Religious Belief: James P Carse

I am just reading James P Carse’s book ‘The Religious Case Against Belief ‘ and it starts with three quotes that I think throw interesting light on religion and belief and also incorporate the idea of multiple perspectives of this blog. More on the rest of the book when I have read it.

‘If God held all truth in his right hand and in his left the everlasting striving after truth, so that I could always and everlastingly be mistaken, and said to me: ‘Choose’, with humility I would pick the left and say: ‘Father, grant me that. Absolute truth is for the alone.’

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

‘To believe is to know that one believes, and to know that one believes is no longer to believe’.

Jean-Paul Satre

‘God said it. I believe it. End of discussion.’

Bumper Sticker

I would add:

‘The map is not the territory’

Gregory Bateson

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About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Academic Conflict, Conflict Book Reviews, Conflict Processes, Religious Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Religious Belief: James P Carse

  1. Kyrie Eleison says:

    I was going to abstain from this topic, since I want to avoid being labeled an atheist or a heretic, either of which I firmly *believe* I am not. Please do not excommunicate me.

    There are many reasons for me to think that there was a divine creator. Mainly, because it simply is not rational for me to think that a coalescence of random atoms and molecules by pure chance just got together and suddenly came into existence as life with the sole purpose of consuming and converting other random atoms and molecules ad infinitum in harsh environments.

    Thermodynamic laws play a big part in this view as well, and even though this subject is hotly debated, one must consider the amount of energy that would be required to overcome them. In the universe, there is no such thing as a free lunch, so why would I think that it could just randomly occur when considering life?

    Indeed many experiments have been performed where amino soups have been subjected to conditions thought to be present on the Earth in its infancy – heat, pressure, electrical storms, bombardment by cosmic rays, and so on … nothing so far.

    This is not to say that we should stop seeking the answers, quite the contrary. There has been much groundbreaking work in the field of quantum mechanics that one day might have me eating these words, and my response will be a respectful “well done.”

    The only problem I have (who saw this coming?) is when groups of people try to push as proven fact things that are based on belief, or that are purely anecdotal. Jesus quite often spoke in parables, and was extremely careful about things that he declared in terms of black and white.

    Based on my studies, he rarely did, which leads me to *believe* that maybe some of the things he is attributed to have said were added later by someone else (for whatever purpose) since they really don’t seem to fit very well with the rest of his message. There is a stipulation that whoever alters the scriptures will be dealt with accordingly and the truth will be known, but it never says exactly how or when.

    Perhaps it is never officially published, rather it is left to the reader’s critical thinking skills to figure out on their own – I can see an intelligent being working this angle as a test to see if people really “get it” and to separate those who use faith lovingly from those who use it in a prideful, hurtful, or malicious manner.

    I’ve stated before that I am a “big picture” type of person. We can argue over the little details but when you look at the forest for the trees, it becomes obvious (to me) that life itself was given to us as a gift, and our purpose in life should be to pay it forward instead of fighting and hoarding things from one another.

    Again, this is just what I *believe*, and yours may differ!

    I will close this comment with quantum mechanics, and the Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment. Maybe the divine existence does not have just one exclusive domain. Maybe it has many paths and can coexist simultaneously with others with each outcome being equally probable and no single outcome being completely absolute. Until I find a better theory to *believe* in, I think I will go with this one and do my best to approach people from different faiths with the same amount of respect I hope to receive in return.

    – Κύριε, ἐλέησον –

    (Note: The movie featured in this clip is rated R by the MPAA. I understand if you wish to remove it however I *believe* in the *idea* being put forth here.)

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