Existence of God

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Existence of God

Postby Elman » Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:41 pm

Existence of God
I am posting this by permission from another forum.
stumpjumper on christianforums.com (thread 36847784) wrote:
In another thread, I have been discussing the arguments for God's existence with a few folks. One comment that I have been pondering is the argument of why Christians/theists only say there are good arguments after the "bad arguments" have been addressed (Pascal's wager, argument from scripture, etc).

So, I decided to list some of the better arguments here and their purposes. No argument has the intention of proving God's existence in a mathematical sense (ie a mathematical "proof") or arguing for every single characteristic or attribute of a specific God. IOW, arguing that the cosmological argument only demonstrates the existence of a First Cause/Prime Mover or initial creator God which is consistent with Deism is a non-starter. The purpose of that particular argument is only to demonstrate the existence of God as a first cause not to argue for every feature that theists or Christians attribute to God.

Just to reiterate, these arguments are really not intended to demonstrate deductive proof for God's existence. In the end, one must make a choice or a judgment call or as Kierkegaard stated "an existential leap of faith" to believe in God. Our life is, if anything, uncertain and subjective and a life of faith is no different.

Anyway, the arguments and their general purposes.

The Cosmological Argument

The purpose of the cosmological argument is to demonstrate the reasoning behind believing in a first cause which is necessary and eternal. If something is necessary, it does not require a cause which is why the First Cause/God does not need to be created.

If something is contingent (the universe), we are warranted in positing that it had a cause.

A modern version of the cosmological argument by Robert Koons that is very good can be found Here

Teleological Arguments

(note: I have c/p this section from a wiki I created last year)

A teleological argument for the existence of God is one which uses design and purpose in nature to argue in favor of God's existence. Teleological arguments are a form of natural theology that argue that one aspect of nature is that it is being guided towards a purposeful future regardless of the mechanisms being used. In this respect, many teleological arguments are consistent with the findings of modern science.

A teleological argument builds upon say the cosmological argument to demonstrate the existence of an active and present God within the world. In that manner, even if the KCA does not demonstrate much beyond an initial First Cause God other arguments do so.

A Brief Teleological Argument for Intelligence and Purpose In Nature

It is out of our scientific and physical understanding of the universe and the world that arise questions that go beyond mere understanding of mechanisms and awaken in us a sense of the intelligibility of the world. Scientific understanding of our surroundings show us hints of an intelligence behind the universe. Many of the theories about our existence are driven by synthesis and expressed in beauty such as the Einstein’s theory of relativity, string theory and the grand unified theory.

Our world is rational and familiar and it is that which makes science possible. We seek theories which express this economy and elegance. It is this rationality of the universe that makes science possible and allows us to understand the quantum world. We cannot physically observe the quantum world but we can understand it's mechanisms. Man’s ability in math and science reflect a Creator whose will is the ontological origin of man’s reason, rationality, and mental abilities. The reason that the universe is rational can be tied to the fact that it is the product of a rational Creator.

The beauty and rationality of the world suggests to humanity that there is something infinitely more beautiful, intelligent, and rational. Many would argue that it is the Mind of God and the fact that we are being drawn forward towards God that has produced our thirst for understanding and knowledge. It is also the fact that we are being drawn towards God that makes us look beyond the physical world and search for the source of this intelligence. God is as much Creator today as he was at the time of the Big Bang even though the method of creation is insignificant as it is our source that truly matters and has significance.

It is the freedom that God has given us and is apparent in the method of our Creation that has produced the gift of love, independence, and our thirst for knowledge. God has displayed a reliable intellect in our natural world. It is a world which unfolds a genuinely novel future and it is a future that reveals our powers of agency. We have the power to bring things about through our own causation. It is this new understanding of a world that is open and welcoming to human causality that demonstrates compatibility between human free agency and Divine will. Through our freedom we can reason, infer, and understand our world. But, it is the intelligence behind the world that makes this possible.

External Links:

John Polkinghorne

Teleological Argument

Here is a decent article by Polkinghorne available online even though it does not contain a formal teleological argument.

The Ontological Argument

The ontological argument is incredibly circular and generally an exercise is verbal gymnastics. We shall move on...

The Argument From Morality

This is perhaps the strongest and most precarious arguments for God's existence. It is a highly subjective argument but one which speaks to the heart and soul of most people. In short, this argument attempts to demonstrate that God is moral, our morality is in line with God's, and that God is concerned with human existence.

Most of us (humans and a good number of animals) live meaningful and purposeful lives. If we live in a life-affirming manner with a positive philosophical outlook on life, we look for means of justifying this way of living.

Some would say I follow the golden rule because if I am good towards others they will be good towards me and that is a way of justifying (internally or externally) our life affirming manner of living.

That may or may not be true (in fact many times it is not true that good is rewarded) but is a means of justifying a meaningful life.

So, theism is a means of justifying a meaningful and purposeful outlook towards life?

My personal epistemology starts with nature and what I find in the world and existence outside my door and goes from there. I find meaning and purpose in life but it should not stop there.

Why do I find meaning?

