Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Harry RichesHarry Riches answers

Is logic and reason really compatible with theistic dogma?

Those who claim to be Christian theologians would argue that theistic dogma is the result of using logic and reason to arrive at their beliefs, just as philosophers or anybody else concoct a theory and then argue that their philosophy or theory is the result of logic and reason.
When it comes to metaphysics, whatever a person argues, this is purely a matter of developing some speculation that sounds plausible. The speculation being that the initial assumption is correct. If the initial assumption is incorrect, regardless of what rules of logic apply to prove an argument, the conclusion is incorrect from the start.
Let us consider something that concerns us all.
I did not ask to be born. How do I know this? I have no recall of having made any request to be born into this world.
Could I have forgotten that I asked to be born into this world? If I have forgotten that I asked to be born into this world, then, obviously, it would not matter because I am here now.
Since I am currently here: will I always be here?

The evidence for other people remaining here from their birth is that both my great grandmothers’ mother and father do not exist. Neither do the parents of my great grandfathers exist. In fact, not too many people seem to live on Earth beyond 80 yrs of age, and 99%  of people seem to have definitively disappeared before they reach 100 yrs of age. Therefore, the probability of myself living beyond 100 yrs of age is highly unlikely, even if not totally improbable. For one woman is on record as having lived beyond 120 yrs but not beyond 130 yrs. Consequently, I conclude that on balance I shall die and cease to exist on this Earth, in all likelihood before 130 yrs of existence on this planet has passed from the day I was born.
The evidence is I was born to die.
Does this existence on Earth seem like a purposeful existence or a futile existence?
To have a purpose is to work towards an aim or a resolution, which means that a reason must exist for having a purpose.
A reason is the basis for something existing. The basis for existing then becomes the fundamental reason that a purpose exists for being here on Earth.
One argument is that there is no reason for being here. We are just here; therefore, nothing matters. Shoot, loot, root and execute whomever and whatever, whenever you feel like it, nothing really matters, nobody really cares. Just hang on to your own life long enough to enjoy whatever it is that gets your rocks off or relieves you from your suffering.
Then there are those individuals who say, wait a minute, surely we are not born to be so savage, callous and irrational. These people bring into the equation, an evaluation of the circumstances that suggests that there is more to life than being merely irrational animals of instinct. Once this takes place, the people who are doing this are saying that there is a need for accountability.
However, there is no need for accountability in being here unless there is someone to whom we need to be accountable. The claim that we need to be accountable to each other is a myth, because human affairs and political actions all indicate that people are not even accountable to the justice system, regardless of claims made. We all know that judges can be bribed. If not bribed, they can be blackmailed. Or if not blackmailed, threatened. Or if not threatened, killed. In which case, how can someone who is dead hold a person accountable?
But just supposing a person were to live forever, and everyone were accountable to that person, then it would be only reasonable to assume that such a person had the power over life and death. In which case, accountability to that person might be the reason why we are on Earth. This suggests that eternity is a concept that we have to deal with. Will we survive this temporal existence only to be accountable for what we have done here to the One who possesses power over life and death?
Since we do not know there is a judge who resides over each person after death, and since we are going to die, but there is the possibility that there might be such a judge, the most logical thing would be to seek Him out to make sure that such a possibility is not real. If the judge does not exist, we have nothing to fear, so why not shoot, loot, root and execute whatever, whomever and whenever we like. Nothing matters really.
Theists, on the other hand, claim that there is such a Judge.
As for theistic dogma, if the Judge of the Earth is really the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent One, Who Exists and created the Universe, then there has to be a reason for our being here. Theistic dogma may appear to state that reason and its ensuing implications and what is required by those implications. However, if that theistic dogma asserts authority or provides rationale that is contrary to reason, then it needs to be questioned to see whether it stands up to scrutiny. If the dogma is sifted like fine flour and proven faultless, everything is well and good. If the dogma comes up short and is proven to have inconsistencies, then those inconsistencies need to be addressed or the dogma discarded.
Let's say the theistic dogma is made up of assumptions that use another source as its authority to support its assumptions. The question has to be asked, why the need for the assumptions when the authoritative source ought to be sufficient?
Within Christianity there is the claim (although contested) that biblical theology becomes the basis of systematic theology, which becomes the source for dogmatic theology. In which case, why not just simply stick with biblical theology and discard the other two.
What is biblical theology and why is it different to the other two?
Biblical theology is the use of the Bible only to explain existence and the historical progressive disclosure of the purpose of God, as recorded and prophesied within its pages of the Old and New Testaments.
Systematic theology is the collating of various ideas under different headings, purportedly to make the Bible’s teachings more cohesive and easier to understand.
Dogmatic theology is the interpretation of what a systematic theology propounds to formulate relevant teachings that enable a body of people to exist as a community with common ideals.
Not all agree with what is stated above, but this is my understanding derived from my observations of what has happened and still occurs. Hence, different dogmatic theologies exist within Christendom using the Bible for support, but are divisive in that they assume ideas that are not inherently biblical, although they may appear to be.
Is logic and reason compatible with theistic dogma? Well, if  you believe that certain things took place to support the theory of evolution, contrary to the demonstrable evidence of the Law of Thermodynamics, then that kind of erroneous logic and reason is compatible with theistic dogma.
If you believe that logic is the natural progressive outcome of reasoning from an indisputable underlying truth, then, along with the dogmatic theory of evolution, theistic dogma is not compatible with logic and reason. They are both assumptions and fall short of being true.

No comments:

Post a Comment