Confucianism Philosophy and Religion


Confucianism, Philosophy and Religion I promised you this lecture long time ago, but haven’t had chance to do it. The topic is: Confucianism, philosophy and religion. It’s not easy! Someone just reminded me saying “this is challenging.” Let’s do it this way – I am going to ramble about, and I have not prepared excessively. I’ll talk about whatever comes to my mind. My goal is to look from a rational perspective at Confucianism, philosophy and religion, especially at religion. We have talked a lot about Confucianism and philosophy, So we’ll focus on religion for today. There will be controversy for sure, but let me declare first of all that this is only my personal opinion. We need to understand each other. People with different beliefs need to understand each other. That is my main objective. But in fact, with religion and faith, we have met a few times in the Analects lectures. We also know that Confucius discussed faith several times. But each time I did not expand on it. I stated that my lecture is not about religion and faith. Why? Because I believe religious belief is private issue. It’s very private and personal, so it is inappropriate to talk about it in public, unless it is stated in advance that we are gonna talk about religion. Unless you made such a statement. Just like the TV program disclaimer – “Some material may be inappropriate for some viewers. “Viewer Discretion is Advised.” You decide whether to continue watching or not. You should state it in advance. Why put religious beliefs into private affairs? Let’s consider the characteristics of privacy. A private thing doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, so that you should not do it. No Let’s take sex for example. Adults have sex lives anyway. You can do it but you should not talk about it. Why not? Because talking about it may offend someone else. All similar things like this are classified as private affairs. Besides sex, other things such as political preference is similar. For instance, after the vote, which will be held soon, did you vote liberal or conservative? After vote, if you don’t know each other very well, do not talk about your voting. Never ask: “who did you vote for?” If you voted the same then it’s not a big problem. But in case you voted differently there will be controversy. So political preference is also about private affairs. By studying Confucianism, we find that Confucius listed many qualifications for being a superior man. If we look at it from a modern point of view, to respect individual privacy should be an important requirement for being a superior man. This item obviously should be listed in. Religion or faith in general belongs to this category, too. When you talk about it in public, and if you share the same beliefs then it’s not a big problem; but in case you have different beliefs there will be controversy. At least it makes others unhappy or uncomfortable, or it makes you unhappy. This is why religious beliefs are not suitable to be talked about in public. Today we have announced it at first, so people who come here must know the contents we are gonna talk about. So we can talk. But to tell the truth, religion is something in which I am interested very much. I merely restrain myself from talking about it. Why am I so interested in it? Let’s begin with my family background. I was born in a Catholic family. I am not here but my father is. Guess which one is my father? This is my father. Do we look similar? This is my father. This is my grand father. This is my grand mother. The one in center is my great grand mother. My grand father has four brothers. This is the oldest one. The second one. My grand father is the third. There is a fourth brother but he is not here. This is the first son of oldest brother. Where was my fourth grand uncle? He was in Rome at the moment. He was priest. We have seen that there were two nuns sitting by my great grand mother. Right? This is my father’s aunt, my grand father’s second sister. This is my grand father’s aunt. Nuns in two generations. According to my grand father, counting back five successive generations from his, there were nuns or priests coming out of the family. The fourth brother I just mentioned was a priest. He lives in Rome at the moment. This is him. What was he wearing? the priest dress. This picture was taken after he was promoted to be priest. He was studying at Angelicum Pontifical University – there are other translations. It is Vatican’s university. He was studying theology there. This group photo was taken with other missionaries. After he graduated from here he attended Lyon University in France for his doctor degree in philosophy. He continued with philosophy study after theology study. Why did he want to study philosophy? He said that if you want to make any idea clear you must explain it from philosophical perspective. He said that I needed to further my studies, so that when I preach I would be able to persuade people better. So he went to study philosophy. After he finished his doctoral study, he no longer believed in God. He abandoned his Catholic belief. He thought that the belief does not accord with Epistemology. But he did not speak out; he abandoned it in his heart at the time, but he did not speak out. So Vatican dispatched him to Brazil St. Paul on mission. They built a church at St. Paul from nothing. Vatican only gave them $7000 and let them try to build a church. The rest of the funds were raised by themselves there. After the Church was built, he focused his ambitions on Chinese culture. His doctoral paper was on a pre-Qin dynasty Chinese philosopher – Xun-zi’s Epistemology. So he was very familiar with Chinese Culture. In St. Paul, besides managing the church he built a Chinese school – the St. Paul first Chinese School. Look at this – this is Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s picture; below is Confucius’ picture. This is him. He was the initiator and founder and also the first principal. Who were on the school board? This person was the chairman of the school board. He was called Kong Zi-Run, and was Confucius’ direct descendant. It was the local overseas Chinese who raised funds and built the school. In 1959 he went back to China. I have told this story. After he returned, he had been taken into custody, assumed as an international spy. On the day he arrived, a police car followed him to see if he had sent telegraphs, and kept moving around in the village in order to catch the radio signals, but of course they caught nothing. Since nothing was found, he was assigned to a middle school to teach English. His aspirations on philosophy research was not fulfilled at all. This is my family background in general. This is why I am not a stranger to religion. I grew up during the “cultural revolution”, and I did not get a standard religious education, because religions were forbidden. Elders could only talk about it secretly at home, and told the Bible stories secretly. I called this lady grand aunt for she was my father’s aunt so I called her grand aunt. I never saw her in nun’s dresses. My deepest impression about her was that she prayed every morning and evening; she did it every day. I myself do not believe in Catholicism. I am an atheist in fact. and I have been an atheist from beginning to end. I don’t have the question of abandoning my belief, not like my grand uncle. I remembered that when I was in around grade 2 or 3, I could read some books at the time, I read a book on evolution. It seemed to me that the book told different stories, and it sounded more reasonable to me. How are human beings evolved; how did the primary life generate. I wanted to debate with my grand aunt, and I took that book to her. I had been prepared in mind that she would scold me for sure Don’t read these books! God will punish you! I thought she would respond like this. But beyond my expectation, until I finished reading it to her, she did not say a single word. She just listened silently and carefully. After I finished reading, she said only one word: Really? This was a big shock to me. I thought – Gosh! What am I doing? Am I persuading her to give up her faith? If she gives it up now, that will be a disaster. She did not get married for being a nun priests do not get married either, but my grand uncle gave it up halfway. He eventually came back and got married. His daughter is one day younger than me. He missed not a thing! But for my grand aunt, if she give up her belief now then her whole life will be ruined. She has no chance to retrieve. Her youth, her family, every thing has been sacrificed. How unthinkable will be the disaster! I suddenly realized that I was doing a silly thing. I should not have told her about this. I remembered that I was not crying, but I ran away immediately. Feeling that she was about to be convinced, I ran away without looking back. From then on I made a pledge – that is – never talk about religion to religious people. This should be an important principle. If we abide by Confucianism’s “Ways to be a superior man”, this should be one of the ways. If you want to convert other people’s beliefs that would be immoral – regardless to convert believers into non-believers or