The aloneness argument against classical Theism

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.
baker
Posts: 594
Joined: November 28th, 2020, 6:55 am

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by baker » January 9th, 2021, 4:28 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 3:16 pm
A perfect being with omni-benevolence by essence is also required to be omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Implied in all of this is also the attribute of being a person, an agent with volition, thoughts, feelings, etc. But all these essential attributes can never work together, they contradict each other. No such divine person could exist.
To wit: Krishna/Vishnu. He has all those attributes (and more).

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 1193
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Umberto Eco
Location: Panama
Contact:

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by Count Lucanor » January 9th, 2021, 4:41 pm

baker wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:28 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 3:16 pm
A perfect being with omni-benevolence by essence is also required to be omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Implied in all of this is also the attribute of being a person, an agent with volition, thoughts, feelings, etc. But all these essential attributes can never work together, they contradict each other. No such divine person could exist.
To wit: Krishna/Vishnu. He has all those attributes (and more).
Good enough reason to understand it is a mere product of imagination.

baker
Posts: 594
Joined: November 28th, 2020, 6:55 am

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by baker » January 9th, 2021, 4:54 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:41 pm
baker wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:28 pm
To wit: Krishna/Vishnu. He has all those attributes (and more).
Good enough reason to understand it is a mere product of imagination.
Actually, the Hindu überGod is quite a bit trickier than the Abrahamic one. Hindu (mono)theism is impossible to refute, given that it has an inbuilt clause that if you don't see it as true, then this is because God thinks that you're not ready yet. There is no eternal damnation in Hindu (mono)theism. The threat of eternal damnation is a major incentive for apologetics that the Abrahamists have, and the Hindu (mono)theists don't.

Basically, the whole debate around the existence of God goes quite differently with a Hindu (mono)theist than with an Abrahamist.

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 1193
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Umberto Eco
Location: Panama
Contact:

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by Count Lucanor » January 20th, 2021, 9:40 pm

baker wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:54 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:41 pm
Good enough reason to understand it is a mere product of imagination.
Actually, the Hindu überGod is quite a bit trickier than the Abrahamic one. Hindu (mono)theism is impossible to refute, given that it has an inbuilt clause that if you don't see it as true, then this is because God thinks that you're not ready yet. There is no eternal damnation in Hindu (mono)theism. The threat of eternal damnation is a major incentive for apologetics that the Abrahamists have, and the Hindu (mono)theists don't.

Basically, the whole debate around the existence of God goes quite differently with a Hindu (mono)theist than with an Abrahamist.
If this deity "thinks", then it has all the attributes of a person and we're back to the same problems of contradictions in its nature faced by any other personal god. Eternal damnation is purely contingent to the narratives.

User avatar
Scott
Site Admin
Posts: 4394
Joined: January 20th, 2007, 6:24 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Diogenes the Cynic
Contact:

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by Scott » January 24th, 2021, 2:14 am

Hugh_Jidiette wrote:
January 6th, 2021, 11:15 am
1. Omni-benevolence entails permitting the most perfect world possible to obtain.
2. Necessarily, if God is omni-benevolent, God will permit the most perfect world possible to obtain
3. The most perfect world is one with no imperfections, to which its perfection could not be increased.
Regarding 1-3, I'm a bit confused by the phrase "most perfect". Do you mean best as in "best world possible"?
Hugh_Jidiette wrote:
January 6th, 2021, 11:15 am
8. A world where God exists alone does not obtain.
This premise seems to deny pantheism of any kind, rejection out of hand as a premise. If you flat out deny god's existence in your premises, then concluding the non-existence of god would be circular. Granted, your conclusion goes one step further to deny not only pantheistic god(s) but also non-pantheistic versions of god(s), so in that way the argument is completely circular, but is just one small step away from circular.

I think it would be preferable to remove premise #8 from your argument, and then modify your conclusion to be, "Therefore, either pantheism is true or god doesn't exist."

Hugh_Jidiette wrote:
January 7th, 2021, 3:33 am
Ecurb wrote:
January 6th, 2021, 4:07 pm
Who is more "benevolent", the person who loves only those who merit his love through their own perfection, or the person who loves those who are sinners and do not merit his love?

