Logic and Faith: Oil and Water?

InLove

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Hello, Peace to All Here--

This is an issue that seems to pop up in lots of conversations in the forum. Would anyone be interested in discussing it in more depth?

Here is a thought to start it off: To me, faith makes perfect sense. It is the ultimate Logic of Love. I see the spiritual aspect as being just as real (if not more so) than the physical. I also see the two in connection.

I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this--and I am sure there are probably similar threads somewhere, so feel free to point them out if they are not already listed.

InLove,
InPeace
 
Hey, InLove,

May I ask how you can see the connection between logic and faith?
 
Interesting that you related faith to love, Inlove. Here's a quote re faith from 1 of my favorite Jungian writers, Thomas Moore, & favorite jungian-inspired spiritual books, "The Soul's Religion:"

"Faith...like belief, it consists more in love than knowledge, or perhaps it is just that love takes precedence. It is intutive. It is a power of the soul, not of the mind alone...It is based on the most subtle of perceptions. It is born and nurtured in the area of the third eye, the open heart, and the sensitivity of an ear tuned to mystery."

He points out in this chapter that faith, of course, is a form of trust. If we required facts to pledge our faith, it would not be faith, of course. Faith is also different from beliefs to some degree in that same regard. Belief is a statement, however ultimately erroneous or partial, of "fact." As such, it removes mystery; faith embraces it to some degree.(Perhaps the greatest act of faith would be one where a life is lived with a minimum number of beliefs;) ) In fact, again Moore states herein that faith does not have to have an essential specific object-but, again can be a more general attitude of trust. As such, our faith/trust may remain essentially unaltered over time, while our beliefs may come, go, and change in form.

But how is that like love? I heard somewhere that "Love" is saying "yes" to life. So, love, trust, faith, all seem to have some similar aspects.
Take care, Earl
 
Interesting question, InLove, and great take on it earl. :) I especially liked this line:

Perhaps the greatest act of faith would be one where a life is lived with a minimum number of beliefs.

As for logic and faith I agree with earl in that if you need facts and objective rationale, it is no longer faith. However, my experience is that there is a certain logic to faith, but it is a personal and internal logic, a logic of the heart rather than of the head (did someone else say that--seems too good to have come from me :) ).

I started an earlier thread on Faith here: http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2199

but it's always good to get a fresh start on things. :)

peace,
lunamoth
 
Personally, I think that logic and faith have more in common that we are really comfortable believing. We accept the whole world on faith, including logic. I think that faith underpins our entire existence. It is through faith that we believe logic can yield results.
 
Lunamoth,

That quote was from you! Read Emerson's Self Reliance and you will remember how wonderful an expression of God you are.

Cerealkiller,

What a profound way of looking at logic and faith, I think you hit it on the head.
On our journey of the upward spiral, logic and love are traveling companions. As consciousness expands logic is not destroyed only trancended, and in its place is a higher logic, one based on revealed or discovered reallities undreamt of by the lower consciousness. This is the meaning of "Level Confusion" and the unreality of conflict in the idea of absolute and relative truth.

To the mystic, logic has its place. There are meditative techniques which use the argumentative method to build up to the place where an "ah ha!" experience takes place. It is just another road up the mountain. :)


Peace,

Mark
 
Very interesting replies coming in! I hope they keep coming.

Originally posted by truthseeker
May I ask how you can see the connection between logic and faith?
I guess I could answer you in about a thousand ways--I will think about how best to word my thoughts. In the meantime, I would be interested in whether you do or do not see a connection, and why.:)

InPeace,
InLove
 
I never really thought much about it that way, that is what is going to make this a good topic of discussion.

I do, though, like how Cerealkiller put it - Welcome to CR, Cerealkiller! (Um, interesting name...)
 
Hi guys/gals. Well, I do think that logic and faith are like oil and water. But what this means to me is that it's all about balance. They’re completely repelled and complementary opposites. There can’t be one without the other. It’s part of the law of opposites that you see all over nature: action-reaction, cause-effect, positive-negative, yin-yang, whatever… On one extreme you have hardcore religious fundamentalists who are guided by pure faith. On the other you have hardcore atheists who are guided by pure logic and reasoning. When guided completely by any of the extremes you turn into fanatism and claim to know and impose the one and only truth. I think it’s inevitable to “zig-zag” between both opposites, kind of like a pendulum in motion. Personally, I have to accept that lately I’ve been more on the logic side, but I’m subconsciously aware that it’s all about balance…
 
joserafael said:
Hi guys/gals. Well, I do think that logic and faith are like oil and water. But what this means to me is that it's all about balance. They’re completely repelled and complementary opposites. There can’t be one without the other. It’s part of the law of opposites that you see all over nature: action-reaction, cause-effect, positive-negative, yin-yang, whatever… On one extreme you have hardcore religious fundamentalists who are guided by pure faith. On the other you have hardcore atheists who are guided by pure logic and reasoning. When guided completely by any of the extremes you turn into fanatism and claim to know and impose the one and only truth. I think it’s inevitable to “zig-zag” between both opposites, kind of like a pendulum in motion. Personally, I have to accept that lately I’ve been more on the logic side, but I’m subconsciously aware that it’s all about balance…