non-believers to believers – I think that’s the same. To convert people’s beliefs is a very bad thing. I’ll never do it again. This is why I always avoid talking about religion. But today we have announced it in advance. I know that people here are with all kinds of beliefs – including Buddhism and Christianity. I want to provide you with an opportunity to see why non-believers don’t believe. This is a trial of mine. My interest in religion did not develop any further while I was in China. I studied Engineering in college, because I thought believers were a minority in China after all, and not popular. It seemed to me that religion is something that can only be secretly talked about at home. When did I change my mind? It was in 2006, when we migrated to Canada. When we came to Canada – Wow! What impressed me the most is that the religious atmosphere is so strong. We landed on a Saturday; on Sunday we had been taken to a church. In the church people chanted ode. It gave me a shock. I thought how come everyone here is a believer? It’s incredible! From then on, my interest on religion was brought back. From then on, we almost went to church every week; every week I went with my children and my wife. Some people asked me: since you don’t believe, why do you go? I went there for only one purpose – to find out why believers believe! Every time I listen to the sermons, I was actually searching from word to word, even the smallest clues that might be the reason for them to believe in God. I was actually searching for this. After I sent my family members here, about one month later, I went back to China to hand over my work over there. The first thing I did when I arrived in Shanghai was going to the big book store on Fuzhou road I stayed at philosophy and religion section for two whole days. I browsed almost every book on religion I could find there, and then bought about five or six books. This book was bought at that time. When I came back I started studying them. I got the answer to my quest eventually, which, I believe, is a satisfying answer. In around 2009, I went back again for some reason. I had to deal with my house there and I went back to Shanghai again. I ran to the book store at the first time. I expected there must be many new books, I wanted to buy more books on religion. I spent a whole day there but purchased nothing. Why not? I didn’t know if I had achieved a great enlightenment, or they did not produce any new achievements. I bought nothing anyway. But I did buy some books on philosophy. This is one for example – The history of western philosophy, and this – Autobiography of Karl Popper. I bought many books on this subject. How did I solve the problem? In fact it was my daughter Vivien who helped me. How did she help? Vivien was afraid of two things: one is bears. She watched a TV news saying that a bear scratched a man’s face, and made it look terrible, so she started becoming afraid of bears. When pass through any dark places, she asks: Oh! Is there a bear? The other one was ghost. I know that some people say there are ghosts in the world, but the ghost she is afraid of was definitely not the kind you image. The kind of ghost she was afraid of wasthe kind that it takes children away whenever the children are unattended. This kind of ghost. She was afraid because her cousin told her a ghost story. so she was so scared. Whenever in day or night, she dare not to stay alone in a room. There must be a person with her, otherwise she thought she would be captured. I said that there certainly is not this kind of ghost in the world. Right? She must be accompanied even in the washroom. It was annoying! I wanted to explain to her from a rational perspective that there is no ghost in the world. I said: Don’t be afraid. That’s only people’s imagination, a fictional story. Well, you are afraid of bears because you watched TV news saying that the bear scratched a man. Right? But do you ever watch a news saying that a ghost kidnapped a child? If it was the fact then it must have been on the news. Vivien said: Dad, you don’t need to explain to me. I know there is no ghost in the world, but I am still afraid. Ah! This is the point. She knows there is no ghost but is still afraid, then you have no way to help her. Why? She is clear in reason, but feels that there is a ghost in emotion. I suddenly realized that to believe in God is the same thing. Does God necessarily need to exist for people to believe? It can be believed all the same. This is human’s instinct. People don’t believe rationally, but they do believe emotionally. I suddenly understood that’s why so many people believe in God. Right? It may not be right. I know that there must be many people who don’t agree with me, but many other people do agree with me. In US, there is an atheist association who hold an event of collecting a slogan, and there was a prize for the winner – the one selected. It is required not to exceed 20 words, and the less the better. Many people took part in it. Which one was the final winner? It was these words: Faith has no reason. Faith has no reason. Faith is actually one kind of human instinct, so believing in God is pretty natural, or the most natural thing. If a person is religious, there is no way to stop him from believing. I had a colleague when I was teaching at collage. She was a member of the China Democratic League. She exercised Fa-Lun-Gong. Later Fa-Lun-Gong was outlawed by the Chinese government. Since she was a democrat, she could not be seized – others had been seized. The way for her is not seizing but persuading. Don’t exercise any more! She ran away – ran to Xinjiang to exercise. She thought that the regulations might be looser over there. Running away to Xinjiang was not OK. My College had sent staff to find her. They asked about where she was and brought her back. I had left the college at that time. Later I met her brother, I asked: “How is your sister doing?” He said: “She’s doing well. “She is no longer exercising Fa-Lun-Gong.” I asked: “how come she stopped?” He said someone from the college had a idea: How about trying to take her to church? So they brought her to church. Only a few sermons later she was baptized. She no longer exercises Fa-Lun-Gong; she became a Christian. That was all right. If this person needs spiritual beliefs, you have no way to ban him from believing. No matter what measure you use you could not ban him. Just like if a person fears ghosts, no matter what kind of means you use, threatening to put him into jail, having him to write a repentant, or write a guarantee, even threatening to kill him, every possible way is tried, he still fears. There is no way. So the Communist Part is not aware of this. I really want to talk with people who are responsible for religion administration. This is the most normal thing in human nature. Is there any scientific evidence to support me? Yes, there is such a book – The God Gene. This scientist was studying on the relationship between smoking and gene. He took a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services for that research project, but he used the money on the side, to his own research. He wanted to figure out the relationship between faith and gene. The result was surprising He saidthat they do have relations. He did find a piece of gene that any person with it may tend to have transcendality. Transcendality is to believe in something you know ain’t so, but you still believe in it. So it is called transcendality – it transcends rationality. This person named this section of gene “the God gene”. I just said that, in fact, believers only believe emotionally, and don’t believe rationally. How come is it the fact? Yes, it is the fact that emotion and reason are not consistent. It is very common – a typical example is losing sense of direction. Do you ever lose your bearings? Let me tell you my experience. When I went to Beijing to attend my college, the first day in Beijing, everything was fresh to me. The counselor showed us around the campus. This is the dining room; that is the public shower room; this is the dormitory. The first day was fresh. I found trouble when I got up on the second day – the sun raised from the north. I realized I lost my sense of direction. But It was too late. Why? Because the campus layout had been printed on my brain. I studied seven and half years in my college, and I got lost for seven years and half. Every day the sun raised from the north. Is there any problem with it? No problem at all. Does not affect eating; does not affect drinking; does not affect sleeping; does not affects studying. Only one thing that is not convenient. What is it? Make a guess. It is not convenient to communicate with others. For instance, if someone says: “Let’s play football today. Gather at the east side of the field.” This gives me trouble. East? I need to turn around in my mind. The east he said is the north in my mind. I need to turn the direction in order to get there. Or to ask someone for directions: “Sir, How do I get to a certain place?” “Well, go on strait forward. See? Next intersection turn west.” Intersection turn west? Which direction is west? I need to turn again. It often happens. So losing bearings is a good example – Rationally