Does God Exist?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.

Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#991  Postby Steve3007 » October 12th, 2017, 3:30 am

As I had stated 'greater' or 'greatest' do not make logical sense within the whole of the Quran since Islam recognizes no other God to compare with Allah.


Clearly it means greater than things that are not God. It means "Whatever great big thing you can possibly imagine, God is greater.". Whether you buy that story or not, it's not rendered illogical by the fact that Islam is a monotheism.

-- Updated Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:01 am to add the following --

I finished reading that gorilla god article. It's ok, but I don't think it contains any particularly new revelations. It seems quite reasonable to examine the characteristics of the god described by the major monotheistic religions and conclude various things about how that god concept was created by analogy with human sentience, leadership and tool-making. But I think "harem-keeping alpha male" is a stretch.

But maybe, as Burning Ghost says, the book has more substance. Maybe.
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Re: Does God Exist?



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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#992  Postby Dark Matter » October 12th, 2017, 1:17 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
Count Lucanor:
66 pages and yet no clue of what god it is being talked about?


Isn't it clear that what is being discussed is the common factor among many different god concepts - sentience/will/consciousness? And that these properties are postulated to exist, and defined, by analogy with the only sentience/will/consciousness that can be experienced and observed?


Very good way to put it. Thank you. :)

-- Updated October 12th, 2017, 1:47 pm to add the following --

Ranvier wrote:DM, you literally caused me to laugh out loud :lol:

-- Updated October 12th, 2017, 12:17 am to add the following --

In all seriousness and sensitivity, there is something more than intelligence that prevents people from perceiving the "walking mirrors". I can't even ascribe or "justify" such reluctance due to a "world" of misery in hurt of experience.

In all seriousness and sensitivity, maybe it is something akin to a parasite or meme. The analogical nature of religious language has been well known for centuries. I daresay even the religious-minded are not immune.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#993  Postby Fanman » October 12th, 2017, 4:47 pm

DM:

It would effectively rewrite the Golden Rule to say, "Whatsoever you do, you do unto unto your greater Self." If people actually believed this, how could it not enhance the human condition? Purely factual knowledge exerts very little influence upon the average person: it is what one believes rather than what one knows that determines conduct and dominates personal performances.


I pretty much agree with you. If we all believed that by causing harm to others, we are also harming ourselves, then the human condition would be enhanced. Factual knowledge gives us the "is", but for the "ought" we're pretty much left to our own opinions and notions (enter religion). I think that human-beings are generally governed by the heart, but informed by the head.

---

Ranvier:

How can we assess the accuracy and validity of gravity, when it deals with aspects of human "reality" that we cannot be sure exist? Almost the same question, yet not many people would argue that gravity doesn't exist or that we "live" in a "material" world. We even invented excellent equations for the purpose of proving it.


Gravity is an empirical fact. The soul is a metaphysical proposition. Bringing the two together to make a point in the way you have seems like a conflation.

Some people may argue that such measurement and the qualities of the "soul" are not in the human purview but that of the Divine. However, since we like to qualify things, we invented the religion to prove it.


Can't say that I disagree with you there.

Energy is Divine, without energy, there would be no "light" and without light there would be no life.


Energy is divine? The premise of that idea is?

Interesting. What makes you think that the universe can exist without a thought? Can universe exist without the "laws of physics"? I imagine that the way I present my questions may seem odd, as it interferes with the "common" sense of "reality".


Why would my thoughts have any effect upon the universe? I think that my thoughts can effect reality, depending on how I act upon them, but why would my thoughts influence the continuity of the universe? I don't think that you can provide a rational answer to that question.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#994  Postby Dark Matter » October 12th, 2017, 5:56 pm

Fanman wrote:DM:

It would effectively rewrite the Golden Rule to say, "Whatsoever you do, you do unto unto your greater Self." If people actually believed this, how could it not enhance the human condition? Purely factual knowledge exerts very little influence upon the average person: it is what one believes rather than what one knows that determines conduct and dominates personal performances.


I pretty much agree with you. If we all believed that by causing harm to others, we are also harming ourselves, then the human condition would be enhanced. Factual knowledge gives us the "is", but for the "ought" we're pretty much left to our own opinions and notions (enter religion).

The sad thing is that in spite of being consistent with science, it will never be taught in schools because on one side people will complain that it promotes religion and on the other, popular religion will see it as a threat.

