Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

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.
Post Reply
Spectrum
Posts: 4634
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 17th, 2018, 12:29 am

Eduk wrote:
January 16th, 2018, 10:09 am
By the way when I pointed out everything is reducible to existential the terms that was to remove the uniqueness from any given religion. For example I am an atheist for existential reasons (if you so care to reduce it). By which I mean existential reasons are not a reason to be religious per say, anymore than they are a reason not to be religious.
Most of human behaviors [secular and theistic] can be reduced to the existential factors. This 'existential' element we are referring to is merely a tip of an iceberg with very complex sets of variables under it.

What is critical is to find out how this basic existential factor compels the majority of theists to believe in a God while others do not believe in a God.
The consequences of theism is while there are psychological benefits to the majority of humans, theism is double-edged and has contributed a significant share of evils and violence to humanity ever since it emerged. The trend is the cons of theism are outweighing its pro moving forward into the future and this could potentially be a fatal threat to the human species.

Thus it is critical to find out the trigger points that lead theists to theism so that humanity can make attempts to resolve the associated evil and violence from theism. This is for the future not the present.

We are also aware the existential factors also compel other humans to non-theistic spirituality to deal with the existential crisis and these non-theistic spirituality at their core (note core) do not have any evil and violence baggage.

The existential factors also triggers other humans to commit secular good and secular evils.
We are dealing with the theistic perspective in compliance with this religious section of the forum.

From the above, since theism has such a potential threat to the human species, it would be rational to understand the existential factors that trigger theists to theism and from there direct [modulate] them [voluntarily] to the benign non-theistic spirituality [after repackaging to be generic].
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Spectrum
Posts: 4634
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 17th, 2018, 12:40 am

Eduk wrote:
January 16th, 2018, 10:09 am
The editors of The Bible intended to supply the messianic answer to human angst.
How do you know? Did you meet all of them over the last few thousand years? How do you know they weren't lying to you? Or deluding themselves?
I would say the reason/s for writing the Bible would be many and varied. For example when King Henry translated the Bible into English and set himself up as the head of the church in England (if I remember my history properly) were the translators/editors intending to supply the messianic answer to human angst? Or did King Henry just want a divorce?
There could be corruption in translation of the Bible and other texts, but the core existential element will not change else it would be very obvious and it would not be effective.

Where the Bible was used for political reason or any other reasons, the exploiters has to use the existential threat within theism on the masses so that they are subservient to the authorities.
In the case of King Henry, he was exploiting the existential elements [promised of salvation - so believe - else Hell] of the Bible [supposedly from God] using the leverage of the clergy.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Eduk
Posts: 976
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Eduk » January 17th, 2018, 3:50 am

Spectrum are you deliberately missing the point? Your belief that the main reason to believe in religion is existential angst is itself existential. Your main reason not to believe in religion is existential. So how is a belief in God/s different to not a belief in God/s?

Spectrum
Posts: 4634
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 17th, 2018, 4:33 am

Eduk wrote:
January 17th, 2018, 3:50 am
Spectrum are you deliberately missing the point?
Your belief that the main reason to believe in religion is existential angst is itself existential.
Your main reason not to believe in religion is existential.
So how is a belief in God/s different to not a belief in God/s?
I believe you missed my intended point.

As I had stated DNA wise ALL humans has the potential set up for an existential crisis that manifest existential angst which is active in the majority of people.

This existential crisis - angst drives two types of major human beliefs and behaviors, i.e.
  • 1. Theistic religions
    2. Secular & non-theistic religions
So those who believe in God[s] [theists] and those who do not believe in God[s] [non-theists] has the same existential crisis/angst at the basic level.
The difference is they take a different path to soothe their existential angst.

Theistic religions with their soteriological and salvations doctrines do give immediate relief to the existential angst. This is why the majority of humans are theists, i.e. believe and viola! one is saved and comforted.

Note I did not say the main reason not to believe in God is directly existential.
Most people who did not believe in God are either indifferent to God or use reason not to belief in God. There may be other reasons, bad past experiences with religious organization, and others.