you must know that the sun raises from the east, but emotionally you still feel it’s the north. There is no way. This is how emotion and reason are not consistent. This inconsistency of emotion and reason has no problem as long as you don’t talk with others. It only affects communication. In fact believing is the same thing. If you believe, it does not affect eating; does not affect drinking; does not harm society; on the contrary, from your believing you will get happiness and great satisfaction. All these are good, only one thing that is not good – that is the inconvenience on communication. If both of you believe in the same way, then there is no problem. But if not, there will be debate, there will be unhappiness. From my point of view, believing in a religion has only this one problem. All others are OK. This is my opinion, and the example of losing bearings supports me. Someone may say that You said their reason and emotion are not consistent, but they should be consistent. They believe emotionally and also rationally. I would say, no, in fact they don’t really believe. What does it mean by “to believe”? When we discuss anything, according to my grand uncle, we must look at it from the perspective of philosophy. We’d better to clarify what is “to believe” – the real meaning of “to believe”. How can it be called “believe”? There is a theory in philosophy called logical behaviorism. This is an American psychologist called Clark L. Hull. He made the discovery. What is logical behaviorism? Discussing the psychological phenomenon, we must base on objective principle. Given that it is about mental or spiritual phenomenon, you cannot simply take his word for it. He says that he believes or he doesn’t believe. That does not count. Hull gave an example, he said: Let’s say on April 1st, there is a news saying that a tiger escaped from the zoo. Please be careful. Call 911 immediately if you see the tiger. On heard of this news, someone, who may be about to go shopping, thinks: Oh! gosh! A tiger escaped! He locks the door quickly, closes windows as well, then picks up the telephone to call his friends and tell them: “Don’t come out. “There is a tiger outside.” This is one kind of response. The other kind of response is: The man is about to go out, too. Heard of this, “Oh! Tiger escaped! Terrible!” Then glances at the calender – today is April 1st. April’s Fool. Ha! ha! and continues on his way to do whatever he wants to do. Let me ask you: which one of them believes in this news? It is definitely the first person believes Am I right? The second one doesn’t believe. Right? So, Hull thinks that when we judge “who believes, who doesn’t believe”, don’t just listen to his claims. We must see what he would do if something happens, then to determine if he believes or not. If he hears that a tiger escapes, he closes the door and the windows. If he has telephones, he calls his friends. We know he believed. Believing corresponds to a series of actions. If there is not that series of actions, then you could not say he believed. This theory is quite similar as what Confucius said. Confucius had one similar saying as well: To see what method he uses; to observe what path he traverses; to examine what he is at ease with; how can a person conceal himself? What is the meaning? “SHI” is to see, or to observe. To see his “SUO YI”, “SUO YI” means the methods he uses. To see what method he uses; “GUAN QI SUO YOU” “YOU” means path or way, to observe the way he goes; “CHA QI SUO AN” to examine what kind of thing he is at ease with; what motives he has; “REN YAN SOU ZAI” how can he conceal himself? By changing the side component of “SOU” into a hand-side-component, it turns to be another “SOU”, which means “to search”. But this “SOU” is “to hide” – just the reverse. How can people hide their hearts? Because you have a series of actions, your heart… we can guess what you are thinking by observing the series of actions you make. Mr. Shi studied psychology. You should know this. That is it. Hull even extends this to … Let’s see this … In fact, He called this method “IF – THEN system” – such a set of theory. When we discuss a kind of mental status, we actually exam suppose something happens then he will do something, then we will say he thinks like this. This set of theory applies not only to human beings, but also applies to animals. Take mouse for example. I grew up in the countryside. There were many mice. We often use rat poison to kill mice. What do mice feel after they take the poison? They don’t speak, but I know how they feel. They are very thirsty. How do you know that? Because once rat poison is used, we can often find dead mice in the water vault. This won’t happen without using poison. It climbs up the water vat, and see half vat of water. It knows well that it won’t be able to climb up again, but it would rather to die happily. It drinks its fill before die. There is no such things without using poison. But you can often find dead mice in water vats after poison is used. You could see this kind of thing. This can prove that they must be very thirsty after takes the poison. This is the conclusion made from logical behaviorism theory. You don’t need to ask the mouse: are you thirsty? Right? It must be thirsty. When we talk about “believe”, we use the same method. If we recognize this theory, we can do some analysis. I often hear Christians’ testimonies. Once I read a testimony, saying that we believers are always lucky. Lord bless us all the way. Once, in the Chinese new year, new year’s eve, Chinese new year’s eve, we went to pastor’s home to make dumplings. While making the dumplings, her mother – she brough her very old mother with her, her mother was suddenly dying, and stupefied with slobber coming out of her mouth. We were all scared – OMG! What’s happening? So they began to pray immediately. May God bless her and save her. Then the pastor, the pastor was very smart, picked up phone and dialed 911, said that there is situation here. Dialed 911. People kept praying; everyone was praying. After a while, her mother revived. Ah! Ah! What happened? What happened? You have scared us to death. She said: “I feel that I just had a sleep.” What was that? I don’t know. I seem to have had a sleep. How are you right now? I’m all right. I’m OK. All right. Stood up and had a walk. It seemed OK. Every thing is fine. You see? This is the effect of our prayer. Without our prayer you would have passed away. Call 911 quickly, tell them don’t let the ambulance come. Made the call. The ambulance said we are almost there. Is it OK just because you said it’s OK? The doctors should have the final say. The doctor came in and asked: “what’s happening?” “This old lady just fainted.” Had a check, all right. Pay the bill, let’s go. They went away. See? It is good for us to believe in God. God blesses us all the way. This testmony … If we analyze this testimony by using the logical behaviorism theory, is there any problems with it? Yes, there is. According to Christian’s belief, there is Heaven and Hell. Believers will go to Heaven after death; non-believers go to Hell. They are all Christians; they will certainly go to Heaven after death. Your mother has one foot stepped onto the Heaven, why did you pull her back? Is this not a contradiction? If you – according to the logical behaviorism, do believe there is Heaven, it should be that when my relatives or myself are about to go there – that beautiful place, I should be happy. Believing is “if something happens then something else follows.” This is an obvious conclusion. But no, she actually was very reluctant to let her mother go. People may say she was just unwilling to leave her mother. Unwilling makes no sense, for both will go there sooner or later, and see each other over there. So nothing should be unwilling. This shows that they actually do not believe there is Heaven from the perspective of reason. They just felt there should be, or wish that there is. This is the conclusion made from the theory of logical behaviorism. May I say something. She may say that in this world I have not finished all of my businesses yet. They always have reasons anyway. Is there any body who really believes? Let’s think about our Chinese. Based on Chinese tradition, we burn paper money for dead people while visiting the graves. We burn this in order to show more filial piety to dead people. Some one burns mobile phones, since the dead person never used mobiles during lifetime, so burn a paper mobile phone for him, or burn a paper car, even burn a paper BMW. Do they really believe that? Do they really believe there is another world? Not really. If you really believe, why not burn a real car? Light up a real car? Right? They are fake. This Chinese culture is called “Showing no filial piety when alive, all are mischief after death.” Right. Is there any body who believes there is another world? A burnt paper goes to the other world? Yes, there is. Let me give you an example. Boys and girls give me a hand. Come on, two of you. Do you know what is this painting? Let me tell you the history of this painting. It was painted by a famous artist in Yuan Dynasty called Huang Gong-Wang. It is a mountains-and-waters painting, called “Reside in the