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An argument for God's existence

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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Fanman

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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#166  PostMarch 23rd, 2012, 2:57 pm

Xris, that my experience has no value or that it is not credible is only your opinion; not a fact. The fact is that someone could look at my experience objectively, and believe that it is a good argument for God's existence. Just as someone could perceive your experiences as a good argument for God's non-existence. Therefore it is not correct for you to say that personal experience is of no value.
Wisdom and understanding are necessary requisites of life, but in order to acquire them, we must have good teachers. I believe the art of philosophy is one such teacher, if not the best. E.M.Bedeau aka The Reader.

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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#167  PostMarch 23rd, 2012, 3:03 pm

Fanman wrote:Xris, that my experience has no value or that it is not credible is only your opinion; not a fact. The fact is that someone could look at my experience objectively, and believe that it is a good argument for God's existence. Just as someone could perceive your experiences as a good argument for God's non-existence. Therefore it is not correct for you to say that personal experience is of no value.

Your ignoring my questions Fanman. In your opinion does god not exist because of my experience?
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#168  PostMarch 23rd, 2012, 3:18 pm

Xris wrote:
Fanman wrote:Xris, that my experience has no value or that it is not credible is only your opinion; not a fact. The fact is that someone could look at my experience objectively, and believe that it is a good argument for God's existence. Just as someone could perceive your experiences as a good argument for God's non-existence. Therefore it is not correct for you to say that personal experience is of no value.

Your ignoring my questions Fanman. In your opinion does god not exist because of my experience?


Xris, you haven't told me what your experience is? Generally speaking, if your experience contains enough factual content and / or any evidences which highlight God's non-existence, then I have no choice but to accept your experience as a proof of God's non-existence.
Wisdom and understanding are necessary requisites of life, but in order to acquire them, we must have good teachers. I believe the art of philosophy is one such teacher, if not the best. E.M.Bedeau aka The Reader.
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#169  PostMarch 23rd, 2012, 3:21 pm

Fanman wrote:
Xris wrote:
Fanman wrote:Xris, that my experience has no value or that it is not credible is only your opinion; not a fact. The fact is that someone could look at my experience objectively, and believe that it is a good argument for God's existence. Just as someone could perceive your experiences as a good argument for God's non-existence. Therefore it is not correct for you to say that personal experience is of no value.

Your ignoring my questions Fanman. In your opinion does god not exist because of my experience?


Xris, you haven't told me what your experience is? Generally speaking, if your experience contains enough factual content and / or any evidences of which highlight God's non-existence, then I have no choice but to accept your experience as a proof of God's non-existence.

So what experience could I have that would prove to you that god does not exist? Be inventive as much as you can.
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#170  PostMarch 23rd, 2012, 3:38 pm

Xris, sorry, but you can jump through your own hoops. It is up to you to provide an example of an experience you've had which disproves God's existence, since you are the one who posed the questions doubting his existence; I am a theist. The burden is on you to provide an experience.
Wisdom and understanding are necessary requisites of life, but in order to acquire them, we must have good teachers. I believe the art of philosophy is one such teacher, if not the best. E.M.Bedeau aka The Reader.
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#171  PostMarch 23rd, 2012, 4:09 pm

Fanman wrote:Xris, sorry, but you can jump through your own hoops. It is up to you to provide an example of an experience you've had which disproves God's existence, since you are the one who posed the questions doubting his existence; I am a theist. The burden is on you to provide an experience.

You do not escape that easily Fanman. You have introduced a principle. You have stated that if an experience has value then it can be used as evidence. So in your opinion god can be proved not to exist by experience. So what experience would satisfy you, there must be one as you have admitted as much. You must have judged what it would be before you can admit as much. For me to trust your experience requires me to take a leap of faith in your testament. I have no way of judging your personal experience you could be charlatan. The only test is what we would value. I would never accept personal experience but you would, so what are your boundaries of acceptance.

I read the bible and seeked god in prayer. I obeyed his commandments and loved and worshipped christ. When questions arose I sought guidance from the elders but they could not give me sufficient answers. I prayed desperately for god to deliver me from my doubts but nothing helped, no visitations not one. So my dear friend how would you not consider this in true honesty as evidence that god is an illusion? What experience would you consider? If you do not reply I recognise your inability.
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#172  PostMarch 23rd, 2012, 4:42 pm

Xris, there is no way as of yet, to disprove the existence of God, therefore there is no experience that anyone can have which disproves God's existence. My admission was therefore based on a hypothetical experience that can disprove God's existence, that is obvious. With regards to your experience, it just sounds to me as though you had a crisis of faith borne of your doubts, which you were not able to reconcile.

