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All_Brains

WHY?

Why do we often try to establish the existence of God through the validity of religions?

Shouldn't we first establish whether we think God exists or not, then if "yes" then move on to what could be his true message?
They call me Tater Salad

Re: WHY?

All_Brains wrote:
Why do we often try to establish the existence of God through the validity of religions?

Shouldn't we first establish whether we think God exists or not, then if "yes" then move on to what could be his true message?


That would make sense, but first wouldn't you need to establish for yourself what you think God should be and or why He/it should exist, in order to determine whether He/it could exist?
All_Brains

Re: WHY?

They call me Tater Salad wrote:
All_Brains wrote:
Why do we often try to establish the existence of God through the validity of religions?

Shouldn't we first establish whether we think God exists or not, then if "yes" then move on to what could be his true message?


That would make sense, but first wouldn't you need to establish for yourself what you think God should be and or why He/it should exist, in order to determine whether He/it could exist?


Sure! The establishment of the existence of God would subsequently need to define what should God be.
They call me Tater Salad

Re: WHY?

All_Brains wrote:

They call me Tater Salad wrote:

That would make sense, but first wouldn't you need to establish for yourself what you think God should be and or why He/it should exist, in order to determine whether He/it could exist?


Sure! The establishment of the existence of God would subsequently need to define what should God be.


No, no...I mean going at it from the reverse of how you just said.  Because, if you think about it, in order to establish the existence or non-existence of a god, one has to have a concept of how that god would be.

Let's take first the notion that many atheists (including yourself) has about man creating God in his own image and run with it for now.  Not that I believe it but we have to conceptualize these things and start from our own creative minds.

As an example, think of how many times you're looking for something (let's say a present for your wife  Very Happy ).  You don't know EXACTLY what you want to get, but you'll "know it when you see it".  You have a vague-ish concept of what the gift should be, but you don't really know where to find it or if it even exists. So you go looking at various stores until you find "it" or the closest thing to "it" that you can find.

Even more concretely, imagine an architect who is designing a house.  He doesn't just hire a contractor and start ordering supplies and start building.  Well, some do but the house most likely won't be well planned or built.  So the first step in realizing a concept (making it exist) is the brainstorming.  Then the programming/research, then the rough drawings, then the final plans.  The final "determination" of the house is after all these steps are done and the actual design is refined.

So, I say that if you've determined that God doesn't exist, you must have already had a predetermined idea of what God is--and is it possible that a God can exist that doesn't meet your predetermined criteria?  If you come away believing the answer is yes, then what kind of God is it?  This is the brainstorming phase.  Then you can search the "stores" to see if you "find the gift" (planning/research).  Remember that sometimes in the searching you simply stumble into it, not really knowing what exactly you're looking for.  This is why many people say God finds them, not the other way around.
norwegian

Re: WHY?

All_Brains wrote:
Why do we often try to establish the existence of God through the validity of religions?


Because god, it seems, is a monarch. A king is defined by his kingdom. No kingdom, no king. (Ever heard the saying that the office of the president is larger than the president himself?)
IoshkaFutz

Re: WHY?

norwegian wrote:
All_Brains wrote:
Why do we often try to establish the existence of God through the validity of religions?


Because god, it seems, is a monarch. A king is defined by his kingdom. No kingdom, no king. (Ever heard the saying that the office of the president is larger than the president himself?)


It's like saying that the whole is greater than the sum of the separate parts. Any office be it that of a Teacher or Judge is greater than the actual physical, temporal holder of such a post. Hence God is greater than God.  A=A+1

The real problem afflicting many societies is precisely this "greatness"... the love or search (and posionous allure) of the unknowable  (infinity can be appreciated but not grasped), has blinded man to the details. This is what has kids freaking out for distant causes, but blind to their local realities.

Truths are both great and small. It is good to have justice, but Justice is blindfolded. A thief caught by society is judged differently than the same thief caught my his mother. If a piece of silver is stolen, the mother will know why... whether it was to feed a habit, give a gift to a girl, buy books, etc.. Knowing the details, only she could mete out a proper and personalized justice. For society instead, the big and anonymous "thou shalt not steal" princiiple was broken. What the mother would have consider vital to reaching the truth would instead be considered superfluous and petty in the sweeping justice of the state.

