Proof that the Christian god cannot exist

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Cris, Jun 21, 2001.

  1. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Proof that the Christian god cannot exist.

    This is a revision and refinement of a post I made over a year ago but there are so many new members now that I felt it worth a revisit.

    Omniscience vs. Human Free will. A Paradox.

    Omniscience: Perfect knowledge of past and future events.
    Free will: Freedom to choose between alternatives without external coercion.
    Paradox: Statements or events that have contradictory and inconsistent properties.

    Proposal:

    Christianity cannot claim that God is omniscient and also claim that humans have free will. The claims form a paradox, a falsehood.

    Reasoning:

    If God is omniscient then even before we are born God will have complete knowledge of every decision we are going to make.

    Any apparent choice we make regarding the acceptance or denial of Jesus as a savior is predetermined. This must be true to satisfy the assertion that God is omniscient. Effectively we have no choice in the matter. What we think is free will is an illusion. Our choices have been coerced since we exist and act according to the will of God.

    Alternatively if human free will is valid, meaning that the outcome of our decisions is not pre-determined or coerced, then God cannot be omniscient, since he would not know in advance our decisions.

    Question:

    If God knows the decision of every individual, before they are born, regarding the acceptance or denial of Jesus as a savior, then why does he create one set of individuals destined for heaven and another set destined for eternal damnation? This seems unjust, perverse and particularly evil.

    Conclusions:

    If God is omniscient then humans do not have free will (see argument above) and the apparent arbitrary choice of God to condemn many individuals to eternal damnation is evil. I.e. God does not possess the property of omni benevolence and is therefore not worth our attention.

    If humans have true free will then God cannot be omniscient (see argument above). If he is not omniscient then he also cannot be omnipotent since knowledge of the future is a prerequisite for total action. Without these abilities God can no longer be deemed a god – i.e. God does not exist.

    If humans do not have free will then the choice of whether to choose Jesus as a savior or not makes total nonsense of Christianity since the choice is pre-determined and we are merely puppets at the hands of an evil monster.

    Cris
     
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    I liked it the first time around

    And I like it now. The simplicity of the argument may seem deceptive to those wrapped in the mystery of God. However, it is as simple as it seems. This is perhaps the greatest irony of centuries of somewhat-careful theological construction. Perhaps even more amusing is the idea that the theology might have worked out except that it is based entirely on a priori points, and those apparently cannot be revised. An interesting application of a logical structure that would eventually find its home amid the scientific method. There is, of course, nothing scientific about the nature of the a priori, and that's why the theology doesn't work.

    But the simple fact is that whether we accept the work of Catholic theologians, and, later, the Protestant Reformers, it all diversifies from the same faulty a priori. Much like an error in an algebraic formula will stand out in the next generation; much like a genetic mutation will represent itself in the next generation--so, too, do the errors of theology declare themselves more and more boldly with each passing incarnation.

    I think the Christian response might be severely limited: the two most acceptable methods of addressing this paradox are unacceptable to the faith: Either the Bible has misguided human perception, which is unacceptable for the Universal accessibility and simplicity of God's message; or God simply doesn't exist that way and the Bible has less credibility than Iron John.

    You've spelled it out quite simply, Cris, and without assumptions of faith that cannot be evidenced. In this case, the Christians have painted us a portrait, and we apparently see it quite differently than they. Personally, I'm in definitive agreement with your arguement. Paradox accepted, impossibility of this God demonstrated.

    Good show, mate ....

    thanx,
    Tiassa

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  5. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks tiassa,

    I’ve tried hard to derive equally compelling arguments on other aspects of God’s alleged abilities but none come out so well. The Omni-benevolence factor and the presence of evil in the world should work but the argument is not so sharp.

    Of course my proof doesn’t show that a God doesn’t exist just that the Christian definition is impossible. But then that’s what happens when one plays with super superlatives. I guess if Christianity were to attempt to re-define its God to avoid the paradoxes like the above then really there wouldn’t be much left worth following.

    Cris
     
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  7. Arto Registered Member

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    The Christian paradox

    It's a strong argument, Cris.

    One down, a few to go. I wish it was that simple... The problem of course being that understanding the argument requires accepting logic, which, it seems doesn't quite agree with everyone. It's sometimes pretty darn hard to reason with the 'faithful'. But then again, I always liked the motto simple software for simple minds

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    If I would be a Christian, I'd probably answer the argument as follows: It only means that God in his glory exists outside the boundaries of space and time, and his mind works in a way you couldn't possibly even begin to comprehend. His being compasses all that ever was or will be, spanning time from beginning to end simultaneously. Blah blah blah.

