Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, February 15, 2016

Quiz Feb16

W 23/Th 24 - Augustine (LH); WATCH:Augustine (SoL); LISTEN:Neuroscience & free will (HI)

1. (T/F) Augustine was a chaste and pious youth, converting to Christianity while still a boy.

2. Augustine's early "Manicheaean" solution to the problem of suffering was to claim what about God?

3. Augustine's later solutions were the Free Will Defense and what?




4. Like Maimonides and Avicenna, Augustine represents what tendency of religious medieval thinkers between the fifth and fifteenth centuries?

5. What's the difference between "natural" and "moral" evil? Give an example of each.

6. Augustine thought that if God had programmed humans always to be good, we'd be like what?

BONUS: Which cartoon character says free will is an illusion?

BONUS: What recent controversialist said "good" means supportive of human well-being and flourishing?



DQ:

1. Is it better to embrace (or renounce) religious faith early in life, or to "sow your wild oats" and enjoy a wide experience of the world before committing to any particular tradition or belief? Were you encouraged by adults, in childhood, to make a public profession of faith? If so, did you understand what that meant or entailed?

2. Does the concept of a never-ending struggle between good and evil appeal to you? Does it make sense, in the light of whatever else you believe? Would there be anything "wrong" with a world in which good was already triumphant, happiness for all already secured, kindness and compassion unrivaled by hatred and cruelty?

3. Do you find the concept of Original Sin compelling, difficult, unfair, or dubious? In general, do we "inherit the sins of our fathers (and mothers)"? If yes, give examples and explain.



4. Should religious traditions attempt to combine with, or assimilate themselves to, philosophical traditions? What do religion and philosophy generally have in common, and in what ways are they different?

5. Does the free will defense work, even to the extent of explaining "moral" evil? Is there in fact a logical contradiction between the concept of free will and an omniscient deity? Why or why not?


6. Would we be better off without a belief in free will?






Strange Gods

Excerpt:
1
AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (354–430)

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
—Paul, Colossians 2:8

AUGUSTINE, a teenager studying in Carthage in the 370s, begins to ponder what he will one day consider the inevitable shortcomings of human philosophy ungrounded in the word of God. This process begins, as Augustine will later recount in his Confessions, when he reads Cicero’sHortensius, written around 45 b.c.e. The young scholar, unacquainted with either Jewish or Christian Scripture, takes away the (surely unintended) lesson from the pagan Cicero that only faith—a faith that places the supernatural above the natural—can satisfy the longing for wisdom.

“But, O Light of my heart,” Augustine wrote to his god in Confessions (c. 397), “you know that at that time, although Paul’s words were not known to me, the only thing that pleased me in Cicero’s book was his advice not simply to admire one or another of the schools of philosophy, but to love wisdom itself, whatever it might be. . . . These were the words which excited me and set me burning with fire, and the only check to this blaze of enthusiasm was that they made no mention of the name of Christ.”

The only check? To me, this passage from Confessions has always sounded like the many rewritings of personal history intended to conform the past to the author’s current beliefs and status in life—which in Augustine’s case meant being an influential bishop of an ascendant church that would tolerate no dissent grounded in other religious or secular philosophies. By the time he writes Confessions, Augustine seems a trifle embarrassed about having been so impressed, as a young man, by a pagan writer. So he finds a way to absolve himself of the sin of attraction to small-“c” catholic, often secular intellectual interests by limiting Cicero to his assigned role as one step in a fourth-century boy’s journey toward capital-“C” Catholicism. It is the adult Augustine who must reconcile his enthusiasm for Cicero with the absence of the name of Christ; there is no reason why this should have bothered the pagan adolescent Augustine at all. Nevertheless, no passage in the writings of the fathers of the church, or in any personal accounts of the intellectual and emotional process of conversion, explains more lucidly (albeit indirectly) why the triumph of Christianity inevitably begins with that other seeker on the road to Damascus. It is Paul, after all, not Jesus or the authors of the Gospels, who merits a mention in Augustine’s explanation of how his journey toward the one true faith was set in motion by a pagan.

It is impossible to consider Augustine, the second most important convert in the theological firmament of the early Christian era, without giving Paul his due. But let us leave Saul—he was still Saul then—as he awakes from a blow on his head to hear a voice from the heavens calling him to rebirth in Christ. Saul did not have any established new religion to convert to, but Augustine was converting to a faith with financial and political influence, as well as a spiritual message for the inhabitants of a decaying empire. Augustine’s journey from paganism to Christianity was a philosophical and spiritual struggle lasting many years, but it also exemplified the many worldly, secular influences on conversion in his and every subsequent era. These include mixed marriages; political instability that creates the perception and the reality of personal insecurity; and economic conditions that provide a space for new kinds of fortunes and the possibility of financial support for new religious institutions.

