Religion and Spirituality Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life. -Buddha
Reminders: • History IA Friday • You’re doing a great job getting VV’s done! Keep it up! • Blog this Saturday, then a blog break! • Truth and Wisdom: We will begin right after break—you will have KI/Quotes/Vocab before you leave. Is anyone gone before Friday? If so, see me! • Music Today: Native American Ceremony
Write a minute…or two… • What purposes do religion and spirituality serve?
Possible purposes: • To answer the unanswerable. • Why do people suffer? • Is death the end? • What is the meaning of life? • Where can I seek comfort? • Does the universe hold meaning? • Are our lives significant?
Words, words, words… • Faith • Spirituality • Religion • Sacred • Holy • Prayer • Worship • Divine • Miracle • Jot down your connection or reaction to each of these words--
Thomas Jefferson Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. What is he saying? http://www.ted.com/talks/questions_no_one_knows_the_answers_to.html
Metaphysical Beliefs • Theism: the universe is governed by an omnipotent (all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving) creator. (Islam, Christianity, Judaism)
Pantheism: God is everything and everything is part of God. (Hinduism, Buddhism). • Popular with scientists—God is nature and nature is God. Does that mean God’s will is also natural?
Agnosticism: Neither asserts nor denies the existence of God or a higher power, but keeps an open mind about it. • Some see this as the ultimate form of sacrilege…waffling, as it were.
Intelligent Design: There is too much coincidence in how things “work”; order and harmony could not have come about by chance, but must have been made by an intelligent creator.
Physics • Scientists of physics agree that it is quite mysterious that the universe is not only orderly, but orderly in such a way that it can be mostly understood by human beingswith their limitations of knowledge.
Does this leave us then with only two options? 1 Intelligent Design 2Infinity of universes, earths, beings, possibilities.
Big Bang Ideas to Ponder • What caused the Big Bang? Could this connect to intelligent design, or at least an instigator? • “Nothing can come from nothing.” • The universe has always existed? Shrink and grow, shrink and grow….repeat. • The first “uncaused cause”—from there, everything since has had a cause.
Attempting to Grasp Religion • Anthropomorphism: God looks like a human. • Metaphor: God as a ‘father’. • Parable: understanding religious values by the stories told within that religion. • Example: “Good Samaritan”
Paradoxes/Counterclaims • Paradox of omnipotence • Paradox of change • Paradox of Suffering • Paradox of Free Will *See page 407 in your text book for more explanation.
Religious Experience • Are all religions founded on a bedrock of personal experiences? Is this data, then, considered empirical? Do we not consider empirical data the closest to ‘truth’?
Then a syllogism Empirical data is the most trustworthy and least skewed by bias. Religions are based on empirical data. Religious experiences are based on the most trustworthy and the least skewed data.
Try this: • Pretend the person next to you has been blind since birth. Describe the color RED to them. This is what trying to describe faith or spirituality is like. You can get close, but you have to actually experience it yourself. Is this a strength or a limitation?
Miracles • David Hume (1711-1776) • It’s never rational to believe in miracles because the weight of evidence is always against them. *Eye witness testimony—Human Fallibility *Error of Memory *Positive Self Bias *Confirmation Bias --As we progress with science and technology, what seems miraculous at one time will not be miraculous in the future. --The Laws of Nature do not simply STOP working. Or do they?
Miracles: Two sides Do the Laws of Nature Preclude the Possibility of Miracles? The Girl Who Makes Miracles (introduction)
If there is a God(s), why is there suffering? • Free will defense: God gave us free-will, which we misuse to cause one another pain. • What about natural suffering?
Suffering • Since 1500, approximately 142 million people have died in more than 600 wars around the world. • During that same time, there have been 36 genocides. • Every day: 24,000 people die from starvation.
Coping: We live in the best possible world. It’s a package deal—the good comes with the bad. We have to know the bad to appreciate the good. Agree, disagree? Is this God’s way of helping us grow as human? How would an atheist use the concept of suffering?
Faith • St. Paul: the conviction of things hoped for and the assurance of things not seen. • Thomas Aquinas: Faith and Science carry equal and complementary ways of seeking truth. • Freud: believing a proposition without sufficient evidence. Religion is a form of escapism. • There are not logical syllogisms in religions.
Is Faith Rational? • Which is stronger? Faith based on Evidence or faith without evidence? • Is faith more pure than religion? Because religion is a man-made organization of ‘believers’, is it too faulty?
Science Vs. Religion • Confirmation Bias: Atheists find proof of no God everywhere; Theists will find proof of God everywhere. • Religion attempts to answer HOW, Science attempts to answer WHY. (agree?)
If no truth or fact can ever be proven, we can be certain of nothing. Can it be argued that there is an element of faith built into all knowledge claims/areas of knowledge? • Why does faith feel like such a risk? Why do we call it a “leap of faith”?
A few world religions: Jigsaw • Find out: • Number of believers • Region of the world • Major tenets/laws/beliefs • Leaders and prophets • Stereotypes • Major events • Christianity • Islam • Hinduism • Buddhism • Judaism
Karen Armstrong: Charter for Compassion • People want to be religious, says scholar Karen Armstrong; we should help make religion a force for harmony. She asks the TED community to help build a Charter for Compassion -- to restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.