Does God Exist?

Post Reply
Tayi
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:44 pm
Location: Madian, Petite Rivière de Nippes, Haiti
Contact:

Does God Exist?

Post by Tayi » Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:02 pm

This is from William Lane Craig in his debate with Dr. Pigliucci which took place at the University of Georgia, Athens in 1998.
www.reasonablefaith.org (There you will find compelling debates on these issues)

[quote]1. The origin of the universe. Have you ever asked yourself where the universe came from? Why everything exists instead of just nothing? Typically atheists have said the universe is just eternal and uncaused. But surely this is unreasonable. Just think about it a minute. If the universe is eternal and never had a beginning, that means that the number of past events in the history of the universe is infinite. But mathematicians recognize that the idea of an actually infinite number of things leads to self-contradictions. For example, what is infinity minus infinity? Well, mathematically, you get self-contradictory answers. This shows that infinity is just an idea in your mind, not something that exists in reality. David Hilbert, perhaps the greatest mathematician of this century, states, "The infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought. The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea."2 But that entails that since past events are not just ideas, but are real, the number of past events must be finite. Therefore, the series of past events can't go back forever; rather the universe must have begun to exist.

This conclusion has been confirmed by remarkable discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics. The astrophysical evidence indicates that the universe began to exist in a great explosion called the "Big Bang" 15 billion years ago. Physical space and time were created in that event, as well as all the matter and energy in the universe. Therefore, as Cambridge astronomer Fred Hoyle points out, the Big Bang theory requires the creation of the universe from nothing. This is because, as you go back in time, you reach a point at which, in Hoyle's words, the universe was "shrunk down to nothing at all."3 Thus, what the Big Bang model requires is that the universe began to exist and was created out of nothing.

Now this tends to be very awkward for the atheist. For as Anthony Kenny of Oxford University urges, "A proponent of the big bang theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the . . . universe came from nothing and by nothing."4 But surely that doesn't make sense! Out of nothing, nothing comes. So why does the universe exist instead of just nothing? Where did it come from? There must have been a cause which brought the universe into being.

We can summarize our argument thus far as follows:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Now from the very nature of the case, as the cause of space and time, this cause must be an uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being of unimaginable power which created the universe. Moreover, I would argue, it must also be personal. For how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect like the universe? If the cause were an impersonal set of necessary and sufficient conditions, then the cause could never exist without the effect. If the cause were timelessly present, then the effect would be timelessly present as well. The only way for the cause to be timeless and the effect to begin in time is for the cause to be a personal agent who freely chooses to create an effect in time without any prior determining conditions. Thus, we are brought, not merely to a transcendent cause of the universe, but to its Personal Creator. [/quote]

Tayi

Tayi
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:44 pm
Location: Madian, Petite Rivière de Nippes, Haiti
Contact:

Post by Tayi » Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:22 am

I wanted to point out that this same argument is also cited in Jafrikayiti's Viv Bondye, Aba Relijyon in support of the existence of God.

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:34 pm

To the question "Does God exist?", my answer is simple: Yes. When asked if I have ever seen him, my answer is No - Not yet!

gelin

Tayi
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:44 pm
Location: Madian, Petite Rivière de Nippes, Haiti
Contact:

Post by Tayi » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:24 pm

Hi Gelin,

You reminded me of an important point. That is, one's belief in God does not have to depend on seeing Him or even on the arguments--although those can definitely lead to belief, or at least remove road blocks to belief. If I understand correctly, Alvin Plantinga, a world renown philosopher argues that belief in God can be a properly basic belief not based on any previous fact/proposition. As such, Craig argues, one is perfectly justified in his belief in God in the absence of a defeater or a good reason to show that the belief is indeed illusory. So your stand can be very reasonable--simple yes (based on your personal experience/relationship with Him, I would imagine), but the arguments certainly help in showing others that your belief is correct and reasonable since an atheist, for example, might not be too convinced when people have conflicting experiences of what is called the divine.

So good to be interacting with my friends again here--at least till I go back to Haiti :-)

Tayi

Jman
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:06 am

I DISAGREE!

Post by Jman » Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:00 am

Hello again friends.