Augustine told us all about his struggle, within its social context, in Confessions—which turned out to be a best-seller for the ages. This was a new sort of book, even if it was a highly selective recounting of experience (like all memoirs) rather than a “tell-all” autobiography in the modern sense. Its enduring appeal, after a long break during the Middle Ages, lies not in its literary polish, intellectuality, or prayerfulness—though the memoir is infused with these qualities—but in its preoccupation with the individual’s relationship to and responsibility for sin and evil. As much as Augustine’s explorations constitute an individual journey—and have been received as such by generations of readers—the journey unfolds in an upwardly mobile, religiously divided family that was representative of many other people finding and shaping new ways to make a living; new forms of secular education; and new institutions of worship in a crumbling Roman civilization.

After a lengthy quest venturing into regions as wild as those of any modern religious cults, Augustine told the story of his spiritual odyssey when he was in his forties. His subsequent works, including The City of God, are among the theological pillars of Christianity, butConfes­sions is the only one of his books read widely by anyone but theologically minded intellectuals (or intellectual theologians). In the fourth and early fifth centuries, Christian intellectuals with both a pagan and a religious education, like the friends and mentors Augustine discusses in the book, provided the first audience for Confessions. That audience would probably not have existed a century earlier, because literacy—a secular prerequisite for a serious education in both paganism and Christianity—had expanded among members of the empire’s bourgeois class by the time Augustine was born. The Christian intellectuals who became Augustine’s first audience may have been more interested than modern readers in the theological framework of the autobiography (though they, too, must have been curious about the distinguished bishop’s sex life). ButConfessions has also been read avidly, since the Renaissance, by successive generations of humanist scholars (religious and secular); Enlightenment skeptics; nineteenth-century Romantics; psychotherapists; and legions of the prurient, whether religious believers or nonbelievers. Everyone, it seems, loves the tale of a great sinner turned into a great saint.

In my view, Augustine was neither a world-class sinner nor a saint, but his drama of sin and repentance remains a real page-turner. Here & Now==
An old post-

Augustine & string theory

Is anyone, from God on down, “pulling our strings”? We’d not be free if they were, would we? If you say we would, what do you mean by “free”? Jesus and Mo have puzzled this one, behind the wheel with with Moses and with "Free Willy." But as usual, the Atheist Barmaid is unpersuaded.

(As I always must say, when referencing this strip: that’s not Jesus of Nazareth, nor is it the Prophet Mohammed, or the sea-parter Moses; and neither I nor Salman Rushdie, the Dutch cartoonists, the anonymous Author, or anyone else commenting on religion in fictional media are blasphemers. We're all just observers exercising our "god-given" right of free speech, which of course extends no further than the end of a fist and the tip of a nose. We'll be celebrating precisely that, and academic freedom, when we line up to take turns reading the Constitution this morning.

No, they’re just a trio of cartoonish guys who often engage in banter relevant to our purposes in CoPhi. It’s just harmless provocation, and fun. But if it makes us think, it’s useful.)

Augustine proposed a division between the “city of god” and the “earthly city” of humanity, thus excluding many of us from his version of the cosmos. “These two cities of the world, which are doomed to coexist intertwined until the Final Judgment, divide the world’s inhabitants.” SEP

And of course he believed in hell, raising the stakes for heaven and the judicious free will he thought necessary to get there even higher. If there's no such thing as free will, though, how can you do "whatever the hell you want"? But, imagine there's no heaven or hell. What then? Some of us think that's when free will becomes most useful to members of a growing, responsible species.

Someone posted the complaint on our class message board that it's not clear what "evil" means, in the context of our Little History discussion of Augustine. But I think this is clear enough: "there is a great deal of suffering in the world," some of it proximally caused by crazy, immoral/amoral, armed and dangerous humans behaving badly, much more of it caused by earthquakes, disease, and other "natural" causes. All of it, on the theistic hypothesis, is part and parcel of divinely-ordered nature.

Whether or not some suffering is ultimately beneficial, character-building, etc., and from whatever causes, "evil" means the suffering that seems gratuitously destructive of innocent lives. Some of us "can't blink the evil out of sight," in William James's words, and thus can't go in for theistic (or other) schemes of "vicarious salvation." We think it's the responsibility of humans to use their free will (or whatever you prefer to call ameliorative volitional action) to reduce the world's evil and suffering. Take a sad song and make it better.

Note the Manichaean strain in Augustine, and the idea that "evil comes from the body." That's straight out of Plato. The world of Form and the world of perfect heavenly salvation thus seem to converge. If you don't think "body" is inherently evil, if in fact you think material existence is pretty cool (especially considering the alternative), this view is probably not for you. Nor if you can't make sense of Original Sin, that most "difficult" contrivance of the theology shop.

