Is there a God?

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
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Re: Is there a God?

#376

Post by jlay » Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:06 am

Atheism isn't simply lacking belief in Zeus, Allah, or Jehovah.

Atheism, itself, isn't a lack of belief in a particular organized religion. It isn't atheismlam.

All Christians are theists, but not all theists are Christians.
The big questions of life are always answered through a worldview. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Where did we come from? Who am I? It may be trendy for 'free thinkers' to pretend that atheism is not a positive belief, but it is either naive at best, intellectually dishonest at worst. It's the same error when atheists make the claim that Christians are atheists in Islam, Hindu, etc.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: Is there a God?

#377

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:12 am

jlay wrote:Atheism isn't simply lacking belief in Zeus, Allah, or Jehovah.

Atheism, itself, isn't a lack of belief in a particular organized religion. It isn't atheismlam.

All Christians are theists, but not all theists are Christians.
The big questions of life are always answered through a worldview. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Where did we come from? Who am I? It may be trendy for 'free thinkers' to pretend that atheism is not a positive belief, but it is either naive at best, intellectually dishonest at worst. It's the same error when atheists make the claim that Christians are atheists in Islam, Hindu, etc.
Precisely.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Is there a God?

#378

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:19 am

jlay wrote:Atheism isn't simply lacking belief in Zeus, Allah, or Jehovah.

Atheism, itself, isn't a lack of belief in a particular organized religion. It isn't atheismlam.

All Christians are theists, but not all theists are Christians.
The big questions of life are always answered through a worldview. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Where did we come from? Who am I? It may be trendy for 'free thinkers' to pretend that atheism is not a positive belief, but it is either naive at best, intellectually dishonest at worst. It's the same error when atheists make the claim that Christians are atheists in Islam, Hindu, etc.
That whole "Christians are a type of atheists" rational is just, well, stupid and I am surprised it ever caught on, but, just goes to show...

The reality is that WHY is not really something that can be answered by science or even by observation ( not always) but only be metaphysics.

Water boils when heated to 100 Celsius but WHY the water is heating, that is another matter altogether.

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Re: Is there a God?

#379

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:25 am

Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Is there a God?

#380

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:34 am

Just and simply correct:
The “Common Sense Anti-Platonism” objection supposes that the Form of the Good is merely one more or less perfect or imperfect instance of some class or category alongside the other instances, albeit an especially impressive one. But of course, that is not what it is at all. The Form of the Good doesn’t have goodness in some more or less incomplete way; rather, it just is goodness, participation in which determines the degree of goodness had by things which do have goodness only in some more or less incomplete way. Similarly, the “Common Sense Atheist” or “one god further” objection supposes that the God of classical theism is merely one further superhuman being alongside others who have found worshippers – Thor, Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, and so forth – only a superhuman being of even greater power, knowledge, and goodness than these other deities have. But of course, that is not what God is at all. He is not “a being” alongside other beings, not even an especially impressive one, but rather Being Itself or Pure Actuality, that from which all mere “beings” (including Thor, Zeus, and Quetzalcoatl, if they existed) derive the limited actuality or existence they possess. Neither does He “have” power, knowledge, goodness, and the like; rather, He is power, knowledge, and goodness (where the “participation” relation in Plato’s theory of Forms is transformed by the classical theist into a relation between created things and their uncaused cause, in light of the doctrine of divine simplicity – and also thereby transformed, by Thomists anyway, into a kind of efficient-causal relation).

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Re: Is there a God?

#381

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:41 am

I was just reading some of the comments on Edward's blog and I have to say...wow !

Some people simply do NOT get it:
By Anonymous:
You've missed the point of the "one further god" objection.

Your first sentence should have been the only sentence: "there is ample reason to think they do not exist."

Well, then you understand why I dismiss your god. I have ample reason to think he doesn't exist. Or, to be more accurate, I don't have ample reason to think he does exist.

That's it. That's the objection in a nutshell. "Dismiss" in the sense of the objection has nothing to do with being worthy of worship but to dismiss as non-existent.

