I am in a long-running email battle with a Christian who is trying to argue that reality is subjective. No matter how hard I try I can't get this guy to see the hipocracy and intellectual ineptness of such a statement. Anyone have a sentence that may get through to him?

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Ironically, I tend to agree with Tiffany.

The physical world is objective.

Almost all of the time, though, what we talk about as being "reality" is actually our description of the physical world.  We give a description, and then we say "That's reality!".

The description, however, is really subjective.  It's our theory or interpretation or observation of a phenomenon turned into words, or mathematics, or a model of some sort.  All of those are subjective. 

CA, the posters here are overlooking something: reality for xians depends on which brand of xianity they accept. Your email-pal has the reality he was taught. It is subjective.

Within any brand of xianity there are more subjectivities. For instance, during my two years in a Jesuit-taught high school (ninth and tenth grades), one teacher described his obligation to obey by saying if his order's leader tells him black is white, then for him black is white.

Was he exaggerating to make his point more clear? Or do Jesuits not see reality as scientifically-inclined people see it?

"Do not trust yourself" was another lesson taught in the Catholic schools I went to.

Instead of trying to change his mind, find out what it contains.

Then go on about your business. Or, like a "feelthy capitalist", use his mind's contents to your advantage.

Anything subjective isn't real, it's a judgment or attitude. So, is God real or subjective? It would seem to me that to a Christian God would be the epitome of reality, but if he's just subjective, woe to the religion.

You left out the "to" before "a Christian God would be the epitome or reality" which changes the sense entirely. I suppose a comma after "Christian" would have made the sense a tad clearer, too.

It's just that to a Christian God is the basis and measure and source of all reality, and so must be real himself.

Weeeeeelll... maybe when he's caught misquoting it.

Depends on how you look at it ;-)

I think there may be a miscommunication... Have you asked what they really mean by subjective? They could mean that reality is subjective to God, which would be the same as being objective to us anyway.

Anyway, this is an interesting question. How would we expect an objective reality to behave? How would we expect a subjective reality to behave? Which one describes our reality better?

This is a spot on point.  I was just going to say, if I were a polar bear in the arctic then 15 below zero would not be cold, but since I am a human, that's pretty damn cold! Objective reality doesn't care what you think of it, because it just is.

Another analogy is one I often use around friends when discussing one arm pressing a 24kg kettlebell: The iron doesn't care what you think of it, 24kg is 24kg.  If you it is heavy, then the iron has mastered you, but if it is light then you have mastered the iron.

"Reality is here, it's knocking on the door. Hell, no... it's beating the damn door down." ...

-ministry 12" single "all day long"

When my daughter was about 8 she got on this kick where she wondered if she was the only person in the world and if everything was in her mind. This is basically a subjectivity conundrum.. 

She was cursed with having a philosopher as a father, so I said "If everything is a projection of your mind, how do you explain the unpleasant or hurtful things that happen to you?" 

She didn't have an answer for that. Problem solved.

To say that reality is subjective is essentially to say that there really is no external world (world outside the mind). It's also to assert that whatever we perceive as real is just a product of mind. Why then does our mind make loved ones die or give us terrible diseases or make us age? 

The fact that things happen to us beyond our control means there is an objective reality that our subjectivity simply has to deal with.

Reality is 15 billion years old, and middle-aged. Subjective reality is only as old as its beholder.

Can't help but try to improve on (or emphasize?) this.

Subjective Reality lives, varies, and dies with each Beholder.

Objective Reality exists, irrespective of any Beholders.


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