I couldn't help but think that I've seen a number of better representations of the Big Bang Theory in other readings in my time. The theory has never at any point claimed that the matter and energy that the universe is composed of came from nothing, as the scientific community would immediately see the glaring contradiction of the first law of thermodynamics (energy conservation). The Big Bang Theory has, however, claimed that the energy and matter was at some point condensed into a small, single point. It's been famously observed by Edwin Hubble that far away galaxies are moving away from us, which implies that they would be moving towards us when going backwards in time, and at some point they had infinitesimal distance with us and the rest of the matter of the universe (hence, there was no space). And with no separate bodies, there was no time (the scientific definition of time is the exchange of heat energy between all bodies of matter in the universe). The theory does not attempt to explain how the universe's expansion occurred approximately 15 billion years ago (that would have to be in a completely different theory, though I doubt any scientific theory has been published on that matter. You can choke it up to Zeus, Vishnu, Mickey Mouse, or whatever.), but rather explains the behavior of the universe's expansion after the Big Bang event. I personally don't know what caused the event, though I'll say with confidence that the matter and energy that the universe is composed of has always existed, albeit in different forms. It was never created at any point in (non-scientific) time (energy conservation - Matter and energy cannot be destroyed or created, Only changed in form). That may sound confusing at first, but a lot of things are when viewed with anthropocentric theories and man-made concepts that the universe apparently doesn't care to compensate for.

I want to point out that you have made yet another syllogism that has a subjective, and obviously motivated step. Since when does something that exists HAVE to have a cause? I do not need any cause made for me by a magical bearded man to go on with my life. My own existence is enough motivation to further my welfare and the welfare of other things I have sympathy for. WHY do I exist? It's chance that I exist (another reason why I don't want to squander it). It's a reality we live with. Some theists would say that chance is really just an illusion, and atheists will say that destiny is the illusion. This aspect of reality is too subjective in nature to make an OBJECTIVE argument, or sound syllogism from.

As for the reply to Gelin, I agree that most humans, if not all, have a basic disposition to believe in magic. As a child, I was certain that my household's vacuum cleaner was a chaotic and distressfully noisy eater of young children (much thanks to an inconsiderate older brother). But that does not make it CORRECT, OR REASONABLE. It's only basic and/or default. Also, one can also be justified in not believing in God or gods, or divine orderly system. It is not necessary to have a supernatural answer to a question that cannot be immediately or satisfactorily be answered with scientific and natural answers. It's egotistical to think beings exist in order to support some individual's comprehensible and acceptable version of reality. This is what most of spirituality boils down to [God(s) support(s) my morals, will deliver justice in a way I ironically would too, and gave me a divinely crafted purpose].

The last point in this post I'll make is one that many people think, but I'm finally going to say: How does this argument, for purpose or for divine creation, PROVE that there is NOT MORE THAN ONE GOD? Usually, everything is made in teams (there is no single watchmaker. Someone mined for the metal, someone else shaped it, someone melted sand for the glass, someone raised the cow for the leather, and someone made the ink for the numbers to be written with). How multiple gods can exist is equally as questionable as how only one can (I'll prove it if you want me to).

If you would believe it, I'm trying to keep this short, so I'll cross my fingers and hope you enjoy what is in this post. I'd be lying if I said I know when I'm going to post again, given the time that elapses between my posts, sorry :( . With or without a god, I hope everyone lives healthily and happily.

P.S. Tayi, thank you again for the opportunity to travel into the Haitian countryside. I am determined to return for another visit in the future because of the occasion you granted me.

Gelin_

Re: I DISAGREE!

Post by Gelin_ » Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:20 pm

[quote]...As for the reply to Gelin, I agree that most humans, if not all, have a basic disposition to believe in magic. As a child, I was certain that my household's vacuum cleaner was a chaotic and distressfully noisy eater of young children (much thanks to an inconsiderate older brother). But that does not make it CORRECT, OR REASONABLE. It's only basic and/or default. Also, one can also be justified in not believing in God or gods, or divine orderly system. It is not necessary to have a supernatural answer to a question that cannot be immediately or satisfactorily be answered with scientific and natural answers. It's egotistical to think beings exist in order to support some individual's comprehensible and acceptable version of reality. This is what most of spirituality boils down to [God(s) support(s) my morals, will deliver justice in a way I ironically would too, and gave me a divinely crafted purpose].[/quote]
That's hardly a reply to what I stated :-)

[quote]The last point in this post I'll make is one that many people think, but I'm finally going to say: How does this argument, for purpose or for divine creation, PROVE that there is NOT MORE THAN ONE GOD? Usually, everything is made in teams (there is no single watchmaker. Someone mined for the metal, someone else shaped it, someone melted sand for the glass, someone raised the cow for the leather, and someone made the ink for the numbers to be written with). How multiple gods can exist is equally as questionable as how only one can (I'll prove it if you want me to).[/quote]
...and it would follow that the opinion you expressed here is not entirely or strictly yours...if everything is made in teams...

gelin

Jman
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:06 am

Re:Re: I DISAGREE!

