Re: Say Anything: Truth under cultural and conceptual assault
Quoting Murray Altheim <m.altheim@...>:
> A few years later, the leader of the band Cake, John McCrea, asked
> me to debate a born-again fellow on video, as an experiment he was
> conducting into his own beliefs. I came all armed to the teeth with
> Biblical contradictions, he with his knowledge of scripture. I thought
> it might be an interesting time -- it wasn't. There was simply no
> common ground to begin a rational discussion, as there was no room
> for rationality. There was nothing I could say that would remotely
> alter his beliefs.
> So when I say "impossible" I'm only referring to trying to convert
> the converted. If not impossible, certainly nothing I would attempt
> anymore. Educate the children perhaps, if you can get them out of
> their home-schooled, vouchered, teach-creationism-in-the-classroom
Instead of trying to re-convert the converted, there is a possibility
to talk in the language of the converted. When X has some sort of a
dogma, it might not be fruitfull at all to try to try to change
X's beliefs or even critisize them, but rather to dig the usefull
ideas out of X's approach (if any) and ask for further clarifications
of only the usefull parts, possibly ignoring totally those parts which
are in contradiction with one's own dogma.
Once me and my community-artist friend JP Kaljonen tried approx. the
same thing as you, with Jehova's witnesses. I tried to make them
say two things that they consider as truths, which would have
been paradoxical together, but it appeared to be impossible. No
matter what is the issue, if one's premiss is God, then everything
can be justified based on that. Anyway, within every dogmatic
premiss, there are some issues about which the converted must be
able to speak of, because othervise they would not be converted.
We ended up in ontologizing of the deepest dogma
(cretion->present->eschatology) of seven religions that are based on
the Palestinian tradition. This project should be considered under the
domain of art and ecumeny. Some example pics:
The same kinds of 'religious' dogmatic features can be found
from all people, but especially from scientist, and very
especially from mathematicians; the dream of an unchanging and
controllable world. The funny thing is that even in academic
metaphysics the same kinds of logical/mathematical structures
are used in proving a variety of different sorts of things, and
at the same time logical positivism and logical atomism is
declared as a dead end.
If someone mentions something even slightly religious within a
scientific community, he is crucified.
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