Does God Exist?

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Mahou
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Mahou » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:35 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
Mahou wrote:This is the same as the theory of gravity, which no one seems to have a problem believing in.

Not to needlessly complicate things, but gravity really isn't a theory. It's a natural phenomena and a fundamental interaction. People believe it on the micro scale (Earth) because it's a tested and repeatable fact.

Only when you go macro, and start explaining it with general relativity do you get to theory. And I'd suggest that most people do not understand the idea of general relativity, never mind believe it is true.


At the risk of going off-topic, I'd like to just quickly respond. Gravity itself isn't a theory, I believe the official name is the theory of universal gravitation or gravitational theory. There is a theory describing the process of the fact of gravity though, and that's what I was referring to.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby RoadieRich » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:42 pm UTC

44 stone lions wrote:
a_toddler wrote:that essentially is the leap of faith involved in science. Of course it doesn't feel like it, and everyone does it all the time. But my point is that science, following that assumption (or leap of faith), has proven to work consistently. I have been putting forward that to truly "know" anything, one must make a leap of faith regarding how that knowledge is founded.


The "leap of faith" you describe is not a leap of faith at all. You are right in saying it is an assumption, but it is not a leap of faith. Let me give you an example:

Say someone was trying to invent something, for example a lightbulb.

That person is must find a material that can be used for the filament, as well as finding the correct size to make that filament to give the best result.

What that person would do is, using their knowledge and some research, find what they thought to be the best material for the filament. Then they would make a prototype and test it to see if it works. If it does YAY! If it doesn't then it is back to the drawing board for them. And so the process continues.

At no point is a "leap of faith" involved.

"Faith" is believing something without proof. At no point in the example did this happen. What was made was an educated guess that was then rigorously tested, at no point before the testing proved that the prototype worked did the inventor believe it worked. He may have thought it would work, or hoped it would work, or had a hunch that it would work but he wouldn't believe that it worked until he had 100% proof. And since his believe is based upon evidence it is not faith.

An example of a leap of faith in the context of the above story would have been skipping the testing phase and putting the prototype into full production without knowing if it worked or not but "believing" that it would, you tell me which you think to be the wiser course of action.

There is a "leap of faith" in that situation that you missed: that such a material suitable for creating a usable filament exists.

If you saw something glowing because of a current passing through it, there is no evidence that you are not witnessing the maximum possible light output for all combinations of parameters, due to some unknown physical principle. Without taking a "leap of faith", you would not think to test other materials - and, in some hypothetical universe in which you were witnessing the maximum light output, you might look just a little silly once the underlying facts were discovered.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:11 pm UTC

RoadieRich wrote:If you saw something glowing because of a current passing through it, there is no evidence that you are not witnessing the maximum possible light output for all combinations of parameters, due to some unknown physical principle. Without taking a "leap of faith", you would not think to test other materials - and, in some hypothetical universe in which you were witnessing the maximum light output, you might look just a little silly once the underlying facts were discovered.

Testing a hypothesis isn't a leap of faith just because there is no guarantee that you won't or can't prove it incorrect - that's why you test it in the first place.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby RoadieRich » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:19 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:
RoadieRich wrote:If you saw something glowing because of a current passing through it, there is no evidence that you are not witnessing the maximum possible light output for all combinations of parameters, due to some unknown physical principle. Without taking a "leap of faith", you would not think to test other materials - and, in some hypothetical universe in which you were witnessing the maximum light output, you might look just a little silly once the underlying facts were discovered.

Testing a hypothesis isn't a leap of faith just because there is no guarantee that you won't or can't prove it incorrect - that's why you test it in the first place.

Perhaps I was imprecise: I was suggesting that the leap of faith is in actually forming the hypothesis, not in the testing.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:26 pm UTC

RoadieRich wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:
RoadieRich wrote:If you saw something glowing because of a current passing through it, there is no evidence that you are not witnessing the maximum possible light output for all combinations of parameters, due to some unknown physical principle. Without taking a "leap of faith", you would not think to test other materials - and, in some hypothetical universe in which you were witnessing the maximum light output, you might look just a little silly once the underlying facts were discovered.

Testing a hypothesis isn't a leap of faith just because there is no guarantee that you won't or can't prove it incorrect - that's why you test it in the first place.

Perhaps I was imprecise: I was suggesting that the leap of faith is in actually forming the hypothesis, not in the testing.

but it's not. a hypothesis is a best guess. it's not a leap of faith. at least not by any definition i've ever heard of for "leap of faith" as a concept.

a leap of faith would be (as previously stated) concluding that item X makes the best filament without testing item Z.

looking at the physical evidence (i.e. physical properties of tungsten) and making an educated guess as to what you think is going to happen isn't a leap of faith, because, while you may hold certain hopes about what will happen (because you'd like to be right) you don't make any assertions about the outcome.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:29 pm UTC

RoadieRich wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:
RoadieRich wrote:If you saw something glowing because of a current passing through it, there is no evidence that you are not witnessing the maximum possible light output for all combinations of parameters, due to some unknown physical principle. Without taking a "leap of faith", you would not think to test other materials - and, in some hypothetical universe in which you were witnessing the maximum light output, you might look just a little silly once the underlying facts were discovered.

Testing a hypothesis isn't a leap of faith just because there is no guarantee that you won't or can't prove it incorrect - that's why you test it in the first place.

Perhaps I was imprecise: I was suggesting that the leap of faith is in actually forming the hypothesis, not in the testing.

Let's use the lightbulb example: I'm going to hypothesize that reducing the diameter of the filament I'd previously developed by half will improve the efficiency of the lightbulb.

Where's the leap of faith?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Mahou » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:38 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:
RoadieRich wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:
RoadieRich wrote:If you saw something glowing because of a current passing through it, there is no evidence that you are not witnessing the maximum possible light output for all combinations of parameters, due to some unknown physical principle. Without taking a "leap of faith", you would not think to test other materials - and, in some hypothetical universe in which you were witnessing the maximum light output, you might look just a little silly once the underlying facts were discovered.

Testing a hypothesis isn't a leap of faith just because there is no guarantee that you won't or can't prove it incorrect - that's why you test it in the first place.

Perhaps I was imprecise: I was suggesting that the leap of faith is in actually forming the hypothesis, not in the testing.

Let's use the lightbulb example: I'm going to hypothesize that reducing the diameter of the filament I'd previously developed by half will improve the efficiency of the lightbulb.

Where's the leap of faith?

