• ProbablyTrue
    166
    "Evil objection" is an offhand objection against presumed character of God, not an argument against existence of God.Henri

    If the objection is an accurate one based on the character of a specific god as portrayed via its followers and its "holy texts", then it is not offhand. It at least shows that this specific god is either evil and a liar or at most doesn't exist at all.

    Out of curiosity, what would you consider a legitimate argument against the existence of god?
  • Banno
    3.1k
    Much more emotional than result of an effort to understand how God can create a world with evil in it.Henri

    A fair point. I've noted how much effort is required in order to believe consistently that God can create a world with evil in it. Rather more effort than is rational.

    Not to mention that you are basically saying that in case God exists you are more moral than Him.Henri
    I'm saying that since he endowed us with free will, it is we who choose what is good and what is evil. God may well disagree, but then a read of any one of his autobiographies will show that he has a rather nasty disposition. One hopes he has been misquoted.

    "Evil objection" is an offhand objection against presumed character of God, not an argument against existence of God.Henri
    Just so; If he does exist, he is not a nice fellow.
  • jorndoe
    549
    Hey , I notice you didn't quite respond to the dilemma; it consist in two incompatible possibilities.
    Which one would you like to entertain, the strong or the light assertion?

    (By the way, the problem of evil is different.)

    Is all suffering (without exception) part of the plan of this supposed deity you mention, or is it up to us to come up with relief as best we can (e.g. medical research)?
    I can tell you what's readily evident, you can't miss it: we already do medical research, educate veterinarians and social care workers, put in place negligence laws, etc; sure doesn't seem that relief from schizophrenia is "coming from above" as it were.
    5. consistent with a largely indifferent universe, and non-teleological biological evolution
    But, hey, maybe you can somehow justify that all suffering (without exception) is warranted?
    (If so, then what the heck is the deal with teratoma anyway?)
  • Banno
    3.1k
    the heck is the deal with teratoma anyway?jorndoe

    that's not a bad question, either way. they don;t seem to be a good example of intelligent design.
  • Henri
    99
    If the objection is an accurate one based on the character of a specific God as portrayed via its followers and its "holy texts", then it is not offhand. It at least shows that this specific God is either evil and a liar or at most doesn't exist at all.ProbablyTrue

    It is offhand. Because, I guess you are reffering to the Bible and Bible is quite complex book. You can't just pick it up and read it however you like, and automatically understand what's written in it.

    In one of the first pages of the Bible God says: "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread."

    Bread here is not only food but also word of God. Jesus is both Word of God and bread of life, for example. And that's one of various ways that reveal "bread" to mean God's message, not only food.

    What God is saying right in the beginning, apart from us having to work to physically sustain ourselves, is: "By the sweat of your face you shall understand word of God." God doesn't say it is impossible to understand His message, but that it's not something one can just take as if it's on a plate.

    You can read a passage here or there and make a conclusion about God. But you would be making your judgement hastily, especially if you are coming with the heart ready to judge God.

    For the time being, God is allowing man's pleasures to be fulfilled, including man's pleasure to judge God Himself. That's not the only or main reason why God's word is not readily available to be understood, but it is part of both the complexity and seriousness of our reality.

    Out of curiosity, what would you consider a legitimate argument against the existence of God?ProbablyTrue

    I can't think of any reasonable argument against the existence of God. Arguments can be made for agnosticism without atheism, but I don't see reasonable argument for atheism. At least among reasoning I have heard or read.

    If you have great reasonable argument for atheism, share it. Maybe I'll conclude that it's reasonable or I'll point out why I think it's not.
  • jorndoe
    549
    Does this make sense?

    Fortunately debilitating depressions hit less than, say, half the world's population.
    Therefore they're not necessary conditions.
    Therefore unnecessary suffering exists.

    † that's not the actual number, it's just for the sake of argument

    Some measure of relief can be attained from medical science or whatever research.
    Humans can sometimes help, where indifferent nature (or some supposed deity) has produced unnecessary suffering.
  • jorndoe
    549
    , why do you just defer to The Bible? :o
    What's wrong with all these texts anyway...?
    (As an aside, I'm kind of partial towards The Silmarillion myself.)
  • Henri
    99
    Is all suffering (without exception) part of the plan of this supposed deity you mention, or is it up to us to come up with relief as best we can (e.g. medical research)?jorndoe

    All suffering is part of what God is ultimately doing with this creation. Not that God personally causes suffering but God allows suffering to exist.

