Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able ? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing ? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both willing and able ? Then whence cometh evil ?
Is he neither able nor willing ? Then why call him God ?
Any thoughts ?
You make very valid points and ones I need to keep in mind. However, I get the Pascal wager tossed at me very frequently and find it irrational, unsupported by anything other than fear.
I also observe behaviors of dearly loved family and friends who grasp onto religion, hoping desperately for superhuman help that does not come. Of my two cousins who had breast cancer, and thus my created Cousins' Cancer Club, one is an atheist and when she got the news, she got on with the process. The other, a devout christian, went into the procedure with fear and hope and has fear to this day. I received emails from them yesterday, and their lifestyles continue. I had Paula as an example of how to go into this experience, and I am so grateful. I know, this is anecdotal evidence, however, a grain of truth resides in anecdotes.
I value your caution and take heed.
There are several reasons to find fault with Pascal's wager and I am just as tired as you of having it tossed at me by people utterly unfamiliar with Pascal and his writing, but read in the context of the period—in which there was no developed notion of probability—it was a clever stroke.
It's unfortunate that most do not think of ultimate things until faced with a life-threatening illness. I think that is one of the profits of a healthy old age: as things decline slowly you have time to come to terms with non-existence.
And as for anecdotal evidence, the entire Christian religion is based on a handful of anecdotes, most of them probably false, so why not bring them into a casual discussion?
Absolutely agree with you on that.
Religiosity must be multifactorial - probably most of it culture, some political, some existential, some philosophical, and any portion that is neurologic would be very small.
It's just an interesting topic for me.
I don't have any axe to grind about any theologian or mystic - not informed enough about those to comment.
Don't you think it is the hyperrelgiosity that is the tipoff? Most religious people go about their daily lives without a great deal of thought to theology or mysticism. It's those—other than those who make their living from it— who are intensely focused on it that we suspect are mentally ill. We make the same kind of judgment for people who are intensely concerned about cleanliness.
I cant assume that someone is mentally ill just because they are religious. It's a disagreement, different temperament, education, exposures, socialization etc. Defining as mental illness is somewhat disparaging. Some times I am not sure what constitutes mental illness, except if it interferes with social functioning.
I suppose the idea of hyperreligiosity is the same way. If it interferes with social functioning, then there may be relation to a dysfunction of thought processing or organization, or personalityl.
I disagree Sentient, in that it can be shown in many cases of those who become religious martyrs and originators, such as Joan of Ark, Ellen White, Joseph Smith, Aquinas, St. Paul, even likely Moses.
That it was the neurological episode (of whatever cause, schizophrenia, TLE, exposure to hallucinogens, etc..) that often instigated/initiated their quest and became the basis of their existence.
The rest, intellect, artistic merit, philosophical brilliance just had to fit into the mold already created by this neurological malfunction.
Though the issue here is that the psychotic episodes that portray a malfunction in the temporal cortex made great impacts on their concepts and religiosity.
For Moses, Muhammad, Saul and Aquinas.
Their psychotic based illusions/hallucinations provided drive, validation and indeed direction.
Thus it can be stated that their lives and concepts were somewhat driven by their psychosis and that their religiosity is largely psychosis based.
As for Aquinas, if the hallucinations of the angels with the chord and verbal message had not occurred, we probably would not be discussing him now and the Catholic church would have had to follow somebody else's ideology in place of Aquinas.
As Aquinas stated himself, that angels vision/hallucination gave him the drive to achieve what he has.
The Summa would not exist without that hallucination!
Thus his ideology is largely psychosis driven!
Well Allan, simply deeper, more neurological and psychological analysis of his work, such as "Summa"
Neurological analysis of the Summa Theologica? Really?
I find it unusual that the likes of yourself are making excuses and apologies for Catholic apologists (those who make excuses for Catholic lies).
Of course you would find it unusual—your limited understanding does not permit you to imagine any viewpoint different from your own. Aude alteram partem.
As I stated earlier:
If it wasn't for Aquinas's angel hallucination, the Summa would not exist.
It was his hallucination that gave him the drive and direction to produce all his works.
Though a case well studied is Joan of Ark, who we know full well that she would not have even started her quest without her visions/hallucinations.
Same can be stated for St. Paul with his hallucination concerning Jesus.
These people were driven by their hallucinations.
Their entire life became based on these malfunctions of their brain.
It doesn't make them stupid, just misdirected!
Had Aquinas put his great efforts into psychology, physics or astronomy, instead of trying to rationalize the hallucinations of his like predecessors (also driven by hallucinations) the world would be much better off for it.
It's actually simple M8! :-D~
Non latinam inquisita
If it wasn't for Aquinas's angel hallucination, the Summa would not exist. It was his hallucination that gave him the drive and direction to produce all his works.
Of course it is quite easy to make assertions without evidence. Tell us what evidence you have that Aquinas had an angel hallucination? Explain why that evidence should be considered factual.
An attitude about how one lives his or her life. One has to take responsibility for oneself and how one relates to other people.
A.C. Grayling, The philosopher shares his book, "The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism."
I didn't realize I had only part of Sapolsky's lectures on religion. Here are the six videos that complete his topic: