in terms of logic vs religion

I found this very good quote by WL on one the old forums. He draws the intellectual horizon at the limits of logic and posits both the universe and God beyond that. It’s ripped out of context but in itself it carries enough to incite thought.

Also noteworthy the skepticism toward the binary notion of ultimate good and ultimate evil - at ground-level this means that good and evil are not binary opposites, not equals in value, one negative and one positive. It may be interesting to meditate on how Good can exist as an absolute, where evil may only exist as particular notions.

The heart of a good man is such as this.

I can’t figure out what an ultimate anything would be. Is an ultimate good act something which benefits everyone and everything in the universe? It’s difficult to conceive of something which does not have some ‘bad’ effect on someone. Everything is a blend of good and bad, unless you abandon all judgments.

… whatever that may be…


Because, as he said, logic and math are not the limits of religion – religion moves beyond these, is not subject to such crude simplistic oppositions as either/or, +1 - 1 = 0…

The point, I think, is: should we be evaluating or understanding religion from the perspectives of logic and math? Doubtful.

True, but afaik religion uses neither where is posits ultimate evil or good. It may be my ignorance, but to me this appears a bit of a straw man. Belief in existence of moral extremes is based on what is reckoned to be revealed ‘data’; though logic steps in after that. One might say that, if there is opposition to goodness, it is likely to be complete in at least a principle opposer, though that is perhaps a psychological observation rather than a logical one.

Goodness and badness are not logical-mathematical concepts. The idea of a necessary binary, oppositional relation between the two, however, is.

But extremes of either are not necessary.

I never said they were. But they are commonly treated as such. Just as the binary opposition between good and bad is a common meaning in religious thought.

Indeed, you did not.

But not as a result of a mathematical process.

Yes, but on the basis of allegedly revealed thought upon which religions are based.

However people wish to think about the genesis or supportive nature of these ideas, the content of the thought itself is a logical one.

The point is that the basis upon which religious notions of the oppositional, binary and/or necessary nature of goodness/badness rests is a logical-relational one, which, it is being argued here, is strictly speaking not compatible with the actual essence of religious thought.


Precisely where is that argued?

That depends on the religion.

Is there a religion that does not claim some revealed thought?

To exclude logic from religion one would have to ignore “Come, let us reason together.” To exclude logic from religion would be to admit that one function of the human brain has no access to other functions that deal with what is arcane. To exlude logic from religion would find Adam silly for giving names to animals. If religion is to survive its critics, it must not divide body, mind and spirit in order to support myths that do not speak to everyone. It must see being holy as being whole and rightousness as an undivided psyche. (See the “Gospel of James”.)

Arcane = what has been consigned to the cesspit of history, yet fished out by the likes of Pagels and Ehrman.


I think that the emphasis of revelation exists mainly in the Abrahamic faiths.
Buddhism is just a form of thought. Ancient Greek religion seems to have its origin in a set of organically formed notions about the physical and psychological world. Neither of those two has binary notions of good vs bad/evil.

But that is not the task of religion.
I dread theology.

“Silly” is not likely a word one would use in a irrational (I mean supra-rational) state. At least not as a negative judgment.

If religion is to survive its critics, it must stop making claims to reason.

How many faiths did Abraham have? The record of Abraham is that he was justified, i.e. accounted acceptable, by faith, so there can be only one genuine Abrahamic religion. Only one religion qualifies, i.e. holds that people are justified as Abraham was, and that is Christianity (Protestantism). In the Christian record, the person reckoned as the Christ emphasised the existence of ultimate good, but also, equally, that of ultimate evil. No other major religion, such as Hinduism and Sikhism, makes that polarity so clear. So, in effect, the binary notion of ultimate good and ultimate evil is not drawn from logic, but from a single religious source.

Though to answer that previous question, every religion is based on scriptural revelation (as claimed). Buddhism is thought to be not a religion precisely because it has no revelation, because no agent to reveal a scripture. There is no religion that derives a binary moral polarity, of any degree of extremity, on the basis of pure logic.

Though it has always seemed reasonably possible to me to make such a derivation; or a logical one based on common observation.

Theology turns me off also; but, that is a matter of suppositions that conflict with experience. It is not reason vs religion. You cannot divide the human psyche, in which reason is a part, without causing internal and external conflicts, as James recognized. At some time in a life one must get beyond the youthful “VS” that is part of the individuation, dispersion process in order to understand the compassion that comes from realizing we are all in this boat together, that our connectiveness may be our only salvation. In other words, I see spiritual maturity as the abilty to get beyond the surface divisions in an understanding of interconnectivity. The myself, individual, particularization is not wrong; it is just an early stage in the spiritual journey. It is never to be denied or negated,; it is a stage in a process. You seem to see logic in terms of what seems inacessible to its scrutiny or downright wrong as some speculative beliefs you find invalid. This is not the logic I speak of. This is not the logic that is neccessary for survival or any spiritual insights survival allows.