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What if it became scientifically proven that God exists? (Ver 2)


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But if you restrict 'God' to being an ethically neutral or indifferent origin of everything, are you really discussing an entity which corresponds to the dictionary defintion of God? Aristotle and most Ancient philosophers believed in the type of 'God' you are talking about, referring to him as 'the first uncaused cause.' But does believing in that type of thing state anything interesting? It seems close to just saying that the universe had a determinate origin, which sounds more like a thesis in physics which could be resolved empiricially or by empirical evidence supplemented with various theoretical articulations of that experience. But it wouldn't state anything metaphysical, as the God hypothesis is usually taken to do.

The physics of theology begins with the idea that the heavens and Earth became separate (this could be interpreted as separation of matter into separated gravity-wells) and the emergence of energy ("let their be light"). The metaphysics begin when God declares the light to be good along with creation and thus condones it to "go forth and multiply." In other words, there is a recognition of the natural propensity for matter and energy to progress in subsequent expansions and transformations, and there is a moral assertion that this aspect of nature is good along with "light/energy" and the various metaphysical interpolations of its meanings. Later on, darkness and destruction are recognized as having also been created as a necessary consequence of light and creation so these also become metaphysically interpolated in the stories where events happen such as Adam and Eve hiding their natural bodies, Cain hiding his jealousy and murder of his brother from God, etc. If you study the logic of these mythologies carefully, you should be able to see how it takes a basic understanding of physical matter-energy and begins fleshing out philosophical applications and ethics. There really isn't any natural reason to separate physics from ethics, since there is an inherent tension between matter-energy and vacuum-darkness that correspond to positive/presence and negative/absence. Who could argue that vacuum/darkness/negation/absence/etc. are fundamentally associated with goodness and matter/energy/positivity/presence are fundamentally bad? Only someone interested in destruction and opposition to creation, right?

Edited by lemur
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Lemur, if you didn't understand the original question, why didn't you just say so? Mooeypoo tried to get you to understand and failed.

 

The whole point of a thought experiment is to accept the original premise of "What if?" and go from there. If the original premise had been "Suppose the Earth was a cube. How would gravity work?" You've spent your time pointing out that the Earth isn't a cube. We all know that, but the question was "What if it was?"

 

The point of the OP was to turn the tables a bit. It is very common for the theists to ask the atheists "What if you're wrong and there is a God. How would you feel? What would you do?" However this often contains the unspoken assumption that the proof of the existence of God would automatically also be proof of the theists preferred train of religious thought.

 

People talk of their "Faith", as in belief without proof often without realising that there two factors to their faith and not one. If we separate the two we find a "Faith" in the existence of God and also "Faith" that their religion portrays this God (and His/Her views and wants) accurately.

 

The purpose of the OP was to separate these two factors of Faith. The theist is then faced with the simple facts that while their faith in the existence of a God is proven correct, their faith in their religion being somehow the "Revealed Word of God" was wrong.

 

Basically, how would a theist feel to find out that while God existed the Bible was no more based on fact or the will of God than "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" was.

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Lemur, if you didn't understand the original question, why didn't you just say so? Mooeypoo tried to get you to understand and failed.

I already responded to this in post #14 with the following exchange:

QuoteAgain our question: Assuming God exists. Assuming God proved herself or himself according to whatever measurements of faith you have, and this proof is undeniable. Assuming God then says they remove any and all responsibility from the religious scriptures of all religions, saying that they were created by man, but they do NOT approve of them.

 

Assuming all that -- how would it affect you?

It would pique my interest. I would want to know what was evil about the scriptures and why. I would want to know what would be better.

Basically, assuming the God that appeared could be immediately identified as "The" true God, and S/he would say the scriptures were misguided, I would be interested in why/how and what S/he would have written and why/how.

The whole point of a thought experiment is to accept the original premise of "What if?" and go from there. If the original premise had been "Suppose the Earth was a cube. How would gravity work?" You've spent your time pointing out that the Earth isn't a cube. We all know that, but the question was "What if it was?"