Hey joserafael, I agree with what you say above. But, instead of a balancing act I think of it as a dance in which both partners must move together to make it work, and when it does work it is sublime. :)

lunamoth
 
Hi lunamoth. That's another good way to put it! I agree with you.

...may be some trouble if both partners have two left feet and a bad ear for music ;).
 
InLove

It depends on what you mean by "logic". I mean, are you talking about the philosophy "logic", which deals with things that can be proven or disproven/things have a "truth value" (true/false[formal logic doesn't have "grey areas"])?

Faith cannot be proven one way or the other (something can be "true" to one person but "false" to another.)

Personally I think they are seperate but complimentary ideologies (what one doesn't cover, the other does.)

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
 
I really have trouble with the idea of logic and faith in opposition. Logic exists as a human construct of rules and symbols. There is no objective truth to logic, and even if there is, there is no way to demonstrate without appealing to logic itself. Quite simply, we have no objective basis for our belief in logic.
 
Cerealkiller said:
I really have trouble with the idea of logic and faith in opposition. Logic exists as a human construct of rules and symbols. There is no objective truth to logic, and even if there is, there is no way to demonstrate without appealing to logic itself. Quite simply, we have no objective basis for our belief in logic.
Actually logic is a universal construct, based upon natural rules. Logic is purely objective and based on given focal points that are considered accepted. Faith on the otherhand is purely subjective. Our belief in logic was proven by infants in the 70s, when placed on a clear plexiglass screen, and attempts to coax the infants/toddlers across the clear screen failed. (The floor is lower than I am, I don't care what I feel beneath my knees and hands, the floor is lower than I am. I'm not going there).

To a blind child...no problem...if I feel it I can work with it.

Both logical thoughts based on objective facts. Problem is that dominant sensory perception of one is different than the other. Who is to say one is right and the other is wrong?

Faith, on the other hand...supercedes logic sometimes. Mom can coax the toddler to cross the screen (like Peter walking on water). Or the blind child can go through a matrix by listening to the sound of Mom's voice.

There is no logic in that...but it works. ;)

v/r

Q
 
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The experiment you described does nothing to prove logic. In fact, if anything, it undermines logic. The "sighted" children made a non-logical decision based on emotional preference for a sense. Logic would dictate that if you feel someting it is there, despite appearances to the contrary. Emotion says, I cannot feel it, I am scared, I won't move.



That is, however, beside the point.
"Actually logic is a universal construct, based upon natural rules."

What are these natural rules you speak of, and how can they be proven? There is no good reason to believe in the functions of logical thinking, that does not derive from the rules of logic. One cannot use the rules of an unproven system to prove the system; it would be akin to the old argument that the Bible is true, because it says it is true, and the Bible is true so what it says must be right.
 
God exists. True or false?
Logic says he either exists or he doesn't.
You choose on faith.
Faith is half of your options. Your choice may be either right or wrong.


I'm no expert, but here's my take on logic... Logic is objectively true. How do you keep from contradicting yourself? Logic. Logic is a matter of contradiction, not choice. What are the natural laws of logic? I'd say true and false (unless we live in an illusion which is a whole different subject). Logic is what tells you that something cannot be x and "not x" at the same time. It cannot tell you which one is ultimately real. It's true that logic is limited. It sucks at telling you whether something is ultimately true or false. Something that's "logically true", isn't necessarily "ultimately true". But there's an objective basis for belief in logic, it's what keeps you from contradicting yourself, but it's not the ultimate authority on true or false.

Logic tells you that something either is or isn't. Faith is like your take on any one of these options. I guess you could say that faith is above logic because faith is a choice, logic are your options, true or false. Why may logic and faith be in opposition? "Logically true" may not be "ultimately real". Faith is your bet on reality, which may oppose logical arguments. And this goes both ways, whether you believe in something or you don't.
 
Cerealkiller said:
The experiment you described does nothing to prove logic. In fact, if anything, it undermines logic. The "sighted" children made a non-logical decision based on emotional preference for a sense. Logic would dictate that if you feel someting it is there, despite appearances to the contrary. Emotion says, I cannot feel it, I am scared, I won't move.



