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What is your justification for believing in a God?

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Through all of it, nobody ever seems to realize or accept that these two things are simply not compatible.

Except that we did that on the first page of the thread. This particular discussion is not about the existence of God, or even about who is right or wrong. It's about the justifications for belief in God. There really can be no right or wrong answer, but we can point out the weak and strong points about any justification.

 

And science and God don't have to be completely incompatible (well, OK, not the Abrahamic God). What if I hypothesize that God exists but is manifested mostly in a higher dimension, in a Calibi-Yau manifold created at the moment of the Big Bang. The part of Him that exists in the first three spatial dimensions look like rocks. He moves v-e-r-y slowly, and most of what He does isn't attributable to Him because we can't perceive the dimensions He's working from. Unfortunately, I can't go any further with the hypothesis because I have no predictive testing available at our present level of knowledge.

 

The higher dimensions of M-theory could explain God with a smaller canonical bundle than Christianity does. ;)

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Except that we did that on the first page of the thread. This particular discussion is not about the existence of God, or even about who is right or wrong. It's about the justifications for belief in God. There really can be no right or wrong answer, but we can point out the weak and strong points about any justification.

 

And science and God don't have to be completely incompatible (well, OK, not the Abrahamic God). What if I hypothesize that God exists but is manifested mostly in a higher dimension, in a Calibi-Yau manifold created at the moment of the Big Bang. The part of Him that exists in the first three spatial dimensions look like rocks. He moves v-e-r-y slowly, and most of what He does isn't attributable to Him because we can't perceive the dimensions He's working from. Unfortunately, I can't go any further with the hypothesis because I have no predictive testing available at our present level of knowledge.

 

The higher dimensions of M-theory could explain God with a smaller canonical bundle than Christianity does. ;)

 

I think I have a different definition of what non-compatible means. I see people trying to ask others to explain their religious beliefs with logic and expecting implementation of the scientific method to justify their beliefs. When people are basing their belief system on faith or feelings, it's not really possible to apply the scientific method to that.

 

As I see it, this is the problem that occurs in these debates. Feelings and faith are subjective, they cannot be quantified scientifically...

So asking someone to justify a feeling or something based on faith is not really scientific - at least in my opinion. I mean what is the pH of a feeling? How faithy is one person's faith compared to another?

 

Regarding your other statements, you can hypothesize about a god as much as you like but all the quantum mechanics in the world is not proof of his/her/it's existence... thus at this stage hypothesizing is fine & you are of course free to do that, but to call it scientific is a stretch. I could dream up any manner of things and retroactively explain them via scientific observations. This is called researcher's bias.

It is far better to find evidence of something that suggests a god and then via experimentation and observation, quantify and describe the god like phenomenon and once all data is acquired figure out what is going on from there. If the data suggests a god then we get "the theory of god like thingy" and if it doesn't we get more unexplained stuff that tells us we are observing something different, but not exactly why.

 

That's just my two cents..

Cheers :)

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I think I have a different definition of what non-compatible means. I see people trying to ask others to explain their religious beliefs with logic and expecting implementation of the scientific method to justify their beliefs. When people are basing their belief system on faith or feelings, it's not really possible to apply the scientific method to that.

We're on the same page here. :) I guess I just took exception to you saying:

 

Through all of it, nobody ever seems to realize or accept that these two things are simply not compatible. That isn't to say that religious people cannot be scientists, but rather that you cannot (at least at this time) use science to justify or disprove the question "is there a god".

 

When I said this on the first page:

 

If you define God as an omnipotent being that can't be observed, then science is not a methodology you can use on Him. If something is supernatural, you can't use natural means to verify its existence.

 

I think what tends to happen is that proving God's existence/non-existence gets muddled with disproving things attributed to God. Science isn't meant for the former but does a very good job with the latter.

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If we're talking about the Abrahamic god, He makes a choice to remain outside the observable universe. He no longer appears in any form to mankind. This makes him supernatural as far as science is concerned.