You apparently understand why you dismiss other gods as non-existent. Theoretically, you should now understand why atheists do as well.

Everything else, about whether it's appropriate to call them gods, or whether they'd be worthy of worship, are immaterial to the objection.
Or simply have NO understanding of Christianity at all:
"I imagine a God who is not jealous or vengeful, and who would never have his son (or daughter or children) become sacrifices to Him.

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Re: Is there a God?

#382

Post by Kenny » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:28 am

Squible wrote:
Kenny wrote:
Squible wrote:Now Kenny,

I want to ask you to something else actually.

I remember you saying you can't prove a negative. Meaning, in the context you used it in, that you can't prove that X doesn't exist.

Is this true?
Yes

K
Okay I thought about this one further and realized we prove negatives all the time...

For example:
Prove that a planet doesn't exist between the orbit of Jupiter and Saturn.
Prove that X is not somewhere.
Prove that a flea does not exist in my lounge room.
Prove that an elephant doesn't exist in your street.
and so on..

I believe this whole "can't prove a negative" claim is actually philosophically flawed, and is just an attempt to not shoulder any burden of proof as such..
How about this one; Prove Santa Clause does not exist! To do this you would have to comb every inch of the North Pole, while checking all the air space over the world just in case he is cruising around in that flying sleigh he is known to ride around in.

It is easy to think of a scenario when a negative can be proven, but often negatives cannot be proven. A friend of mine recently claimed he could still dunk a basketball like he did when he was in high School. (he is over 40 years old) I doubted and he dunked proving his claim correct. Now suppose he were to ask me to prove he is unable to dunk? Wouldn’t it be foolish for him to expect me to believe he can simply because I am unable to prove he cannot?

It is easy to prove a positive claim; all you have to do is demonstrate and your point is proven. But to prove a negative claim is often impossible; thus it is foolish to expect the two claims (positive claims vs negative claims) to be considered equal

Ken
RickD wrote
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

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Re: Is there a God?

#383

Post by Kenny » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:34 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
I am going to have to go with Audie on this one; I cannot fathom how someone can "choose" to believe or disbelieve; as I said before, for me belief happens after reason and logic demands it, not before. But I noticed you said "believe in", what does that mean? How are you defining the term to believe in someone or something? Perhaps that is different.

Ken
You can't fathom how someone chooses to believe yet you say that, for you, belief is based on reason and logic, correct?
So you choose to believe in something that, for you, is based on reason and logic ( whatever that may be at that point in time).
Almost everything we do is a choice in some form or another.
Belief is no different.
I am forced to believe because of reason and logic. When something has been proven to me to my satisfaction; I am unable to deny it any longer. I do not choose to believe, I am forced to believe. Using my friend dunking scenario in my last post, after my friend dunked proving he is still able to dunk; I was unable to continue believing he no longer could. After he proved his claim, logic and reason forced me to believe; to claim otherwise would be lying to myself.

Ken
RickD wrote
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

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Re: Is there a God?

#384

Post by Audie » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:54 am

Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
I am going to have to go with Audie on this one; I cannot fathom how someone can "choose" to believe or disbelieve; as I said before, for me belief happens after reason and logic demands it, not before. But I noticed you said "believe in", what does that mean? How are you defining the term to believe in someone or something? Perhaps that is different.

Ken
You can't fathom how someone chooses to believe yet you say that, for you, belief is based on reason and logic, correct?
So you choose to believe in something that, for you, is based on reason and logic ( whatever that may be at that point in time).
Almost everything we do is a choice in some form or another.
Belief is no different.
I am forced to believe because of reason and logic. When something has been proven to me to my satisfaction; I am unable to deny it any longer. I do not choose to believe, I am forced to believe. Using my friend dunking scenario in my last post, after my friend dunked proving he is still able to dunk; I was unable to continue believing he no longer could. After he proved his claim, logic and reason forced me to believe; to claim otherwise would be lying to myself.

Ken

There are those who choose to believe, or who do epostomology-epistomology and end up believing there was a world wide flood.

