The one theology book all atheists really should read

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Musika, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe I didn't understand the article but my understanding is that they are claiming God is another name for nature or physics. No where did I see that God was personified.

    Again the definition that God is another name for nature, reality or physics, was from the article. My personal definition of God is something involving mythology, I haven't spent that much time thinking about it in recent years.
    I did not see where the idea of God in that article included a conscience being or individual. The seemed to derogatorally call such a being a "super hero".

    I did skim the article so maybe I missed it. But it sounds like you are interpreting the article to define God as the creator and master of the universe, so why is this article different than any other theists concept of God.
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I read the article of course. I thought you were suggesting reading the book.

    (I think you may be trying to outguess the post responses you expect to get. "I know what you're about to say, so don't." That's confusing your primary message, but we can get into that elsewhere.)

    I think the trouble there is that it is essentially begging the question writ large.

    The theist is saying to the atheist: "Look, if you want to understand God, you will first have to accept that he is not discrete, or analyzable or otherwise subject to scientific inquiry".

    Well yeah, if you accept that as a premise, then you are already halfway down the rabbit hole toward faith-based belief.


    Sure, with the proviso that their definition actually meet the criteria for being a definition.

    I refer you to Jan as a local example, who plays Three Card Monty with words.
    'God doesn't "exist"; God just "Is"'. "
    'Atheist literally means without God, therefore atheists admit God.'
    etc.

    This is not good faith debate. There is a strong tendency for theism to hide behind blurry descriptions, double-meanings and Mysteries Man Cannot Know.


    If theists want to have a rational discussion about their faith, I'm afraid they have some responsibility for dragging it out of the hazy shadows of mystery and shining some bright light on it. Otherwise, there is no "definition", and thus no argument to be had.
     
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    That's a bit like examining a soap bubble by stapling it to the lab bench.
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Good one.

    Still, do you dismiss the idea that, in order to rationally examine something, you need to be rational and actually examine it?

    If the defenses are akin to "Well, that's beyond us to know" or "God just always existed" would you say that counts as valid material for rational examination?
     
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    It seems to set rationality aside.

    I'd be the first one to say that we don't have to be rational about everything. For example, chocolate is obviously the best flavour of ice cream but I wouldn't go so far as to say that that is a rational conclusion. Sometimes it's okay to set rationality aside.

    What bugs me is people claiming to be rational when they are clearly not being rational. It's okay to not be rational about "the meaning of life", etc.
     
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  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I'm inclined to argue that way. But the conclusion that I draw isn't theism, it's agnosticism. (At least regarding the big metaphysical questions.)

    That's a metaphysical belief and again we are faced with justifying belief in it. If God really is unknowable, I'm not sure how we could know something like that.

    One can rationally inquire into how one might come to learn such things. And one can rationally inquire into whether such beliefs are internally consistent.
     
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Absolutely!

    The problem only arises when it gets voiced aloud, in public, that chocolate is the best flavour (as opposed to I prefer chocolate).
     
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Agree.


    (It was here on SciFo, recently, where I finally got a concept of agnosticism that made sense to me.
    Someone - it might even have been you - pointed out that, even if we were to prove that God exists (say by following his spoor, or finding his house), that still does not show that he was the source of the universe. We cannot possibly ever know that. There is no way to know.)
     
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    If you found his house, stop by and ask him.
     
  13. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

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    If he's home, he'll meet you at the door before you knock and give the answer to the unasked question.

    Can you take that, or is it a life sentence?
     
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  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    You should stick with philosophy instead of dabbling in theology. Philosophy is to theology as astronomy is to astrology.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  15. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    Having a philosophical argument for god, as opposed to an empirical one, would be acceptable. But what makes this God necessary? Apart from your definining it as necessary? What makes this concept different from physics or space-time?

    It seems to me the emperor isn't wearing any clothes, and it doesn't matter if it's pantaloons, bloomers, or jcrew slacks that he's not wearing.
     
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    And that is of course silly - efforts to pin some theist down to one or more of the well known theistic definitions of God, including that kind, are half the bandwidth devoted to overt Abrahamic theism here, for example. "Accepting" the definition requires that it be presented, coherently and accountably, and that's not something overt Abrahamic theists in general are up for around here.

    And the notion that "the" theistic definition of God is that sophisticated Version II quasi-Taoist one, or that if it were it would be the atheistic who were unaware of the fact, is just fantasy. Not 1% of the theistic adherents of a theistic religion (clergy or laity) in the US harbor belief in any such God, and awareness or recognition of that aspect of spiritual reality is more rather than less common among the atheistic.

    Even the tiny number of overtly theistic claimants to such a God - especially the ones who use the Abrahamic term "God" and identify their conception with the Biblical monodeity (the post-Genesis revision) - seem to have extrication (from Version I) problems so severe as to be invalidating.

    For example, "the cause of reality" is a category error, even as a metaphor, with obvious roots in a Version I God. This is something that anyone genuinely harboring a Version II God, rather than a Version I God, would realize almost automatically. As a philosophical insight it is thousands of years old.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    That might be an effect of a particular subjective dualism arising when an argues against particular iteration of God, implicitly restricting the question of yes or no to that iteration, and extending it to all or simply failing to acknowledge other iterations do exist in the world. The article describes a theological range where monotheism starts to become panentheistic, which is different from what most theist/atheist disputes usually countenance.

    There is a bit I've pushed in recent months, about letting people we don't trust define the terms of discourse. This is a weird effect that comes up now and then. You're trying to fit a stereotype built from someone else's woo into a box that won't hold it.
     
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I think the biggest problem with atheists is that they just aren't as sophisticated as the average theist and just don't appreciate the nuance that is God.
     
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  19. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

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    Well, then. You must be a deep thinker.

    Pray, tell us all about the nuance?
     
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  20. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Theology is stacked to the hilt with philosophy, both in terms of history and culture and development.

    IOW you cannot even talk about the development and existence of philosophy in any meaningful way if you bypass religion.

    So when you speak like this, you are not actually challenging religious discourse, but rather challenging historical and philosophical discourse.

    I believe the technicsl term is "speaking crap".
     
  21. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    You can't appreciate the philosophical underpinnings of Aladdin and his lamp and Alibaba and his flying carpet without understanding the theism behind them. It's too interwoven in our society to separate them.
     
  22. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

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    Who were you speaking to?
     
  23. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Well, for a start, that would be a discussion about philosophical necessity and not scientific necessity. That, in itself, would be a refreshing line of thought compared to the path such discussions (at least the discussions here) usually take.

    Well, for yet another start, those subjects (in their scientific representation of them) are not necessary to philosophy.
    Establishing physics as a "meaningful element" requires an element of philosophy, so rather than philosophy requiring such things, it is the other way around : physics requires philosophy.

    Only if you determine that the analogical pantaloons etc you are referencing (ie the length and breadth of anything one is determining to be "philosophical") lies exclusively in the realm of physics, etc ... which of course, is the point of the article : sure, you can argue philosophically in terms of physics, but such arguments run the risk of being irrelevant if you rely on them to discredit certain essential religious arguments.
     

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