The Concept of God & Western Philosophy

Umer: Having read the concept of God among great philosophers, I'm intrigued to know how Platonic "philo" approached this problem. Did they divorce intellect from reason? Did they too solve the problem through rationalism?

Master Agha: Purpose and design behind the creation of universe and life are missing in Western philosophy. Western philosophy deals with such issues on the basis of speculations and imperfect intellect. While we believe that revelation is essential to understand such questions.

10 did criticisms:

Awais said...

Purpose and design behind the creation of universe and life are missing in Western philosophy.

I don't think that is so. The teleological proof of God or 'argument from design' has been presented in philosophy since antiquity. And 'life' isn't lacking either, it has been present in the form of vitalism and found exponents like Bergson.

Revelation believers always go on about how intellect is 'imperfect', but what can be more imperfect than revelation, which is a highly subjective experience of a person ['Prophet'] passed on by word of mouth and subsequently written and then believed in by a person centuries later who has had no experience even minutely close to that a revelation. And while 2 + 2 = 4 for every man of intellect, every Prophet puts forth his own revelation, dividing the world in different religions. And yet it is logic which is imperfect.

Rhodora Online said...

"every Prophet puts forth his own revelation, dividing the world in different religions". A misconception. There is a systematic difference in the revelation claimed by Prophets Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad, and the wisdoms and insights shared by someone like the Bhuddha who didn't claim he was a prophet but may have been made into one by his devotees later on. The message of all Prophets was a single one: There is no god but ALLAH so its only HIM worthy of worship. "Different religions" were created by scholars long after the original revelations in the earlier Books from Allah had been lost. An illusion of 'difference' may also be created because of i) differences in procedural aspects of living for which God indeed changed guidelines in different prophets' times (refer: Quran) and ii) differences in tertiary matters with (deliberately) imprecise guidance in Quran or Hadith, where scholars conclude differently.

"yet it is logic which is imperfect" If you care to read Quran with an open mind (by which I mean not subject to preconceived and inflexible notions) and the explanations of the basic ideology of Quran you will find it logical enough.
Just like you find logic enough in your perspective of the world, I'm sure.
I am postgraduate in psychology. When we encounter 'paranoid' patients we always observe PERFECT logic in their explanations of why they are so convinced that they are being persecuted - tight, irrefutably perfect logic. You cannot win an argument with a paranoid.

So there's logic in YOUR view of the world (Darwin and all) and there's a logic in MY view of the world. The 'this' or 'that' is always a CHOICE: a SUBJECTIVE choice. It must remain subjective because all that there is to be discovered about the world will not be discovered to ultimately PROVE without holes which view was the really PERFECTLY logical one. We will be dead much before, surely we cannot wait...

Another point about subjectivity: We perceive the sunflower in yellow color. And yet there are bees in this world which perceive the same sunflower in BLUE (I will come back with the reference, my cousin has that book). So can you please tell me WHICH is the OBJECTIVE way of perceiving the sunflower? A highly subjective experience for both parties (humans and bees :-), if you ask me!

Salman Latif said...

First: Perhaps its simply inaccurate trying to calculate, understand subjective through objective since that which is not material simply can’t be reached through the material scales and standards.

Second: Objectivity has its own uncertainties and flaws – in fact if you come to look at it, it tends out to be most inaccurate. How can that which in itself is not accurate can be used to check for the correctness of that which’s original?

Intellect is not at all some tool which is wrong at all. It’s just that, for long has West utilized it to wrong ends. It was, is meant to be a tool towards reaching an end but they’ve stuck to it as an end in itself. The result, evidently, is that they lay more importance with it than should be and end up replacing God-deity with philosophy.

Rhodora Online said...

Thanks Salman for your rejoinder. I'm sure you have a good reason for saying "it tends out to be most inaccurate" but would you mind mentioning it? Otherwise the statement remains unclear and easily criticizable.

The reference I mentioned: Wade, C. & Tarvis, C. (1996). Psychology, 4th Edition; Publishers Harper Collins. (pages:200-2).
These pages contain other similar information and a picture of the 'blue' sunflower photographed under ultraviolet light to simulate how a butterfly sees it.
My statement "there are bees in this world which.." implies that there are a few selected species of bees whose perception differs. That is incorrect and the relativism turns out to be pretty common, as I found upon refreshing my memory with the book.

Thanks, Umer for inspiring us so :-)

Brickwall said...

I do not agree to Awais' assertion about the understanding of revelation believers on intellect. In fact, at the very first instance, I am unsure if we can put all the revelation believers on one page. Just like by and large we have no common understanding of God among believers, there is probably no commonly accepted standard on the relationship between intellect and revelation among the followers of different religions.

From Islamic viewpoint, nothing could be further from truth than the suggestion that one day someone claims, for whatever reason, to have received revelation and then a mass of people gullibly gather around to trust him on something they don't have the slightest clue of. Though it is true that revelation remains an exclusive experience of the prophet himself only, this itself is never presented to demand obedience and acceptance from the masses. According to Quranic methodology, every prophet was given a tangible and inimitable 'sign(s)' to show to his people as a proof that he is being directly guided and aided by God. Moses' staff or miracles of Jesus etc. PBUT, have all been described in Quran as an explanation of this methodology. In the same vein, that proof of prophethood given to Muhammad SAW was nothing other than Quran itself. Unlike what has been claimed, Quran very well calls upon its readers to reflect on it to ascertain if it indeed is the word of God:

Do they not contemplate on Quran, had it been from anyone other than Allah they would have found many contradictions in it (Al-Nisa 4:82)

At another place:

Say, had Allah willed I would never have recited nor you known it. Verily, I have lived my whole life among you, don't you then reflect? (Yunus 10:16)

The above are just two of literally numerous places in the Quran where the reader is asked to reflect in order to reach belief in it being a revelation from God. The unconditional obedience, which we so love to selectively remember, was demanded only 'after' people were intellectually convinced as to the veracity of the claim laid by the prophets.

Other than that, the example of 2 + 2 = 4 is quite misplaced and grossly oversimplified for showing contrast with the diversity in religion. It lacks on sense as much as someone saying, "While all the prophets invited people to worship God, the 'men of intellect' could never bring themselves together on a common understanding on the existance of God. And yet Brutus is an honorable man...".

Salman Latif said...

Merely the existence of this diseases of schizophrenia is enough to cite the point I made - our own observations, which we believe we are consturcting upon objective interactions with our surroundings, turn out to be most flawed in its case

Anonymous said...

@ Awais,

Revealation begins where intellect, science end. Hence it provides answer to what is unknown to the scientists and philosophers.


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Anonymous said...

the debate never ends... why isnt it i m like all and keep goin on!

Tazeen said...

oh the debate shall never end, its how we live our own concept of god and divinity

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