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Talking about God in the third person  
von MystiqueMax (UN), Last modified: 2010-11-25, 00:13  like dislike  Spam?  
I was a little confused by the talking about god in the third person thing. As far as my books explain it to me, if I say something about him, I have to write Him, with an capital letter at the beginning. Is this a real rule or is it also ok to write him with a small letter at the beginning, due to the fact, that I'm an atheist? And for which gods is this rule counting. Just the christian god JHWE or also for Allah? What about Zeus oder semi-gods? And what if I talk about japanese kamis, which is a japanese version of a god?

Is this rule bound to religions? Would a satanist have to write him (Satan) with an capital letter? Or a Mormon Joseph Smith?

So, this is pretty much confusing me and I hope someone can help me out with some answers.

~  #557612
von zou (US), Last modified: 2011-04-23, 03:21  like dislike  Spam?  
von MystiqueMax (UN), 2010-11-25, 11:07  like dislike  Spam?  
Ok thanks, so, it's just for christian god and for Allah. Christians believe in a strange kind of trinity. So God equals the holy ghost and Jesus. Have I to capitalize the "He" for Jesus and the holy ghost, too?
It definitely is the Holy Spirit/Ghost (uppercased), and He is referred to in capitals, too.  #557629
von Baccalaureus (DE), Last modified: 2010-11-25, 12:20  like dislike  Spam?  
Same for: "I always knew God was a woman - and She doesn't shave Her legs."
What about Jewish monotheism - God ~ Jehovah / Yahweh?  #557630
von Proteus, 2010-11-25, 11:34  like dislike  Spam?  91.115.86....
Wikipedia(EN): Jehova

Some of the faithful would capitalize He / Him / His, others would not. Outsiders need not capitalize at all.

Contemporary Roman Catholic usage does not capitalize he / him / his when referring to God.
Observant Jews will often put G-d when referring to God.  #557649
von MichaelK (US), 2010-11-25, 12:12  like dislike  Spam?  
There's a risk that the fully spelled-out name could be defaced, obliterated or destroyed.
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-25, 12:31  like dislike  Spam?  
They won't even speak it, so they say and write  'Hashem' (= the name) instead.  The suppoosed name of the supposed deity is supposed to be too sacred even to mention.  But if it is, then how can it be allowable to refer to it by another name such as 'Hashem': since everyone knows who is meant by 'Hashem'?  If the deity exists, and is bothered about the matter, is it likely that the subterfuge will go undetected?
wandle: Interesting comment.  #557656
von MichaelK (US), 2010-11-25, 12:40  like dislike  Spam?  
I'm not sure if the idea of the bothering the deity is part of this. I've always seen it as a sign of respect made by the speaker for the listener to hear, with the deity too far removed to care one way or the other. I may have formed this opinion very early in my life after hearing my mother say several times "God, what crime have I committed to be punished with such children?" and apparently never receiving an answer.  :-)
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-25, 12:50  like dislike  Spam?  
Isn't it due to the commandment 'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain'?  Using the holy name in connection with any mere mortal concern we may have is thought to be taking it in vain.  But once again, how that offence, if real, could be mitigated by changing the name is hard to see.  
Take the law of libel.  If the name is changed, but the identity of the person referred to is clear, is that any defence?
As all religious commandments, it should be respected and enforced with equity.  #557666
von Baccalaureus (DE), 2010-11-25, 12:58  like dislike  Spam?  
The human being is faulty, and, thus, can only err when handling matters of the deity. I'm pretty sure that the deity knows that and will, as the Lord is gracious and meek, pardon these faults. But this is a very Christian point of view.
Well, whole forests were obliterated to make the paper on which people have written about this.  #557668
von MichaelK (US), Last modified: 2010-11-25, 12:59  like dislike  Spam?  
Good points for me to think about this (U.S.) Thanksgiving morning, thanks wandle and Bacca!
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-25, 13:25  like dislike  Spam?  
It's a good illustration of the nature of religious belief.  People would never go to the trouble of saying 'Hashem' instead of 'Yahweh' unless they believed there was something in it.  On the other hand, thinking they can get round the problem by a device so transparent as a change of name shows that there is no real belief in a real deity who would really be offended if he thought you were really referring to him.
George Orwell wrote, in an age before TV or internet or jet travel, when most Britons never went overseas, that people did not believe in heaven in the same way as they believed in Australia.  They had no direct evidence of either place, nevertheless they acted in everyday life as if Australia really existed, but not as if heaven or hell were real -- though they still went to church on Sunday.
Kinds of belief - a LINK  #557723
von Proteus, 2010-11-25, 17:09  like dislike  Spam?  91.115.82....
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-25, 18:08  like dislike  Spam?  
From Proteus' link: the RC Church's definition of belief:
'That state of the mind by which it assents to propositions, not by reason of their intrinsic evidence, but because of authority.'
So they start by building the element of authority into the very idea of belief.  This implies that you cannot hold a belief at all unless you first accept authority.
Apart from the fact that this takes away freedom of conscience, it can hardly be an accurate description of the initial state of mind in which people take an idea to be true.  Do I need some authority to let me believe the weather is cold when I step out of the door?
We experience the cold weather when we step out of the door - nobody believes it's cold when feeling cold.   #557809
von Proteus, 2010-11-26, 12:16  like dislike  Spam?  91.115.95....
If we believe there was such a thing as a moon landing by astronauts, we take it on the authority of NASA. None of us can go to the moon to see for ourselves whether anybody landed there before.

