Why try to prove God exists?

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RGeeB
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Why try to prove God exists?

#1

Post by RGeeB » Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:38 am

I believe that science has not advanced enough to be able to prove the existence of God. There are no proven scientific theories to define the paranormal dimension, let alone prove its existence.

God is spiritually discerned. There is plenty of evidence of His handiwork, like this website has shown and I can speak from personal experience, as well.

There is a reward for those who seek after God - Hebrews 11:6

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#2

Post by Athiest2Christian » Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:51 am

I think there's a fundamental fallacy in your argument: If this was the attitude taken by science nothing would have ever been accomplished. Science was not yet advanced enough to explain and quantify the effects of gravity until Newton did it. It was not advanced enough to explain that electricity and magnetism were unified until Maxwell did it. Science is never advanced enough to explain anything until the first person does it, and very rarely is the first person who tries the first person who succeeds. So why should we try to prove God exists? Well, why shouldn't we? Certainly not because no one has been successful at it so far, maybe you have other reasons though.

I think I might agree with your argument if it were phrased slightly differently. I think science is concerned with the natural & observable world, and what you call the "paranormal" world scientists usually think of as the imaginary world. So it's not that science simply isn't advanced enough to prove or disprove God, but that it's not in the realm of science to do so. The spiritual world and questions of God will never be settled unless God chooses to settle them. Until that happens, it's a matter of philosophy and not one of true science. People may come up with "proofs" for or against God's existence, but they are always founded on top of some subjective axiom that cannot be proven. And again, believing or not believing the fundamental axioms of these proofs is a matter of personal philosophy. But to say that science is not advanced enough to prove God is like saying that biology is not advanced enough to prove that heavenly bodies exert an attractive force on each other; it's not the aim of biology to do so, and neither is it the aim of science to prove or disprove God.

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#3

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Oct 13, 2004 7:44 pm

I think A2C's post contains a lot of valid points. I actually think we can discover about God and who He is through His general revelation (i.e., nature).
<blockquote>"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 1:20)</blockquote>In addition Jesus actually said of the first of the greatest commandments that we are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind (Matt 22:37). And so I think Science is actually even one way of loving and appreciating God. Infact most of who could be said to be the first fathers of science were Christian (including Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Boyle, and Pascal). I think they were perhaps interested in science for some of the very reasons I've mentioned of loving and appreciating God, and wanting to try understand more about Him through His works. I also believe the order and the rationality we see within our world are principles which are actually supported by Christianity, which is founded on the world being designed and purposeful, and so one would expect it to contain the order which is required of science... rather than when compared with the mysticism and randomity of the gods in pagan thought, etc. A good article I'd recommend the read of is called "The Historic Alliance of Christianity and Science" (see http://www.reasons.org/resources/apolog ... ence.shtml).

Kurieuo.
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#4

Post by Anonymous » Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:21 am

Hi all. New guy.

Agreed that it is not the purpose of science to prove or disprove God but there are branches of science that tries to answer the same type of questions one would normally seek through religion... Branches like astronomy and cosmology are trying to answer fundamental questions like: Where do we come from? What is the fate of the universe? How did it all start? etc. etc. Many people turn to either science or religion (or both) for answers to these types of questions and neither are completely satisfactory in the answers that they provide; at some point there is an amount of faith that comes into play, whether it be in God or science... The question now is does it take more faith to believe in God or science? The answer will obviously depend on whether you are a God or a science person. And the endless debate continues...

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#5

Post by RGeeB » Thu Oct 14, 2004 5:43 am

Maybe I could clarify-

In the 16th century people could have theorised and try to prove that there were millions of stars in the sky - It became much easier to substantiate that view after the invention of the telescope.

So, when Abraham was told that his descendants would be numerous as the stars in the sky, Christians before the 17th century had to take that statement in faith - Make a choice between the scientific outlook of that time or contradict it with a Biblical idea that indicated a number greater than 1036(?).

It would be good to have a scientific proof of the existence of God - a simple one, maybe understood by an average 12 year old. Its frustrating when people use science as an excuse not to believe in God - Most of them have not even tried. The classic one is - "..but, hasn't science disproved God?!"

I'm hoping forums like these might get closer to invalidating excuses like that!

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#6

Post by Athiest2Christian » Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:14 pm

I think Kurieuo also made a great point in that we can gain a certain degree of understanding about God simply from looking at His creation. I delved deeper into science well before I delved deeper into God and even then I was fascinated by the harmony playing out in every cubic millimeter of the universe. The way the laws all work, setting such a balance, everything working in such a logical way; it really is amazing. At the time I believed it was all just random, though now that thought seems much less likely. God just fits, everything working exactly right, all the laws set just so to make our universe function as it does. And seeing how it works gives me an appreciation for exactly how great God truly is, how logical he is to make such a universe.