"Augustine had felt the hidden corrosive effect of Adam's Fall, like the worm in the apple, firsthand," reminds Arthur Herman. His prayer for personal virtue "but not yet" sounds funny but was a cry of desperation and fear.
Like Aristotle, Augustine believed that the quality of life we lead depends on the choices we make. The tragedy is that left to our own devices - and contrary to Aristotle - most of those choices will be wrong. There can be no true morality without faith and no faith without the presence of God. The Cave and the Light

Bertrand Russell, we know, was not a Christian. But he was a bit of a fan of Augustine the philosopher (as distinct from the theologian), on problems like time.

As for Augustine the theologian and Saint-in-training, Russell's pen drips disdain.
It is strange that the last men of intellectual eminence before the dark ages were concerned, not with saving civilization or expelling the barbarians or reforming the abuses of the administration, but with preaching the merit of virginity and the damnation of unbaptized infants.
Funny, how the preachers of the merit of virginity so often come late - after exhausting their stores of wild oats - to their chaste piety. Not exactly paragons of virtue or character, these Johnnys Come Lately. On the other hand, it's possible to profess a faith you don't understand much too soon. My own early Sunday School advisers pressured and frightened me into "going forward" at age 6, lest I "die before I wake" one night and join the legions of the damned.

That's an allusive segue to today's additional discussion of Aristotelian virtue ethics, in its turn connected with the contradictions inherent in the quest to bend invariably towards Commandments. "Love your neighbor": must that mean, let your neighbor suffer a debilitating terminal illness you could pull the plug on? Or is the "Christian" course, sometimes, to put an end to it?

We also read today of Hume's Law, Moore's Naturalistic Fallacy, the old fact/value debate. Sam Harris is one of the most recent controversialists to weigh in on the issue, arguing that "good" means supportive of human well-being and flourishing, which are in turn based on solid facts. "The answer to the question, 'What should I believe, and why should I believe it?' is generally a scientific one..." Brain Science and Human Values

Also: ethical relativism, meta-ethics, and more. And maybe we'll have time to squeeze in consideration of the perennial good-versus-evil trope. Would there be anything "wrong" with a world in which good was already triumphant, happiness for all already secured, kindness and compassion unrivaled by hatred and cruelty? I think it might be just fine. Worth a try, anyway. Where can I vote for that?

60 comments:

  1. I personally belief that it is best to have a time of "sowing your oats" while young before committing to a particular religious tradition. I have seen, both in my own life and in the lives of others, instances where kids where made to espouse religious beliefs at a young age and ended up missing out on often very normal and important life experiences because said experiences went against their religion in some way.

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    Replies
    1. *believe. Excuse the typo.

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  2. Jeri (12)11:51 AM CDT

    The idea of a struggle between good and evil does not appeal to me. I don't really look at it that way, I just see a person being the way they are because that is them. If that makes sense... I don't think the world would be terrible if everyone was "good". However, it would be interesting because I don't see that ever happening.

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  3. Alexis Arriaga (12)2:27 PM CDT

    I find it better to "sow your wild oats" before choosing a religion. In my personal experience, I was pretty much forced into Roman Catholicism and for that very reason I don't really attend Sunday mass as much as I used to. I believe you should be educated about the wide array of religions/philosophies before declaring a religion.

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  4. Lucas Rogers (12)2:29 PM CDT

    Lucas (12) DQ:1 I believe religion should not be pushed on children. My parents did not push it on me. I would go to church but they didn't really make me. If I wanted to stay home they would stay with me. I didn't really start to follow Christianity until high school, so I made the decision on my own.

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  5. Anonymous2:29 PM CDT

    Q: What is the definition of free will?

    A: The ability to act at one's own discretion.

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  6. #12 DQ: How do you specifically distinguish between what is a moral evil? Does motive, religion, or life experiences have anything to do with whether it is a moral evil? I.e. a rapist murders the dalai Lama? Is capital punishment for that man moral evil? Of moreover- is the one who administered the punishment upon the man responsible for moral evil?

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. DQ: Do agree with Augustine's concept of natural evil? or do you believe that this comes from a lack of understanding the natural world?

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  9. Nick Bilavarn3:35 PM CDT

    #11 Good and Bad is honestly in my opinion is the balance to life. Just like the Ying and Yang. They both have to coexist other wise too much of the other will lead to consequences.

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  10. 9/23/15 group discussion
    Trent, Justin Fox, and Katelin

    Our group did not really think that there is any "universal struggle" between good and evil. One of our group members in particular brought up the idea that the only real struggle between good and evil is in oneself. The idea of "natural" evil is a falsehood; natural disasters and diseases are not actually evil, only tragic and destructive. Humanity simply perceives them as evils due to their negative impact on human lives. Other forms of evil in the world, such as social injustices for a simple example, are man-made and caused by our own darker nature. Personally, I think that what Augustine called "Original Sin" is really just the natural human instinct for self-preservation and self-advancement, which can lead to some evils IF it is taken too far. In a world where no evil actually existed, or even the possibility of evil, we agreed that this would basically nullify the idea of free will. As for the first question, firmly attaching to a personal religious belief may be a better choice in later life when you have had more time to truly develop your own beliefs. Aside from that, it's really up to each person.