Post by Jman » Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:40 am

[quote]That's hardly a reply to what I stated :-)[/quote]

I didn't sufficiently clarify that I was commenting on Tayi's reply to your post, not actually replying to it myself. Sorry for the confusion.

[quote]...and it would follow that the opinion you expressed here is not entirely or strictly yours...if everything is made in teams... [/quote]

I did say that the point is one that MANY people think...and to indulge in semantics, I did say "usually", and it is my opinion which I share with others. But that's not important, we're not here to debate the technicalities of opinion ownership and parenting. :lol:

Tayi
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:44 pm
Location: Madian, Petite Rivière de Nippes, Haiti
Contact:

Post by Tayi » Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:30 am

Jman, my man!

I thought of you again just yesterday at a reunion with the team that last was in Haiti with me when you were there.

You haven't ceased to amaze me. I mean it, how articulately you express yourself--and I think I know where you got it from :-) !

This is just a brief response to clear up somethings in light of your objections to the argument.

As you notice the argument has a valid form, meaning if the premises are true then the conclusion NECESSARILY follows. So in order you to deny the conclusion, you must show that one or both premises are false.

As a reminder for other readers, here is the syllogism:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

You seem to attack both premises. Against premise one you said, [quote]Since when does something that exists HAVE to have a cause?[/quote]
But you misunderstand the first premise. For it is not claiming that everything that exists must have a cause (although I think that's true, but that is discussed in another argument). Rather is claims that everything that begins to exist has a cause. And I submit that no one can provide one example of something that began to exist by itself in our experience without prior cause(s). If something came into existence (i.e., began to exist) then that means there was a time when it did not exist. If it has no cause then it just brought itself into being? Surely that is absurd since a non-existent thing cannot do anything, let alone give itself existence. Thus, premise one stands unshaken. It's really not that controversial even among many great atheist philosophers. Of course, our intuition also confirms the truth of premise one.

You attack premise (2) by challenging Craig's interpretation of the Big Bang Theory. While I don't think Craig is wrong, let us grant that he completely misunderstood the science. That still hasn't broken down the premise for he gives a second supporting argument for the premise besides the Big Bang, namely the impossibility of having an actually infinite number of past events. Also, take a look at Kreeft's rendering of the argument (Argument #6) in which he gives still another argument against an infinite past, namely the impossibility of reaching the infinite (getting to "today" from the past infinite) by successive addition. ( http://peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_a ... ence.htm#6 ) Premise 2 then still stands even if we were to grant your objection to one of the supporting arguments for it, namely the Big Bang Theory.

Thus, we are back to the same conclusion: The universe must have a cause.

As Craig finishes, [quote]Now from the very nature of the case, as the cause of space and time, this cause must be an uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being of unimaginable power which created the universe. Moreover, I would argue, it must also be personal. For how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect like the universe? If the cause were an impersonal set of necessary and sufficient conditions, then the cause could never exist without the effect. If the cause were timelessly present, then the effect would be timelessly present as well. The only way for the cause to be timeless and the effect to begin in time is for the cause to be a personal agent who freely chooses to create an effect in time without any prior determining conditions. Thus, we are brought, not merely to a transcendent cause of the universe, but to its Personal Creator.[/quote]

By the way I do not believe this argument alone can prove that there is not more than one god--that is the purpose of other arguments, and it looks like you too are very familiar with them. Polytheism isn't a tenable philosophical position. I don't think any one argument can prove all the attributes of God, but this one goes a long way. There are many arguments, however that are valid and sound in favor of God's existence which put together give an amazing picture of the different attributes of God. Again, check out the Kreeft's compilation of arguments here.

As to basic belief in God, I think you strengthened my case with your analogy of the monster vacuum. You believed it until you had reasons not to believe it. No one has provided a successful reason to show that my basic belief in God is false. I welcome that argument against the existence of God. Until a sound one is provided, I think I and Gelin and others are perfectly reasonable to believe in God, especially when this God is a Person whom we encounter on a daily basis, one whom we love and to whom we give our very hearts and lives, one who has truly transformed us. This is not "some god" we made up to do things coincidentally the way we would want them done. I have said it before, if I were to design my own God I could not have made the one I so love and serve--He is infinitely good, true, and beautiful.

Peace, my brother.

jafrikayiti
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 7:16 pm

Post by jafrikayiti » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:01 pm

Now, forget all the philosophical arguments, including my own foolish attempts....I have finally found THE PROOF that there is at least "a god". After several attempts at reviving the forum, there was a day and there was a night, Guy rested and behold, here we are enjoying these excellent exchanges on WOH.

