• Agent Smith
    4.4k
    I've always wondered about existence and God. Theists claim God exists, but they make it a point to state that God's immaterial/nonphysical.

    Some possibilities relevant to the issue:

    1. Existence & Detection (sensorily, instrumentally, etc.)

    (i) X is detectable then X exists (Rejected because of hallucinations)

    (ii) X exists then X is detectable (Ok, can be used to demonstrate nonexistence via nondetectability)

    2. Physicality & Detection

    (iii) X is physical then X is detectable (Ok)

    (iv) X is detectable then X is physical (theists have to deny this)

    So we've whittled down the possibilities to

    (ii) X exists then X is detectable

    (iii) X is physical then X is detectable

    Suppose now X is undetectable, what would that mean?

    It would mean

    (v) X doesn't exist & X is nonphysical [modus tollens on (ii) and (iii)]

    We have to unpack the statement "X is nonphysical". Remember that God exists but is nonphysical and so, "X is nonphysical" actually means "X exists & X is nonphysical".

    If so, (v) becomes

    (vi) X doesn't exist & (X exists & X is nonphysical)

    By associative rule (vi) becomes

    (vii) (X doesn't exist & X exists) & X is nonphysical.

    We've arrived at a contradiction (bolded).

    Something's off. Can't quite put my finger on where exactly I made a boo-boo!

    Any help will be deeply appreciated.
  • javi2541997
    1.5k


    The proof of God's existence is not correlated to metaphysics. You made an impressive effort to show us some axioms or syllogisms to demonstrate the existence of God using words as physical and detectable. But I think that all of these doesn't work because God as a subterfuge depends a lot on faith.
    Theists and religious tend to believe in the unknown and that's why they are devotees. Their faith make them seem blind towards God's mercy. They do not care if you can demonstrate the existence of a divinity. They just believe on it.
    Christianity is a religion that sees itself as a promise of life, hope, comfort, and love. "Gospel" in English is from Old English gôd, "good," and spell, "tale." This translates Greek Euangélion, "good news" -- whence the term "evangelism."

    Many people, however, see the promise of Christianity as a threat, not as good news. If you don't join this religion, you are going to Hell, no matter how good a person you may otherwise be. Outside the Church is damnation. Jesus said (John 14:6), "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."


    Faith, Works, and Knowledge.
  • 180 Proof
    8.4k
    God as a subterfuge depends a lot on faith.javi2541997
    Yes, and that which is real (i.e. ineluctable, more-than-intersubjective) is independent of "faith".

    I think, in matters of ontology, it is 'essential' to determine the conditions or properties which objectively differentiate an entity (1) as real (actual) from unreal (imaginary) and (2), if real, then as existing (present-causal) from not existing (absent-noncausal); therefore, to the degree this difference is indiscernible, I think we lack grounds to claim that any such entity is either "real" or "exists" (thus, with respect to "god/s", reliance on (suspension of disbelief in mythopoetic) make believe aka "faith" (re: Tillich, Kierkegaard ...) is required).
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    I think, in matters of ontology, it is 'essential' to determine the conditions or properties which objectively differentiate an entity (1) as real (actual) from unreal (imaginary) and (2), if real, then as existing (present) from not existing (absent); and therefore, to the degree this difference is indiscernible, I think we lack grounds to claim that any such entity is either "real" or "exists" (thus, with respect to "god/s", reliance on (suspension of disbelief in mythopoetic) make believe aka "faith" (re: Tillich, Kierkegaard ...) is required).180 Proof

    :up: Excellent overview of the problem, mon ami!

    Then something's wrong with one/both of the following claims (our premises/assumptions)

    (ii) X exists then X is detectable

    (iii) X is physical then X is detectable

    That is to say

    (viii) X exists & X is undetectable (That you can't detect ghosts doesn't imply ghosts don't exist)

    or/and

    (ix) X is physical & X is undetectable (That you can't detect dark matter doesn't mean dark matter is nonphysical)

    How do we define nonexistence?

    Like this I suppose:

    (x) X is undetectable then X doesn't exist.

    The contrapositive (logically equivalent) of (x) is:

    (ii) X exists then X is detectable

    So, to keep ourselves sane (as possible), we have to retain (ii).