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  11. Our group discussed our religious experiences at an early age and how they positively or negatively affected us. Section 12

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  12. Jeri Alexis Lucas (12)3:42 PM CDT

    My group talked about question 1. We believe parents should not force a religion upon their child but let the child grow up with an understanding of numerous religions. Let the child grow up and chose own his or her own.

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  13. (8) Janet Peoples
    Is it better to embrace (or renounce) religious faith early in life, or to "sow your wild oats" and enjoy a wide experience of the world before committing to any particular tradition or belief? Were you encouraged by adults, in childhood, to make a public profession of faith? If so, did you understand what that meant or entailed?

    I think if you go to church and you have kids they should go with you at a young age so they can see if that's what they want to believe in their whole life. At young age they don't understand a whole lot so getting them some inside of a certain religion. When they get older they can decide if that's what that truly believe in and want to continue believing in that religion. I didn't become a christian till high school because both my parents didn't go to church so they never really talked about religion to me.

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  14. (8) Janet Peoples
    Would we be better off without a belief in free will?

    I think either way humans will do whatever they want with or without a free will. With rules and laws people still commit crimes and act evil and people also behave at there own free will.

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  15. I don't believe in the concept of original sin. It is impossible to inherit your parents' sins because to sin you have to willingly do something you know you shouldn't do. You didn't make your parents commit sins before you were born, that's just stupid. Sins are actions, and cannot be passed down through generations like dna or diseases.

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  16. Grady Burnham (11)5:16 PM CDT

    (11) Brad,Grady,Jimmie,Jason
    #1
    We agreed that it would be far more productive to allow kids to experience live before giving up their life to one belief. Instead people need time to form their own beliefs and reasons for those beliefs. Many times parents see religion as a way to protect their children from the world, so they have a reason to turn down the 'evil' things of this world. None of our parents have pushed us toward religion, and we each feel better off because of it.

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  17. Anonymous5:25 PM CDT

    (11, Courtney)

    I personally disagree with the religious indoctrination of very young children, but at the same time I can understand to some degree why it's done. In some denominations of Christianity especially, a widely held belief is that, unless they are baptized, they are at "God's mercy", which doesn't necessarily mean that children who lose their lives to tragic circumstance are shipped whole-sale to Hell, but it also doesn't necessarily mean that they are allowed into Heaven, either. Naturally, (or so I should hope) parents who subscribe to this belief want their children to go to Heaven, so I can in-part understand why they would instill this belief in them at a young age. However, as you (Dr. Oliver) said, children do not have the capacity to fully understand what they're being taught nor the critical ability to question it in a healthy manner, and so unless a time arises in their lives when they are able to separate themselves from what has been planted into their brains as absolute truth as a child (which is difficult for many) they will spend the majority of their lives believing in something that they never had an opportunity to properly evaluate. So, I believe in providing children the freedom to decide which (if any) religion they would like to put their faith into whenever they feel mentally and spiritually prepared to.

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  18. I've believed for a long time that good is synonymous with God. Humans attempted to rationalize and explain things that they could not understand with something that could not be seen, omnificent being(s). I think that now we have discovered the flatness of the earth and that people (likely even the ones who authored books of religion) often fill in the blanks with their own definition in an effort to gain power.
    Aren't we all trying to be good? There is a phrase "God is good." I used to hear this all the time and thought that is was a perfect explanation.
    If we have good, why do we need God? Is there nothing else driving us to be good?

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  19. Today Whitney, Elsbeth and I discussed how we felt about the concept of free will and original sin.

    Whitney believes that free will gives us hope and allows us to believe we are not sinners. She also discussed how she believes that we are all sinners and born into sin.

    Elsbeth says if we lived thinking we didn't have free will we would be suicidal. She believes in original sin, and that we inherit our parents sins because they influence us and connected it to the circle of life.

    I discussed how I don't believe we have a purpose when we don't have a free will. I also said how I don't like the idea of "sin" and that i believe we have choices in life but they shouldn't be considered as sin.

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  20. Is it better to embrace (or renounce) religious faith early in life, or to "sow your wild oats" and enjoy a wide experience of the world before committing to any particular tradition or belief? Were you encouraged by adults, in childhood, to make a public profession of faith? If so, did you understand what that meant or entailed?