    Everything you mention as humanity's effort - for example medical research, educated veterinarians and social care workers, negligence laws put in place, etc - is given for us to do as part of God's decree.

    That turns things back to suffering and evil, with question if everything is under God's control, why does God allow suffering and evil?

    And that's a big subject, not for this thread. There is a quote from Old Testament: "For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."
  • Bitter Crank
    6.1k
    Henri, Henri. I have no objection to either the belief or the disbelief in Gods. It is quite possible that the gods, or God, exist. But from what I can tell, there is no justification in the western tradition, at least, for thinking that anyone can know anything about God.

    Why is that?

    Because, by the western tradition God is unknowable. Hindu gods actually live in their temples; there they are, made of ivory, gold, metals, fabrics, etc. Not so with God.

    God has all sorts of descriptive terms heaped up. Immortal; omnipresent; invincible; omniscient; eternal; omnipresent, perfect, glorious, etc. By thinking of God in these terms, God is placed well outside our knowing. We can't conceive of what a being is like who is eternal, knowing everything that was, is, and will be, is present everywhere, both in the past and the future, and is fully capable of changing everything around, should that be deemed... whatever it is that God deems.

    Believers should stop talking about God AS IF God is a knowable object, and AS IF they have a slice of that understanding on their plate. I'm not claiming that you don't have that understanding. I'm claiming you CAN'T have that understanding. Neither can I, of course.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.1k
    See, Henri, believers have the word of God that tells them what they should do. The ONLY thing believers need to worry about (with respect to God) is whether they are doing what God told them to do. Following this advice should simplify your life considerably.
  • Henri
    99
    Why do you just defer to The Bible?jorndoe

    I have an understanding that the Bible is God's word.

    If you want shortest answer why Christianity and not any other religion, it's this - only Bible reveals that a human is not capable of bringing himself or herself to God, so salvation from this state is 100% on God's grace. All other religions teach some form of doing works to get to God. So in most important question, eternal existence, there are basically two options - Christianity on one side and everything else on the other.

    Maybe also this, as a quick answer - Bible is much more complex that any other text I have read or examined, it is in a different league.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    only Bible reveals that a human is not capable of bringing himself or herself to God, so salvation from this state is 100% on God's grace.Henri

    James 2:26, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
  • Henri
    99
    From what I can tell, there is no justification in the western tradition, at least, for thinking that anyone can know anything about God... I'm not claiming that you don't have that understanding. I'm claiming you CAN'T have that understanding. Neither can I, of course.Bitter Crank

    You can't claim what you haven't experienced. Understanding that God exists comes supernaturally. Until you don't experience it, can't really know what it actually is. Hopefully you'll experience it.
  • Henri
    99
    James 2:26, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.Buxtebuddha

    Oh my, let's not get into that debate on this thread.
  • ProbablyTrue
    166
    Of course. The Bible is so simple a child could understand it and then so complex it confounds the wisest men. It should be taken literally only until that literal interpretation becomes out of date scientifically or is found to contradict another passage. Then good 'ol faith fills in any gaps. How does one acquire faith? Well it's a gift of god lest any man should boast. What if you don't have faith, even after reading the scriptures? Well, the potter has done with his clay as he pleases. God does love you though. Despite knowing the majority of his beloved children will spend eternity in torment. It's a special kind of love.
  • jorndoe
    549
    Not that God personally causes suffering but God allows suffering to exist.Henri

    It would seem that we humans sometimes do our best to do away with unnecessary suffering. Maybe we're just better at it than this God you keep mentioning. It's almost as if your God does not exist. I wonder why. ;)

    Everything you mention as humanity's effort - for example medical research, educated veterinarians and social care workers, negligence laws put in place, etc - is given for us to do as part of God's decree.Henri

    Decree? For that matter, The Hippocratic Oath predate Christ by some 400 years. (If we're to take some of those stories as history.) Whatever you may attribute to your God, others may not.

    And that's a big subject, not for this thread.Henri

    It's your opening post. I'll just have to ask: does your big subject involve quantum mechanics?

    Anyway, not much philosophy in this thread this far, mostly just some assertions and stories and such. :s
  • Banno
    3.1k
    mostly just some assertions and stories and such.jorndoe

    Yeah, but it is entertaining. Watching Henri is like watching a contortionist.
  • Henri
    99




    Nothing you wrote on this thread provided any reasonable argument for atheism. Maybe you can go back to the OP and provide an argument for atheism, not voice your opinions about God of the Bible.