I dunno, I think you both have a point.
Roadie is right in saying that when a hypothesis is formed, there's usually no basis to support it, which is why the testing is necessary.
However, that's not quite faith, since faith is BELIEF without evidence, and no one believes an untested hypothesis. They simply posit it as a cool idea that they'd like to look into further.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:42 pm UTC

Mahou wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:
RoadieRich wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:
RoadieRich wrote:If you saw something glowing because of a current passing through it, there is no evidence that you are not witnessing the maximum possible light output for all combinations of parameters, due to some unknown physical principle. Without taking a "leap of faith", you would not think to test other materials - and, in some hypothetical universe in which you were witnessing the maximum light output, you might look just a little silly once the underlying facts were discovered.

Testing a hypothesis isn't a leap of faith just because there is no guarantee that you won't or can't prove it incorrect - that's why you test it in the first place.

Perhaps I was imprecise: I was suggesting that the leap of faith is in actually forming the hypothesis, not in the testing.

Let's use the lightbulb example: I'm going to hypothesize that reducing the diameter of the filament I'd previously developed by half will improve the efficiency of the lightbulb.

Where's the leap of faith?

I dunno, I think you both have a point.
Roadie is right in saying that when a hypothesis is formed, there's usually no basis to support it, which is why the testing is necessary.
However, that's not quite faith, since faith is BELIEF without evidence, and no one believes an untested hypothesis. They simply posit it as a cool idea that they'd like to look into further.

well, no, even then you're talking about the difference between a wild guess and a hypothesis. a hypothesis has some basis in evidence/fact other wise you wouldn't come up with it to begin with, and if you did, it would be called a wild guess.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby 44 stone lions » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:43 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:Let's use the lightbulb example: I'm going to hypothesize that reducing the diameter of the filament I'd previously developed by half will improve the efficiency of the lightbulb.

Where's the leap of faith?


Exactly, he may not know with any certainty that it would make things better, worse or not change things at all. There is no definite statement or "this WILL work" there is a hypothesis of "this might work" or maybe "this will probably work".

The only way a leap of faith could be added to the example which includes a test would be if you held the lightbulb agaist your face (or other more important body parts :wink: ) because you believed that I wouldn't explode.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:57 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:
Mahou wrote:I dunno, I think you both have a point.
Roadie is right in saying that when a hypothesis is formed, there's usually no basis to support it, which is why the testing is necessary.
However, that's not quite faith, since faith is BELIEF without evidence, and no one believes an untested hypothesis. They simply posit it as a cool idea that they'd like to look into further.

well, no, even then you're talking about the difference between a wild guess and a hypothesis. a hypothesis has some basis in evidence/fact other wise you wouldn't come up with it to begin with, and if you did, it would be called a wild guess.
Right; perhaps I stumbled across one lightbulb that shines brighter than others and noticed that the imprecision of the fabrication left it a little thinner, and decided to confirm that this was the reason. Or perhaps I did some theoretical calculations and came to this conclusion. Perhaps I was just feeling curious and decided to test this notion for the sake of it.

The only "faith" I have in any of these scenarios is in the fact that I don't know the answer for certain, and would therefore like to find out, and it can hardly be considered a leap of faith to assume that you might not understand something you're unfamiliar with. That's the nature of a hypothesis - it's a statement regarding the nature of something of which you don't fully understand that serves to lead to understanding it.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:43 am UTC

a LOT has happened in 12 hours...so I'm going to confirm what I can...these are the replies to the points I have been making, followed by my replies:

1) Where is the leap of faith in science? - The leap of faith is found within the fundamental assumption of science, that is, if something happens once, twice, a thousand times before; it will happen again. This is where the idea of experimentation to prove a hypothesis comes from. As I've mentioned earlier, you cannot say the future will be consistent simply because in the past, the future was consistent.. For example, water has always boiled at 100 degrees (celcius...I'm Australian). I cannot know for certain that tomorrow it will not boil at 20 degrees. I can be pretty damn sure, but not certain (Mahou has pointed this out already).

Okay, so someone has kindly pointed out that:

uncivlengr wrote:a_toddlers' argument is essentially that you can't "absolutely" prove that the material you tested wouldn't cease to exist tomorrow, or turn into a bowl of grapes, so I'd be perfectly justified in believing either of those things, or anything else I could come up with.


Granted - this is only half my point. The annoying this is that I argue half my point and then when I'm done, I find I have to argue the other half again. So here is the other half, all in one place!

As I've said before, the key here is consistency. I DO believe in science because it has so far proved to be consistent within itself. Same goes for maths (although I'm aware most people consider this within science), and same goes for Christianity. My FULL point is, the "truth" of anything requires some sort of leap of faith. My personal method of distinguishing between such truths is to look for consistency between it's claims.

Basic example; if someone told me <this> and <that>. My leap of faith is that whatever they told me is true. However, if <this> and <that> are inconsistent with each other, or it <this> and/or <that> are inconsistent with what I already hold as true, then I would need to re-examine. Hopefully my point is clear! :)

2) Your argument is circular! - My answer is. Yes. I've conceded that. In fact when I first brought it up, I pre-empted it. My point about why seems to have been ignored. Here again, is said point:

When one decides to choose something as the highest authority (ie. when push comes to shove, this is what will decide what I believe), the thing which is of highest authority must support itself circularly. If I believe it's the Bible, for example, I can't say "because logically, I can deduce this is the case", because this would mean I would hold logic to be of highest authority. This is why I keep giving that quip about "Why should logic be our highest authority?" saying "because I see no reason otherwise" or "because it's logical to do so" is circular.

Now I used to leave it at that, but I realised I must round up my point or people get angry that I'm somehow using logic to say logic is stupid. Okay, so my point is this. You claim logic to be your highest authority. I put that this claim has to be circular, otherwise if you could validate it via other means, this means would instead be your highest authority. So if someone says "I believe that the bible is God's word, and whatever within it is true, then yes.", instead of just going:

Azrael wrote:

That's the worst circular argument I think I've ever seen.

Does the Easter Bunny exist? If I assume that the baskets the Easter Bunny brings to children are brought by the Easter Bunny...


You should realise, "Oh ok, so this person places the bible as their highest authority."

Now for the sake of consistency, I'd also add that this is indeed my stance, however in my experience I have yet to come across something which causes conflict between my highest authority (the bible) and my second highest (logic). Which kinda leads to the most recent topic of:

3) Evolution. Kgo - to which I say: Genesis 1 (the bit where God creates the world in 6 days) is not a literal account. I sort of assumed this was common knowledge, but it is evident from the historical context of when Genesis was (supposedly) written, and from the literary genre itself that this was not a historical recount. The point of Genesis 1 was to tell the Israelites that "yes, you may have heard all these accounts from your heathen neighbours as to how the world began. Well long story short, it was God that made the world.". Someone has noted that:

Mapar wrote:(and I also feel the obligation to say that "goddidit" is pure crap as an explanation. This has been pointed out multiple times. It doesn't explain anything. Evolutionary theory does, it makes falsifiable predictions, none of which have failed the test so far.)