Authority, however, must stand the test of conscience. If in conscience we do not accept the authority of climate change experts, we do not believe there is such a thing as global warming.

Cf. Christopher Booker as against Zac Goldsmith as against the Green Party:
Youtube: FSd22Y2O9u8
Youtube: KWLio5YruyY    Youtube: FFXn9gxn9wc
von wandle (GB), 2010-11-26, 23:50  like dislike  Spam?  
Experiencing the cold weather is a different thing from believing that the weather is cold.  When I step outside on a wintry day I do both. In fact, thanks to looking outside and also noting weather reports, I usually have the belief that the weather is cold before I experience it.  However, sometimes I am taken unawares, and then the experience of cold weather leads me to the belief that it is cold.  Either way, I do not feel the need of anybody's permission before I form my belief.
The point is, you accept and partly rely on the authority of the Met Office. Others wouldn't be caught dead doing so.   #557956
von Proteus, 2010-11-27, 00:42  like dislike  Spam?  91.115.91....
The above definition 'That state of the mind by which it assents to propositions, not by reason of their intrinsic evidence, but because of authority.' fits like a glove regarding your weather precautions. You believe the weather reports on the authority of the Met Office or the BBC or whatever.

The permission argument is one you made up for yourself. Aunt Sally kind of thing, really.
Or is it a red herring?  #557958
von Proteus, 2010-11-27, 00:50  like dislike  Spam?  91.115.91....
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-27, 01:23  like dislike  Spam?  
Saying that the concept of authority is a constituent part of the concept of belief is an attempt to insert religious control into the very terminology of philosophy. The value of the weather example is that it gives a paradigm case for the formation of a belief.  When I experience the cold weather, and as a result form the belief that it is cold, I move from my own direct experience to my own full belief.  This one counterexample is enough to show that there is no need for authority to enter into the formation of a belief.
Obviously, in many cases, we do rely on authority, but in others we do not. The simple case where I base my belief solely on my experience proves that the concept of authority is not a constituent part of the concept of belief.
Philosophy? I do not see what need one would have to form any beliefs when there is the evidence of experience.   #558003
von Proteus, 2010-11-27, 12:21  like dislike  Spam?  91.115.87....
If I feel cold I certainly do not believe it is cold - I know it's nippy.
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-27, 12:59  like dislike  Spam?  
If you know something, it follows that you believe it.  The concept of belief is included in that of knowledge.  
The converse does not apply.  As the histories of religion and philosophy show, people believe all sorts of things which are not true.  It follows that those beliefs, being false, are not knowledge.
That is, the concept of knowledge includes two elements: that of truth, and that of belief.  I can only be said to know a proposition if two conditions apply: (1) the proposition is true, (2) I believe the proposition.  
The move the RC church is trying to make with its definition of belief is to introduce the concept of authority as an essential element of belief.  The purpose of this is to deny the validity of any belief not approved by the authority of the church.
No. The proposition must be true and you must be certain about its truth  #558026
von Proteus, 2010-11-27, 13:57  like dislike  Spam?  91.115.87....

As I demonstrated in the issue of climate change, beliefs always involve the acceptance in conscience of authority. As long as you do not in conscience accept the authority of the Catholic Church nobody would expect you to reiterate its articles of faith.

The purpose of this is to deny the validity of any belief not approved by the authority of the church.
????? The Catholic Church does not give a fig about what you believe in the matter of weather reports or celebrity / Royals gossip or the evolution of Chinese dialects.
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-27, 19:38  like dislike  Spam?  
(a) 'The proposition must be true and you must be certain about its truth.'  
If you mean 'be certain about its truth' is equivalent to 'believe it', then we are in agreement on this point at least.  If you mean it is not equivalent, what do you see as the difference?

(b)  As shown above, belief sometimes may be based on authority, but it does not always involve acceptance of authority, since it can also arise directly from experience.