But, somehow Tayi had to be the first to sin, writing: "So good to be interacting with my friends again here--at least till I go back to Haiti"

Sa sa vle di?

You, of all people, should know how much Haitians all over the globe enjoy reading postings that come directly from the homeland - even by dyaspora who are down there bragging - ap fè kè zot grenn. So, do go to Haiti but don't simply enjoy the good time. It costs only 40-50 Goud ($1) for a full hour of high speed internet connection which you can find almost everywhere now (the villages of course). Sometimes you may even get video with that. So, no excuses!

Now, on to the God or no God or many gods thing. Yes, I referenced the famous European philosophers in Viv Bondye and found the arguments interesting. However, I cited them as types of arguments which give explanation why many find it justified to believe in the existence of God. But, my main position expressed in the book, and it still stands 9 years later, is that in as much as I would not expect two ants arguing in the corner of my bedroom to be able to describe to each other the beauty of the city of Port-au-Prince in the mid 1700s, I would not count on us homo sapiens sapiens to accurately describe to each other how the universe came to be. The truth is, we all come to this earth with two mysteries with which we also return to the earth. 1) how we came to be 2) how we will depart and where to.

All speculations are in the realm of "the audacity of hope". Yes, I do approve this message, because I am no candidate for nothing - not even a free pass to "paradise".

Respè fanmi m yo. It is indeed good to be with you again. Viv Bondye!

Leoneljb
Posts: 222
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:29 pm

Post by Leoneljb » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:49 am

J-MAN,
Great Post!!!
I disagree with that quote also, "Existence is, therefore Cause must be"...
We have so many examples of matter which do not have a cause to exist. Some could only be pure luck...
Now, nothing can prove the existence of A GOD!
I believe it could have been better to try convincing People there Higher Powers somewhere somehow. But, the GOD of Israel who rested after six days of work and made Man without knowing the outcome is simply "Crazy". The idea of the "Virgin giving birth to God's Son" is nuts.
I don't wanna go inside the Bible anymore to show its inaccuracies. But, I am convinced that the idea of "ONE GOD" is brainwashed education by the Rich to enslave the Poors ( wow this thing works).
Tayi and Gelin, as always. I respect and love both of You. But, our divergence is very evident.
Does God know the Present, the future? Is He really Omnipotent and everywhere? Is he a HE or SHE or IT?
Bien-Aime, m'ale,
Leonel

Tayi
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:44 pm
Location: Madian, Petite Rivière de Nippes, Haiti
Contact:

Post by Tayi » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:39 pm

Hi Leonel,

Good to hear from you bro.!
Regarding your post, I think you misread the argument and my response to Jman because none of your objections actually touch on any of the two premises of the argument which is what would be necessary for you to dispute the conclusion and what follow. Hopefully, you have some time and you can look at them again. If you still think your objections stand I can come back and help show why they do not work later when I have some time to also respond to my brother Jaf.

God bless!

Tayi

Leoneljb
Posts: 222
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:29 pm

Post by Leoneljb » Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:21 pm

I'm all ears Bro!
Leonel

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:55 pm

I have never seen God, and Jaf's 'ants' analogy is a good one that reveals some degree of humility (in my view), but it could be stretched a bit.

gelin

Tayi
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:44 pm
Location: Madian, Petite Rivière de Nippes, Haiti
Contact:

Post by Tayi » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:27 am

Jaf!

I was wondering how long it would take you to jump into the fun :-) Not that these discussion are only for fun, for I do believe that they do have an impact on our lives, particularly the God question.

Now, you are right about the internet places in Haiti, but unfortunately, around my villages (Ravine d'Argent and Duverger: Troisième Section de Miragoâne), we are still working on trying to get basic telecommunication capabilities...Although I can try harder to write when I am back home if I take a motorcycle (a revolutionary vehicle in Haitian transportation, by the way) to town and find a cybercafé.

On the question of God/the universe I would agree with Gelin's assessment of your post:
[quote]I have never seen God, and Jaf's 'ants' analogy is a good one that reveals some degree of humility (in my view), but it could be stretched a bit. [/quote]
I have always recognized that sense of humility in you (which led me to accuse you of being a secret Christian at our reunion :-)). However, I think humans beings can come to know some amazing things (such as the existence of God) with the light of reason. But we cannot go too far into the "inner life" of that being unless He tells us, and that is where Jesus is crucial for He claimed to reveal the Father to us. If Jesus is credible then we can now know a lot more about God than our feeble minds could tell us.

jonhmardona, welcome to the forum! I hope you can stick around to get to know the family.

