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Why doesn't god prove himself?

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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Greta
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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Greta » February 4th, 2019, 12:00 am

What would a proof of God look like? To how many? How often? You can't just show one generation and expect far more advanced descendants to just take the ancients' word for it, especially given the huge amount of proven misinformation provided by those earlier generations.

Many believers would say that the deity is available to be tapped into and proven to oneself at any given time if we would just be open to it. At that point, I look at the believer - his or her conduct, attitudes, capabilities and attainments - for signs of being exceptional, one of the minority capable of tapping into the Source of the universe. After all, one might look to see if such people display unusual humility, understanding, kindness, altruism, empathy, reason and, well, wisdom.

From what I've seen this tends not to be the case, which opens up the other possibility that the person was so retrograde and generally screwed up before finding God that even now being vaguely normal is a major achievement, and instances of this are well documented. Seemingly the God meme is more effective at lifting people from a low point than helping those who are already coping to develop to their full potentials.

Also note that the God meme has not only helped many but has many victims. Numerous killers and would-be killers have claimed to be guided by God. Politicians and citizenry committing atrocities in God's (or Allah's) name. In that sense, the God meme can be thought of like any other, eg. science, technology, philosophy etc in that it can be used for growth or entropy.

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Fdesilva » February 4th, 2019, 11:01 pm

Greta wrote:
February 4th, 2019, 12:00 am
Many believers would say that the deity is available to be tapped into and proven to oneself at any given time if we would just be open to it. At that point, I look at the believer - his or her conduct, attitudes, capabilities and attainments - for signs of being exceptional, one of the minority capable of tapping into the Source of the universe. After all, one might look to see if such people display unusual humility, understanding, kindness, altruism, empathy, reason and, well, wisdom.

From what I've seen this tends not to be the case, which opens up the other possibility that the person was so retrograde and generally screwed up before finding God that even now being vaguely normal is a major achievement, and instances of this are well documented. Seemingly the God meme is more effective at lifting people from a low point than helping those who are already coping to develop to their full potentials.
What do you think of these people?

Maximilian Kolbe
https://www.piercedhearts.org/theology_ ... _kolbe.htm

Mother Teresa
https://www.biographyonline.net/nobelpr ... eresa.html

John Paul II
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-John-Paul-II

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Greta » February 4th, 2019, 11:53 pm

Fdesilva wrote:
February 4th, 2019, 11:01 pm
Greta wrote:
February 4th, 2019, 12:00 am
Many believers would say that the deity is available to be tapped into and proven to oneself at any given time if we would just be open to it. At that point, I look at the believer - his or her conduct, attitudes, capabilities and attainments - for signs of being exceptional, one of the minority capable of tapping into the Source of the universe. After all, one might look to see if such people display unusual humility, understanding, kindness, altruism, empathy, reason and, well, wisdom.

From what I've seen this tends not to be the case, which opens up the other possibility that the person was so retrograde and generally screwed up before finding God that even now being vaguely normal is a major achievement, and instances of this are well documented. Seemingly the God meme is more effective at lifting people from a low point than helping those who are already coping to develop to their full potentials.
What do you think of these people?

Maximilian Kolbe
https://www.piercedhearts.org/theology_ ... _kolbe.htm

Mother Teresa
https://www.biographyonline.net/nobelpr ... eresa.html

John Paul II
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-John-Paul-II
Do you really think that, if one takes a large group of believers, that some won't be exceptional human beings? Where's the logic in that? If there were no exceptional people amongst the many millions of Christians that would be a bizarre thing that would require explaining. While Mother Teresa's legacy is more mixed than her popular image would suggest, and popes are basically just CEOs of an organisation with a disgraceful history of egregiously immoral and predator behaviour.

As for the other fellow, of whom I know nothing, even if he is a terrific sort and he was a Christian, that does not say much given the rise of extremism, including millions of people in the US alone.

I appreciate the value of boundaries for those who need them to avoid being a danger to others, but for many of us a more sophisticated system than the Bible's uncompromising, something trivially childish, demands. Young civilisations, like young people, need clear direction. Once maturity has set in, regression tends to be counter productive.

