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Does God Exist?

59 posts in this topic

Posted

Fair enough. However, you did write:

Therefore the reason that God does not exist is that no evidence has come forth to make us logically think that God would exist.

That's what I claimed was a logical error, and so it remains. (You are correct, however, that we can make whatever "assumptions" seem reasonable to us.)

Obviously, all historical accounts (like eye witness testimony in court) become more credible when supported by other eye witnesses, or by circumstantial evidence, or by forensic evidence. However, that does not mean that eye witness accounts are not "evidence" in and of themselves.

The Iliad is a good example. Until the discovery of corroborating archaeological evidence, many people thought there was no historical basis whatsoever for the story. But (surely) the story itself is "evidence" that such a war once occurred. The archaeological discoveries changed some people

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Posted

Thank you Weimer,

You'll have to excuse me, I'm rather new here, but not new at all on the questions of the existence of God.

You give me the opportunity to make a certain point.

it would be a mistake to mix God with ireligions and beliefs about God, two very separate thing, as the latter is only a means of coming to term with the former, which requires a bit of effort good will and possibly good karma to be in communion with

The problem with this line of thinking is that without religions and beliefs about God, there is no evidence for God's existence

.

I think there is, plenty

Evidence that the so called scientific community disregards

and persists in ignoring. The evidence about the existence of God is systematically swept under the carpet, and tackled with inadequate approaches and methodologies.

I am currently working on other research, but perhaps I am going to put some work on this in the pipeline.

Nothing can be scientifically adduced about God as a natural phenomenon.

Plenty of evidence, but perhaps we need to brush up what we mean by evidence. Do you have a good definition?

This stuff is too subtle for the coarse science, which is very very limited. Metascience, like metaphysics, cannot be understood by many.

It's like looking at the universe through any telescope, and assuming that there is nothing beyond what one can see through it. Totally daft assumption.

Therefore we have to rely on "religious experiences" and "beliefs" to get us to reach that conclusion. (Some say logic, but I've yet to find anything that was remotely logical in supporting God, though perhaps I will be corrected on this at some point in the future.)

which are not properly investigated due to the lack of

adequate methodologies for this field of research.

That the God debate is a non-topic in scientific discussion (i.e. it can only be deduced through reasoning with ourselves and each other and not by measuring it) already places the burden of proof on those who posit the God hypothesis.

that shows how science is really good at ignoring and not considering science whatever it cannot understand and explain. pure negationism.

it sounds all wrong, cant believe you got yourself strapped into a self tied logical knot. you ll never see God like that :shock:

Therefore the reason that God does not exist is that no evidence has come forth to make us logically think that God would exist.

at some point, I hope there will be a chance to take this whole conversation back from the top...

cheers

PDM

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Posted

Fair enough. However, you did write:

Therefore the reason that God does not exist is that no evidence has come forth to make us logically think that God would exist.

Yes, I thought that the italics would display the meaning I wanted. I see now that it did not.

Obviously, all historical accounts (like eye witness testimony in court) become more credible when supported by other eye witnesses, or by circumstantial evidence, or by forensic evidence. However, that does not mean that eye witness accounts are not "evidence" in and of themselves.

I'm afraid that's not what I had in mind.

The Iliad is a good example. Until the discovery of corroborating archaeological evidence, many people thought there was no historical basis whatsoever for the story. But (surely) the story itself is "evidence" that such a war once occurred. The archaeological discoveries changed some people

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Posted

I don't know what "their genre is being debated" means. Whatever WE think their "genre" is, the Gospels purport to be historically accurate. I'd agree that a novel (since it makes no claims to be anything but the invention of the author) does not constitute "evidence" for the veracity of the story it recounts.

It seems obvious to me that the gospels are "evidence". In other words, the events that they recount are more likely to be true that other equally preposterous events that NOBODY claims are true. After all, whatever it is that we believe is uncertain. So some "evidence" might suggest a .01% possibility that the theory the "evidence" supports is correct, other evidence might represent a 99.9% possibility. The difference is one of degree, not of kind.

Semi-mythological tales, oral histories, etc seem like evidence to me. Did Babe Ruth "call" his home run in Wrigley Field in the 1932 World Series by pointing to the bleachers? I don't know. There's "evidence" that he did -- there's "evidence" that he didn't. But it would be silly to say there's no evidence that Ruth called his shot -- even if after examining all the evidence we believe that he did not.

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Posted

I don't know what "their genre is being debated" means. Whatever WE think their "genre" is, the Gospels purport to be historically accurate.