Well yes. Science is the ability to explain the world without having to refer to "goddidit" (lol, that's a clever phrase! I'm filing it away for future use :p). Why did the apple fall? Not because "goddidit", but because objects with mass have gravity which acts upon other objects with mass. Just an example btw, if i failed to describe gravity, please don't tunnel vision your next point into it please :p

4) Inexplicable evil exists, how can you prove God exists and what if God exists but isn't as described in the bible? - the short answer, however obnoxious, is read the bible. It has a (what I reckon) decent explanation of the source of evil and God's stance on said evil and how a good God co-exists with such evident 'evil'. Beyond that, I can't really answer your question, seeing as "prove God exists" is in the ballpark of "prove evil exists".

I realise now that your:

sje46 wrote:It's a hypothetical situation. You can't just say "Well I don't believe in that" to get out of a hypothetical question. So I'll ask you again: if God exists, but the Bible is false, and God told you at the pearly gates that the correct morality is to cause as much suffering as possible, would you accept that as the correct morality?


is purely hypothetical and you weren't trying to make me prove something that I didn't believe. Okay. Well my response to God at that point would go along the lines of "Wtf? Screw you.". I believe I have answered your hypothetical? So why listen to God at all? Well it seems you insist on describing a God which is inconsistent to the one described in the bible, in which case I can't really answer you because that's not what I believe.


Awesome. That took me more than an hour, and I know I didn't (and can't) answer it all. Outnumbered at least 4 to 1 and in a different timezone = lengthy lengthy response that only covers like a third of replies.

TL;DR: I tried to make it as readable as possible. I also tried to make it so that you can read the points u find interesting. So read it!

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Mahou » Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:24 am UTC

If my answers are sparse, it's because it's late and this is the last thing I will post before going to bed. So forgive me if it's not up to snuff.

1) Faith, by definition, must be a belief with no grounding. Past experience is a grounding, thus making those assumptions not based on faith. In addition, no one claims any certainty about our conclusions, making it a guess, not a belief. So on both counts, scientific assumptions are not leaps of faith.

2) Logic is not a thing. It cannot be an ultimate authority because it isn't an authority at all. It's a process and a method of observation and critical analysis. I have no ultimate authority and I reject the idea that we need one. Not all reasoning is circular and circular reasoning is always illogical.

If you wish to get snoody about it, I'll say that I am the authority on what I do and do not accept, but I would hesitate to say I'm the ultimate authority since all of my opinions are subject to change should circumstances change.

3) You seem to be comfortable accepting evolution, which is good. I have very little to say here. I suppose I'll just say that there's no reason to suppose a deity was involved with creation, and thus the act of creation is not evidence for the existence of god.

4) This last point kind of combines Socrates' Euthyphro Dilemma and Epicurus' argument against god, so I'll address them individually.
The Euthyphro Dilemma asks "Are laws good because god loves them, or does god love laws because they are good?" If it's the former, then this means that the laws are arbitrary and based on nothing but the whim of a being which is disconnected from reality. If it's the latter, then it means that laws and morality are not determined by god and he isn't necessary to make them. So either way, god kinda comes out bad on this one.

Epicurus argued more along the lines of what I think you're mostly addressing, which is the problem of evil. His exact quote is:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"
- Epicurus

What this argues is that it's impossible to have a god that knows everything, can do anything, and is still good. The existence of evil means that god either
1) can't stop evil, making him a weak god
2) won't stop evil, making him evil himself, or at least not good.
or
3) can't AND won't, in which case he's really not deserving of any praise or respect at all.

Ultimately, both of these arguments are made granting the god hypothesis to be true in the first place, so neither are really necessary when talking about the existence of god. We can quibble about his nature after it's been demonstrated that he actually has one.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:08 am UTC

a_toddler wrote:When one decides to choose something as the highest authority (ie. when push comes to shove, this is what will decide what I believe), the thing which is of highest authority must support itself circularly. If I believe it's the Bible, for example, I can't say "because logically, I can deduce this is the case", because this would mean I would hold logic to be of highest authority. This is why I keep giving that quip about "Why should logic be our highest authority?" saying "because I see no reason otherwise" or "because it's logical to do so" is circular.

Now I used to leave it at that, but I realised I must round up my point or people get angry that I'm somehow using logic to say logic is stupid. Okay, so my point is this. You claim logic to be your highest authority. I put that this claim has to be circular, otherwise if you could validate it via other means, this means would instead be your highest authority. So if someone says "I believe that the bible is God's word, and whatever within it is true, then yes.

Now for the sake of consistency, I'd also add that this is indeed my stance, however in my experience I have yet to come across something which causes conflict between my highest authority (the bible) and my second highest (logic).

3) Evolution. Kgo - to which I say: Genesis 1 (the bit where God creates the world in 6 days) is not a literal account. I sort of assumed this was common knowledge, but it is evident from the historical context of when Genesis was (supposedly) written, and from the literary genre itself that this was not a historical recount.


Okay, so when does the metaphorical account end and the historical part begin? Do you believe the Noah's ark story? The Exodus? The talking donkey in Numbers? The wars fought by Joshua? Jonah living inside a great fish? These accounts are in many respects equally as problematic as Genesis 1.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:45 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Okay, so when does the metaphorical account end and the historical part begin?


notice how i mentioned Genesis 1? So. Genesis 1. Sorry, not targetting you, but this was easiest to answer :mrgreen:

EDIT: There are other parts of the bible which aren't literal. As you may know, the bible is a collection of various books with different purposes, authors and contexts. Each particular passage is worth discussing individually, although this may not be the place?

Mahou wrote: Faith, by definition, must be a belief with no grounding.


hmm disagree. But if "leap of faith" is what the conflict is, let me offer my definition (so as to better understand my point). By "leap of faith", I mean belief in something which cannot be proven absolutely. For example, if I have faith that this chair will support my weight. Once I am seated on said chair this is no longer a leap of faith, but up until that point it is - before I sit down (or place a weight on it equal to my own body weight), whether the chair will support me cannot be confirmed or denied. I disagree with your definition because I can't think of an example of "faith" which wouldn't be synonymous with "groundless speculation".

Mahou wrote:Logic is not a thing. It cannot be an ultimate authority because it isn't an authority at all. It's a process and a method of observation and critical analysis. I have no ultimate authority and I reject the idea that we need one. Not all reasoning is circular and circular reasoning is always illogical.