I know, but my concern was that you were strawmanning the concept of God by assuming it is some kind of material being independent of the faith of the believer. I think this is something materialists like to do with the concept of God because it gives them the opportunity to ridicule belief in materially impossible things. It would be like someone asking if conservation of energy is a law, where is the constitution of the universe located so that they can read it. "Law" in physics doesn't refer to written mandates that govern behavior but to patterns of "law-like" regularities. So if someone posted a thread saying, "if the laws of physics were proven unconstitutional by the supreme court, what would physicists say?" that wouldn't make much sense would it?

 

The point of the OP was to turn the tables a bit. It is very common for the theists to ask the atheists "What if you're wrong and there is a God. How would you feel? What would you do?" However this often contains the unspoken assumption that the proof of the existence of God would automatically also be proof of the theists preferred train of religious thought.

God is a subjective belief. When theists ask this question to atheists, it is to get them to evoke their subjective image of God so as to understand what the theists are experiencing it before criticizing it.

 

People talk of their "Faith", as in belief without proof often without realising that there two factors to their faith and not one. If we separate the two we find a "Faith" in the existence of God and also "Faith" that their religion portrays this God (and His/Her views and wants) accurately.

Maybe, but you're approach to faith is to verify or falsify it. That assumes that there is a basis for doing either. Imo, the whole point of "faith-based" belief is that it deals with an axiomatic level where there is no basis for belief except faith. What atheists usually seem to try to do is re-position beliefs in terms of paradigms that render them testable. This works if your faith lies in those paradigms (e.g. materialist empiricism), but you should realize that at least some theists are using faith to deal with questions that can't be answered empirically, such as what is the purpose of life, what ethics should be and why, etc. It requires faith, for example, to form the basic ethical axiom that "light is good." You can experience light as being good on various levels but you can't prove your experience is correct, can you? So you have to "have faith" in your belief that light is good and accept this as "evidence" of God's existence. Imo, it's as simple as saying that the very fact that you can experience light as goodness indicates the existence of God inside yourself, insofar as God is viewed as the power to recognize goodness in things, for example.

 

The purpose of the OP was to separate these two factors of Faith. The theist is then faced with the simple facts that while their faith in the existence of a God is proven correct, their faith in their religion being somehow the "Revealed Word of God" was wrong.

I understand the premise, but I just like to point out that its naively construed. Saying that scripture is "the Revealed Word of God" makes it sound like that title is a status that reflects the texts being defined as defined. It's not like someone just wrote down some mythology and called it divine in an instrumental way. The people who wrote these texts felt TRULY divinely inspired. I.e. they had complete faith in their feeling that God was revealing "His Word" to them when they were writing it down. So to me, since I see God as a spirit that lives within people (and maybe within other parts of nature as well), it wouldn't make sense if someone claimed that scripture wasn't directly inspired by God, because that was a condition of their creation when they were written.

 

Basically, how would a theist feel to find out that while God existed the Bible was no more based on fact or the will of God than "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" was.

I hope you see my point now. You are looking at God as a being that is separate from the human experience of God. I am looking at God as the experience of God itself. Saying that "God inspired the writing of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" could be as accurate as saying "submarine fantasies" inspired them. I.e. both "God" and "submarine fantasies" refer to inner-experiences of writers. If you would twist the language and ask how submarines could have inspired Jules Verne if submarines didn't exist when he wrote it, that would be similar to what you're saying about scripture not reflecting the word of God. I.e. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was not documentation of a material submarine - it was a book inspired by faith in the possibility of submarines. See how that's similar to faith in God now? No one can prove God's existence so it is necessary to base all knowledge of God on faith. Then, since God is a subjective feeling (a spirit), the spirit emerges within you as a result of exercising that faith and studying the knowledge about it that other people have written down from experience. Get it? The fantasy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea causes the submarine-experience to live inside you.

 

 

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Moderator Note

lemur, if you want to address something outside the parameters of the OP, including criticizing the premise, please do so in another thread. Changing the subject is hijacking.