    With a lot of extra capitals and pomposity. (No, I'm not a Creationist in disguise. Just heard enough of their arguments.)

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    By the way, I always felt that hell might not be such a bad place after all: it would be populated with people of at least a somewhat higher average IQ than heaven. It wouldn't get dull, that's for sure.

    Arto
     
  8. Porfiry Nomad Staff Member

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    LOL!

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  9. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Arto,

    You are right of course; the argument depends on rational thinking (use of reason), and faith doesn’t qualify.

    But I think the proof works no matter how many super superlatives are added. Whether the god is semi-natural, supernatural, outside of space and time, or whatever, it still comes down to – if he knows what we are going to do then human actions are pre-determined – i.e. free will is an illusion, and he remains a mere puppeteer.

    Oh yes and I like the hell part – yup looks like all the rational thinkers will go to hell – should provoke some really good debates without interruptions from the idiots who will have gone upstairs. So I’ll see you in hell

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    Cris
     
  10. DEVILDOG Registered Senior Member

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    Re: The Christian paradox



    Not to mention, that's where all MY friends will be. How 'bout ya'll friends.

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  11. sensei Registered Member

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    If God is omniscient then humans do not have free will (see argument above) and the apparent arbitrary choice of God to condemn many individuals to eternal damnation is evil. I.e. God does not possess the property of omni benevolence and is therefore not worth our attention.

    If humans have true free will then God cannot be omniscient (see argument above). If he is not omniscient then he also cannot be omnipotent since knowledge of the future is a prerequisite for total action. Without these abilities God can no longer be deemed a god – i.e. God does not exist.

    If humans do not have free will then the choice of whether to choose Jesus as a savior or not makes total nonsense of Christianity since the choice is pre-determined and we are merely puppets at the hands of an evil monster.


    cris,
    my point of vue is that we have free will and that god is omniscient.i also think that hell and heaven exist because of our free will.knowing that god is omniscient and omnipotent and that he is the one who gave us full freedom to act , he created hell for our sins and heaven ,i'll say as a reward for our good actions.
    life is about choices.
     
  12. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Hi Sensei,

    Welcome to sciforums.

    Everyone is free of course to hold their own points of view, but the issue here is whether your view represents truth or not. Your statements really just represent an unsupported assertion; you have not addressed the problem of the paradox.

    If the Christian god is omniscient then you will have the exact same analogous attributes as a computer program. Everything you do in your life and everything you are going to do has already been pre-determined (programmed by God). The computer program has absolutely no choice as to how it behaves once it has been started. In the same way if God created you according to his universal plans and if he has perfect knowledge of all future events then he has effectively programmed you to carry out those events. You have absolutely no free choice in the matter. Hence free will is a complete illusion, and Christianity is a mockery since it depends on free will to make that choice of being saved or not.

    The only way free will is possible is if your future choices are unknown, i.e. have not been pre-programmed. In which case God cannot be omniscient and is hence severely limited in his capabilities, to the point where he cannot be a God according to Christian definitions.

    Cris
     
  13. Arto Registered Member

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    10
    Adding fuel to the fire

    Just stumbled upon the following link. It's an article written by Peter Kirby where the Omniscience VS Free will question is explored at some length and detail: http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/xtianity/freewill.html

    I include here a couple of sample quotes from the page. All emphases are mine

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    And here's a very relevant quote for this discussion just now starting over at our forum:

    Also intriguing is the concept of whether an omniscient God would know his own future actions; i.e. would God himself have free will? Somewhat similar to the good old "Can God create a rock so big he can't lift it?"

    Arto
     
  14. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Arto,

    Thanks very much for the link. That's some heavy logic in parts but it seems to reach the same conclusions. I like this final quote in particular.

     
  15. sensei Registered Member

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    11
    If the Christian god is omniscient then you will have the exact same analogous attributes as a computer program. Everything you do in your life and everything you are going to do has already been pre-determined (programmed by God). The computer program has absolutely no choice as to how it behaves once it has been started. In the same way if God created you according to his universal plans and if he has perfect knowledge of all future events then he has effectively programmed you to carry out those events. You have absolutely no free choice in the matter. Hence free will is a complete illusion, and Christianity is a mockery since it depends on free will to make that choice of being saved or not.