mountain of Fu-Chun”. Very long. After this painting was completed in Yuan dynasty, over many dynasties, famous people and collectors collected it. When it came to Ming dynasty, there was a collector named Wu Guang Yu. He collected this painting. He treasured it very much. He build a treasure monument especially for this painting. He stored it there, and other collections. While he was dying, because he loved this painting too much, he said: I must take it with me. Not only this painting, also this one. This is the “Thousand Character Classic”. It was written by Zhi-Yong Monk. Zhi-Yong Monk was the seventh grand son of Wang Xi-Zhi, the greatest calligrapher ever in China. He got much of Wang Xi-Zhi’s skill. He wrote this book. He said that I’ll take away these two things. He was dying, and then … How to take it away? He said burn them. His family members had no choice but putting this book into the fire. It’s burnt, but why do you still have it? Zhi-Yong Monk wrote seven or eight copies to send friends. He burnt one copy, and I have another copy. After this book was burnt, they did not burn this painting. They were reluctant to burn it. He said, no! You must let me to take it with me. He refused to die. They had no choice but throwing it into fire put it into a fire pan. Seeing flames coming up, he died. Right at that moment, Wu’s nephew, with quick eyes and deft hands, quickly picked up the painting from the fire, but it had been burnt into two pieces. The longer piece is in Taiwan. This is the shorter one which is in the Zhe-Jiang museum. From then on, it had been cut into two pieces. There should be about two meters in between. OK. Thank you. Put it there for now. Later you can enjoy this painting carefully. It was legendary. This is real believing. Such a precious painting that I want to take it away. Burn it. Do those offering cars really believe? No. They burn paper cars, not real cars. But this one burnt a real painting. According to logical behaviorism, this is called really believing. He did believe there is another world. But to really believe doesn’t mean that there really is another world.
doesn’t mean that there really is another world. Right? Why do you say there is not another world? We have talked about another philosophical theory – the theory of truth. We have had one lecture on this. So I’m not gonna talk about it in detail. Let me just review it again. When we say “this is true”, in fact, according to correspondence theory of truth, it means that the belief corresponds with the fact. Then we would say “It’s true”. The other theory is that your belief does not contradict with other beliefs you already have, then we say it is “true”. This is the coherence theory of truth. There is the third theory – beliefs that are generally accepted are “true”. So there are these theories about truth. Last time we have analyzed them in detail. Correspondence theory, coherence theory, consensus theory. Which theory is correct after all? In fact they do not contradict one another. Correspondence theory is the meaning of truth. When you say “this is true”, it means that it is the same as the fact. This is correspondence theory. But coherence theory is the inspection standard of truth. We cannot check everything through practicing before we believe it. There are many things that you cannot check against facts at all. For example, “Obama speaks English.” Is this true or false? It is true. Why? We can watch him on TV. But “Napoleon spoke French.” esponding with facts” to determine, because you can not hear Napoleon speaking French. There was no TV nor tape recorder at that time. You cannot check if he really spoke French. But why do we believe he spoke French? We use other methods. We check this belief against other beliefs we already have. For instance, we read the history books. Napoleon used to be the President of the First Republic of France, later he made restoration, and made himself the King. Finally he encountered the Waterloo defeat. He used to be French President so he must be French. Right? French people must speak French. All these are the knowledge we already have. “Napoleon spoke French” is not in contradiction with knowledge we already have, so we tend to say it is true. The coherence theory is used to verify the truth. The consensus theory …. The coherence theory implies that we have a basket of beliefs. Take another belief to compare with the beliefs already inside the basket to see if there is any contradiction. But think about the very first few beliefs put into the basket – how do you verify them? There is no other way but general acceptance. Right? That’s it. So the three theories do not talk about the same thing. They debate and debate for nothing. When we judge a belief is true or false, by using the way of one belief contradicts against other beliefs, we can determine it is true or false. Let’s look at this person Wu Guang Yu. He believed there is another world. He believed there is another world. Does this contradict our known beliefs? Yes, it does, although it seems not. For example, when paper is burnt, it becomes ash. For the ash, either its volume or weight can be ignored. Where are the rest of the things? Doesn’t it go to the other world? It seems very reasonable. But let’s think it over. What if he was a chinaware lover, and he loved a pot very much, how could he take that with him? Right? You cannot burn a pot. You smash it to take away? Right? When it is smashed, does it mean that the pot disappears in this world and appears in the other world? Could it be the case? Obviously not, because the smashed pieces can be restored. We can stick them together. It is still in this world, unlike the painting – a burnt painting is no longer there, you may say it goes to the other world, but it doesn’t apply to a pot. So we can see that he cannot explain every thing. He cannot explain the china ware. Now the second contradiction what is it? Suppose there is another world to where dead people go, then the painter must be in that world. After he himself dies, he will meet the painter in person. If he could meet the painter, the painter might have better paintings. Why must you take this painting? Right? Some may say that he worry that cannot find the painter. Too many people. It cannot be the case. In that world, the painter must be a celebrity. You can see him on TV from time to time. There is no way you cannot find him. Celebrities can be found in that world for sure. So if he does believe there is another world, and Huang Gong Wang is now in that world, he should not take this painting away. Huang Gong Wang is the painter of this painting. See? If he believes there is another world, he cannot explain the contradictions I just mentioned. This is to say that he does not abide the coherence theory, so his belief is wrong. I wrote an article especially on this. It is about why… When we accept a knowledge What caused us to believe that it is true? Some may say it corresponds with the fact. We all have been to school and learned Physics. You can do only a few experiments. Most of the experiments cannot be done, but you still believe that the physics laws are true. What is the reason? I wrote such an article called “Proof is more important than conclusion”. What dos it talk about? It talks about… Mr. Jiang should know this – Fermat’s Great Theorem. Fermat was a great French Mathematician. He read the book Arithmetic written by ancient Greek mathematician called Diophantine. There is a formula in this book – which is “the sum of two square numbers equals the third square number”. The Pythagorean theorem. The square of 3 plus the square of 4 equals the square of 5. He wrote such notes beside this theorem: “In contrast, dividing a cubic number into two other cubic numbers is impossible.” That is to say, no matter what numbers they are, cubic plus cubic equals cubic is impossible. For any integer, it’s impossible. Higher than cubic numbers are impossible as well. “For this I have found a wonderful proof. It’s a pity that the space is too small that I cannot write it down.” This was the sentence that people found on his book after Fermat’s death. This finding had created a great sensation in Mathematics world. Oh, yeah, it seems that no cubic numbers plus another cubic number equals the third cubic number. How to prove it? You cannot test them one by one. British Mathematician Wiles had been interested on this for a long time. In June 1993, at Cambridge University, the day was his birthday, he declared that he has solved this puzzle. Ah! After his declaration, telegrams of congratulations flooded him. The major news agents reported the news – This problem has puzzled people for hundreds of years. It seems very simple, but no one has ever solved it. This time it has been solved eventually. In that year, the year of 1993, the Times magazine in US selected him as one of the 25 most influential people all over the world, of that year, including Micheal Jackson, President Clinton. But soon later, Wiles found that there was a fault in the proof. This fault made the whole proof defect and untenable. He sank in the dark. Gosh! What a big shame! So many people have congratulated me. One year later, he and one of his students