Re: atheism vs theism

From: Steve Petermann (
Date: Fri Sep 15 2000 - 11:20:05 EDT

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    As study of archaic religions reveals that even in very "primitive" peoples
    there was a sense of the sacred. This seems evident even in the graves of
    Neanderthals who placed tools and medicinal flower pedals with the body.
    This sense of the sacred is a universal phenomenon among humans. So what to
    make of it? For those who do not require empirical evidence, it can mean
    a belief in the immaterial, a metaphysic. After that, the formulation for
    that metaphysics varies greatly. I believe the structure of metaphysical
    systems relates directly with the cultural milieu of the times and the
    existential questions that are brought to bear. This is true whether
    talking about Buddhism, Christianity, or any other religion. Once those
    metaphysical systems are begun, however, a long process of refinement,
    reform, entrenchment, revolt, etc. is brought to bear. Our present age of
    science is offering new challenges and opportunities for discovering the
    core, eternal truth of religion and winnowing out the chafe.

    Steve Petermann

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Moorad Alexanian" <>
    To: "Steve Petermann" <>; "Adrian Teo"
    <>; <>
    Sent: Friday, September 15, 2000 9:43 AM
    Subject: Re: atheism vs theism

    The best definition of genius I have heard is that which say that "a genius
    is someone with an uncommon amount of common sense." I think the question of
    the existence of a creator or God is a gut feeling, a sort of common sense,
    that is knowledge perfect enough for you but imperfect enough to convince
    someone else. This is the issue of self-evidentness. What is self-evident
    to one is not self-evident to someone else. I think a strong degree of
    honesty is required for someone not to fool oneself. At times I think we
    are like birds who do excellently in flight but know nothing, and will never
    know, about aerodynamics. Moorad

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Steve Petermann <>
    To: Adrian Teo <>; <>
    Date: Friday, September 15, 2000 9:53 AM
    Subject: Re: atheism vs theism

    >Hello Adrian,
    >This raises an interesting question about why we adhere to the
    >presuppositions that we have and not others. If it is a matter of faith,
    >then what is it that makes a person choose one set of presuppositions over
    >another? I even wonder if we really make conscious decisions over the
    >presuppositions that we have, or were these so subtly instilled in us
    >through our upbringing that we (in general) are not aware of the influences
    >that led to where we are today?
    >This is a complex question because it strikes at the heart of the free will
    >issue. As one who does not believe in free will, I believe we adopt
    >positions because of the enormous complex of factors: genetic,
    >environmental, life experience, chance, and through God's freedom. When I
    >say that belief in God is through faith, I include it as being effected by
    >these other determinative factors. Faith as a psychological function is
    >effected by our genetic makeup and personal history. This type of faith is
    >an epistemological function of determining the reliability of something in
    >our belief framework. Faith as a metaphysical principal relates to our
    >unity in being part of the divine life. It is a relational term that leads
    >to epistemology but is not knowledge, per se. I would stipulate that both
    >atheists and theists adopt their positions primarily because of prior
    >conditions related to personality archetype, psychological development,
    >As an example, if a person is an introverted, thinking archetype as Jung
    >describes, they may have difficulty relating to other people. Their
    >individuation may overwhelm any sense of participation with others.
    >this type of person has difficulty with subject-subject dynamics, they may
    >also have difficulty relating to a personal God concept. They just flat
    >don't get it. This is not a volitional failing on their part but a feature
    >of their makeup. I suspect that many atheists also have problems relating
    >to other people. Then there are developmental aspects where a person may
    >have had a very bad experience in their youth with religious concepts
    >from a parent or a militant believer. A factor of that sort could also
    >create a resistance to any form of religion. What I am trying to stress is
    >that the adoption of a belief system is not volitional, it is the creation
    >of many factors that even today continue to modify that position. While we
    >may critique an atheist's position, it should not be done from a condemning
    >framework but one of agape. Agape not only loves unconditionally, it also
    >desires the best for the other. This seeking of change, however, should be
    >done in all humility. After all in the final analysis, *we* may be the
    >in need of change.
    >All the Best,
    >Steve Petermann

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