• gnat
    9
    I’ve always been puzzled by the emotion some theists verbalize when they are in nature. They say something like “Seeing this, I know God is real.” I know that sense of wonder before nature, but I’ve never experienced an emotion so strong that it secures my confidence in God’s existence. I don’t think this emotion is necessary to be a theist. Additionally, I am confident that existence is real and not an illusion. Considering these things, a theist approached me with an argument appealing to my assurance in existence. Here is their argument:

    1. God created the material world.
    2. If you believe in material world, then you believe in God.
    3. You believe that the material world exists.
    4. So, you believe in God. (MP 1, 2)

    I agree with the basic structure of reasoning the argument engages: if you believe in the creations of something, then you believe in the creator of those things. If you believe a person exists, then inherently you believe that their mother and father existed at some point in order to create that person. In the perspective of the theist who presented me this argument, I inherently believe in God by believing that the material world exists. However, I’m not convinced that the initial premise is true because the material world could be the creation of an entity other than God, so I can’t reach the same conclusion as the theist. In considering the third premise, a person could agree to the first two premises, but not believe in the existence of the material world, which would lead them to deny God’s existence. The first premise is the biggest issue because it sets a very narrow scope for the argument, so a person could ignore the rest of the argument if they disagree with its initial premise.
  • DingoJones
    1.9k
    Yes, this is an example of circular logic, the conclusion and the premiss are essentially the same. It starts with the premiss god exists, then goes on to offer some steps intended to conclude that belief in material means belief in god cuz...god exists.
    Pretty weak argument imo
  • Relativist
    1.5k
    Whi actually makes such an argument? What I think is going on is affirmation.
  • Wayfarer
    9.9k
    It’s a very simplistic way of thinking about it, probably from one who has been drilled into that belief over years and has reduced it to a slogan.

    In any case, philosophical naturalism doesn’t accept that any higher intelligence created the Universe. What the Universe is now, is understood in terms of a sequence of events, reactions and interactions that have unfolded over the last 13 billion years without the requirement for any divine assistance or planning.

    Even some religions don’t believe in divine creation - Buddhism being a case in point. In the Buddhist (and Hindu), worldview, which is still largely mythological, the Universe goes through rythmic cycles of expansion and contraction over vast aeons of time. Buddhism regards speculation about whether it has a beginning or not as not relevant to the task of realising Nirvāṇa. So in those cases, religious conviction is not necessarily tied to the belief in a ‘divine creator’.

    But then, on the other hand, the Western cultural tradition was essentially theistic for its formative stages, and whether or not the Universe makes sense or stacks up without reference to a higher intelligence is still, I think, moot. Einstein said:

    I'm not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written these books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.

    (Quoted in Walter Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe, p 386.)
  • TWI
    151
    Throughout history we have misinterpreted what we see, our eyes saw the Sun and the Moon and the stars moving across the sky and logically deduced they were circling us and therefore we were at the centre of the Universe and unique. Oops, wrong! let's try again. And so it's gone on until now when we believe that this time, based on more observation, that we have it right. The Universe was created. The Universe evolved. Could it be that we still have it all wrong.
  • Marissa
    9
    Hi gnat,

    I see you have explicitly laid out your theist friend’s argument as follows:

    1. God created the material world.
    2. If you believe in the material world, then you believe in God.
    3. You believe in the material world.
    4. So, you believe in God (MP 1, 2)

    I think you may have misinterpreted your theist friend’s argument. A modus ponens of 1 and 2 doesn’t warrant the conclusion you have provided. A modus ponens of 2 and 3 warrants this conclusion without necessitating the claim stated in premise 1. Rather, your argument would simply take this form:
    1. If you believe in the material world, then you believe in God.
    2. You believe in the material world.
    3. So, you believe in God (MP 2, 3)

    While this argument is valid, it doesn’t seem sound. The issue I have with this argument is mainly with premise 2 and I think you would agree with me. In your expression of disagreement with this argument, you cite premise 1 from your theist friend’s original argument as the most problematic for this argument when in fact I think you meant to object to premise 2, especially with this new form of the argument. You said that people can think that the world was created by another entity which would be an objection to premise 2. However, what I would like to say in objection to this premise is that people can believe in the material world and the validity of existence while also not believing in God or any other divine creator. There are many atheists who believer in the material world, yet don’t believe in God. There also many people who believe that the big bang was the creation of the material world and also believe in the reality of existence. Therefore, it seems that one does not need to believe in any kind of creator in order to believe in the material world we live in. Not everyone thinks the universe was created by a divine entity and thus, an intelligent creator becomes unnecessary.
  • Seagully
    10
    "if you believe in the creations of something, then you believe in the creator of those things. If you believe a person exists, then inherently you believe that their mother and father existed at some point in order to create that person"

    and what came before the parents? More parents. We can use our imagination to say a creator created existence, or we can use our imagination to say there was no beginning, or that creation created itself, etc, etc (lol sometimes I feel like we're under a test and we need to answer how the universe was created and why we're here)

    But regardless, it's something we simply cannot prove, any logic can be applied, so his argument is as truthful as any argument that claims to address how existence was made to be, we simply don't know :)
  • ovdtogt
    667
    2. If you believe in material world, then you believe in God.gnat

    This is nonsense. Only if you believe in a spiritual world would you believe in God.
    Every scientific atheist believes in a material world.

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