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.
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Alan McDougall
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Does God Exist?

Post by Alan McDougall » November 21st, 2011, 6:14 am

Does God exist?

Question: "Does God exist? Is there evidence for the existence of God?"

Answer: The existence of God cannot be proved or disproved. The Bible says that we must accept by faith the fact that God exists: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). If God so desired, He could simply appear and prove to the whole world that He exists. But if He did that, there would be no need for faith. “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:29).

That does not mean, however, that there is no evidence of God’s existence. The Bible states, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Looking at the stars, understanding the vastness of the universe, observing the wonders of nature, seeing the beauty of a sunset—all of these things point to a Creator God. If these were not enough, there is also evidence of God in our own hearts. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” Deep within us is the recognition that there is something beyond this life and someone beyond this world. We can deny this knowledge intellectually, but God’s presence in us and all around us is still obvious. Despite this, the Bible warns that some will still deny God’s existence: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Since the vast majority of people throughout history, in all cultures, in all civilizations, and on all continents believe in the existence of some kind of God, there must be something (or someone) causing this belief.

In addition to the biblical arguments for God’s existence, there are logical arguments. First, there is the ontological argument. The most popular form of the ontological argument uses the concept of God to prove God’s existence. It begins with the definition of God as “a being than which no greater can be conceived.” It is then argued that to exist is greater than to not exist, and therefore the greatest conceivable being must exist. If God did not exist, then God would not be the greatest conceivable being, and that would contradict the very definition of God.

A second argument is the teleological argument. The teleological argument states that since the universe displays such an amazing design, there must have been a divine Designer. For example, if the Earth were significantly closer or farther away from the sun, it would not be capable of supporting much of the life it currently does. If the elements in our atmosphere were even a few percentage points different, nearly every living thing on earth would die. The odds of a single protein molecule forming by chance is 1 in 10243 (that is a 1 followed by 243 zeros). A single cell is comprised of millions of protein molecules.

A third logical argument for God’s existence is called the cosmological argument. Every effect must have a cause. This universe and everything in it is an effect. There must be something that caused everything to come into existence. Ultimately, there must be something “un-caused” in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That “un-caused” cause is God.

A fourth argument is known as the moral argument. Every culture throughout history has had some form of law. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong. Murder, lying, stealing, and immorality are almost universally rejected. Where did this sense of right and wrong come from if not from a holy God?

A fifth argument is that sometimes evil persons turn from their wicked ways and become good loving caring people

What do you think?

Love

Alan

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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Belinda » November 21st, 2011, 10:05 am

What basis is there for something in The Bible's being admissible evidence for anything? Does any would-be philosopher here think that The Bible is an infallible historical primary source? If so, why?
“a being than which no greater can be conceived.”
varies in its application to the everyday. 'Greater' can mean greater evil, or greater good, or bigger, or longer lasting. The ontological proof is empty unless it applies to

1. the limited thesis that God by nature is ultimate good.

or
2. The broader thesis that God is the same in essence and works but this is a Christian heresy called 'pantheism'.


Christians believe that God is self-caused. Given this, and fair enough, it remains for me to point out that it is naively linear to think of causes as simple chains of circumstances. This why the cosmological argument is not interesting as an account of God, either for or against.
fourth argument is known as the moral argument. Every culture throughout history has had some form of law. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong. Murder, lying, stealing, and immorality are almost universally rejected. Where did this sense of right and wrong come from if not from a holy God?
This is the best argument. Not as an argunmjent for God's existence but as an argument for the benfit of having a concept of God, and all right, for naive persons even to believe that God has something like 'existence'.

I would modify the way the moral argument has been expressed. 'Everyone' does not have the concept.The concept of right and wrong did not come from an interventionist God, but from the rational human response to mammalian nature.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Xris » November 21st, 2011, 11:21 am

Alan do you believe the evidence? If so do you think he is benevolent? Why, might I ask, is he so elusive to cause us to question his existence?