    That means (iii) is false or (ix) is true i.e. X is physical & X is undetectable. But then we just concluded that if X is undetectable, X doesn't exist (x) and (ii).

    (ix) X is physical & X is undetectable (has to be true to avoid the contradiction in the OP).

    (x) X is undetectable then X doesn't exist.

    Unpack (ix) and we get

    (xi) X exists & X is physical & X is undetectable (we're at no time more certain of the existence of something than when that something is physical)

    (x) X us undetectable then X doesn't exist

    The two [(x) and (xi)] constitute a contradiction!!!

    :chin:
  • javi2541997
    1.5k


    It is understandable that all of your premises make contradictions. You keep trying to put some titanic characteristics just to confirm God's existence: Tangible, physical, detectable or undetectable, etc... As much as I remember if I am not wrong, theists tend to defend that God is omnipotent. Inside this "virtue" it is said that God is and is not at all times and in every place. The failure of developing a grandiose image of God ends up of having a lot of contradictions. This is why, as I said previously, you would need a lot of faith to believe in something that you never "seen" neither spoken to.

    Kant's statement, "I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith," is one of the most famous things he wrote. However, as we will see in the text, neither he nor Jakob Fries meant by Glaube, "faith".

    Kant: The Jewish faith was, in its original form, a collection of mere statutory laws upon which was established a political organization; for whatever moral additions were then or later appended to it in no way whatever belong to Judaism as such. Judaism is really not a religion at all but merely a union of a number of people who, since they belonged to a particular stock, formed themselves into a commonwealth under purely political laws, and not into a church; nay, it was intended to be merely an earthly state...

    The Kant-Friesian Theory of Religion and Religious Value
  • Gnomon
    2.3k
    X exists then X is detectableAgent Smith
    This premise presumes physical existence, hence knowable via the 5 senses.

    But most modern god-concepts deny that premise. Hence knowable only via the 6th sense of Reasoning or Intuition. So, the premise is prejudicial to most modern god-definitions.

    One alternative premise is that "god is existence", the Necessary Being.
    But how do you detect "necessity"? By physical or intuitive or logical processes? :smile:

    PS__Apparently, most god-believers trust their Intuition more than their Reason. But philosophers seem less reliant on intuition, so require some Objective evidence to supplement their Rational deductions.
  • Wayfarer
    15.8k
    Theists claim God exists, but they make it a point to state that God's immaterial/nonphysical.Agent Smith

    An excerpt on Tillich's negative theology:


    Tillich came to make the paradoxical statement that God does not exist, for which he has been accused of atheism. "God does not exist. He is being itself beyond essence and existence. Therefore to argue that God exists is to deny him."

    That statement is a continuation of Tillich’s earlier conclusion that God cannot be conceived as an object, no matter how lofty. We cannot think of God as a being that exists in time and space, because that constrains Him, and makes Him finite. Thus we must think of God as beyond being, above finitude and limitation, the power or essence of being itself. There is a clear logic in Tillich’s development here, and he makes it plain that denying God’s “existence” is in fact needed in order to affirm him. Still, at times he makes it hard to avoid the impression that there simply “is” no God, which is largely due to his use of the notion of existence. Again, the apologetic nature of Tillich’s discourse should be remembered. The purpose of such statements is to forcibly remove incorrect notions from the minds of his audience by creating a state of shock..
    New World Encyclopedia

    This was also made explicit by John Scotus Eriugena:

    things accessible to the senses and the intellect are said to be exist, whereas anything which, “through the excellence of its nature” (per excellentiam suae naturae), transcends our faculties are said not to be exist. According to this classification, God, because of his transcendence is said not to be exist. He is “nothingness through excellence” (nihil per excellentiam). ...This mode (of thinking) illustrates Eriugena’s original way of dissolving the traditional Neoplatonic hierarchy of being into a dialectic of affirmation and negation: to assert one level is to deny the others. In other words, a particular level may be affirmed to be real by those on a lower or on the same level, but the one above it is thought not to be real in the same way. If humans are thought to exist in a certain way, then angels do not exist in that way.John Scotus Eriugena

    The point being that according to today's empiricist philosophy only that which can be conceived of as existing in time and space is considered real. There's no conceptual category for the transcendent, and no way of conceptualising it or reaching it through discursive philosophy.