    Unesti: In my opinion, it is never to late commit yourself to a belief. Back in my childhood, I was encouraged to make a profession of faith, and I did comprehend what it meant.
    Tyeisha: in my opinion, i feel like it isn't the best idea to embrace a religious belief early in life. if at a young age a person is "forced" to have a certain belief it could hinder them from exploring lots of different things. and i never could quite comprehend what was because i was just told to believe and know.. nothing was ever explained.
    Denecia: While growing up, I was introduced to Christianity but I did not go to church frequently as a child. As a child I had wanted to go to church but that was out of my control because I was not old enough to go by myself. As I got older and of age, I had decided on my own to get back involved in church and its activities. So yes, I believe children should decide whether they want to be religious once they get of age. Its never too late to give your life to Christ.

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  21. (8) Matt, Nick & Sophia
    religion and children: we feel that religion is a healthy topic for children but that they should not be encouraged to decide at a young age. It is a healthy social environment, exposure to multiple religions provides for a healthy and global perspective, and any religion underlining that "good" is the best for humanity is ultimately good for a child to see and involve themselves.

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  22. Anonymous7:15 PM CDT

    Mariem Farag #12
    I don't believe you have to wait to declare a religion to be able to enjoy life. You can enjoy life when committed to a religion too. Religion should not take away your joy, but rather add to it. I believe one can declare a religion whenever they find themselves understanding and truly feeling the teachings. It's understanding that you are here for a reason, and that there is meaning to your existence. Personally, I grew up in a religious Christian family. I had to go to church every Sunday. I did not quite understand who this God was that everyone was making a big deal about, but during high school it hit me. I officially declared Christianity my Sophomore year of high school. I did not plan on a date; it just happened in its timing. You can declare a religion whenever you feel it, not when the due date you set for yourself expires.

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  23. (8) karol, Janet, Austin
    Q1 comment
    - when we were younger , we were forcing to go to church, because we didn't have anything to do at this time. But, when we get older , other things is coming in the way.
    Q2 comment
    - no, their is not a on-going battle. Everyone has a free choice. And this free choice determines if you will go to haven or not.

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  24. Haley Harwell9:34 PM CDT

    Extra Credit for Exam #1 (Haley Harwell Section 12)

    I find the concept of Original Sin rather far-fetched but also compelling. Although as an atheist, I find it hard for me to uncover much personal or factual merit in a lot of religious teachings. I do see value in some of the tales in the abstract, as an account of virtuosity. I do find the story compelling though. I feel like if a stranger or a believer of a different religion were to hear the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden (having never heard it before) and had no idea it was from the Bible, they would find it unbelievable. However, billions of Christians (2.2 roughly) believe without hesitation because it is a fundamental story of the bible. Having a story come from the Bible should not make it believable for someone. Using reason and deduction should influence whether something is believable, in my opinion. It’s the same way in real life. You don’t believe everything you hear; you actively seek truth and reason Although no one can know for 100% certainty what is or isn’t true, having a theory based in proven facts and theories can’t hurt.

    To say that we as human beings inherit the sins of our parents through Original Sin is a cop out to me. It gives leverage for people to take their bad decisions, wrongdoings, mistakes, etc. and blame them all on an antiquated couple that is alleged to have caused the falling of man. There is no culpability with that approach to doing things. A mentally healthy, stable individual who does some sort of offence should be responsible for the misconduct, which is their individual guilt. I don’t believe that because of Adam and Eve’s poor decision, all human beings must share a collective guilt and share in the alleged transgressions, which took place in Eden.

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  25. Exam #1 Extra Credit
    Mariem Farag (Section #12)
    We would not be better off without the belief of free will. If we believed that nothing we do is in our control, then we will have no moral responsibilities. We will then do whatever we wanted to, since we wouldn’t be able to control anything resulting from our decisions. We cannot control our own outcomes anyways, right? Wrong. If God didn’t give us free will, then we would be puppets. He would have then created us all perfect, and all believing in him. Everything will be out of our control. If God didn’t give us the choice not to obey him, then we wouldn’t have been free. We would be controlled by him. We would all have to follow him without having minds to think. God gave us control, if he takes it back we are not free. Some might say, if God is all knowing and is able to predict everything that happens in one’s life, why does he not do anything to stop the bad things and why give us free will to begin with? Well, if he intervenes, wouldn’t he be controlling one’s free will? The bad events that happen throughout one’s life are most of the time a mere consequence of either his/her own free will, or the free will of others that caused or had anything to do with such event. For example, if he would have intervened with Hitler, then he would've overridden his control and taken away Hitler’s free will. Love demands that there be a choice. We can never fully understand God, and will never be able to find an answer or explanation for everything. Why would one want to worship a God he/she can fully understand or explain anyways?

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  26. (#8) In response to DQ1, I would say that it is better to embrace religion/ideals at an earlier stage in life. Having said that, this decision should be made at an age in which the individual fully understands the concepts of his/her commitment. Some people might say that it is better to enjoy life first and then make a decision; however, I would argue that this leads to a lack of genuineness as it creates a "me first" complex. Anyways, those are just my two cents. . .