With the point about logic, I think many will disagree. Why do you have no ultimate authority? Is it because you have not found/experienced/felt the need for one?

Also then, on what basis then do you judge what is truth or not?

Mahou wrote:The Euthyphro Dilemma asks "Are laws good because god loves them, or does god love laws because they are good?" If it's the former, then this means that the laws are arbitrary and based on nothing but the whim of a being which is disconnected from reality. If it's the latter, then it means that laws and morality are not determined by god and he isn't necessary to make them.


someone asked this a while back, so short answer was: the former, because laws are good because God loves them. Are they based on the whim of a being disconnected from reality? Well yes, although said being is the creator of all reality, is omniscient, etc, etc. Like, if you are thinking of the God I'm thinking of, this honestly is not a problem.

Mahou wrote:"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"
- Epicurus


God is both willing and able. Why doesn't he? Because hypothetically, if He did it right now then that's it - gg. A particular attribute of God taht Epicurus conveniently forgot to mention is that He is patient. God is inevitable, but he is also waiting.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Jimmigee » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:10 am UTC

a_toddler wrote: A particular attribute of God taht Epicurus conveniently forgot to mention is that He is patient. God is inevitable, but he is also waiting.


I'm under the impression that the Christian God is timeless. Patience doesn't really have any meaning here. Maybe this isn't what you believe? In my understanding of what God would be (if I thought he existed), when he created the universe he created it all, from start to finish at the same "moment". Everything that happens- dinosaurs, the coming of Jesus, earthquakes, me drinking a cup of coffee- are all part of a timeline created from Gods will, all in one go.

I'd go so far to suggest this is a corollory of being omniscient. You can't change because everything you will ever know or think or experience you must already know. There is no such thing as waiting for an omniscient, omnipotent being. If evil is in the universe, then it is there exactly as god put it there when he created time and space, it is entirely there (and then) of his choosing.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:25 am UTC

Yeah pretty much. Although I'm describing more from our perspective, seeing as we as humans are limited to time.

But what you've said is basically consistent with the bible, if I'm not mistaken.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Jimmigee » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:31 pm UTC

So are we not left with the belief that God is responsible for all things that we consider evil? How does that reconcile with omnibenevolence? I don't see how this answered anything:

"A particular attribute of God that Epicurus conveniently forgot to mention is that He is patient."

Anyway, this is all off topic. The question is "Does God Exist?", and your answer is "Yes". You state that the answer you've given is based from your "highest authority" which you claim is the bible. The trouble is that you readily admit that it's not all litteral, so who is to say the bit about Jesus is litteral, or the bit about God? Maybe it's all just a myth to teach us morals? As a highest authority it doesn't give you much of a solid base, and given how many points it gives up as "metaphorical" to your second highest authority, logic, I don't know how you maintain it's your first.

Also, your definition of "leap of faith" is utterly useless, since it encompasses every aspect of human thought. When I, and I suspect many other people here, say "leap of faith" they mean a slightly larger "leap" than expecting a chair to hold their weight. Do you really consider the assumption that when I drop a coin it will fall downwards equivalent to the assumption that there is an omnipotent intelligence in control of the universe?

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:49 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:
Mahou wrote:Logic is not a thing. It cannot be an ultimate authority because it isn't an authority at all. It's a process and a method of observation and critical analysis. I have no ultimate authority and I reject the idea that we need one. Not all reasoning is circular and circular reasoning is always illogical.


With the point about logic, I think many will disagree. Why do you have no ultimate authority? Is it because you have not found/experienced/felt the need for one?

Also then, on what basis then do you judge what is truth or not?

This just further proves that you really, really don't understand the basis of science or logic. Mahou is right, both are processes which rely on observable and repeatable (insert typical caveats here regarding the definition of those terms when used in science and logic) phenomena.

Your fundamental need for an ultimate authority is an entirely religious concept -- truth does not need to be based upon what some authority says about it. Individuals can derive what is true or not on their own. You might, if you're really digging, attempt to say then that 'repeatable observation' is the 'ultimate authority' when discussing science -- except that it's not an authority whatsoever, and observation cannot judge anything.

Take Santa Claus as an analogy: Kids (many, at least) figure out what is true without the need for an authority (their parents) to tell them. In fact, typically with the authority directly and consciously trying to keep the truth from them.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:08 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:a_toddlers' argument is essentially that you can't "absolutely" prove that the material you tested wouldn't cease to exist tomorrow, or turn into a bowl of grapes, so I'd be perfectly justified in believing either of those things, or anything else I could come up with.


Granted - this is only half my point. The annoying this is that I argue half my point and then when I'm done, I find I have to argue the other half again. So here is the other half, all in one place!

As I've said before, the key here is consistency. I DO believe in science because it has so far proved to be consistent within itself. Same goes for maths (although I'm aware most people consider this within science), and same goes for Christianity. My FULL point is, the "truth" of anything requires some sort of leap of faith. My personal method of distinguishing between such truths is to look for consistency between it's claims.

OK, so your "FULL point" is that we take a leap of faith in believing in science because we can't absolutely prove its consistency, but we can confirm its validity due to the fact that it's consistent, and that something becomes "the truth" after you put your faith in it... I think you win some sort of award by managing to be both contradictory and circular in the same argument.

Even if we take for granted your rather silly standard for determining objective truth, that still comes nowhere close to establishing Christianity as some sort of internally consistent enterprise akin to science and logic. Right off the bat, the fact that individuals rarely agree within sects, and sects rarely agree within Christianity is an indication that there's not a lot of consistency.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:21 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:
a_toddler wrote:My personal method of distinguishing between such truths is to look for consistency between it's claims.
Even if we take for granted your rather silly standard for determining objective truth...

Which I'm not willing to do. That's an entirely preposterous way of determining truth. "Lacking in self contradiction" does not make something true. Consistency is not truth.

Astrology, for instance, is consistent with itself.

Even easier, I can create an entirely self-consistent work of fiction.

Lastly,
My FULL point is, the "truth" of anything requires some sort of leap of faith.

No. A million times no.

Faith is the belief in things you cannot show, prove or demonstrate. If your truth does not require you to assume something that you cannot show, prove or demonstrate then it does not require faith. If I determine truth based on things I can show, prove or demonstrate, I have come to a truth that does not require faith. Science and logic are processes and methods used to make sure that you are not relying on things you cannot show, prove or demonstrate.