There has been a triumph of this second type of "unbiased" (blind, perfect and incomplete justice). This is why people can win 5 million dollars for burning their lips on a restaurant-bar's overheated coffee. That shows you how skewed some cultures are in favor of the Greatness of God to the detriment of (also) his smallness. Ironically, the more secular-atheist the country, the "greater" the God... and the further away he is from the details (of the kind appreciated by a mother). It can be argued that a man is freer in a hotel than he is at home with his family. This is the equivalent of what many Atheists think. They see the easy come-and-go as you please, the messes left behind and "magically" cleaned up, the ever "right" and smiling concierge. There is nothing that could justify the concierge's snarl. Even in extreme behavior he is instructed to maintain detachment and phone the police.

This detachment is fantastically grand, but it's not a home. A rationalist God knows only how to be big. It can design a compound, and even take a stab at creating a community, but where it is most needed, in the name of fairness, it must be inhuman and blind.

Societies must repair their families and communities to fight off the alienation caused by the atheist-big godders. This may sound crazy, but we've never been so legislated. And the smaller truths have never been so silenced.
norwegian

Re: WHY?

IoshkaFutz wrote:
It's like saying that the whole is greater than the sum of the separate parts. Any office be it that of a Teacher or Judge is greater than the actual physical, temporal holder of such a post. Hence God is greater than God.  A=A+1


No. Its more like religion is greater than god. A=B+1.
IoshkaFutz

Re: WHY?

norwegian wrote:
IoshkaFutz wrote:
It's like saying that the whole is greater than the sum of the separate parts. Any office be it that of a Teacher or Judge is greater than the actual physical, temporal holder of such a post. Hence God is greater than God.  A=A+1


No. Its more like religion is greater than god. A=B+1.


A case of Religion-Yech? With Pepto-Buddhism the soothing cure? Nah, except in rare circumstances there should be no confusion between religion and God. It's like confusing education and success. They're linked, but with no warranty.

Down the street from where I'm staying there is Don Bisco's first oratory. Torino was being industrialized and the streets were teeming with underprivileged kids. Don Bosco played sports with them, and then taught them how to sing and pray... and then taught them how to read and write and do sums amd learn carpentry. This was a case when A=A+1 was both God and Religion.

Now that same oratory is full of tough looking kids with urban haircuts and cell phones, speaking different languages. I really wonder how a modern day Don Bosco would have to operate to make a difference. Games, songs and prayers don't do it like they used to. What's needed today is serious advice and a safehaven from the cops.
Baal

Re: WHY?

They call me Tater Salad wrote:
All_Brains wrote:

They call me Tater Salad wrote:

That would make sense, but first wouldn't you need to establish for yourself what you think God should be and or why He/it should exist, in order to determine whether He/it could exist?


Sure! The establishment of the existence of God would subsequently need to define what should God be.


No, no...I mean going at it from the reverse of how you just said.  Because, if you think about it, in order to establish the existence or non-existence of a god, one has to have a concept of how that god would be.

Let's take first the notion that many atheists (including yourself) has about man creating God in his own image and run with it for now.  Not that I believe it but we have to conceptualize these things and start from our own creative minds.

As an example, think of how many times you're looking for something (let's say a present for your wife  Very Happy ).  You don't know EXACTLY what you want to get, but you'll "know it when you see it".  You have a vague-ish concept of what the gift should be, but you don't really know where to find it or if it even exists. So you go looking at various stores until you find "it" or the closest thing to "it" that you can find.

Even more concretely, imagine an architect who is designing a house.  He doesn't just hire a contractor and start ordering supplies and start building.  Well, some do but the house most likely won't be well planned or built.  So the first step in realizing a concept (making it exist) is the brainstorming.  Then the programming/research, then the rough drawings, then the final plans.  The final "determination" of the house is after all these steps are done and the actual design is refined.

So, I say that if you've determined that God doesn't exist, you must have already had a predetermined idea of what God is--and is it possible that a God can exist that doesn't meet your predetermined criteria?  If you come away believing the answer is yes, then what kind of God is it?  This is the brainstorming phase.  Then you can search the "stores" to see if you "find the gift" (planning/research).  Remember that sometimes in the searching you simply stumble into it, not really knowing what exactly you're looking for.  This is why many people say God finds them, not the other way around.

Hellot Tater, I think you are assuming that the concept of a god is complex. That before we begin to assume if god exists or not, we have to know of god.

That is not the case. Because we will start really small. The first question will be, I exists through my parent, so who do they exist through?

The first question does not have to be god centric, it could be just parent centric, and then you can build the god concept from there as one possible permutation.
They call me Tater Salad

Re: WHY?

Baal wrote:
Hellot Tater, I think you are assuming that the concept of a god is complex. That before we begin to assume if god exists or not, we have to know of god.

