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  #1  
Old 08-08-2011, 11:47 PM
sjh sjh is offline
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Rational, Arational, Irrational

Greetings and salutations.

I'd attempted a dialog in another thread on the topic of rational, non-rational and irrational.

The reasons were multiple.

For one, it was the best method I know of to intellectually discuss religious belief without reverting to either dogma or derision.

You'll note my attempt failed.

But the second reason is that the word irrational is often used when the correct term is non-rational. One thing I learned while preparing this write-up is that the word arational may be used instead of non-rational.

Here's the definition of arational. Since my initial remarks were directed primarily to a philosophy professor I'll list that definition linked to the source - (chiefly philosophy) Not within the domain of what can be understood or analyzed by reason; outside the competence of the rules of reason.

And here is a quotation using the word - 1974, Ervin Laszlo, "Why Should I Believe in Science?" Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. 34, no. 4, p. 484: Scientific knowledge is conceptual, rational, and testable. Mystical knowledge is usually aconceptual, arational, and does not lend itself to interpersonal testing.

You'll note in Laszlo's quote above he differentiates between the use rational when discussing science and arational when discussing what he calls 'Mystical knowledge'.

Ervin László, author of 75 books and 400 papers (and a classical pianist, sounds like a renaissance man) believes it is the term to use when discussing the realm which I contend involves faith. László, quite specifically and intentionally did not use the term irrational.

When I asked my learned colleague to follow this practice, he and his associated cadre expressed their displeasure.

In case you think I picked one exotic example here are three other papers:

Sublimity: The Non-Rational and the Irrational in the History of Aesthetics

Decisions Under Uncertainty Rational, Irrational, and Non-rational

The idea of the holy: an inquiry into the non-rational factor in the idea of ...

Finally I would like the numerous members of PP (believers and non-believers) who have written me PM and e-mails of encouragement. Thank you. I make a lot of mistakes but I am trying to do the best I can.

May the Blessings of the Lord be with you always.

Last edited by sjh; 08-09-2011 at 12:09 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-08-2011, 11:54 PM
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Don't you think the first 3 threads you started today about your cult were enough?
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  #3  
Old 08-09-2011, 09:35 AM
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Let me know when you become a religious mystic. At that point the discussion might go somewhere.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:43 AM
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You could start with Kierkegaard.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:08 PM
sjh sjh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
Let me know when you become a religious mystic. At that point the discussion might go somewhere.
The are ample opportunities for a conversation, if desired.

The term in the references I offered was applied to mysticism, religious belief and aesthetics.

I'll repeat that the distinction of irrational from arational (non-rational) is most frequently used in the field of philosophy.

I'll try to find a published philosophy professor in the field to comment if that will assist.
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  #6  
Old 08-09-2011, 01:33 PM
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I'm aware of the distinction and chose 'irrational' with forethought. Your initial post many fruitless exchanges ago said 'not rational'. It did not say non-rational. Irrational is a subset of 'not rational' as is non-rational. From that point on, your response to my use of that word has been to object to it since you have a negative emotional response to it. Your negative emotional response to it is pretty irrelevant to the discussion as I see it. Lots of philosophers, particularly some very important christian philosophers, have positive emotional responses to the idea that Christianity is irrational.
I chose irrational deliberately because you had been arguing for a version of Christianity which accepted apparently rational truths (historical facts about Jesus etc, ) on non-rational grounds. Many mystics are happy to speak of those kinds of historical facts as myths, and will not express their non-rational mystical. experiences in rational terms. Hence since you object to the idea of religious stories as myths, and you think mysticism is non-rational, then irrational seems to be the best choice.
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  #7  
Old 08-09-2011, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
Let me know when you become a religious mystic. At that point the discussion might go somewhere.
LOL yeah that'll be the day.
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by tjts1 View Post
LOL yeah that'll be the day.
Hope springs eternal.