    The only way free will is possible is if your future choices are unknown, i.e. have not been pre-programmed. In which case God cannot be omniscient and is hence severely limited in his capabilities, to the point where he cannot be a God according to Christian definitions

    hi

    cris,let's clarify the concept of free will.as you know man is open to the world,his destiny isn't set in stone and how his life progresses
    depend on an extent on the choices he makes; You can make a choice in your way of life or a choice in the actions you take .
    we have a very real hand in making meaning for our selves ( even the refusal to make a choice is a choice).
    you can't get always what you want and not all choices we make are going to work out,and we are not able to know wich are possible and wich are not.our choices are not pre-programmed so free will BUT doesn't mean that god is not omnicient,because why judjement,why hell why heaven ,if by GOD i'm programmed to be a criminal why should i pay for my CRIMES.in fact , according to me
    2 things are programmed the day you will come to the world and the day your soul will be taken back (god is omniscient)now god let you do what you want in this period of time he gave people the power to decide for them selves ,man is the only artisan of his
    destiny, GOD want it like that therefor more understandable the
    existance of heaven and hell.
    he created heaven and hell because he gave us free will and because he knew that this free will can lead us to the right or wrong way(therefor GOD is omnicient);important thing without programming our choices;you make your choices he will judje you at the end.
    one more important thing i'm not imposing this opinion,it's just some thoughts that i want to share with all of you.

    thank you

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  16. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    Free Will?

    Although I don't post too often in the Religious Debate forum feeling that I really don't care to play mind games regular like, every so often something comes up and I have to stick my two cents in. This time it's the 'free will' bit.

    A good while back, like maybe when I was nursing, I realized my control over my life was quite limited, including my choice to live. And then, many years later, I had an epiphany: I exited an airplane, went into free-fall and realized that until I decided to pull the rip-cord I had complete control over my life! It was solely my choice as to whether or not I lived or died ... that once I decided to pull the rip-cord, and did, others would again have a degree of control over my life.

    Needless to say, I've exercised my 'free will' numberous times since, pulled the rip-cord, and am around to say (for what it's worth): The only time I have felt completely free, totally in control of my life, my future, has been the time I have spend in free-fall.
     
  17. frink Registered Member

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    Cris, would you dispute the union of all free willing spirits constitutes omniscience?
     
  18. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Sensei,

    Consider a criminal living in one of the seedier areas of LA. He came from a broken home, his parents were criminals, he had very little schooling, and he turns out to be a serial killer. He is quite evil and ruthless by normal standards. Does he have any free will to choose his actions?

    If we say there is NOT a god or creator or controlling influence over the destiny of humans then clearly all his decisions are his own. He has complete free will to choose. Although some might say his environment and parental genes played a major role in his eventual psyche, and that his choices were going to be seriously biased – but that is another matter. And I am ignoring for the moment the philosophy of determinism.

    Now consider a creator god who is omniscient, i.e. has perfect knowledge of all events throughout the whole of time.

    Before this creator creates the universe he will have complete knowledge of everything that is going to happen, including all the actions and murders perpetrated by our evil LA citizen – who at this point of course doesn’t exist. In fact this god will know the actions and decisions that are going to be made by every human throughout their entire lives. He also knows with perfect certainty, which individuals will go to hell and which to heaven. In effect the whole of time has been mapped and is pre-determined. This must be true if your god is omniscient.

    Apparently content with this plan he initiates the creation of the universe.

    My question is how could our criminal be seen to have free will? He is completely powerless to do anything other than those actions that this god had pre-determined before the universe began. If our criminal were somehow to do some action that had not been pre-determined, i.e. an action that the god had not foreseen then this god could not be omniscient.

    It is simply impossible for an omniscient creator god to coexist with people who have free will. You have no choice but to choose one or the other. Which do you choose? If you have free will then your god cannot be omniscient, if you insist on his omniscience then you have no free will.

    Cris
     
  19. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Chagur,

    But you did make the decision to pull the chord, right? Or am I talking to a ghost?

    So what made you pull the chord? Determinism says that for every effect there is a cause. You pulled the chord (the effect), because of an instinctive survival instinct (the cause). The survival instinct (the effect this time) resulted from millions of years of evolutionary mutations (the cause). Etc, etc.