had a whim – they used an abandoned method and succeeded finally. He wrote a paper on it and said this time he fixed the fault, but this time it was pretty quiet in the mathematics world. No one congratulated him. Why not? Don’t make mistakes again. Too many mistakes. No one spoke, until 2005 people finally said, yes, he proved it. What does this story show? In fact, one cubic number plus one cubic number does not equal to an other cubic number, there is no doubt about it, neither in Mathematics world nor ordinary people. People all acknowledge it is true. But why people were so overcritical to the fault in his proof? Why so overcritical? This is because people always tend to accept knowledge that is correct in reasoning. Understand? The conclusion is less important; the proof is what important. People acknowledge the conclusion. The “why” is more important then the “what”. Understand? If your reasoning process is correct, even your conclusion is against common sense, people will accept it. The Heliocentric theory and the Relative theory are good examples. Think about the Heliocentric theory. From our common sense, the Earth must be the center, and the Sun is orbiting around the Earth. This is common sense. But the logical inference finally proved that the Earth is actually orbiting around the Sun. The reasoning process is correct so people accept it. The Relative theory is even so. According to it that if one man is moving fast and another man moves slow, then the fast man will be younger, and the clock will slow down. This is far away from common sense, but the inference procedure is correct, step by step, there is not a single loophole, so we all can accept it. I must high-light this point: Proof is more important than conclusion. I don’t quite agree with this statement. Go ahead. I cannot express it clearly, but I don’t agree this statement. Why not? Of course the conclusion must be correct. People can not judge the conclusion – I mean ordinary people – they cannot really verify conclusion by practice, but they still believe many things are correct, just because of why do you say so? I believe in that, believe in your “why”. So … What does this mean? We … Regarding theology I don’t care too much about what their conclusion is. Was the Earth… Was the Universe created from Big Bang or by God? Was Human being created by God or evolved? I don’t care about the question. Why not? Because human being has been in existence already; the universe has been in existence anyway. Their origins are not so important. But I care about why do you say so. You have to give me the reason, which is my concern. This is the proving process. Right? I more like the Taoism ideas – the Tao follows the nature. Now I would say that I probably could make it clear why I don’t believe in God. Just because, in their proof, there are too many contradictions. If your conclusion is wrong, either your premises are wrong or your logic is wrong, so that your conclusion is wrong. I can give many examples. I have a believer friend who has a villa by the beach. He invited us to visit his villa. There are eagles around his villa. They are very fierce. If there is a rabbit on the lawn – you cannot see where is the eagle – when the rabbit appears, the eagle whooshes down, grabs the rabbit and flies away. Eagles have sharp eyes, quick speed and strong claws. He has a puppy, but he dare not put it on the lawn fearing that the eagles might take it as a rabbit and grab away. He takes this as a testimony. He said, eagles grab rabbits, how fierce are they! How wonderful are the creatures made by the Creator! So fierce and strong! How great is the Creator! Is there any problem with that? Yes, I’ve heard. He never realizes that rabbits were created by God also! Rabbits are grabbed without any response. This does not mean the creator is great. Rabbits were created by God too! So there is a contradiction inside. He never notices this contradiction, therefore he is wrong. This is one example. Here is another one. I read this on the web. Someone posted it. He said this is a camera, in the front are lenses, this is camera obscura, this is the film, this is the aperture. Then below is an eye ball. The structure of an eye ball is quite similar as the camara. The front is lens, too. This is the vitreous, this is optic nerve like the film, and conduct to the brain. The principles are similar. What did he infer? Take the camera for instance, if I say this camera has evolved into its state, will you believe me? You don’t believe me for sure. It must have a creator. Right? Now that, the eye ball is far more complex than the camera. Does it not have a creator? It should have a creator even more. Right? So, human being must be created by God. What is the problem? Who can tell? If the conclusion is wrong, either the premises are wrong or the logic is wrong. Right? After I read it, I replied the post. I said, let’s discuss it. My interest is to find out where is the contradiction. You need to have this talent. I said, shall we be a little bit metaphysical? Let’s forget about cameras and eye balls. We use A and B instead, which is normal in Mathematics. Can I put your theory like this: A is complex and A has a creator; B is more complex than A, therefore B should have a creator even more. In a metaphysical way, can we express it like this? Is this your original meaning? He said, yes, is there any problem with it? Is there any body who can tell the problem? My question is – your logical inference is correct. Based on your argument you refuted the man who said this, but you did not refute God. You haven’t told us what is the contradiction. This inference is simply wrong. Where is the mistake? Where is the mistake? Well I added one more situation to it. Suppose your logic is right, let’s see. C is more simple than A, then should C have a creator or not? He was muddled, said that it depends on how simple C is. I said, do you mean that there are two kinds of things in the world, one kind has a creator, and the other kind has no creator? He said, no. All things should be created by God. I said OK. That is to say – C is more simple than A but C nonetheless has a creator also. Am I right? He said it should be right, for all are created by God. I said OK – Then – Having a creator or not has nothing to do with whether it is complex or simple. right? He said it seems there is no relation. If there is no relation, then your entire inference is meaningless, because you have a major premise, that is, the more complex the more it should have a creator. In fact complexity or simpleness has nothing to do with having a creator or not. Right? He said yes. See? The major premise he based on has problems May I interrupt you? Your analysis overturned this person’s words, but did not overturn God. Yes! Yes! Yes! Mr. Chen also meant so. This is one of my conclusion – What is it? Whenever someone explains why he or she believes in God, the reason given is always for the audience, not for themselves; the reason is used to persuade others, not to persuade themselves. Their believing is not based on the reason they claim. So – You cannot really refute them by defeating their reason. He gives a reason, and you disprove it. It doesn’t matter. He believes it all the same. This is why we say: Faith has no reason. Faith does not need reason. Right? If a person says I believe in God, that is fine! As long as you do not give the reason. I have no problem with it at all. I am very … I only don’t agree with one point, however, that is you find so many reasons for your believing in God. I just don’t agree with this single point. We have discussed religion for so long. It appears that I think religion is good for nothing. No. Let’s talk about first why does religion exist. Hegel said that all things in existence must have its rationality. Religion has survived until today, there must be reasons for its existence. Voltaire the French enlightenment thinker, said that in 100 years, you will not find the Bible in the world. If you want to read the Bible, you will have to go to museums. By then the Bible will cease to exist, because there is nothing rational in it. What is the fact? Voltaire has died for over 200 years, the Bible is still the top best seller in the world, and there is no sign of its reducing in popularity. So that’s obviously wrong. There must be reasons for its existence. Let’s see – Firstly, it is a kind of moral education. Any religion as long as it can exist, it must be a code of ethics for people. Christianity, Buddhism, whatever religion, Islam as well, all are the same. The rise of Christianity was simply due to the corruption and decline of the Roman Empire. In the later period of the Roman Empire which declined to the end all people became corrupted. Right? This is well known. There was no bottom line in morality – quite similar to the current situation in China. There was no bottom line. People dared to do anything and everything. Then Christianity which had been suppressed until then showed its power. For example, it maintained strict monogamy. It was a strong appeal in that promiscuous world, etc. Universal love – love your neighbor as yourself. These ethical concepts were very good. So – if you read a