I think Kierkegaard is an interesting figure to bring into the discussion. He certainly falls on the irrational side. The film Breaking the Waves is a great deliberate Kierkegaardian film that explores the irrational in religion. My discussions with evangelicals on Kierkegaard have not yielded much sympathy for his teleological suspension of the ethical.
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  #9  
Old 08-09-2011, 11:13 PM
sjh sjh is offline
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Originally Posted by kerry View Post
I'm aware of the distinction and chose 'irrational' with forethought. Your initial post many fruitless exchanges ago said 'not rational'. It did not say non-rational. Irrational is a subset of 'not rational' as is non-rational. From that point on, your response to my use of that word has been to object to it since you have a negative emotional response to it. Your negative emotional response to it is pretty irrelevant to the discussion as I see it. Lots of philosophers, particularly some very important christian philosophers, have positive emotional responses to the idea that Christianity is irrational.
I chose irrational deliberately because you had been arguing for a version of Christianity which accepted apparently rational truths (historical facts about Jesus etc, ) on non-rational grounds. Many mystics are happy to speak of those kinds of historical facts as myths, and will not express their non-rational mystical. experiences in rational terms. Hence since you object to the idea of religious stories as myths, and you think mysticism is non-rational, then irrational seems to be the best choice.
1. Irrational is anti-rational. Non-rational = arational in the dictionary definition I provided in the link on post #1. If you use non-rational to mean any process that is not rational, which is perfectly valid, then you and I are using the same word for different meanings. When you chose to use irrational I objected. If you heard or I said that the only or dominant objection to irrational was the connotation than there has been an error in communication. My objection to the use of irrational in the discussion is primarily that it is inaccurate to describe the mental process involved in the systems of belief that I have anything of substance to discuss.

2. The baggage that goes with a word, its connotation, the emotional association, is extremely important in communication.

3. I only recall making reference to historical fact when discussing some of Paul's epistles. This was in direct response to someone questioning the Canon and accuracy of the Bible as we know it today. I was stating that there are strong historical arguments for the NT. Paul said, these FACTS occurred: the man lived, he died, he was resurrected, he was seen by many after the resurrection. Paul claims these are facts and that (when he wrote) there are numerous people alive who could attest to their veracity.

4. There are schools of thought in Christianity that argue for the Faith entirely on a historical basis. I am not one. If, in any way I have stated or implied that my faith is superior to your's (or anyone else's) because of rational arguments that I can make then I have mis-spoken. There are those who would make that argument but it is not the walk that I walk.

5. My path, as best I know it and can articulate it is this. The Apostle John speaks of the Word becoming flesh. This is often taken to mean Jesus being incarnate. I believe it also means that the message of the Bible (which is ultimately a Spirit) becomes flesh (lives within) a believer. Some believers have a strong awareness of this inner presence and learn to commune with Him on a regular basis. For me this is a non-rational process. Given how you are using the word I need to restate the above sentence to: For me this is a arational process.

Some posters in OD make inaccurate statements about Christianity. I try to correct them. Some make hateful statements about Christianity. I am sincerely and truly sorry for the numerous abuses and horrors that have been done in the name of Jesus. I personally have been deeply injured by them in my youth. It made it very hard for me to become a Christian. That others have had similar or worse experiences in their life and that they therefore have anger and derision towards Christianity I understand.

But there many, many Christians who have not behaved in the terrible manner mentioned in the above paragraph. I'd like to share the message these types of Christian's follow and try to live.

Finally there is a view that some express here that any believer must be addled, must have a screw-loose, is mentally defective or deficient in character. That is an error. Here is a quote from Einstein. Clicking on the quote brings up the source - Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

He is saying that both the rational and arational, and a respectful interplay between the two, are essential to a healthy, balanced life.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:21 PM
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Cults are confusing.


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Old 08-09-2011, 11:58 PM
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I really wouldn't mind them so much if they didn't feel the need to try to suck people in/kill those who don't want to take part or beleive differently.



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Old 08-10-2011, 12:45 AM
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is that from "jesus camp"?
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjh View Post
1. Irrational is anti-rational. Non-rational = arational in the dictionary definition I provided in the link on post #1. If you use non-rational to mean any process that is not rational, which is perfectly valid, then you and I are using the same word for different meanings. When you chose to use irrational I objected. If you heard or I said that the only or dominant objection to irrational was the connotation than there has been an error in communication. My objection to the use of irrational in the discussion is primarily that it is inaccurate to describe the mental process involved in the systems of belief that I have anything of substance to discuss.