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Since I can't make the common definition of God as a being which is omnipotent, omniscient, and infinitely good consistent with what I know for certain to be true of the universe -- that it contains unnecessary and unjustified (by any rational, non-mythological theory of 'justification') suffering for human beings -- then to ask what I would think if God's existence were proved is like asking what I would think if it were proved that 2 + 2 = 17.3. I would simply have to say I had gone crazy.

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Since I can't make the common definition of God as a being which is omnipotent, omniscient, and infinitely good consistent with what I know for certain to be true of the universe -- that it contains unnecessary and unjustified (by any rational, non-mythological theory of 'justification') suffering for human beings -- then to ask what I would think if God's existence were proved is like asking what I would think if it were proved that 2 + 2 = 17.3. I would simply have to say I had gone crazy.

I would like to "factor" the concept of God for you so it adds up logically, but if I do I will be told I'm hijacking the thread. So apparently this thread relies on the insistence that the concept of God has to be nonsensical to appropriately respond. So you must simply accept as axiomatic that 2+2=17.3 and then say how you would react if someone would tell you that 2+2=4 was wrong. You'd thank them for saving you from your misguided beliefs, wouldn't you?

Edited by lemur
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I would like to "factor" the concept of God for you so it adds up logically, but if I do I will be told I'm hijacking the thread. So apparently this thread relies on the insistence that the concept of God has to be nonsensical to appropriately respond. So you must simply accept as axiomatic that 2+2=17.3 and then say how you would react if someone would tell you that 2+2=4 was wrong. You'd thank them for saving you from your misguided beliefs, wouldn't you?

 

 

I don't understand what is so difficult here. "Let's assume 2+2=17.3; How would that affect our world?" --> that's a valid philosophical question.. a "thought experiment", see? In order to deal with such experiment, we do in fact immediately assume, without question or reservation, that 2+2=17.3 and then continue onwards to see how this changes things.

 

2+2=17.3 is nonsensical mathematically. That makes no difference to the thought experiment. In fact, it wouldn't have been a thought experiment if the initial premise was obvious. We would have nothing to talk about if I told you "what if 2+2=4? how would that affect you?". It wouldn't, because it is.

 

So you can think the initial premise is nonsensical, or you can think it's offensive, or crazy, or stupid. But in order to participate in this thread properly, you need to take it as a given. That's the point.

 

It's fine if you can't, lemur. If this hurts your sensibilities, that is perfectly acceptable. Don't participate.

 

It's your choice. Just please make it; either participate, or leave this thread alone. It ain't that difficult, really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That said, I was thinking about something. I know about judaism more than other religions, so I started thinking about what would happen to, say, religious jews if the hypothesis in the OP happened. Honestly, I think it might shatter a few ideas, but it wouldn't shake the foundations. In judaism, the main idea is philosophizing about the messages of the texts anyways. That is, while the text is considered to have come from God (or inspired by) it is known that it has very cryptic sections -- that's why other books exist to help deal with those, like the Talmud and Zohar, etc.

 

So I don't think a lot of Jews would necessarily lose their faith in judaism specifically even IF god came to say that the Tanach has nothing to do with him. They will likely just find something else to argue about, or will (as usually done in the biblical stories in jewish perspective) declare it "symbolic" and go on with their lives.

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I don't understand what is so difficult here. "Let's assume 2+2=17.3; How would that affect our world?" --> that's a valid philosophical question.. a "thought experiment", see? In order to deal with such experiment, we do in fact immediately assume, without question or reservation, that 2+2=17.3 and then continue onwards to see how this changes things.

 

2+2=17.3 is nonsensical mathematically. That makes no difference to the thought experiment. In fact, it wouldn't have been a thought experiment if the initial premise was obvious. We would have nothing to talk about if I told you "what if 2+2=4? how would that affect you?". It wouldn't, because it is.

 

But 2+2=4 is a proven mathematical fact (with peano arithmatic definitions of "+" and "="). This would mean that for 2+2=17.3, either those symbols would simply have different meaning (so no effect), or that there is a contradiction in the world (in which case better just say suppose A and not A).