That is not the case. Because we will start really small. The first question will be, I exists through my parent, so who do they exist through?

The first question does not have to be god centric, it could be just parent centric, and then you can build the god concept from there as one possible permutation.


Hi Baal.  I guess the concept of God is as complex as you want to make it.  And yes, I think you can build a god concept that way but I didn't.  Do you not look at small children who don't have the ability to understand theology and see that they have already some kind of "god" concept?  I never looked at my parents like that.  Perhaps I was different...I never had the question of whether something unseen existed.  I grew up (my most formative years) without any religious upbringing at all.  The closest parent to me, my dad, always explained things to me in terms of "Mother Nature" or natural explanations.  I found out in my teen years, that he didn't believe in a God per se, but that he felt as though people called God what he called Mother Nature.

My mom was a "born again" but not until I was 10 or 11 so that for me wasn't much of an influence in my life--by that time I was beginning to assert my "independence" from my parents and could care less about my mom's religion.  Both my parents encouraged me to be curious about everything and not make decisions based on emotions.  The way I discovered what was "right" was by the process I wrote about here.  I spent a lot of time wandering (I love the phrase "those who wander are not always lost") and reading about all sorts of things--for a while I was very interested in the occult.

I guess I've always had any number of God concepts--for me it was identifying which of those concepts would be the most likely God and find the path that best met that criteria.  For me it was Christianity and the Bible.
Mutley

Re: WHY?

They call me Tater Salad wrote:
All_Brains wrote:
Why do we often try to establish the existence of God through the validity of religions?

Shouldn't we first establish whether we think God exists or not, then if "yes" then move on to what could be his true message?


That would make sense, but first wouldn't you need to establish for yourself what you think God should be and or why He/it should exist, in order to determine whether He/it could exist?


No. Existence itself is not preceded by the description of the existing thing. First, possible existence of a creator is examined. Obviously, no creator, no God. Then, we decide what characteristics that "said thing" might have, after we first decide there is a creator. You are putting the carriage before the horse, so to speak. Now I know that I breached one small piece of logic. I did put the characteristic of creator on to God first, before the existence was decided. But this is only because of the logical conclusion that if there is a God, then it HAS to be the creator, otherwise, we may look to God's creator as God, which sends us into a ridiculous tizzy. So we are forced to accept that exception, as dictated by logic.
They call me Tater Salad

Re: WHY?

Mutley wrote:


No. Existence itself is not preceded by the description of the existing thing. First, possible existence of a creator is examined. Obviously, no creator, no God.


So maybe since I never questioned the possibility that a god could exist I automatically by-passed the first step--but how can one who is naturally skeptical or who has determined for himself (such as All_Brains) that God doesn't exist get past that?  It's reasonable to me to say that no-one can prove the existence of God, nor really even the possiblity of God.  So what you're suggesting requires "gnosis"--but personally I know of quite a few atheists who later redacted their positions on God through logical/intellectual means, not purely spiritual.
brainout

"Hi, God.  If you're really up there and I'm  not talking to myself, would you help me to know You?  Thank you, ameen."

A five-year old would handle the whole thing that way.  When I was 13 I hadn't yet read Camus and filled my head with all kinds of non-sequiturs as we adults so often do.  So instead I looked up at the ceiling and asked, "Which God ARE You?" and promptly fell asleep. Smile

You don't need religion to have a relationship with God.  Better to avoid it, completely.  You do need contact with God, and you do need Logic 24/7 to know you're not hallucinating that contact.  For a developing relationship with God, you'll need a book God writes, so you can PROVE you're not hallucinating, since Divine Logic will be the same yet higher, than human.  Same pathways, but just like boundaries in real estate, a "yes" becomes a "no" when a boundary is reached.

Math teaches you all that.  But you need God's Math, at some point.  God's Thinking, yes.  Religion, never.
MrInquisitive

Duh...what?...

joker

..."in order to establish the existence or non-existence of a god, one has to have a concept of how that god would be."...


Uh!!! Do we really need to do that, at all?

Rolling Eyes

I really don't get it! I never think about this crap, at all.

It is puzzling to me me that you do...


Of course! It has no value to me to think about it!
MrInquisitive

..."Don't expect rationality, don't expect intelligence, and don't expect consistancy in my thoughts, and you won't be disappointed."...

I am very disappointed. It has a streak of "follow me" between here and the equator.

You are trying to say something.

I think it has something to do with the fact that you have discovered that your power is yours and it was always there.

You just simply used to "believe" that you had no power at all.

