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

Post by Eduk » January 14th, 2019, 4:01 am

@Dark Matter maybe try slightly less pathological insulting. Maybe less of the 'if you don't agree with me exactly then you are a psychopath' arguments.
Unknown means unknown.

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

Post by Dark Matter » January 14th, 2019, 4:34 am

Fanman wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 2:47 am
DM,
That’s exactly my point. If you’re not interested in what must be in order for what is to be as it is, you’re not really interested in coming to know yourself or how we should live. IOW, you don’t give a damn about the heart of philosophy.
There's no point in trying to have a discussion with you. I have often thought that the criticism aimed at you was harsh, but when you state things like that, I'm not surprised by the way that other forum users react to you.

I used the word "you" in the generic sense. It wasn't personal.

Relativism seems to be the predominant philosophy (if you can call it that). People like it because comfortably removes from consideration the notion that we need to conform to a reality that is bigger than our own opinions, values, and preferences. I'm a realist: if realist dares to say with certainty that there is something bigger, they must be “intolerant,” “rigid,” “closed-minded,” "hate-filled" or "bigoted."

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

Post by Dark Matter » January 14th, 2019, 4:55 am

Note: Metaphysics is a technical term in philosophy that generally refers to our attempt to offer a comprehensive, rational account of the most fundamental aspects of all reality, including that what is beyond the limits of the material universe.
The unknown can be extraordinarily frightening, but our psychological fear, while understandable, must not deter us from our goal of seeking what is true. So long as we remain mesmerized by the illusion of comfort within the bounds of what we believe we know, we will never be able to fathom the depths of [reality].

(John H. Spencer, The Eternal Law: Ancient Greek Philosophy, Modern Physics, and Ultimate Reality)

Steve3007
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Steve3007 » January 14th, 2019, 5:54 am

Dark Matter wrote:Relativism seems to be the predominant philosophy (if you can call it that). People like it because comfortably removes from consideration the notion that we need to conform to a reality that is bigger than our own opinions, values, and preferences.]
You're asserting here that people are motivated by the desire to do various things that they would otherwise feel unable to do. What is the evidence that this is people's motive for favouring Relativism over Absolutism? Could they possibly have some other reason? If you decide to reply to these questions, please don't do it with some short, meaningless, generic answer like "look around you!" or some such thing.

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

Post by Belindi » January 14th, 2019, 8:35 am

Fdesilva wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 3:52 pm
Belindi wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 3:28 pm
There are truths of myths/poetry, and truths of science, and these are not mutually exclusive. I presumed that the OP meant proofs of science.
proofs of science? Does that mean like a mathematical equation ( E=mc2) ? The existence of proofs entails a proof maker. The way science leads to God for me is via my study of consciousness. We according to the bible are made in His image. That image is most evident in consciousness. I think that is why Michelangelo put God in side a brain.
If you can find the time to have a read my work can be found on the link below. Love to know what you think.
https://philpapers.org/rec/DESCAS
By "proofs of science" I did not mean mathematical or logical proofs, I meant empirical proofs i.e. evidence plus theory proofs.

When you say "the existence of proofs entails a proof maker" this is true if what you mean is that empirical proofs are always set within a cultural paradigm. This being the case the proof maker is the culture within which the proof has meaning.

Poetry and myths don't depend on anything that can be called proof or evidence. Poetry and myths (which include religious devotional texts) present knowledge by acquaintance, not knowledge by description. For instance mathematics and scientific formulae are knowledge by description which includes explanations.

God on the other hand is not explained because God is for believers causa sui. A matter of faith and for mystics a matter of knowledge by acquaintance.

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

Post by Fanman » January 14th, 2019, 1:56 pm

DM,
Relativism seems to be the predominant philosophy (if you can call it that). People like it because comfortably removes from consideration the notion that we need to conform to a reality that is bigger than our own opinions, values, and preferences. I'm a realist: if realist dares to say with certainty that there is something bigger, they must be “intolerant,” “rigid,” “closed-minded,” "hate-filled" or "bigoted."


Okay, although I don't think being tagged with those negative labels are an automatic result of thinking in the way that you do. Shallow people may judge you based solely upon your world-view, but people with insight will evaluate you based upon your actions and what you say. So being what you describe as a "realist", does not necessarily make you any of those things. Anyway, if there is an absolute truth or a reality that we need to conform to, how do we know what that truth and reality are, and what is at stake if we adopt a relativist approach, rather than an absolute one? I think that in order for your views to be taken seriously, these are the types of questions that you need to try and answer at least reasonably.
Once a theist, now agnostic.