I have been wondering what you meant by this. Do you mean that the God of Abraham is understood by his followers to remain outside the universe, or that he is that sort of god by definition or according to scripture?

 

Perhaps you mean something quite different because it seems to me that the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim God is (are) by definition, and by common understanding, very empirical. By doing things that are normally attributed to him (answering prayers, performing miracles, and otherwise intervening in the course of events), or not doing them as the case may be, he should be at least partly in our empirical neck of the woods.

 

Through all of it, nobody ever seems to realize or accept that these two things are simply not compatible. That isn't to say that religious people cannot be scientists, but rather that you cannot (at least at this time) use science to justify or disprove the question "is there a god".

 

People also fall into the trap of negative evidence, and causation vs. correlation.

 

Science, I agree, cannot disprove "there is a god", but science also cannot disprove "there is a yeti". Logically you can't prove that kind of thing false. But, this doesn't mean that science cannot investigate the existence of the yeti or inform our belief in its existence.

 

I don't think negative evidence is the issue as much as what we mean by "God". If someone believes in a god that is completely metaphysical -- outside of our existence -- then empirical investigation would do nothing to inform our belief in him. But, if your friend truly believes in the catholic god then I don't think that description would apply.

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I have been wondering what you meant by this. Do you mean that the God of Abraham is understood by his followers to remain outside the universe, or that he is that sort of god by definition or according to scripture?

 

Perhaps you mean something quite different because it seems to me that the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim God is (are) by definition, and by common understanding, very empirical. By doing things that are normally attributed to him (answering prayers, performing miracles, and otherwise intervening in the course of events), or not doing them as the case may be, he should be at least partly in our empirical neck of the woods.

Yahweh is a god that can't be directly observed currently. He appeared in various forms historically (despite being the image man was made from), but He is not observable in any sort of predictable, testable way that satisfies scientific methodology. I think the idea is supposed to be that proof would deny the importance of faith.

 

The problem with things supposedly done by God being empirically evident is that there are ALWAYS other possible, natural explanations. Unlikely things happen simply because of statistical probability, then are viewed in isolation and get dubbed "miracles".

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Yahweh is a god that can't be directly observed currently.

So are you saying that the God of Abraham has no current influence on the observable universe (that he "remains outside the observable universe") or that he has no recognizable influence? I think these are two very different things.

 

Even if you are saying he has no recognizable influence, I still don't see where you're getting that.

 

As far as I know, the God of I Kings 18 is today's God. The Jesus who says that you can move mountains in his name isn't hiding his empirical nature.

Edited by Iggy

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As far as I know, the God of I Kings 18 is today's God.

Can you refresh my memory... Is he the one that is almost certainly a creation of human imaginations?

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Can you refresh my memory... Is he the one that is almost certainly a creation of human imaginations?

Right -- I think that is the question.

 

If the God of Abraham is the god who created humans out of dirt a while back then that god is falsified. Saying "almost certainly..." would be too generous. I could imagine no justification for believing in him (at least no justifiable justification).

 

If the God of Abraham is something else then... I don't know... I may not be able to disagree.

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I think your question would be better stated as "Please define God?"

 

God cannot be defined. If he was defined, how would that make him infinite?

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Then, however, I can define him as: the undefinable.

Are you suggesting that it's a 'him' and that there's only one of them? Can you support that?

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So are you saying that the God of Abraham has no current influence on the observable universe (that he "remains outside the observable universe") or that he has no recognizable influence? I think these are two very different things.

 

Even if you are saying he has no recognizable influence, I still don't see where you're getting that.

 

As far as I know, the God of I Kings 18 is today's God. The Jesus who says that you can move mountains in his name isn't hiding his empirical nature.

I didn't mention influence at all. I'm saying that the God spoken of in the Bible, the Abrahamic god worshiped by Jews, Christians and Muslims, can't be observed by any scientific means. You can't devise an experiment that will predict when he will appear, you can't test anything and provide a conclusion that this god exists and have it pass peer review. He is supernatural because he is (seemingly) unwilling to manifest himself in a form science could recognize and test repeatedly.