If you had no power at all, you simply wouldn't have the opportunity to expose your "irrational, unintelligent, inconsistent thoughts"!!!
kafir forever

Re: WHY?

All_Brains wrote:
Why do we often try to establish the existence of God through the validity of religions?

Shouldn't we first establish whether we think God exists or not, then if "yes" then move on to what could be his true message?


I think humans are "wired" that way.  Our brain seems to be wired to require some kind of God concept, but it can be overridden.

An approach I have found interesting, but by no means conclusive, is to examine the various popular characterisations of God, and his/her attributes, and see if they make sense.

I have pulled the following from http://www.qsmithwmu.com/a_big_bang_cosmological_argument_for_god's_nonexistence_(1992).htm
which, in effect, is saying the popular characterizations of God are logically inconsistent with modern physics, i.e., the Big Bang.  I am not arguing for against the BB, but logically, either the popular characterizations of God are wrong, the BB is wrong, or both.  Please read the entire article.


Quote:
3. The Big Bang Cosmological Argument for Atheism

I shall use the four aspects of big bang cosmology explicated in the last section as the scientific premises of my atheistic argument. The first three scientific premises articulated in the last section, the Einstein equation, Friedmann's solutions to this equation and the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorem, provide us with the two premises

(1) The big bang singularity is the earliest state of the universe.

(2) The earliest state of the universe is inanimate

(2) follows from (1) since the singularity involves the life-hostile conditions of infinite temperature, infinite curvature and infinite density.

The fourth scientific idea explained in the last section, the principle of ignorance, gives us the summary premise

(3) No law governs the big bang singularity and consequently there is no guarantee that it will emit a configuration of particles that will evolve into an animate universe.

(1)-(3) entail

(4) The earliest state of the universe is not guaranteed to evolve into an animate state of the universe.

My argument is that (4) is inconsistent with the hypothesis that God created the earliest state of the universe, since it is true of God that if he created the earliest state of the universe, then he would have ensured that this state is animate or evolves into animate states of the universe. It is essential to the idea of God in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition that if he creates a universe, he creates an animate universe, and therefore that if he creates a first state of the universe, he

creates a state that is, or is guaranteed to evolve into, an animate state. If somebody says, 'it does not matter to God whether the universe he creates is animate or inanimate,' this person is operating with a concept of God that is at odds with classical theism. I think it would be granted by virtually all contemporary theists in the analytic tradition (M. and R. Adams, Craig, Menzel, Morris, Plantinga, Quinn, Schlesinger, Swinburne, Wainwright, Wolterstorff and many others) that God, if he creates a universe, intends his creation to be animate. Richard Swinburne writes, for example, that 'orderly universes' are those required by animate creatures and that 'God has overriding reason to make an orderly universe if he makes a universe at all.'[16]

The above statement of the 'big bang cosmological argument for God's nonexistence' is of course just a starter, since the theist has available to himself or herself numerous counterarguments or objections. In the remainder of this paper I will state an d respond to some of these objections.



There are many more intriguing articles here, http://www.qsmithwmu.com/philosophy_of_religion.htm
Always_Faithful

Re: WHY?

kafir forever wrote:
(4) The earliest state of the universe is not guaranteed to evolve into an animate state of the universe.



As a determinist, I disagree with this point. I believe (and have good grounds to believe) that, in any situation, only one possible outcome can be generated (through natural law, which must concern any "cause" of the big bang). Therefore, the Big Bang was guraenteed to result in, not only the universe, but the very state of the universe we have now. You could still argue that God would have made the circumstances less delicately tuned towards the outcome of planetary and solar existence, but one could easily argue that, in order to generate the current state of existence (which could be assumed to be the one desired by this God for any particular purpose), a very specific mode of beggining for the Universe had to be used for the natural progression necessary.

Of course, I realise that determinism rules out free will and hence any validity or fairness to an earthly test or afterlife (and hence an Abrahamic God), but my point is not to defend God, only to point out how certain philosophies discredit the cosmological argument.
kafir forever

Re: WHY?

Always_Faithful wrote:
kafir forever wrote:
(4) The earliest state of the universe is not guaranteed to evolve into an animate state of the universe.



As a determinist, I disagree with this point. I believe (and have good grounds to believe) that, in any situation, only one possible outcome can be generated (through natural law, which must concern any "cause" of the big bang). Therefore, the Big Bang was guraenteed to result in, not only the universe, but the very state of the universe we have now. You could still argue that God would have made the circumstances less delicately tuned towards the outcome of planetary and solar existence, but one could easily argue that, in order to generate the current state of existence (which could be assumed to be the one desired by this God for any particular purpose), a very specific mode of beggining for the Universe had to be used for the natural progression necessary.