Desire to find god or want him to exist is the driving ambition of the faithful. To imaging we are alone with no figure of refuge or no higher power to rely on is a fear all men have experienced. Yes you are correct in stating god needs to be created by man. He is essential for the vast majority of humanity. I Believed that god existed but the doubts became so unbearable I had to accept the truth of his illusion. Once it became clear it was a desire rather than the truth I became free. freer than I had ever been. God is a burden, a mirage that stops man from examining himself and the truth.

So no Alan your evidence is based on need rather than good judgement.Thanks xris

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Alan McDougall
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Alan McDougall » November 23rd, 2011, 2:32 pm

Xris wrote:Alan do you believe the evidence? If so do you think he is benevolent? Why, might I ask, is he so elusive to cause us to question his existence?

Desire to find god or want him to exist is the driving ambition of the faithful. To imaging we are alone with no figure of refuge or no higher power to rely on is a fear all men have experienced. Yes you are correct in stating god needs to be created by man. He is essential for the vast majority of humanity. I Believed that god existed but the doubts became so unbearable I had to accept the truth of his illusion. Once it became clear it was a desire rather than the truth I became free. freer than I had ever been. God is a burden, a mirage that stops man from examining himself and the truth.

So no Alan your evidence is based on need rather than good judgement.Thanks xris
Hi xris I recently (August 2011) had a total heart block episode, where I was rushed to hospital and my heart stopped completely for minutes at a time. I went through the whole gambit of my heart being shocked over and over again in a desperate effort to get it to begin beating again. They pumped in adrenalin, atropine also to try and get it going again. Each time my heart stopped my consciousness left my body and I went into another dimension of living.I flat lined for minutes at a time and during these brief minutes when my heart was not beating my consciousness went into an afterlife realm where I lived out a lifetime. Thus a minute on the resuscitation table when my heart was not beating time expanding into countless years, while on the other side of life. It was not an hallucination because hallucinations are fragmented and confusing and make no sense and deeply disturb the person having one

I saw my things including a being of light that kindly spoke to me, I took this to be God because of the great love I felt while there. I now have a heart pacemaker installed to keep my heart from going into another crises of stop/starting.

"I thus base my belief on actual experience" I would say from this experience that God is benevolent but allows evil to exist so that there are always opposites so that we can choose from good or evil out of the free will we have been given by God. We must account to a higher power for what we have done or not done during this mortal life in the earthly plane of existence, after we die.

If this life which is but a quantum flask in eternity is all we get then the universe, God or destiny are playing a cruel joke on each of us

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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Belinda » November 24th, 2011, 5:26 am

Would God not want Alan to study neuroscience with regard to the near death experience? Why would God intervene to help Alan and ignore all the other innocents?

Alan wrote:
I thus base my belief on actual experience" I would say from this experience that God is benevolent but allows evil to exist so that there are always opposites so that we can choose from good or evil out of the free will we have been given by God. We must account to a higher power for what we have done or not done during this mortal life in the earthly plane of existence, after we die.

Would a good God allow such enormous evil as we know there is simply to allow us to make choices? No! Evils that cause suffering to millions of innocents would be like atom bombs to sort city riots. I.e. overkill.

The only reasonable way to love God is to love good unconditionally
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Thinking critical » November 24th, 2011, 10:18 pm

Alan McDougall wrote:Does God exist?

Question: "Does God exist? Is there evidence for the existence of God?"

One who believes in God will see what he chooses as evidence of God

Answer: The existence of God cannot be proved or disproved.The Bible says but who says that what the bible stipulates is in fact true and correct that we must accept by faith the fact that God exists: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). If God so desired, He could simply appear and prove to the whole world that He exists. But if He did that, there would be no need for faith. how convenient “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:29).