    See also God does not exist.
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    This premise presumes physical existence, hence knowable via the 5 senses.

    But most modern god-concepts deny that premise.
    Gnomon

    I went over that in my preceding posts. Rejecting If X exists, X is detectable means the following:

    (viii) X exists & X is undetectable.

    Now the question is how do we define nonexistence?

    What are our options?

    (i) X is detectable then X exists (Rejected because of hallucinations)

    (ii) X exists then X is detectable (Ok, can be used to demonstrate nonexistence via nondetectability)

    You recommended we discard (viii). Doing that means giving up our only method of inferring nonexistence (ii).

    One alternative premise is that "god is existence", the Necessary Being.
    But how do you detect "necessity"? By physical or intuitive or logical processes? :smile:

    PS__Apparently, most god-believers trust their Intuition more than their Reason. But philosophers seem less reliant on intuition, so require some Objective evidence to supplement their Rational deductions.
    Gnomon

    Interesting points! Intuition as opposed to logic and that intriguing way of defining God as existence itself.
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    :clap: Never thought of it that way although I recall you mentioning this before!

    Most interesting. — Ms. Marple
  • Bartricks
    4.8k
    I can't follow what you're saying.

    I believe in God. That is, I believe there exists an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent person. Those are the essential attributes.

    But it is not essential that God be non-physical. To be clear: I think God is non-physical. But it's not essential to being God that God be non-physical. God is omnipotent, so if God wanted to he could make himself physical. No theist worth their salt should believe that God 'must' be non-physical. God can be physical if he wants to be.

    Also you seem to be conflating sensible things with physical things and then thinking that if something is not physical it is not detectable.

    Non-physical things are detectable. I can detect my own thoughts, for instance, yet they are not physical things but states of a non-physical thing - me.

    Idealists do not believe any physical things exist. But they're still aware of apples and trees and so forth. That's becuase they think that apples and trees and so forth are made of sensations (as well as being detected by means of them).

    Plus, even our senses are powerless to enable us to detect anything without the assistance of our reason, and so it is really by reason - not sense - that we detect things. And we can certainly detect non-sensible things by means of our reason. Reasons themselves, for instance, are not sensibly detectable, yet exist and we are aware of them.
  • Jackson
    938
    God is omnipotent, so if God wanted to he could make himself physical.Bartricks

    You are referring to Jesus, yes?
  • Bartricks
    4.8k
    No. I am referring to omnipotence. An omnipotent person could make themselves into a physical thing if they wished to. Why? Because they can do anything.

    So, someone who thinks an omnipotent being is essentially non-physical is confused. They clearly don't understand what they're talking about.
  • Jackson
    938
    No. I am referring to omnipotence. An omnipotent person could make themselves into a physical thing if they wished to. Why? Because they can do anything.Bartricks

    No, as in God did not manifest in physical form as Jesus? Then what would be an example?
  • Bartricks
    4.8k
    No, as in God did not manifest in physical form as Jesus?Jackson

    What? Why are you mentioning Jesus? I don't know. God could make himself into a cat if he wanted. My point is a philosophical one. An omnipotent being can be physical, for an omnipotent being has the power to make himself physical if he so chooses. He wouldn't be omnipotent if he couldn't.
  • Jackson
    938
    What? Why are you mentioning Jesus? I don't know. God could make himself into a cat if he wanted. My point is a philosophical one. An omnipotent being can be physical, for an omnipotent being has the power to make himself physical if he so chooses. He wouldn't be omnipotent if he couldn't.Bartricks

    Okay. Cannot debate myth.
  • Bartricks
    4.8k
    Okay. Cannot debate myth.Jackson

    YOu can't debate at all mate.
  • Jackson
    938
    YOu can't debate at all mate.Bartricks

    God just became me. He wants to tell you to lay off the insults. God out.
  • Bartricks
    4.8k
    God just became me.Jackson

    No he didn't. God's maximally intelligent.
  • Jackson
    938
    No he didn't. God's maximally intelligent.Bartricks

    God told me to tell you to grow up and stop being a child throwing tantrums. God out.
  • Bartricks
    4.8k
    No he didn't. Try and do some philosophy - try engaging with an argument rather than just asking unbelievably dumb questions the answers you which you have precisely no interest in.
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    It is understandable that all of your premises make contradictions. You keep trying to put some titanic characteristics just to confirm God's existence: Tangible, physical, detectable or undetectable, etc... As much as I remember if I am not wrong, theists tend to defend that God is omnipotent. Inside this "virtue" it is said that God is and is not at all times and in every place. The failure of developing a grandiose image of God ends up of having a lot of contradictions. This is why, as I said previously, you would need a lot of faith to believe in something that you never "seen" neither spoken to.