Perhaps "omni-benevolence" involves the logical necessity of imperfection, because benevolence itself is enhanced by loving those who do not deserve it. In that case, the "perfect world" (or, at least, the best of all possible worlds) would of necessity involve imperfections. This is true not only of love, but of other virtues, such as courage, which necessarily involves danger and suffering. Is a world without courage necessarily superior to one in which courage exists? Given this, your postulate #3 does not necessarily obtain.
Your response misses the point. This argument is against the God of classical Theism, not skeptical Theism, or open Theism.
The intended conclusion may be missed by the response, but that would be because the intended conclusion wasn't actually stated in the original argument. From @Hugh_Jidiette's response to @Ecurb, it appears Hugh_Jidiette's conclusion in the OP needs to be modified from "Therefore God does not exist" to instead be "Therefore, the God of classical theism does not exist, but the god of skeptical theism or open theism may exist."

With my earlier suggested modification to your argument, if you make it as suggested, the new conclusion would be:

"Therefore, the God of classical theism does not exist, but a pantheistic god may exist, or the god of skeptical theism or open theism may exist."
Atla wrote:
January 8th, 2021, 11:39 am
Hugh_Jidiette wrote:
January 6th, 2021, 11:15 am
8. A world where God exists alone does not obtain.

8- is obvious given we are having this conversation.
Can't there be two worlds?
That's a good question. I would also ask @Hugh_Jidiette how the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics relates to the argument in the OP?
baker wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:54 pm
Hindu (mono)theism is impossible to refute, given that it has an inbuilt clause that if you don't see it as true, then this is because God thinks that you're not ready yet.
@baker, I don't think that makes it necessarily impossible to refute. If you claim a married bachelor with god-like power named Greg runs the world, and if I don't believe in Greg it's because Greg made me not believe in him with his godlike power, I think I can refute that with sound logic; don't you?

Nonetheless, secondarily, there is a big difference between (1) refutability versus (2) believability. A great example of that fact is Russell's Teapot.
Online Philosophy Club - Please tell me how to improve this website!

Check it out: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often thought?

Atla
Posts: 1460
Joined: January 30th, 2018, 1:18 pm

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by Atla » January 25th, 2021, 3:38 am

Scott wrote:
January 24th, 2021, 2:14 am
Atla wrote:
January 8th, 2021, 11:39 am
Hugh_Jidiette wrote:
January 6th, 2021, 11:15 am
8. A world where God exists alone does not obtain.

8- is obvious given we are having this conversation.
Can't there be two worlds?
That's a good question. I would also ask @Hugh_Jidiette how the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics relates to the argument in the OP?
Well technically the MWI deals with the superposition of one world, which would be our godless world.. but maybe it's not impossible for a God to exist alone somewhere else in this superposition.

But we don't really need the MWI or the more common multiverse ideas here. If God is supernatural, he could just use Magic to create a second world outside his own world. Impossible to tell if we are living in such a world.

Belindi
Moderator
Posts: 3528
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by Belindi » January 26th, 2021, 5:17 am

Ecurb wrote:
January 6th, 2021, 4:07 pm
Who is more "benevolent", the person who loves only those who merit his love through their own perfection, or the person who loves those who are sinners and do not merit his love?

Perhaps "omni-benevolence" involves the logical necessity of imperfection, because benevolence itself is enhanced by loving those who do not deserve it. In that case, the "perfect world" (or, at least, the best of all possible worlds) would of necessity involve imperfections. This is true not only of love, but of other virtues, such as courage, which necessarily involves danger and suffering. Is a world without courage necessarily superior to one in which courage exists? Given this, your postulate #3 does not necessarily obtain.
If the creator deity is not only all powerful and all benevolent but also omniscient then there will be no sins for Him to forgive.

Gertie
Posts: 1224
Joined: January 7th, 2015, 7:09 am

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by Gertie » January 28th, 2021, 9:06 am

Hugh_Jidiette wrote:
January 6th, 2021, 11:15 am
1. Omni-benevolence entails permitting the most perfect world possible to obtain.
2. Necessarily, if God is omni-benevolent, God will permit the most perfect world possible to obtain
3. The most perfect world is one with no imperfections, to which its perfection could not be increased.
4. God is perfect- and necessarily omni-benevolent & omnipotent
5. Therefore a world where God alone exists is perfect by definition, since nothing can increase or add to its perfection.
6. The world where God alone exists is a possible world.
7. Therefore God would necessarily permit a world where he alone exists to obtain.
8. A world where God exists alone does not obtain.
9. Therefore God does not exist


1- follows from a definition of omni-benevolence. It does not necessarily by itself entail a perfect world. Theists tend to say 'possible' entails only what is logically possible- so maybe God can't logically eliminate all suffering/evil/imperfection in order to achieve some higher Good/perfection, if that good/perfection is achieved then God in permitting it is not acting contra his omni-benevolence.