That does not mean, however, that there is no evidence of God’s existence. The Bible states, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Looking at the stars, understanding the vastness of the universe, observing the wonders of nature, seeing the beauty of a sunset—all of these things point to a Creator God. If these were not enough, there is also evidence of God in our own hearts. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” Deep within us is the recognition that there is something beyond this life and someone beyond this world. We can deny this knowledge intellectually, but God’s presence in us and all around us is still obvious. or perhaps this is just evidence of mans curious nature and our deep desire to know the unknowable hence why throughout history man has manifested literally hundreds of Gods as an explanation for that which we don't understand Despite this, the Bible warns that some will still deny God’s existence: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” fools such as Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Charles Darwin, Daniel Dennett(Psalm 14:1). Since the vast majority of people throughout history, in all cultures, in all civilizations, and on all continents believe in the existence of some kind of God, there must be something (or someone) causing this belief.

In addition to the biblical arguments for God’s existence, there are logical arguments. First, there is the ontological argument. The most popular form of the ontological argument uses the concept of God to prove God’s existence. It begins with the definition of God as “a being than which no greater can be conceived.” It is then argued that to exist is greater than to not exist, and therefore the greatest conceivable being must exist. If God did not exist, then God would not be the greatest conceivable being, and that would contradict the very definition of God.

A second argument is the teleological argument. The teleological argument states that since the universe displays such an amazing design, there must have been a divine Designer.or perhaps we as humans look for design in the universe, any thing that exists has the appearance of design, this how ever is not proof that in fact the universe itself has a designer For example, if the Earth were significantly closer or farther away from the sun, it would not be capable of supporting much of the life it currently does. you are stating a conclusive observation based on the fact that the earth is 93 million miles away fron the sun and simply asserting that a higher intelegence HAD to be responsible . If the distance between our earth and sun were any different life would not exist and we would not be having this discussion. Perhaps if you were to look at all the other lifeless planets in our solar system you would understand that planets do not form with the soul purpose of sustaining lifeIf the elements in our atmosphere were even a few percentage points different, nearly every living thing on earth would die. The odds of a single protein molecule forming by chance is 1 in 10243 (that is a 1 followed by 243 zeros). A single cell is comprised of millions of protein molecules.

A third logical argument for God’s existence is called the cosmological argument. Every effect must have a cause. This universe and everything in it is an effect. There must be something that caused everything to come into existence. Ultimately, there must be something “un-caused” in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That “un-caused” cause is God.That is a contradiction in itself an un-cause can't have a cause

A fourth argument is known as the moral argument. Every culture throughout history has had some form of law. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong. Murder, lying, stealing, and immorality are almost universally rejected. Where did this sense of right and wrong come from if not from a holy God?There is no reason to suggest that the perception of morality arose from God and not humanity

A fifth argument is that sometimes evil persons turn from their wicked ways and become good loving caring people
This is most likely due to two reasons 1) People who are lost often look for guidance, the universe is an extremely complexed organization religion offers simple explanations & rewards to encourage people to believe. 2) The idea that people can remove a burden of guilt by simply praying for forgiveness rather than facing the consequences of there actions is a common factor when (evil persons as you put it) turn to God

What do you think? I think no evidence has been provided as proof of God :-)

Love

Alan
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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by PaulNZ » November 25th, 2011, 3:21 pm

Define your "God" please.

First cause? Nature? Human consciousness? The sub-conscious? Some older looking chap with a white beard hiding just beyond that cloud? Once your perception of god is known then proof of that god's existence can be discussed. There seems to be a common assumption around these parts that whenever we mention god it is the Judeo/Christian version we are all talking about.

The less supernatural your god concept is, the more likely that any evidence attributed to that concept will be accepted as proof.

To me, god is unknowable and as such cannot be defined. I understand concepts of god can have value for individuals, and a belief in any such concept can provide that individual with a vehicle to circumnavigate aspects of their personality, which may otherwise hinder them acheiving particular goals - for example the 12 steps.

Without a definition of the concept of god being asked about, it is difficult to partake in a discussion.