So I think maybe the choice comes in where a person decides the outcome they want, then any evidence will do. Or, they just are not very rigorous in their examination of evidence.

As the late Prof Feynman put it, the easiest person to fool is yourself.

Maybe God has been revealing Himself to me and I say, "Oh, its the wind."

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Re: Is there a God?

#385

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:02 pm

Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
I am going to have to go with Audie on this one; I cannot fathom how someone can "choose" to believe or disbelieve; as I said before, for me belief happens after reason and logic demands it, not before. But I noticed you said "believe in", what does that mean? How are you defining the term to believe in someone or something? Perhaps that is different.

Ken
You can't fathom how someone chooses to believe yet you say that, for you, belief is based on reason and logic, correct?
So you choose to believe in something that, for you, is based on reason and logic ( whatever that may be at that point in time).
Almost everything we do is a choice in some form or another.
Belief is no different.
I am forced to believe because of reason and logic. When something has been proven to me to my satisfaction; I am unable to deny it any longer. I do not choose to believe, I am forced to believe. Using my friend dunking scenario in my last post, after my friend dunked proving he is still able to dunk; I was unable to continue believing he no longer could. After he proved his claim, logic and reason forced me to believe; to claim otherwise would be lying to myself.

Ken
You are forced to believe?
Why?
Because you choose to accept the evidence presented and choose to "follow" the road where it leads you.

Its the reason some people believe in evolution and others don't when presented with the same evidence (as an example).
Some choose to believe that the evidence leads to evolution while other choose not to believe it.

Historical Jesus is another example, the evidence is there, some choose to believe that it means that Jesus existed and others don't.

In your example, your friend's demonstration showed that, at that time, he was still able to dunk and you believed because the evidence AND proof was obvious.
Now, you could also choose to believe that while he was able to do that THEN, it doesn't mean he can all the time and even that would be a valid view (all things considered) BUT that isn't really what we are discussing.
My point is simply this:
We choose what to believe in and what not to believe in and those choices can be based on reason, rational, logic or emotion, experience and so forth.

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Re: Is there a God?

#386

Post by Squible » Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:00 pm

Kenny wrote:
How about this one; Prove Santa Clause does not exist! To do this you would have to comb every inch of the North Pole, while checking all the air space over the world just in case he is cruising around in that flying sleigh he is known to ride around in.
Exactly.

I was waiting for this old chest nut. I have good reasons to believe he doesn't exist, actually very strong ones. (unless you mean his clones that walk around at Christmas :lol:)
We could go through them if you like, but I think you know what they are.

Kenny wrote: It is easy to think of a scenario when a negative can be proven, but often negatives cannot be proven. A friend of mine recently claimed he could still dunk a basketball like he did when he was in high School. (he is over 40 years old) I doubted and he dunked proving his claim correct. Now suppose he were to ask me to prove he is unable to dunk? Wouldn’t it be foolish for him to expect me to believe he can simply because I am unable to prove he cannot?

It is easy to prove a positive claim; all you have to do is demonstrate and your point is proven. But to prove a negative claim is often impossible; thus it is foolish to expect the two claims (positive claims vs negative claims) to be considered equal
I think we "prove negatives" considerably more than you realize. In the last week I realized I had quite a number of times which is what made me ponder on it a little more. I have kids and I am a software developer so trust me I can rattle off a tone of cases, and find plenty more outside of that too. Say in the case of software development when dealing with millions of lines of legacy code, you may need to conclude a bug does not exist, in some cases you may not be able to easily, since it is difficult to access all the code paths (or too time consuming so there is a trade off), so you infer from the evidence you do have. While there may not be complete certainty due to complexity (or worse technical debt which is often the case with legacy code), you are justified in believing that a bug does not exist , or no further ones have been introduced. And I most certainly don't say to my boss it's too hard so I can't prove a negative in those cases. Could you imagine what their response would be? :lol: My boss would simply expect justification for my belief based on inferences from what evidence was accessible for that case.

In any case, just because you think it is almost "often impossible" or "too hard", doesn't mean one ought to hold to the belief "you can't prove a negative". You certainly proved that you could in your Santa Claus example.