little about why the Roman Empire declined, you would understand why Christianity rose up. Exactly the case. China, on the contrary, because it has Confucianism, China never had such a crisis. So Chinese culture has continued to this day. Once the Roman Empire declined, it was really over! Secondly, it is a cultural tradition. Many people believe just because they live in that society with that tradition. For example, how to do the wedding ceremony? You cannot let western people to do a Chinese style wedding ceremony; they don’t know how to do it. Right? They can only get married in a church. Funerals are the same. When a tradition is needed, the church provides a ready one. Why not accept it? This is another point. Tradition has great power; never look down upon it. There is not much reason in it though. I often use this example – pay new year call, which is a tradition. During the Spring festival, we must pay a new year call to elders. Is there a reason for doing this? Does it mean that if you pay the call then the elder will live longer? or will not be ill? No There is no reason. But if you won’t pay the call, it really won’t do; You won’t know what to say when you next meet. Right? This is the power of tradition. In fact many people go to church also because of this reason. Thirdly, I think it is the sense of belonging. Malthus did a study … not Malthus … study on the Hierarchy of Needs Theory. Maslow the layers of human needs – one of the layers is sense of belonging. A man must belong to an organization; a man cannot be a waif. That’s impossible. The church actually serves such a function. It is pretty much such an organization for people to belong to. All these are good and are the reasons for its existence. I agree with them. I only do not agree with one thing – i.e. they say their beliefs are rational. This is the only point I disagree with. I agree with all of them except this point. I respect all believers. I also support them, as long as they don’t say their beliefs are rational, which is the only thing I don’t agree. We just mentioned rationality. What is rationality exactly? Again, we have to say it from a philosophical perspective. What is rationality? To my understanding, When we use the word “rational”, such as “he is rational.” “that guy is irrational.” What does it mean? The real meaning of rational is to persuade others by using principles others also accept. This is called rational. If I use principles I accept myself to persuade you, this is not rational. Let’s think it over. When we use the word “rational”, we actually mean this. What do philosophers do? Philosophers study when people say something, what does it mean exactly. That is it. Then Why do I say that some believers are irrational? Let me give you an example. I met a female co-worker at my company. She is a Christian. She preaches to me in lunch hour, and tries to persuade me. I told her the story I just mentioned between my great aunt and me. I said I don’t talk about religion with believers. Sorry, we can talk about philosophy, but I don’t talk about religion. Is that all right? She said, OK, good, let’s talk about philosophy. Could you tell me who invented philosophy? I said, philosophers invented philosophy. OK. Tell me, are philosophers humans? I said, of course they are humans. Where do humans come from? I said my dear! I told you that I don’t want to talk about religion, how come there you go again? I said,well, I said, Human was created by God, right? She said, right. I said, then who created God? Isn’t this Russell’s point of view? Hush! How dare you! You even dare to ask who created God! Do you have a death wish? What can I say to you? I said, what’s the matter with me? Don’t be so mysterious. How can you ask this question? Did you find what is the problem? She believes that God does not need to be created. She takes this as a self-evident truth, and no proof is needed, no explaination is needed. But I don’t think so. If you want to persuade me, you cannot use your principles to persuade me. You must use principles that I agree with. This is why I always tell them that I don’t agree with you simply because you don’t use principles I agree with, nor any principles others agree with to persuade people either. So this is rationality. To be rational, you have to use mutual accepted principles. What is missing in China? Exactly, it is rationality. Since the May 4th movement, we imported science and democracy. It seems that there is no relationship between these two things. Actually they have a common basis, that is reason. Why do you say so? Let’s analyze. Science, What is Science? Science is – I did an experiment. You don’t believe it? Then you can do it yourself. I’ll tell you how to do it; you repeat it yourself. You may do it wrong in some steps; I can tell you the procedures. You repeat it. Isn’t this the principle also agreed by others? I announce everything. If this experiment can only be done by myself, no others can ever repeat it, and I keep it as a secret, and not announce how to do it, but I tell you this is the conclusion. Is this science? No, this is not science. Science must be all accepted. Right? What about democracy? Well, who is suitable for the President? 100 people may have one 100 ideas. What shall we do? You shouldn’t say you are the most suited, and I shouldn’t say I am the best candidate either. What shall we do? Let’s use an all accepted method to determine. What is it? Voting, election. See that? All people involved in election agree that whoever gets the majority of votes should be elected. Right? That is to persuade others by using principles others also accept. So both science and democracy are rational. But in China, since the May 4th Movement, intellectuals did not see this point. To import science alone or to import democracy alone is useless. Yesterday I was talking with Mr. Chen. India is also kind of Democratic, but its society is also chaotic, please excuse my wording. One thing alone won’t do. First thing is to establish reason, to import reason. This is one of my point of view. The rationality – I just talked about has a very good example, which is Euclidean Geometry. Euclidean Geometry has a set of axioms. Definition plus axiom plus logic equals the theorem. Well Axioms are principles universally accepted; logic is also universally accepted; the deduced conclusion will be all accepted. This is a good example of rationality. So the Euclidean geometry is not only significant in Mathematics, it is even more significant in philosophy, for it provides a set of examples – the best examples of reason. I often talk like this, but someone asked me: how to guarantee the truthfulness of axioms? Right? Didn’t I say that proof is more important than conclusion? Someone asked me immediately: please prove that straight line is the shortest distance between two points. How to prove it? I answered, that doesn’t need proof. That is an axiom. Passing a point outside a strait line, only one strait line can be drawn to parallel with it. Please prove it. I said this needs no proof either. It’s axiom. How to guarantee axiom’s truthfulness? First, it must be coherent to facts. But as we know, facts cannot solve all problems. Then how to guarantee it? It is guaranteed by “generally recognition” – all people in their right mind recognize it. This point guarantees it. Is there any body who does not recognize the axioms in Euclidean geometry? There probably be some, but all those people are in hospitals. Euclidean geometry axioms, you may recognize them, you may not recognize them. Under the premise of recognition, you can deduce a set of theories. If you do not recognize one axiom you can also deduce a system without any contradictions. This axiom of Euclidean geometry – straight line is the shortest between two points – is what we get from daily life. If on an object moving in the speed close to light speed, we can not measure the length – that is to say we simply don’t know the notion of lengths of objects, and the distance between two points. We cannot make it clear under these circumstances. we have no way to understand – or under that circumstance – Euclidean axioms may not be right. Even if it is correct, it is not absolute. There is no absolute truth; religions speak on absolute truth. There is no such thing as absolute truth. There’s still a little bit of time. It comes to my key point. We just talked about Christianity, or other religions, have many significances in them; they are merely not rational. Then, I was thinking: can we create a religion which has both those positive significances and also is rational? I have been pondering this question. I finally found it – there is a religion which has both rationality and those positive significances I just mentioned. This is Confucianism. This is the reason why I am intoxicated by Confucianism. I’m telling the truth. This is really the journey of my heart. Why do I say Confucianism is rational? We just defined rationality, according to my own understanding. Let’s see what Confucianism’s basic values are. You see – Once Confucius after class stopped Zeng Zi (or Zeng Shen) and said: my Way is threaded through by a single string. i.e. my theories are about one single thing.