Why should we look at a life that does contain it's share of starkness, uncertainty, and angst and turn towards living a meaningful life in a stance of fundamental trust in the overall nature of reality?

That is what I look upon as faith at it's core: trust in a benevolent and meaningful existence.

Why ought we to behave a certain way? That is the very core of the argument from morality.

When asked why man should act one way instead of another; why man should love instead of hate; or why peace is better than war, Sigmund Freud answered:

"When I ask myself why I have always aspired to behave honorably, to spare others and to be kind wherever possible, and why I didn't cease doing so when I realized that in this way one comes to harm and becomes an anvil because other people are brutal and unreliable, then indeed I have no answer." ~ Freud in a letter to J J Putnum 1915

How would you answer?

Why ought humans behave a certain way? The answer, to me, is found in teleology and positing a very real ground and source to being.

A ground and source to our being and it is one that we find within the world. Indeed, that is the only place we will really find God...

If God exists, the answer to the ultimate question of meaning can be answered. If not, the question remains either unanswered or unasked.

In Kant's view, the entire interest of human reason was concerned with these three questions:

What can I know?

What ought I to do?

and

What can I hope?

Is our existence authentic or unauthentic? Is our philosophy justified?

Those are the main questions the argument from morality attempts to answer.

There are other arguments for God's existence but I have no more time right now to provide them. These three, in my opinion, are the strongest, though.
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Postby Infidelus Totalus » Fri Jul 20, 2007 5:22 pm

The Cosmological argument is one that is brought up quite often in these sorts of discussions. The problem is that it violates its own assumptions when it concludes that there must be an eternal god who got things started. If everything must have a beginning, then surely this creator had a beginning too and his creator and so on and so on.

If one allows for an eternal creator, why not skip the extra layer and allow for an eternal universe?
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Re: Existence of God

Postby DallasHeathen » Fri Jul 20, 2007 6:20 pm

Elman wrote:Just to reiterate, these arguments are really not intended to demonstrate deductive proof for God's existence. In the end, one must make a choice or a judgment call or as Kierkegaard stated "an existential leap of faith"

You've convinced me. From here on out, I am going to believe in Zeus.
Is there a God? Find the answer at The Official God FAQ.
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Postby Erik » Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:16 pm

The purpose of the cosmological argument is to demonstrate the reasoning behind believing in a first cause which is necessary and eternal. If something is necessary, it does not require a cause which is why the First Cause/God does not need to be created.


This is assuming the conclusion. There is no point of time before the Universe, we don't even know what cause means without time. Does that mean the Universe isn't eternal, the argument assumes it isn't. Does our sense of causality apply outside of the Universe, the argument assumes it does. Does the origin of the Universe require a who, the argument assumes it does. Is the who eternal, the argument assumes he is. There is no evidence involved, just assumptions.

It is the freedom that God has given us and is apparent in the method of our Creation that has produced the gift of love, independence, and our thirst for knowledge. God has displayed a reliable intellect in our natural world. It is a world which unfolds a genuinely novel future and it is a future that reveals our powers of agency. We have the power to bring things about through our own causation. It is this new understanding of a world that is open and welcoming to human causality that demonstrates compatibility between human free agency and Divine will. Through our freedom we can reason, infer, and understand our world. But, it is the intelligence behind the world that makes this possible.


This is opinion not evidence. Can there be beauty with a divine will? Some say yes, some say know. There is nothing definitive.

This is perhaps the strongest and most precarious arguments for God's existence. It is a highly subjective argument but one which speaks to the heart and soul of most people. In short, this argument attempts to demonstrate that God is moral, our morality is in line with God's, and that God is concerned with human existence.


This is a can of worms, but again it comes down to opinion and assumptions. One can argue that altruism comes of genetic and social evolution. One can debate the morality of God especially in the OT. But the end of the argument comes down to faith again.

Nothing here provides evidence for someone who wants evidence not feelings. If you feel that God is real, there's nothing wrong with that, but it is unlikely to be convincing to someone who doesn't feel the same things (not to mention people who have different supernatural answers). Makes for a good discussion, but there is too much here to really get into detail.
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Re: Existence of God

Postby bugsoup » Sat Jul 21, 2007 8:18 pm

Elman wrote:The Cosmological Argument

The purpose of the cosmological argument is to demonstrate the reasoning behind believing in a first cause which is necessary and eternal. If something is necessary, it does not require a cause which is why the First Cause/God does not need to be created.

If something is contingent (the universe), we are warranted in positing that it had a cause.


I'm not sure which definition of contingent you are using so I'll go through the 5 listed on Webster's Dictionary

1 : likely but not certain to happen; possible


Not it. Nobody can make this argument. We have no idea what the conditions were prior to the existence of the universe, so how can we possibly say that it might not have happended. It did happen, that's all that can be said.

2 : not logically necessary; especially


Not it. As far as we know, a universe is necessary as long as we are here to argue how it got here.