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  27. Morgan Massey3:38 PM CDT

    Exam #1 Extra Credit
    Section #8:


    As a child I was heavily encouraged to believe in a certain religion. I was made to attend religious services regularly, as well as a religious school, and was taught that all other word views were wrong and “sinful.” Everything was very black and white and as a result the whole world, outside of those following my families’ religion, was lost and needed to “find their way.” I was taught that if I doubted what they believed, it was just “satan” trying to lure me away from the truth, which completely terrified me. I spent a lot of my childhood scared of messing up or doing bad and disappointing the god I believed in. Therefore I completely embraced religious faith early in life and consequently spent many years feeling lost and experiencing an increased level of anxiety and guilt because of it. Due to my personal experience with childhood and religion, I believe parents should teach their children about all religions and viewpoints and let them decide for themselves what they would like to follow. This is also heavily unrealistic because many religions believe that if your child isn’t “saved” or following their god that their soul is in danger of hell and “devils”. While I can understand that the parents are attempting to save the souls of their children, they are consequently filling them with a lot of unnecessary fears. If you ask most children what they believe, it’s usually by default what their parents believe, due to the admiration children have for their parents. Children don’t have beliefs based on self-discovery and logic, they believe because they are told to do so, which isn’t a very sound reason for a belief.

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  28. EXAM #1 EXTRA CREDIT:

    Free Will, Predestination, and The Clock Maker — Taking a visit to the Diest point of view.

    I’m unsure of whether or not there is a divine being who oversees and orchestrates in our world. However, if I believed in a deity I would approach the matter with the point of view of the seventeenth century Deists. Their belief states that God is more like a clock maker instead of a personal God who involves himself with the day-to-day, comings-and-goings of humans. He made the universe and earth; and once he was done he left it to run without any intervention. Much like a clock maker does. He builds a clock, winds it tight, and lets it run its course in time. This is where the idea of predestination can somewhat, in a way, coexist with the idea of free will.
    If a deity is completely hands off from its creation, then there is no possibility for it to intervene and change the outcomes of one’s decisions. It doesn’t necessarily limit his power, because they believed that an omni-present, omni-potent, and omniscient God wouldn’t concern himself with the trivial issues that face a human being. He sees the big picture and only concerns himself with matters of the universe; and not the issues of the human condition. Thus, when one makes a decision they make independently and without any divine intervention there is no supernatural hindrance on that choice. At the same time, God can see the flow of time all at once. When someone makes a decision he already knew the outcome, however he didn’t make a decision for you. Knowing the events of someone’s life is not the same as dictating how they will live their life. It still would leave some to say, “If he knows what you’re going to do then how does one have free will?” I would rebuttal by asking, “If you knew someone was going to jump off a bridge and you didn’t stop them, did you predestine them to their fate?”

    - Lucas Wharton

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  29. 6
    Quiz Question

    What did Augustine famously ask God?

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    1. Augustine asks God to "come into" him.

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  30. Adam Martin #4
    1. I would say that it is better to live life without putting much thought to religion before fully embracing or rejecting it.

    2. I could see an endless battle between Good and Evil as being a good thing, if Good comes out on top. But, there are many definitions of what constitutes goodness and evil, so it would depend on the circumstances.

    3. The only sin I see as possible to inherit is anything genetic. Beyond that, I see people as a product of their upbringing and their reaction to what they encounter.

    4. Philosophy and religion both seek to answer big questions about the nature of life, but philosophy tends to be ever questioning in the Socratic sense, whereas religion tends to be fixed on the text or stories passed down.

    5. When we hear the argument that "evil is allowed because of free will," I believe we surrender to what is powerful rather than what is truly "free." For example, when a murderer slaughters her/his victim, we automatically put ourselves subjectively in the shoes of the murderer, while we treat the victim as an object (not in the literal sense, but in the word structure: subject acts, object is acted upon). If we were to switch our roles and put ourselves in the shoes of the victim rather than the criminal, we would see that free will does not exist for us, but, because our actions cannot save us no matter what we try, the "moral evil" of the killer has become "natural evil" to the victim. Therefore, free will can, in many situations, be little more than the powerful having control where the weak do not.

    6. I believe we should have a belief in free will, but only when everyone is given enough power (as previously stated) to have a degree of free will that cannot be taken away by anything other than what many would argue constitutes natural evils, such as storms or earthquakes.

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  31. I don't believe sin is passed on to each person through sexual reproduction but I do believe each person will commit sin in their lifetime because Adam and Eve brought sin into the world.
    I also dont agree that an omniscient deity contradicts free will. Just because God knows the decision you will make before you make it doesn't mean He predestined you to make that decision. So you always had the choice, He just knows you well. Just like in a sense that your parents or your best friend would probably know how you would answer a question or scenario.

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  32. (6)DQ6: I believe we would likely be worse off without the concept of free will. People would be more likely to not seize the day if they had a belief that everything is predestined.