Now, your experience of losing your faith and the reasons that you lost your faith are valid and of value. Whether they are proofs of God's non-existence is debatable, but one cannot simply dismiss them as having no value. I don't believe that your experience disproves the existence of God, but there are those who might. Therefore your experience is of value. That much is obvious. Your experience provudes the grounds for your argument that God does not exist.
Wisdom and understanding are necessary requisites of life, but in order to acquire them, we must have good teachers. I believe the art of philosophy is one such teacher, if not the best. E.M.Bedeau aka The Reader.
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#173  PostMarch 23rd, 2012, 5:14 pm

We live in a world where mankind knows good and evil, experiences good and evil, does good and evil, and all are
capable of good and evil. Our very experiences in a world we personally cannot control tells me that God IS. Adam and
Eve wanted to be like God knowing good and evil. Now we know. Humans want to be like God, Be God, or deny God, either way God is in the picture.
Things are not always as they appear; it's a matter of perception.

The eyes can only see what the mind has, is, or will be prepared to comprehend.

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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#174  PostMarch 23rd, 2012, 5:48 pm

With the experiences of the last two thousand years you might just admit that god has been absent for sometime.

Let me assure you theists that no amount of expressed experiences from a believer will ever change the mind of a thoughtful atheist. You might just say your flogging a dead horse.
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#175  PostMarch 23rd, 2012, 5:55 pm

Xris wrote:Let me assure you theists that no amount of expressed experiences from a believer will ever change the mind of a thoughtful atheist.

Find one and let's test him.
Clarify, Verify, and Instill the Hopes and Threats that lead to the Maximum Momentum of Self-Harmony for the Living - Measure your Progress.
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#176  PostMarch 23rd, 2012, 7:02 pm

Xris wrote:Let me assure you theists that no amount of expressed experiences from a believer will ever change the mind of a thoughtful atheist. You might just say your flogging a dead horse.


I don't believe in trying to change a person's mind on any topic. I feel like if you want people to believe the same thing as you then it is because you are miserable with your own belief's and misery loves company. I believe it is ok to witness to other's "tell them what you believe and why" but as soon as it becomes offensive the other person will become defensive. People will believe what they want and the best thing to do as a theist is be the best example you can be and witness when the opportunity arises.

"I wish the puritans and early American settlers would have done this instead of forcing Christianity down the throats of those who they thought to be pagans."

As for "arguing God's existence" I believe it is like flogging a dead horse because as a Theist I know my believe rests on faith not logical arguments.
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#177  PostMarch 24th, 2012, 7:24 am

Xris wrote:With the experiences of the last two thousand years you might just admit that god has been absent for sometime.

Let me assure you theists that no amount of expressed experiences from a believer will ever change the mind of a thoughtful atheist. You might just say your flogging a dead horse.


Xris, I think that the reason God has been “absent” as you put it, is due to the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Belief and Faith in Christ, gives us everything we need from God, and also gives us direct access to him. Therefore, there is no need for him to interact with humanity as he did in the old testament - Christ acts as a mediator between man and God.

I think that you vastly underestimate the power of faith. As I've stated previously, my faith has been of great help to me in my life. Faith has yielded tangible benefits to me; you don't have to believe me, but its true. Theists may not be able to change the mind of a “thoughtful atheist,” but there are minds out there that are receptive to faith, who would benefit from having faith and knowledge of Jesus in their lives. More so, I think, than believing that nature is god as you do.

Also Xris, if you don't believe that personal experiences have any value, how do you believe in, and acknowledge your own personal experiences? Is it that you only believe in your own personal experiences?
Wisdom and understanding are necessary requisites of life, but in order to acquire them, we must have good teachers. I believe the art of philosophy is one such teacher, if not the best. E.M.Bedeau aka The Reader.
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#178  PostMarch 24th, 2012, 10:29 am

Fanman I have not stated that your experience is of no value. BUT it is of no value in trying to prove the existence of god to anyone else except you. To prove anything you need to give empirical evidence. I agree that the universe and life could be used as evidence, not that I agree, but that does not confirm or deny your particular god is the god of creation.