3 a : happening by chance or unforeseen causes


Doesn't support your argument. We do not know the origins of the universe. If it is chance, then there are a lot of theist who would disagree, including yourself. I really hope you aren't claiming that the universe was deliberate and accidental.

b : subject to chance or unseen effects : unpredictable


Not it. ...until someone can demonstrate unnatural forces in the universe. We are discovering more and more about how the universe works every day.

c : intended for use in circumstances not completely foreseen


Could be. We do not know the purpose of the universe. Any attempt to speculate, is exactly that, speculation.

4 : dependent on or conditioned by something else <payment is contingent on fulfillment of certain conditions>


Could be. Again, we have not yet discovered what those conditions were or had to be in order for the universe to come into existence.

5 : not necessitated : determined by free choice


Not it. There is no reason to believe that a being chose to create the universe, until there is any evidence.

So if you are saying the universe is contingent, please explain how you know what the purpose of the universe is or what the conditions were prior to existence. Until you know these answers, it would be difficult for any rational person to be convinced by the contingent/necessary claims.

Beside, why does being necessary mean it doesn't require a cause? This means until you can show that the universe is not necessary, you should believe that the universe doesn't have a cause. Your logic, not mine.


Elman wrote:Teleological Arguments

A teleological argument for the existence of God is one which uses design and purpose in nature to argue in favor of God's existence. Teleological arguments are a form of natural theology that argue that one aspect of nature is that it is being guided towards a purposeful future regardless of the mechanisms being used. In this respect, many teleological arguments are consistent with the findings of modern science.


When has science ever determined a purpose for existence?

How do you know the universe is guided by anything intelligent? You originally said you were not arguing attributes of a god, however, in order to claim guidance over the universe, this god that you claim must have intelligence. Are you saying god can guide (or change) the phyical world? Are you saying that a god knows what is best? How do you demonstrate this?

Elman wrote:A teleological argument builds upon say the cosmological argument to demonstrate the existence of an active and present God within the world.


So you need to first show me the cosmological argument supports the existence of a god.

Elman wrote:It is out of our scientific and physical understanding of the universe and the world that arise questions that go beyond mere understanding of mechanisms and awaken in us a sense of the intelligibility of the world.


Our "scientific and physical understanding" does no such thing. Maybe your emotions and desires use your scientific understanding to try and support your hope for an intelligent creator or purpose in life, but that is 100% subjective. Your understanding of the universe doesn't seem to be scientific at all.

Elman wrote:Scientific understanding of our surroundings show us hints of an intelligence behind the universe.


No it doesn't.

Elman wrote:Many of the theories about our existence are driven by synthesis and expressed in beauty such as the Einstein’s theory of relativity, string theory and the grand unified theory.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is subjective. Have you ever seen an ugly baby? Do you think cancer is a beautiful creation? What about the appendix? The beauty in anything does not show that it was a product of a god. If it did, then nothing should be considered ugly. Why won't god heal amputees? Is there a purpose in not having legs?

Elman wrote:Our world is rational and familiar and it is that which makes science possible. We seek theories which express this economy and elegance.


Yes, that seems to be our nature.


Elman wrote:It is this rationality of the universe that makes science possible and allows us to understand the quantum world. We cannot physically observe the quantum world but we can understand it's mechanisms.


Which is it? Is the quantum world familiar or unobservable? It cannot be both. By the way, we can and do observe the quantum world. That is how science works. Did you think we just prayed for the knowledge?

Elman wrote:Man’s ability in math and science reflect a Creator whose will is the ontological origin of man’s reason, rationality, and mental abilities. The reason that the universe is rational can be tied to the fact that it is the product of a rational Creator.


This is an assumption.

Elman wrote:The beauty and rationality of the world suggests to humanity that there is something infinitely more beautiful, intelligent, and rational. Many would argue that it is the Mind of God and the fact that we are being drawn forward towards God that has produced our thirst for understanding and knowledge. It is also the fact that we are being drawn towards God that makes us look beyond the physical world and search for the source of this intelligence. God is as much Creator today as he was at the time of the Big Bang even though the method of creation is insignificant as it is our source that truly matters and has significance.

It is the freedom that God has given us and is apparent in the method of our Creation that has produced the gift of love, independence, and our thirst for knowledge. God has displayed a reliable intellect in our natural world. It is a world which unfolds a genuinely novel future and it is a future that reveals our powers of agency. We have the power to bring things about through our own causation. It is this new understanding of a world that is open and welcoming to human causality that demonstrates compatibility between human free agency and Divine will. Through our freedom we can reason, infer, and understand our world. But, it is the intelligence behind the world that makes this possible.{/quote]

There's no point in arguing against this. This is all based on your particular brand of faith.

Elman wrote:The Argument From Morality

This is perhaps the strongest and most precarious arguments for God's existence.


Is it strong or precarious? How can it be both?

It only convinces people who already want to believe.

Elman wrote:It is a highly subjective argument but one which speaks to the heart and soul of most people.


Which means it isn't a reliable way to argue.

Elman wrote:In short, this argument attempts to demonstrate that God is moral, our morality is in line with God's, and that God is concerned with human existence.


1. Of course. If you define god as moral, he has to be. You can't demonstrate this to be true.

2. So there is nothing that god has done that you would consider immoral?

3. This argumenet does not attempt to show a god that is concerned with human existence.
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Postby dromedaryhump1 » Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:36 pm

<Yawn>

These "arguments" are 500 to 2,000 years old. They are invoked by every xtian apologist and familiar to every 2nd year student of religion and philosophy.

