The "God exists" paradox

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
User avatar
Prof Bulani
Posts: 367
Joined: December 1st, 2019, 3:47 pm

Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Prof Bulani » February 9th, 2020, 1:18 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
February 9th, 2020, 6:26 am
There are and have been theists whose dieties are limited by things like logic and even more. Certainly the polytheists. You argument works with Christians who follow their silly medieval predecessors who deciding that God had literally infinite power and mathematical perfection, but not with theism in general.

Further it seems like you are assuming that that which exists must have limitations. Perhaps what exists is a set that includes things such as deities that, from our perspective, have no limitations. IOW they are on the end of the spectrum of things where there is tremendous freedom, even from things that we consider part and parcel with existing.

Or perhaps God is both trancendent and immanent, the transcendent not limited to the either/or distinction that seems, I say seems, like it has to hold but doesn't, perhaps, for all we know.

This kind of deductive 'proof' is just hubris. As if we know what is possible. So we can comfortably worry little syllogisms and draw conclusions about anything at all, we have nothing to learn.
I've outlined the "limitations" of existence in subsequent comments in this thread. The limitations I'm referring to can be generally sorted into two categories:
1. It is impossible for something that is self-contradictory, or otherwise logically fallacious, to exist
2. It is impossible for something that is premised on a falsehood to exist.

A deity being eminent or transcendent or even ethereal doesn't necessarily mean it exists or doesn't exist. However, it's definition can allow us to determine if it can possibly exist or not. And that's what I'm getting at here.

It may surprise you that throughout this thread I have never made the claim that God doesn't exist. In fact, there are numerous definitions of God that have been proposed here where it has been concluded not only that it is possible for God to exist per that definition, but that God actually does exist per that definition. Because I'm allowing for any number of definitions to be proposed, I'm ending up with a variety of conclusions. And that's exactly what I expected the outcome to be.


Several points here. The bolded portion is precisely the kind of hubris I mean. We'll or in this instance you'll decide if it can exist. Just via an through experiment. Think of all the things we now know to be the case via science that such thought experiments would have determined could nto exist. Particles in superposition, that space is relative, epigenetic effects (once Darwinian ideas took hold this was not just counterintuitive but heresy, and then it wasn't) and so on. Right now there are paradigmatic and specific assumptions about reality and those will affect your judgement when you rule out as impossible this or that definition of God. And, heck, most people's definitions of other people are problematic and limited. There are still many things we don't know about what makes us tick. We sit here incomplete knowledge and do our best, but often, ironically, people critical of religions, decide that they are ominicient, armchair deducers, who without leaving their living rooms can decide what is and what is not possible, forget scientific epistomology, I can tell you what cannot be. And when confronted they will say, but I am working from their definitions of words we know the limits of. Yeah, like we knew what space meant and was and was not or time or particles vs. waves and so on.

How wonderful that some small subset of modern human atheists have this divine and complete knowledge, there not possibly being anything they can't weigh in finally on!
The thing about the word "exists" is that it's a word we both invented and defined. As such, we can evaluate a subject, based on its definition, and determine if it fits the definition of the word. More to your point, evaluating whether something can possibly exist or not isn't a matter of how limited our understanding of the universe is nor whether we have the capacity to conceive things that are yet unknown. There was never a point in time when quantum particles, epigenetic effects or dimensions outside of the 4 we are familiar with couldn't possibly exist, despite our inability to even imagine the possibility of their existence. Neither was there ever a time when deities that can possibly exist couldn't possibly exist. The only criteria I've been using to evaluate whether something can possibly exist or not are the two listed above. If you have a problem with those, I have no problem discussing them further.
"The purpose of life is to survive and replicate" - Erik von Markovik

NukeBan
Posts: 98
Joined: April 20th, 2020, 6:24 pm

Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by NukeBan » May 5th, 2020, 12:40 pm

Prof Bulani wrote:
January 12th, 2020, 7:49 am
Not only can God not possibly exist from an atheist perspective, God cannot possibly exist even from a theist perspective.
As I seem to never tire of saying (get a life NukeBan!!) the whole "exists vs. not exists" business at the heart of the God debate is a simplistic dualistic construction which bears little resemblance to the vast majority of reality, space, which can not be clearly said to either exist or not exist. Point being, the "does God exist?" question is likely so flawed as to render the entire competing answers game largely meaningless.

If it was just us little people making this error that would be only mildly interesting. But it seems even the greatest minds among us, to this very day, continue the "exists vs. not exist" paradigm with great enthusiasm without giving it a second thought.

At the level of competing answers there is a great deal of intelligent critical scrutiny and challenge etc, but the validity of the question seems to be blindly accepted by nearly everyone on every side in a totally unquestioning manner, much as a child would happily accept an ice cream cone.

To the degree the above is true, and to the degree one sees it, the whole structure of intellectual authority begins teetering on the edge of collapse in one's mind, wobbling back and forth, just about to topple over and crash to the ground.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 4201
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by LuckyR » May 7th, 2020, 4:43 pm

phenomenal_graffiti wrote:
February 4th, 2020, 8:18 am
I respectfully disagree. At the current time we live in a default theistic society. That is, it takes zero original thought to belong to (your parent's) religion. Many if not most "believers" are not all that invested in religion, its just something that everyone they know does on Sunday. OTOH, to be an atheist in a theistic society requires some form of active thought, some realization of the complexities of the universe that goes well beyond Iron Age fables. That is why, in my experience the average atheist has a firmer grasp on the logical possibilies than the average theist.
The brain creating consciousness and the existence of something that is not and that is other than subjective experience are probably logically impossible.
Oh, please give me an example of something from the human perspective that the brain didn't "create".
"As usual... it depends."

Post Reply