:?:

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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Xris » November 26th, 2011, 8:47 am

PaulNZ wrote:Define your "God" please.

First cause? Nature? Human consciousness? The sub-conscious? Some older looking chap with a white beard hiding just beyond that cloud? Once your perception of god is known then proof of that god's existence can be discussed. There seems to be a common assumption around these parts that whenever we mention god it is the Judeo/Christian version we are all talking about.

The less supernatural your god concept is, the more likely that any evidence attributed to that concept will be accepted as proof.

To me, god is unknowable and as such cannot be defined. I understand concepts of god can have value for individuals, and a belief in any such concept can provide that individual with a vehicle to circumnavigate aspects of their personality, which may otherwise hinder them acheiving particular goals - for example the 12 steps.

Without a definition of the concept of god being asked about, it is difficult to partake in a discussion.

:?:
If you can not know or understand the god then as you say it is impossible to debate. If god is beyond understanding or description then there is no point in debating him or it. You can debate the evidence but not the conclusion.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by PaulNZ » November 26th, 2011, 2:04 pm

Xris wrote:
PaulNZ wrote:Define your "God" please.

First cause? Nature? Human consciousness? The sub-conscious? Some older looking chap with a white beard hiding just beyond that cloud? Once your perception of god is known then proof of that god's existence can be discussed. There seems to be a common assumption around these parts that whenever we mention god it is the Judeo/Christian version we are all talking about.

The less supernatural your god concept is, the more likely that any evidence attributed to that concept will be accepted as proof.

To me, god is unknowable and as such cannot be defined. I understand concepts of god can have value for individuals, and a belief in any such concept can provide that individual with a vehicle to circumnavigate aspects of their personality, which may otherwise hinder them acheiving particular goals - for example the 12 steps.

Without a definition of the concept of god being asked about, it is difficult to partake in a discussion.

:?:
If you can not know or understand the god then as you say it is impossible to debate. If god is beyond understanding or description then there is no point in debating him or it. You can debate the evidence but not the conclusion.
I agree Xris that the debate about what god is and and what god isn't is somewhat pointless (for me). In that light, debating any evidence people assign to being proof of god's existence then becomes fallacious, the proof generally being evidence of some aspect of nature currently beyond our understanding.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Dramhur » November 27th, 2011, 9:38 am

How can humans, who cannot even solve the game of chess, be able to solve this question on a purely intelectual level? However, it may still be possible to gain access to some states of mind that unable some sort of higher consciousness. So drug yourself into wisdom, my dear god-seekers and/or do other funny things in the hope that that would open your eyes, cause just thinking, in my humble opinion, is not enough. All these so called "proofs" of God's existence are chains of very dubious assumptions and are just laughable, people who invented them resemble children in a fog in their cluelessness. Gagarin thought there was no God as he failed to notice him (or her ;-)) while traveling in space. What a joke. People are good at dealing with relatively simple tasks, but the task of determining whether God (or any god for this matter) exists sadly doesn't belong to this category. Therefore any attempt at this is not more likely to succeed than, say, combing your hair with a hedgehog. Now, free will. What is it? I don't believe there is such a thing. All our actions are deterministic, we react to certain events, thoughts, whatever. Anything can trigger a reaction and we don't even realize what causes us to do the things we do. It can be compared to watching a movie, but in this case we don't just observe images and listen to sound, but also our own thoughts and many other manifestations of perception, like warmth, sadness, pain, in short all aspects of human existence. But I don't believe there is any control we have over the whole process. How can "free will" justify suffering? If God has free will and humans have free will, how come God doesn't make mistakes that would make it possible for him to end up in hell? Cos he's perfect? So what's the point in free will without being perfect? This is like blindfolding someone and saying: red door leads to hell, green to eden. This is your choice, I gave you free will, use it. Oh, please. Consider this: God knows even before a human is born whether he/she ends up in hell or not. Say, he knows you will end up in hell and still goes on with creating you. How can it conceivably be any good? And if he knows what will happen to you even before you're born, it is somehow already determined. So how can you have free will? And if he doesn't know, how can he know everything? And if he doesn't know everything, is he perfect? Are you sure? And how can imperfect world we live in be a proof of existence of a perfect god? Is it wishful thinking? And just try to comprehend how God could have always existed. If God doesn't require to have been created, why Earth should have such a requirement? Following this reasoning, the existence of everpresent God is not more likely than the existence of everpresent Earth. So no need for a good, Earth has simply always existed. God is the Universe. Ok, this leads nowhere. Good bye.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Xris » November 27th, 2011, 10:01 am