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

Post by Dark Matter » January 14th, 2019, 2:04 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 5:54 am
Dark Matter wrote:Relativism seems to be the predominant philosophy (if you can call it that). People like it because comfortably removes from consideration the notion that we need to conform to a reality that is bigger than our own opinions, values, and preferences.]
You're asserting here that people are motivated by the desire to do various things that they would otherwise feel unable to do. What is the evidence that this is people's motive for favouring Relativism over Absolutism? Could they possibly have some other reason? If you decide to reply to these questions, please don't do it with some short, meaningless, generic answer like "look around you!" or some such thing.
I asserted nothing of the kind. I said what I said: nothing more, nothing less.

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

Post by Dark Matter » January 15th, 2019, 6:00 am

Anyway, if there is an absolute truth or a reality that we need to conform to, how do we know what that truth and reality are, and what is at stake if we adopt a relativist approach, rather than an absolute one?
I cannot imagine a better example of moral cowardice.
The unknown can be extraordinarily frightening, but our psychological fear, while understandable, must not deter us from our goal of seeking what is true. (The Eternal Law, pg. 9)
The ancient Platonic philosophers emphasized the discovery of metaphysical unity underlying all of physical reality with the aim of personal transformation in our quest to know ourselves and ‘become like God’ so far as possible. (The Eternal Law, pg. 190)


We may not be able to say for certain to what degree, if any, anything is true, good and beautiful, but what we can know for certain is that if it is, it is only to the degree that it participates in the One. As for what's at stake ... there are whole books on the matter. I can easily cut-and-paste whole chapters if you want.

Steve3007
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Steve3007 » January 15th, 2019, 12:40 pm

Hi again Fanman! Long time no talk!
Fanman wrote:Anyway, if there is an absolute truth or a reality that we need to conform to, how do we know what that truth and reality are, and what is at stake if we adopt a relativist approach, rather than an absolute one?
On the subject of absolute morality versus relativist morality, my own view is that there is essentially no difference between the two. A moral absolutist tells you some actions that he/she believes to be morally right or wrong. So does a moral relativist. They're both giving you their opinion. In both cases nobody else's opinion is there's to give.

Nevertheless, Dark Matter's assertion is a commonly made one by moral absolutists. It is the assertion that people choose to be moral relativists because it frees them from the notion that they cannot simply do as they choose; that they cannot simply follow their own personal preferences. In other words, it is the assertion that moral relativism is about selfishness. Conversely, a moral relativist might level a similar accusation of selfishness against an absolutist by suggesting that they are setting themselves up as the arbiter of morality by claiming personal access to objective moral truths.

It's an old, old argument isn't it?

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

Post by Karpel Tunnel » January 15th, 2019, 1:01 pm

Dark Matter wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 4:34 am
Relativism seems to be the predominant philosophy (if you can call it that). People like it because comfortably removes from consideration the notion that we need to conform to a reality that is bigger than our own opinions, values, and preferences. I'm a realist: if realist dares to say with certainty that there is something bigger, they must be “intolerant,” “rigid,” “closed-minded,” "hate-filled" or "bigoted."
I don't see relativism as the predominant philosophy. I see people disagreeing and with great force about what is good and what is bad, as you give the example of above. Perhaps some of those people call themselves relativists, but they are mistaken. Unless they think none of those labels mean the person in question is immoral or bad. If they simply mean them as, in a sense, anthropological labels, they might still be relativists, but I meet very few people who are actually relativists. Further it seems to me that absolutists need not think there is something bigger and relativists could think there is something bigger than us, though it would not be a being who sets the moral terms of the universe. New Agers can be relativists but believe in the one or the flow or the spirit in all things or whatever.

