Philosophy Class Discussion Questions and answers

As promised, I am posting the discussion questions and my answers to them. There are two units, the first is regarding the concept of religion. The second is regarding the concept of god. So, here ya go... enjoy! :-P

(I apologize for the formatting on discussion 9, msword doesn't transfer over here very nicely!)

Discussion 9- What is religion?

1.       Explain the difference between agnosticism and atheism.

An agnostic believes that it is possible that god may exist, but there has not been sufficient evidence to prove or disprove the existence of god. An atheist believes there is no god.

 2.       Explain and evaluate your concept of "religion" by answering the four questions posed by Streng (summarized in the yellow box on page 359).

 

  • “Does your definition reduce religion to what you happen to be acquainted with by accident of birth and socialization?” I feel that, as children, we are pushed into the religion followed by our parents. When we are old enough to explore on our own, some people decide to stick with what they were raised with, while other’s venture out to explore new ideas.

 

  • “Does your definition reflect a bias on your part –positive or negative- toward religion as a whole, or toward a particular religion?” I do think I am biased. I do not believe in religion at all. I do not see where there is any scientific proof of the existence of any form of god or other religious idol. I feel that everyone is biased in one way or another when it comes to religion.

 

  • “Does your definition limit religion to what it has been in the past, an nothing else, or does your definition make it possible to discuss emerging forms of religion?”  I do not feel that my definition limits religion. I feel that if a new religion emerged based on scientific fact, I would readily accept that religion.

 

  • “Does your definition have sufficient precision?” I feel that each person is entitled to their own belief system. I don’t feel mine is any better or more accurate that anyone else’s.  I think each person should be able to define their own structure of religion without having to worry about belittlement from others, or discrimination due to their beliefs. I think my definition of religion is precise to me, and that is all that matters. Whether it is to another person or not is up to them to decide.

 

 3.       Explain Feuerbach’s argument. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Feuerbach felt that god was the projection of man’s dream. He stated that people were not created in god’s image, but that god was created in man’s image. That people endowed god with the most desired emotions and values and then perfected them. In this creation, humankind found god. Feuerbach hoped that he could show people this was just a projection of what they desired god to be. He felt that if he could liberate people from this way of thinking, that they would turn their love and devotion to all humankind. Feuerbach goes on the question why has man created this ultimate goodness? He feels it is so that man can be free from himself to transcend himself and soar to the realm of ultimate goodness. I think this is a good argument because there is no scientific proof to support the existence of any form of god. So, if people have created this character in their own image, endowing him with perfect values and emotions, then they have something to emulate in their own lives, something to work towards.

 4.       Explain Nishitani's argument. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Nishitani felt that religion is what helped man to find the meaning of life, and the place he falls in that meaning. He felt that man could not answer these questions without the help of religion, or more specifically, by going on a religious quest, to find the answers specifically for each person. I do not agree with this argument because I do not feel religion is necessary for a person to find his or her own place in life, or to find meaning for his or her own life. I think that we as individuals are able to find those answers without involving the concept of religion.

 5.       Using the principles of logic that you have learned, are Feuerbach’s and Nishitani's arguments good arguments and why or why not?

I do think they are both well-formed arguments, however I do not feel that every person needs to follow the concept of religion, regardless of what form that concept takes.

Discussion 10- Does god exist?

Explain the Problem of Evil. What does Hick say in response to this problem?

The problem with evil states that if god exists and is all powerful and is all good, then how can evil exist. Hick says the problem with evil is only a problem for those who believe in a god that is both omnipotent and wholly good. According to Hick, we have to determine that either god is not all good or not all powerful in order to explain why evil exists.


Explain the Ontological argument and state one problem with it.

The main problem with this argument is that it states that everything must have a cause, and that there must be something that was a first cause to begin the cycle, and therefore god must be the first cause. The premise contradicts the conclusion. If every event must have a cause, then what event caused god?


Explain the Cosmological argument. Do you think that there must be a first cause or is it possible that there is no 'beginning'? Why?

The Cosmological argument follows that our universe is the model. First, everything in the world that moves had to, at one point in time, be moved. Since one thing has to move another thing, where is the original ‘mover’ of all things? The only logical answer would be that god is the original mover of things. Second is the cause and effect relationship. Since every effect has a cause, there has to be an original cause to set of effects, and the only logical answer would be that god set off the first effect.

I personally do not think there must be a ‘first cause’ and I do feel it is possible there is no beginning as believed by most Christians. I believe in the big bang theory, and in evolution. I believe science has provided enough supporting evidence that this is where our universe began.


