Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - God and Research Autonomy

SO,

      I would add also that polytheistic/ polymorphic religions are generally more accommodating than the monotheistic variants.Polytheists believe that they can easily add on the deities that proved effective for a particular group or time period. Monotheists, on the other hand are extremely  jealous and zealous, and are hell - bent on "hounding out of existence" their "competitors" and rivals."




Professor Gloria Emeagwali
Professor of History
 



From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Segun Ogungbemi <seguno2013@gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, May 8, 2017 10:34 PM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - God and Research Autonomy
 
They are refined minded people. You may call them secular humanists who are harmless. 
SO
On May 8, 2017, at 6:43 PM, Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com> wrote:

You are right Ken. Not all beliefs fit in the same handbag:  

I have never heard Ifa believers hounding Sango believers out of existence. Nor of Obatala believers being attacked by Ifa worshippers.



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Kenneth Harrow <harrow@msu.edu>
Date: 07/05/2017 14:00 (GMT+00:00)
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - God and Research Autonomy

Dear o o,

I don't think you can put all belief into the same handbag. You are right that even smart people are willing to profess belief in something that they can't know about. I've come to the conclusion that belief in god answers a psychological need people have, linked to the father, or parent, whom they elevate into something Lacan might call the name of the father.

I really doubt the belief arises because of people's need to know where they come from and where they are going. My own answer to those questions are dust to dust: we are the product of an evolutionary process and are material beings. A camus would argue that only in accepting this can we fully embrace life; Heidegger would say the same. Einstein decided to believe in god. So there are no guides whose advice make any sense to me in deciding or not.

 

But what's the real issue. Because we think in cause and effect terms, we assume the universe is an effect of a cause that is cast in human terms, i.e., that a being like us decided one day to create the material universe. You really have to admit that is an incredibly naïve, dumb idea. You hear various people being cited, from moses to jesus to mohammad, as having been, or being in contact with that divine being. I would also cast that notion as incredibly naïve and dumb.

Then we can let it rest at that: we are here, we don't know what caused us to be, we don't know what this sense of ourselves that we hold, which some might call their soul, entails, and we hope it won't die when we die. But others might accept the unease of not knowing, as I do, and regard the faith and certainty that others have in answers to these questions as presumptuous.

 

To come to where I want to go with this: believe whatever you want. I will keep my mouth closed about the beliefs; I will also participate in my own religious rituals with pleasure or joy. But neither I nor you have any right to insist that anyone else impose their beliefs on others, not even on their children, much less on strangers. It is the uses to which religion is put that makes this question of belief a vexed one.

I have two words to prove my point: boko haram.

Those words are the same, in translation, elsewhere: fundamentalist Christianity, ultra-orthodox Judaism; ultra-nationalist Buddhism. And so on. These are religions that are dogmatic and deadly, that are willing to kill people like me for writing emails like this, and to me they are my intellectual enemies. They bring hatred and conflict into the world, and it is impossible for me not to imagine that they are, in fact, all quite stupid.

 

Belief should be free, unfettered, and most of all innocent.

If there is need for religion that can embrace these propositions, then let that religion exist without complaint. Maybe the bahais are like that? Maybe the Unitarians are? Maybe zen Buddhists are? I don't know. Quakers seem quite wonderful, but can be dogmatic about their own beliefs, about expelling from their own communities those who violate the spirit of the community. But at least there are models in all these religions for practices that are quite wonderful. But there are also models for crusades and jihads which ought to be abolished in all religions.

I say this as a member of a people who had been victims of the inquisition, the holocaust, and Islamic fundamentalism. But also as an amnesty worker who remembers what the Buddhists did to the non-buddhists in sri lanka, as someone remembers the victimization of muslims in the riots in india by hindus; and so on.

Lastly, people who embrace these dogmatic beliefs and are willing to kill in their name can also do so in the name of their superiority as a people (like the Nazis), or their superiority as a nation (America first, france first, Deutschland uber alles). Religion is pretty much the same for far too many people.

In all this, your questions, where do we come from and where are we going, get lost sight of.

ken

 

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-803-8839

harrow@msu.edu

http://www.english.msu.edu/people/faculty/kenneth-harrow/

 

From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Saturday 6 May 2017 at 22:53
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - God and Research Autonomy

 

No knowledge, even scientific knowledge, is entirely impersonal, and to hold this position suggests neither being anti-science nor being anti-God or pro-God. Many of the greatest scientists or sharpest minds have in some way or other been believers in God; similarly, many of the best scientists or minds have rejected any belief in God. In other words, belief or non-belief in God is not a measure of intelligence or stupidity. As long as humans are unable to answer conclusively or decisively two simple questions -- where are we coming from? where are we going? -- it would be dogmatic to be dismissive of belief or non-belief in God. 

 

PS: one irony -- those who are dismissive of religion tend to make the mistake of turning science into scientism which is itself a religion.

 


Sent from my iPhone


On May 6, 2017, at 5:07 PM, 'Adeshina Afolayan' via USA Africa Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> wrote:

 

A Dutch university prohibits a PhD student from thanking God in his acknowledgments | Practical Ethics

A Dutch university (Wageningen University) prohibited a PhD student from thanking God in his thesis acknowledgme...

 

 

 

Adeshina Afolayan, PhD
Department of Philosophy
University of Ibadan


+23480-3928-8429

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