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But 2+2=4 is a proven mathematical fact (with peano arithmatic definitions of "+" and "="). This would mean that for 2+2=17.3, either those symbols would simply have different meaning (so no effect), or that there is a contradiction in the world (in which case better just say suppose A and not A).

 

Yeah, but it could still be a tenet for a philosophical thought experiment. A bad one, since it will likely end in 2 seconds once you realize that there's not a lot to go out for other than to say that if 2+2=17.3 then all other math makes no sense and be done wtih it.

 

It might be a bad example, but it's not too far off of JohnB's example of "Suppose the earth is a cube, how would it affect gravity?" --> the earth is not a cube. But you would accept the supposition as true without argument and *THEN* test if the rest follows.

 

My point is that the debate should concentrate on the hypothetical question at hand rather than criticism about why we chose to hypothesize this specific hypothesis.

 

I chose the wrong example, but the point itself still stands; we've been spending quite a while trying to steer this thread back to the actual question and keep going off track by criticism on the question itself.

 

~mooey

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There's a nasty little paradox for those who believe in omnipotent God:

Can God make a stone that's so heavy that he can't lift it?

 

How do the believers explain the existence of evil in the world if the God is omnipotent and good?

Epíkouros says:

God either wants to abolish evil and can not, or can but does not want, or even can not and does not want. If he wants to and can not, then it is powerless. If he does not want, then it is evil.But if God can and wants to abolish evil, how come there's evil in the world?

I'll repeat what I said in some post above: What is transcendental can't be proven because every statement we make about transcendental has the counter-statement that is as likely to be true as the original statement.

So it won't and can't be proven (neither philosophically or scientifically) that God exists.

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Yeah, but it could still be a tenet for a philosophical thought experiment. A bad one, since it will likely end in 2 seconds once you realize that there's not a lot to go out for other than to say that if 2+2=17.3 then all other math makes no sense and be done wtih it.

 

It might be a bad example, but it's not too far off of JohnB's example of "Suppose the earth is a cube, how would it affect gravity?" --> the earth is not a cube. But you would accept the supposition as true without argument and *THEN* test if the rest follows.

 

My point is that the debate should concentrate on the hypothetical question at hand rather than criticism about why we chose to hypothesize this specific hypothesis.

 

I chose the wrong example, but the point itself still stands; we've been spending quite a while trying to steer this thread back to the actual question and keep going off track by criticism on the question itself.

 

~mooey

 

You and lemur seem to be overlooking an important tenet in the OP, which is "What if it became scientifically proven that God exists?" If I understand correctly, the direction of this "philosophical thought experiment" should proceed from what constitutes scientific proof rather than a presupposed acceptance of faith, irrationality, or illogic. As I understand the OP, if God could be physically/materially proven to exist, how might we respond to his, her or its denial of the edicts we humans attribute to the being's will? In my response I said that I wouldn't be as interested in the validity of the being's edicts as I would be in its origins because a being cannot, in my view, create its own existence in a realm of scientific proof. So I would inquire of its origins rather than how we may have interpreted the being's edicts.

Edited by DrmDoc
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I don't understand what is so difficult here. "Let's assume 2+2=17.3; How would that affect our world?" --> that's a valid philosophical question.. a "thought experiment", see? In order to deal with such experiment, we do in fact immediately assume, without question or reservation, that 2+2=17.3 and then continue onwards to see how this changes things.

 

2+2=17.3 is nonsensical mathematically. That makes no difference to the thought experiment. In fact, it wouldn't have been a thought experiment if the initial premise was obvious. We would have nothing to talk about if I told you "what if 2+2=4? how would that affect you?". It wouldn't, because it is.

There would be other consequences. E.g. there would be no internal logical consistency in math. This is the same problem with talking about scientifically proving God. God is inherently spiritual and therefore faith-based. When you start talking about scientific proof for or against the existence of God, it undermines the internal consistency of spiritual reasoning. Suddenly evidence becomes more important than sincerity. Objective becomes more important than subjective. Religion collapses in this way, the same as math would collapse if you would start assigning arbitrary sums to sums and products.

