How would you define religion in academic terms?

Tags: define, definition, religion

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Well you are, of course, a-religious - because, as I understand it, religion is about man reaching out to a deity or deities, while Catholicism is about the Catholic pantheon reaching out to man.  Did I get that right?

I don't think so, least-wise not as this applies to Professor Doctor Robert's God. That God exists only in the imagination, like Gandalf the Wizard.

A God that reaches out to man? That's a God doing something in empirical reality. According to Bob, none of the world's religions make such claims, only atheists do and it's our #1 argument!

I've asked ol' Pinocchio to clarify this-- you know, in the spirit of intellectual honesty?-- but of course, he's still being careful not to clarify it.

There's really nothing to clarify, @Gallup.  God is a postulate in the same way that Euclid's axioms are postulates.  They are a starting point that defines an intellectual system or worldview, not an ending point.   The existence of God is not an interesting question, either for religion or science, any more than the existence of one-dimensional lines is an interesting question.

When we posit the existence of one-dimensional line segments, though, it is a starting point from which we are able to build one or more entire systems of geometry.  Rich, varied, internally consistent systems of thought that consume volumes of texts and lifetimes of study.    Those systems of geometry are actually remarkably good at describing "reality", and modeling the phenomena that we observe.   We "believe" in geometry, and trust it for doing many "real world" things.  The structure that geometry provides helps improve our thought processes and lets us recognize and observe things about the universe we might otherwise miss.

Of course geometry, theology, both are human intellectual abstractions.  So are our theories of gravitation and quantum mechanics.  They aren't "real".   The universe is what it is.  We just have models which describe observations of the universe we experience, and ways of thinking which help us focus our explorations and grow.

There's really nothing to clarify, @Gallup.

Sure there is.

You argue strenuously that God exists only abstractly, that no religion claims otherwise, and that we atheists invented God as an empirical claim: "...the existence of God is not a claim about "empirical reality" for any religion I am aware of. It's a straw man that you have created, which would be my #1 of "typical atheist arguments"

The unclear part, which we've asked again and again and again and again and again and again (and now here again) for you to clarify: How does your imaginary God originate the universe, answer prayers, father a messiah, forgive sins, perform miracles, or perform any function in empirical reality?


Of course geometry, theology, both are human intellectual abstractions.  So are our theories of gravitation and quantum mechanics.  They aren't "real".  

Yes, Bob. We have established that your God is sitting inside our heads along with Superman, Gandalf the Wizard, and other abstract constructs that exist only in the imagination.

We just have models which describe observations of the universe we experience, and ways of thinking which help us focus our explorations and grow.

Yes, Bob. This is what needs clarifying.

Observations are empirical. The observable universe is as empirical as it gets. Nothing is more empirical than everything that observably exists.

As imaginary models of gravitation apply to gravity, which is empirical and observable throughout the universe: apply your imaginary model of God. Specify which observations it describes and explain how it works. You have an entire universe to choose from, in addition to the list of miracles above.

Oh wait. I forgot. You said God isn't a claim about empirical reality. God has no application, no purpose, no explanatory value for the universe or anything in it. He's all in our heads.

Never mind, Bob. It's all perfectly clear. God isn't in the same group as gravity. God is right in there with Fred Flintstone and the Teletubbies.

LOL.  I like that one.

Of course it's true in many ways.  Our ideas about God, or the universe, are just that - our ideas.  They live in our brains, whether it's theology or geometry or gravity.

@Gallup, do you understand the definition of empirical?

@Gallup, do you understand the definition of empirical?

I understand you want to sidestep empirical reality, which is what we've been talking about since the start, by narrowing it. 

But that would be shifty, Bob. So let's not.

empirical reality: the reality that can be deduced from repeatable observations of the senses. While many thought experiments can be created that test the a priori assumptions that this is the "true" reality, epistemological methods that rely on the validity of an empirical reality are by far the most successful ever created.

Here are a few more, sitting forlorn and languishing away, after falling prey to one of your amnesia attacks. Let's not forget them. The first is critical since, according to you, it describes God. The rest clarify the meaning of the first.

Postulate: something taken as self-evident or assumed without proof as a basis for reasoning.

Self-Evident: evident in itself without proof or demonstration; axiomatic.

axiomatic: pertaining to or of the nature of an axiom; self-evident; obvious.

Evident: plain or clear to the sight or understanding.

obvious: easily seen, recognized, or understood; open to view or knowledge; evident: an obvious advantage.

axiom: a self-evident truth that requires no proof.

Do go on, Bob.

This is unusual, For a change I find myself at least partially in agreement with you. A lot of these "definitions" offered by atheists are just opportunities taken to take potshots at religion.rather than actual serious attempts at definitions.

Reading this, it occurred to me that unlike theists, who seem to rarely think, possibly we atheists have a tendency to over think.


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