Take two apples, put them in your basket. Put two more in. You now have four apples. That's a truth that does not require faith whatsoever.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:26 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Even easier, I can create an entirely self-consistent work of fiction.
The stories in the Lord of the Rings are even more consistent than the bible - doesn't that make it more truthful?

I can run faster than the speed of sound because I have special powers which allow me to do so - voila, an entirely self-consistent argument for my supersonic locomotion!

Azrael wrote:Take two apples, put them in your basket. Put two more in. You now have four apples. That's a truth that does not require faith whatsoever.
Ah, but maybe God will decide tomorrow that four apples become fifteen elephants, and if you add water, they'll become negative three mushrooms.

What will you believe then, huh? Won't be so certain about things when that happens, will you? Kinda puts you in a position where you can believe pretty much anything, doesn't it? Therefore, bible.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:45 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:
Azrael wrote:Take two apples, put them in your basket. Put two more in. You now have four apples. That's a truth that does not require faith whatsoever.
Ah, but maybe God will decide tomorrow that four apples become fifteen elephants, and if you add water, they'll become negative three mushrooms.

What will you believe then, huh? Won't be so certain about things when that happens, will you? Kinda puts you in a position where you can believe pretty much anything, doesn't it? Therefore, bible.

I know you're being facetious, but it raises a good point. If I corroborate the results of my apple-adding experiment with a witness (they indicate that 2+2 did equal 4), then communicate the process to an uninvolved source for confirmation, and that person and their witness ends up with 15 elephants then it is no longer true that 2 apples + 2 apples = 4 apples and I will need to revise my understanding.

But, that has never happened. So when I say 2+2=4 I am confident that I am correct. Is this where toddler thinks faith is required? Faith that 2+2 will equal 4 tomorrow? I don't need faith. I can check, you can check, other people can check. Does he think that I need faith to trust that the results of things I can't check will stay consistent? They've already been checked for consistency, or else they wouldn't have been proven.

The problem with asking what interference from God would do, is that you have to assume that God exists. You've taken a non-faith based experiment and asked a hypothetical question that requires a faith-based input. That's comparing .... well, apples to oranges.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:50 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Okay, so when does the metaphorical account end and the historical part begin?


notice how i mentioned Genesis 1? So. Genesis 1. Sorry, not targetting you, but this was easiest to answer :mrgreen:

EDIT: There are other parts of the bible which aren't literal. As you may know, the bible is a collection of various books with different purposes, authors and contexts. Each particular passage is worth discussing individually, although this may not be the place?
this is what i find ludicrous about any usage of the bible for proof. when EXACT scientific proof exists to disprove something that has LONG been held as literal and real in the bible (i.e. earth creation time frame = 6 days and a nap) those that once clung to that belief automatically say "oh, well that bit was just allegory, it's not literal" well then what about the bit where jesus made a bunch of filet of fish sandwiches for all those hungry folk? "dude, that totally happened". you can't take one book that is written in the same tone as both a history book and a fairy tale. it is one or the other. you cannot cherry pick which item you didn't write was meant to be taken literally and which was not. which was written by god and which wasn't. either it was all written by god, or none of it was, and either all of it is allegory or none of it is.

what about the books that were omitted from the bible because people didn't like what they said? they held the EXACT same claims of divine inspiration as the ones that made it in, but some guys in pointy hats said "we'll not be having any of that" so they're not in the book.

also, anyone who has ACTUALLY read the bible front to back and thinks it's consistent must have some new style of reading ability. the same goes for christianity as a whole. it is not as self consistent as you'd like it to be.

NOTE: i do not mean that YOU personally cannot do this. you can believe any inconsistent thing you like, HOWEVER, as SOON as you hold up an item as PROOF of anything, then you are now held to a higher standard.

a_toddler wrote:
Mahou wrote: Faith, by definition, must be a belief with no grounding.


hmm disagree. But if "leap of faith" is what the conflict is, let me offer my definition (so as to better understand my point). By "leap of faith", I mean belief in something which cannot be proven absolutely. For example, if I have faith that this chair will support my weight. Once I am seated on said chair this is no longer a leap of faith, but up until that point it is - before I sit down (or place a weight on it equal to my own body weight), whether the chair will support me cannot be confirmed or denied. I disagree with your definition because I can't think of an example of "faith" which wouldn't be synonymous with "groundless speculation".
....drivel. your belief in gravity, or the chair is supported by hard evidence that can be tracked to a source. your belief in god is supported only by your belief in god. your ultimate authority has no physical evidence, so your only support structure is your belief.

a_toddler wrote:
Mahou wrote:Logic is not a thing. It cannot be an ultimate authority because it isn't an authority at all. It's a process and a method of observation and critical analysis. I have no ultimate authority and I reject the idea that we need one. Not all reasoning is circular and circular reasoning is always illogical.


With the point about logic, I think many will disagree. Why do you have no ultimate authority? Is it because you have not found/experienced/felt the need for one?

Also then, on what basis then do you judge what is truth or not?
as stated, you don't need an ultimate authority. something is either proven to be true or it's proven to be false. no one has to stand over that ans say "yeah, that's true"



Mahou wrote:"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"
- Epicurus


God is both willing and able. Why doesn't he? Because hypothetically, if He did it right now then that's it - gg. A particular attribute of God taht Epicurus conveniently forgot to mention is that He is patient. God is inevitable, but he is also waiting.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:52 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:But, that has never happened. So when I say 2+2=4 I am confident that I am correct. Is this where toddler thinks faith is required? Faith that 2+2=4 tomorrow? I don't need faith. I can check, you can check, other people can check. That I need faith that proven results of things I can't check will stay consistent? They've already been checked for consistency, or else they wouldn't have been proven.
Yes, it's a leap of faith for me to assume that picking up a pen and dropping it on my desk will produce the same result it always had, or that a circle will still have a circumference proportional to its diameter the next time I look. The mere fact that he can suggest that this might be the case is apparently enough to draw into question otherwise objective reality.

He keeps bringing up "absolute proof", the fact that we don't have it, and therefore defines everything less than absolute proof as a leap of faith. That's the only way he can manage to get logic, math, science, and religion all on a level playing field.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:59 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:He keeps bringing up "absolute proof", the fact that we don't have it, and therefore defines everything as a leap of faith. That's the only way he can manage to get logic, math, science, and religion all on a level playing field.

Oh. Yeah, science and logic can't prove that it won't be 15 elephants tomorrow. All it can say is that it was 4 apples every other time and we'll get back to you if it turns up elephants.