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

Post by Eduk » January 15th, 2019, 2:40 pm

@Karpel Tunnel if someone thinks morality is subjective does that make them a relativist?
If someone thinks there is objective truth can they be a relativist?
I'm just wondering if being a relativist immediately means you believe all opinions are equal?
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Dark Matter
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Dark Matter » January 15th, 2019, 7:41 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
January 15th, 2019, 1:01 pm
Dark Matter wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 4:34 am
Relativism seems to be the predominant philosophy (if you can call it that). People like it because comfortably removes from consideration the notion that we need to conform to a reality that is bigger than our own opinions, values, and preferences. I'm a realist: if realist dares to say with certainty that there is something bigger, they must be “intolerant,” “rigid,” “closed-minded,” "hate-filled" or "bigoted."
I don't see relativism as the predominant philosophy. I see people disagreeing and with great force about what is good and what is bad, as you give the example of above. Perhaps some of those people call themselves relativists, but they are mistaken. Unless they think none of those labels mean the person in question is immoral or bad. If they simply mean them as, in a sense, anthropological labels, they might still be relativists, but I meet very few people who are actually relativists. Further it seems to me that absolutists need not think there is something bigger and relativists could think there is something bigger than us, though it would not be a being who sets the moral terms of the universe. New Agers can be relativists but believe in the one or the flow or the spirit in all things or whatever.
"New Agers" who believe in the one or the flow or the spirit in all things are not relativists in the sense I'm talking about as they believe in something greater than themselves: feelings, sentiments, or cultural milieu are there, but their values are still relative to an Absolute.

We are so immersed in relativism that people who don't see it are like fish blind to the water in which they swim. It's so widespread that its predominance can be called a dictatorship. Right and wrong are widely believed to relative to one’s feelings, sentiments, or cultural milieu rather than grounded in an Absolute (however it may be conceived). Any deviation is met with accusations of “intolerance,” "hatefulness,” "bigotry" and “fascism.” In short, it is fair to describe relativism as a dictatorship.

Without God, without reference to an Absolute (it matters little what idea of God we entertain so long as we are motivated by the ideal of his infinite and eternal nature), the contentious nature of politics can never coordinate its forces, harmonize its divergent and rivalrous interests, races, and nationalisms.

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

Post by Karpel Tunnel » January 15th, 2019, 8:19 pm

Dark Matter wrote:
January 15th, 2019, 7:41 pm
"New Agers" who believe in the one or the flow olr the spirit in all things are not relativists in the sense I'm talking about as they believe in something greater than themselves: feelings, sentiments, or cultural milieu are there, but their values are still relative to an Absolute.
That's fine, but you are using 'relativists' in an idiosyncratic way. Now that I know, it is clear. It sounds more like a kind of broader atheism, rather than relativism. It's not that they think there is no absolute truth or morals (that is, relativism) but that there is no overarching consciousness, deity, power.
We are so immersed in relativism that people who don't see it are like fish blind to the water in which they swim. It's so widespread that its predominance can be called a dictatorship. Right and wrong are widely believed to relative to one’s feelings, sentiments, or cultural milieu rather than grounded in an Absolute (however it may be conceived). Any deviation is met with accusations of “intolerance,” "hatefulness,” "bigotry" and “fascism.” In short, it is fair to describe relativism as a dictatorship.
Again, if they are judging you morally, then they are not relativists. And people could believe in God and aim those critiques at someone for claiming to know what God wants or considers moral. It feels like two different ideas are being conflated here.
Without God, without reference to an Absolute (it matters little what idea of God we entertain so long as we are motivated by the ideal of his infinite and eternal nature), the contentious nature of politics can never coordinate its forces, harmonize its divergent and rivalrous interests, races, and nationalisms.
Until recenly most people were theists even in the West. Believing in absolute truth didn't seem to eliminate those things in the least. And an atheist can believe in absolute truth. Again, it seems to me two things are being mixed and hopped back and forth from.

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

Post by Karpel Tunnel » January 15th, 2019, 8:21 pm

There are lots of atheists who believe in right and wrong period. Those who complain about the exploitation of workers is one clear group. The people who judge your absolute truths as immmoral are not relativists, they are people who believe in other absolute truths.

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

Post by Dark Matter » January 15th, 2019, 9:31 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
January 15th, 2019, 8:19 pm
It's not that they think there is no absolute truth or morals (that is, relativism) but that there is no overarching consciousness, deity, power.
Yes. Their feet planted firmly on thin air.
Again, if they are judging you morally, then they are not relativists.
Are their judgments well-grounded or planted in thin air?
And an atheist can believe in absolute truth.
And what Absolute truth might that be?
The point here is not belief in God per se, but movement away from the arbitrariness of feelings, sentiments, and cultural milieu. Contemplating the direction that movement inevitably points to an Absolute — the view that there exist such things as abstract objects that do not exist in space or time and yet more real than the material universe.

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