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  33. Sean Byars Section 6
    Quiz Question: Where did the Manichaeans believe goodness came from?

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    Replies
    1. #6 The spiritual world of light.

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  34. Sterling Smith (#6)6:47 AM CST

    Quiz Question: What was St. Augustine's other name?

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    Replies
    1. Aurelius Augustinus or Augustine of Hippo

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  35. Sterling Smith (#6)6:49 AM CST

    DQ: Has your personal philosophy ever experienced a change like Augustine's did?

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  36. Stephen Martin (4)
    1. Is it better to embrace (or renounce) religious faith early in life, or to "sow your wild oats" and enjoy a wide experience of the world before committing to any particular tradition or belief? Were you encouraged by adults, in childhood, to make a public profession of faith? If so, did you understand what that meant or entailed?

    It is important for us to choose our own religion, and the search for that belief should be a top priority for us all from an early age. That being said, it takes time for us to learn what those beliefs are. And while I don't think we should plan to go out and 'sow our royal oats' before choosing our belief, I do believe it is a common happenstance during our search.

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  37. Amy Young #4
    I think it is important to not declare a religious belief when you are young. One needs to experience the world and create his or her own opinion.

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  38. Harrison, Preston #3
    1) we think that it is not important to declare a religious belief when at a young age. It is important for the individual to have as many facts as possible and make a conscience, educated decision on what they choose to believe.
    3) Unfair, we do not chose who we are when we are born, many people are born into worse conditions than others, and many are raised in worse morals. With that in mind, we feel that people are born with the sins of their fathers, but whether or not you chose to continue those sins is your choice and yours alone.

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  39. (#6)
    Quiz Question: What did Augustine think would happen if he was wrong in his philosophical thinking?

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  40. (#6)
    Quiz Question: What did Augustine think would happen if he was wrong in his philosophical thinking?

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  41. Ashley Lavoie -Author
    Ethan Pearson
    Imantay Roundtree
    We will be working on the topic of eastern philosophy. From the perspectives of philosophers such as Confucism, taoism, Buddhism.

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    Replies
    1. It is actually Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism

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  42. Midterm group: Mason Blackwelder, Randi Standill
    Topic:philosophy of religion
    How religion effect different people. Why people rely on religion. What is religion?

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  43. Section 4: Ian Law, Akmal Ishmetov, J. Skylar Dean

    We talked as a group as to whether it is better to believe in a religion while young or to wait and decide either way.
    We also covered wrong in the world and how it can be explained from belief in God or disbelief in God and the questions caused by that

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  44. Amy, Ashley, and Dani (4)
    We discussed free will and neuroscience.

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  45. Logan, Khlyan, Sarah (section 4)

    For or midterm paper we are going to discuss how philosophy and the entertainment industry collide and how the affect one another.

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  46. Anonymous11:15 AM CST

    Devin Mahoney (6)
    - Quiz Question: The Roman's believed two things that Augustine disagreed with furiously, what were they?

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  47. Anonymous11:17 AM CST

    Devin Mahoney (6)

    I really enjoyed this quote from the video.
    "It's not for humans to judge each other by outward markers of success. From this analysis flows a lack of moralism and snobbery. It’s our duty to be skeptical about power and generous towards failure." I strongly agree in these ideals especially since they are not reliant on a religious foundation to be true. They are open to all structures of belief and thought.

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  48. Anonymous12:21 PM CST

    Lucas Futrell (6)
    Quiz questions
    1. What ideas did Boethius wrestle with?
    2. What fault did Augustine find in the Manichaeans logic?

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  49. (6)
    Quiz Question
    Why did Augustine reject the Manichaean approach?

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  50. (6) I believe that religion should be left out of everyday life and become a personal view with it and not in everyday life.

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  51. 6 Brock Francis
    DQ 1
    Is it better to embrace (or renounce) religious faith early in life, or to "sow your wild oats" and enjoy a wide experience of the world before committing to any particular tradition or belief? Were you encouraged by adults, in childhood, to make a public profession of faith? If so, did you understand what that meant or entailed?
    If one has a religious belief, I believe he or she should in brace it as early in life as an understanding is developed. It may be ideal to experience and and "sow wild oats" while you are young, but we do not know when the end or our life will come. I grew up in a christian home, so I have always known of it. Although I committed to my faith early in life, I gain a better understanding with more age and experience.

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  52. Nick Corleys (section 6)

    DQ 3 - Original Sin

    The concept of Original Sin, is very intriguing. The human mind is easily influenced by many factors. There are External influences (peers, parents, etc.) that impact our emotions and even personality at a young age, however there are also Internal influences (our responses to stimuli, our own personal thoughts, etc.) that also effect our private nature. Followers of the idea of Original Sin would most likely believe that our internal influences have the largest impact on us. I think this is true as well. I think external influences can impact your personality to a certain extent, but our response to the external is what's most important. However, if we're shaped the most by ourselves, rather than the world around us, where would our consciousness develop? The followers of Original Sin believe that it is passed down through generations. Therefore if your parents were "evil" and your parents parents were "evil" you will most likely be "evil" as well. They believe that even if you were separated from you parents at birth, you still grow up with natural tendencies that relate to your biological parents. As odd as it may sound, I am inclined to believe in Original Sin.