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Fdesilva » February 7th, 2019, 1:31 am

Greta wrote:
February 4th, 2019, 11:53 pm
I appreciate the value of boundaries for those who need them to avoid being a danger to others, but for many of us a more sophisticated system than the Bible's uncompromising, something trivially childish, demands. Young civilisations, like young people, need clear direction. Once maturity has set in, regression tends to be counter productive.
What have you worked out about this sophisticated system? What does it entail?

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Greta » February 7th, 2019, 4:14 am

One example: sex. A religion might say that only regular heterosexual relations within marriage are right and proper. A more sophisticated system recognises that people are not all the same and demanding that conformity from outliers tends to cause harm and inhibit those persons' human potentials.

Would you like more examples? I stopped at one because a long list would be gratuitous - 2,000 years of subsequent learning. An intelligent species that learns nothing new in 2,000 years is not very intelligent, is it?

Fortunately, a great deal has been learned since thanks to many brilliant pioneering minds - leading us to ever more sophisticated conceptions of the nature of reality and learning ever more about the kinds of things that can happen to people and societies via history's lessons.

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Fdesilva » February 7th, 2019, 3:22 pm

Greta wrote:
February 7th, 2019, 4:14 am
One example: sex. A religion might say that only regular heterosexual relations within marriage are right and proper. A more sophisticated system recognises that people are not all the same and demanding that conformity from outliers tends to cause harm and inhibit those persons' human potentials.

Would you like more examples? I stopped at one because a long list would be gratuitous - 2,000 years of subsequent learning. An intelligent species that learns nothing new in 2,000 years is not very intelligent, is it?

Fortunately, a great deal has been learned since thanks to many brilliant pioneering minds - leading us to ever more sophisticated conceptions of the nature of reality and learning ever more about the kinds of things that can happen to people and societies via history's lessons.
I was hoping you would be more explicit about what the sophisticated system was about. In the absence of such, based on what you have said, would I be right to summarise the sophisticated system as follows
Take the situation that a farmer wants rain
1. Sophisticated system says: You just have to put up and wait for it. Reason : Everything is made from Time, space and matter. It is deterministic. The things beyond the control of human action cannot be changed by any means what soever.
2. Religious system says : Pray about it. Reason : Everything was created by a Mind. Time, space and matter were created by the Mind. All minds and life it self was created by the Mind. Time, space and matter is ordered by the Mind for a greater purpose. The things beyond the control of human action are always under the control of the Mind. Praying to the Mind will enable the Mind to reveal the greater purpose in all events.
So for the sophisticated system to be correct, it would require that minds/life can be created from time/space and matter. Otherwise it false?

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Greta » February 7th, 2019, 4:27 pm

Fdesilva wrote:
February 7th, 2019, 3:22 pm
Greta wrote:
February 7th, 2019, 4:14 am
One example: sex. A religion might say that only regular heterosexual relations within marriage are right and proper. A more sophisticated system recognises that people are not all the same and demanding that conformity from outliers tends to cause harm and inhibit those persons' human potentials.

Would you like more examples? I stopped at one because a long list would be gratuitous - 2,000 years of subsequent learning. An intelligent species that learns nothing new in 2,000 years is not very intelligent, is it?

Fortunately, a great deal has been learned since thanks to many brilliant pioneering minds - leading us to ever more sophisticated conceptions of the nature of reality and learning ever more about the kinds of things that can happen to people and societies via history's lessons.
I was hoping you would be more explicit about what the sophisticated system was about. In the absence of such, based on what you have said, would I be right to summarise the sophisticated system as follows
Take the situation that a farmer wants rain
1. Sophisticated system says: You just have to put up and wait for it. Reason : Everything is made from Time, space and matter. It is deterministic. The things beyond the control of human action cannot be changed by any means what soever.
2. Religious system says : Pray about it. Reason : Everything was created by a Mind. Time, space and matter were created by the Mind. All minds and life it self was created by the Mind. Time, space and matter is ordered by the Mind for a greater purpose. The things beyond the control of human action are always under the control of the Mind. Praying to the Mind will enable the Mind to reveal the greater purpose in all events.
So for the sophisticated system to be correct, it would require that minds/life can be created from time/space and matter. Otherwise it false?
I expect there was a lot of praying going on in very religious South Africa during their drought - but it was only deterministic forces that broke the drought. In some instances cloud seeding is done to encourage raid, which is obviously more effective than just petitioning a spirit that may or may not exist, whose power seems to only exist in the personal rather than extrapersonal domain.