As a christian all you have are the gospels. I was christian and I denied christ simply because the god of the gospel did not relate to my experiences or my logical examination. I believe Jesus was a great teacher who spread a message of hope and love but he was transformed into god to give his message authority.
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#179  PostMarch 24th, 2012, 10:50 am

Xris/Fanman

Xris wrote,

“Eric I think I would go along with your very interesting and astute reasoning. It is subject that has to be considered without prejudice or fear of the consequence. Thanks xris.”


Once again, I agree! Thanks for the reply.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Fanman wrote,


“I tend to agree that chance is not a thing which is capable of creating something from noting. I think that once something has been created, chance can then act upon what has been created; be it physical or metaphysical in nature i.e. - a chance sequence of events in our creation and make-up, could be the reason that we humans use reason, logic, conscience and imagination to perceive and interpret the world around us? The same or similar chance sequence of events, could also be the reason for our physical appearance and attributes or the reason why the sun is the exact distance away from the earth to support life. However, that said, we still have an ontological unidentified source / cause which is responsible for creation / existence, which provides chance with an opportunity to act and flourish as the atheist would believe it has.”


Sure! But again, chance in this physicalist context need not be something ‘other’ in order to explain the causal sequences. Indeed, we have to see that ‘things’ do function on some materially causal lines that are intelligible to the human mind in some way. Once we have the universe as we do, we are no longer dealing with pure chance-potentials-but causally patterned sequences that are articulated in largely physical-scientific terms.


Fanman wrote,


“Yes, I do believe that God created the universe. Physically, my belief is based on the notion that the universe demonstrates conceptual design i.e. - the concept of our solar system is to support life, the concept of male and female species is to reproduce, the concept of speech is to communicate and so on... “


Your conclusion here, “I do believe that God created the universe” is not well supported by your premises-which may all be reduced to the ‘functionality’ argument: since these functions are designed, that is, seem to function in certain ways and towards certain ends--they imply a designer. Obviously, we may have functional systems without designers. We may well have physical systems that causally design physical systems without there being an invisible designing supernatural intelligence. In other words, your design argument here, contingent wholly on the ‘functionalist principle,’ has two problems: (1) it doesn’t exclude the physicalist explanation-as just demonstrated here, and (2) it doesn’t show the clear connection between the designs identified with a particular view of god. Keep in mind that (2) here was partially expounded earlier by me in my previous post. Also, one could mention a third objection here—known as the ‘confirmation bias objection’: that the design argument only selects those ‘instances’ of nature that support design-but ignores all those other states of affairs that do not—like the dead-toxic planets in our solar system that are harmful to all known forms of life; that speech is a grossly inefficient means of communication, and male-female reproduction is hugely costly in terms of the survival of any species.


A physicalist position can account for all of these problems while explaining the ‘appearance’ of design in nature. This is a significant explanatory improvement over theistic explanations.



Fanman wrote,


“I believe that intelligence is required to create concepts, and that there are too many complex and intricate concepts which make-up existence - to believe that existence is not the work of intelligence, genius in fact. I believe that God is omnipotent, and therefore has the ability to create both physical and spiritual forms and matter.”


I can agree that intelligence is required to create concepts. But what is not clear here, and is assumed in your use of the word “concept” is that concepts are also non-mental properties and that physical systems cannot be the causal source of concepts,i.e., concepts, which are mental properties that rely on physical-material sources for their existence.


Also, complexity, as you use it here, is another example of the fallacy of incredulity mixed with ‘god of the gaps’ argument: since things are complex and I cannot understand that complexity in physical terms-god had to do it. Obviously, we need not settle for such an unconvincing conclusion.


As to the rest, these are only statements of belief and not arguments-so I need not reply here.


Fanman wrote,


“Spiritually, I believe that I have been enlightened by learning about God through study of the bible. I also believe that it is God's choice to remain mysterious (that is beyond the reach of science) until the time comes when he is ready to reveal himself and, that faith works as a kind of 'test' for us, to gauge whether we're worthy of the rewards that can be gained from believing in God; without ever having scientific evidence to base our belief in him on.”


Not convincing! Allow me to illustrate-ONCE MORE: Spiritually, I believe that I have been enlightened by learning about Allah through study of the Koran. I also believe that it is Allah’s choice to remain mysterious (that is beyond the reach of science) until the time comes when he is ready to reveal himself and, that faith works as a kind of 'test' for us, to gauge whether we're worthy of the rewards that can be gained from believing in Allah and the Koran; without ever having scientific evidence to base our belief in him on.