As for cosmology and astronomy, I'm not sure it's accurate to say that they're trying to seek the same answers. Eventually you reach an iteration of asking 'why' that is no longer satisfactorily answered by science and then philosophy/religion takes over. Take for example:

Why does a rock fall to earth when it left unsupported?
Because the earth exerts a constant gravitational force on all objects that have mass.
Why does the earth exert that force?
Because the earth has mass and anything with mass exerts a force on anything else with mass.
Why do things with mass exert forces on each other?
Well, it's because anything with mass actually causes a bending of the fabric of time space (if you believe Einstein) and this results in the attractive forces between objects.
But why does time space bend in the presence of mass?
It bends because time-space works that way.
Why does it work that way?
It just does.

Now, I'll be the first to admit I'm not the most scientifically astute person, and probably lots of people could take this out several more iterations than I can. But eventually, if you keep asking 'why', questions become less scientific and more philosophical. So I don't personally think astronomy and cosmology are trying to answer the same questions. It's just that as you keep iterating down the questions become philosophical, and since religion is philosophical in nature, it also has answers for these questions.

RGeeB hit on a big stumbling block of mine as I have been exploring God in general and Christianity in particular. I was really, really conflicted when I started to believe that God was real. There was a transitional phase where my research in God went from being purely academic to being much more personal. I was really torn up because I felt like in order to believe in God I had to abandon all the logical and rational beliefs I held about science. I have found that not to be the case, and in fact when I felt the very most conflicted about it, I suddenly received a gift of comfort that made me let go of all that conflictedness. To this day I believe it was God that gave me that comfort. In my head it was like a whisper and it said, God made me a rational scientific-minded person, and he would not have done that if he wanted me to abandon it for him. After that I did not feel like I had to choose between the two perspectives, but in fact the two would be able to harmonize, I just had to have faith that God would show me how.

Anyway, good posting, you guys have got some really insightful things to say!

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#7

Post by Anonymous » Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:35 pm

Thank you guys. Inspirational discussion here.

As you probably can tell i am one step behind you guys in that i am still struggling with the whole "God" question and haven't actually embrace Him yet. However, i listen to christian's discussions on the radio everyday (The bible answer man: http://www.equip.org) and see with how much of the bible i agree and how much creates internal conflicts. And i've been looking for a forum like this one where i could talk to people like you and see what made you change your mind at the end. I think i still have a long way to go because i still have many internal conflicts. I hope to be able to clarify some of them while engaging in conversation with you.

You'll be hearing more from me. I hope you guys don't mind me playing the devil's advocate but i need to be a skeptic before i can become a believer i guess...

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#8

Post by Athiest2Christian » Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:59 pm

Hey Seeker

Have you read any books on the subject? There were a couple that I really enjoyed, and recommend to people who ask (and apparently people who don't since I'm going to recommend them to you as well.) :wink:

<a href=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... 507846>C.S. Lewis' <u>Mere Christianity</u></a>
and
<a href=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/ ... 257541>Lee Strobel's <u>The Case for Christ</u></a>

Both were good books, and helped me resolve a lot (not all) of the internal conflicts that Christianity stirred up in me.

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#9

Post by Anonymous » Sun Oct 17, 2004 1:21 am

Hi all,

Thank you A2C for your suggestions. Though not those books in particular i have had literature suggested to me before (for my search spans over several years now) and i have read many of them. But there are some fundamental problems that i have with regards to the God viewpoint of the world around us. I will clarify.

Let's take your "why" argument for a minute. You end the argument with the phrase "it just does" and argues that there's always a "why" that remains unsatisfied in science. Well in the case of God isn't it the same? Because if we follow the same type of thinking in a biblical viewpoint we end up at the end with the phrase "because God made it so". Still we do not have an answer to the ultimate "why". At some point (whether we use the scientific or the religious viewpoint) we have to just "give up". However, where science is more appealing is that the final "it just does" keeps moving down the list as we progress in science whereas with religion "because God made it so" is the final and static argument.

My point is when we ponder over fundamental questions the God's way of thinking tends to be more "arrogant" in that at the end we think (or better still we "know") that we're right and that everybody else is wrong. With science one is always searching and in reality "it just does" is not very scientific because we're always seeking to improve on our list of "why"s and science in fact doesn't like this phrase "it just does" very much. Do you see my point?

Let's take the question of the formation of the Earth for instance. In a religious viewpoint the final answer is "God created Earth". In science, on the other hand, we now know that everything around us comes from stars spreading heavier elements into interstellar space through processes like supernovae. In essence it is very satisfying to piece the puzzle together and understand how our planet came to be. Those puzzle pieces are put together because we can see today starts exploding, being born, planetary systems being formed (right now the rate of discovering new planets is about 1 new one every week or so - many of them earth-like). Now the search is raging to find extra-terrestrial life (doesn't have to be intelligent). What would be the repercussion of such a discovery on religion and, more precisely, on Christianity? That, in itself, will make for another discussion but my point is, as i said before, science is trying to answer some fundamental questions that one would usually turn to religion for.

This is just one of those "fundamental problems", i was talking about in the first paragraph, that i need to come to terms with.