Take the situation that a person needs to be cured from a bacterial illness. For much of history the religious approach was to exorcise the inhabiting sickmaking spirit, the sophisticated approach is to either use antibiotics or ride out the illness, keeping up the fluids to flush out the nasties.

I have recently spoken with two Christians on another forum who both believe that women should never have been granted suffrage and are intrinsically inferior to males in every arena aside from sex and childbirth. They believe that women must always obey the husband, who they think has every right to beat their wives as much as they see fit if she fails to obey. I am personally glad that our societies have become more sophisticated and moved far beyond that or we could not have this conversation - I would be silenced, doing housework. Never mind letting a woman moderate a philosophy forum! On a more practical level, lack of womens' rights in the modern world is synonymous with social and economic failure; what culture today can compete if they ignore the capabilities of half their human resources?

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Fdesilva » February 7th, 2019, 9:30 pm

Greta wrote:
February 7th, 2019, 4:27 pm
I expect there was a lot of praying going on in very religious South Africa during their drought - but it was only deterministic forces that broke the drought. In some instances cloud seeding is done to encourage raid, which is obviously more effective than just petitioning a spirit that may or may not exist, whose power seems to only exist in the personal rather than extrapersonal domain.

Take the situation that a person needs to be cured from a bacterial illness. For much of history the religious approach was to exorcise the inhabiting sickmaking spirit, the sophisticated approach is to either use antibiotics or ride out the illness, keeping up the fluids to flush out the nasties.
So like the case of the rain are all your actions also governed by deterministic forces? That is
1. Freedom of Thoughts: Suppose you had to pick a number, Firstly do you feel free to pick any number you want?
However despite feeling free, you believe/know the number you pick is determined by the state of your brain and body?
In the same way
2. Freedom of action: If you were to move your hand, Do you feel free to move the hand in any direction? Yet you believe/know that this movement is determined by the state of you brain and body?

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Greta » February 8th, 2019, 12:15 am

Fdesilva wrote:
February 7th, 2019, 9:30 pm
Greta wrote:
February 7th, 2019, 4:27 pm
I expect there was a lot of praying going on in very religious South Africa during their drought - but it was only deterministic forces that broke the drought. In some instances cloud seeding is done to encourage raid, which is obviously more effective than just petitioning a spirit that may or may not exist, whose power seems to only exist in the personal rather than extrapersonal domain.

Take the situation that a person needs to be cured from a bacterial illness. For much of history the religious approach was to exorcise the inhabiting sickmaking spirit, the sophisticated approach is to either use antibiotics or ride out the illness, keeping up the fluids to flush out the nasties.
So like the case of the rain are all your actions also governed by deterministic forces? That is
1. Freedom of Thoughts: Suppose you had to pick a number, Firstly do you feel free to pick any number you want?
However despite feeling free, you believe/know the number you pick is determined by the state of your brain and body?
In the same way
2. Freedom of action: If you were to move your hand, Do you feel free to move the hand in any direction? Yet you believe/know that this movement is determined by the state of you brain and body?
You are more interested in the free will v determinism debate than I anticipated.

My view is bland in this area - since it appears as though we have free will, that will do me. I expect there are many instances of long term knock on effects that resonate into our lives and impact on our decisions without us having a clue that they exist. To say that that is all that happens is, though, is too big a call.

I do have to say that many times I have been struck by how I and others can be "meat puppets" and personally think we underestimate just how much of what we think of as "me" is actually our natural, technological, cultural and social environments.