 

So you can think the initial premise is nonsensical, or you can think it's offensive, or crazy, or stupid. But in order to participate in this thread properly, you need to take it as a given. That's the point.

I DID, but everyone keeps accusing me of not having done this because I refused to keep my mouth shut about critical flaws in the premise as well. I don't see any problem noting the logical flaws in the premise as long as I'm not trying to destroy the discussion, which I wasn't. That's why I started another thread on literalism in interpreting religious mythology.

 

It's fine if you can't, lemur. If this hurts your sensibilities, that is perfectly acceptable. Don't participate.

I said if God showed up and said all the scriptures were wrong, or otherwise criticized them, I would just want to hear her/his reasons so that I could be enlightened. If God showed up, all I would want was enlightenment. I would not care about protecting any existing dogma, religious, scientific, or otherwise. I already said this but I don't feel like going in search of which post it was now.

 

It's your choice. Just please make it; either participate, or leave this thread alone. It ain't that difficult, really.

I'm sorry, but I find this "accept it or leave it" attitude rude. I gave my response with the assumption of the premise but I ALSO noted problems with the premise. I don't see how this is any different from responding to a post entitled "if we could break the speed of light, would we go back in time" by saying that it is impossible to travel faster than light and/or go back in time. No one would be telling me to respect the premise of the OP or leave if I said that there, would they?

 

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I'm sorry, but I find this "accept it or leave it" attitude rude. I gave my response with the assumption of the premise but I ALSO noted problems with the premise. I don't see how this is any different from responding to a post entitled "if we could break the speed of light, would we go back in time" by saying that it is impossible to travel faster than light and/or go back in time. No one would be telling me to respect the premise of the OP or leave if I said that there, would they?

 

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Moderator Note

Regardless, you were asked, both unofficially and officially, not to do this. The speed of light hypothetical is not a good analogy, because there is empirical evidence that relativity is true. Your objections are to a particular interpretation of a supreme being, which is subjective and not necessarily shared by all.

 

Stop derailing the discussion with this.

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Since reality is not a tightly-woven logical system, in which the proof or disproof of any one proposition can be demonstrated to be inconsistent with the system or to be impossible according to the logic of that system, it is possible that I could prove empirical assertion A to be true and B to be true, even though they seem to conflict. They might be reconciled with each other at some deeper level than it now apparent to me, or there might be some fact about the universe that makes their simultaneous truth less of an inconsistency than I now believe. All of this skepticism is possible because our knowledge of the universe is still somewhat open-ended.

 

So if it now seems to me from everything I know that the hypothesis that God exists is radically inconsistent with the rest of the real world as I know it, if I were suddenly confronted with the demonstrated fact of God's existence I suppose I would just have to suspend reasoning on the grounds that I obviously did not know how to reason successfully in such a world. If I do really solidly believe that 2 + 2 = 4, but someone shows me that in fact it equals 17.3, then rather than embracing 2 + 2 = 17.3, I think I would just suspend judgment and say I was awaiting further discoveries about the material universe, the nature of number, the character of logical inference, etc., so that I could comprehend how the 17.3 result could be obtained. It would be dishonest to accept that something I could not understand was proven, rather than just subjectivizing the issue and saying that I would have to suspend judgment pending further enlightenment or admit that I had gone mad.

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How do the believers explain the existence of evil in the world if the God is omnipotent and good?

 

The key word there is "if". The concept that a God must be omnipotent and "good" is taken from texts.

 

To make the idea behind the OP clearer. The entity provides scientifically verifiable proof that it is indeed the creator of the Universe. That's the assumption, that there is no doubt whatsoever that the entity is the "God" of this Universe.

 

It then goes on to say "I existed before the Universe began and tweaked the Big Bang to set the Laws of Physics in such a fashion that the Universe would be hospitable to life. (Anthropogenic principle I think it's called?) I never communicated a purpose or religious text to anybody. Why did I do it? Because I'm immortal and bored and wanted to see what would happen."

