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Thread: John Oliver / Prosperity Gospel and related topics

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  1. #23
    Things Will Change Victor Douglas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by Realspiritik View Post
    I'm always curious about the way in which some individuals will attack the Materialist cause-and-effect claims of Prosperity Gospel while in the very next breath some of the same attackers will praise the almost identical Materialist cause-and-effect claims of pharmaceutical and nutritional supplement preachers.

    Prosperity Gospel teachings aren't new. They've been around for thousands of years in Ancient Near East Wisdom literature. They claim to be based on Divine Law, but most of the time they're based on human ideas about who deserves reward and who deserves punishment. (It's pure status addiction.)

    Our society still operates according to all the ancient precepts of Ancient Near East Wisdom literature, though we don't think of it this way.

    The underlying philosophical framework is a devout belief in pure Materialist cause-and-effect classical physics.

    We don't live in a universe mediated solely by linear cause-and-effect. So any philosophical system, whether ANE Wisdom, Prosperity Gospel, or allopathic take-this-pill-and-pretend-there's-no-placebo-effect medicine, is arguing the same side of coin.

    Discussions about reality should probably include both Materialist data (classical physics) and non-Materialist data (quantum physics) in order to more fully capture the "big picture" of the universe we live in.

    P.S. I'm no fan of Prosperity Gospel, though I'm a person of faith and practising (if heretical) Christian mystic.
    I find Realspiritik's post very confusing. It appears to mix together a mixture of contrary belief systems, and leads to a conclusion that doesn't follow from his/her premise. Quantum physics is every bit as scientific and "materialist" as classical physics, and the Prosperity Gospel is, to be blunt, based on a type of magical thinking.

    There is a very well known philosophical approach known as "Non Overlapping Magisteria" (or NOMA for short) which proposes that both science and religion (and, by extension, any "non-materialist" philosophical framework) are both equally valid, but are meant to be applied toward completely different types of problems and questions. Any empirical question regarding an objective phenomenon, that is a process taking place within the material universe involving matter or energy, is the proper domain of science and science alone. The question of what causes or cures diseases in the human body is an objective one, with a single set of empirically correct answers (though we may not know what those answers are) and therefore "belongs" to science, or some other empirical approach like trial and error. This even includes the objective effect of beliefs and emotions on health, like the placebo effect. Religion and philosophy should be regarded as having literally nothing whatsoever to say on the issue.

    Regarding subjective questions, however, that is questions for which there are and can be no single correct empirical answer, that is all matters of value, principle, aesthetic judgment or personal feelings, can only be addressed by some sort of philosophical framework, of which religion is one. If it's a question such as whether or not the Mona Lisa is beautiful, the difference between right and wrong, or whether the poor deserve government relief, science (and objective approaches in general) have nothing to say. These are not objective questions and do not have objective answers. You have to get your answers from somewhere else (full disclosure: I am myself a practicing Christian).

    This doesn't imply that personal values do not inform our interpretation of scientific results. Are nuclear weapons good or bad? You need to know the facts to help decide that, but the facts themselves will not provide the answer. Likewise, the latest findings from science can be used to inform our values and subjective beliefs. But ultimately, objective questions are best answered using objective means, and subjective questions by subjective means.
    Last edited by Victor Douglas; 10-20-2017 at 10:38 PM.

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