Yet they are presented here as though they were just discovered by elman, and as though they provide some new and exciting evidence or proofs for the existence of the nonexistant. The obvious fallacies of these arguments, the objections and counters are just as well known.

I guess we will now have to endure a copy / paste job for The Cosmological Argument, The Argument from Miracles, and The Argument from Religious Experience.

Wake me when its over... or if Jebus appears on Larry King.

PS:
The Argument From Morality

This is perhaps the strongest and most precarious arguments for God's existence.


precarious = uncertain; unstable; insecure
strongest= powerful in influence, authority,effectiveness,
cogent

How can the Argument from Morality be simultaneously the "strongest" and the "most precarious"?
I think that very nonsequiter says it all about xtian belief and xtians.
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Postby Elman » Mon Jul 23, 2007 2:22 pm

Quote:
This is perhaps the strongest and most precarious arguments for God's existence. It is a highly subjective argument but one which speaks to the heart and soul of most people. In short, this argument attempts to demonstrate that God is moral, our morality is in line with God's, and that God is concerned with human existence.

Erick wrote:
This is a can of worms, but again it comes down to opinion and assumptions. One can argue that altruism comes of genetic and social evolution. One can debate the morality of God especially in the OT. But the end of the argument comes down to faith again.
Yes faith is always a part of it and it taks faith to believe altruism in humans developed from a survival of the fittest environment.
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Postby Elman » Mon Jul 23, 2007 2:37 pm

Elman wrote:
The Argument From Morality

This is perhaps the strongest and most precarious arguments for God's existence.

bugsoup's response:
Is it strong or precarious? How can it be both?
It is strong as compared to the other arguments. All are precarious and none prove the existence of God.

It only convinces people who already want to believe.
It supports a choice for faith in a loving Creator.

Elman wrote:
It is a highly subjective argument but one which speaks to the heart and soul of most people.


Which means it isn't a reliable way to argue.
Reliable to oneself is the point of it being a subjective arguement.

Elman wrote:
In short, this argument attempts to demonstrate that God is moral, our morality is in line with God's, and that God is concerned with human existence.


1. Of course. If you define god as moral, he has to be. You can't demonstrate this to be true.
I can demonstrate that on many issues of morality, humans agree and this common thread among humans goes back into recorded history and transcends cultures and time.

2. So there is nothing that god has done that you would consider immoral?
I believe in a good God, a Creator that has never been evil and would never be evil. He is trustworthy in that way. Don't quote OT scripture please. I don't believe it was dictated by God.

3. This argumenet does not attempt to show a god that is concerned with human existence.
It is reasonble to assume a loving Creator would be concerned with His creation. It is also reasonable to assume that the Creator is loving since we all have that trait in us if allow it to be. Why would a Creator create us to esteem loving action if the Creator was not loving? It is also reasonable to assume a loving Creator that created us with the ability to be loving, created us to be that way and it is logical that we could not be that way if we were not created with the ability to be unloving also. This argument does therefore attempt to show a Creator that is concerned with us and what we do and created us for the very purpose of allowing us to do what we do.
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Postby bugsoup » Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:59 pm

I will repeat this with your added contractiction. These are all your words simply arranged for clarification, NOT twisted (as you will probably accuse me of).

Elman wrote:All [arguments] are precarious and none prove the existence of God.


Elman wrote:The Argument From Morality...is perhaps the... most precarious arguments for God's existence.


These tell me that you think the AFM is the most precarious of these three you have posted.


Elman wrote:It is strong as compared to the other arguments.


Elman wrote:The Argument From Morality...is perhaps the strongest arguments for God's existence.


These tell me that you think the AFM is the strongest of the three.

So again:
bugsoup wrote:Is it strong or precarious? How can it be both?


The answer is: It can't be both. Nothing can be both "the strongest" and "most precarious", especially an argument.


Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:It only convinces people who already want to believe.
It supports a choice for faith in a loving Creator.


It doesn't logically support anything. It convinces those who choose to stop thinking about it.

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:It is a highly subjective argument but one which speaks to the heart and soul of most people.
Which means it isn't a reliable way to argue.
Reliable to oneself is the point of it being a subjective arguement.


How nice. You are just trying to share the good news. I'm sorry I misjudged your motives. Oh wait, what are your motives?


Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:In short, this argument attempts to demonstrate that God is moral, our morality is in line with God's, and that God is concerned with human existence.
1. Of course. If you define god as moral, he has to be. You can't demonstrate this to be true.
I can demonstrate that on many issues of morality, humans agree and this common thread among humans goes back into recorded history and transcends cultures and time.


There are two ways (at least) to interpret this.

1. If you are saying humans agree with each other on many issues:

Of course humans agree with each other. Humanity wouldn't not survive if nobody agreed on many issues. You will always have agreements on some issues.