and said: my Way is threaded through by a single string. i.e. my theories are about one single thing. What did Zeng Zi say? Wei! i.e. Yes I know Confucius saw that he understood, so he went out. After he left, other students couldn’t understand. What does the Master mean by “a single thread?” What does it mean? Zenf Zi said: Master’s Way is merely about loyalty and empathy. All of Master’s theories are about these two words. Was Zeng’s understanding correct? Pretty close. Let’s see what did Confucius said himself. Zi Gong once asked: Master, you have overwhelmed us. There are too many things. Can you make it simpler? Use one single word to summarize your theories. Could you do that? “Is there a single word that one can practice throughout life?” One single wordthat one can do according to in his whole life. Confucius thought a while, and said: “is it ’empathy’?” “What you don’t want, never do it to others.” “Qi Shu Hu?” means it is probably empathy. If to summarize Confucius’ theory with one word, Confucius thought it would be “empathy”. Zeng Zi’s interpretation was pretty close. He summarized it into two words: “loyalty” and “empathy”. Therefore I believe the word “empathy” is the essential part of Confucianism. Why is it rational? We talked about the word “empathy”. Let’s see the construction of this word – “like” and “heart”. i.e. to compare one’s feeling with other’s; i.e. to extend one’s own feeling to others; i.e. to put oneself in the place of another; i.e. to think from other’s position. whatever such sayings in your mind is empathy. This is what I just said – I persuade you by using principles you also recognize. Is this not rational? I think Confucianism is rational. After we finish the Analects lecture, we don’t have time to summarize it. In fact there are several places in the Analects that speak of beliefs. For example, Fan Chi asked about wisdom. Confucius said: to apply one self to people’s duties – what the people need most, you should do it from heart and soul. To revere spirits and gods but keep away from them. As to the deity beings, you can revere, but don’t take it too seriously. That may be called wisdom. That is wisdom Don’t take deity seriously, it is called wisdom. This is another saying – another one is: The Master does not speak of mysterious forces and chaotic gods. I don’t agree with the punctuation: mystery, force, disorder, gods. It should be mysterious forces and chaotic gods. Confucius never talked about these things. Then this one: When Confucius was very ill, Zi Lu wanted to pray for him. Confucius said: is there such a thing? It means is it helpful? My understanding is: Does prayer help? Zi Lu said: Yes, Eulogy says – Eulogy may actually be just the memorial speech, we are not quite sure about it – “Pray thou to gods in Heaven and Earth.” Pray for you to gods above and below. Isn’t it useful? If it’s useless, why was it recorded? What did Confucius say? “I have prayed for a long time.” I myself already prayed for long, but I’m still sick like this. Is it really useful or not? I myself have prayed for a long time. Also this – Zi Lu asked about spirits and gods “How to serve spirits and gods?” “Confucius said: you cannot serve men yet, how can you serve spirits?” Right? “Zi Lu asked again: I venture to ask about death.” What happens when people die? “Confucius said: you don’t even know life yet, how can you know death?” Neither was answered positively. You don’t even know how to serve a man, why do you want to know how to serve spirits? Figure out human first, Figure out life first. This is the consistent position of Confucius on faith. Let’s see how Chaung Tzu summarized it. In his book “On the Equality of Things”, Chaung Tzu had this saying: Outside the six directions, the sage keeps it but not speaks about it; inside the six directions, the sage speaks about it but not evaluates it; in his book “Spring and Autumn”, which records the governing of past kings, the sage evaluates it but not debates on it. What is “outside six-directions”? Six-directions: up, down, left, right, front, back. This is called “six-directions”. the 3D space. Things outside the 3D space, the sage keeps them open but does not speak about them. Things in four-dimensions or five-dimensions, he keeps the question open. He does not deny it either, nor to talk about it. This is called “keeps it but not speaks about it”. Things inside six-directions, means things in the world, the sage speaks about them but he will not evaluate them. Speak about means talk about, he talks about it, but he doesn’t evaluate it. Is it good or bad? “‘Spring and Autumn’ records the stories about the governing of past kings”. “Spring and Autumn” is a history book written by Confucius. In the book he recorded the stories of how past kings administrated their states. The sage evaluates but does not debate. The sage would comment on the stories, but would not debate on them. If someone wanted to debate with him, he wouldn’t debate it. This is sage’s attitude about those things beyond the six-directions. or mainly to “outside six-directions”. Regarding deity and things in the four-dimensions, Confucius took this attitude. I think this is a very good attitude. That’s OK, as long as you believe it by yourself, and don’t discuss it with others. Many people read this book. This is also my Bible. I drew lines on every page. I made notes on every part I have read. After I finished reading this book, I have a … Time has run out – I wrote an article called “Why debates produce no conclusion?” It discusses why people debate, why no one can persuade others, About this question, after I read this book – History of western philosophy – I suddenly understood. “History of western philosophy” is a great book of Russell. In the preface of this book, he said Every philosopher of whom I treat is better known to some others than to me – Leibniz is a possible exception. He calls himself the expert of Leibniz As to Leibniz, t is well known that he and Newton invented calculus independently. They even went to court for this issue. You copied me, you copied me, fighting and lawsuits about this. But Leibniz had another invention, which was discovered by Russell from his posthumous manuscript. This is mathematical logic. But he did not publish it during his lifetime. Russell said, It would have been enormously important if he had published it; he would, in that case, have been the founder of mathematical logic, which would have become known a century and a half sooner than it did in fact. But he did not publish it. Who published it eventually? It was Boole, so now we call mathematic logic the Boolean Algebra, another English mathematician. Mathematical logic, invented by Leibniz is very important. It is the basic theory of modern Computer Science. Right? He symbolized Aristotle’s syllogism and formal logic, and also standardized them to develop his theory. He certainly knew its significance, for he himself called it Characteristica Universalis. He said, if we had it, we should be able to reason in metaphysics and morals in much the same way as in geometry and analysis. We’d be able to reason in such abstract things. If controversies were to arise, there would be no more need of disputation between two philosophers than between two accountants. In case ledgers don’t match just recalculate them. He said, philosophers would be the same. If controversies were to arise, philosophers would not need to dispute, for it would suffice to take their pencils in their hands, to sit down to their slates, and to say to each other: let us calculate. Philosophers would do it by calculating. Since it was so important, why did he not publish it? Russell thought that he discovered that his theory doesn’t solve any problems. Since he respects Aristotle so much, he thought it should not be Aristotle’s fault, the errors must be his own. He dared not to publish it during his lifetime. What are the problems with Aristotle’s syllogism? Russell did not say, Leibniz did not say either, but we can find many examples. For instance, during the