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Fdesilva » February 8th, 2019, 12:55 am

Greta wrote:
February 8th, 2019, 12:15 am
Fdesilva wrote:
February 7th, 2019, 9:30 pm

So like the case of the rain are all your actions also governed by deterministic forces? That is
1. Freedom of Thoughts: Suppose you had to pick a number, Firstly do you feel free to pick any number you want?
However despite feeling free, you believe/know the number you pick is determined by the state of your brain and body?
In the same way
2. Freedom of action: If you were to move your hand, Do you feel free to move the hand in any direction? Yet you believe/know that this movement is determined by the state of you brain and body?
You are more interested in the free will v determinism debate than I anticipated.

My view is bland in this area - since it appears as though we have free will, that will do me. I expect there are many instances of long term knock on effects that resonate into our lives and impact on our decisions without us having a clue that they exist. To say that that is all that happens is, though, is too big a call.

I do have to say that many times I have been struck by how I and others can be "meat puppets" and personally think we underestimate just how much of what we think of as "me" is actually our natural, technological, cultural and social environments.
Yes because the mind with its “Free will” is the greatest proof God has given of His existence. As you acknowledge the debate between free will v determinism continues. However, most people will agree that they have a feeling of free-will. It may well be an illusion nevertheless the feeling of having free-will is a common attribute to human existence. As such even if determinism is correct, what needs to be demonstrated is that the feeling of free will is peculiar to the structure of the brain. That somehow only that type of structure and no other can have a feeling of free-will. At this stage science is miles away from making such a conclusion. Thus if one believes the mind is totally deterministic to the same extent as the air and the wind that produces rain, then there is no precluding the possibility that the air and the wind may also have a mind. In which case praying makes sense as it may be no different to one friend requesting something from another.

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Eduk » February 8th, 2019, 3:30 am

Given we have free will how do we know therefore that God is male?
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Fdesilva » February 8th, 2019, 3:21 pm

Eduk wrote:
February 8th, 2019, 3:30 am
Given we have free will how do we know therefore that God is male?
We dont. The God we can know from philsophy is simply the concept of a Mind. I see the difference between an atheist and a theist as follows. Consider the universe.
The universe has a beginning and will end.
It is finite.
Anything finite needs a creator.
Only the infinite does not need a creator.
As such the creator of the finite must be infinite.
Both atheist and theist agree on this.
What is in contention is if the infinite is intelligent or a random process.
The Atheist hypothesis is the existence random creative force that creates every possibility
The Theist hypothesis is the existence of a Loving creator that can create every possibility but chooses to create the most loving.

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Greta » February 8th, 2019, 3:48 pm

Fdesilva wrote:
February 8th, 2019, 12:55 am
Greta wrote:
February 8th, 2019, 12:15 am

You are more interested in the free will v determinism debate than I anticipated.

My view is bland in this area - since it appears as though we have free will, that will do me. I expect there are many instances of long term knock on effects that resonate into our lives and impact on our decisions without us having a clue that they exist. To say that that is all that happens is, though, is too big a call.

I do have to say that many times I have been struck by how I and others can be "meat puppets" and personally think we underestimate just how much of what we think of as "me" is actually our natural, technological, cultural and social environments.
Yes because the mind with its “Free will” is the greatest proof God has given of His existence. As you acknowledge the debate between free will v determinism continues. However, most people will agree that they have a feeling of free-will. It may well be an illusion nevertheless the feeling of having free-will is a common attribute to human existence. As such even if determinism is correct, what needs to be demonstrated is that the feeling of free will is peculiar to the structure of the brain. That somehow only that type of structure and no other can have a feeling of free-will. At this stage science is miles away from making such a conclusion. Thus if one believes the mind is totally deterministic to the same extent as the air and the wind that produces rain, then there is no precluding the possibility that the air and the wind may also have a mind. In which case praying makes sense as it may be no different to one friend requesting something from another.
Why are Middle Easterners assumed to have been correct with their monotheistic conception 2,000 year ago and the rest of the world was wrong?

