[FoRK] RE: reas. conv. 12/4: Beyond Faith

Russell Turpin < deafbox at hotmail.com > on > Tue Dec 5 05:47:40 PST 2006

In responding to Dr. Ernie Prabhakar, who wrote:

>>d) Revelation, as its own prior, is only accessible to the given sect that 
>>believes in it..

I said:
>Yep. It is inherently irrational.

Lest I be misunderstood, let me be clear that it is the traditional
Christian and Islamic notion of "revelation as passed down" that is
inherently irrational. No one can know that Mohammed's spoutings
actually came from the angel Gabriel. Joseph Smith's golden plates
are not up for examination. No one knows who wrote the gospel of Mark,
or more importantly, the source material behind it, and there is no
reason to think some god was guiding the author's hand.

Obviously, a god COULD reveal himself in all sorts of ways that would
make his presence known. He could, if he wished, speak from a burning
bush in everyone's backyard. He could prove his power to see the
future by telling each of us the last digit of the next day's closing
Dow Jones average. (The LAST digit, because it is both the least
predictable and completely irrelevant to investment decisions.) The
problem with revelation as the Abrahamic religions conceive it is not
that communication from a god is inherently impossible, but that
these religions present it in a way that cannot be tested, and that
therefore must also be believed as a matter of faith. It is always to
prophets or to apostles or to unknown scripture writers, and the very
creation of the religion involves a guarding and closing of that
revelation, to make it a matter of faith. That was the case with
Christianity, with Islam, with Mormonism, and even with Scientology.
It is now a well-established epistemological deceit. I use that last
word purposely. A god like the Christian god who wants his presence
known can presence known. If he simultaneously provides revelation
that he wants us to believe, but only through select channels that
guard his own presence against test, that is nothing more than a call
for his followers to practice intellectual dishonesty.

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