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.
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Prof Bulani
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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Prof Bulani » January 16th, 2020, 11:04 am

Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 10:56 am
And how do you, as an atheist (I presume) know what theists think or prefer? Surely it would be better to write what you know best: your own position. As an atheist, you can hardly be expected to present the theist's case sympathetically, can you? πŸ˜‰
Didn't you just make the point that Spinoza was originally a theist, yet his definition of God had him effectively excommunicated from the Jewish community, and even labeled as a closet atheist? Didn't Spinoza abandon the definition of God as defined in the Jewish religion for a definition of God that, whilst logical, was drastically less ideal than his initial definition of God? I'm not the one speaking for theists, I'm just going by what you just said.
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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Pattern-chaser » January 16th, 2020, 11:13 am

Prof Bulani wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 10:56 am
Indeterminate means "it is not known". Do not interchange this with "it cannot be known".
It is both, so there is no confusion.
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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Pattern-chaser » January 16th, 2020, 11:16 am

Terrapin Station wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 10:58 am
But this is about what particular theists would believe.
Once again I ask you: how do you know what theists believe? Watching you setting up and then destroying straw man after straw man, I'm starting to get a little bored. Couldn't you just entertain us with your own beliefs, opinions and ideas?
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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Pattern-chaser » January 16th, 2020, 11:18 am

Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 11:16 am
Terrapin Station wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 10:58 am
But this is about what particular theists would believe.
Once again I ask you: how do you know what theists believe? Watching you setting up and then destroying straw man after straw man, I'm starting to get a little bored. Couldn't you just entertain us with your own beliefs, opinions and ideas?
Ooops! 😊😊😊 I answered @Terrapin Station, mistakenly thinking the post was written by @Prof Bulani. Apologies for confusing matters!
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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Pattern-chaser » January 16th, 2020, 11:19 am

Prof Bulani wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 11:04 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 10:56 am
And how do you, as an atheist (I presume) know what theists think or prefer? Surely it would be better to write what you know best: your own position. As an atheist, you can hardly be expected to present the theist's case sympathetically, can you? πŸ˜‰
Didn't you just make the point that Spinoza was originally a theist, yet his definition of God had him effectively excommunicated from the Jewish community, and even labeled as a closet atheist? Didn't Spinoza abandon the definition of God as defined in the Jewish religion for a definition of God that, whilst logical, was drastically less ideal than his initial definition of God? I'm not the one speaking for theists, I'm just going by what you just said.
No, that wasn't me. I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't read carefully enough! πŸ˜‰
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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Sculptor1 » January 16th, 2020, 11:24 am

Terrapin Station wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 10:17 am
Sculptor1 wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 10:05 am


So why would any god sustain a system of logic that acts to refute god's existence?
No religious believer would say that logic does this. They'd say that people who think it does either don't understand something about God, or something about logic, or they're making errors, etc.
But it was you that made the point.

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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Sculptor1 » January 16th, 2020, 11:32 am

Prof Bulani wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 11:04 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 10:56 am
And how do you, as an atheist (I presume) know what theists think or prefer? Surely it would be better to write what you know best: your own position. As an atheist, you can hardly be expected to present the theist's case sympathetically, can you? πŸ˜‰
Didn't you just make the point that Spinoza was originally a theist, yet his definition of God had him effectively excommunicated from the Jewish community, and even labeled as a closet atheist? Didn't Spinoza abandon the definition of God as defined in the Jewish religion for a definition of God that, whilst logical, was drastically less ideal than his initial definition of God? I'm not the one speaking for theists, I'm just going by what you just said.
I think that was me, though I think Spinoza was never really a theist in the conventional sense. He was a theist in the sense of wanting to stay alive. Atheism was a burning issue in his time.

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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Prof Bulani » January 16th, 2020, 11:42 am

Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 11:13 am
Prof Bulani wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 10:56 am
Indeterminate means "it is not known". Do not interchange this with "it cannot be known".
It is both, so there is no confusion.
It is not interchangeable. "I don't know" can never mean "nobody can ever possibly know".
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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Pattern-chaser » January 16th, 2020, 11:45 am

Prof Bulani wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 11:42 am
It is not interchangeable. "I don't know" can never mean "nobody can ever possibly know".
No, of course it can't. But in this case, both may be correctly applied, as both are true for this particular case. I'm sure I made that clear...?
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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Prof Bulani » January 16th, 2020, 11:52 am

Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 11:19 am
No, that wasn't me. I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't read carefully enough! πŸ˜‰
8) it happens.

Perhaps mentioning that I was a theist for most of my life would be irrelevant to you. The issue here isn't making assumptions about what theists believe, but rather discussing what theists claim. If a theists claims that they believe that God created the universe, I can't know what they believe, neither is it relevant. However, I can address what they claim. If that theist were top subsequently investigate the evidence we have pertaining the universe, and conclude, for example, that God initiated the big bang and let things fall in place naturally, then they've modified their own definition of God, since they are conceding that no creation process took place.