2. If you are saying that humans agree with the bible on many issues:

So now it's MANY issues of morality? Are your sure it's not ALL issues of morality? I thought your god was the source of morality. Where did these other issues of morality come from if not from your god? I think you are misunderstanding the AFM. It is clearly attempting to discredit any other source of morality.

In any case, all you can demonstrate is that the bible SOMETIMES agrees with what people believe to be moral based on evolution, common experiences, and a collective judgement. What happens when humans don't agree with the morality of the bible? That's right, all humans live the way they want to live and try to find justifications for their good or bad behavior. Because a few humans have taken moral lessons from past human experience, and written them down, doesn't make the bible the word of god.

The Harry Potter series, Superman, and the Little Engine that Could all contain moral lessons. Why aren't they considered divinely inspired? Is Harry Potter himself a prophet? He can fly while Jesus cannot. Is Harry better than Jesus? Likewise, Superman can see through things and fly.

Would you cry "blasphemy" if people started to worship Harry Potter or Superman? What justification do you have that the bible is any more true than "The Chamber of Secrets" (the second book in the series). Could God be part way through his seven book masterpiece? Is he a british woman? Prove he is not.

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:2. So there is nothing that god has done that you would consider immoral?
I believe in a good God, a Creator that has never been evil and would never be evil. He is trustworthy in that way. Don't quote OT scripture please. I don't believe it was dictated by God.


What scripture contains the Ten Commandments? Are they the word of god? No. Good. I've always been attracted to my neighbor's wife.

This is a perfect place to introduce the Euthyphro Dilemma. You claim he "would never be evil". Can you predict the future? Can you know everything that God might do? If so, are you God? Wouldn't it take an omniscient being to do either of these? God can change his mind If you can, based on free will, but he couldn't, would he still be omnipotent? If he suddenly said, killing your grandparents once you are 18 is necessary, would you do it? While I don't believe this is good or necessary, I could come up with a few "moral lessons" that God might use in his next book to justify this action. The question is: Is is moral because God said it, or does God say it because it is moral? That is the Euthyphro Dilemma in a nutshell.

How do you know that the OT is not and the NT is the word of god?
How do you know the Quran is not the word of god?

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:3. This argumenet does not attempt to show a god that is concerned with human existence.
It is reasonble to assume a loving Creator would be concerned with His creation...


The argument was supposed to show this, not just assume this. The rest of your response is circular non-sense.

I actually would agree that a "loving Creator" would and should be "concerned with His creation". However, you have not shown me that he (1) exists or (2) has to be loving. There are thousands of theories of what god could be (if he existed).

For example:
What if he were just a prime mover and doens't care what happens to us? He could be doing tests to see how humanity works out. Maybe we are just an unbiased experiment for him.

Or:
What if he is in a "God Competition" against Zeus, Thor et al to see who is the most powerful? What if this is Zeus' universe and he is losing because of fundamentalists who kill in the name of God?

Or:
We ARE made in the image of God, but in Thor's universe, just to show that God is imperfect.

Please tell me why I shouldn't believe in these other choices, or why these are not possible.

One last set of questions for this round. Is truth (real or spiritual) subject to the will? Can the facts of the universe be changed by willful thinking? Is personal truth (what is true for you) part of universal truth (what is true for everyone)?
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Postby Elman » Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:13 pm

bugsoup
I will repeat this with your added contractiction. These are all your words simply arranged for clarification, NOT twisted (as you will probably accuse me of).

Elman wrote:
All [arguments] are precarious and none prove the existence of God.


Elman wrote:
The Argument From Morality...is perhaps the... most precarious arguments for God's existence.


These tell me that you think the AFM is the most precarious of these three you have posted.


Elman wrote:
It is strong as compared to the other arguments.


Elman wrote:
The Argument From Morality...is perhaps the strongest arguments for God's existence.


These tell me that you think the AFM is the strongest of the three.

So again:
bugsoup wrote:
Is it strong or precarious? How can it be both? The answer is: It can't be both. Nothing can be both "the strongest" and "most precarious", especially an argument.
It is the strongest of three precarious arguments.





Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
It only convinces people who already want to believe.
It supports a choice for faith in a loving Creator.


It doesn't logically support anything. It convinces those who choose to stop thinking about it.
Your opinion-nothing more.

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:
It is a highly subjective argument but one which speaks to the heart and soul of most people.
Which means it isn't a reliable way to argue.
Reliable to oneself is the point of it being a subjective arguement.


How nice. You are just trying to share the good news. I'm sorry I misjudged your motives. Oh wait, what are your motives?

My motive is not and has never been to prove to you that God exists. You keep wanting to argue that I have not done and am not doing what I never claimed to do. My motives include thinking about reality that may exist but is not observable nor is its existence provable in scientific terms. If it were it would not be supernatural, but simply natural.

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:
In short, this argument attempts to demonstrate that God is moral, our morality is in line with God's, and that God is concerned with human existence.
1. Of course. If you define god as moral, he has to be. You can't demonstrate this to be true.
I can demonstrate that on many issues of morality, humans agree and this common thread among humans goes back into recorded history and transcends cultures and time.


There are two ways (at least) to interpret this.

