long as the two do not change at the same time there is seen to be continuity.

    I am not sure for instance that addressing God today as "Our Father" means the same as it did in the middle ages. I think in societies where it is routine to address the ruler as 'father' then 'father' has a different meaning than the current one.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    I'm not saying there is no change of understanding, just that it only goes so far.

  • You could say that you're at church because you'd like to share what you do with your child and then see if the child is happy being there or not.

    This is .... well, I don't know just what to call it. If church were recreation--a movie or a sport--it would make sense. But it's not. Tell me, would you ask a child at the doctor's whether they were happy being there or not? (Try to do it just as the nurse comes in with the shots.) Or a child in school? (Again, aim for an exam day--or the day the term paper is due.)

    This is not to say that church must be dire, or that it is always dire, or (God forbid) that direness is in some way spiritually helpful. But "do you like this?" is not the deciding factor in most of what we make children do, and for good reason.
  • Re "subjective reality"--what does that mean? I'm confused. I'm hearing people use it as if it meant "reality-which-I-cannot-prove", or even"reality-that-is-not=real." I thought "subjective" meant "based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions." In other words, "There is a squirrel/God/velociraptor sitting on my couch" is a truth-claim; "Chicken livers are lovely" is a statement of taste, and therefore subjective.

    In writing classes we used to break these down as arguable and inarguable propositions. The first you can argue about ("No, it's actually a triceratops, look at this picture and compare.") The second is inarguable--the only thing you can say is "Well, I'm sorry you feel that way."
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    I suppose you could sum if up as Don't give children knowledge: give children the power to think.
    Give them both knowledge and the power to think.

  • I think that's right, but don't some theists equivocate by using words such as truth and reality, to indicate their own beliefs? I was saying on the baptism thread that believing in God seems different from believing in stars, but someone could say that stars and God are both "reality".

    Everybody who uses words equivocates. Virtually no word worth its salt only has one meaning.
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    Those of us who taught at Primary Schools sighed and went on teaching facts and how to work the process. I used the analogy of use of a hammer. I'd ask them if they knew how to use a hammer. Answer, yes. Then I'd ask, do you understand how the fulcrum and lever work? Answer no! 'Use the tools,' I'd say and they liked that idea. Some would go on to learn in greater depth and some would not, but that's okay.
    If you teach someone to how to use a hammer, they will successfully pound nails. If you teach them the principle of the fulcrum and lever, they will successfully solve problems.
    You teach both things.
    Of course,but not necessarily at the same time. It depends on the ability of individual children to understand the principle.

    This. Piaget and Vygotsky knew what they were talking about. You can't teach things kids aren't ready to learn.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    I think that's right, but don't some theists equivocate by using words such as truth and reality, to indicate their own beliefs? I was saying on the baptism thread that believing in God seems different from believing in stars, but someone could say that stars and God are both "reality".
    The simple fact is that the former can be observed in several ways, the latter can
    not.
    The simple fact is that there are many things which cannot be observed which we accept the reality of: Julius Caesar, for example, or love, for another. Direct observation is not the only means by which reality may be deduced.
    If one chooses to believe that there was not a real human being named Julius Caesar and deny the observation of that person byall the people with whom he came into contact, the evidence of his presence etc, or to reject the scientific understanding that there is an emotion which is named love which has physical, measurable reactions and chemical effects on the physical body, then, well, I suppose they can. But no one can observe God now in any way, nor could they in past times.


  • SusanDoris wrote: »
    But no one can observe God now in any way, nor could they in past times.

    How do you know this? Many claimed to have. What makes you so sure they are wrong?
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    edited November 2019
    I suppose, mousethief, that takes us into 'essence' and 'energies' territory? Or even C S Lewis talking about inklings? To know in part but also to acknowledge ignorance?

    Going back to the Feynman quote, I think the willingness to move our understanding in the light of findings and discoveries is the road taken by humble enquirers in any field. Humility is essential. Pride gets in the way.

