• DoppyTheElv
    25
    Hi all!
    A while ago I made a post in which i made clear that i'm an extreme noob when it comes to philosophy.
    While having bought a history of philosophy book, I still have a few questions that I don't see will be answered by myself anytime soon. So to the question; What is the problem with the arguments that attempt to prove God? The kalam, The five ways, fine tuning, moral argument, ...

    The reason why I ask is because I cannot differentiate bad philosophy from good philosophy. Neither do I know all of the intricacies of the structure arguments should have. (modus ponens, valid and sound) While there are a whole lot of people pushing these arguments. And there are also a whole lot of people pushing against them. I can't help but feel that the majority of the discussions that happen about these arguments aren't well grounded. And I'm assuming that people here know a fair deal and are able to give me a clear idea of what's wrong.

    I would like to suppose that the arguments all try to deal with a deistic or theistic god.

    Let me also add a subquestion to that and ask to the atheist. If these arguments are all a failure. Is that part of the reason why you are atheist?

    Thank you!
  • Adam's Off Ox
    52
    For me to understand an argument for God, I would need a clear understanding of how the speaker intends to use the words 'God' and 'exists.' What are the implications of the author's version-of-God existing? Then, how would I come to know such a being exists? How would my experience be different if the author's version of God did not exist?

    I do get hung up on what constitutes an ontology (what we say exists) and I prefer to focus on what things do. A good argument for or against God, imo, doesn't just focus on the concept of God and whether it is non-contradictory. Instead, I look for arguments that focus on phenomena that are best explained as an effect of God's action.
  • Kenosha Kid
    519


    Hi Doppy!

    In answer to the first question, it's a case-by-case basis. Descartes' proof relied on, among other things, dubious personally testimony (I can conceive of an infinite, perfect being!). Aquinus relied on jumping to conclusions. There aren't actually that many logical proofs of God; they are mostly variants of one another. Hidden circularity is a common trait though.

    As for your second question, no. I'm an atheist because I wasn't raised to believe one way or another. My parents were theologically sloppy and wanted me to make up my own mind. Having my own mind, I found it surprising that people entertained the idea with so little apparent reason.

    Most believers are taught to believe by their believer parents. Most atheists afaik are not. There's a little movement in between which, in testimonies I've seen, are either due consideration of evidence (both ways) or vulnerability in circumstances. (There is a reason why religions favour the vulnerable. Scientology, for instance, preys heavily on alcoholics, drug addicts, and people with mental problems. In the UK, it was usual to have chaplains as counsellors in prisons.)

    Generally I don't think the Bible, theology, or philosophy of religion enter into people's theism or atheism very much.
  • 180 Proof
    1.4k
    If these arguments are all a failure. Is that part of the reason why you are atheist?DoppyTheElv
    No. At 14-15 I began thinking for myself about what I was told to believe ... which lead me at 16 ceasing to believe just because they - tradition - told me to believe. I "came out" as an apostate, then later as an atheist, in a Jesuit high school (after several years of bible study, church history, altar-boy service & Latin) a couple years before I would study the classical "proofs" and apologetics. All those sermons to the choir did was further ground my atheism and even weaponize my profane critiques. But that was decades ago and now I'm not that sort of atheist - much less militant, though quite a bit more radical. Still irreligious though.

    Anyway, more to the point of the OP, I find that only a small minority of the non-trivial "proofs" are valid arguments and none, even the best, are sound. None. Also, deist/theist entities are "Ultimate Mysteries" are inexplicable, "as they say", to human reason - they do not explain e.g. "g/G created it" or justify e.g. "g/G commands it" anything. "Mysteries" only beg questions, after all, not answer them. Thus, g/G - deism/theism - says nothing intelligible to metaphysics & ethics or that's explicable in physics & biology.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.5k
    Let me also add a subquestion to that and ask to the atheist. If these arguments are all a failure. Is that part of the reason why you are atheist?DoppyTheElv

    I was raised in a religious family, and so in my early childhood held unexamined and innocuous-seeming religious views. I never had a reactionary moment in my life where I strongly rebelled against those. Instead, I slowly grew out of them as I aged and learned more about the world. I was in fact surprised in my adolescence to realize that adults sincerely held those views, and didn't merely teach them as metaphorical stories for children.

    Basically to me, God was like Santa Claus. Believed as a little kid, then realized he was just a fictional character, but didn’t feel like I was lied to or something, just that I had grown up and learned the difference between fact and fiction. The surprise to me was that other adults seemingly hadn’t.

    I didn’t learn anything about actual arguments about God’s existence until I was an adult, and found them all transparently unpersuasive by then. At best, they might sometimes prove some abstract metaphysical thing that bears no resemblance to the fleshed-out character of God from any holy book.
  • Frank Apisa
    1.9k


    The major problem with any arguments for or against the existence of any gods is that none of them are truly logical.

    It is impossible to come to the conclusion that "there is at least one god" OR that "there are no gods"...using logic. In fact, it is impossible to come to the conclusion that "it is more likely that there is at least one god than that there are none" OR "it is more likely that there are no gods than that there is at least one"...using logic.

    The best anyone can do is to make a guess in either direction. One can do that most easily by flipping a coin.
  • TheMadFool
    6.2k
    One can do that most easily by flipping a coin.Frank Apisa

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  • TheMadFool
    6.2k
    What we mean by "god" has been changing over time.At first gods were many and all of them possessed human-like traits, from mood swings to extra-marital affairs. The transition from polytheism to monotheism wasn't just about reducing the number of gods to just one but also involved removing these human-like qualities and replacing them with the three we're familiar with as omnibenevolence, omnipotence and omniscience.

    If you ask me, the earlier god(s) were more realistic in that they didn't contradict facts like the existence of evil, explicable in terms of their caprice and personality flaws. This realism in the nature of divine beings is absent in monotheism by virtue of contradictions that inhere in its conception of what the divine is.

    Basically, polytheism, with its multitude of gods, each with its own imperfections, likes and dislikes that bring them into conflict with each other and also humans, is more believable than monotheism with its one god, straining to the breaking point under the heavy burden of having to embody qualities that are diametrically opposite - the monotheistic god must explain, with his lone self, what at one time was simply the struggle between Eirene (goddess of peace) and Ares (god of war).

    The religions that preceded the Abrahamic religions were more realistic and thus more plausible.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.1k
    My position is that the traditional proofs constitute efforts to provide a reasonable basis for a conclusion arrived at largely without a reasonable basis and already accepted to be true.
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