Monday, February 1, 2010

Belief and Spiritual Atheism

Wittgenstein taught that the term "I believe" did not convey anything and was in itself meaningless. What does belief add?

His example: When you say "I believe it will rain" is it not the same as saying "it will rain"? For you state to state it, it must follow that you believed what you just stated to be true.

This seems to make tremendous philosophical sense. Practically, why do we use "belief" terminology? Perhaps because of religious texts that push "faith," believing in what can not be substantiated/seen. So the article of faith demands a person use the precursor "I believe." For if you believe in something that can not be found to be true, for example, again, "It will rain today" you are making a statement that can be validated. (I added "today" simply because if you do not put a timeframe on the statement, it elongates my argument's point.) Either it will rain today, or it will not. Thus, you are either making a true or false statement. Belief is neither true, nor false. Although certainly we can say belief can be grounded, or absurd!

However, when it comes to God, we also encounter the issue of existence. Which... well I would suppose will have to be left to another post because it's another deal all together. But basically, if someone can give a definition of that thing which exists, we can then seek to find that thing! But people make God such an incomprehensible concept, that the discussion is meaningless. I can not substantiate whether X is true if you don't tell me what X is! Especially if there are other incomprehensible variables in the equation. You can have one X in an equation, and most of the times solve it, but only if you can provide an equation that can be solved.

Which leads to my personal application of this information and the issue of spiritual atheism. Is it feasible? The latest book I read, "Atheism: The Case Against God" by George H. Smith boiled down Atheism to its core: lack of theistic belief. Since then, I have born the label. But I wonder, is this misleading? Certainly, many bear many titles and do not fit the supposed mold! But is it acceptibile? Can one be open, and be an atheist? Can one be open, and be a Christian? I frown upon the label of agnosticism for many reasons, so I will not address that supposed "middle-ground" here, but can the title of Atheism fit someone as I who is open to God existing, just makes the decision not to believe in it?

Going back to the issue of belief, why state belief in something that can not be validated? Thus, a*theism for me.

But I wonder, can the concept of God be discussed philosophically in his existence's favor? I pondered this in class, as our professor offered himself as an example of one venturing into the philosophical world as someone who can "bring something new to the table as a Christian." I couldn't help but wonder, just how he goes about philosophically supporting this God's existence without completely stripping it of all understandable definitions and thus, return back to the prior point.


Belief is a decision? Hence our created, emotionally-wired word "faith." If faith a choice? Is faith a logical choice? Or is it absurd?

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