Leonel,
Remember what I replied to Jman. The Kalam argument above is deductive, and its form is valid, meaning it is set up properly. Now if the two premises are true (1 and 2) then the conclusion (3) has to be true. So you must strike at the premises and show their falsity in order to deny the conclusion.

The only thing you seem to say that is relevant to premise (1) is:
[quote]I disagree with that quote also, "Existence is, therefore Cause must be"...
We have so many examples of matter which do not have a cause to exist. Some could only be pure luck... [/quote]
But I already answered that in the reply to Jman. The premise (whatever begins to exist has a cause) is NOT claiming "Existence is, therefore Cause must be" (although that may be true). It is saying if something BEGINS to exist, meaning before it began it did not exist. THAT must have a cause, and we do not see philosophy to tell us that. Our very experiences tell us that. In fact you cannot even think of ONE example of something that began to exist without a prior cause, not one!

What about premise (2)? You did not dispute that the universe had a beginning. Therefore the conclusion follows: the universe has a cause and by the nature of the case (read first post above) we see that the cause has many attributes of what we understand when we say God.

Now you began to talk about the God of the Bible, and I am indeed a Catholic Christian who affirms the entire Bible as God's word, but the Kalam argument is not unique to Christians. In fact it was composed by a Muslim philosopher centuries ago. To "prove" the God of the Bible we would need more than this argument--looking at the historical evidence for the Resurrection of Christ (found in this same folder but I can't get its URL to show), for example and having the gift of faith...

[quote]Now, nothing can prove the existence of A GOD! [/quote]
I bet you can't prove that statement. You only believe it on faith! :-)

[quote]I am convinced that the idea of "ONE GOD" is brainwashed education by the Rich to enslave the Poors ( wow this thing works).[/quote]
WOW! Do you really believe that, Leonel, that monotheism developed as a way for the rich to enslave the poor? Interesting that the Jews, who supposedly were the ones to develop this, were themselves slaves in Egypt, not the rich you are thinking of. Also very interesting that Christianity (monotheistic) has more charities to help the poor than you can ever imagine. I think your view is unfounded, my brother. When you throw these things out there like that they have consequences. You are free of course to say whatever you want, but please consider if what you are saying is actually for the sake of truth or simply to be inflammatory which does not really further our quest for truth.

Nothin' but love for you, brother.
Tayi

Leoneljb
Posts: 222
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:29 pm

Post by Leoneljb » Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:26 pm

Come on Tayi! I wrote what I believe and also I love to question without knowing the answer to what I am asking... Sur ce, I would like to support my arguments with more concrete evidence of my sources. But, unfortunately, it would take a lot to gather my pieces which I believe One can always find the other side of the coin on line (if willing).
Speaking about the Jews being enslaved in Egypt. There is nothing to prove it. For, the only manuscripts referring to a group of People who were somewhat close to Egypt in the "Desert" during the Time of Pharaoh were the "Nomads". These People were shepherds.
Of Course, if you read the Bible you would believe that Israel is where God intended it to be. Therefore, the Palestinians belong somewhere else. But hey, that's another story.
I would love to chat some more . But, a la prochaine.
Remember Tayi, I was a Catholic also. I just refuse to accept things only through Faith. I believe more in evidence or logic.
I love you Man! Great Job!
Leonel

Tayi
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:44 pm
Location: Madian, Petite Rivière de Nippes, Haiti
Contact:

Post by Tayi » Thu Sep 17, 2009 3:33 pm

Okay brother,

I guess I will just let the arguments speak for themselves to the reader...

I just want to point out though:
(1) If we both just make claims without the proper support (whether or not it exists online somewhere) then it is not really a debate but only different claims, my say against your say. It makes things less interesting I think, granted it DOES take a lot of time and energy to gather up the different supporting pieces to the arguments.

(2):
[quote]I just refuse to accept things only through Faith.[/quote]
But I already showed you one example of something you only believe through faith, i.e. your statement that:
[quote]Now, nothing can prove the existence of A GOD! [/quote]

You also said:
[quote]I believe more in evidence or logic.[/quote]
I am glad that we have that common ground; we both believe in logic and evidence, which is precisely why through this argument (and the others I have offered) I appeal only to your logic and provide valid arguments based not on faith but on logic and science. By the way, even when it comes to faith though, I do not believe that it is illogical. Some things in faith are simply beyond reason which would make them simply non-rational (not within the grasp of reason) rather than irrational (contrary to reason), but that is a different question too.