I think that human-beings are generally governed by the heart, but informed by the head.

As the saying goes: "The mind is a wonderful servant but terrible master,"
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#995  Postby Greta » October 12th, 2017, 7:35 pm

Dark Matter wrote:As the saying goes: "The mind is a wonderful servant but terrible master,"

Evolutionarily speaking, the brain emerged about to save the metabolism, which benefitted from being more able to locate food and avoid threats.

The mind can be boiled down to two functions - one at a relatively individual or group scale, the other in toto. For individuals, the purpose of the brain is to survive and spread one's influence. In total, brains reduce damage and suffering. At first life blundered into one disaster after the next and had no concept of cooperation. Today, via humans, life has managed to considerably improve its lot - longer lives, less infant mortality, less chance of being eaten alive on any given day, and so forth.

Just as chaos begets order, the sum total of individual organisms trying to improve their lot is a general improvement. Of course today, as the biosphere, like any of its constituents in the the last 10% of its life, is in decline. This would happen whether humans existed or not, perhaps reducing its possibilities by maybe a million years, which is huge to us, but trivial compared with the 4 billion years of the biosphere's existence.

There is, as always, the drive to preserve, to continue the journey on other worlds or to somehow save this one from the Sun's heating. Only science and technology can achieve this. I suspect that the big picture will look after itself so our focus need only be surviving and exploring options. In that sense, the super organism that is the Earth (or solar system) and of which we are each a part could be thought to be God, or a god.

The mind can take us anywhere but "samadhi" (meditation consciousness). Those who are intellectually inclined with find life rewards them most when they follow that angle. Ditto devotional/emotional types or those whose assets are more physical. There is no "best way" IMO. We are each incomplete, modular components in a more complete whole, and increasingly so as our numbers grow. Us old school types baulk at this threat to individuality but it will probably all work out in the end, as above. Maybe that's what "having faith" is about? Not suspending one's belief so embrace the literal interpretation of mythology, but fait that the big picture will work itself out and all we need to do is attend the small picture.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#996  Postby Count Lucanor » October 13th, 2017, 8:48 am

Ranvier wrote:Count Lucanor, you've been a member of this forum since May and you still can't make a distinction between the concept of "God" and the different religions? I think that this should be a starting point in your contemplation if and whether you "truly" exist. What do you see while gazing into your own eyes, long enough to make a distinction between the mirror reflection of the body and self?

No matter how delusional theism might be, it cannot fool itself into believing that a huge crowd of proclaimed gods will reflect in a mirror as a single image.

Steve3007 wrote:Isn't it clear that what is being discussed is the common factor among many different god concepts - sentience/will/consciousness? And that these properties are postulated to exist, and defined, by analogy with the only sentience/will/consciousness that can be experienced and observed?

That'a a self-refuted argument. A "common factor" is an abstraction and is as such merely a mind representation, not something with objective, concrete existence. More to the point that 60+ pages of discussing the existence of nothing is still nothing. Furthermore, at least making abstractions of concrete things goes somewhere, but here you're advocating for discussing the existence of a broader category of abstractions: the concept of many different concepts. As if we needed more proof that theism is nonsensical babble. Why not dealing with each concept at a time? The answer is quite obvious: to shield the common theist from rational inquiries. Whenever his/her particular faith is shaken, there will be that emergency door to the argument: "oh well, I meant some other concept of god". Slippery sophistry!!
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#997  Postby Steve3007 » October 13th, 2017, 9:27 am

Count Lucanor:
That'a a self-refuted argument. A "common factor" is an abstraction and is as such merely a mind representation, not something with objective, concrete existence.


Interesting point. What do you mean by "concrete"? And surely, by definition, the act of finding a "common factor" is an attempt to go from the subjective to the objective? For example, all of the things that I regard as "concrete" (including actual concrete) could be regarded as the "common factor" in a whole load of subjective perceptions. That's what it means for something to be objective (in my view at least).

I think it's not unreasonable to try to analyse this god concept by looking at how various cultures around the world and throughout history have used that word (or similar words in various languages) and try to see what they have in common. If we discover something that they do have in common then there are two broad categories of conclusions from this:

1. It says something inteesting about our common human psychology and nature.

2. It indicates the objective existence of something, of which the various beliefs are imperfect interpretations.

Clearly you and I tend towards option 1. Some others tend towards option 2.

