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Philosophy: Aquinas May 3, 2007

Filed under: college,philosophy,religion — bookwritegirl @ 5:39 pm

I believe clones have souls, too. Though some stuff is still genetic, (nature) most of what we grow up into is nuture-based. Just because something is made by a human being doesn’t mean it’s souless, I think it’s more like God saying, “Oh, somebody’s trying to pretend to be Me again…I have to give them a soul, then.” I guess the problem with this argument is that if one doesn’t believe in God, then one is forced to believe clones don’t have souls. If that’s the case, there are no scruples involved with killing a “dispensable” clone in order to harvest organs for somebody “more important”. You’re right, humans are important because they have free will, basically. “”That’s what some of the earlier Christian philosophers thought…faith in God is good enough proof. But then as the questions raised in class shows, not everybody accepts everything on faith. Some people are natural philosophers (the modern version, not the ancient form of the word) while others are natural scientists. Like my astronomy teacher says, if it can’t be proven, it’s not science. If you took that at is most literal form, then any belief is invalid, such as belief in thought and soul. Even though we’re thinking, how can you prove thought exists? Maybe it’s a delusion created by random synaptic firing. That’s the whole point. We feel it in our whole being if something is the truth even though we don’t fully understand it or understand why it exists.

That’s similar to how the existence of God is proven. We are, so God is. We are, and thought is. For without thought, then how could we conceive of ourselves? And without God, how could ourselves exist? It’s the sort of thought that God exists that makes our whole being quiver, like how Professor — says that hopefully a reading in World Lit would also make us do.

Nothing outside true science makes perfect sense, or offers perfect proof. Since philosophy isn’t a science (though it’s still logical), it will never offer perfect proof. So, you’re right. Maybe faith is and ought to be good enough.

On a side note: God didn’t make you make popcorn. He knew you might choose it, and that you might not. Thus, He forsees everything. But you still have the choice to choose between the options. And by making one choice, the other choice(s) are irrelevant, because what you chose also opened up new and different options that follow. Do you eat the whole thing, or share it? And by choosing one of those, you open up more paths. God knows all that. He might suggest one path, just as the Devil might beguile you to choose another path, but still, it’s your choice as to whom you listen.

***

That’s what I wonder sometimes, too. What created God? But then after some of the thoughts put forward by the philosophers, God just is. He exists by necessity, for “nature abhors a vacuum”. I think the reason why we’re all so confused is that we’re all humans. We can never quite get to the level of God (like Satan had hoped), for if we fly too close to the sun all our feathers will fall off, and we’ll get blinded by our own “egos”, the thought that we’re all smart fancy-pants. “True knowledge consists of knowing that we know nothing.” We know something, and we know nothing. We know God, and yet we can never hope to truly know God. I’m paraphrasing here, but in the Bible it says that “as far as the heaven is above the earth, so are MY thoughts above your thoughts, and MY ways above your ways”. Though some of us may achieve the level of trancendence (sp?) that’s only the peak of human thought, for we never will become “gods” (though some still try). It’s good to know, for in Paradise Lost God wanted Adam and Eve to learn through good means, to figure it out for themselves, but Satan persuaded Eve (and through her, Adam) to take a shortcut, to obtain knowledge through wicked ways. Just like there’s different ways to get an A. You can figure it out yourself, or you can cheat.

Though the Bible says God created the world in 6 days, it may be 6 days to us, but to God it is both 6 seconds or 6 million years. He is the beginning and the end. He is nothing and He is something. He is the past, present, and future.