  • Barnabas62 wrote: »
    I suppose, mousethief, that takes us into 'essence' and 'energies' territory? Or even C S Lewis talking about inklings? To know in part but also to acknowledge ignorance?

    I didn't have any of that in mind, at least consciously. I can't see how it relates to essence or energies at all. What I was talking about isn't theology, it's epistemology.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Actually, that wasn't what I was hoping to highlight. The important aspect of the story isn't Muslims and homophobia but the idea that any community has a right to control what children born within that community learn.
    Using non-neutral examples can reinforce harmful stereotypes. Using Muslims could be implicit racism or it could be the random example that popped into your head. Critically thinking about the point one trying to make would lead one away from a contentious example.
    I see it as the role of each successive generation to examine and if necessary modify or reject the previous generation's values.
    It should be every person's goal to do this even within their own generation.

    It was the example that popped into my head. I dare say there are many groups, faith and otherwise, wishing to limit what their children learn but they haven't received the news coverage.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    mousethief wrote: »
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    I suppose, mousethief, that takes us into 'essence' and 'energies' territory? Or even C S Lewis talking about inklings? To know in part but also to acknowledge ignorance?

    I didn't have any of that in mind, at least consciously. I can't see how it relates to essence or energies at all. What I was talking about isn't theology, it's epistemology.

    Oh I see. Sorry, misread you.

    I still like my point, even if it is a non-sequitur.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    I suppose, mousethief, that takes us into 'essence' and 'energies' territory? Or even C S Lewis talking about inklings? To know in part but also to acknowledge ignorance?
    I didn't have any of that in mind, at least consciously. I can't see how it relates to essence or energies at all. What I was talking about isn't theology, it's epistemology.
    I thought the essence and energies distinction did relate to epistemology: that direct observation of God's essence is impossible but one can observe God's energies? (That said, it seems to me that the standard translation as 'energies' must in modern English be seriously misleading as to what Palamas actually meant.)

  • Dafyd wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    I suppose, mousethief, that takes us into 'essence' and 'energies' territory? Or even C S Lewis talking about inklings? To know in part but also to acknowledge ignorance?
    I didn't have any of that in mind, at least consciously. I can't see how it relates to essence or energies at all. What I was talking about isn't theology, it's epistemology.
    I thought the essence and energies distinction did relate to epistemology: that direct observation of God's essence is impossible but one can observe God's energies? (That said, it seems to me that the standard translation as 'energies' must in modern English be seriously misleading as to what Palamas actually meant.)

    I wasn't talking about God.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    This overlooks the incarnation of Christ and Col 1: 15. Christ spent His ministry on earth expressing His divine identity and ministry of reconciliation to humanity. And this ongoing revelation has continued through the Holy Spirit ever since Pentecost. Paul had a very direct observation of the Risen Christ which left him temporarily blinded. And there are any number of theophanies recorded in the OT.
  • IkkyuIkkyu Shipmate Posts: 19
    Are those, in any way, stronger evidence than the conversations Joseph Smith had with the
    angel Moroni? Or they only seem stronger because one grew up with them, unless you are a Mormon.
  • Divine revelation is an interesting question because it is not contained, is it? However, within the Christian tradition there is a discernment of orthodoxy and heresy. And within the canon of scripture of inspired Biblical texts from uninspired but morally improving apocryphal texts.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    But no one can observe God now in any way, nor could they in past times.

    How do you know this? Many claimed to have. What makes you so sure they are wrong?

    Right or wrong, true or false, if it is not reproducible, it doesn't exist for anybody else. As I child, I prayed for a healing miracle. I didn't get it, so I concluded either there was no God or God didn't want to help me. I only lasted three weeks at Catholic elementary school. :smiley:




  • mousethief wrote: »
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    But no one can observe God now in any way, nor could they in past times.

    How do you know this? Many claimed to have. What makes you so sure they are wrong?