Most (not all) of those who did not accept a belief in God, i.e. the secular also has the inherent unavoidable existential angst. They resort to accepting non-theistic religions, non-theistic spirituality, self-improvements, other secular ideologies/practices to soothe their existential angst.
The negative is some suffering seculars turn to drugs, crimes and other bad acts when driven by the existential angst.

The thing with the existential crisis/angst is, it is not something obvious but rather it is subliminal for most. It is not like someone saying; I feel the existential crisis/angst, so I decide to be a theist or non-theists.

The existential angst is something that builds up subtle psychological tension, stress, anxieties, despairs and other uneasy feelings, i.e. dissonance which can be eased by some acts that promote consonance. You can read of this in many of the testimonies of born-again or converted theists.
Similarly you can read of such psychological turbulence from drug addicts, criminals and the likes.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Belindi
Moderator
Posts: 1012
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Belindi » January 17th, 2018, 5:13 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
January 16th, 2018, 2:57 pm
Belindi:
The editors of The Bible intended to supply the messianic answer to human angst.
The individual Gospels are themselves edited. They are not first hand accounts or historical in the contemporary sense of the term. They are the retelling of stories, rumours, and inspiration - which, depending on one’s degree of piety, might be considered fiction, divinely inspired, or revelation. I would say that the authors' intent was to share the “good news”. Take out all reference to a messiah and what is left? Certainly not the foundation of a new religion. The early Church Fathers wanted to present a single, unified teaching upheld by a single unified hierarchical church. To this extent we might say that their intent was to support and develop the messianic answer, but that is a faithful and charitable reading that ignores the desire for power and wealth, which may provide a contrary answer to human angst available to those in positions of power and influence. The two may be intertwined.
To those who objected to my interpretation of The Bible please accept that Fooloso4's reply has become my revised opinion. However I dont think of myself as Pollyanna and I know that the old Adam of social control infiltrates all institutions including The Bible.

As to "the two may be intertwined", it's the business of well meaning people to isolate the bad from the good and save any medium that contains significant elements of the good. The mal-interpretation of The Bible i.e. the theme from authority (or as Phillip Pullman has it "The Authority") is the enemy.

Eduk
Posts: 976
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Eduk » January 17th, 2018, 5:26 am

Spectrum. The main reason not to believe is god/s is existential. Everything is existential if you so wish to boil it down.
By the way do you have a link to a reputable study which show greater drug use amongst atheists than theists? And was theism isolated as the route cause? I have read various contradictory articles making extravagant claims but they seem extremely suspect to me. For example in a poll a theist may be more inclined to lie than an atheist. Also theism could have nothing to do with it and it could be that people in large community groups are more likely to lie about it than those who aren't. Pure conjecture on my part, but I haven't seen a study I wouldn't also call pure conjecture, and not very good conjecture at that.

Eduk
Posts: 976
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Eduk » January 17th, 2018, 5:39 am

Actually thinking about it drugs are a good example.
I have drunk alcohol but I have avoided all other recreational drugs. Since I was a kid I have viewed addiction as a negating of the self. So for me it is a little like dying and I have avoided something like cocaine out of fear of addiction (in part).
Also I have always thought of drugs as offering a fake and hollow 'high'. I naturally avoid fake things as again they are dangerous. Again you subvert your own consciousness and offer control somewhere else.
So regarding recreational drugs I've seen them as high risk and low reward. Of course some artists, particularly musicians, claim great creative benefits. But I believe that to be a fantasy and there is no empirical evidence that I know of.
Now for me religion is the same. Fake and hollow and only useful to subvert your will and give control to others. Of course it's impossible to decide to believe something so unlike drugs I can't give religions a go. But I avoid the fake out of fear.