A convincing case can be made for Luke and John, but where in Matthew or Mark (especially relevant because Mark is the earliest by far) does it say so?

It seems obvious to me that the gospels are "evidence".

Things are not always what they seem. You're certainly not alone in your thinking, but it's far from settled. Dale Allison, a Christian and a scholar, recently gave a speech on this at a regional SBL meeting I attended.

Semi-mythological tales, oral histories, etc. seem like evidence to me. Did Babe Ruth "call" his home run in Wrigley Field in the 1932 World Series by pointing to the bleachers? I don't know. There's "evidence" that he did -- there's "evidence" that he didn't. But it would be silly to say there's no evidence that Ruth called his shot -- even if after examining all the evidence we believe that he did not.

Fair enough, but then you create the category of "evidence" to be subjective. I can deal with that, though.

How about this: There is evidence for God, just none of it is good enough to be convincing.

Better?

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Posted

How about this: There is evidence for God, just none of it is good enough to be convincing.

Better?

Yes. I'm incredulous about His existance myself.

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Posted

I looked through your whole post and while I saw a lot of claims, I did not see anything to back it up.

Cheers.

Hellow Weimer, you are right. There are lot of examples

of phenomena that we cannot explain and that science cannot justify. To make a significant argument I would have to collect some evidence of how science negates what it cannot assert, in support of my case that we cannot understand, let alone judge what we dont know. I am going to do that with a paper sometime.

Two things come to mind

1. the number of people who have unconditional faith is very high. I am not sure its all down to belief, some as result of personal experiences. If a phenomenon cannot be replicated in lab conditions, science ignores it. I am not sure that if God exist we can test the hypotheses in lab conditions. That would not mean that we can prove anything (neither for or against)

2. To have a meaningful discussion we should define what we mean by God and existence.

If you want to leave this to the exploration and respect of mutual beliefs, thats fine with me. But if you want to put it down to scientific reasoning, I am sure that a casual discussion is not the appropriate tool for it

And.. er.. you did not support any of your claims either?

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Posted

Hello, Pgalaxy. Do you have a real name? Any of my positive claims that you would like to see supported, please feel free. If you have any specific examples where science is deficient, please feel free to share.

All the best,

Mr. C. M. Weimer

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Posted

Being agnostic on God with no evidence for its existence is equivalent to being agnostic on unicorns, giant bunny rabbits on Mars, an invisible dragon under your bed, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

If I had a dollar every time The Flying Spaghetti Monster got brought up in a discussion on God, why, I might be rich enough to buy every copy of Dawkin's awful The God Delusion and throw them into the world's largest bonfire :-)............. and all this talk about spaghetti is making me hungry....

They may exist, but, like God, they likely do not.

C.M Weimer, How can you establish the likelihood of the existence of God? Is it 60% likely that God does not exist, 70% likely.......99% likely? Why should we accept that God is analogous to unicorns and dragons?

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Posted

In this matter, it may be wise to keep Occams Razor in mind; applied here, it is illogical to assume that a 'god' exists, because it raises more questions than it answers. Believe it or not, the economic explanation is, in fact, that this idea of 'god' does not exist.

consider also Hume's 'enquirey Concerning Human Understanding' which indicates that an explanation (the existence of god in this example) must not contradict other, well established facts, in this case the laws of physics, laws which would have to be downright broken to encompass the existencee of an omnipotent being.

in my view, there is no evidence to suggest that any religious text, however old, is not simply a work of fiction, a form of entertainment of their time. if there was a nuclear holocaust, where very little survived, but, miraculously, a copy of Harry Potter was found, would we realistically, logically or reasonably expect the people in a thousand years to believe that the story within is a true account of a person who lived in these times?

of course, philosphical skepticism is its own worst enemy, it is impossible to prove without a shadow of a doubt that something does or does not exist. however, as rational, intelligent human beings, we should be able to understand that deist theory contradicts all known laws and reason, and therefore side with the rational dis belief in a deity.

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Posted

Many thanks, DeadCan Dance, however, although bonfires are great fun, I am not into burning books :-)! The sub-title of this forum is "attempting to understand the religious experience" and spending time discussing sphaghetti monsters does not, I think, remotely approach this rather ambitious, but admirable, enterprise.