One would likely add: I believe that those who believe in the bible are mistaken and have misunderstood their experiences and have been deceived by the Devil.


I might add, there is a certain person here in the Forum that believes JUST this very thing!


Your argument from authority and experience on that authority can never convincingly deal with the ‘tit for tat’ authority and supernatural experiences of opposite others. The only way you could do that is by arguing beyond that authority or outside of your experiences for the objective validity of that authority and those experiences-which, quite obviously, would make any argument on those grounds, therefore, null and void.


Again, Fanman, you do not win the day by ignoring the objections, like you have from the previous posts of mine, and reasserting dead and impotent arguments. These arguments, at least in the way that you’ve argued them, are dead-even if you do not think it so!


Eric D.
Last edited by edelker on March 24th, 2012, 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An argument for God's existence

Post Number:#180  PostMarch 24th, 2012, 11:14 am

Xris wrote:Fanman I have not stated that your experience is of no value. BUT it is of no value in trying to prove the existence of god to anyone else except you. To prove anything you need to give empirical evidence. I agree that the universe and life could be used as evidence, not that I agree, but that does not confirm or deny your particular god is the god of creation.

As a christian all you have are the gospels. I was christian and I denied christ simply because the god of the gospel did not relate to my experiences or my logical examination. I believe Jesus was a great teacher who spread a message of hope and love but he was transformed into god to give his message authority.


Xris, that's fair enough, you're entitled to your beliefs. Logic and faith don't really work well together. It sounds as though you allowed your logic to overcome your faith.

-- Updated March 25th, 2012, 7:25 am to add the following --

edelker,

I didn't say or mean to imply that chance is something 'other'(?). I mean, chance as an accidental or unpredictable event or the unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause. As for “causal sequences” you will have to explain what you mean here in relation to chance being responsible for the universe. Furthermore, how did you come to the conclusion that once we have the universe as we do, causally patterned sequences take over from chance, so to speak. Surely, that is your hypothesis?

The fact that I believe God created the universe is based upon faith, logic and reason. It is difficult to argue on those grounds with someone who uses scientific methodology, such as yourself because (a) the evidence of God's existence is circumstantial and can be interpreted in different ways depending on the individual. (b) The concept of God imbues him with powers and abilities which defy our physical laws, and (c) to have faith in God is to believe in something that we cannot perceive or prove the existence of. I believe that all three of those notions are in opposition to scientific methodology and practice. That said, I don't agree with your suggestion, that we can have functional systems without designers. Can you name one such system and prove that it doesn't have a designer? The book of Genesis 1:2 states: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Meaning that the earth could also be described as you put it, as being a “dead-toxic planet," before God decided to make it capable of sustaining life. Exactly why God chose to make the earth, and none of the other planets in our solar system capable of sustaining life I cannot say, but perhaps it was the most suitable planet to support and sustain life.

I do not believe that concepts are non-mental properties. If physical systems can be the causal source of concepts, we are imbuing physical systems (which are concepts in my opinion) with the power to create concepts. We may have these natural systems / concepts in place already, but we cannot just assume that they were created by causality. To do so, is essentially the same as saying that they were created by God; because there is some pattern-like circumstantial evidence which makes it appear as so.

With regards to my spiritual experience. You have made a valid point here I feel, by changing the deity and scripture from Jehovah and the bible, to Allah and the Koran. I would argue though, that my experience is real and actually occurred. And that my faith has been an actual benefit to me; while what you have stated, is a hypothetical situation. I cannot prove that Allah is not the one true God, but I would say that perhaps, when God (Jehovah) sees that someone is genuinely a good person seeking enlightenment, he doesn't care if they are Muslims or Christian, it is enlightening the individual that matters to him. This would be synonymous with the new testament because Jesus is there for everybody not just the Jews, and even synonymous parts of the old testament such as in Isaiah 42:1 where God states of Jesus "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." The Gentiles being non-Jews.

As far as I am aware, I have not ignored any of your objections. Also there are no "dead or impotent" arguments in philosophy, since no one can be proven to be categorically right or wrong. Of course there are arguments that are stronger than other arguments, but to dismiss my arguments as “dead and impotent" even if I do not think so, of your own mind and only your mind, says more about the kind of person that you are, rather than the state of any of my arguments.
Wisdom and understanding are necessary requisites of life, but in order to acquire them, we must have good teachers. I believe the art of philosophy is one such teacher, if not the best. E.M.Bedeau aka The Reader.
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