    Right or wrong, true or false, if it is not reproducible, it doesn't exist for anybody else.

    There are so many things in life that are not reproducible, but very real. This is an overstringent qualification. Not everything is reducible to science. To think so is a philosophical, not a scientific, conclusion and as such is not .... reproducible.
  • Science is the process of figuring out the how.
    Religion is a series of beliefs.
    They are not equivalent.
    Simply because science hasn’t discovered the how of everything, doesn’t mean they are equivalents.
  • CameronCameron Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    Science and Religion are certainly not equivalent. It is their differences that make them useful together. From Jonathan Sacks’ book The Great Partnership, pages 6-7:

    “Science is about explanation. Religion is about meaning. Science analyses, religion integrates. Science breaks things down to their component parts. Religion binds people together in relationships of trust. Science tells us what is. Religion tells us what ought to be. Science describes. Religion beckons, summons, calls. Science sees objects. Religion speaks to us as subjects. Science practices detachment. Religion is the art of attachment, self to self, soul to soul. Science sees the underlying order of the physical world. Religion hears the music beneath the noise. Science is the conquest of ignorance. Religion is the redemption of solitude. ”

    His excellent book offers an argument for both science and religion, rather than trying to argue for the triumph of one over the other.

  • Cameron - those are interesting assertions. However, I would think that for many people neither science nor religion figure in their lives. Of course, scientific discoveries proliferate, but do people thereby revere science? What I find interesting today (in the UK) is the lack of both, and yet we have more or less meaningful lives. How do we do that?
  • Quetzalcoatl - I think the question of how people live a meaningful life, without engagement with certain spheres of learning, is a different and wider point of discussion than the focus of this thread. Perhaps it might make a new discussion topic?

    The original question was about “when it is appropriate to educate children in your belief system”. I think Lord Sacks’ book provides a useful contrast to some suggestions on this thread that the answer is: “never, because it is not demonstrable through scientific observation”. I was only seeking to add to discussion on that point, and I am afraid I have no insights in relation to your wider question.
  • I think religion as the redemption of solitude is a beautiful phrase. It doesn't matter if it's true or not.
  • Are we conflating religion and faith/spirituality?

    To me, faith/spirituality is something you arrive at and it's unique to the individual. Religion is an existing structure created by others which the individual joins.
  • Are we conflating religion and faith/spirituality?

    To me, faith/spirituality is something you arrive at and it's unique to the individual. Religion is an existing structure created by others which the individual joins.

    I don't think 'joins' is the right word, nor structure. Perhaps 'a religion is an existing method through which our faith/spirituality may develop and grow?'
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    Are we conflating religion and faith/spirituality?

    To me, faith/spirituality is something you arrive at and it's unique to the individual. Religion is an existing structure created by others which the individual joins.

    I don't think 'joins' is the right word, nor structure. Perhaps 'a religion is an existing method through which our faith/spirituality may develop and grow?'

    I struggled to find the right word and 'joins' isn't right. Method would cover it, though religions come with too many rules and proscription for my liking. Faith/spirituality, for me anyway, are too inchoate and 'fluffy' to fit in anything. Hence I am neither a 'proper' atheist or a 'proper' numenist.

    Though maybe Unitarian Universalism would work if I felt the need for a 'journey'.
  • Perhaps the common usage of 'spirituality' to mean putting candles around the bath hasn't helped, nor the common usage of religion to mean a strict straitjacket rather than a helpful way.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    Perhaps the common usage of 'spirituality' to mean putting candles around the bath hasn't helped, nor the common usage of religion to mean a strict straitjacket rather than a helpful way.

    Ah, I'm actually rather in favour of the candles-round-the-bath approach to spirituality. It's part of the reason I chose to live in Glastonbury.

    The trouble I have with most religions is the god element. I'm happier with spirituality that doesn't have a god.
  • I get it, I used to do the candle and crystal things myself. God adds another dimension.
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