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  53. 6 Brock Francis
    DQ 3
    Do you find the concept of Original Sin compelling, difficult, unfair, or dubious? In general, do we "inherit the sins of our fathers (and mothers)"? If yes, give examples and explain.

    I don't know necessarily how I feel about the idea of the Original Sin. I do agree with the idea that we have moral choices so we are not puppets on a string. We inherit our parents sin because of the experiences we have from a young age. If a person is raised by people that a regular drug users, the child may be more inclined to use them than a child with no exposure to them.

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  54. Nick Corleys (section 6)

    DQ 3 - Original Sin

    The concept of Original Sin, is very intriguing. The human mind is easily influenced by many factors. There are External influences (peers, parents, etc.) that impact our emotions and even personality at a young age, however there are also Internal influences (our responses to stimuli, our own personal thoughts, etc.) that also effect our private nature. Followers of the idea of Original Sin would most likely believe that our internal influences have the largest impact on us. I think this is true as well. I think external influences can impact your personality to a certain extent, but our response to the external is what's most important. However, if we're shaped the most by ourselves, rather than the world around us, where would our consciousness develop? The followers of Original Sin believe that it is passed down through generations. Therefore if your parents were "evil" and your parents parents were "evil" you will most likely be "evil" as well. They believe that even if you were separated from you parents at birth, you still grow up with natural tendencies that relate to your biological parents. As odd as it may sound, I am inclined to believe in Original Sin.

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  55. Frank Dremel - Section 6 - Makeup post for absence

    Augustine may have developed and pursued the idea of free will as an answer or concept regarding the evil of our world, but the reality of free will has an impact more far-reaching than that of a nebulous, but persistent, existence of evil. Free will is irrevocably tied to good and evil on a “personal level”, as well as the “all of mankind” level, but also our entertainment pursuits, our political, and our domestic issues. The stories of our lives are written with the ink of free will, though not every choice is a moral matter. When one chooses to wear white socks, for example, he won’t choose evil or good, yet he is exercising free will. The God-given right to employ this free will, however, is of the heart of good vs. evil, and the gift of the choice is borne of the ultimate goodness and mercy. The choices we make affect others, thus if we choose evil, evil has the opportunity to be loosed into the world. Evil choices begat evil circumstances/outcomes perhaps not for us, but for someone. Augustine’s concept of free will is very important to us today not only on an individual level or for spiritual reasons, but because the Founding Fathers used this idea to promote independence from the British crown and to pen the Constitution. Choosing to do right, choosing to behave responsibly is a cornerstone of our liberty. Just as God trusted us to pursue for our sake as well as his, our Constitution frees us in a way that treats our rights as responsibilities. For example, the right to vote is a freedom, but it was entrusted to us with a faith that we would view it also as a responsibility. Augustine argued that free will was a reason for the evil that existed despite a loving, omniscient God, but with that acknowledgement is an acceptance of the responsibility we bear in using our free will. We have a responsibility to that very freedom not only to use it wisely, but also to not shrink away from it.


    Whether or not we would be better off without a belief in free will is almost irrelevant, for even if we didn’t know we had it, we would still have it. Free will is such a part of our existence that even if we didn’t believe it, our own souls would manifest the desire for it. The very question of “belief” in free will illustrates the validity of it. It is a contradiction of terms to day we don’t believe in something without a presupposed knowledge of that thing. Simply put, one cannot disavow something that was not there in the first place. So if our world suddenly stopped believing in free will we would be forcefully and categorically exercising our collective free will. The very act of choosing whether or not to believe in free will requires free will. Some people would perhaps feel they are better off denying the existence of free will because this takes the responsibility of choice away from them. This kind of person prefers to be free from choice and “innocent” of the consequences of their actions. He would rather decisions be made for him. What he does not realize is that inaction, that avoidance, is also a decision. One cannot escape decisions by hiding or running away or denial, for all of these are also choices, made of free will. To illustrate, as seen in this clip, The door is open from the Walking Dead illustrates how, even if we do not acknowledge it, Free Will is always there. It is how we or others try to limit or expand our choices that determines the consequences. Morgan did not even try to open the door until he was told it was unlocked. This does not change the fact that the door was always open. He did not need to believe the door was unlocked for it to be unlocked, just as we do not need to believe in our free will for it to exist. When he finally leaves his sanctuary and is faced with the reality of his bad decisions, he retreats back to the unlocked cage, but again, this is a decision as well.

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