Why not the Indian Hindus and their pantheon of deities, each representing an aspect of life? Or Buddhists and their explorations into the nature of being, or the Zen school? What of the sophisticated Chinese Tao, with its principles that govern how things work? I see no logical reason to favour any of the Middle Eastern universal models over others (they were, in truth, simply militarily and politically successful). Why favour a model that's 2,000 years old that includes a flat Earth, evil spirits and portentous comets over today's much more informed view?

If you can't prove free will, it is illogical to tout that contestable concept as a proof of the contestable concept of God. If quantum processes in the brain are not all swamped by incoherence then those will not be subject to relativistic determinism. However, that's the case for any system with complex informational flows impacted by subtle quantum processes and not necessarily proof of God.

As mentioned, I don't think the idea of free will is wildly important. People would feel more free if not so controlled by governments, corporations, family, neighbours, and the need to accommodate the increasing billions of human beings with whom they are being crushed. For instance, are you free to go out into the wild and experience natural living? If not, what is holding you back? We are very far from free so I find the question only theoretical, moot.

Also, the structure of the brain may well not be the only conduit through which sentience can flow. Consciousness may yet transcend its "wetware" origins. All we have is one planet as an example, and this is still the universe's infancy. Given the innovations of nature over the last 13.8 billions years, why assume there will be no more major developments in sentience the next 1,000 billion years of the universe's life?

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Eduk » February 8th, 2019, 4:30 pm

@Fdesilva I am an atheist and disagree with pretty much everything you just said. I'm sure it would be trivial to find a theist who also disagreed with what you just said.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Why doesn't god prove himself?

Post by Fdesilva » February 9th, 2019, 5:26 pm

Greta wrote:
February 8th, 2019, 3:48 pm
Why are Middle Easterners assumed to have been correct with their monotheistic conception 2,000 year ago and the rest of the world was wrong?

Why not the Indian Hindus and their pantheon of deities, each representing an aspect of life? Or Buddhists and their explorations into the nature of being, or the Zen school? What of the sophisticated Chinese Tao, with its principles that govern how things work? I see no logical reason to favour any of the Middle Eastern universal models over others (they were, in truth, simply militarily and politically successful). Why favour a model that's 2,000 years old that includes a flat Earth, evil spirits and portentous comets over today's much more informed view?
Hindus believe in a supreme God the creator of all. For Buddhist the concept is implicit. That is they believe that there is a moral law that governs where your next life will be depending on your current. Just as water will flow down hill or evaporate depending on its state so your soul enter another life depending its state and the end of this life. This implies a system that is morally aware and controls everything. This system is what other religions call God.
Greta wrote:
February 8th, 2019, 3:48 pm
If you can't prove free will, it is illogical to tout that contestable concept as a proof of the contestable concept of God. If quantum processes in the brain are not all swamped by incoherence then those will not be subject to relativistic determinism. However, that's the case for any system with complex informational flows impacted by subtle quantum processes and not necessarily proof of God.

As mentioned, I don't think the idea of free will is wildly important. People would feel more free if not so controlled by governments, corporations, family, neighbours, and the need to accommodate the increasing billions of human beings with whom they are being crushed. For instance, are you free to go out into the wild and experience natural living? If not, what is holding you back? We are very far from free so I find the question only theoretical, moot.

Also, the structure of the brain may well not be the only conduit through which sentience can flow. Consciousness may yet transcend its "wetware" origins. All we have is one planet as an example, and this is still the universe's infancy. Given the innovations of nature over the last 13.8 billions years, why assume there will be no more major developments in sentience the next 1,000 billion years of the universe's life?
Now you make the statement “If you can't prove free will”
Firstly do you think it needs proving in the first person? Does a person need to prove to themselves they have free will? I see it as an axiom.
Now if you mean by proof, how does the physics and chemistry bring it about then many have put forward different explanation. Naturally I like my own which I have written about it in this forum on links below. In summary the conscious experience gives direct proof that the self is not material. It must be a spirit.

Free will
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=14118

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14135&start=195#p327221

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=16065#p327254

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=16119&start=30#p328486

Collapse of the wave function
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=10534&start=195#p328203

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=10534&start=195#p328215
Publication
https://philpapers.org/rec/DESCAS

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