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Dreams are what you wake up from.

14 years of Livejournalling, and hopefully, more to come.

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:: Pardon me for my lj barrage, but I'm interested in Epistemology ::

Right after Planet today, I met up with a neophyte of Reiki for a vegetarian lunch and aftermeal talks of energy and channels.
I stated firmly my belief; that I only choose to believe in what I am able to believe, on the plane of realism.
I absolutely do not believe in blind faith. And my heaven is Nirvana.

My definition of Nirvana?

\Nir*va"na\, n. [Skr. nirv[=a][.n]a.]
In the Buddhist system of religion, the final emancipation of
the soul from transmigration, and consequently a beatific
enfrachisement from the evils of wordly existence, as by
annihilation or absorption into the divine. See {Buddhism}.

Erm, not that close. My Nirvana, is, in fact, a total and complete death, where one cease to exist at all.

So what is my religion? I am most likely Agnostic.

\Ag*nos"tic\, n.
One who professes ignorance, or denies that we have any
knowledge, save of phenomena; one who supports agnosticism,
neither affirming nor denying the existence of a personal
Deity, a future life, etc.

Then again, it is not a religion at all, but a philosophy of religion.
I just cannot believe how I can believe something based on blind faith.
Then of course, everybody chooses to believe what he or she wants to believe, just that I prefer to follow in the veins of Epistemology.

Epistemology (Epistemic) – The theory of knowledge (or knowing), or to do with knowledge of knowing.

Perception – Perception is reality (i.e. the way things are to me or you – "I perceive this to be…")

Validate – To be able to say with certainty that something is true.

Three Starting Points for Epistemology

Realism (sometimes called Naïve Realism)
– The notion that behind the physical realm there are ‘certainties’ which are unaffected by our experience or perception of them. For example, realists generally believe you can have secure knowledge about the world i.e. When looking at an object one could make the claim with a large degree of certainty that, "It is red!". Most Christians are realists in that they believe God exists as a separate being to humanity and has revealed moral truths to us in the Bible, which we are to follow. Both Plato and Immanuel Kant are realists.
(I am not definitely not this!)

Non-Realism (sometimes called Anti-Realism)
– The belief that there are no ‘absolutes’ in the universe outside our own perception (which logically leads to relativism and subjectivism). Non-realists believe that our knowledge is affected by our own perceptions i.e. we think the way we do largely as a result of our social and cultural influences. In terms of epistemology non-realists would often allow someone to make the claim "It is red!" and another person to say, "It is yellow" despite looking at the same object. They would do this because they would claim that each person validly perceives the same object in different ways because they are having different experiences of it (i.e. they may argue that one person is colour-blind). Non-realists could accuse realists of being imperialist or dictatorial in their attitudes and would argue that people live their lives on the basis of what seems right to them and is agreed by society at the time. In terms of religious belief Christian non-realists would argue that the word ‘God’ is not a reference to some Supreme Being in the heavens but a literary term we use to describe the ‘Sum Of Our Highest Ideals’. Both Ludwig Feurbach and Don Cupitt are non-realists.
(I agree with this.)

Critical Realism
– Critical realists traverse a middle ground between realism and non-realism. They accept the arguments of non-realists and recognise that we perceive the world through our own culturally and socially affected ‘glasses’ however they would also accept that there are moral and epistemic certainties in the universe. (i.e. A critical realist would say "I believe this is red even though I may be colour blind and mistakenly perceive it to be red when it is in fact yellow.") Critical realists believe all knowledge should be held up as in some way contingent despite the fact that they accept the need to act as though it is certain (i.e. I may doubt the certainty of my own knowledge but if I act as though this car travelling towards me is not real then I will die).
(I agree with this as well.)

Ultimately, the aftermeal talk ended with my conclusion that validating 'blind faiths' is impossible. Validating religious truth claims is difficult for the simple fact that people will presume the truth of that which they are seeking to prove to be true. Yet it might be the case that one day we might conclusively validate the existence of God using empirical evidence. It might be that there is an afterlife and that we will one day stand before God in it (as the Apostle Paul says, 'Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face' (1 Corinthians 13:12)). Of course, the next question will be which God we might see amongst all those represented by the variety of religions in the world today? Even if an afterlife exists it could be that even there we might still presume certain truths about God (i.e. God is the Christian God, or the Hindu God, or the Sikh God etc.), and never fully comprehend God's true reality.

Usually it's easier to just forget about it all and go watch tv.
La la la.

PS: and bungee jumping is not a leap of faith. nothing should be.

