A collection of a few clarifications that may emerge when one encounters this blog and has a few questions they'd like to get out of the way quickly.

The Existence of God
I have been calling myself an atheist for years. As the blog at that link will show, I portray myself as one who "loves God" but epistemologically I see no reason to believe in him and consequently place myself in the atheist camp. I think that there is an error prevalent in the theistic that places too much emphasis on people standing in relation to God the way that people stand in relation to facts. Rather, I find that we must relate to God the way we relate to someone we love, someone we fear, or in whatever way lets God become a key factor in how we live our lives and make sense of the world, rather than as a part of the world to be made sense of.

In May of this year, I officially changed my default answer to theist. If you do not give me time to explain, I will probably say that I am a theist. If you give me time to air out my thoughts, I will explain that context and schema are important in answering that question, and depending on the context of your question I am either an atheist or a theist.

Religiously, I have speculated about the possibility of a pure faith, and have also speculated that perhaps the essence of faith must be approached and expressed in the body of a particular religion. I have wondered what might be the way that one could go about choosing a religion to be the body for ones faith. All of that wondering and speculation did not amount to anything definitive; I do not have a clear religion with a culture that extends beyond myself. I am closest to the Judeo-Christian tradition (which is vague to the point of barely meaning anything), I attend no religious services, I regularly practice prayer, I am an ordained minister. For now I am content with that.

Short Version: I'm a theist, and I won't argue for it.

Schema? Games? Lenses?

One of these days I am going to write a glossary. I assign a lot of words technical meanings, and then switch them to other words with the same meanings. It produces a very inconsistent picture. Mea culpa.

My thinking is, for the moment, intentionally unsystematic. This is not to say that I do not relate my thoughts to one another or build mental scaffolding to hold my theories in place or that I do not have a hierarchy of thoughts in terms of importance and primacy; it is just to say that I do not think anyone else should take it particularly seriously and that I myself rebuild the scaffolding regularly. One day I will probably write something down, in the meantime I prefer to build smaller systems (which I alternately call schema or games) and then leave the larger relations unstated.

Perspectivism and Relativism

Is it a fact that I am sitting on a chair? I appear to be sitting on a chair.

I will tell you what is a fact. If I appear to be sitting on a chair, and if the concept of someone sitting on a chair accepts that appearance as sufficient proof, then I am sitting on a chair and this is fact no matter what anyone feels about it. However, if the concept of someone sitting on a chair does not accept this appearance as sufficient proof, then whether or not I am sitting in a chair will forever be a mystery and no one will ever be able to advance human knowledge on this matter. And finally if some dingbat defines the concept of sitting in a chair to include the appearance of me sitting in a chair as sufficient proof to the contrary, then it is not the case that I am sitting in a chair.

This is what is meant by lenses and also by defining concepts and proof criteria. Facts are sentences, they are language. We define the concepts and along with those concepts we have (usually implicit) proof criteria. When people look for absolute certainty, they are trying to bind language to the world in a way that language can never be fully bound. Instead we must look at the rules of our language and the way we define concepts and compare them to the world of appearances (phenomena) to see what the facts are.

To anyone who stumbles across this blog and has not damaged their brain with philosophy and skepticism, I offer this explanation. Imagine a game you like to play. Can you play the game? Do you need to squabble over the rules when you play it? I imagine that you can and that you do not need to. But are there areas in the rules where the rules fall apart a little bit? Someplace where committees and referees can sit down and hash out disagreement? I imagine that there is.

You live your life, language and reason serves you well, you can live according to your concepts and your understanding, modifying when necessary. I am one of those brain damaged individuals who is fascinated by the whole enterprise of reason, phenomena, and how we make concepts, so I purposely focus on those areas where it breaks down so I can see how it works. I promise, I've never really sat down in a chair to ponder whether or not I am sitting down in a chair.

(this section was written in a chair... or was it?)

What's With the Stupid Pictures?

I don't know why, but pictures are imminently important to me. I just find that they add a layer of humanity to what can be pretty impenetrable stuff; plus I have always believed that a bad joke is better than no joke at all. But there are a lot of times where there is no obvious picture to add, and other times where trying to think of a picture to add becomes more time consuming than writing the actual blog. In these cases one of two things happen.

Wisdom prevails and I just post the blog without a picture.

Wisdom fails and I photoshop a picture of rednecks standing in front of an Absolut Vodka bottle to visually suggest a contrast between relativity and absolutism.

Oh, uh, also the pictures mostly come from Google, and I am just all kinds of reckless with copyright. So if you find a picture of yours on here and that pisses you off, just let me know. But, when is that really going to happen? 

No comments:

Post a Comment