However, I wouldn't say it's an assumption, belief or faith for an individual to carry on as if it will always be 4 apples. Because there is a complete lack of evidence of any previous inconsistency or of a mechanism that would drive that inconsistency -- any kind of evidence to the contrary.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby 44 stone lions » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:04 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:1) Where is the leap of faith in science? - The leap of faith is found within the fundamental assumption of science, that is, if something happens once, twice, a thousand times before; it will happen again. This is where the idea of experimentation to prove a hypothesis comes from. As I've mentioned earlier, you cannot say the future will be consistent simply because in the past, the future was consistent.. For example, water has always boiled at 100 degrees (celcius...I'm Australian). I cannot know for certain that tomorrow it will not boil at 20 degrees. I can be pretty damn sure, but not certain (Mahou has pointed this out already).


a_toddler wrote:hmm disagree. But if "leap of faith" is what the conflict is, let me offer my definition (so as to better understand my point). By "leap of faith", I mean belief in something which cannot be proven absolutely. For example, if I have faith that this chair will support my weight. Once I am seated on said chair this is no longer a leap of faith, but up until that point it is - before I sit down (or place a weight on it equal to my own body weight), whether the chair will support me cannot be confirmed or denied. I disagree with your definition because I can't think of an example of "faith" which wouldn't be synonymous with "groundless speculation".


Both of these are examples of trust, not faith. I'm sure you have heard the saying "trust is earned". Science has earn peoples trust by constantly living up to our expectations of it. Take the boiling point of water for example. The reason why we believe that water will boil at 100 degrees is because every time (under normal circumstances, I know this can differ due to certain variables, but these differences can also be explained by science) we have heated water to that temperature it has boiled at 100 degrees. It would be a leap of faith to heat water and proclaim that it shall boil when it reaches 70.

And take the chair example. Before you sat on the chair you will have looked at it an judged that it is strong enough to take your weight, this judgement will be based upon the fact that every other chair that looked as strong as that one has also taken your weight. If the chair looked rickety, weak and like it would buckle under the weight of a bag of sugar I very much doubt you would have taken your "leap of faith" and sat on it anyway "believing" it would hold your weight just because it is a chair. The strong chairs from your past have earn your trust.

a_toddler wrote:
Mahou wrote:"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"
- Epicurus


God is both willing and able. Why doesn't he? Because hypothetically, if He did it right now then that's it - gg. A particular attribute of God taht Epicurus conveniently forgot to mention is that He is patient. God is inevitable, but he is also waiting.


For sake of example lets say that you, or someone you care about is dying a painful death from some illness. I have the cure, hence I am able to cure.

If I was to refuse to give you the cure, and let you or the person you cared about die as a result, giving "patience" as the reason behind my refusal would you accept that? Would that seem to you the action of a caring, compassionate person?

Or would you curse my very existence?

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Mapar » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:08 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:He keeps bringing up "absolute proof", the fact that we don't have it, and therefore defines everything as a leap of faith. That's the only way he can manage to get logic, math, science, and religion all on a level playing field.

Oh. Yeah, science and logic can't prove that it won't be 15 elephants tomorrow. All it can say is that it was 4 apples every other time and we'll get back to you if it turns up elephants.

However, I wouldn't say it's an assumption, belief or faith for an individual to carry on as if it will always be 4 apples. Because there is a complete lack of evidence of any previous inconsistency or of a mechanism that would drive that inconsistency -- any kind of evidence to the contrary.


He also seems to conveniently forget that we can actually check on these elephants tomorrow. The "god" concept does not lend itself for verification. (was that a correct English sentence? I don't know if I just translated a foreign expression)
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:10 pm UTC

Mapar: Exactly!
44 stone lions wrote:
a_toddler wrote:1) Where is the leap of faith in science? - The leap of faith is found within the fundamental assumption of science, that is, if something happens once, twice, a thousand times before; it will happen again.
a_toddler wrote:hmm disagree. But if "leap of faith" is what the conflict is, let me offer my definition (so as to better understand my point). By "leap of faith", I mean belief in something which cannot be proven absolutely. For example, if I have faith that this chair will support my weight. Once I am seated on said chair this is no longer a leap of faith, but up until that point it is - before I sit down (or place a weight on it equal to my own body weight), whether the chair will support me cannot be confirmed or denied. I disagree with your definition because I can't think of an example of "faith" which wouldn't be synonymous with "groundless speculation".

Both of these are examples of trust, not faith.

This is the crux of the argument -- toddler is using "faith" incorrectly. Thinking it will be safe to sit on that chair is not faith. It's not faith because it can be tested. End.

Toddler: If it clarifies your views, and will help to bring your meanings into alignment with the rest of the world's, try this simple idea: Faith can't be tested. If it can be tested, it isn't Faith.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Mahou » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:36 pm UTC

So I hate to stack more on here before he's responded to the mountain of posts, but I do feel the need to at least direct his responses to me.

a_toddler wrote:
Mahou wrote: Faith, by definition, must be a belief with no grounding.


hmm disagree. But if "leap of faith" is what the conflict is, let me offer my definition (so as to better understand my point). By "leap of faith", I mean belief in something which cannot be proven absolutely. For example, if I have faith that this chair will support my weight. Once I am seated on said chair this is no longer a leap of faith, but up until that point it is - before I sit down (or place a weight on it equal to my own body weight), whether the chair will support me cannot be confirmed or denied. I disagree with your definition because I can't think of an example of "faith" which wouldn't be synonymous with "groundless speculation".


This only addresses half my argument. You ignored the part where I said it doesn't posit any certainty in an issue. Since you said belief in something which cannot be proven absolutely, and we don't try to prove anything absolutely, it's still not a leap of faith.

Besides, words have meanings and the meaning of faith is this, according to dictionary.com

dictionary.com wrote:World English Dictionary
faith (feɪθ) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]

— n
1. strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence


This doesn't apply to scientific beliefs. You're probably thinking of some of the later definitions.

dictionary.com wrote:5. complete confidence or trust in a person, remedy, etc
6. any set of firmly held principles or beliefs


For the sake of simplicity and to avoid confusion, why don't we go with definition #1 and not definition #6?

a_toddler wrote:
Mahou wrote:Logic is not a thing. It cannot be an ultimate authority because it isn't an authority at all. It's a process and a method of observation and critical analysis. I have no ultimate authority and I reject the idea that we need one. Not all reasoning is circular and circular reasoning is always illogical.


With the point about logic, I think many will disagree. Why do you have no ultimate authority? Is it because you have not found/experienced/felt the need for one?

Also then, on what basis then do you judge what is truth or not?


Why should I need an ultimate authority? Even if I did have one, I would still be the authority over what I believe. I chose to hand my decision-making power to someone else, but that was still my choice. People have no ultimate authority, they just have personal decisions. If you decide to blindly follow someone else, then that's still your choice.