 

People are making assumptions about a creator based on their scriptural background. That the definition of a "God" is that it must be omnipotent, or omniscient, or good or something. But in the thought experiment God has turned up and it is nothing like what the scriptures say it is.

 

So there is God, standing right in front of you, but he never inspired scripture, handed down commandments, sent angels amoungst man, ("What's an Angel?" it says) spoke to Noah, ("Who?") and didn't send intermediaries to impregnate random women.

 

So now what?

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But if the 'entity' you describe -- as just the omnipotent creator of the universe -- were to be proven to exist, then that wouldn't be the same as God having been proven to exist, since the definition of 'God' is that he is not only the omnipotent creator of the universe, but that he is also omniscient and infinitely good. So the entity you describe could really just be more properly described as the physical universe itself, or the laws of the physical universe, since these did 'create' and do now continue to constitute the power which sustains everything that exists, so they are omnipotent. But the brute fact that there is somewhere some sum total of physical power (omnipotent existence) which created and continues to cause anything is really trivial, since most natural scientists would assume some version of that.

 

But since you seem to give your hypothetical definition of God an evil character, that he created the world just out of boredom to amuse himself regardless of the misery that decision has caused to billions of human consciousnesses over the millenia, then perhaps you are offering something like the ancient Gnostics suggested. They believed that the universe we inhabit was under the control of some locally omnipotent god who was utterly evil, and that the only appropriate role for humans in such a situation was to do everything inversely and backwards, since the very logic of this local universe was structured by the evil of this god. But they also assumed that there was somewhere above it, inaccessible to our intellects, a higher, hidden omnipotence that was good.

 

Perhaps you are suggesting the question, what would we do if it were proven that God exists and he is the Devil? Then human morality would be superior to divine morality, but helpless against it. I suppose then we would have to worship our own morality as effectively divine, since it was the highest good in the universe, though not sustained by power. In a sense this is the position of atheists, who believe in social morality as the highest good, but refuse to assert, as the theists do, that it is also backed by some transcendent power beyond our own personal commitment to it.

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Perhaps you are suggesting the question, what would we do if it were proven that God exists and he is the Devil? Then human morality would be superior to divine morality, but helpless against it.

If he was actually the devil, human morality would still be divinely inspired in the sense of being the will of God to discern good from evil and choose good.

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But if the 'entity' you describe -- as just the omnipotent creator of the universe -- were to be proven to exist, then that wouldn't be the same as God having been proven to exist, since the definition of 'God' is that he is not only the omnipotent creator of the universe, but that he is also omniscient and infinitely good.

 

Says who? Who wrote that "definition"? And on what basis? Somebody imagining what they thought a God should be? Note also that your definition only applies to the Christian and Islamic God. In the earlier pantheons Gods could be fooled and things could be hidden from them.

 

The existence of the entity I described would show that the definition of God that you are using was wrong, would it not? Put anoth way. Who the hell are you to decide what attributes the creator of the Universe should or should not have?

 

But since you seem to give your hypothetical definition of God an evil character, that he created the world just out of boredom to amuse himself regardless of the misery that decision has caused to billions of human consciousnesses over the millenia, then perhaps you are offering something like the ancient Gnostics suggested.

 

Why "evil"? Is a child "evil" because they start an ant farm to see what the ants do?

 

You are ascribing human characteristics to an entity so far beyond human that it isn't funny.

 

What I do find interesting is that when this type of question is posed (and this isn't the only place I've suggested it) people react at a gut level against the idea that humans actually aren't all that important on the Universal level. They want to believe that an entity capable of creating this vast Universe that we live in, billions of Galaxies that each contain hundreds of millions of stars, an entity that can transcend both space and time, has nothing better to do with its time than to pay personal attention to some ant like being on an average planet revolving around an unremarkable star. They then go on to create a definition of this entity that requires it to pay personal attention to them.