God bless!

Tayi
P.S. [quote]Remember Tayi, I was a Catholic also.[/quote] I sincerely invite you to reconsider the faith which you have left, my brother. I love you and therefore wish the best for you, and I genuinely believe that the Catholic faith is true, good and beautiful. A good source for official Church doctrine (rather than unsure[or sometimes downright false] interpretations of others--including some nuns and priests) is the Catechism of the Catholic Church which can be found online or any Catholic bookstore. Love you.

User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1289
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Post by Guysanto » Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:39 pm

Hi Tayi!

Déja vu! I seem to recall how you previously sought to prove the existence of God by stating your faith in the existence of absolute moral values which, according to you, could not exist in the absence of God. I did not find your premises convincing then. This time, I have to admit, your argument is far more interesting, because it is couched in familiar intuitions of the universe and some widely accepted notions of science rather than the supposed existence of absolute moral values, which I deemed dubious because infinitely more subjective. But once again, the premises used in the argument are not factual statements but merely reflections of man's intellectual limitations in formulating concepts of eternity and infinity, which (literally) make the transfer of such characteristics to a supra-rational entity seductively more acceptable, for in the end the question need not be asked: if God exists, what caused it to exist and when (as in… time before time) did it begin to exist? To those questions, we can simply answer that, by definition, it always was and always will be, and leave it at that… [“this cause must be an uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being of unimaginable power”. Hmm… hmm!]

Note that it is not at all my purpose to attempt to prove that God does not exist. I believe that I believe [not a typo] in a divine nature that is immensely greater than anything that I can possibly conceive and for that matter that any passionate human advocate of "God" can.

The argument appears logical, but it belongs not in the field of logical proof, but in the realm of metaphysical thinking that make some feel righteous about their innate certitudes about the how and why they exist.

God exists, simply because God exists. There is no stronger argument, from the believer's standpoint than just that. In fact, that is an irrefutable argument for the believer, though it will remain forever unconvincing to the atheist. In fact, one could argue as well that God does not exist, simply because… God does not exist.

Tayi, whenever you say the word "God", I feel absolutely certain that you cannot divorce yourself from the concept of the Biblical God, because your faith in him is irrevocable and not subject to any logic, other than that which appears to support it. Truly, your aim is to prove that the Biblical God exists, as you reject other notions of God. Yet, the argument presented does not advance one iota the identification of that metaphysical Supreme Being with that of the Biblical God which you have been educated to believe in by an accident of history, culture, and geography.

The Biblical God exists because we have Faith in his Word, that which is commonly referred to as the Bible. We do not doubt the Word, and we definitely do not even want to, because the Word tells us that would be excessively dangerous to our bodies and souls. Ultimately, God exists because "the Bible says so" ... and as you surely know, the Bible is the Word of God. Case closed, due to its obvious circularity.

I will not set out to prove nor to disprove that God exists, just that our various concepts of the nature of the biblical God [with attributes of Universal Love while turning a few into pillars of salt and commanding the sexual and material enslavement of others; Justice For All, while manipulating the celestial rotation of our sun star (shouldn't it have been the earth?) to facilitate the massacre of an army; Infinite Mercy, while sanctioning wife-napping and slavery, as well as the punishment of all future generations of people for the sin of the original couple; Equanimity, while reserving a distinct set of privileges for chosen people, preselected on divinely arbitrary basis; All-Knowing, of past/present/future, while professing to be Astonished, Sad and Angry at the results of the design of his own making and deciding to start all over again, if it weren't for the virtue of one man and his family; Omnipotence (which should imply a wee bit of self-confidence), while extraordinarily Jealous of nonexistent “ghosts”, the so-called gods that his creatures foolishly conceived and carved in precious metals or otherwise, as the worship of those figments of man's imagination would distract from the Absolute Devotion that the only True Divine Nature in the Universe requires to Itself and of which it sees the absolute necessity of prescribing as its First Commandment] are as fanciful as the texts which inspire them.

I humbly leave it to you to prove that God exists and others to prove that there is no God, as my own faith obliges me to believe that your descendants will be probing without resolution the same arguments two millennia hence (if our species manages to survive the considerable harms it inflicts on itself), because no one can prove faith-based non-rational beliefs with similarities in rational arguments. Yes, that is my own statement of faith which, as you well say, will continue to hold until someone convinces me otherwise. Those so-called proofs of the existence of God do not come close, except in making it self-evident that there are as many concepts of God as there are human beings on Earth [past, present, and future].