User avatar
SimpleGuy
Posts: 167
Joined: September 11th, 2017, 12:28 pm

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by SimpleGuy » January 17th, 2018, 5:53 am

Due to the advance of Technology we should even look at the human Brains in the sense of computational neuroscience and robotics.
Just look at this YouTube contribution.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsjDnYxJ0bo

User avatar
Fanman
Posts: 2895
Joined: December 14th, 2011, 9:42 am

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Fanman » January 17th, 2018, 10:50 am

Spectrum:
This is a discussion and you are presenting an alternative view.
Thus there is nothing wrong in producing a list and giving your best estimation and you will get feedback. This is merely to reinforce your views and this how knowledge progresses.


I don't see the point, sorry. As I've stated, I think its arbitrary.
Whether it is primary or secondary has to be objective against the various sources of knowledge in context, i.e. from the holy texts, from words of believers, etc.
Being a theist to please and marry one's girlfriend is obviously secondary in relation to the holy texts. Which holy texts would emphasize on such a reason as primary.
I don't find your explanation clear. If someone becomes a theist to please their girlfriend, then they aren't really a theist are they? You can't believe that God exists, and believe that God doesn't exist at the same time i.e., choose to believe when you inherently don't. There are many reasons why people believe in God, defining them as primary or secondary is a judgement call, not an objective observation.
A pink unicorn has empirical elements thus it is a subset of the empirical-rational set, thus it it empirically possible.


Why are you arguing this? Surely you can't argue that it is possible for pink unicorns to exist empirically, but it is impossible for God to exist empirically? There's more evidence for the existence God than there is for pink unicorns, even if it is anecdotal. In doing so, I think that you're logically contradicting yourself. Tell me, is a pink unicorn "absolutely perfect" ? Potentially, it is isn't it.
On the other hand, I as with Kant has demonstrated that the idea of God do not has any empirical elements, thus it is 100% impossible to be empirically based.
So you claim, but not correctly.
I have given reason why God is an impossibility. Note Kant pointed above, God is an illusion, thus in a way an impossibility to be real in the empirical-rational reality.
It is not but similar in principle to a square-circle.


So you insist.
Whether someone love another is not the issue here. The fact is loving someone is an empirical possibility. This can be made more objective with brain imagings and many other criteria that can be objectively determined.


Brain imaging? You can tell if someone is in love with you (specifically) through brain imaging? Not through interpretation of their behaviour towards you?
The subjective views from theists cannot be reliable due to the confirmation bias tendency compelled by the desperate existential forces within their psyche.
This is nonsensical in my opinion.
As far as I have known, no one has provided any effective counter-argument, otherwise I would have continued to deal with whatever is an outstanding issue.
I disagree, I think that there are valid counter-arguments. Both here and on the other forum.
I think a few posters did agree in some ways but that is not the critical point. What is critical is whether the argument is sound or not.
I didn't interpret any agreement? I don't think your argument is sound. Why do you think there are so many counter-arguments? If your logic was sound, wouldn't there be a consensus of agreement?
In addition, that idea is rested upon the giant shoulders of Kant which lend a degree of credibility. [unless you can prove Kant was wrong in his claim God is a transcendental illusion as quoted above].


In order to prove you wrong, I have to prove Kant wrong - you think that follows? Where did Kant argue that “absolute perfection” cannot exist?
Once a theist, now agnostic.

Dark Matter
Posts: 965
Joined: August 18th, 2016, 11:29 am
Favorite Philosopher: Paul Tillich

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Dark Matter » January 17th, 2018, 1:37 pm

I don't see the point of any of this. People believe all kinds of things that cannot be proven.

Dark Matter
Posts: 965
Joined: August 18th, 2016, 11:29 am
Favorite Philosopher: Paul Tillich

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Dark Matter » January 17th, 2018, 2:44 pm

Dark Matter wrote:
January 17th, 2018, 1:37 pm
I don't see the point of any of this. People believe all kinds of things that cannot be proven.
A non spiritualized person is a sick person, even if she doesn't show any symptom described by traditional medicine.