 

Put simply Marat. If the entity that created the Universe doesn't think that you are important enough to lavish its personal time and attention on, you don't think it's worthy of being called "God". It's called an "ego problem". ;)

 

But let's look at this "evil" God idea a bit closer. We live on a beautiful and bountiful planet that is quite capable of feeding and housing everybody on it in reasonable comfort. We have brains that allowed us to develop technologies to better feed and house ourselves and to defeat disease. Everything we need to turn this planet into a paradise or a hell is contained within us right now, yet because some omnipotent daddy figure doesn't do it for us, it is at fault and therefore evil? Really?

 

Let's go a bit further and try for a bit of perspective. "God" is somehow at fault for allowing "evil" to survive in the world. If you're going to make that argument, then you must believe in an immortal soul since believing in a religions God will entail some sort of afterlife. Immortal, think about that word for a minute, everlasting, eternal. Are you damaged by stubbing your toe when you were 4 years old? Of course not. The pain was transitory and it meant nothing when compared to the length of your life here. How much more transitory and small is your life here when compared to eternity?

 

How fascinating. With the entire Universe to inhabit and look after, people expect this "God" to pay personal attention to them, and with all time to exist in they want the entity to pay personal attention to them right now. Am I the only one that sees this as exceptionally childish? "Daddy, daddy, look at me! Daddy, watch me now!" It's like a 2 year old in the playground.

 

It's all about human ego.

 

Maybe we'd be better off if we stopped expecting God to be something it probably isn't and got on with the job rather than expecting God to do it for us.

 

A great quote from a Christian I met "Pray as if prayer is the only thing that works, and work as if work is the only thing that works."

Edited by JohnB
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Obviously in order to discuss anything we have to set out as a preliminary some definition of the concepts we are proposing to examine. For 'God' in this discussion I have just taken the concept which is usual in Western culture, which is an omnipotent, omniscient being who is also infinitely good. You are free to make up your own definition of God, but then anything you say about it will be suspect as a valid assertion with respect to what the Western world usually means by the concept of God. For example, if I assert several original and surprising theories about the behavior of mercury near absolute zero, but then when people enquire more closely into my theories they find that I define 'mercury' in an unusual way, closer to what most people mean when they say 'helium,' then the best response to my theories is that I am just not talking about mercury, or I am talking about helium and pretending it is mercury. Similarly, an omnipotent being who is not infinitely good is an interesting curiosity which could define a hypothetical for discussion, but it would not be what is generally meant by 'God,' and to talk of it as such would just confuse the analysis. 2 + 2 = 5 seems wrong, but not when you discover that I define '5' as the third successor of 1 in a system defined by Peano's axioms, or 4.

 

Can we really define good and evil from the perspective of how they would be seen from an omnipotent being who claimed a validity that was superior to our concepts of good and evil? How could the terms 'good' and 'evil' possibly have their familiar sense in such a discussion, or any sense at all? Wouldn't we just have to call such a being who claimed that he was superior to our concepts of good and evil bad, since he refused to act in accordance with the only positivistic, measurable criteria of good and evil we have access to ourselves?

 

If in human law you put a child in a yard with an electrified fence and the child touches it against your instruction and dies, you are guilty of manslaughter. The person who defines the parameters within which others trapped by his action suffer is guilty for what happens. I don't see how God can escape blame for having created a universe governed by entropy and then populating it with beings which are perpetually harmed and terrorized by entropy, which for them manifests as illness, aging, decay, and death. I am not sure why the afterlife has to come into your analysis here, but even if we were to have infinite life after this life, during which things would be much better, God's perfection would forever be destroyed by the least unnecessary evil anyone had ever had to suffer during a human life, no matter how transient or relatively brief compared to eternity.

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Marat you have missed the point entirely. The original question was considering that God proves itself to exist but doesn't match the definitions humans have decided upon. this isn't me defining God in an "unusual way", it's about God not matching the usual definitions. There is a vast difference between the two.