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I didn't mention influence at all. I'm saying that the God spoken of in the Bible, the Abrahamic god worshiped by Jews, Christians and Muslims, can't be observed by any scientific means. You can't devise an experiment that will predict when he will appear, you can't test anything and provide a conclusion that this god exists and have it pass peer review. He is supernatural because he is (seemingly) unwilling to manifest himself in a form science could recognize and test repeatedly.

You keep saying this, but I don't know where you are getting it. I gave I Kings 18 for a reason. An experiment is outlined and performed by Elijah to test which god was real... "the God of Abraham". Elijah devised an experiment like you say. By all accounts, the God of Abraham is perfectly willing to submit himself to empirical verification.

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You keep saying this, but I don't know where you are getting it. I gave I Kings 18 for a reason. An experiment is outlined and performed by Elijah to test which god was real... "the God of Abraham". Elijah devised an experiment like you say. By all accounts, the God of Abraham is perfectly willing to submit himself to empirical verification.

Except when I try the same thing, there's no fire. Just bull. So the experiment is not repeatable and makes no predictions. Take any living person of your choosing and have them perform the same experiment and report your conclusions, see if it passes peer review.

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Except when I try the same thing, there's no fire. Just bull. So the experiment is not repeatable and makes no predictions. Take any living person of your choosing and have them perform the same experiment and report your conclusions, see if it passes peer review.

I'm not saying that God is verifiable. I'm saying that "the God spoken of in the Bible" is spoken of as verifiable. I'm disagreeing with the notion that he is by definition or by scripture not an empirical god.

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I'm not saying that God is verifiable. I'm saying that "the God spoken of in the Bible" is spoken of as verifiable. I'm disagreeing with the notion that he is by definition or by scripture not an empirical god.

If we're talking about the Abrahamic god, He makes a choice to remain outside the observable universe. He no longer appears in any form to mankind. This makes him supernatural as far as science is concerned.

I have been wondering what you meant by this. Do you mean that the God of Abraham is understood by his followers to remain outside the universe, or that he is that sort of god by definition or according to scripture?

 

I didn't mention God in the past tense, or in his scriptural history. Present tense only, and no scriptural references. When I mentioned "the Abrahamic god" or the "god of the Bible", it was to distinguish it from any other god.

 

I know this is exactly what I stated when you first objected, but I've tried to make my point as simple as possible, but no simpler. Please forgive the repetition.

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Except when I try the same thing, there's no fire. Just bull.

I should have said before -- good pun :)

 

I didn't mention God in the past tense, or in his scriptural history. Present tense only, and no scriptural references. When I mentioned "the Abrahamic god" or the "god of the Bible", it was to distinguish it from any other god.

 

I know this is exactly what I stated when you first objected, but I've tried to make my point as simple as possible, but no simpler. Please forgive the repetition.

Fair enough.

 

It seemed like an odd description to me for that particular God... but, for all I know there are a good number of people who think of that God that way.

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Depends how you want me to support that...

Scientifically of course...

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Scientifically of course...

Science has limitations. I can point out observations though that would lead support that conclusion. Something tells me you don't really want that though, and it would take me a long time to type.

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Science has limitations. I can point out observations though that would lead support that conclusion. Something tells me you don't really want that though, and it would take me a long time to type.

Conclusion? Is any conclusion really that without factual support?

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I don't think negative evidence is the issue as much as what we mean by "God". If someone believes in a god that is completely metaphysical -- outside of our existence -- then empirical investigation would do nothing to inform our belief in him. But, if your friend truly believes in the catholic god then I don't think that description would apply.