    So here I could claim that again you really had no free will in your choice. Your action was determined by a very long series of causes and effects. What you think is free will is an illusion.

    If you are not suffering from any mental ailments (e.g. clinical depression etc) then I’d bet that if you were in the same situation again you would still pull the chord. You really have no choice.

    Please don’t take my bet. I already feel guilty about Truestory. Don’t ask.

    Cris
     
  20. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Frink,

    Sorry my friend I don't understand your question.

    Cris
     
  21. thecurly1 Registered Senior Member

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    My personal oppionon

    God is not something the simple human mind can comprehend. There is no debate between free will and omniscient being. The reason he is omniscient is because he knows everything. By debating the subject he has won. We already admit for God to exist he must be all knowing and almighty, which makes him infinitely intelligent. We are ultimately just a bunch of idiots relative to him. This is too complicated for anyone to understand, no matter how smart you think you are.
    My final personal opinion may shock you all, God gave us free will. This is a gift from him to control our lives. I understand that this supposably isn't possible if we have free will, which would make the future malleable. Once again, this is too complicated for us to understand. Millions have tried ever since Christianity was founded, but no one has came up with any argument that holds up with enough validity. If they did no one would believe anymore. That is our answer.
     
  22. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    No way out

    Curly1,

    That is a cop out and a call to agnosticism (the claim that God is unknowable and incomprehensible). If you are a theist then be prepared to support your claims. You are also being ingenuous; you cannot make the claim that your god is omniscient and than state that you can’t explain how that is possible. If you KNOW he is omniscient then explain how you know that, and if you KNOW that humans have free will then explain how you know that. And if you can do all that then you must then explain the paradox I have proposed. If you are indeed an agnostic theist then you are not in a position to make any claims about any aspect of your god.

    The more you claim he knows the deeper becomes the paradox. If indeed he knows everything then he knows everything we are going to do – that is pre-determination again and prevents free will. Your answer that you don’t know how that is possible is unacceptable. The issue is not difficult. You are experiencing difficulty and are unable to explain it because it is a true paradox, an impossibility – hence your cowardly call to incomprehensibility.

    No it isn’t, it is simply impossible. You are the only ones who cannot understand it.

    So a gift huh? So normally, without this gift, he created us as mindless puppets that he could control, and what, the gift was an afterthought? – Oops – this game is too boring, what can I give my Sims to make them more interesting?

    So maybe it is time to accept that there is no answer, stop smashing your head again a brick wall trying to solve something that is impossible. Accept the obvious inevitable outcome that your god as you have defined him cannot exist. It is time to face reality.

    Now you are beginning to see the light. I have explained it quite adequately; the paradox is quite valid – your god cannot exist.

    Cris
     
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Getting involved when I shouldn't

    Cris--

    Forgive the intrusion, but I believe that, as Genesis has it, free will was a mistake. An accident.

    Oh, that's right, God doesn't make mistakes, right? Hmm .... so God gave us free will through a method calculated as to require our continued dependence, and thus inspire an "elective" revocation of free will. The absolute necessity of free will is required for faith, but God cannot stand the full potential of that free will, and must proscribe it. It's an ugly, ugly illustration that I've offered before: God is a shadow in a dark parking lot that growls in your ear and lets you know the knife is there--you lie still and take it, and try not to cry too loudly. And, much like she who chooses of free will to lie in the dark and take it--after all, it's a choice to do what he says, and not get stabbed to death--so, too, is compliance with God's demands no guarantee of anything. Just like that shadow can leave the knife in you anyway, God works in mysterious ways, and can punish you anyway. God wants childlike acceptance and obedience; strangely, what God doesn't understand is that the children may have received the instructions wrong. Apparently, it's the children's fault if the Father doesn't feel like communicating properly.
    It is only compassion toward human injury that makes me want to stop anyone from smashing their own head against a brick wall. Otherwise, I'm inclined to let people abuse themselves to death if they are so compelled. To be honest, I'm more worried about the smashing of heads other than one's own against brick walls.

    To the other, I should probably remove my grinning, nosy self from this one for now ... just a couple of cents because it's Friday and one doctor says I'm healthy (two to go) ... so ... yeah. Unfortunately, I don't get to drink this weekend. Oh, well. Tangents, tangents ....

    thanx much,
    Tiassa

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