And in the case where it isn't easy, you ought to have good reasons for why you believe ("the negative"), with what you do know, and come from that point. It doesn't have to be about absolute certainty.
I am sure when you said you had doubts about your friend, you could back it up with what evidence you did have and be justified in what you believed. For example, he was not as fit as he use to be, his eye sight was poor and he was fumbling the ball and so on.

Say I said to you I had a conversation with a stranger last week. And you said prove that stranger exists and what you said. Well could I easily in that case? What I would do is offer good reasons for it and/or find what evidence I could that could be inferred from. I could come up with stacks of scenarios like this. The "positive" can have same problems, as such you can't always easily prove a "positive" either. And given that it doesn't mean we are not justified in affirming the "positive" with what evidence we do have.

My point wasn't about absolutes Kenny, or which is "easier". My point is you can't say "we can't prove negatives" because we do, thus you might want to rethink that that claim.

The same rules apply to the existence of God, in that we work with what evidence we do have, but that is a discussion for another time.

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Re: Is there a God?

#387

Post by Squible » Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:03 pm

Audie wrote: There are those who choose to believe, or who do epostomology-epistomology and end up believing there was a world wide flood.
I am curious to know why you would use this as an example? And what the point of it is?

Naturalized epistemology (which modern science is under) arguably has had some pretty crazy things come out of that based on the assumption naturalized epistemology gives you all you need.

Audie wrote: Maybe God has been revealing Himself to me and I say, "Oh, its the wind."
Or perhaps it's that niggling feeling deep down that just won't go away..... :mrgreen:

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Re: Is there a God?

#388

Post by Kenny » Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:10 pm

jlay wrote:It may be trendy for 'free thinkers' to pretend that atheism is not a positive belief, but it is either naive at best, intellectually dishonest at worst. It's the same error when atheists make the claim that Christians are atheists in Islam, Hindu, etc.
Jlay
It may be trendy for 'free thinkers' to pretend that atheism is not a positive belief, but it is either naive at best, intellectually dishonest at worst.
Ken
I think it depends upon how one defines atheism. The way I define it as applied to myself it is not a postive belief.

Jlay
It's the same error when atheists make the claim that Christians are atheists in Islam, Hindu, etc.
Ken
I think the claim is that Christians are equal to Atheists as far as other religions are conserned. Many theists believe that if you don’t worship the true God it is the same as worshiping no God at all.

Ken
RickD wrote
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

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Re: Is there a God?

#389

Post by Kenny » Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:24 pm

Audie wrote:
Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
I am going to have to go with Audie on this one; I cannot fathom how someone can "choose" to believe or disbelieve; as I said before, for me belief happens after reason and logic demands it, not before. But I noticed you said "believe in", what does that mean? How are you defining the term to believe in someone or something? Perhaps that is different.

Ken
You can't fathom how someone chooses to believe yet you say that, for you, belief is based on reason and logic, correct?
So you choose to believe in something that, for you, is based on reason and logic ( whatever that may be at that point in time).
Almost everything we do is a choice in some form or another.
Belief is no different.
I am forced to believe because of reason and logic. When something has been proven to me to my satisfaction; I am unable to deny it any longer. I do not choose to believe, I am forced to believe. Using my friend dunking scenario in my last post, after my friend dunked proving he is still able to dunk; I was unable to continue believing he no longer could. After he proved his claim, logic and reason forced me to believe; to claim otherwise would be lying to myself.

Ken

There are those who choose to believe, or who do epostomology-epistomology and end up believing there was a world wide flood.

So I think maybe the choice comes in where a person decides the outcome they want, then any evidence will do. Or, they just are not very rigorous in their examination of evidence.

As the late Prof Feynman put it, the easiest person to fool is yourself.

Maybe God has been revealing Himself to me and I say, "Oh, its the wind."
Audie
There are those who choose to believe, or who do epostomology-epistomology and end up believing there was a world wide flood.

