QUOTE (Brainiac @ May 27 2011, 01:21 AM)
QUOTE (Sophia @ May 20 2011, 06:38 AM)
Sure, they can easily be dismissed - but only if one readily presumes oneself to be superior, if one readily presumes that one's own values and standards are higher and more valid than theirs. Ie. when one effectively presumes oneself to be God ...
I'm not taking the theistic or GV side here. It's just that in order to preserve one's intellectual integrity, there are things one cannot do - such as dismissing this or that on the premis that one's current values and standards are the highest there is.
Why does it have to be based on a sense of superiority? I would have thought it might be based on acknowledging something as simple common sense.
"Common sense" is a very relative notion, culturally specific. Something that may be "common sense" to an American might not be "common sense" to a European, and so on.
For example, no one really believes that the earth is held up by several mega-sized elephants, right? Yeah, they do, I know, but to dismiss that idea would be based on simple facts, not a superiority complex? Or is this something else we should remain technically agnostic about?
"Fact" is a theoretically extremely appealing, but practically extremely problematic concept.
Accepting and rejecting does happen on notions of something being superior to something else. We cannot choose something over another unless we think that the former is somehow superior over the other. This is inherent in the act of decision-making.
(I am not
talking about "superiority complex
I agree with what you say, about parables and metaphors etc. Isn't it funny, though, that statements such as that always change in response to contradictory evidence?
They don't necessarily change, they might just get clarified when the need arises.
It's just something that I've observed here and there. Personally, I like to look at things in the long term. And by long term, I mean thousands of years. Or thereabouts. For thousands of years it seems alright for religionists to assert, I'm sure with all sincerity and genuineness, all manner of things quite seriously. The soul is a ten-thousandth part of a tip of hair. The creation was built in six days. The earth is the centre of the universe, and so on. And then whenever contrary evidence comes along, theologians scuttle to find ways to re-interpret the problem verses in a bid to stay relevant, frequently concocting allegorical or symbolic replacements for the literal meaning.
"Literal" meaning is another one of those very problematic notions. Ask any linguist.
It appears that many people who engage in the "literal vs. metaphorical" debate seem to come into such debates with little awareness or acknowledgement of the context of the texts that are being discussed.
Why do they do this? Why can't they just accept that they might be wrong, and move on to learn something totally new? This has always fascinated me.
Epistemology is a complex and important topic.
I think it can hardly be held against people if they believe X as opposed to Y, or if they seem to "refuse to learn" or seem "overly willing to learn".
But by the way, I don't believe in a soul. I think this is a horrible misconception of God-centered traditions. The soul is just the imputation of the mind upon the aggregates. It is a misconception is all it is. This is why such metaphors were created. You can't explain properly a phenomena which is mistaken anyway.
This is interesting. Do you mind speaking more about this?
I'll use GV terminology to explain: The things we normally identify with, thinking "this is who I am", is the conglomerate consisting of false ego, intelligence, mind and the senses. The Buddhists say that these things are not the self. (Insofar they agree with GV.)
Some Buddhist traditions, notably Classical Theravada and Mahayana along with Vajrayana, however, believe that this conglomerate is all that a self could ever be, and that there is no other kind of self except this - illusory - self. Some minor traditions in Buddhism hold that the Buddha never said there was no true self, just that the aggregates (namely false ego, intelligence, mind and the senses - although in Buddhism, the conceptualization is somewhat different) are not the true self. There is some struggle among the Buddhists over this topic.
It should be noted that with the view that the self (or soul) is illusory or a mere epiphenomenon, there are unanswered questions such as "What is it that gets reborn?" and "Why try to make an end to suffering if there is no self that would persist from one incarnation to another?" and then further questions on responsibility and so on.