(c) The RC church does in fact claim to subsume all knowledge under its authority, because it makes theology the queen of sciences, meaning that all knowledge must in the end be defined within the framework of the church's teaching.  Nothing is allowed to be contrary to the church's interpretation of revelation.
The RC Church... just great, love it...  #558072
anonymous, 2010-11-27, 21:37  like dislike  Spam?  91.44.218....
...  #558082
von Proteus, 2010-11-27, 22:55  like dislike  Spam?  91.115.93....
(a) Dictionary definitions clearly differentiate between believing and knowing. Philosophers have done so for thousands of years. Believing in the sense of assuming / supposing is not the same thing as knowing for certain.

(b) In case of doubt about our experience, we may express what we feel / see / hear / understand etc. in terms of believing rather than knowing. However, if we feel cold in the snow we know it's cold unless we are mentally impaired or hopeless Pyrrhonists.

(c) Your suggestion is absurd. See for instance  

Have you ever heard of the substantial RC contributions to the Enlightenment period?

Your misrepresentation of RC teaching makes any further discussion a perfect waste of time, I'm afraid.
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-27, 23:48  like dislike  Spam?  
Well, Proteus, sorry to offend, but I hope you won't mind if I reply.

Regarding (a) and (b), of course knowing and believing are different, as pointed out above: see post 12:59.  Knowing something implies that you believe it, but believing it does not imply that you know it.  Many beliefs are due directly to experience, that of our senses.  The exact sciences are very largely empirical. Many other beliefs are based partly on experience.   It is not the case that belief can only be derived from authority.

As for RC teaching, I received a great deal of it and believed it all sincerely for many years.  Family members urged me to become a priest.  One troublesome problem was that in exploring a new field, a train of thought would lead me to a conclusion, but I would have to reject it, not because it was illogical or lacking evidence, but because it was at variance with the church's doctrine.  This did not just happen occasionally.
von wandle (GB), 2010-11-27, 23:47  like dislike  Spam?  
Here are a few references to 'queen of sciences' pulled from the net, to illustrate the church's attitude to knowledge.

Fr. John McCloskey
At the heart of a truly Catholic university will be a sound theology department, since the Catholic Church recognizes theology as the "Queen" of sciences. Apart from considerations of academic competence, parents and prospective students need to determine the all-important question of the theology department's loyalty to the teaching authority of the Church.
Another investigative technique is to probe the knowledge of any recent graduate. A few pointed questions will quickly reveal what he knows and where he stands with regard to the Church and her teaching. Finally, if the university harbors any well-known "dissenter," the case is closed.

+ Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski  Prefect, Congregation for Catholic Education   February 23, 2009
This makes it clear that the Catholic faith is the inspiration of the whole programme of studies, and it is ordered to Theology, "the queen of sciences".
von wandle (GB), 2010-11-27, 23:48  like dislike  Spam?  
Francis Davis
Intellectuals - including Catholic ones – know that his [Benedict's] appeal to ‘reason’ and ‘truth’ is one that in the end gives primacy to theology , ‘the Queen of sciences’.

Kevin Davis
"The result [of sola scriptura], over time, was that in Protestant countries, theology was no longer 'the queen of sciences' but only one source of knowledge, subject to individual interpretation, and was separated from secular inquiry. Because secular inquiry was seen as objective it eventually gained overweening predominance and prestige over doctrinally subjective Protestant religious thought -- an intellectual development that has been the major factor in secularizing the Western world" (240).
No offence taken or given, I hope. Have theologians and professors ever ruled the Roman Catholic Church?  #558093
von Proteus, 2010-11-28, 01:54  like dislike  Spam?  91.115.93....
Theology being the queen of sciences is certainly no article of faith. It shares the same honorific with philosophy or mathematics or ... or ... according to the preferences of the respective scholars.
Google: "regina scientiarum"

In the RC Church, the last word is with the magisterium that has always been wary of theology and of its royal claims. Popes and bishops who were eminent theologians are very much the exception. Lacking any sound philosophy (Neo-Thomism is but a travesty), most clerics are rather at sea in matters scientific.