    Kant's statement, "I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith," is one of the most famous things he wrote. However, as we will see in the text, neither he nor Jakob Fries meant by Glaube, "faith".

    Kant: The Jewish faith was, in its original form, a collection of mere statutory laws upon which was established a political organization; for whatever moral additions were then or later appended to it in no way whatever belong to Judaism as such. Judaism is really not a religion at all but merely a union of a number of people who, since they belonged to a particular stock, formed themselves into a commonwealth under purely political laws, and not into a church; nay, it was intended to be merely an earthly state...

    The Kant-Friesian Theory of Religion and Religious Value
    javi2541997

    An eye-opener!

    It is true that defining God in terms of greatness, the greatest being imaginable to be precise, tends to create paradoxes - the omnipotence attribute is particularly problematic.

    However, my inquiry is an attempt to find out how the following hang together in a manner of speaking

    1. Existence
    2. Detectability
    3. Physicality
    4. Nonphysicality (God being the examplar)
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k


    Let me try and simplify my problem in a few questions

    1. How do we know X exists?

    We can't! There are no sufficient condition for existence.

    X is detectable doesn't imply X exists (hallucinations/simulation).

    2. How do we know X doesn't exist?

    We've used one rule to draw the conclusion that something doesn't exist:

    (a) X is undetectable then X doesn't exist.

    3. How do we know X is physical?

    Possibilities:

    (b) X is detectable then X is physical.

    One needs to unpack X is physical. We're 100% certain that

    (b1) X is physical then X exists.

    So,

    (b) X is detectable then X is physical implies

    (b2) X is detectable then X exists (recall we had to deny this because of hallucinations)[hypothetical syllogism (b) and (b1)]

    Ergo, X is detectable then X is physical is unacceptable.

    That is it's possible that

    (b3) X is detectable & X is nonphysical.

    ---

    (c) X is physical then X is detectable.

    No issues here.

    4. How do we know X is nonphysical?

    Look at (c). There's a sufficient condition for nonphysicality:

    (d) X is undetectable then X is nonphysical.

    Salient points:

    (a) X is undetectable then X doesn't exist.

    (b3) X is detectable & X is nonphysical.

    (c) X is physical then X is detectable.

    (d) X is undetectable then X is nonphysical.

    (c) and (d) are the same proposition (contrapositive)

    Look at (a) and (d). Together they imply that

    (e) X is undetectable then (X doesn't exist & X is nonphysical).

    Conclusions:

    (f) God has to be detectable otherwise God doesn't exist.

    (g) Detectability doesn't imply physicality

    That's all I could muster.
  • 180 Proof
    8.4k
    1. How do we know X exists?

    We can't! There are no sufficient condition for existence.

    X is detectable doesn't imply X exists (hallucinations/simulation).
    Agent Smith
    :up:

    2. How do we know X doesn't exist?
    Already answered above. :smirk:
  • Bartricks
    4.8k
    1. How do we know X exists?Agent Smith

    You know something exists when you believe it exists, it does exist, and you have epistemic reason to believe it exists.

    And we can know that God exists.

    If you think we can't know that God exists, you either think there's reason to think we can't know that God exists, or you think there's no reason to think we can't know GOd exists but you believe it anyway.

    In the latter case - that is, if you think there's no reason to think we can't know God exists, but you still believe we can't know God exists - you're just being dogmatic. That is, you're just asserting something you can't defend.

    In the former case, you acknowedge that reasons exist. Well, those can't exist unless God does. So God exists.
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    :ok:

    1. X is undetectable then X doesn't exist.

    That means

    2. X exists then X is detectable [1 contrapositive]

    But those who believe in God claim that

    3. X (God) exists & (but) God (X) is undetectable.

    2 & 3 lead to a contradiction: God exists & (God is undetectable & God is detectable).