As for truth, do you truly believe that we have no reliable methods for determining truth from fiction? Truth is not what someone else tells you, even if that person is god. Truth is what is verified to be accurate and correct. Why should I require an ultimate authority for anything, especially for determining truth? I can handle myself, thank you very much.

a_toddler wrote:
Mahou wrote:The Euthyphro Dilemma asks "Are laws good because god loves them, or does god love laws because they are good?" If it's the former, then this means that the laws are arbitrary and based on nothing but the whim of a being which is disconnected from reality. If it's the latter, then it means that laws and morality are not determined by god and he isn't necessary to make them.


someone asked this a while back, so short answer was: the former, because laws are good because God loves them. Are they based on the whim of a being disconnected from reality? Well yes, although said being is the creator of all reality, is omniscient, etc, etc. Like, if you are thinking of the God I'm thinking of, this honestly is not a problem.


You admitted earlier that if god hypothetically said only those who caused great suffering got into heaven, you'd have a problem with that. That shows that you do not believe the former. You have judged suffering to be wrong on your own and god's decree wouldn't change that view.

Morality is not subject to the whims of an individual. Morality is not a decree handed down from on high. Morality is a combination of personal viewpoints and agreed-upon rules. It varies from person to person and is legislated through group dynamics. No one person is the sole authority over morality.

a_toddler wrote:
Mahou wrote:"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"
- Epicurus


God is both willing and able. Why doesn't he? Because hypothetically, if He did it right now then that's it - gg. A particular attribute of God taht Epicurus conveniently forgot to mention is that He is patient. God is inevitable, but he is also waiting.


Then god is evil. Patience is not an excuse for willfully letting people suffer and die. Patience is not a good reason to allow evil to torture his own children. If god is simply waiting by while people here experience pain, terror, suffering, and evil, your god is an evil tyrant to be met with scorn and disdain.
Last edited by Mahou on Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:16 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:44 pm UTC

44 stone lions wrote:Both of these are examples of trust, not faith. I'm sure you have heard the saying "trust is earned". Science has earn peoples trust by constantly living up to our expectations of it. Take the boiling point of water for example. The reason why we believe that water will boil at 100 degrees is because every time (under normal circumstances, I know this can differ due to certain variables, but these differences can also be explained by science) we have heated water to that temperature it has boiled at 100 degrees. It would be a leap of faith to heat water and proclaim that it shall boil when it reaches 70.


I get what you're saying, but, strictly speaking, this is a bad example. The Celsius temperature scale was defined that the boiling point of water is 100 degrees and the freezing point is zero. If the boiling point of water were to change its value, all of our thermometers would become uncalibrated.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby el matematico » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:50 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Okay, so when does the metaphorical account end and the historical part begin?


notice how i mentioned Genesis 1? So. Genesis 1. Sorry, not targetting you, but this was easiest to answer :mrgreen:

EDIT: There are other parts of the bible which aren't literal. As you may know, the bible is a collection of various books with different purposes, authors and contexts. Each particular passage is worth discussing individually, although this may not be the place?

[...]

Mahou wrote:"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"
- Epicurus


God is both willing and able. Why doesn't he? Because hypothetically, if He did it right now then that's it - gg. A particular attribute of God taht Epicurus conveniently forgot to mention is that He is patient. God is inevitable, but he is also waiting.


I don't understand how can you agree with these 2 parts.

First, about the bible being inerrant while also being part metaphorical and part historical. There is no actual evidence of that claim in the bible itself, or any indicator of which parts are historical and which are metaphorical. The result is that its impossible to be sure you are agreeing to the bible.
I'll put an example of my own experience (I know this is not the best way of demonstrating something, but in this case it makes my poin clear): In the last months, I have been living with a family of Jehovah's witnesses, a seventh day evangelist and a strongly commited catholic (not with all of them at the same time). These people all shared a belief in god and the bible, and lived according to it. What's funny is that they have different views in many topics:

-The JWs are against blood transfusions, while the evangelists are encouraged to donate blood; the catholic had no position on this.
-The JWs occasionally drink alcohol, and when asked about it, they say the bible is not against it (same with the catholic). The evangelist doesn't drink alcohol "because of his faith" (he says that the wine and beer in the biblical time and zone had no alcohol).
-JWs are extremely prejudiced against gays, the others arent.
-The evangelist celebrates saturday (doesn't do anything at all that day). The JWs celebrate sunday (but do work that day). The catholic doesn't celebrate either of them.

These people base their lives on the same book and god, but its impossible for all of them to be right (especially JWs and the evangelist, they disagree on everything). I ask you, is it actually possible to follow the bible? How?

About Epicurus argument, it's only possible to agree with it and an idea of the god described if either said god does not follow our logic or our sense of benevolence. If it's the first one, its naive to expect anything "reasonable" from god, as he doesn't share his way of thinking with us humans, and what is reasonable for us doesn't have to be for him.
If it's the latter, you can't expect good things from god, since what is good for you is not necessarily good for him (i.e. if you accept that suffering, famine, diseases, etc. are part of his greater design, then don't expect him to help you or your relatives; its all part of the plan!).
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:48 pm UTC

I think you are all mishandling the Euthyphro dilemma. It is a more fundamental issue than you make it out to be. If we accept that "good" simply means "God's will," then all usual normative justifications disappear. Toddler says that he would probably "agree" with God's "opinion," since he is the creator, etc., but he never stated what he would agree with. There is a difference between saying "In God's opinion, X is good," and "God likes X," generally speaking. If there isn't (if "good" really just means "liked by God") then there is nothing to agree or disagree with. There is no way to say that God's morals are "good" or "bad," because those have no meaning, they simply are his preferences.

In this world, people who disobey God may indeed be punished, but there is no way one could say if they "deserved" it, because there is no reason to think the punishment is "bad" in the first place, nor is there any reason to think their sins were "bad." Things just are. God doesn't like that man, so he tortured him. Simple as that.

It really does lead to the ultimate moral nihilism.



Mahou wrote:Morality is a decree handed down from on high.

wat? I think you are missing an adverb.

Mapar wrote:The "god" concept does not lend itself for verification. (was that a correct English sentence? I don't know if I just translated a foreign expression)

The common English expression is "lend itself to," rather than "lend itself for," but if that's really a translation of a foreign expression, I'm impressed it matches up so well.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby unus vox » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:27 pm UTC

I love the smell of semantic pedantry and nihilism in the morning.

To answer the original point: No, I don't believe that God exists. That is, I don't believe in a deity as it tends to be defined. Even under the OP's definition of "God=one who performs miracles," I do not believe in a God as I do not believe in miracles.