Guy

[Any similarity in wording to my previous post on the proof that God exists is purely intentional...]

User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1289
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Post by Guysanto » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:53 pm

Did I bring an end to the conversation? I am sorry.

Tayi
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:44 pm
Location: Madian, Petite Rivière de Nippes, Haiti
Contact:

Post by Tayi » Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:13 pm

Hi Guy,

As always your thoughts bring thoughtfulness :-) It's not the end of the conversation. I'm a bit busy but will get back to the thread...I am hoping tonight if I have enough time. God bless!

Tayi
P.S. Sorry if this post made some people think it was a longer reply :-)

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:11 pm

[quote]...The Biblical God exists because we have Faith in his Word, that which is commonly referred to as the Bible...[/quote]
I am not really sure about this one. The Bible itself calls upon people (whoever is interested) to look for God's hand in themselves or in nature. The Biblical God exists (before and) outside of the Bible. In fact, these words were written in part to record the life experiences of many who have attempted to put their faith in the "invisible" God, while many others were worshiping and bowing down before works of art they had themselves made (idols).

gelin

Tayi
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:44 pm
Location: Madian, Petite Rivière de Nippes, Haiti
Contact:

Post by Tayi » Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:29 pm

Hi everyone,

Back down from the mountain (as Guy would put it :-)). In that time period, believe it or not, I took a very short trip to our homeland--ah, how good it was! Sorry Jaf, you're just gonna have to deal with your jealousy. :-)

Okay, I have some important thoughts to interact with. To make it easier to read, I'm just going to copy and paste the particular quotations to which I want to respond and then post my own replies.

[quote]But once again, the premises used in the argument are not factual statements but merely reflections of man's intellectual limitations in formulating concepts of eternity and infinity, which (literally) make the transfer of such characteristics to a supra-rational entity seductively more acceptable[/quote]

I must respectfully and completely disagree. The two premises in question are:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist

The first premise is all around us. In fact I submit that we cannot find one example on the contrary of that statement in our experience or studies. Is there anything that we know of that began to exist without a cause? I really do not think so. Now this may not be held with complete certainty, and that is fine. The premise does not need to be known with certainty in order for it to be true or in order for it to lead to the validity of the conclusion. The more probable the premises, the more probable the conclusion. Even if we were to conclude "Therefore it is more probable that God exists", it would still make theism more reasonable than atheism.

Premise 2 is not a mere reflection of our intellectual limitations. Rather it is a conclusion based on philosophical arguments from what we DO understand about infinity and from scientific evidence that, to my knowledge, has been widely accepted by the majority of scientists in the field, namely that the universe is only about 13.7 billion years old--in other words, it has a beginning!

So from those two premises it does follow that therefore the universe has a cause.

[quote]for in the end the question need not be asked: if God exists, what caused it to exist and when (as in… time before time) did it begin to exist? To those questions, we can simply answer that, by definition, it always was and always will be, and leave it at that… [“this cause must be an uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being of unimaginable power”. Hmm… hmm!][/quote]
There is actually nothing fishy going on here. First, the starting point for those attributes of God is the fact that the universe has a cause which we have demonstrated with our above argument. Now we must ask ourselves what that cause must be like insofar we can know anything about it. I tried to present a shorter version of the argument so I would not bore too many people with the much longer detailed argument which actually gives further argumentation (so it's not just assumed or taken for granted) for the fact that the cause of the universe must be uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being of unimaginable power.

If the the beginning of the universe is also the beginning of time, space and matter (as the Big Bang tells us) then it follows that the cause of this whole thing must be transcendent to those things. So it is timeless (and therefore changeless, for time is a measure of change; this also means it does not need a cause to make it begin since to begin is something that only happens in time, but there was not time "before" time), spaceless (because it caused all space to come into being from nothing, immaterial (because all matter is part of the universe which it caused). It has unimaginable power because it can create a universe. Indeed this seems to be a lot, but we must be able to travel as far as the evidence leads. And this cause sure is at least starting to look like that God which the Christians have claimed to have created the world out of nothing with unimaginable power. For a good discussion of the uncaused cause see Thomas Aquinas' Five Ways in his Summa Theologica which can be found online at www.newadvent.org .

[quote]Note that it is not at all my purpose to attempt to prove that God does not exist. I believe that I believe [not a typo] in a divine nature that is immensely greater than anything that I can possibly conceive and for that matter that any passionate human advocate of "God" can.[/quote]
Unless He Himself has left clues in nature, in the human person, in the Bible and especially in a person called Jesus. Yes I realize the Kalam argument is far from getting to all those conclusions but you see where I'm going.