All I'm doing is pointing out that there is always a discrepancy in the definition of God before the proof and after the proof. Again, their beliefs are beyond me, I'm just interested in their claims.
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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Prof Bulani » January 16th, 2020, 11:54 am

Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 11:45 am
Prof Bulani wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 11:42 am
It is not interchangeable. "I don't know" can never mean "nobody can ever possibly know".
No, of course it can't. But in this case, both may be correctly applied, as both are true for this particular case. I'm sure I made that clear...?
I'm sorry, but I can't buy your appeal to special pleading here. Your assertion that something cannot be known requires your omniscience, in this case and in any other case.
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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Prof Bulani » January 16th, 2020, 11:58 am

Sculptor1 wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 11:32 am
Prof Bulani wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 11:04 am

Didn't you just make the point that Spinoza was originally a theist, yet his definition of God had him effectively excommunicated from the Jewish community, and even labeled as a closet atheist? Didn't Spinoza abandon the definition of God as defined in the Jewish religion for a definition of God that, whilst logical, was drastically less ideal than his initial definition of God? I'm not the one speaking for theists, I'm just going by what you just said.
I think that was me, though I think Spinoza was never really a theist in the conventional sense. He was a theist in the sense of wanting to stay alive. Atheism was a burning issue in his time.
A pattern may be emerging here. Having proven that God exists, Aristotle is now under suspicion of possibly never believing in God to begin with. And it seems as though the same may be true with Spinoza. Do you think we're on to something? Does proving that God exists imply that one believes that God doesn't exist?
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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by creation » January 16th, 2020, 1:06 pm

Prof Bulani wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 9:28 am
I want to mention @creation, a participant in this forum that believes God exists, but forgoes the conventional definitions of God, defining God as a duality of the universe (which exists) and the Mind (i.e., the collective of all knowledge that exists in the universe, some of which is captured in the human experience). Since no paradox arises in demonstrating that God, per this definition, actually exists, this may be an exception to the phenomenon this thread is addressing. Of course, this isn't in any way close to the popular definitions of God.
I think that you will find that my definitions of God here are in just about every way as close to the popular definitions of God as you will ever get.

That is if I am ever given the chance and allowed to actually show how my definitions are as close to the popular definitions of God as you will get and can be.

The definitions I provided have come about because of, and from, some of the conventional or popular definitions of God. I did not just make up my definitions for the word 'God' without taking in consideration of some of the other conventional or popular definitions of God.

I also want to make it absolutely 100% CLEAR that I neither believe nor disbelieve God exists. Okay?
Prof Bulani wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 9:28 am
But it's a definition nonetheless, and as such I'll work with it. Not personally, mind you, but as a counterexample to other proofs that God exists.
If you want to use my definition as a "counterexample" to other proofs that God exists, then be forewarned and do not be at all surprised if, and when, I counter your "counterexample" with examples that show and/or prove how just about all of the other conventional and/or popular definitions of God also fit in perfectly with my definition of God, which you admit demonstrates that God does exist.

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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by anonymous66 » January 16th, 2020, 2:07 pm

Prof Bulani wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 9:16 am
anonymous66 wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 9:01 am
I read your OP as the assertion: "If God exists then many problems arise- because that means God is limited by the physical". I am merely pointing out that many believe that God is not physical- and those same people make very few claims about God. They believe that all that we can say about God is what God is not.

Not all definitions of God are paradoxical in the way you suggest.
Fair enough. That was neither my assertion nor my implication. And to clarify, I explicitly stated that the problem isn't giving God a non-physical definition. That's not what the paradox is about. It is evident now that I could have been clearer in my op. The paradox doesn't exist in the case of any one single definition, but rather it is the discrepancy among the two definitions that arise when someone attempts to prove that God exists: namely the initial definition, and the logically consistent definition. For the most part, it's unnecessary to define God in a logically consistent way to merely believe that God exists. This is by large the normal way people believe in God. It's only when an individual is challenged to use some form of solid logic to argue that God actually exists, taking as objective an approach as they can, that they must abandon this idealist definition and modify it to something that actually is logically consistent. The paradox occurs within the mind of the one doing the proving, as a God that can be demonstrated with logic to exist in reality is always an unimpressive and often useless God, far removed from the definition they idealized originally.

In my last few comments I expounded on Aristotle's proof of God, and the transition his definition of God underwent. Very likely I'll go into other cases of logical proofs of God as examples of the same paradox occurring.
Assuming for the sake of argument that your narrative of how Aristotle changed his views about God is correct (and I'm not convinced it is)- what do you mean by "unimpressive and useless?" The narrative you use suggests that Aristotle changed his view of God from that of merely accepting what his culture believed, to using logic to determine what God must "really be like". Shouldn't we look to see if Aristotle's later view of God (according to your narrative) is coherent and logical? What do you take Aristotle's later view to be? And what, in your estimation, are the problems with that view?

I'm also curious- if Aristotle had no view of God to begin with, and then attempted to formulate a view of God using logic and reason- Does that change anything for you? What would you make of Aristotle's efforts? (What do you make of people have no preconceived notions of God, and then who go on to formulate a view of God using logic and reason?)

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Re: The "God exists" paradox

Post by Terrapin Station » January 16th, 2020, 3:37 pm

Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 11:16 am
Terrapin Station wrote: ↑
January 16th, 2020, 10:58 am
But this is about what particular theists would believe.
Once again I ask you: how do you know what theists believe? Watching you setting up and then destroying straw man after straw man, I'm starting to get a little bored. Couldn't you just entertain us with your own beliefs, opinions and ideas?
:-/ :-\ I've not been "destroying" anything. I've actually been arguing in defense of theists that they don't posit a God that they then say can't exist in reality.

The way I know what a lot of theists say is via talking to them, reading what they write, etc. for the past four-plus decades.

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