2- Follows if the most perfect possible world is something God can actually bring about. Given his omnipotnece entails bringing about all logically possible worlds, the only question is- is the world sans creation possible? Yes (most theists think it actually obtained prior to creation).

3- I think this is pretty trivially true. A world lacking imperfections is presumably perfect. One could argue an empty world lacks imperfections, but is not perfect. But non existence is assumed to be an imperfection, so that doesn't follow.


4&5- God being perfect seems definitional to God. He is that which nothing greater than can be conceived, devoid of deficiency, possessing all the perfections. A world where God exists is by definition devoid of imperfections. Added to this, nothing permitted by God could add to its perfection- it could only ever add gratuitous imperfections. God could not justify that permittance by claiming to achieve some higher good or perfection, since by definition there could be none without suggesting a lack of perfection in the world prior to his permittance, which is to say that God alone is lacking a perfection, which entails he is imperfect, which is a contradiction.


6- Again, it is clearly possible for God to permit a possible world where he alone exists. Many theists believe he did just this prior to creation. To suggest otherwise seems to suggest either such a world is logically impossible, or God is not omnipotent. The latter is clearly impossible for God, the former is clearly wrong.


7- This follows from the above premises. Essentially, what God's omnipotence/omni-benevolence entail is that God would only permit a world where he alone exists. Perhaps you want to appeal to his freedom- but that would only be a freedom to permit gratuitous suffering. Whilst God may have that power, he would no more exercise it than he would commit an act of wanton evil, or an unjustifiable lie. Perhaps the response will be that in creating a world with free agents God is adding some value that did not already exist. But this commits you to the view that a perfect world can be lacking a value- that would of course be an imperfection. Or that God existing alone is not a perfect world. Given God is co-extensive with that world (as it contains nothing else) this implies God is not perfect, which runs into similar problems.


8- is obvious given we are having this conversation.


9- this follows because God has clearly failed to permit a world where he alone exists to obtain. Given God can not fail in this and given God's omni-benevolence entails this is what he would do, we can conclude that no perfect being with the attributes of omnipotence/omni-benevolence could possibly exist and the world exists. Given the world exists, then it is impossible for such a being to exist. These attributes are essential to God, therefore God can not exist.

The necessity here is one of logical entailment, such that to deny it would lead to a contradiction.
If we put aside that it's people who came up with the notion of a perfect god and what such a god would be like -

Then I think a perfect god is bullet-proof, because how can we imperfect creatures begin to understand perfection or what a perfect omni god would do?

A perfect god must have perfect reasons for the way the world is, which we can only imperfectly speculate about. Such as the free will argument, or the argument that a perfectly benevolent god has to be benevolent in some way (eg by forgiving the imperfections god gave us).

But how can we know. Once we accept premise 4 that a perfect god exists, we lose the grounds to question god's logic or actions. As you say -.


''A world where God exists is by definition devoid of imperfections''


hence the error must lie in our understanding.

baker
Posts: 594
Joined: November 28th, 2020, 6:55 am

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by baker » February 13th, 2021, 3:35 pm

Scott wrote:
January 24th, 2021, 2:14 am
baker wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:54 pm
Hindu (mono)theism is impossible to refute, given that it has an inbuilt clause that if you don't see it as true, then this is because God thinks that you're not ready yet.
baker, I don't think that makes it necessarily impossible to refute. If you claim a married bachelor with god-like power named Greg runs the world, and if I don't believe in Greg it's because Greg made me not believe in him with his godlike power, I think I can refute that with sound logic; don't you?

Nonetheless, secondarily, there is a big difference between (1) refutability versus (2) believability. A great example of that fact is Russell's Teapot.
None of this is an issue in Hinduism, for there, one is not threatened with eternal hellfire if one doesn't make the right religious choice in this lifetime.

Western theistic and atheistic discourse is permeated with Christianity's threat of eternal hellfire for making the wrong religious choice. The very relevance of discussing about God and trying to come to certainty about his existence or lack thereof is driven by this threat. Take away this threat, and the whole apologetics changes.

baker
Posts: 594
Joined: November 28th, 2020, 6:55 am

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by baker » February 13th, 2021, 3:38 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 20th, 2021, 9:40 pm
baker wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:54 pm
Actually, the Hindu überGod /.../
If this deity "thinks", then it has all the attributes of a person and we're back to the same problems of contradictions in its nature faced by any other personal god.
I don't see why. Could you explain it in brief?
Eternal damnation is purely contingent to the narratives.
The threat of eternal damnation shapes the approach to discussing theistic issues, like I noted above.