[quote]The argument appears logical, but it belongs not in the field of logical proof, but in the realm of metaphysical thinking that make some feel righteous about their innate certitudes about the how and why they exist.[/quote]
If the argument only appears logical, what makes it not actually so? And, I am not sure if I understand the second part of the objection, but I think it is important to use Logic as a tool in all fields from physics to metaphysics. I make the argument not to feel righteous but to help others see the reasonableness of a belief in God.

[quote]
Tayi, whenever you say the word "God", I feel absolutely certain that you cannot divorce yourself from the concept of the Biblical God, because your faith in him is irrevocable and not subject to any logic, other than that which appears to support it. Truly, your aim is to prove that the Biblical God exists, as you reject other notions of God. Yet, the argument presented does not advance one iota the identification of that metaphysical Supreme Being with that of the Biblical God which you have been educated to believe in by an accident of history, culture, and geography.[/quote]
You are right in many ways. I only believe the Christian God, but there are many things I cannot prove with reason alone about my God. Nonetheless there are still many attributes of Him that CAN be proven such as His existence, his being timeless, his being spaceless, etc. by using logic. I am the first to admit that the Kalam argument does not prove all the qualities of the Christian God, but it does provide the basis for theism in general, and that is a good start. As we move further, we can look at arguments based around Jesus of Nazareth and His resurrection which I believe has good historical support (I'm wondering why no one has yet tackled the thread on the historicity of the resurrection...)

[quote]The Biblical God exists because we have Faith in his Word, that which is commonly referred to as the Bible. We do not doubt the Word, and we definitely do not even want to, because the Word tells us that would be excessively dangerous to our bodies and souls. Ultimately, God exists because "the Bible says so" ... and as you surely know, the Bible is the Word of God. Case closed, due to its obvious circularity. [/quote]
Here you attack a straw man for that is not quite my position. In fact the Bible presupposes the existence of God rather than set out to prove it as you portray.

[quote]I will not set out to prove nor to disprove that God exists, just that our various concepts of the nature of the biblical God...are as fanciful as the texts which inspire them.[/quote]
The "..." in your quote represents what you feel are alleged contradictions in our concepts of the nature of the Biblical God. I am reminded of a quote from Jman "That may sound confusing at first, but a lot of things are when viewed with anthropocentric theories and man-made concepts that the universe apparently doesn't care to compensate for. "
Replace "universe" with "God" or "Bible". In your own theory of the divine nature you do not think we can even conceive much of him, but suppose this God entered our lives, would you not expect that there would be some things in His actions that would simply leave us baffled. Now I do think you misunderstand many of the alleged contradictions, but even when there are true tensions in the different attributes and actions of God I try to apply your own humility. I don't have to have all the answers.
Some may see tension in: a God who is just and yet has mercy upon sinners; a God who is infinite and yet entered the world of finite creatures; a God who has infinite dignity and yet stoops to the level of His creatures to call them back to a relationship with Him...Those are actually beautiful mysteries that show the awesomeness of God!

[quote]my own faith obliges me to believe that your descendants will be probing without resolution the same arguments two millennia hence...[/quote]
My dear big brother, do not let that discourage you. The existence of God does not DEPEND on the arguments, as you well know. Even if all the arguments for theism were suddenly all falsified, that still would not negate the existence of God. Do not forget the personal experience we can have with God. Yes I do believe God wants us to have a much deeper intimacy than to just be in a state where we are not even sure if we can conceive of Him. Therein lies the Beauty of the message of Christ. He came to reveal the heart of our Father to us, a Father who is constantly pursuing us. Perhaps we can humbly pray "Father, I believe. Please help my unbelief"

[quote]Those so-called proofs of the existence of God do not come close, except in making it self-evident that there are as many concepts of God as there are human beings on Earth [past, present, and future]. [/quote]No one proof can demonstrate all the attributes of God, but taken together they can paint a fuller picture of the Supreme Being. The list that I provided in another thread containing twenty arguments for the existence of God does just that. The different "concepts" in these arguments are not mutually exclusive but complementary and even overlapping.

I am also aware of my own great limitations of actually convincing someone of the existence of God so I pray that God himself will reveal Himself and His love to all.

As a side note for all of us, I realize that arguments can be "fun" and informative, I do pray, however, that they do not distract us instead from the true essence of the question of God. May the arguments help us to reach a greater openness to Him rather than push us away. Forgive me if I have done anything to alienate any of you.

With love,
Tayi

Post Reply