So I think maybe the choice comes in where a person decides the outcome they want, then any evidence will do. Or, they just are not very rigorous in their examination of evidence
.

Ken
I believe some people with an agendia can choose to focus on evidence that supports their agendia and dismiss evidence that does not; but that is probably more of minipulating belief rather than choosing it, because they are still using reason and logic (albeit selective reason and logic) to get there.

Audie
As the late Prof Feynman put it, the easiest person to fool is yourself.

Ken
I find the opposite to be true. I can pretend and decieve others till the cows come home; but at the end of the day, I would know I was lying.

Audie
Maybe God has been revealing Himself to me and I say, "Oh, its the wind."
Ken
If God is all that he is claimed to be, I think he would know how to reveal himself to you in a way that you would recognize.

Ken
RickD wrote
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

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Re: Is there a God?

#390

Post by Kenny » Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:46 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
I am going to have to go with Audie on this one; I cannot fathom how someone can "choose" to believe or disbelieve; as I said before, for me belief happens after reason and logic demands it, not before. But I noticed you said "believe in", what does that mean? How are you defining the term to believe in someone or something? Perhaps that is different.

Ken
You can't fathom how someone chooses to believe yet you say that, for you, belief is based on reason and logic, correct?
So you choose to believe in something that, for you, is based on reason and logic ( whatever that may be at that point in time).
Almost everything we do is a choice in some form or another.
Belief is no different.
I am forced to believe because of reason and logic. When something has been proven to me to my satisfaction; I am unable to deny it any longer. I do not choose to believe, I am forced to believe. Using my friend dunking scenario in my last post, after my friend dunked proving he is still able to dunk; I was unable to continue believing he no longer could. After he proved his claim, logic and reason forced me to believe; to claim otherwise would be lying to myself.

Ken
You are forced to believe?
Why?
Because you choose to accept the evidence presented and choose to "follow" the road where it leads you.

Its the reason some people believe in evolution and others don't when presented with the same evidence (as an example).
Some choose to believe that the evidence leads to evolution while other choose not to believe it.

Historical Jesus is another example, the evidence is there, some choose to believe that it means that Jesus existed and others don't.

In your example, your friend's demonstration showed that, at that time, he was still able to dunk and you believed because the evidence AND proof was obvious.
Now, you could also choose to believe that while he was able to do that THEN, it doesn't mean he can all the time and even that would be a valid view (all things considered) BUT that isn't really what we are discussing.
My point is simply this:
We choose what to believe in and what not to believe in and those choices can be based on reason, rational, logic or emotion, experience and so forth.
PaulSacramento
You are forced to believe?
Why?
Because you choose to accept the evidence presented and choose to "follow" the road where it leads you.

Ken
Not quite! I am forced to believe because it has been proven. Once I know the truth, anything outside of it becomesa lie. I am unable to believe something I know is a lie.

PaulSacramento
Its the reason some people believe in evolution and others don't when presented with the same evidence (as an example).
Some choose to believe that the evidence leads to evolution while other choose not to believe it.

Historical Jesus is another example, the evidence is there, some choose to believe that it means that Jesus existed and others don't.

Ken
I think that has more to do with agendia. Often people with agendias will focus on evidence that supports their agendia and will ignore evidence that refutes it.

PaulSacramento
In your example, your friend's demonstration showed that, at that time, he was still able to dunk and you believed because the evidence AND proof was obvious.
Now, you could also choose to believe that while he was able to do that THEN, it doesn't mean he can all the time and even that would be a valid view (all things considered) BUT that isn't really what we are discussing.

Ken
I disagree! I am unable to believe he could dunk now, but not be able to do it 10 minutes later without reason such as an injury or something.

PaulSacramento
My point is simply this:
We choose what to believe in and what not to believe in and those choices can be based on reason, rational, logic or emotion, experience and so forth.

Ken
I don't think I am capable of this; if I were I would probably still be Christian because I really didn't want to give that up; which is why I hung on to it for as long as I could. Also I noticed you used the term To believe IN; What do you mean when you say to believe in something?

Ken
RickD wrote
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

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