***

I think it’s similar to the argument that “nature abhors a vacuum”. For the Bible says, “At first there was nothing. Then there was God.” (I’m paraphrasing here). So, the Bible does sorta back the does/does not exist argument, because it also says that God is eternal, infinite, etc. so God always existed, because there may have been many worlds before us, and there may be many worlds after us. There’s a line that says something like “the heavens and the earth shall pass away but I shall not pass away” (forgive me, I haven’t read the Bible in a while). And it is true that we have God-like qualities, because we were made in the image of God (If not the body, then our souls are images of God).  This has parallels to Socrates’ shadow-world, because images of the actual things are imperfect, and if we are images of God, then we are imperfect. I doubt God’s a Deciever, I think this vision of Him being a trickster is mostly trying to abscribe qualities that belong to the devil. The devil tries to trick us into believing that we’re doing something that we’re not, like in Frederick Douglass’ memoir, he tries to make Christians believe that they’re all holy when in reality they’re not. Basically, he makes us a Pharisee, but only if we let him, or if we don’t notice his influence on our lives. I know I’ve done stuff that I thought were okay, (excuses, excuses) but now I’m on the lookout to make sure I don’t do it again. Like lying, for example. It is so easy to let slip a falsehood, but I try my best. I’m sure everybody had that experience before. And on the topic of the Creation, it is possible God created the universe in 6 days, because to him 6 days can both be 6 millenium and 6 nanoseconds. God, because of his omnipotence, doesn’t have to experience time constraints. Time is something that is an uniquely human construct. We count the days. We count the years. We get old, but God does not, because He does not experience linear time.

Sorry for the stream-of-conciousness paragraph

***

I used up all my ideas on Aquinas in my replies to other people, so I’d like to point out something I noticed in class and in discussions: the prevalence of biases.

Many think Aquinas and other Christian philosophers are biased toward the fact that God exists. But have you thought of whether you may be biased just because they’re pronouncedly Christian? That you automatically disbelieve God’s existence just because it happened to be a Christian philosopher who “proved” His existence? Of course a Christian philosopher would be the one to prove His existence. An athiest would disprove His existence. Pro-life people prove that life begins at conception through science, a way of reasoning. Pro-choice people prove life beings at some point other than conception through their reasoning, also. People of different backgrounds and different characters reason differently. An argument is false if there is no common ground, for without common ground the different sides can’t come to an agreement. The whole point of philosophy is trying to create a common ground, then constructing proofs upon that “foundation”. But if you automatically disbelieve their constructed common ground, then of course you’ll have trouble with the whole argument.

So, my point is, it’s okay to question. But don’t automatically think something’s up if a Christian happens to be the one to prove God’s existence. For, like Professor Grams said, they took a great spiritual risk by first discarding everything they’ve believed in, then builidng up toothpick by toothpick an unshakeable mountain of logic and reason to “prove” faith. But like I already said, nothing but science can be truly “proven”.

(Sorry that I combined two philosophical ideas into one posting)

***

Not necessarily. Some people believe Darwin was right, but the more they try to prove his theory, the more gaps (or “irregularities”) appear in his belief. The more people try to prove human life starts at birth (or at 3 mos, or 6 mos) the more flaws can be pointed out in their argument. There’s a certain catalysmic beginning point, both with the creation of the universe and the creation of life, that if you examine it closely enough, is proven to be the truth, so you decide you believe in it. Whether you pick Creationism or the Big Bang, or science or belief to prove the point at which life begins, you’ll always backtrack to the same point.

Non-religion is also based on faith. If people don’t believe (there’s that golden word again) in God, then they also have a belief system. So the religion/non-religion point is moot.

I want to bring up Occam’s Razor, as well, if we’re trying to compare science to God. Darwin seems to have a fairly complex theory, and the Christians have a simple explanation for life. If you’re presented with two different theories, scientists must pick the simplest one. (That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t do science at all, or stop being curious, but I just thought I’d bring it up).

Also, don’t hold it against the philosophers if there’s flaws in their argument. They’re humans, so they’re fallible. Just because there’s holes in their theses doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist. There’s flaws in anything and everything, so of course people will find fault with everything.

Sara’s right. Sometimes being exposed to opposing viewpoints only makes our beliefs stronger. But don’t base opinions on what somebody somewhere says. Also, don’t hesitate to go against the flow, if that’s the truth. Research, research, research. If you truly want to decide, check out tons of books on the topic. That’s what I did for several topics, as exploratory research. One of my exploratory reports (there’s a specific term for it but I can’t remember it right now) was on Harry Potter, whether it promoted evil or good. I seriously would have given up my most favorite books if I discovered it was truly satanical. But now I percieve it to be merely a good vs. evil story, like LOTR, so I still read it despite my dad and brother’s thoughts about it. Research can truly help, as well as putting your beliefs into words, like what these philosophers were doing.

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