1. If you are saying humans agree with each other on many issues:

Of course humans agree with each other. Humanity wouldn't not survive if nobody agreed on many issues. You will always have agreements on some issues.
Having agreements between all humans in all times and through all cultures on what is loving and what is unloving and that being loving is a good thing and being unloving is not a good thing is more than a casual agreement on an issue.

2. If you are saying that humans agree with the bible on many issues:
This not what I am saying except for the teachings of Jesus that said we exist for the very purpose of loving each other.

So now it's MANY issues of morality? Are your sure it's not ALL issues of morality? I thought your god was the source of morality. Where did these other issues of morality come from if not from your god? I think you are misunderstanding the AFM. It is clearly attempting to discredit any other source of morality.

One could argue that all mority is tied up in being loving to each other.
In any case, all you can demonstrate is that the bible SOMETIMES agrees with what people believe to be moral based on evolution, common experiences, and a collective judgement. What happens when humans don't agree with the morality of the bible? That's right, all humans live the way they want to live and try to find justifications for their good or bad behavior. Because a few humans have taken moral lessons from past human experience, and written them down, doesn't make the bible the word of god.
You did not read the part where I do not believe the Bible was dictated by God, did you?
The Harry Potter series, Superman, and the Little Engine that Could all contain moral lessons. Why aren't they considered divinely inspired? Is Harry Potter himself a prophet? He can fly while Jesus cannot. Is Harry better than Jesus? Likewise, Superman can see through things and fly.
You are not discussing any issue I raised. Harry Potter may contain some divine truth if it teachs we should love each other. I have not read it so I don't know what it teaches.

Would you cry "blasphemy" if people started to worship Harry Potter or Superman? What justification do you have that the bible is any more true than "The Chamber of Secrets" (the second book in the series). Could God be part way through his seven book masterpiece? Is he a british woman? Prove he is not.
God is love and the children of God love or they are not children of God. This is taught by the Bible. It is not to my knowledge taught by the other books you mention.

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
2. So there is nothing that god has done that you would consider immoral?
I believe in a good God, a Creator that has never been evil and would never be evil. He is trustworthy in that way. Don't quote OT scripture please. I don't believe it was dictated by God.


What scripture contains the Ten Commandments? Are they the word of god? No. Good. I've always been attracted to my neighbor's wife.
To take your neighbor's wife is not a loving thing to do and is therefore not a good thing to do and the consequences of that are likely to be less than pleasant. That may be divine truth or it may just be common sense.

This is a perfect place to introduce the Euthyphro Dilemma. You claim he "would never be evil". Can you predict the future? Can you know everything that God might do? If so, are you God? Wouldn't it take an omniscient being to do either of these? God can change his mind If you can, based on free will, but he couldn't, would he still be omnipotent
God can change His mind just like I can. I am likely to do so but He can be trusted to always be loving.

If he suddenly said, killing your grandparents once you are 18 is necessary, would you do it? While I don't believe this is good or necessary, I could come up with a few "moral lessons" that God might use in his next book to justify this action. The question is: Is is moral because God said it, or does God say it because it is moral? That is the Euthyphro Dilemma in a nutshell.
It is good to help people. It is bad to hurt them, which would include killing them. God will not tell you to hurt people. He has told you to love them. He has created you with the knowledge that you should love them and He has created you with the ability to love them.

How do you know that the OT is not and the NT is the word of god?
How do you know the Quran is not the word of god?
What encourages us to love others is the word of God. What does not do that is not.

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
3. This argumenet does not attempt to show a god that is concerned with human existence.
It is reasonble to assume a loving Creator would be concerned with His creation...


The argument was supposed to show this, not just assume this. The rest of your response is circular non-sense.
I did not say just assume. I said it is reasonable to assume and it is.

I actually would agree that a "loving Creator" would and should be "concerned with His creation". However, you have not shown me that he (1) exists or (2) has to be loving. There are thousands of theories of what god could be (if he existed).
Yes there are theories but our knowledge of what being loving is and our knowledge that it is a good thing is some evidence of our being created rather than descended from a wolf pack. If we are simply descended from survival of the fittest, love your neighbor does not seem reasonable as the result.

For example:
What if he were just a prime mover and doens't care what happens to us? He could be doing tests to see how humanity works out. Maybe we are just an unbiased experiment for him.
Anything is possible but it is more reasonable that He is concerned about us if He went to the trouble to create us as we are.

Or:
What if he is in a "God Competition" against Zeus, Thor et al to see who is the most powerful? What if this is Zeus' universe and he is losing because of fundamentalists who kill in the name of God?

Zues did not teach love your neighbor and was not a loving Creator, nor was Thor. It is not reasonable to assume they are real.
Or:
We ARE made in the image of God, but in Thor's universe, just to show that God is imperfect.
The image of God that we are made in is the one where we are loving. When we are not loving we are not acting in His image.

Please tell me why I shouldn't believe in these other choices, or why these are not possible.
Anything is possible including no God at all, but that does not seem reasonable to me.

