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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.
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Mark1955
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Mark1955 » January 1st, 2019, 6:32 am

Eduk wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 5:23 am
I feel like your God doesn't exist.
But I'd suggest that that's not the point. If he feels like his god exists and that's a good feeling then he's better off. If he's feels he's better off then he's less likely to want to hurt you, so you're better off. Put simplistically; if you don't want to get killed don't tell a radical religious fanatic his god is a figment of his fevered imagination and limited logical intellect. Or conversely are you so determined to be right you want him to be unhappy.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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

Post by Belindi » January 1st, 2019, 7:49 am

Mark1955 wrote:
January 1st, 2019, 6:32 am
Eduk wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 5:23 am
I feel like your God doesn't exist.
But I'd suggest that that's not the point. If he feels like his god exists and that's a good feeling then he's better off. If he's feels he's better off then he's less likely to want to hurt you, so you're better off. Put simplistically; if you don't want to get killed don't tell a radical religious fanatic his god is a figment of his fevered imagination and limited logical intellect. Or conversely are you so determined to be right you want him to be unhappy.
Mark, you are right but there is more to it than you say. The feeling of being better off is not the same as being a free man. Some religious sects own a dictatorial version of God who permit no choices, all His ethics are black and white. Other religious sects own a God Who may be so liberal that He permits men to try to live good lives without His rules and regulations. The latter, more existentialist God, is unsafe and does not even demand that men believe that He exists. But men who believe in a God who has no attributes , no commands, and who may not even exist are free men.

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Mark1955
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Mark1955 » January 1st, 2019, 1:36 pm

Belindi wrote:
January 1st, 2019, 7:49 am
The feeling of being better off is not the same as being a free man. Some religious sects own a dictatorial version of God who permit no choices, all His ethics are black and white. Other religious sects own a God Who may be so liberal that He permits men to try to live good lives without His rules and regulations. The latter, more existentialist God, is unsafe and does not even demand that men believe that He exists. But men who believe in a God who has no attributes, no commands, and who may not even exist are free men.
I'm not convinced a really free man exists, we are all tied to our genes, our society. We may have theoretical freedom of action but we are encouraged to subsume that freedom in so many ways that the only truly freemen are probably regarded sociopaths.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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

Post by Eduk » January 1st, 2019, 5:13 pm

@Mark1955 I believe almost no one is better off believing things which are less true as opposed to more true. Except for contrived, wise after the event, circumstances.
Of course if a religious zealot had power over my life I would do what is best for me, not what is best for the zealot.
Unknown means unknown.

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

Post by Belindi » January 1st, 2019, 7:48 pm

Mark1955 wrote:
January 1st, 2019, 1:36 pm
Belindi wrote:
January 1st, 2019, 7:49 am
The feeling of being better off is not the same as being a free man. Some religious sects own a dictatorial version of God who permit no choices, all His ethics are black and white. Other religious sects own a God Who may be so liberal that He permits men to try to live good lives without His rules and regulations. The latter, more existentialist God, is unsafe and does not even demand that men believe that He exists. But men who believe in a God who has no attributes, no commands, and who may not even exist are free men.
I'm not convinced a really free man exists, we are all tied to our genes, our society. We may have theoretical freedom of action but we are encouraged to subsume that freedom in so many ways that the only truly freemen are probably regarded sociopaths.
I am a determinist and agree with you. That some people are more free than others is too obvious to go into all the details about. Strict and dictatorial versions of God restrict a person's freedom as compared with liberal versions of God where a person is allowed more choices.

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

Post by Felix » January 2nd, 2019, 12:02 am

Belindi: "But men who believe in a God who has no attributes"
What is "a god with no attributes"? If it has no attributes, how does one recognize it?
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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

Post by Eduk » January 2nd, 2019, 4:17 am

@Felix reminds me of the Simpsons where homer is asking to be shown 'no sign'.
Unknown means unknown.

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

Post by Belindi » January 2nd, 2019, 7:00 am

Felix wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 12:02 am
Belindi: "But men who believe in a God who has no attributes"
What is "a god with no attributes"? If it has no attributes, how does one recognize it?

In the same way that an artist recognises that they have made a work of art, or that a technologist recognises that they have made something useful.

The artefact, the work of art, and the God, are recognised as what the artist, or the technologist, or the God maker, could not have made better.

Obviously, most people don't bother to make God for themselves instead they 'believe' in some version of God that someone else has made, or conversely are not at all interested in God, or are cynically interested in God only as a means to increasing their own personal power and wealth. I claim that somebody who tries to make God for themself is the better lover of God.