    But as I said, there is no reasonable argument for atheism, so distraction is next best thing, seemingly. And it's an obvious thing one can do, it's transparent, so it's also an unreasonable behaviour.
  • tim wood
    912
    And my conclusion is that atheists, both in general and those most prominent ones, are:

    1) quite unreasonable in interpreting what nature provides as clues for or against God
    2) quite unreasonable in their reasoning about God
    Henri

    1) I live near woods and am often in them. I have never seen a clue. Maybe I've just missed them. Are they animal, vegetable, or mineral? What colour are they, usually? How big? Nor have I observed nature to have "provided" anything at all. The nature I encounter just is.

    2) "...about God"? In order to reason about God, you have to have something - anything - to reason about. What do you have that enables you to reason about God?
  • Banno
    3.1k
    I have never seen a clue.tim wood
    Nor I.

    Why does God leave clues, like we are in an adventure game? Why not have "God Exists" inscribed in a different language each day over the rising sun?

    Why is He so obscure?
  • ProbablyTrue
    166
    Nothing you wrote on this thread provided any reasonable argument for atheism. Maybe you can go back to the OP and provide an argument for atheism, not voice your opinions about God of the Bible.Henri

    You didn't make an argument in the OP. The burden of proof is on you, not the other way around.
  • Banno
    3.1k
    Nothing you wrote on this thread provided any reasonable argument for atheism.Henri

    Nor is that my intent.

    What I did do is show how your argument is self-serving, by demonstrating that in the hands of an atheist it serves to undermine belief in the existence of God.
  • jorndoe
    549
    Nothing you wrote on this thread provided any reasonable argument for atheism. Maybe you can go back to the OP and provide an argument for atheism [...] But as I said, there is no reasonable argument for atheism, so distraction is next best thing [...]Henri

    Check up on shifting the burden of proof. You have some work ahead apparently, as also suggested earlier:

    Anyway, we can't talk about atheism without first having talked about theism: You make some fantastic claims. You call yourself theist. I don't believe your claims. You call me atheist.

    Indeed ...

    [...] an unreasonable behaviour.Henri

    [...] there are basically two options - Christianity on one side and everything else on the other. [...] Bible is much more complex that any other text I have read or examined, it is in a different league.Henri

    This stuff reads a bit like an obsession. How would you suggest differentiating?
  • Banno
    3.1k
    The beauty of the OP is how clearly it shows the closed logic of certain thinking.

    Only after I came to an understanding that God exists...Henri
    That god exists is the premise on which the OP is constructed. No argument is given to suport the existence of God; Deny His existence, and the argument falls apart.

    That being the case, the argument cannot act as a foil with which to change the opinions of Atheists. We will simply deny the premise.

    ...I started to look into atheistic arguments more closely.Henri
    But which arguments? They are not presented, but simply gestured at; there is a pretence that the OP is about denying atheist arguments; it doesn't happen.

    There are few atheists who will argue actively that God does not exist. Atheist arguments ubiquitously take the form of dismantling arguments for the existence of God, usually by showing their inconsistency.

    And my conclusion is that atheists, both in general and those most prominent ones...Henri

    This conclusion is unsupported, not justified, we are expected to agree.

    1) quite unreasonable in interpreting what nature provides as clues for or against GodHenri

    Not so much as an example. Why does God set clues? Loki does that sort of thing - not a nice fellow. The same for Satan in the story of Job. Is God like Satan?

    Elsewhere it is posited that we know God by supernatural means. So what use could natural clues be, anyway? Or do we interpret natural clues by positing supernatural causes? Again, not an argument that will please anyone who doubts the existence of God.

    2) quite unreasonable in their reasoning about GodHenri

    No example; to be taken on trust. Again. The third - no, fourth, such bald assertion.

    Now comes the best part:
    The amount of blank ammunition atheists generally use against God makes me think that atheism itself is a miracle. Meaning, it's not something natural, but interruption of nature forced from something outside of our observable world.Henri

    This is a good argument. If God exists, His brilliance, His presence, ought be so all-encompasing as to be utterly undeniable. So that His existence is denied is extraordinary, if He exists.

    But His existence is denied.

    So, either atheists are a part of God's trickery, or the argument supports the non-existence of God. God hides his presence from Atheists.

    So the loop closes on itself. If god exists, then god exists. If god does not exist, then god does not exist. The argument in the OP gains no traction on an atheist, and will not save a soul.