The people you quoted bragged about scientific superiority without intervening in or interfering with any concrete scientific discourse. They would not be able to do so, and they know it. Whatever such bombast and rodomontades, the magisterium's attitude towards the sciences actually is - for better or for worse - largely laissez-faire as long as in the strict sense no articles of faith are explicitly involved. They cannot and will not give you any guidance as to the theory of relativity or the Big Bang or the age of the dinosaurs. What axe, then, do you have to grind with them?
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-29, 14:08  like dislike  Spam?  
Well, Proteus, I see you still come back to authority.  After giving links to philosophical and theological discussion, you now dismiss all that and rely upon 'the magisterium' -- in other words, we must accept what the church says because it says so.   But is it quite orthodox to suggest that 'the magisterium' is independent of theology?  I doubt if Mr. Benedict would agree.  Both Messrs McCloskey and  Grocholewski, speaking for the church (see quotes above), make all areas of knowledge subordinate to theology.
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-29, 14:15  like dislike  Spam?  
This discussion started when I pointed out the church was trying to incorporate authority into the very definition of belief.  'That state of the mind by which it assents to propositions, not by reason of their intrinsic evidence, but because of authority.'
It seems clear this is aimed against several groups at once:  against Protestants, who say the foundation of faith is the individual's direct personal awareness of and belief in the deity, unmediated by church or priest;  against scientists, who base knowledge upon the evidence of our senses;  against philosophers, who analyse belief in the terms I mentioned above; and against all who place belief in that which they directly experience and consider they have a right to say so without permission from a magisterium or any other authority.
The CE definition is understandably tailored to religious belief. It ties in with the first two dictionary definitions that imply authority.  #558409
von Proteus, 2010-11-29, 17:32  like dislike  Spam?  91.115.91...
believe verb (believed, believing) 1 to accept what is said by someone as true • Why don't you believe me? 2 (sometimes believe something of someone) to accept something said or proposed, eg about someone, as true • cannot believe his story • cannot believe that of John. 3 to think, assume or suppose • I believe she comes from Turkey.

Believe me, the Catholic Church does not object to your using believe in the third sense of the word whenever an appropriate occasion arises.

McC. and G. may be churchmen, but they do not speak for the Church as such. If they have this thing about theology being the queen of sciences, they patently represent a minority position within the Church. That boast is not even incontrovertibly attributable to the scholastics, least of all to St Thomas Aquinas. Today, Roman Catholic nuclear physicists tend to think physics is the queen of sciences. The magisterium would not excommunicate them even if they did so openly.

However, if physicists subordinate all knowledge to their science, they are no longer scientists but ideologues. The same holds for theology. Subordinating all knowledge to it would turn the Roman Catholic faith into a paltry, unsavoury ideology. Most theologians and certainly Herr Ratzinger give this trap a wide berth.    

Being queen does not necessarily force subjects into total submission. In the UK, Elizabeth II has a key but very limited role to play within the framework of the state. Were she bent on exceeding her powers in any despotic way, a simple majority in the House of Commons would abolish monarchy within a week. So are you afraid of her being the Head of State in the UK and some Commonwealth countries, but also the Fount of Justice, Head of the Armed Forces and a kingpin within the (Catholic?!) Churches of England and Scotland?
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-29, 23:35  like dislike  Spam?  
Well, I think I've made my point.  Your answers, like the church's doctrines, rely in the end upon authority.  Finding authority invoked even in the definition of belief reveals an attempt at thought control on Orwellian lines:  no coincidence, when you consider that the RC church was the world's first -- and still today unregenerate -- totalitarian ideology.
Perhaps we can agree to disagree  #558560
von Proteus, 2010-11-30, 12:13  like dislike  Spam?  91.115.81...
If you identify the Roman Catholic Church with the worst abuses of sinful members, so be it. Internally critical to the point of truculence, as a layman I have never experienced any marginally Orwellian thought control.

In the same vein, you may identify Communism with Stalinism and Islam with terrorism or Jihadism.

You are fully entitled to your convictions, but I certainly do not and will not share them.
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-30, 13:28  like dislike  Spam?  
By all means, let us agree to disagree - even though Bruno and Galileo, for example, were not allowed to.  We don't need to make the identifications you mention in order to see that the RC church, Islam and communism are totalitarian systems, as they claim to direct all aspects of life.
That aim makes such systems function as power-aggregators, and take to themselves all the power they can.  It is only the opposition of freedom-loving people which limits their expansion and curbs their exercise of power. Human nature being what it is, the danger is always present that these human systems will return to their former excesses or advance to new ones. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
von wandle (GB), Last modified: 2010-11-30, 13:30  like dislike  Spam?  
I have known many priests, nuns and committed laypeople, all of whom were caring and responsible personalities.  Yet they all subscribe to the system, and would support it in action.  Years ago I knew an Iranian trainee mufti (islamic lawyer/judge) who was the most intelligent, charming and easy-going person you could hope to meet.  Yet he said that once he was in office as a judge (a position requiring academic qualification only) he would not have the slightest hesitation in sentencing someone to death for apostasy.  No matter how likeable, reasonable or moderate someone is in personality, if they support an extreme system they become a danger.

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