I possible agree with most of your views but there still a need to enquire that even you must find essential. You appear to reject many things on the assumption that god does not exist. Why should I not argue for free will in its simplest form without requiring to believe in god. Why should I not argue for a determined universe and still ask what mystery determined that determination. If god is beyond human comprehension does it make the concept invalid or make humans inadequate? If only the philosophy of religion was that simple.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Dramhur » November 27th, 2011, 11:00 am

No, it just means that you can ask yourself eternal questions and try to answer them for the fun of it, but if you are serious about it, the only way, as I can see it, that may possibly lead to meaningful results, is through personal experience rather than mind games. I don't make assumption that God exists or doesn't exist. It's hard to make any such assumptions when you have an inadequate mind. I may assume tomorrow will be fine weather when making my holiday plans, based on weather forecast, and still there is a scope for mistake. But I don't make assumptions about God. And I just can't imagine how can free will be possible without a perfect mind, that's all. With or without God or gods involved. Humans are adequate for certain tasks, and grossly inadequate for others. Just like a dog would not be a viable candidate for a chief executive of Tesco, a human would not be the best choice for determining the nature of God. But there's no harm in trying and it's as good as any other pastime. Have a nice day.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Xris » November 27th, 2011, 11:31 am

Freedom to choose or the ability to choose freely without hindrance is not a human ability but it is something we aspire to. Our imagination should and can take us beyond our imperfect mind. We maybe determined but we can influence that determination . If it was not so, we would have stagnated and still be ignorant savages. We exert our limited freedom for change, so changing what was determined. Our freedom that invented god is also destroying his image.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Dramhur » November 27th, 2011, 1:10 pm

No, it's hard to explain what I mean. But I have a strong feeling like we are just being told a story whereby we aspire to something, fight for something, win, lose, go here and there etc. , just like in a movie. You might err where you think we have limited freedom and aspire to something. This might be a mere illusion we have some freedom and some choice. We might not have any freedom at all. Consider yourself as a medium able to receive impressions and somebody or something else, call it God if you like, able to project those impressions onto you. Such impressions as: feeling warmth, seeing cars and buildings, feeling sadness, observing your physical body get fragile and wrinkled as you get older etc. (all impressions that what you consider your life consists of) and it's all coherent enough for you to fully trust it and treat it without suspicion (or even if you are suspicious - those suspicions can't be verified). That could be a perfect manipulation without you being ever able to see the real nature of things. Think how easy a good marketing specialist can fool people. Wouldn't God be incomparably better in this regard? We don't know anything about God. He might be good, bad, perfect, imperfect, more or less powerful, manipulative or not (and we don't know what was the purpose of our creation and whether God is using us for his own ends or not). We don't know anything. An equation with only unknowns as variables. So coming to any conclusions about God is a rather arduous task.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Post by Xris » November 27th, 2011, 1:28 pm

There are many scenarios we could speculate on. Part of very advanced computer game or just a very delusional dream where reality awaits us on waking from this life. A natural system of life and death with no indication of god. A pause in greater game where this life is just a insignificant interlude. If you can find evidence for any of them, they are relevant. But just as there is none for our accepted description of god there is no reason to believe we are part of an elaborate movie written by god. I do believe the future can be revealed but that does not indicate we have no part in writting that future.

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