    Perhaps the OP is not intended for Atheists, bit for other Christians, as a way of understanding the way the Lord works. That is the case with arguments for the existence of god - they can be seen as ways for believers to understand God, and not as attempts to change the minds of non-believers.

    But in this case the OP shows a deity who leaves clues and deceives some of his creatures.

    Is that a reasonable god?

    I haven't noticed other Christians running to defend Henri. I rather suspect that they have read the OP and ducked, or perhaps are hiding in the corner with one hand over their faces, hoping not to be recognised.

    It's an embarrassing argument. I'm sorry, Henri, but you are way off.
  • 0rff
    31
    [erased ironic post]
  • Henri
    99
    Still not a single one reasonable argument for atheism.

    I am not arguing for theism here, by the way. I already wrote that agnosticism without atheism can be reasonably argued.

    But any argument for atheism is unreasonable. As evidenced by this thread. Not that this particular evidence was needed.
  • tim wood
    912
    Still not a single one reasonable argument for atheism.Henri

    Perhaps you're unaware the "a" prefix in "atheism" is Greek and means privation, not, not having, without. A-theism, then, is a negative. You're looking for an argument in favor of a negative. From that I infer you don't know how any of this works.

    There are few atheists who will argue actively that God does not exist. Atheist arguments ubiquitously take the form of dismantling arguments for the existence of God, usually by showing their inconsistency.Banno

    Banno has it right, here.

    The point is that you posit the existence of something for which there is no evidence whatsoever, except perhaps in wishful thinking. (Wishful thinking can also go under the name of practical reason. You can do a lot with practical reason; Kant did. You just have to take care not to stray into making claims that practical reason cannot and never will support, mistakes Kant warned against and took care not to make).

    Hitchen's razor is referred to on this site from time to time. It says that what is averred without reason can be dismissed without reason, and that the burden of proof lies on the person making the claim. You have offered no proof. But then again real Christians, if that's the body of belief we're talking about, don't attempt to prove that God exists. Their creed is captured in their "We believe...". Or in different language, God is an absolute presupposition of most religions. That means that for persons of faith the issue of God does not lie in existence but in efficacy. For them, questions as to the real existence of God are nonsense questions. Unfortunately, many people who think that they are Christians simply do not understand this point and insist on the reality of something that a) is not real, and b) in no way depends on being real to be effective.
  • Henri
    99


    I would say you are either dishonest here or you are operating on some wobbly logic. I wrote that from what I've read and heard, atheists are:

    1) quite unreasonable in interpreting what nature provides as clues for or against God
    2) quite unreasonable in their reasoning about God

    My argument is that reasoning an atheist uses to come to his or her atheistic position is unreasonable.

    Now, if by atheists you also include agnostics who both don't know whether God exists and don't favor neither theism nor naturalism in any way, I exclude that group. But I don't think those are only, or even majority, of atheists. Not to mention that I have already written that agnosticism without atheism can be reasonably argued.

    Your dishonesty, if it is not the other thing, comes with you acting as if all atheists simply say - well, we just don't know, could be either way, we are reserving our vote on this. You are basically presenting atheists as neutral agnostics who are equally unsure of both God creating the world and the world coming to existence by some form of chance or unconscious process lead by big bang and evolution. They just don't know, could be either one of those options, it's a head scratcher really for an atheist.

    The point is that you posit the existence of something for which there is no evidence whatsoever, except perhaps in wishful thinking.tim wood

    Reasoning on evidence can be reasonable for an agnostic who plainly doesn't know nor favors either possibility regarding existence of God. As I wrote, but let's repeat, I think majority of people who regard themselves as atheists, and publicly so, are not in that group.

    On the other hand, no evidence is not reasonable argument for those who favor non-existence of God.

    There is no known natural law that says that if God exists He would universally provide evidence for His existence.
  • Akanthinos
    954
    But any argument for atheism is unreasonable. As evidenced by this thread. Not that this particular evidence was needed.Henri

    This post, and the thread's OP exemplifies what I understand to be low quality posting.
  • ProbablyTrue
    166
    On the other hand, no evidence is not reasonable argument for those who favor non-existence of God.Henri
    :-O
    If no evidence is provided to prove the existence of something, then no evidence is needed to disprove the same thing. As tim wood dishonestly said before.


    This post, and the thread's OP exemplifies what I understand to be low quality posting.Akanthinos

    I'm starting to wonder if this is a troll post.
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