Just as obviously no artist or technologist invents an artefact de novo but is always influenced by their culture and tradition. Some with ideas of God's attributes; those are always cultural or traditional ideas. I do however believe that men can and do progress from worse to better, not in an overall sense as the world is full of evil, but in the sense of the best of traditions and cultures being available for the benefit of those men who can learn.

In order for individuals to learn "the best of traditions and cultures" we need a society where thought, speech, and assembly are free. In particular schools, and internet access, should be protected against religious and political lies, and against social class barriers.

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

Post by Eduk » January 2nd, 2019, 7:15 am

@Belindi you seem to be missing the point of the question @Felix is asking? He is asking how something with no attributes can be recognised. If we take your example of a work of art we have to start with an attributeless work of art. How would an artist recognise a work of art which had no attributes? Not even a blank canvas or an empty frame, or even a bare wall.
Unknown means unknown.

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

Post by Belindi » January 2nd, 2019, 7:19 am

Eduk wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 7:15 am
@Belindi you seem to be missing the point of the question @Felix is asking? He is asking how something with no attributes can be recognised. If we take your example of a work of art we have to start with an attributeless work of art. How would an artist recognise a work of art which had no attributes? Not even a blank canvas or an empty frame, or even a bare wall.
Eduk,I believe that an artist (or even an old experienced cook) knows when a thing is just right and needs no further tweaking. It's subjective. Now and again the subjective effort of the cook, the painter, or the musician is just what society is ready to accept and welcome.

The benefit of that soundless music by Cage is that the audience asks "What is it that we should be hearing?"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4%E2%80%B233%E2%80%B3

Silmilarly it's right for us the audience to ask the question "What is the attribute of the God that we should be trusting in?"

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

Post by Eduk » January 2nd, 2019, 7:39 am

@Belindi I'm sorry was I not clear? Can you please explain which part of mine and @Felix's question you are struggling to understand? I never once asked anything about how an artist can tell when something is just right. I asked how an artist can recognise an attributeless piece of art.
If 4'33 is supposed to be attributeless then you are mistaken. Here is an explanation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoAbXwr3qkg
Unknown means unknown.

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

Post by Belindi » January 2nd, 2019, 1:03 pm

Eduk wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 7:39 am
@Belindi I'm sorry was I not clear? Can you please explain which part of mine and @Felix's question you are struggling to understand? I never once asked anything about how an artist can tell when something is just right. I asked how an artist can recognise an attributeless piece of art.
If 4'33 is supposed to be attributeless then you are mistaken. Here is an explanation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoAbXwr3qkg
What an artist attributes to a work is up to the artist as an individual. Not only is the maker of the work free to invent but the experienced listener is also free to discover attributes for themself. The artist discovers or invents the attributes for themself. An unfree or unaccustomed listener to music will attribute what others have told them to listen for.

Similarly with God. IMO the only worthwhile God is the God the attributes of Whom are discovered or invented by the sincere individual.
Thanks for the link to the video, I enjoyed it. Cage mentioned that their would be natural sounds, and if you remember I mentioned that no artist or technologist invents de novo.

Many years ago when I used to go to church each Sunday there was a period allocated "for your own thoughts and prayers". I liked the silent part of this period but all too soon the organist played.

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

Post by Eduk » January 2nd, 2019, 1:41 pm

@Belindi ok. Well I don't understand your attributeless God as all your examples have attributes. I guess I will just have to learn to live with that.
Unknown means unknown.

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

Post by Belindi » January 2nd, 2019, 1:58 pm

Eduk wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 1:41 pm
@Belindi ok. Well I don't understand your attributeless God as all your examples have attributes. I guess I will just have to learn to live with that.
All my examples have attributes because every individual is enmeshed within a culture that attends to some attributes and does not attend to other possible attributes.The more free sort of individual, the avant gard individual can make something novel. No matter whether it's a frame for natural sounds like Cage's silence, innovative jazz, a new movement in art, or a new way to conceive of God, the innovator can work only with what their life experience allots to them. The thing is that some people can discover and invent something worthy,(the OT prophets were innovators)and God too should be God for here and now.

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

Post by Felix » January 2nd, 2019, 5:46 pm

Belinda, So then, one is not worshipping a god without attributes (who lives on the street with no name?) but a god that has a wide, perhaps infinite, variety of attributes, and one revers those attributes or qualities that one finds most appealing and inspiring?

Reminds of me the exchange between a reporter and Charlie "Yardbird" Parker, the great jazz musician.

Reporter: "Mr Parker, are you a religious man?"

Bird: "Yes sir, I am a devout musician!" (but unfortunately also a devout drug addict)
Eduk: @Felix reminds me of the Simpsons where homer is asking to be shown 'no sign'.
Seems to be the sign of the times.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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