Tag Archives: Beliefs

Oh my god! People still believe these ancient myths

By Michael F. Bird:

The World was Made For Us to Reign Over It

In terms of the biblical narrative, I think it helps if we remember that we are consistently given a picture of God’s intention to make humanity his vice-regents who will reign with him and for him over the world. This was the role of Adam in Eden, Israel in Canaan, and the church in Christ’s kingdom . . . .

What is no less interesting is how two very different texts, both post-70 AD, 4 Ezra and the Shepherd of Hermas, treat creation as made explicitly for them to rule over it.

. . . .
In which case, I think it safe to say, that “salvation,” in its eschatological coordinates, has to include the notion of creaturely participation in God’s rule over all things.
Can you imagine the ants, or any other sentient creature, saying that they have concluded that god gave them the responsibility to rule the world as his agents and then to act as if all else exists to be subordinated to them?
Dear Bible Believers, it is time to put away ancient mythology and to understand that we are part of a web of life on a fragile planet. Carrying on as god-ordained supremacists, as if our species is the ultimate “goal” of this universe, is creating the sixth great extinction right now and threatening the very survival of organized human life. Time to face the fact that grass has so far proved itself far more successful in evolutionary terms than intelligent life forms.

Religious Credence is Not Factual Belief: 2

Continuing from Religious Credence is Not Factual Belief: 1

From http://www.armageddonbooks.com/map.html
From http://www.armageddonbooks.com/map.html

In the previous post we saw the three core features of factual beliefs as understood by Neil Van Leeuwen; we also saw that religious “beliefs” or credence do not share any of these characteristics of factual beliefs.

Van Leeuwen distinguishes factual belief from what he terms secondary cognitive attitudes — that is, factual belief has different characteristics from fictional imagining, hypothesis, assuming for sake of an argument, and so forth. Among these secondary cognitive attitudes he places religious credence. But religious credence is different again from these other secondary attitudes because of three characteristics. In this post we identify those three distinguishing properties.

But before continuing, however, I’ll jump to Van Leeuwen’s conclusion where he explains how religious credence and factual belief relate to one another in the mind of the religious person:

An agent’s religious credences comprise a map she uses for short- and long-term orientation in life. The map is colored with features that are taken to have normative force in virtue of their being part of the map at all; the colors represent sacred, sinful, eternal, righteous, holy, and the like. The map, in more or less detail, is determined by the dictates of individuals who are taken as special authorities in the community of the agent. But the agent herself also freely elaborates on the credence map in ways she finds useful for normative orientation. The map colors the authorities as holy. Other individuals in the community are painted as faithful. This map doesn’t just represent normative properties, however; it also represents objects, people, places, events, and supernatural beings that make the normative properties memorable or salient.

But the agent is always using another map: factual belief. This map comes to be in a different way from the religious credence map. It is generated chiefly by perception and rational expansion thereon. It helps us avoid falling in ditches and eating poisonous berries. The religious credence map lies on top of the factual map like a colored transparency, so that the objects, events, people, and places in the factual map can also appear religiously colored. Thus, only by careful scrutiny do we see the two maps are distinct. (My bolding)

So that’s how Van Leeuwen sees the two types of cognitive attitudes co-existing. Now to those points that make religious credence a stand-alone. read more »