The supernatural and the sacredness result from an elaboration on the function of omnipotence by the mind and can be found both in atheist and religious people. It is an existential function in humankind and the uses each one makes of it will be the measure for one's understanding. -- Jorge W. F. Amaro

Prof. Dr. of the Psychiatric Department at the Medical School of the University of São Paulo

Spectrum
Posts: 4634
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 18th, 2018, 12:10 am

Eduk wrote:
January 17th, 2018, 5:26 am
Spectrum. The main reason not to believe is god/s is existential. Everything is existential if you so wish to boil it down.
Yes, if so wish, every human behavior, good or evil is reducible to the existential factor.

Note, theism is due to 'existential' with active existential crisis with theistic inclinations.

Non-theism = do not have a believe in God = existential with an active higher rational thinking for many.

By the way do you have a link to a reputable study which show greater drug use amongst atheists than theists? And was theism isolated as the route cause? I have read various contradictory articles making extravagant claims but they seem extremely suspect to me. For example in a poll a theist may be more inclined to lie than an atheist. Also theism could have nothing to do with it and it could be that people in large community groups are more likely to lie about it than those who aren't. Pure conjecture on my part, but I haven't seen a study I wouldn't also call pure conjecture, and not very good conjecture at that.
I don't have such a study, I will be interested in such research if any. I have relied what I have read and based on principles.
My hypothesis, those who are more serious with their theistic religion will not likely to get involved in drugs due to fear of God and going to Hell where their God do not permit drugs.
Those who are less serious with their religion may get involved in drugs.

As for non-theists, there is no psychological authority to prick their conscience at all when they are faced with or tempted to take drugs.

Note the Religion of Peace has provision for their believers to lie.
If lying is prohibited in the holy texts I don't think the serious believers would lie easily.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Spectrum
Posts: 4634
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 18th, 2018, 12:20 am

Eduk wrote:
January 17th, 2018, 5:39 am
Actually thinking about it drugs are a good example.
I have drunk alcohol but I have avoided all other recreational drugs. Since I was a kid I have viewed addiction as a negating of the self. So for me it is a little like dying and I have avoided something like cocaine out of fear of addiction (in part).
Also I have always thought of drugs as offering a fake and hollow 'high'. I naturally avoid fake things as again they are dangerous. Again you subvert your own consciousness and offer control somewhere else.
So regarding recreational drugs I've seen them as high risk and low reward. Of course some artists, particularly musicians, claim great creative benefits. But I believe that to be a fantasy and there is no empirical evidence that I know of.
Now for me religion is the same. Fake and hollow and only useful to subvert your will and give control to others. Of course it's impossible to decide to believe something so unlike drugs I can't give religions a go. But I avoid the fake out of fear.
When people drink alcohol or take drugs they do feel some kind of relief and such relief is against the existential angst manifesting in various forms and degrees.

Note the current craze in pain killers and opioids- e.g. fentanyl, etc. Why do so many people risk their life taking pain-killers when they do not have real medical-physical pains. What they have discovered is a relief to the manifesting existential angst they don't know where it is coming from but there is relief when they take drugs, pain-killers etc.

It is the same with theism which provide instant relief to some sort of existential angst and they get addicted to it to ensure the psychological comfort is secured and do not re-emerge.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Spectrum
Posts: 4634
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 18th, 2018, 12:23 am

Eduk wrote:
January 17th, 2018, 5:26 am
Spectrum. The main reason not to believe is god/s is existential. Everything is existential if you so wish to boil it down.
By the way do you have a link to a reputable study which show greater drug use amongst atheists than theists?
From a quickie search.

Believers consume fewer drugs than atheists
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 ... 093041.htm
This is the conclusion reached by a study funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Spectrum
Posts: 4634
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 18th, 2018, 12:54 am

Fanman wrote:
January 17th, 2018, 10:50 am
Spectrum:
This is a discussion and you are presenting an alternative view.
Thus there is nothing wrong in producing a list and giving your best estimation and you will get feedback. This is merely to reinforce your views and this how knowledge progresses.

