Religion and Logic

by blackspanielgallery

Religion can be approached through logic. It is merely a matter of honestly asking questions and carefully answering them.

One question I could ask is why are you a member of the religion you currently accept? Different people have different answers. Some have no religion. Some seek something inspiring. Others might be a member of a religion because of the country in which they live. Then there are people who might answer that they were born into a religion, or a spouse had a religion. But some have the answer that it is what they truly believe to be the valid approach to finding God.

I found that a logical approach works. Fortunately, the approach led me to the religion into which I was born, so there was no conflict.

How Does One Approach Religion Logically?

I asked myself, many years ago, a series of questions.  The answer to each question led to the next question.  Since this is a structure where each answer leads to the next question, the series of questions would vary according to the answers determined by each individual.  I do not wish to imply each series is accurately answered regardless of the answer, for only one series is correct.  Yet I do not wish an argument with those who diverged from my series because another path is what they truly believe.  We can disagree, but we must do so with mutual respect.

Is There a God?

Well, we cannot prove God exists, but we can see so much in creation that the preponderance of evidence makes the existence of God apparent.  Life itself is too complex to make sense of claiming it to be accidental.

 

Unless one answers yes, or even a maybe, there is no reason for that person to go on. 

 

Understand that I have come to the conclusion that God exists, and my background is in physics.  God is not in competition with science.  In fact, as a person of science I can state we cannot get past certain barriers through our knowledge of the universe without inserting creation.

Is God the God of the Old Testament?

There are many interactions between God and the Jewish people in the Old Testament.  If these lead you to believe the answer is yes, then you would go on.  Of course, you would have to accept the Old Testament. 

Does Jesus Christ Have a Divine Nature?

In order to answer yes there would need be an acceptance of the Trinity.  The answer to this question separates the Jewish people from Christians.

 

The ancient writings indicate the multiple persons of God, albeit these writings are not universally accepted.  The Resurrection is often taken as a deed only possible by God.  So, this brings us to whether Jesus rose on the first Easter.

 

There are numerous accounts of His being present on Earth after the Resurrection.  Of course, that requires acceptance of the accounts that were written down shortly after His death.

The Other Questions

Did Jesus Christ start a religion?  It would appear, if you accept the New Testament, that he did.  Peter was appointed to lead his Church.  So, for Christians, accepting Jesus as forming Christianity should be easy. 

 

Would Jesus Christ have the authority to make changes to religion?  If you believe Jesus is Divine, He would have that authority.

 

Would God use a man to change that religion?  This gets to the Reformation, and it begs the question of authority.  To get to this point one has had to accept God forming the Jewish religion, and God altering the way He wants to be worshiped by directly intervening.  So, if God Himself intervened, would He then choose a man, or several men, to make further change.  I personally find that not viable as an argument, so I answered no.  I consider the fact that Martin Luther is the focus of so many religions, yet he recanted his actions on his deathbed.  If he did not support his own position, why should I?  As for Henry VIII of England, I found nothing viable in following a man who proclaimed himself a religious leader for self-serving purposes. 

 

I am certain not all readers would agree with me.  I point out my position, not as a challenge, but for clarity on how I got to the conclusion I find acceptable.

The Difficult Question

The Orthodox Religion split with Rome during a prolonged exit.  Going back to the initial break, it concerned who was the successor of Peter. 

 

The early Church proclaimed the Bishop of Rome as the legitimate successor of Peter.  So, there were two claimants, along with a French bishop, who all claimed the right of the papacy.  The French bishop gave up his claim, but the other two each claimed to be the true successor of Peter.

 

This was caused by the Roman Empire fracturing.  In the end of the Roman Empire there were co-emperors, one based in Rome and one in Constantinople.  They had staggered terms, and each reigned as a co-emperor.  When the barbarians finally had the Western Roman Empire is disarray, the Eastern Roman Empire held back troops, keeping them for its own protection, thereby allowing a collapse of part of the Western Empire.  Now came the question of what did the early Church consider the Bishop of Rome?  One bishop was Bishop of the City of Rome, the other was Bishop of the remaining seat of the Roman Empire.  So, which Rome determined the successor of Peter?  Was it the city or the country?

 

In hindsight, there no longer is any Roman Empire.  Yet the City of Rome remains.