More to the point that 60+ pages of discussing the existence of nothing is still nothing.


Welcome to the philosophy club!
(I'm joking.)

Furthermore, at least making abstractions of concrete things goes somewhere, but here you're advocating for discussing the existence of a broader category of abstractions: the concept of many different concepts. As if we needed more proof that theism is nonsensical babble.


Whether or not we regard it as "nonsensical babble" I think it's difficult to deny that religious thought pervades human history and culture. That alone makes it an interesting subject to me. In the society where I live I am surrounded by its trappings and consequences. Churches, laws, customs etc. It would be odd, to me, to want to ignore that.

Why not dealing with each concept at a time?


I'm up for that too. But I also like to try to spot general patterns in specific instances.

The answer is quite obvious: to shield the common theist from rational inquiries. Whenever his/her particular faith is shaken, there will be that emergency door to the argument: "oh well, I meant some other concept of god". Slippery sophistry!!


Possibly. But I for one have no desire to shield anyone from anything. (At least in the context of verbal argument.)
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#998  Postby Dark Matter » October 13th, 2017, 12:45 pm

I'll give CL the benefit of the doubt and assume he missed this:

“Humans consider themselves unique, so they've rooted their whole theory of existence on their uniqueness. 'One' is their unit of measure. But it's not. All social systems we've put into place are a mere sketch. 'One plus one equals two.' That's all we've learned. But one plus one has never equaled two. There are, in fact, no numbers and no letters. We've codified our existence to bring it down to human size, to make it comprehensible. We've created a scale so we can forget its unfathomable scale.” — Lucy



-- Updated October 13th, 2017, 12:57 pm to add the following --

1. It says something interesting about our common human psychology and nature.

2. It indicates the objective existence of something, of which the various beliefs are imperfect interpretations.


IMO, both conclusions are equally valid.

-- Updated October 13th, 2017, 1:41 pm to add the following --

I’m curious, CL. Why do you think “Evolution is, therefore, a transition from the potential to the actual, wherein the new powers and qualities constantly acquired are derived, not from the potential, but from a superior type of life which already possesses them” is “delusional”? What evidence do you have that supports your assertion?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#999  Postby Steve3007 » October 13th, 2017, 5:43 pm

theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/13/tru ... ers-summit

Once again, my sympathies go out to American non theists who find themselves explicitly rejected by their own hypocritical joke of a president. Hopefully sanity will be restored soon.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#1000  Postby Dark Matter » October 13th, 2017, 6:29 pm

The Guardian? Seriously?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#1001  Postby Spectrum » October 13th, 2017, 10:06 pm

Dark Matter wrote:I'll give CL the benefit of the doubt and assume he missed this:

“Humans consider themselves unique, so they've rooted their whole theory of existence on their uniqueness. 'One' is their unit of measure. But it's not. All social systems we've put into place are a mere sketch. 'One plus one equals two.' That's all we've learned. But one plus one has never equaled two. There are, in fact, no numbers and no letters. We've codified our existence to bring it down to human size, to make it comprehensible.


I agree with the above.
So, creations [as perceived or otherwise] is never equaled a creator-God.
Theists reified God's existence to bring it down to human understanding, to make it comprehensible and soothe very desperate [subliminal] the existential crisis.

We've created a scale so we can forget its unfathomable scale.” — Lucy

Theists reified an illusory God out of nothing except to soothe their own uncontrollable psychological angst.

-- Updated Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:12 pm to add the following --

Steve3007 wrote:theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/13/tru ... ers-summit

Once again, my sympathies go out to American non theists who find themselves explicitly rejected by their own hypocritical joke of a president. Hopefully sanity will be restored soon.

I don't believe Trump is a serious theist. He is just an opportunist and playing the game to exploit his supporters' emotions. I have not heard Trump condemned non-theists explicitly nor even implicitly.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#1002  Postby Count Lucanor » October 13th, 2017, 11:01 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
Count Lucanor wrote:That'a a self-refuted argument. A "common factor" is an abstraction and is as such merely a mind representation, not something with objective, concrete existence.

Interesting point. What do you mean by "concrete"? And surely, by definition, the act of finding a "common factor" is an attempt to go from the subjective to the objective?

No, it's the other way around. Finding the common factor is going from the concrete to the abstract. Lots of singular horses, all with concrete properties, will make a herd of horses, of which I may extract some properties that make the archetypical horse, an abstraction.