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Posted

in my view, there is no evidence to suggest that any religious text, however old, is not simply a work of fiction, a form of entertainment of their time. if there was a nuclear holocaust, where very little survived, but, miraculously, a copy of Harry Potter was found, would we realistically, logically or reasonably expect the people in a thousand years to believe that the story within is a true account of a person who lived in these times?

of course, philosphical skepticism is its own worst enemy, it is impossible to prove without a shadow of a doubt that something does or does not exist. however, as rational, intelligent human beings, we should be able to understand that deist theory contradicts all known laws and reason, and therefore side with the rational dis belief in a deity.

Most of this is simply incorrect, Scrier. Religious texts are not "works of fiction". In fact, in most oral religious traditions, stories we would call

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Posted

i do not believe it is possible to overstate my case! deist theory contradicts many physics laws. for example -

energy creation

matter transformation

omnipresence (occupying more than one space at a time specifically)

invisibility

telepathy

complete control of all events - defying all known causality and effects

the list could go on, im sure.

indeed, your example of speed limits, i would argue, are utterly undermined by deist theory. an omnipotent presence has no limits, that is the whole point of omnipotency.

as a historian, i think you would be on very dubious grounds to class religious texts as history. just because they are old, does not make them reliable historical evidence of anything.

furthermore, by what do you gain such confidence without evidence that historical texts are not works of fiction? as we werent there at the time of writing, we do not know for sure any authors intention, so how are you so sure it is not fiction? believing texts to state truth does not make it so.

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Posted (edited)

"Fiction: A division of literature consisting of prose works in a narrative form, the characters and incidents of which are created by the imagination of the author....."

“History: The branch of knowledge concerned with past events.”

Religious stories are passed from generation to generation. No one author invents the incidents or the characters. Therefore, careful students of literature do not call them "works of fiction". Myths purport to describe actual past events. We may disagree with the accuracy of the description, but they are a form of history in that they are (for believers) the “branch of knowledge concerned with past events”.

I also think you misunderstand the “laws” that you claim deist theory contradicts. The “laws” of physics are simply human inventions that describe and predict the actions of physical objects. They (like God) are abstractions developed by humans to help us better understand the universe. Einstein’s theories “contradicted the laws of physics” (as they existed at the time). Rather than abandonning Relativity, we changed the laws.

Based on the history of science, we can be quite certain that a great many of the “laws of physics” will be contradicted in the future, and our understanding of the physical world will be thus improved.

Edited by BDS

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Posted

I am no literary expert, but following on from your post 39, BDS, I understand simply that the methods of historiography, when applied to history, builds up the historicity (authenticity) of the narrative under study. All history is narrative, none of us were there when the vast majority of the events under scrutiny occurred, or even if they occurred. All religious narrative falls under this scrutiny, and I do not think that it would be treated so if it were merely fiction. Here I need to be advised. Are there any works of fiction, and known to be so, which are treated to the scrutiny of historiography? Tolstoy's "War and Peace" springs to mind, but, as I have said, I am no literary expert and stand to be corrected if this great work of literature has been treated to historiographic inspection.

The search for the historical Jesus has certainly attracted libraries full, is still going on, and probably will never cease. If the New Testament were merely fiction, I do not think it would still be attracting this sort of attention. Reading the Bible is, for some, part of their religious experience, and I find it helps to build up my faith in God. As has already been said, this 'evidence', which works for me, may not work for everyone. I think there are many pieces of scientific 'evidence', accepting that this sort of evidence may be more rigorously defined, which are never going to be the final word.

Speaking of words, with those who believe that God does exist I try to get them to understand that God's Word, with an upper case "W", is not what I read in the Bible. I read the words written by man, transcribed and translated thousands of times again by man. Only through historiography and exegesis do I begin to arrive at God's Word. This for me is a spiritual journey, and has little to do with any more scientific understanding of the world around us. Not that I am belittling the scientific enterprise, for me that too is part of my spiritual journey.

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Posted

I am going to add something more to the insightful post of BDS, just to affirm even further his/her position.

History and mythology are not interchangeable terms,but they are indeed related, in a cousin manner so to speak.

This can be noticed nowadays by the classical scholars themselves, that put much faith into the narrations of homer (Iliad & Odyssey), to try to uncover the mist that envelopes the "dark Ages" era of Ancient Greece.

In the 19th century the most eminent classical scholars saw in homer verses nothing but mere imagination. Yet, a man named Schliemann -lover of classics, particularly of homer- thought that there could be truth in the narrations.

So, he went looking for the most famous places described in the Iliad/Odyssey and he indeed found many of the sites, and contributed greatly to the possibility of veracity in the mythology of homer.