 

Of course, it came down to more that who was Pope, there was a difference of opinion on a major religious idea that Jesus is both fully God and man fully.  This would be difficult for an early century person to determine, except through the teachings of his or her bishop.  Hence, people followed their bishop.  I believe this issue is now resolved, and the Orthodox Church no longer holds Jesus to not be fully man.  (I am not an authority on the Orthodox Church, so I may be in error here.)

Conclusion

Once one goes through a logical process, and has reason for each answer, then one approaches religion logically. 

 

For those who believe a man could change God’s religion, there would need to be additional questions to determine which man, and would have to justify the authority to do so. 

 

A logical approach need not preclude the ability to have an emotional approach.  The two are not mutually exclusive. 

 

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Updated: 12/11/2019, blackspanielgallery
 
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blackspanielgallery on 12/15/2019

Thanks for the addition. You knowledge of sources is vast.

frankbeswick on 12/15/2019

Keith Ward,retired Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, wrote a great book on this subject entitled God, Chance and Necessity. He accepted that nothing can be definitively proved, but he thought God the best option.

Regius means royal, and that professorial chair, Britain's senior professorship, is a personal appointment of the monarch.

blackspanielgallery on 12/14/2019

It is not what happened after the Big Bang, as before that we cannot come to scientific terms with. As for the Big Bang, it still is conjecture, and every once in a while some scientists question whether it actually happened. But, we never will know what happened pre-event, and science cannot explain the material that was thrown out from a Big Bang, if indeed there was one. I see no alternative to creation. It is the mechanism that we can strive to understand, not something from nothing. Even particle/anitparticle pairs that fleetingly come into existence then annihilate each other come from energy then return to energy, so we take matter and energy as two parts of the same whole, but then comes the question where did energy originate? we never get something from nothing while following the laws of physics.

DerdriuMarriner on 12/14/2019

blackspanielgallery, Thank you for the practical information and the product line.
Chris Lintott, Brian May and Sir Patrick Moore describe, in Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, the time from the Big Bang to the first 300,000 post-Big Bang years as on the opaque side of the barrier of the Cosmic Microwave Background and the transparency event from 300,000 A.B. to now. Do you, as a physicist, think that those 300,000 years will be comprehended at some future point in a way that favors creation, science, neither or both?

blackspanielgallery on 12/14/2019

Here we have tolerance. Perhaps it is because we were settled by Catholic France, and later Spain. But the tolerance is such that a Jewish synagogue closed and merged with another several miles away. There was a procession through the streets and the Torah of the closing synagogue was carried on poles. All could watch the procession pass by. It went fine. In many places this could not happen.
Some of your Irish came here to escape the intolerance. We appreciate their parades on Saint Patrick's Day.

Veronica on 12/14/2019

BSG
I like the point that we must disagree with respect. I am increasingly annoyed at how here in UK we " walk on egg shells " around 2 certain faiths and yet Catholicism is seen as an acceptable " whipping boy " . This of course goes back hundreds of years to our History and also the Irish immigration into England .

There are some beautiful statues here.

blackspanielgallery on 12/12/2019

Frank, this is slightly abbreviated, for other things had to be considered. Such things include religions that dd not split with Rome, such as eastern religions. Indeed, there was Mohammed and his followers. Religion is much too complex for one article, but knowledge is cumulative, and all we learn can lead us. One source of fine religious articles is your contributions here on Wizzley.

blackspanielgallery on 12/12/2019

Frank, I agree that we cannot prove some things, so faith is important. We can get closer to understanding if we do understand, but it alone is not definitive. My belief is that changes in the next life.
Thanks for the comments.

frankbeswick on 12/12/2019

There were three main splits in the church prior to the Reformation: the Nestorians and the
Copts split in the fifth century over the nature of Christ as God and man.The Orthodox were excommunicated in 1054 by the imprudent Cardinal Humbert over the problem of filioque, whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone through the Son or whether the Spirit proceeds from both Father and Son.

The issue was complicated by political pressures and ecclesiastical power grabbing, but the split has persisted and has not been helped by the 2018 split within the Orthodox Church.

frankbeswick on 12/12/2019

Aquinas taught that faith and reason are compatible, for one supports the other. But we must beware of relying overmuch on deductive reasoning, for deductions, which give certainty, are hard to make.

Bishop Ramsey of Durham made the claim that in religious experience"the penny drops!" by which he meant that we make an overall judgment of all the factors known to us and discern a pattern. I think that this is the best way to make any theological judgment.

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