2. The baggage that goes with a word, its connotation, the emotional association, is extremely important in communication.

3. I only recall making reference to historical fact when discussing some of Paul's epistles. This was in direct response to someone questioning the Canon and accuracy of the Bible as we know it today. I was stating that there are strong historical arguments for the NT. Paul said, these FACTS occurred: the man lived, he died, he was resurrected, he was seen by many after the resurrection. Paul claims these are facts and that (when he wrote) there are numerous people alive who could attest to their veracity.

4. There are schools of thought in Christianity that argue for the Faith entirely on a historical basis. I am not one. If, in any way I have stated or implied that my faith is superior to your's (or anyone else's) because of rational arguments that I can make then I have mis-spoken. There are those who would make that argument but it is not the walk that I walk.

5. My path, as best I know it and can articulate it is this. The Apostle John speaks of the Word becoming flesh. This is often taken to mean Jesus being incarnate. I believe it also means that the message of the Bible (which is ultimately a Spirit) becomes flesh (lives within) a believer. Some believers have a strong awareness of this inner presence and learn to commune with Him on a regular basis. For me this is a non-rational process. Given how you are using the word I need to restate the above sentence to: For me this is a arational process.

Some posters in OD make inaccurate statements about Christianity. I try to correct them. Some make hateful statements about Christianity. I am sincerely and truly sorry for the numerous abuses and horrors that have been done in the name of Jesus. I personally have been deeply injured by them in my youth. It made it very hard for me to become a Christian. That others have had similar or worse experiences in their life and that they therefore have anger and derision towards Christianity I understand.

But there many, many Christians who have not behaved in the terrible manner mentioned in the above paragraph. I'd like to share the message these types of Christian's follow and try to live.

Finally there is a view that some express here that any believer must be addled, must have a screw-loose, is mentally defective or deficient in character. That is an error. Here is a quote from Einstein. Clicking on the quote brings up the source - Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

He is saying that both the rational and arational, and a respectful interplay between the two, are essential to a healthy, balanced life.
More avoidance. As I pointed out, you were the one who began with the use of 'not rational' not me. Only later in the discussion when I began using 'irrational' did your argument switch to non-rational or arational. My use of 'irrational' was completing compatible with your initial claims.
Sure emotional connotations are important in communication as was obvious in your response which amounted to 'I don't like your words so I won't continue talking to you unless you stop using them and start using my words.' That is one tactic in winning a debate but I'm not falling for it.

The real key to the issue however, is your reference to the resurrection of Jesus as an historical fact. This debate was partly initiated by a comment by Botnst that believing in the resurrection as a matter of faith was fine by him since this was outside the bounds of rational discussion. Your position is very different than this since you are justifying a belief in the resurrection historically. History is subject to rational analysis, investigation, doubt, etc. Miracles on the other hand, can never be established rationally, since the alleged supernatural cause of the miracle is beyond the methods of reason. Since it is always possible to inquire as to the natural and rational cause of any alleged miracle, accepting the miracle as a supernatural event is irrational since rational methods are rejected and supernatural causes are substituted. Hence, my agreement with your initial post (and Botnst's view) that Christian belief is not rational, and my disagreement with you that your view is just non-rational or a-rational. It's irrational because it stops the normal methods of rational inquiry and substitutes a supernatural cause.

Of course, all of that prior paragraph would be irrelevant if you were the kind of Christian who thought that the miraculous resurrection of Jesus as an historical fact was irrelevant to their religion. You could be a Christian mystic who reads the story like all other mythological story as about events that can be repeated in the human psyche but not intended to be a scientific historical description of magical events. In other words, as long as Jesus lives in you, it doesn't matter whether the resurrection is historical or not. Or, you could be a kind of demythologizer like Bultmann who reads the stories of the NT in similar mythological terms but sees their relevance in existential human decisionmaking. But from what I have read on your posts here, you don't seem to fall into either of those categories.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:28 AM
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Come on guys, type in plain English, not all of us have PHD's from Harvard. Why all the BIG words.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:55 AM
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Come on guys, type in plain English, not all of us have PHD's from Harvard. Why all the BIG words.
PHD from Harvard or or PHD from the school of BS cult talk and imaginary friends?
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