That is, however, beside the point.
"Actually logic is a universal construct, based upon natural rules."

What are these natural rules you speak of, and how can they be proven? There is no good reason to believe in the functions of logical thinking, that does not derive from the rules of logic. One cannot use the rules of an unproven system to prove the system; it would be akin to the old argument that the Bible is true, because it says it is true, and the Bible is true so what it says must be right.
Good day,



The three laws of thought are what I am referring to:



1. The law of identity - ergo "what ever is, is"

2. The law of contradiction -ergo "a thing cannot both be and not be"

3. The law of excluded middle - ergo "a thing must either be, or not be"



Aristotle founded the concept of logic, and has not been superceded in his work, only expanded upon.



The logic of the child precedes the fear (emotion). The child sees (perceives) a difference in depth, and realizes that to move forward would cause a fall. There is no emotion there. The emotion comes into play when the child is encouraged to move forward. Now a conflict is introduced into the child's thinking, and a series of emotions begin to cloud the logic. Also, the conflicting sensory signals add to this confusion of the logical process.



The first choice of the seeing child was logical "do not move forward". The second choice of the child was not logical "move forward because mom is encouraging the move forward". That was a choice based upon "faith" in mom. (trust is not logical, or at least has no initial base in logic, until bolstered by repetitive behaviors showing the one to be trusted can be trusted again).



The clear panel above the floor is an unknown to the child. Falling from a height is known. Logic dictates that the child not move until more is known about this mysterious addition to the equation. Faith in mom overrides this caution, or logical conclusion of not moving. The sighted child moves forward, on a "leap of faith", or intuition that mom is not going to allow harm to come to the child.



v/r



Q
 
The three laws you mention are some of the basic rules of logic, but they are not, nessecarily, natural law. As I said before, there is no way you can show these three laws to be true which does not appeal to logic.
 
Quahom1 said:
Good day,



The three laws of thought are what I am referring to:



1. The law of identity - ergo "what ever is, is"

2. The law of contradiction -ergo "a thing cannot both be and not be"

3. The law of excluded middle - ergo "a thing must either be, or not be"



Aristotle founded the concept of logic, and has not been superceded in his work, only expanded upon.

Q
This is a whole philosophic can of worms, isn’t it, really beyond a forum of this kind to get anywhere near the bottom of and certainly beyond the expertise of this simpleton. However, you have suckered me into throwing in my two cents.

First, Aristotle may be alive and well, but a few things have happened in philosophy since he was making his peripatetic way around the ancient world and many more “logics” have been invented that at least supplement if not contradict these basic rules. The “excluded middle” for example didn’t appear to bother the Buddhists all that much – that’s where arguably philosophers like Nagarjuna set up shop. As well, the general drift of the Anglo-American tradition as well as much of modern philosophy is to see logic as language rather than as law, i.e., descriptive rather than proscriptive of reality.

The three laws you talk about can quite easily be seen as arising naturally from pressing necessities: is this food or not, is this a danger or not – there’s only one right answer. The world, however, presents more complicated challenges to our descriptors. Is this sub-atomic event a wave or a particle? Am I the same as yesterday or different? Is the reality of self individual or interdependent? Where does the self end and the world begin? Uber-fans of logic will of course say that all these questions are simply wrongly put, that the logic itself is perfectly fine, and thank you very much!

But again, this whole issue can explode in a thousand directions, all of which would quickly take me out of my depth. But I guess the question at hand is really how we use the language tools of logic in approaching ultimate reality (whatever that means, and everyone will have different ideas). IMO, there’s a tradition in the west – and I hope this doesn’t insult anyone – to use Aristotelian type logic in religious questions almost as a diversion, as a way to occupy those of an analytic or intellectual bent. A recent sojourn with Catholic apologists on one of their forums brought this home to me. (For future reference, here’s the apologetic method: 1. Cut off all the exits with the assumption that a very specific faith/belief precedes all discussion; 2. Meander through an entertaining series of sophisticated if sometimes sophistic argumentation, citing August Authority; 3. Just when your interlocutor is nodding off in pleasant slumber, bring down the hammer: Believe or die!)

Personally, I’d like to put in a plug for the general approach of William James, following his pragmatic rule: what makes no difference is no difference. It's a method open to all evidence, mental/spiritual/experiential as well as physical, while admitting the possible efficacy of all concepts, and not relying on some notion of eternal laws of logic, but evolving language/logic rules as adequate as possible to the complex nature of reality, and to our continual exploration.
 
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