One last set of questions for this round. Is truth (real or spiritual) subject to the will?
It is within my power to be loving, not perfectly or completely, but to some extent loving. It is also possible for me to chose to be unloving.
Can the facts of the universe be changed by willful thinking? Is personal truth (what is true for you) part of universal truth (what is true for everyone)?
We are all in a state of change. We are part of the Universe, so yes we can change the universe by willful thinking. We cannot change wheather God exists or not. He either does or does not and it does not depend on what we think about it.
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Postby bugsoup » Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:40 pm

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:Is it strong or precarious? How can it be both? The answer is: It can't be both. Nothing can be both "the strongest" and "most precarious", especially an argument.
It is the strongest of three precarious arguments.


I understand your clarification. I still disagree. The argument is necessarily the weakest argument because it relies on the assumption that it aims to prove, that is, god exists. That is called circular reasoning.

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:It only convinces people who already want to believe.
It supports a choice for faith in a loving Creator.
It doesn't logically support anything. It convinces those who choose to stop thinking about it.
Your opinion-nothing more.


It is only my opinion that a person who chooses to believe in a invisible friend who is the answer to everything does not want to have to think critically or examine things outside themselves. It is a fact that the Argument from Morality does not demonstrate that god has to exist.

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:It is a highly subjective argument but one which speaks to the heart and soul of most people.
Which means it isn't a reliable way to argue.
Reliable to oneself is the point of it being a subjective argument.


How do you claim to know what most people think from a subjective interpretation of the world? Subjectivity that applies to “the heart and soul of most peopleâ€
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Postby Elman » Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:15 pm

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
bugsoup wrote:
It only convinces people who already want to believe.
It supports a choice for faith in a loving Creator.
It doesn't logically support anything. It convinces those who choose to stop thinking about it.
Your opinion-nothing more.


It is only my opinion that a person who chooses to believe in a invisible friend who is the answer to everything does not want to have to think critically or examine things outside themselves. It is a fact that the Argument from Morality does not demonstrate that god has to exist.
Yes we both agree the existence of God cannot be proven scientifically. Why do we keep repeating this?

[quote]Elman wrote:
It is a highly subjective argument but one which speaks to the heart and soul of most people.
Which means it isn't a reliable way to argue.
Reliable to oneself is the point of it being a subjective argument.


How do you claim to know what most people think from a subjective interpretation of the world? Subjectivity that applies to “the heart and soul of most peopleâ€
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Postby LtCmd.Lore » Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:25 am

I have read the Quran and the teachings of Buddah and neither teach the focus of humanity should be on loving each other as Jesus did.

Balogna!
Maybe you read the worst parts of the Qur'an or the teachings of Buddha. (Which would be like me judging the whole bible after reading the flood story.)

Here are some things from the Buddhist texts:

"Monks, as low-down thieves might carve you limb from limb with a double-handled saw, yet even then whoever sets his mind at enmity, he, for this reason, is not a doer of my teaching. Herein, monks you should rain yourselves thus: 'Neither will our minds become perverted, nor will we utter an evil speech, but kindly and compassionate will we dwell, with a mind of friendliness, void of hatred; we will dwell having suffused the whole world with a mind of friendliness that is far-reaching, widespread, without enmity, without malevolence.' This is how you must train yourselves, monks."


"The way to develop love is through thinking out the evils of hate, and the advantages of non-hate; through thinking out according to actuality according to karma, that really there is none to have, that hate is a foolish way of feeling which breeds more and more darkness, that obstructs right understanding. Hate restricts; love releases. Hatred estranges; love enfranchises. Hatred brings remorse; love brings peace. Hatred agitates; love quietens, still, calms. Hatred divides; love unites. Hatred hardens; love softens. Hatred hinders; love helps. And thus through a correct study and appreciation of the effects of hatred and the benefits of love, should one develop love."


"At this highest level, karuna (compassion) does not attach itself to the intricacies of suffering or to individual human situations. It is involved with the salvation of all living things. It spreads out the map of enlightenment for all who care to look."


"They should be hospitable and charitable to one another; should speak pleasantly and agreeably; should work for each other's welfare; should be on equal terms with one another; should not quarrel among themselves; should help each other in need; and should not forsake each other in difficulties."


May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.


It supports love of humanity AND intelligence and wisdom... try to find one scripture in the Bible encouraging intelligence. And the love in Buddhism applies to ALL living things, not just people.

I think I agree with you about the Qur'an though... :D


It seems very reasonable to me that the nature of a Creator can be seen through the nature of the created.

OK, what is the nature of a killer whale? Or an infectious virus? What is the nature of a ring worm? What is the nature of a shark? What is the nature of those spiders that eat their mates after sex? Or praying mantis's that do the same thing? What is the nature of a Cobra? What is the nature of a psychopath?
Those are all supposedly created by god as well. What can we tell about gods nature based on those things?

Sure you can ignore them and only look at the pretty little flowers and nice people. Why don't you give Satan the benefit of the doubt too? Ignore all the bad things HE did and only look at the good. Or Hitler? Or anybody?

Lore
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Postby Elman » Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:41 pm

LtCmd.Lore wrote:
I have read the Quran and the teachings of Buddah and neither teach the focus of humanity should be on loving each other as Jesus did.