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#10

Post by Kurieuo » Sun Oct 17, 2004 2:34 am

seeker wrote:My point is when we ponder over fundamental questions the God's way of thinking tends to be more "arrogant" in that at the end we think (or better still we "know") that we're right and that everybody else is wrong.
I'm not really sure I understand what you mean by "God's way of thinking," but I'll assume it in some sense applies to Christians who claim to know they are right on certain issues. I'm not sure I understand what is arrogant. Is there something wrong with believing one is right about something?
Seeker wrote:With science one is always searching and in reality "it just does" is not very scientific because we're always seeking to improve on our list of "why"s and science in fact doesn't like this phrase "it just does" very much.
I think you're inappropriately placing science and religion at opposite extremes, as though they don't fit together. I was hoping my previous post would hit home on this, but I guess it didn't.
In a religious viewpoint the final answer is "God created Earth".
You're entitled to your preconceptions, but I don't find your "final answer" theory of religion to be at all true in my own Christian experiences. You say science is always seeking to improve on our list of "whys," but this is also true of theology. And it just so happens that science can be a useful tool in helping to answer some theological questions. In other words, there is no need to divorce science from "God's way of thinking" (theology?).

Kurieuo.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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#11

Post by Anonymous » Sun Oct 17, 2004 9:42 am

Thanks Kurieuo. I guess i sound like an old record with the same old arguments and the same old excuses that people use all the time to dismiss God, huh? I apologize for that. I didn't mean to sound like i was trying to convince you (Christians) that you were wrong in any way and neither did i mean any disrespect. Christianity is something i am looking at very closely and after several years i've come to the conclusion that there's something more to being a Christian than just being completely convinced that the bible is true.

I've often heard people talk of personal experiences that brought them closer to God. I'm waiting and hoping that i'll get such an experience in my life. I guess my main aim in talking to Christians like you is to figure out what made you "go for it". How does a sane, thinking, and analytical mind make sense of the reality of the bible?

Anyhoo you said one thing in your post that i find interesting:
You say science is always seeking to improve on our list of "whys," but this is also true of theology. And it just so happens that science can be a useful tool in helping to answer some theological questions. In other words, there is no need to divorce science from "God's way of thinking" (theology?).
I have to admit that i didn't know that. I always thought that there was some finality to what the bible says. Interesting that theology uses science. Would you have some examples of this?

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#12

Post by Jac3510 » Sun Oct 17, 2004 11:58 am

Hey Seeker--it's good to see that you are looking closely at what Christianity has to say. I'll just echo everything K said and let him offer some examples, but I did want to mention one thing you may or may not be aware of:

The fundamental difference between a scientific materialist's world-view (that is, atheism in general) and a Christian's world-view ultimately comes down to a question of Absolute Personality or Absolute Impersonality. In your question of "Why," science can only explain "how." In the atheist's view, "why" is simply "because it is that way." He seeks to describe how the laws of nature work like they do, but, ultimately, there is no satisfactory answer to "why?"

The Christian, on the other hand, assumes that there is such a thing as an Absolute Personality. The impersonal laws of nature that we study (our examination of the "how") were given by a Supreme Person. People have "whys." That takes personality. So, we can start to offer actual reasons why God might have done the things He did, and they don't have to be, "Just because that's the way He did it." Of course, admittedly, there are some reasons He simply hasn't revealed to us, but that is to be expected. Equally, there are many reasons that He HAS revealed to us, and that is also expected. So, we can look at some things and see why they are like they are.

For example: why is there something instead of nothing? Answer, God chose to make beings like Himself that He could love.

Why does God want to create beings He could love? Answer: God is love, and the selfless outpouring of that love is simply a natural effect of His attributes.

We could go on, but I'm going to stop here and hope you see my point. Overall, this is one of the reasons that I am a Christian. I simply don't see any other way that an ultimate Impersonality (i.e., the laws of nature) could give rise to the personal, and considering the fact that human beings desire and expect to find some sort of meaning, the fact that we are searching for a "why," to me strongly points toward an Ultimate Person. As I see it, the God of the Bible best fits that picture.

God bless :D

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#13

Post by Anonymous » Sun Oct 17, 2004 2:57 pm

Its frustrating when people use science as an excuse not to believe in God - Most of them have not even tried. The classic one is - "..but, hasn't science disproved God?!"

I have never heard anyone claim that science disproves God. I have also never heard of anyone claim science disproves the tooth fairy. But then again to believe in the tooth fairy, you must have faith.

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#14

Post by RGeeB » Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:03 am

Man has tried two things:

1) Reach out to God
2) Be like God

Trying to rule out the input of a creator in the scheme of things, is part of 2. Its has a significant effect on the way people view life, whether they admit it or not.

That is probably why more forums are dedicated to this topic rather than to the tooth fairy :?:

I think it will surprise some people, including me, when we access how much faith is required to accept certain things stated in newspapers these days.

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#15

Post by fizzzzzzzzzzzy » Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:45 pm

Ive been studying this topic too. Science has not disproved God, but grown closer and closer to proving him. The simplest reason that the big bang cant be right is because scientists have absolutely no idea how it could have started. the simplest reason that evolution couldnt be true is because evolution is supposedly the result of random mutations. According to evolution, a cell, a infinitely complex object, was created by random mutaions. there is more chance of putting toothpicks and glue in a box, shaking it up, and a toothpick house coming out.

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