Of course, I realise that determinism rules out free will and hence any validity or fairness to an earthly test or afterlife (and hence an Abrahamic God), but my point is not to defend God, only to point out how certain philosophies discredit the cosmological argument.


Withn all due respect, did you read the article?  The uncertainty in the outcome is due to Quantum Mechanics where there is no real determinism.  Please read the article and comment on it directly, with quotes, when appropriate.  I am interested in the argument, not our own personal philosophies.

The article's argument can be reduced to the logical inconsistencies between BB/QM physics and the traditional attributes associated with God.  It does not prove that God does not exist, it only points out that if you believe in the BB, then God cannot have the traditional attributes associated with God.
Always_Faithful

Re: WHY?

kafir forever wrote:
Always_Faithful wrote:
kafir forever wrote:
(4) The earliest state of the universe is not guaranteed to evolve into an animate state of the universe.



As a determinist, I disagree with this point. I believe (and have good grounds to believe) that, in any situation, only one possible outcome can be generated (through natural law, which must concern any "cause" of the big bang). Therefore, the Big Bang was guraenteed to result in, not only the universe, but the very state of the universe we have now. You could still argue that God would have made the circumstances less delicately tuned towards the outcome of planetary and solar existence, but one could easily argue that, in order to generate the current state of existence (which could be assumed to be the one desired by this God for any particular purpose), a very specific mode of beggining for the Universe had to be used for the natural progression necessary.

Of course, I realise that determinism rules out free will and hence any validity or fairness to an earthly test or afterlife (and hence an Abrahamic God), but my point is not to defend God, only to point out how certain philosophies discredit the cosmological argument.


Withn all due respect, did you read the article?  The uncertainty in the outcome is due to Quantum Mechanics where there is no real determinism.  Please read the article and comment on it directly, with quotes, when appropriate.  I am interested in the argument, not our own personal philosophies.

The article's argument can be reduced to the logical inconsistencies between BB/QM physics and the traditional attributes associated with God.  It does not prove that God does not exist, it only points out that if you believe in the BB, then God cannot have the traditional attributes associated with God.


I didn't read the artical; the link doesn't work for me. If your point was that the traditional Abrahamic God (and not just simply a competent God) is disproven by the argument, then I'd agree; determinism or no determinism. The link url was misleading, but I shouldn't have jumped into an answer like that.

EDIT: I've found the artical, I'll give it a read now.
kafir forever

Re: WHY?

Always_Faithful wrote:
kafir forever wrote:
Always_Faithful wrote:
kafir forever wrote:
(4) The earliest state of the universe is not guaranteed to evolve into an animate state of the universe.



As a determinist, I disagree with this point. I believe (and have good grounds to believe) that, in any situation, only one possible outcome can be generated (through natural law, which must concern any "cause" of the big bang). Therefore, the Big Bang was guraenteed to result in, not only the universe, but the very state of the universe we have now. You could still argue that God would have made the circumstances less delicately tuned towards the outcome of planetary and solar existence, but one could easily argue that, in order to generate the current state of existence (which could be assumed to be the one desired by this God for any particular purpose), a very specific mode of beggining for the Universe had to be used for the natural progression necessary.

Of course, I realise that determinism rules out free will and hence any validity or fairness to an earthly test or afterlife (and hence an Abrahamic God), but my point is not to defend God, only to point out how certain philosophies discredit the cosmological argument.


Withn all due respect, did you read the article?  The uncertainty in the outcome is due to Quantum Mechanics where there is no real determinism.  Please read the article and comment on it directly, with quotes, when appropriate.  I am interested in the argument, not our own personal philosophies.

The article's argument can be reduced to the logical inconsistencies between BB/QM physics and the traditional attributes associated with God.  It does not prove that God does not exist, it only points out that if you believe in the BB, then God cannot have the traditional attributes associated with God.


I didn't read the artical; the link doesn't work for me. If your point was that the traditional Abrahamic God (and not just simply a competent God) is disproven by the argument, then I'd agree; determinism or no determinism. The link url was misleading, but I shouldn't have jumped into an answer like that.

EDIT: I've found the artical, I'll give it a read now.


Thanks, A_F.  The link did seem to be cut short, but all that is needed is to copy/past the entire string into a browser address.  Glad you were able to make it work.  Looking forward to your thoughts.
kafir forever

Bumping this because A_F has not replied.  Any reply A_F?  If not, that is OK, just let us know.

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