" Schliemann was a German archaeologist, an advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of Homer. Schliemann was an important excavator of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. His successes lent material weight to Homer's Iliad and Vergil's Aeneid reflecting actual historical events."

"I would say, if you walked into the leading universities in the world, there would probably be Germans in the 1850's and you went to the classics people, and you said, "well, you know Homer wrote about these places, Mycenae and other places, can you tell me where that was?" They would say, "You silly fellow, that's just stories, that's mythology, that's poetry. There never was an Agamemnon, there never was a Mycenae, there isn't any such thing." Then in 1870, a German businessman by the name of Heinrich Schliemann, who had not had the benefit of a university education and didn't know what a fool and how ignorant he was, believed Homer, and he said he wanted to look for Troy. So, he went to where people thought Troy might be and he began digging there, and before you know it, he discovered a mound filled with cities, which he believed was Troy. And after the usual amount of scholarly debate, there seems to be no doubt that it was the City of Troy. So having succeeded with that, he thought well, now that I've seen Troy, how about Mycenae? Off he went to the northeast Peloponnesus to the site where he thought it might be, Mycenae, from Homer's account--I wouldn't be telling you this story, and you know the outcome. He found it and it was the excavation of the site of Mycenae which was soon followed by the excavation of other sites from the same period that made it possible for people to talk about this culture, even before they could read the script" Donald Keagan, Yale professor

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Posted

They may exist, but, like God, they likely do not.
C.M Weimer, How can you establish the likelihood of the existence of God? Is it 60% likely that God does not exist, 70% likely.......99% likely? Why should we accept that God is analogous to unicorns and dragons?

Why? Because of the lack of good evidence for it. Perhaps the Chupacabra may be a better analogy. Lot's of first-hand stories, not one of them believable.

---------- Post added at 09:23 ---------- Previous post was at 09:21 ----------

"I would say, if you walked into the leading universities in the world, there would probably be Germans in the 1850's and you went to the classics people, and you said, "well, you know Homer wrote about these places, Mycenae and other places, can you tell me where that was?" They would say, "You silly fellow, that's just stories, that's mythology, that's poetry. There never was an Agamemnon, there never was a Mycenae, there isn't any such thing." Then in 1870, a German businessman by the name of Heinrich Schliemann, who had not had the benefit of a university education and didn't know what a fool and how ignorant he was, believed Homer, and he said he wanted to look for Troy. So, he went to where people thought Troy might be and he began digging there, and before you know it, he discovered a mound filled with cities, which he believed was Troy. And after the usual amount of scholarly debate, there seems to be no doubt that it was the City of Troy. So having succeeded with that, he thought well, now that I've seen Troy, how about Mycenae? Off he went to the northeast Peloponnesus to the site where he thought it might be, Mycenae, from Homer's account--I wouldn't be telling you this story, and you know the outcome. He found it and it was the excavation of the site of Mycenae which was soon followed by the excavation of other sites from the same period that made it possible for people to talk about this culture, even before they could read the script" Donald Keagan, Yale professor

This is more akin to the historical Jesus rather than God. Otherwise, from Greek mythology we would have to examine the existence of Zeus, Hera, Athena, Vesta, Hades, Poseidon, Apollo, Artemis, etc... etc...

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Posted

Hans Kung's Does God Exist is, at least in my eyes, arguably the finest theistic apologetic work ever penned; I spent about seven months reading it (that was about 2 years ago), and like you, I find myself using it as a reference all the time; it truly is a masterpiece of depth and philosophic understanding.

Have you read Van Til?

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Posted

What are the arguments against the existence of God?

There are none.

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Posted

This is more akin to the historical Jesus rather than God. Otherwise, from Greek mythology we would have to examine the existence of Zeus, Hera, Athena, Vesta, Hades, Poseidon, Apollo, Artemis, etc... Etc...
Yes of course, I was just affirming the argument of BDS, about being careful of calling religious texts fiction

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Posted

What are the arguments against the existence of God?

Questions regarding the "non-existence" of God (the correct term, I believe) can only be framed from within a worldview that has first demonstrated its own epistemological sufficiency, including the appropriateness of the standard of proof being urged.

Thus, empiricism has no standard of proof by which to test the existence of an immaterial entity.

So, how about specifying your epistemological frame of referrence?

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Posted

Why? Because of the lack of good evidence for it.