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Everyone has their own faith and belief. As individuals, we should respect the faith and belief of another. However, I think it's rude to impose one's personal faith and belief on another.

The world is not dominated by one religion.

I do not appreciate people who use their religion as an excuse for some of their acts.

but religion as a way of life does dictate some behaviour, norms and ways of thinking.. would that not influence actions? unless you are specifically referring to certain "acts"?

A little thought

Gnostic means forbidden knowledge.

Agnostic means "without knowledge".

In that historical and religious context, it doesn't mean you don't believe in God. It merely means you are ignorant.

Very different from latter day use of agnostic as a word to disavow God.

if i am ignorant, does it mean that god is present and real?
not really, right?

Re: A little thought (Anonymous) Expand
well.. so what is faith to you?
if perception and belief forms the basis of perceptible reality..
do you think faith and belief also acts as a platform for imperceptible reality?
would "blind faith" not be a tautology then? because faith is not done with perceptive senses?

Ah hah, like what you said, it depends on how we define "imperceptible reality".

How real is that? The blue pill or the red pill? Or neither?
We have a choice.

(Deleted comment)
hi hi!
this is so up my street.
have you read this?

i find it curious that you did not elaborate on your definition of "blind faith".
what about "seeing faith" (or in a parallel with critical realism, "critical faith") do you have a problem with that?

and to elaborate on the anonymous poster's comment: "agnostic" means you are open to the existence of various gods. you are just not willing to put your money down on any particular one as you are not 100% sure it actually exists. if you are 100% sure that god (in whatever form or tradition) does not exist the more correct term would be "atheist".

i wonder if might like to read my own thoughts on this matter. it all started from an idea that the physiology of our human mind predisposes us to think that somekind of god exitsts:

No, not the same definition

Being agnostic and gnostic is not black and white. It doesn't mean if you aren't aware of God, you are then open to embracing any Gods, or to the existence of them.

And I don't agree with what you wrote. If you trace the rise of religions, it stems from plain pagan beliefs to an instituted one.

In fact, much of what is found in the bible, and the dead sea scrolls, have identical roots to pagan beliefs in egypt.

It doesn't matter whether you believe so as long as someone does; that alone guarantees and sanctions the existence of God.

hmm just had a little think and i found i moved from being a critical realist to a non-realist.

i say this because my belief(!) (frame of reference?) is that my perception of reality can only be my perception of reality. if i had no eyes to see what would the colour "red" mean? my sense of reality is limited by my physical senses (and mental processes). if i never see an apple in my life would apples appear to be red to me? so my perception of reality is also limited or shaped by my history or past experiences.

so far your discussion has centred on physical attributes or qualities. if we make the leap to the meta-physical things become more interesting. it might be easy point out that the colour red turns out to be a particular wavelength of light but what makes an apple "good"? or "bad" or "loving" or "evil"?
and when you come to human behaviour and inner motivations how can we objectively know what is going on inside the mind of another person?

we are cooking pasta sauce together. you lift up the lid to take a look to no ill effect. a few seconds later i lift the lid and say "ow this is hot, i hurt my hand!". would it be a leap of faith or "blind faith" for you to accept my statement? what if to test my statement you again touched the lid but it did not hurt you?

this is so interesting!

i should make an effort to go for one of your dinners....

*makes note*

The problem with knowledge in our postmodern world

Knowledge, including what we know about life and religion, is historically ‘top-down’. Grand narratives are passed down from the head of power to us as knowledge.

Only science subjects to truth (objectivity) and proof. Even so, science always requires an external source to validate it as knowledge, and therefore establishing metanarratives through speculation and emancipation.

However for science, by drawing on inferior, unsubstantiated narratives to legitimate itself, denies its own status as knowledge and is thus internally contradictory. It becomes a vicious cycle, and there’s no ‘real knowledge’.

Knowledge isn’t truth or false anymore, but how it is being passed down to us. We are left with the burden of finding all the explanations and answers for ourselves.

Then there’s no use in finding the answers too – we should all just watch TV, go shopping and have sex.

Re: The problem with knowledge in our postmodern world

if only i could not think of this and go watch TV. that could be bliss.

(then again, since i've known and contemplated about this, it can no longer be undone.)

马大龙had said"相信就有,不相信就没有”

cheena mama lost. again.


"Usually it's easier to just forget about it all and go watch tv."

i'll drink to that... *hic* :p

See, see!! You've incurred the wrath of the Safehaveners... run! Run away now! For when they see you, they won't hesitate to burn you at stake.


Would they do that if I run and hide inside a church?

*runs towards City Harvest*

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