 

I disagree,

I'm not religious, thus I do not compartmentalize the observable with the metaphysical (I simply do not have an opinion on that which cannot be observed and that works for me but I am not everybody) - BUT - in order for the catholic god to be debunked you'd have to first prove that said god does not exist in any realm, that said god is therefore not all powerful, and that as a result of 1 and 2 being falsified said god must therefore be incapable of miracles and incapable of doing things that are beyond the understanding, and even the technology, of mankind.

 

I personally don't believe in the catholic god, despite coming from a catholic family, but I cannot call my physicist friend ridiculous just because he has chosen to compartmentalize science and religion and have faith that there are things that his god can do that our science simply cannot explain - and by that I mean - he believes that while science debunks the statements made in the bible from the objective perspective, his faith based perspective accepts that god is all powerful, that mankind cannot explain his ways, and thus it is possible for all statements in the bible to be true in some way that he cannot at this time understand while also accepting that objective reality suggests otherwise and therefore all scientific assertions should be made based on the latter and not the former.

 

I admit it is difficult to imagine how he was able to do all of this, but I am not him and thus it is not my place to dismiss it simply because I cannot do it myself.

 

I should note that he is not alone in this approach: - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître

 

"Lemaître proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe, which he called his 'hypothesis of the primeval atom'.[1][2]" - catholic priest & scientist - undoubtedly believed wholeheartedly in both his scientific work and his religion. It's amazing what the mind can do when it is not constrained by the perceptions of other people.

 

Thus I maintain that many people who get involved with these discussions neglect to accept that when faith is introduced into the equation you cannot prove or falsify something that cannot be observed and therefore directly quantified via the scientific method. As I said earlier, to debunk the catholic god or any other god perceived as being all powerful and capable of miracles etc, one would have to first prove that said god does not exist and is not capable of ever brining the reality defined in [enter random religious text here] to reality at any time in either the future or past. This is why mixing science with faith based belief systems is an exercise in futility. Science is meant to explain the observable, and religion is meant to explain that which cannot be known or observed and is taken on faith by those who choose to believe.

 

I personally think you can be equally open minded if you take my approach (which is to have no opinion at all) - or - take the atheist approach (which is to flat out disbelieve) - or - take the religious approach (which is to have blind faith).. So long as no matter what you choose you accept the limits of both faith based and science based approaches to quantify "reality" and do not become so rigid in thought that negative evidence is used to debunk things that cannot be debunked at this time, or so rigid in your thinking that blind faith becomes a substitute for rigorous scientific investigation of the reality that can be observed and thus stunting the technological advancement of mankind.

 

It reminds me of that saying: "a place for everything and everything in it's place" - I personally think that is appropriate here..

 

just my two cents..

Cheers

Edited by spin-1/2-nuclei

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Depends what you consider factual...

That which is undoubtedly true, not false...

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I personally don't believe in the catholic god, despite coming from a catholic family, but I cannot call my physicist friend ridiculous just because he has chosen to compartmentalize science and religion and have faith that...

I hope you don't think I was calling your friend ridiculous. I'd have to get to know him first ;)

 

I'm just saying that his beliefs aren't catholic.

 

he believes that while science debunks the statements made in the bible from the objective perspective, his faith based perspective accepts that god is all powerful, that mankind cannot explain his ways, and thus it is possible for all statements in the bible to be true in some way that he cannot at this time understand while also accepting that objective reality suggests otherwise and therefore all scientific assertions should be made based on the latter and not the former.

I understand.

 

Your friend may believe that science debunks statements made in the bible and that objective reality suggests they are wrong, but Catholic doctrine does not. Their doctrine holds that God has both divine transcendence and divine immanence. You describe the former aspect in your post and contrast it with the latter, but the two are not incompatible and Catholics are instructed to believe both.

 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church #159:

"Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth."
37
"Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.
38
"

 

In the Catholic view objective reality is what Wisdom of Solomon calls a "spotless mirror of the working of God". It is God that "gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements..."

 

I think it is fashionable for believers to say that God and belief are separate from science and reason, but that is not at all the case with Catholicism. And, from my own atheistic perspective, it doesn't seem like a very sensible thing to say.

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