Balogna!
Maybe you read the worst parts of the Qur'an or the teachings of Buddha. (Which would be like me judging the whole bible after reading the flood story.)

Here are some things from the Buddhist texts:

"Monks, as low-down thieves might carve you limb from limb with a double-handled saw, yet even then whoever sets his mind at enmity, he, for this reason, is not a doer of my teaching. Herein, monks you should rain yourselves thus: 'Neither will our minds become perverted, nor will we utter an evil speech, but kindly and compassionate will we dwell, with a mind of friendliness, void of hatred; we will dwell having suffused the whole world with a mind of friendliness that is far-reaching, widespread, without enmity, without malevolence.' This is how you must train yourselves, monks."
I don't recall ever reading this before. It reminds me of Jesus' teaching about love your enemies.

"The way to develop love is through thinking out the evils of hate, and the advantages of non-hate; through thinking out according to actuality according to karma, that really there is none to have, that hate is a foolish way of feeling which breeds more and more darkness, that obstructs right understanding. Hate restricts; love releases. Hatred estranges; love enfranchises. Hatred brings remorse; love brings peace. Hatred agitates; love quietens, still, calms. Hatred divides; love unites. Hatred hardens; love softens. Hatred hinders; love helps. And thus through a correct study and appreciation of the effects of hatred and the benefits of love, should one develop love."

This sounds similar to Paul's teaching in 1 Cor 13.
"At this highest level, karuna (compassion) does not attach itself to the intricacies of suffering or to individual human situations. It is involved with the salvation of all living things. It spreads out the map of enlightenment for all who care to look."

I don't follow how compassion would not attach itself to the sufferings of individual human situations. That does not sound correct to me.
"They should be hospitable and charitable to one another; should speak pleasantly and agreeably; should work for each other's welfare; should be on equal terms with one another; should not quarrel among themselves; should help each other in need; and should not forsake each other in difficulties."
Very much the same as Christian teaching.

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.
I have no quarrel with that. I may not be clear on what is a sentient being and what is not. Is a sentient being a cow? Do I get to eat steak?

It supports love of humanity AND intelligence and wisdom... try to find one scripture in the Bible encouraging intelligence. And the love in Buddhism applies to ALL living things, not just people.



Isa 1:18

18 "Come now, let us reason together,"
says the LORD.
(from New International Version)

Does Buddah require us to be vegetarian? I knew there were some teachings of Buddah I liked, but I did not remember reading any of these.



It seems very reasonable to me that the nature of a Creator can be seen through the nature of the created.

OK, what is the nature of a killer whale? Or an infectious virus? What is the nature of a ring worm? What is the nature of a shark? What is the nature of those spiders that eat their mates after sex? Or praying mantis's that do the same thing? What is the nature of a Cobra? What is the nature of a psychopath?
Those are all supposedly created by god as well. What can we tell about gods nature based on those things?
Life is precious and our first job in being born is to survive, but that is not our ultimate purpose. The nature of the psychopath is diseased and says nothing about this world except not all of us enjoy good health.
Sure you can ignore them and only look at the pretty little flowers and nice people. Why don't you give Satan the benefit of the doubt too? Ignore all the bad things HE did and only look at the good. Or Hitler? Or anybody?
I don't believe in an evil God and I don't believe in Satan. The evil of man does not indicate God is evil or the Creator of man is evil, because we were created knowing evil is not good. The Creator had no choice but allow us to be evil if we were to be able to be good.
Last edited by Elman on Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby LtCmd.Lore » Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:39 pm

Buddhists don't have to be vegatarians

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bullitt/bfaq.html#veggie
In short: You can eat the meat of an animal that is already dead, if someone ELSE butchered it or whatever. But a buddhist is not allowed to kill anything.
So unless you butcher your own food, it would be an easy transistion. :D

Yes you are correct that there are a lot of similarities of those buddhist teachings in the Bible, but then why don't you think that Buddhism is the correct religion? If you say it is based on the fact that Jesus was loving, then Buddhism wins. So it's starting to sound more like an arbitrary choice that led you to christianity.

If it's just a matter of who was loving first, then Buddhism wins again. Buddhism has been around since before 500 BCE.

In fact some people think that Jesus may have been a Buddhist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_Buddhism#Buddhist_influence


But I'm getting tired of supporting Buddhism... (What the heck kind of atheist am I anyway? :D )
My point is simply that there are other religions that teach love of neighbor and enemy just as much, and sometimes MORE than Jesus did. But you don't view those as correct... Why?

Life is precious and our first job in being born is to survive, but that is not our ultimate purpose.


OK, I think you missed the point. Either intentionally or not.

You said that we can assertain some things about gods personality from the things he made. Did he make the Rabies virus? Yes, no or maybe?

The nature of the psychopath is diseased and says nothing about this world except not all of us enjoy good health.

Who created that disease?

I don't believe in an evil God.

Why not?

and I don't believe in Satan.

Why not?

The evil of man does not indicate God is evil or the Creator of man is evil,

Why not?

because we were created knowing evil is not good.

Prove it.

The Creator had no choice but allow us to be evil if we were to be able to be good.

Why not?
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