    That means either 1/2 or 3 or both is/are false.

    If you say 1/2 is false, we lose our test for nonexistence (nondetectability).

    If 3 is false then either God doesn't exist or God is detectable. This means 1/2 is true. God as an undetectable entity that exists is in jeopardy.

    Then there's the definition of physicality we haveto worry about.

    What do you mean if we say x is physical?

    4. X is physical then X exists (we're 100% sure that physical things exist).

    But then that means

    5. If X doesn't exist then X is nonphysical.

    Also,

    6. X is physical then X is detectable. The truth of this claim is undeniable. However, it's equivalent to

    7. X is undetectable then X is nonphysical.

    Compare 7 to 1. Now we can't tell the difference betwixt X doesn't exist and X is nonphysical.

    :confused:
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    You know something exists when you believe it exists, it does exist, and you have epistemic reason to believe it exists.Bartricks

    You sound like Anselm.
  • Vincent
    95
    All religious people believe in an afterlife. They also preach about the existence of a god. Something that is always and everywhere. That can't be proven yet, but I think it might change soon.
    All religious books also talk about a third world war. A war that will end all wars. And they also speak of a person who will come and lead that war. For many this seems unlikely, but now there has been a publication in 2016 by the Dutch scientist. He has predicted using mathematical formulas that WW3 will start in 2022 at the latest. If you follow the news a little bit, what he says may come true.
    Something is only believed to be true if there is effective scientific and visible proof of it. That means if WW3 starts this year, then the religious books are right. And if there really is someone who comes to interfere during WW3 (the so-called antichrist), then I think proof of the existence of god has been provided.
  • Gnomon
    2.3k
    Interesting points! Intuition as opposed to logic and that intriguing way of defining God as existence itself.Agent Smith
    Modern philosophers tend to distrust Intuition, as a hasty & emotional instead of methodical & rational way of knowing. But Intuition is fundamental, subjective, and personal, hence it makes the strongest case for belief. Only after those intuitive embryos-of-thought are established can the rational faculties analyze them to select the ones that conform to logical structures, and that can survive the gauntlet of objective social criticism. However, even those ideas that are strong enough to become firm beliefs, are based on limited information. Which is why Bayesian inference was developed, to update our provisional beliefs with additional evidence. Bayes whittled normal human logic, based on conventional concepts (words), down to a mathematical (statistical) analysis of probability. But that bare-bones abstract result may lack the emotional impact of visceral Intuition as the foundation of faith.

    Since I have concluded, intuitively & logically, that our world (our reality ; our existence) is highly improbable, given that its fundamental process is Entropy -- inevitably leading to death & disappearance -- the necessity for an exogenous causal force seems undeniable. Plato & Aristotle referred to that logically essential force as the "First Cause" or "Unmoved Mover". But they seemed to assume that the Causal Principle of our existence must also lie outside the space-time devolution from Order (Logos) to Disorder (Chaos). In other words it must exist eternally, as Absolute Potential for the creation of Actual Reality from Possible Ideality. Plato also used the term "Chaos" (disorder) to describe that eternal resource of potential stuff. But he didn't mean it was chaotic in the modern sense, but merely that it was unformed potential (like malleable clay) that could be molded into enformed things & organisms.

    Those ancient philosophers also spoke of "Being & Becoming". With that in mind, I think of our evolving space-time universe as Becoming, and the timeless power-to-exist-physically as absolute Being. Or, as others spoke of the same ultimate source of existence : "the ground of being". Therefore, as an alternative to the conventional religious label for that enigmatic eternal unknowable omnipotent Cause-of-all-effects, I sometimes refer to it simply as "BEING". :nerd:


    BEING :
    * In my own theorizing there is one universal principle that subsumes all others, including Consciousness : essential Existence. Among those philosophical musings, I refer to the "unit of existence" with the absolute singular term "BEING" as contrasted with the plurality of contingent "beings" and things and properties. By BEING I mean the ultimate “ground of being”, which is simply the power to exist, and the power to create beings.
    Note : Real & Ideal are modes of being. BEING, the power to exist, is the source & cause of Reality and Ideality. BEING is eternal, undivided and static, but once divided into Real/Ideal, it becomes our dynamic Reality.

    BothAnd Blog Glossary
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