 

Humans might have decided that the creator of the Universe is an "omnipotent, omniscient being who is also infinitely good", but that doesn't make it so. The Universe does not have to acceed to our demands and dreams. Just because some forms of religious thought require there to be a caring daddy figure in the sky doesn't mean there is one. Even proof of a creator doesn't mean that it is a caring daddy figure either.

 

Note that proof of such a creator means that the "omnipotent, omniscient being who is also infinitely good" daddy figure does not exist. Where does that leave the theologian?

 

The person who defines the parameters within which others trapped by his action suffer is guilty for what happens. I don't see how God can escape blame for having created a universe governed by entropy and then populating it with beings which are perpetually harmed and terrorized by entropy, which for them manifests as illness, aging, decay, and death.

 

Let me see if I've got this right. The Creator creates a vast Universe, millions of Galaxies and billions of stars. It gives the intelligences that evolve everything they need for comfort and succour and you are complaining because it didn't also give immortality and a life free from pain as well? Is there anything else you'd like it to do for you? Hold your hand as you cross the street maybe?

 

I am not sure why the afterlife has to come into your analysis here, but even if we were to have infinite life after this life, during which things would be much better, God's perfection would forever be destroyed by the least unnecessary evil anyone had ever had to suffer during a human life, no matter how transient or relatively brief compared to eternity.

 

Simply to illustrate that many people throw around the infinite terminology without actually considering the implications of doing so. If there is an immortal soul then "illness, aging, decay, and death" are not "real" WRT the soul. If there is an immotal soul then the "death" of a particular body it inhabits is no more meaningful than the disposal of a worn out set of shoes. Sure, you might have liked those shoes and are sorry to see them go, but it doesn't really hurt you in any meaningful way.

 

Add to that, who said God was perfect? That's another of your human definitions that may have no bearing on reality. Also who said that the life after this one is "much better"? Doctrine again. An afterlife would certainly be different to this life, but how do you guage "better" in this context?

 

The idea was to try to get people to think outside the usual definitions, I'm sorry that this appears to be beyond your abilities. I've posed this type of question to a number of people from differing forms of religious thought and an amazing number just can't get past their own inbuilt definitions. God has to perfect and infinitely good and omnipotent and omniscient, he just does. They cannot conceive that it could be any other way.

 

Note that the idea also messes up the atheists. Their arguments are usually based on the idea that such a being as defined could not exist. Guess what? They're proved right, it doesn't exist "as defined", but they're also faced with the proven fact that God exists anyway. :D

Edited by JohnB
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If you're using a term 'God' doesn't match the usual defintion of 'God,' then how do we know this this 'not matching the usual concept of God' X should even be called 'God' rather than 'Frank,' 'helium,' 'my pet goldfish,' 'the universe,' or 'New Jersey'? And how do we know that anything we say about this X has any relevance to the usual concept of God that people use? If it is not defined as God normally is -- omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good -- then aren't we required to identify it as something else, say, as the Devil, or the peculiar evil 'deity' of the Gnostics?

 

The way you limit its definition you seem to want the term to refer only to omipotence or omipotence and omniscience, but the notion that there is an omnipotence somewhere in the universe is neither controversial nor interesting, since all the power in the universe certainly exists -- as the universe. Also, there is certainly omniscience in the universe in that everything that can be known about the universe is encoded somewhere, if not in someone's sentient mind then at least in the physical form of the universe istelf. Similarly, the creator of the universe uncontroversially exists, but just as the physical forces associated with the Big Bang.

 

But an omniscient, omnipotent, but non-good God, or at least non-good by any operative definition we can assign in a way we can understand it, is really just like the old Gnostic god -- a contingent, evil demigod who just happens to have created the universe and who now continues to control it. I suppose you could pose your question as how would we react if we knew that the Gnostic god existed and that was all there was beyond the everyday world, but that seems to be a different question from the one you are posing.

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How would the Theists and Athiests react to this news? Since both parties would be shown to be both right and wrong in their beliefs?

 

 

 

It looks like he would have a hard time convincing most people that he is in fact the creator, judging from this thread.

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