A "miracle" can't really be defined without circular logic. If a miracle is something that can only be explained as an act of god, and we define god as one who performs miracles... well, you see where I'm going with this.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:14 pm UTC

unus vox wrote:I love the smell of semantic pedantry and nihilism in the morning.

My point wasn't semantic or pedantic; it is a fundamental flaw in his argument.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Mahou » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:16 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
Mahou wrote:Morality is a decree handed down from on high.

wat? I think you are missing an adverb.

Ahaha, oops. Thank god for edit buttons. ;)

As for the Miracle thing, I've generally thought of miracles as actions which cannot happen except through a god, or just impossible things happening without explanation. God of course, usually has much more to his description than just "one who performs miracles."

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Choboman » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:32 pm UTC

I don't believe that the Euthyphro dilemma is as much of a cut-and-dry issue as some here are suggesting.

Just as a hypothetical exercise, let's imagine that I'm watching my toddler son play in my back yard, an I see him start to play with an ant hill. I think to myself "Hmmm, if he keeps this up, he'll probably get bit." I could rush out there and stop him. I could get some ant-killing poison and eradicate all the ants in my yard just in case. Or I could say "It's ok - an ant bite is only a mild transitory problem and he might learn a valuable lesson from this." I don't think any of those responses makes me inherantly evil, or even necessarily a bad parent. From the perspective of an omniscient being, maybe our physical and emotional suffering on Earth is only a mild and transitory annoyance. Maybe physical and emotional suffering while alive provides some valuable compensating spiritual rewards. Just because it's a big deal to us doesn't make it a big deal in some 'bigger scheme of things'. Does this give us a scenario where an omnipotent and benificent god is not contradicted by the existance of evil?

Disclaimer: In real life I'm agnostic, don't have a son or a back yard, and am highly distrustful of ants.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Mapar » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:45 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
Mapar wrote:The "god" concept does not lend itself for verification. (was that a correct English sentence? I don't know if I just translated a foreign expression)

The common English expression is "lend itself to," rather than "lend itself for," but if that's really a translation of a foreign expression, I'm impressed it matches up so well.


Well, I tried to render "zich lenen tot" in English, and apparently the expression is identical, but I switched up 'to' and 'for'. (I don't know why I did, tot->to, usually, but meh) Thanks!

On a more on-topic note to Choboman:
To give a non-Godwinnable example: would a benevolent, omnipotent god condone the Hutu-Tutsi genocide in Africa? I don't see how that would be a valuable "lesson" in any way.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Xeio » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:23 pm UTC

Choboman wrote:Just as a hypothetical exercise, let's imagine that I'm watching my toddler son play in my back yard, an I see him start to play with an ant hill. I think to myself "Hmmm, if he keeps this up, he'll probably get bit." I could rush out there and stop him. I could get some ant-killing poison and eradicate all the ants in my yard just in case. Or I could say "It's ok - an ant bite is only a mild transitory problem and he might learn a valuable lesson from this." I don't think any of those responses makes me inherantly evil, or even necessarily a bad parent. From the perspective of an omniscient being, maybe our physical and emotional suffering on Earth is only a mild and transitory annoyance. Maybe physical and emotional suffering while alive provides some valuable compensating spiritual rewards. Just because it's a big deal to us doesn't make it a big deal in some 'bigger scheme of things'. Does this give us a scenario where an omnipotent and benificent god is not contradicted by the existance of evil?
Well, but at some point you defined good and evil. Presumable along with omnibenevolent = good. Somewhere the bible also presumably defines something (X) as good (or evil), but is this not what god believes is good/evil? Or are evils defined in the bible not actually cosmically important?

I'd say it seems inconsistent at best to say something is "evil" but that somehow that thing isn't important.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby unus vox » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:26 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
unus vox wrote:I love the smell of semantic pedantry and nihilism in the morning.

My point wasn't semantic or pedantic; it is a fundamental flaw in his argument.


My apologies if you mistook my comment as a response to you. I was referring to this thread as a whole. And I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, either, even if my tone was facetious.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:23 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:However, I wouldn't say it's an assumption, belief or faith for an individual to carry on as if it will always be 4 apples. Because there is a complete lack of evidence of any previous inconsistency or of a mechanism that would drive that inconsistency -- any kind of evidence to the contrary.

so this basically sums up the chief objection to my point. That and "logic is not a thing, therefore cannot be an ultimate authority" (ceebs finding quote, but I know its there).

I realise the conversation has since evolved, so I'll just clarify what I mean and move on.

Ok, here is a number sequence:

1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1...?

What is the next number? The answer is of course 1. That's because the entire sequence is of 1s. HOWEVER, if I told you that the next number was 2, technically the sequence could have been nine 1s followed by nine 2s, etc.

What you did was you saw the pattern in the numbers and hypothesised according to the noticeable pattern. There was no evidence that the series of 1s would change, but then again I was the one dictating the pattern of numbers, so the pattern could have been the alternate one described above.

A similar approach is taken by science. I suppose if most people don't believe in my definition of faith, then I'll have to stop using the term "leap of faith". But you guys are right. There is no evidence of previous inconsistency in the nature of the universe. However, we put our....trust?....in the repeatable and consistent nature of the universe. Just because something has been doesn't mean it always will be, although of course it seems pretty damn reliable because it has proven to be.

Which sorta moves on to the whole "I'm not using logic as my ultimate authority" thing. An ultimate authority doesn't have to be a person or a thing. It can also be a process. By ultimate authority, it's something which you use to derive what you define to be true.

If you come to a logical conclusion to something, you have used your logic (ultimate authority) to reach your truth (conclusion). That's all I'm saying. Conversely, if someone attempts to present a conclusion to you, and you show them that their conclusion is illogical - once again you have used your ulimate authority to discern truth.

Okay, onto a more recent discussion - namely Euthyphro's and Epicurus' god.

Mapar wrote:To give a non-Godwinnable example: would a benevolent, omnipotent god condone the Hutu-Tutsi genocide in Africa? I don't see how that would be a valuable "lesson" in any way.


No I don't think God condones any sort of evil. While the bible reveals that God has used evil in the past to bring about his will and his judgement (read as..."lesson"?) it's considered as (now I'm hesistant in using any term in fear of being shot down, but) a necessaery evil. The point that the bible makes about evil is that God hates it and that one day he'll get rid of it.

First time coming across the word omnibenevolent. I'm assuming it means that it means always acting with kindness or something like that? Would have to say both based on the bible and from my observations, this tag doesn't belong on God.


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