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 1193
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Umberto Eco
Location: Panama
Contact:

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by Count Lucanor » February 14th, 2021, 1:12 pm

baker wrote:
February 13th, 2021, 3:38 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 20th, 2021, 9:40 pm
baker wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:54 pm
Actually, the Hindu überGod /.../
If this deity "thinks", then it has all the attributes of a person and we're back to the same problems of contradictions in its nature faced by any other personal god.
I don't see why. Could you explain it in brief?
I already did. Only a person, a conscious agent with volition and purpose, thinks.

baker
Posts: 594
Joined: November 28th, 2020, 6:55 am

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by baker » February 14th, 2021, 4:07 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
February 14th, 2021, 1:12 pm
I already did. Only a person, a conscious agent with volition and purpose, thinks.
Yes. How is it a problem if God is like that?

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 1193
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Umberto Eco
Location: Panama
Contact:

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by Count Lucanor » February 15th, 2021, 11:04 am

baker wrote:
February 14th, 2021, 4:07 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
February 14th, 2021, 1:12 pm
I already did. Only a person, a conscious agent with volition and purpose, thinks.
Yes. How is it a problem if God is like that?
I will repeat myself:
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:41 pm
baker wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:28 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 3:16 pm
A perfect being with omni-benevolence by essence is also required to be omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Implied in all of this is also the attribute of being a person, an agent with volition, thoughts, feelings, etc. But all these essential attributes can never work together, they contradict each other. No such divine person could exist.
To wit: Krishna/Vishnu. He has all those attributes (and more).
Good enough reason to understand it is a mere product of imagination.

User avatar
Scott
Site Admin
Posts: 4394
Joined: January 20th, 2007, 6:24 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Diogenes the Cynic
Contact:

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by Scott » February 15th, 2021, 9:03 pm

baker wrote:
February 13th, 2021, 3:35 pm
Scott wrote:
January 24th, 2021, 2:14 am
baker wrote:
January 9th, 2021, 4:54 pm
Hindu (mono)theism is impossible to refute, given that it has an inbuilt clause that if you don't see it as true, then this is because God thinks that you're not ready yet.
baker, I don't think that makes it necessarily impossible to refute. If you claim a married bachelor with god-like power named Greg runs the world, and if I don't believe in Greg it's because Greg made me not believe in him with his godlike power, I think I can refute that with sound logic; don't you?

Nonetheless, secondarily, there is a big difference between (1) refutability versus (2) believability. A great example of that fact is Russell's Teapot.
None of this is an issue in Hinduism, for there, one is not threatened with eternal hellfire if one doesn't make the right religious choice in this lifetime.

Western theistic and atheistic discourse is permeated with Christianity's threat of eternal hellfire for making the wrong religious choice. The very relevance of discussing about God and trying to come to certainty about his existence or lack thereof is driven by this threat. Take away this threat, and the whole apologetics changes.
Hi, @baker, I could be wrong but I suspect there is a miscommunication here. I didn't mention hellfire in the slightest, and I am not sure what hellfire or such has to do with any part of my post at all, let alone specifically the main point that there is a significant and critical difference (1) refutability versus (2) believability.
Online Philosophy Club - Please tell me how to improve this website!

Check it out: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often thought?

Tegularius
Posts: 54
Joined: February 6th, 2021, 5:27 am

Re: The aloneness argument against classical Theism

Post by Tegularius » February 16th, 2021, 9:40 pm

Amazing how we keep recreating god with ifs & therefores. It's how we keep god alive for whose existence there is absolutely no proof which proves at least this much. If there is a god its perfection resides in its non-interference policy.

Post Reply

Philosophy Books of the Month

The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God's Plan

The Biblical Clock
by Daniel Friedmann
March 2021

Wilderness Cry: A Scientific and Philosophical Approach to Understanding God and the Universe

Wilderness Cry
by Dr. Hilary L Hunt M.D.
April 2021

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute: Tools To Spark Your Dream And Ignite Your Follow-Through

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute
by Jeff Meyer
May 2021

Surviving the Business of Healthcare: Knowledge is Power

Surviving the Business of Healthcare
by Barbara Galutia Regis M.S. PA-C
June 2021

Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure

Winning the War on Cancer
by Sylvie Beljanski
July 2021

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream
by Dr Frank L Douglas
August 2021

The Preppers Medical Handbook

The Preppers Medical Handbook
by Dr. William W Forgey M.D.
October 2021

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress: A Practical Guide

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress
by Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, MD
November 2021

Dream For Peace: An Ambassador Memoir

Dream For Peace
by Dr. Ghoulem Berrah
December 2021