I don't see the point, sorry. As I've stated, I think its arbitrary.
If you don't have the time, I agree you don't have to do it.
But for intellectual sake, you need to do it to support your point with such details and confidence levels.
Whether it is primary or secondary has to be objective against the various sources of knowledge in context, i.e. from the holy texts, from words of believers, etc.
Being a theist to please and marry one's girlfriend is obviously secondary in relation to the holy texts. Which holy texts would emphasize on such a reason as primary.
I don't find your explanation clear. If someone becomes a theist to please their girlfriend, then they aren't really a theist are they? You can't believe that God exists, and believe that God doesn't exist at the same time i.e., choose to believe when you inherently don't. There are many reasons why people believe in God, defining them as primary or secondary is a judgement call, not an objective observation.
I believe the difference between what is primary and secondary is very obvious in terms of set and subsets.
The primary sets is those directly related to the words of God while others are subset thus secondary.

If someone pretend to be a theist merely in front of his girlfriend and insist a being an atheist to the public or close friends, then that is a problem.
I was referring to an agnostic or one who was indifferent to God but then because to please the girl declare he is a theist in mind and all occasion. Such a belief I would say in secondary relative to what would be primary.
A pink unicorn has empirical elements thus it is a subset of the empirical-rational set, thus it it empirically possible.

Why are you arguing this? Surely you can't argue that it is possible for pink unicorns to exist empirically, but it is impossible for God to exist empirically? There's more evidence for the existence God than there is for pink unicorns, even if it is anecdotal. In doing so, I think that you're logically contradicting yourself. Tell me, is a pink unicorn "absolutely perfect" ? Potentially, it is isn't it.
Nope, what I am referring is direct empirical evidence to justify the existence of God.
I stated it is empirically possible for a pink unicorn to exists but we know it is very very slim but it not impossible. To prove a pink unicorn exists, one will need to bring a pink unicorn for empirical testing and justification.
But God is empirically impossible as I had demonstrated.
On the other hand, I as with Kant has demonstrated that the idea of God do not has any empirical elements, thus it is 100% impossible to be empirically based.
So you claim, but not correctly.
This is my claim, it is up to you to disprove.
I have given reason why God is an impossibility. Note Kant pointed above, God is an illusion, thus in a way an impossibility to be real in the empirical-rational reality.
It is not but similar in principle to a square-circle.

So you insist.
Yes, I insist but I have provided justification.
Whether someone love another is not the issue here. The fact is loving someone is an empirical possibility. This can be made more objective with brain imagings and many other criteria that can be objectively determined.

Brain imaging? You can tell if someone is in love with you (specifically) through brain imaging? Not through interpretation of their behaviour towards you?
You missed my point. I stated it is empirically possible and we need all the empirical evidences available but it can be further reinforced with brain imagings.
The subjective views from theists cannot be reliable due to the confirmation bias tendency compelled by the desperate existential forces within their psyche.
This is nonsensical in my opinion.
Not with the evidences provided.
As far as I have known, no one has provided any effective counter-argument, otherwise I would have continued to deal with whatever is an outstanding issue.
I disagree, I think that there are valid counter-arguments. Both here and on the other forum.
I think a few posters did agree in some ways but that is not the critical point. What is critical is whether the argument is sound or not.
I didn't interpret any agreement? I don't think your argument is sound. Why do you think there are so many counter-arguments? If your logic was sound, wouldn't there be a consensus of agreement?
I suggest you raised the valid counter-argument in that threat and I will address them. For me there are no outstanding points I have not address and dismiss.

In addition, that idea is rested upon the giant shoulders of Kant which lend a degree of credibility. [unless you can prove Kant was wrong in his claim God is a transcendental illusion as quoted above].

In order to prove you wrong, I have to prove Kant wrong - you think that follows? Where did Kant argue that “absolute perfection” cannot exist?
I had relied heavily [not fully] on Kant's argument re where the thing-in-itself is claimed to be a real empirical God it is an illusion. If you can prove Kant wrong then my support would be greatly shaken.

Kant did not use the term 'absolute perfection'. I derived it from various other philosophies in combination with Kant.

Note this;
http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/en ... ntological

Actus purus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actus_purus
In scholastic philosophy, actus purus ( literally "pure act") is the absolute perfection of God.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Post Reply