cultural revolution, there was a movie called “Pioneers in Petroleum Industry”. In the movie there was a plot of Premier Zhou sending two philosophical books of Mao to Da Qing oil field. It was said to undermine Chairman Mao. So the Gang of Four criticized the movie – They were actualy criticizing Zhou Enlai through criticizing the movie. The producer said how about submitting it to Chairman Mao for review? So Mao Zedong watched it. Mao Zedong evaluated it and decided that “Pioneers in Petroleum Industry had no major faults, and recommended its production.” Well, with these words, the producer said Chairman Mao said the movie has no major faults. Your criticizing is wrong. But the Gang of Four said How come the criticizing is wrong? Chairman Mao said the movie has no major faults, but no major faults doesn’t mean there are no faults. Every fault should be criticized. How come it is wrong? Both of them based on the same instruction of Chairman Mao, the logic was alright, but why are the conclusions completely different? The reason is that the word “major” is used. Pioneers in Petroleum Industry has no “major” faults. Such words as major, minor, good, evil are values, not facts, Therefore, if reason is based on values then its conclusion varies. You may come to this conclusion, you may also conclude that conclusion. This is the problem. This is the reason why people debate and debate but could not come to a conclusion. They must use words like good, evil, big, small, long, short. They must use these words to reason. And that is my conclusion in that article. Before close, a question for you. Please look at this painting – this is a British painter called John Millais. The title of the painting is “the blind girl”. This is a blindperson and a little boy who is not blind. There are two rainbows in the sky. Who can tell us what does the painting mean? Does it have anything to do with religion or philosophy? If you … Has anyone of you ever seen this painting? No. This painting “the blind girl”, we can’t see the meaning of it, but in fact it is a painting with profound philosophical meanings, even with profound religious meanings in it. What does it mean? This girl cannot see, the boy can see the rainbow. Is there a way for the boy to make the blind girl believe there is a rainbow in the sky? This is what this painting attempts to express. This is a method that preachers often use: say I ask you to believe but you don’t believe; you must have me to prove God’s existence. In fact you would see God only if you believed. You would see deity, but you don’t believe, just like there is a rainbow in the sky, and I tell you there is a beautiful rainbow; you close your eyes and you never open your eyes. I have no way to prove to you that the rainbow is in the sky, as soon as you open your eyes, you will see it yourself. This is a frequently used metaphor by preachers. This is what the painting wants to say. Now let’s answer this question from a rational perspective. Can you prove to a blind man that there is a rainbow in the sky? Yes, you can. you cannot prove it directly but you can prove it indirectly. Preachers say that I have no way to prove it to you, but there is a way to prove it. What is the way? If you talk to a blind person – blinds people hold canes when walking. Blind people may think everybody is blind if they are born blind. They think everybody holds a walking cane. How do you prove the rainbow to him? You say, there is a rainbow in the sky. He would say, I don’t believe it. You can’t see either, how do you know? How to prove it? You can prove it this way. You say: Wait! Be careful! There is a tree ahead of you. He may say: where is the tree? It is in front of you. You will reach it shortly. When he reaches the tree – Oh! There is a tree! This blind man will think: maybe he is not blind. Why? I did not feel the tree with my stick, but he said there is a tree a while agoand evidently there was! This means that he is not blind. He can feel what I cannot feel. Right? OK. If that’s the case, he said that there is a rainbow in the sky, which is likely credible. So you have to prove … if you cannot prove it directly, you prove it indirectly, i.e. by using the tree to prove that I can see something you cannot see. I can feel things that you cannot feel, so that to prove another thing. This is the meaning that the painter wanted to express. Preachers say there is no way to prove it. If you think it is an objective reality, you always have ways to prove it. There are no direct ways but there must be indirect ways. You can prove it indirectly. If you say that there are no ways to prove it, then we can only say it does not exist. The problem is missionaries often prove it wrong. Yes This is the idea expressed by this painting. There are many topics on religion. All these are hot topics. We are not going to talk about them –
All these are hot topics. We are not going to talk about them – I just want to see if you know them. Pascal Wager – who has ever heard of this? Pascal is a great Mathematician. He’s also a theologist. He said, you don’t believe in God. Let me tell you, to believe is always better than not to believe. If there is no Heaven and Hell, believers don’t lose anything; but non-believers will lose greatly in case there is. He was only discussing about one God vs no gods. What about five gods vs no gods? Let’s firstly disregard the numbers of gods. This is Pascal Wager. If you don’t believe you may lose a lot; if there is no Heaven there is nothing to lose. So according to this theory you should believe. Second one is rock and watch – say that I find a rock on the road, I may think the rock has been there forever. But if I find a watch and I said that the watch has been here forever, do you believe me? you certainly don’t! It must be made by someone and was lost here. Then think it reversely – why can’t you say the rock was also made by someone? How to solve this problem? In fact my argument about complexity and simplicity kindly solved this problem. There is also the Infinite Regression problem. i.e. if humans were created by God, but who created God? Right? They say you cannot ask who created God. You cannot ask about this. If I cannot ask that question, then why do you ask who created human? I must add something here. Normally people imagine God as having human’s shape, but in my imagination, God is not a personified god. What he is? God is like the Tao in Taoism. He is the universe. That is deism. He is infinite. You cannot ask where does infinity come from. This is Infinite Regression – to which step you should not ask where it came from? Is there a problem? Where is the line? Think it over. I solved this problem; I know where is the line. And also the validity of metaphor – I just used many metaphors. Not only philosophers but also scientists use metaphors as well. Someone asked Hawking, who was very old and not well in health, do you believe in afterlife? Hawking said, I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers. It is the same for humans, therefore I don’t believe in life after death. After the news was posted, a Christian replied: I am a human, not a computer. Your metaphor is wrong Right? Let’s think it over. Suppose a Pastor says: A computer must be created by its creator, right? How come a man does not have a creator? It has!That is God! If we use this metaphor, that Christian must not say: I am a human, not a computer! then I don’t… have a creator. He must not say so. Please think about it. Regarding the same metaphor, why is the reaction so different? Same for atheists but in the opposite way Why? How can a metaphor be considered valid? I have solved this problem. It’s a pity that there is no time today. I spent too much time. Once again, I declare that this is only my own opinion. I have no intention of converting anyone’s belief. I merely wanted to provide you with another point of view – why non-believers don’t believe. I only wanted to accomplish this goal. Thank you very much!

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