Steve3007 wrote:I think it's not unreasonable to try to analyse this god concept by looking at how various cultures around the world and throughout history have used that word (or similar words in various languages) and try to see what they have in common.

That may be interesting, but I've been looking around and haven't seen lately anyone even trying to do that. And that is, anyway, a different task than inquiring whether a particular entity exists or not, which would imply first singling out that entity as a unified concept, a particular. Could anyone speak of the archetypical god?

Steve3007 wrote:If we discover something that they do have in common then there are two broad categories of conclusions from this:

1. It says something inteesting about our common human psychology and nature.

And of our social interactions in human groups.

Steve3007 wrote:2. It indicates the objective existence of something, of which the various beliefs are imperfect interpretations.

Not really. It would only point at the common factors among various beliefs, which by themselves would not form a concrete object. Remember, the direction is not from the abstract to the concrete, but the other way around. First point to concrete gods and then try to figure out the archetype god.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#1003  Postby Spectrum » October 13th, 2017, 11:20 pm

Posted this in another thread, also relevant here.
viewtopic.php?p=296913#p296913

There are two types of perfection for philosophical consideration, i.e.

1. Relative perfection
2. Absolute perfection

1. Relative perfection
If one's answers in an objective tests are ALL correct that is a 100% perfect score.
Perfect scores 10/10 or 7/7 used to be given to extra-ordinary performance in diving, gymnastics, skating, and the likes. So perfection from the relative perspective can happen and exist within man-made systems of empirically-based measurements.


2. Absolute perfection

Absolute perfection is an idea, ideal, and it is only a thought that can arise from reason and never the empirical at all.
Absolute perfection is an impossibility in the empirical, thus exist only theoretically.
Examples are perfect circle, square, triangle, etc.

Generally, perfection is attributed to God. Any god with less than perfect attributes would be subjected to being inferior to another's god. As such, God has to be absolutely perfect which is the ontological god, i.e. god is a Being than which no greater can be conceived.

So,
    Absolute perfection is an impossibility
    God must be absolutely perfect
    Therefore God is an impossibility.


Can any theists counter the above?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#1004  Postby Count Lucanor » October 13th, 2017, 11:23 pm

Steve3007 wrote:Whether or not we regard it as "nonsensical babble" I think it's difficult to deny that religious thought pervades human history and culture. That alone makes it an interesting subject to me. In the society where I live I am surrounded by its trappings and consequences. Churches, laws, customs etc. It would be odd, to me, to want to ignore that.

Getting interested in it does not imply being trapped by its illusions and admitting uncritically its nonsense. But I'm sure that studying the history of major BS has an anthropological value.

Dark Matter wrote:I'll give CL the benefit of the doubt and assume he missed this:
“Humans consider themselves unique, so they've rooted their whole theory of existence on their uniqueness. 'One' is their unit of measure. But it's not. All social systems we've put into place are a mere sketch. 'One plus one equals two.' That's all we've learned. But one plus one has never equaled two. There are, in fact, no numbers and no letters. We've codified our existence to bring it down to human size, to make it comprehensible. We've created a scale so we can forget its unfathomable scale.” — Lucy


In what sense this could contribute to the inquiries? It answers nothing, it lands on nothing concrete, tangible. It's just more of the same going around in circles talking about nothing.

Dark Matter wrote:I’m curious, CL. Why do you think “Evolution is, therefore, a transition from the potential to the actual, wherein the new powers and qualities constantly acquired are derived, not from the potential, but from a superior type of life which already possesses them” is “delusional”? What evidence do you have that supports your assertion?

When did I assert this?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post Number:#1005  Postby Spectrum » October 13th, 2017, 11:31 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
I think it's not unreasonable to try to analyse this god concept by looking at how various cultures around the world and throughout history have used that word (or similar words in various languages) and try to see what they have in common.

I have done that.

The majority of the human population [nearly 4+ billion] is related to one god, i.e. the Abrahamic god. I have traced the emergence of this God to the common psychological existential crisis within humans, i.e. the "zombie parasite". The psychology is so desperate that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son to God. Driven similarly, at present SOME theists are doing the craziest evil things.

A detailed research into the Hindu gods [mono to polytheism] [appx 1 billion] also end up with the same 'zombie parasite' within.

Bottom line is the clinging to the existence of a god is basically a common psychology impulse within humans where it is most active in theists.
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