Surely the hypothesis of God differs immensely from that of a unicorn or dragon; because two things share one thing in common, namely lack of "good evidence" (whatever this means) this by no means puts them on equal footing, for example: an elephant has ears, a human being has ears, therefore they are the same; Jesus had followers, Jim Jones had followers, therefore they are the same. The existence of God would have the most profound of implications, ontologically, epistemologically, and ethically; Santa Claus or unicorns not so much......

There are good reasons to reject the kind of evidentialism you are propagating C.M Weimer; you will forever remain trapped in vicious circular logic if you do not assume, a priori, the validity of your evidentialism, and this is not wholly unreasonable, but neither would it be unreasonable for a believer to hold God as his starting point, as the Bible, which never makes any arguments for the existence of God, does.

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Posted (edited)

Questions regarding the "non-existence" of God (the correct term, I believe) can only be framed from within a worldview that has first demonstrated its own epistemological sufficiency,

Not necessarily. Epistemology is not the foundation of philosophy, and not since Wittgenstein. Epistemology ruled the roost since Descartes, but not since the mid 20th century, when philosophers realized that there are questions that precedes epistemological ones.

For instance science objectifies rather than think, and both epistemology and aesthetics are systems of objectification and they constitute the foundation of subjectivism, a factual domain.

...including the appropriateness of the standard of proof being urged. Thus, empiricism has no standard of proof by which to test the existence of an immaterial entity.

Why are you reading empiricism into the question of god's nonexistence? Is that necessarily the only philosophy that advocates nontheism?

A completely naive empiricism is indeed unsustainable. Empiricism is a philosophy with an a priori foundation. It must have recourse to the principle of non contradiction, and to the rules of the syllogism in forming propositions, as it must have recourse to the principles of induction and deduction.

For the phenomenologist, if the empiricist cannot appeal to eidetic insight, there can be no universal and therefore no philosophical defense of empiricism. This defense is essentially transcendental.

So, how about specifying your epistemological frame of referrence?

Do you realize that you're replying to a banned member?

Edited by Campanella
added extra insight

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Posted

Theophilus, out of curiosity, are you still a Christian presuppositionalist? That would be an interesting discussion to revive.

Nice to see you back after a long absence. As you can see, we're still kicking around. :)

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Posted

Recent posts seem to be turning this thread into a chat, but I do understand and accept that this does happen sometimes in most fora on any website :-)! My approach to forum posts is to take time to consider my reply, a bit like the old time postal chess before the Internet, so I trust that no-one will think I am ignoring them if they fire questions at me to which I do not respond fairly quickly, or that I have missed points already made.

Xymox is now banned so we cannot expect him/her to contribute, as Campanella has now pointed out. Theophilus, I am most grateful for your reference to Van Til, to whom Hans Kung makes no reference in his "Does God Exist?" and I wonder why? I am not suggesting that we continue to discuss Kung in this thread, as there are at least two other threads currently running, to which I hope to further contribute. Hans Kung is now in his eighties, I think, still active especially in the ecumenical areas of Christian theology, but as Max Planck said, very succinctly I think and applies to all human thought not just science:

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

I try to remain open to valid criticisms of Hans Kung. Even after a very brief sojourn using Google, it seems to me that Van Til has some extremely interesting contributions to this debate, and although he was writing before Hans Kung, as far as I can see his thinking is going beyond anything that Kung managed in his very extensive apologetic. Of course to say there are no arguments against the existence of God is a little flippant! Kung devotes, quite rightly I think in DGE, pgs 189 to 423 of an 800 + page book to these arguments (against God). The first section is entitled "The Challenge of Atheism", and I do believe it is a challenge, and I am trying to address it in the Hans Kung threads.

There is so much to copy and paste from Wiki on Van Til that I do not know where to start! I will try here:

"Thus, non-Christians can reason, but they are being inconsistent with their presuppositions when they do so. The unbeliever's ability to reason is based on the fact that, despite what he believes, he is God's creature living in God's world."

And Wiki continues:

"Hence, Van Til arrives at his famous assertion that there is no neutral common ground between Christians and non-Christians because their presuppositions, their ultimate principles of interpretation, are different, but because non-Christians act and think inconsistently with regard to their presuppositions, common ground can be found. The task of the Christian apologist is to point out the difference in ultimate principles, and then show why the non-Christian's reduce to absurdity."

davidm's latest reference to Christian presuppositionalism links immediately with Van Til. If this thread continues, or as davidm suggests a new thread, then I find this challenging and of great interest. If Van Til can argue that "the task of the Christian apologist is to point out the difference in ultimate principles, and then show why non-Chrisitian's reduce to absurdity" that would be powerful indeed!

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