Explain the Argument from Design and state one problem with it.

The argument from states that the world and universe was created by an omnipotent being. The problem with this argument is that it does not consider evolution. Another problem is that if an omnipotent being created our world, then why didn’t he/she create a world that was in perfect harmony, rather than one in which people are in constant chaos?

 

Explain the Argument from Morality. Do you believe that the existence of this deeply felt moral sense supports belief in the existence of a supremely moral mind -God? Why or Why not?

The argument from morality states that people get their morality from god; otherwise we would not have the moral principles which we so strongly feel is right. I agree with Kant who states that morality is grounded mainly in our ability to reason. I do not think that god gave us a moral code to follow, I think that humans are able to decipher right from wrong innately.


Using the principles of logic that you have learned, are any of these arguments for the existence of God good arguments? If so, which one(s) and why or why not?

Using the principles of logic that I have learned, I have decided no, none of these arguments are good arguments for the existence of god. I feel each argument asks us to take some premise on faith rather than providing factual evidence of the truth of the premise. I think they could be valid arguments because of the way they are stated, but that does not mean they are factual arguments. I feel that there is no factual evidence in support of the existence of god; however I do feel there is evidence against the existence of a supreme being. Our examples in nature, the fossil record, and all that we have learned from exploring the cosmos leads me to believe that our world was created through the big bang theory, and all life on our planet came to be through evolution.

ALL COMMENTS WELCOME AND APPRECIATED!

Views: 449

Tags: ansel, aristotle, discussion, feuerbach, god, kant, nishitani, religion, saint

Comment by James Cox on April 22, 2013 at 6:26pm

Philosophy has answers? Interesting! I thought it was about QUESTIONS! It is the pat answers that drive me to needing a good primal scream!

Comment by Dale Headley on April 22, 2013 at 7:43pm

Feurbach hit the nail on the head.  Nishitani?  Not so much.  Nishitani assumes that there is such a thing as (the need for) a meaning to life.  There isn’t.  Life is just one of countless phenomena in the universe - no more significant than any other, except in the fearful mind of Homo sapiens, the only form of life that knows it’s going to die.  

Religion, in essence, is the rejection of that reality.

The problem of evil is the ultimate, undeniable proof that any religion that posits a deity that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent, as do most Christian denominations, is hopelessly locked in a maze of logical absurdity.  And their pathetic attempts to rationalize the irrational is amusing to me.

The logical conundrum of the ontological arguments is that, if you assume everything must have a prior cause, then you are required to provide an endless series of causes; and that is a concept beyond the current capacity of the human brain.  Stated in its simplest form, what or who caused God?  Theists object to being required to provide a cause for God; yet they insist on demanding a cause for everything else.  Special pleading such as this has no place in rational thinking.

The cosmological argument actually gives religionists and scientists some common ground, in that they both include a “first cause” in their paradigms.  Religionists present God as that first cause; scientists have the “big bang,” sort of.  The main difference, however, is that theists do not make room for any possibility of an existential precursor to God; whereas scientists are at least willing to conjecture something beyond and before our presently observable universe.  And lately scientists have begun to put forth mathematically and cosmologically defensible hypotheses for the idea that “something can come from nothing.” 

My main piece of evidence refuting intelligent design is that, if you look at the course of life through the aeons, as well as plenty of examples of creatures currently struggling to survive, this “design” is NOT intelligent.  In fact, it is stupid.  Everything that exists currently is a temporary survivor.  99.999% of all life that ever existed succumbed to its own fragility; and we will, also.  All life will ultimately disappear, which is hardly evidence of an intelligent design.  If there is a God, He, She, or It is utterly incompetent.  Unless of course, He, She, or Its plan was to bring suffering and death to all His, Hers, or Its creations.  That’s not MY idea of intelligent design.

All one has to do to reject the argument from morality is to read the Pentateuch.  If that is the template for morality, you can have it.

No, I have never seen any argument or the existence of God that is the least bit persuasive.

Comment by SteveInCO on April 23, 2013 at 9:16am

Philosophy has answers? Interesting! I thought it was about QUESTIONS! It is the pat answers that drive me to needing a good primal scream!

An old joke.  The difference between philosophy and religion:

Philosophy:  Questions that cannot be answered
Religion:  Answers that cannot be questioned.

Comment by Missy Hollingsworth on April 24, 2013 at 2:34pm

An old joke.  The difference between philosophy and religion:

Philosophy:  Questions that cannot be answered
Religion:  Answers that cannot be questioned.

Exactly what I was thinking! LMAO

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