God is defined, not described.

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Ted Grant II, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Neddy Bate Valued Senior Member

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  3. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    After all these years, I still haven't decided if Jan is a troll or an idiot. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he is an idiot.
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  5. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Why are you reasonably sure that is not his intention?

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  7. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Jan, you are looking at atheists backward. It is not that someone is atheist therefore this or that. It is that they are atheist simply because they are not theist or IOW because they do not believe in any gods.
    The perspective of the vast majority of atheists is not that gods do not exist. It is that they do not see or find evidence for gods. Exactly as many things which I hope it is a good guess you do not believe.
    Believing in something without proper evidence is superstition. If you are doing that, you should be ashamed of yourself & have a good long look into the mirror.
    You should also be ashamed for trying to tell others what they know or do not know. Do you think you are a frigging mind reader???
    The basis of atheism is not that gods do not exist. The basis of atheism is that some people cannot believe in your stupid primitive superstition. Stop repeating your absurd ignorant lies.
    Again, it is not that atheists ask for evidence of god. It is that when you make a claim, you have the responsibility to provide evidence, specially if you criticize others for not accepting your claim.

  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Jan Ardena:

    Why is it that nobody can tell us how this "observation" of yours can be made?

    And straight away you're back to your confusion about objective reality vs subjective belief.

    If God exists, God exists whether a person believes in God or not. That's ontology. Can an atheist ever believe in God? Of course not, because an atheist is by definition a person who does not believe in God. That's epistemology (well, it's closer to that than ontology).

    If an atheist starts to believe that God exists, then the atheist is no longer an atheist, by definition. So you're asking a kind of pointless, tautological question.

    But you also speak as if nobody ever changes their mind about God. The truth is that some theists "convert" to atheism, and some atheists convert to theism. When their beliefs change, so does the label. Obviously.

    I know you have a special pleading for God. Whether you want to say "God Is" or "God exists" or "God is real", it's all the same to me. You haven't made a good case for why your Is-ness should be distinguished being the run-of-the-mill existence of pots and pans.

    "Gravity" is a scientific term that refers collectively to a range of observed phenomena. The phenomena clearly exist, and "gravity" is used to model what is happening. Gravity is a concept, a model. It is not an object like pots and pans.

    To fully answer your question about whether gravity exists, I'd have to know what you mean by gravity.

    Just to expand a little, asking whether gravity exists is like asking whether the number 3 exists. Or how about the colour blue? Does democracy exist? Does athletic ability exist?

    The answers to all these questions proceed along similar lines.

    To anticipate your next question, I agree that God exists as a concept. There is no argument about that. That is not what we're debating in this thread.

    You have it a bit backwards. The raw observation is that pots and pans fall to the ground. That is one isolated data point. Now add in all the other things that fall to the ground in the same way. Now we have a data set that demands an explanation, or at least a general description. So, we model it. In physics, we abstract out the inessential features of the pots and pans, or apples, or human beings, as they fall, and focus on the commonalities, like mass and the fact that all are falling to the ground. Bundle up those commonalities and give it a convenient label that describes the specific behaviours under consideration; now you have "gravity". But this isn't just a label, because it then turns out that this "gravity" idea also allows us to predict a whole lot of other behaviours that at the start might have seemed unconnected. And "gravity" itself is not unconnected to everything else we know about the world. It makes sense in the context of everything else.

    Are you claiming you are unfamiliar with the verb "to be"? Do we really need to go down that path?

    It is possible, I suppose, that God exists but none of us will ever know it for sure. On the other hand, if some of us can know it for sure, I see no reason why all of us can't know it for sure, in principle, unless some special capacity or skill is required in order to have the knowledge. But you have previously stated that you don't think any special capacity or skill is necessary.

    When you start to talk about perspectives, then you're back into the realm of subjective belief again. To know what a particular person will or will not believe, or go on believing, you need to look at the person.
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    No, it isn't.

    In effect, you're just repeating a statement about subjective belief. And you're still ignoring what you have been told over and over again by the atheists here.

    Can't you see that what you are saying is hopelessly circular?

    You're saying God does not exist for atheists, therefore atheists don't believe in God, therefore God does not exist for atheists, and round and round we go. At no point in your argument does any inkling of a reason come into your explanation of why atheists would choose not to believe, or why God would exist for theists and not for atheists.

    Your conception of atheism doesn't connect with any concrete fact about the world. Actually, when it comes down to it, neither does your conception of your own theism.

    First, I can't see any distinction between "God exists" and "God actually exists". I don't see how the word "actually" makes any difference there, and I don't know why you think it could.

    Second, what does it mean to you when you say "pots and pans exist" or "the number 3 exists"? How is "God exists" different?

    Ah... OK, I guess.

    I'm a bit of a stickler about the word "proof", and I tend to reserve it for formal proofs, as in mathematics or logic. In the case of science or religion, I'm happy to settle for good evidence, because "proof" appears to be impossible unless you accept certain premises a priori.

    You claim it is an observation, but you can't tell me how anybody can make the observation. A strange sort of observation, wouldn't you say? If I want to show you a pot exists, I point at it and say "Look! There's a pot!" and you can look. I can even show you the number 3 in such a way that we can agree about. But you can't show me God.

    Like I said, you shouldn't start with a conclusion. You should start with a question.

    A sighted person can demonstrate to a blind person that sight confers benefits that are otherwise very difficult to account for. But you can't show me that your God does anything.

    Your argument, essentially, is that it is meaningless to discuss whether God exists. Instead, you assert that we should just say "God Is", and you pretend that this Is-ness is different from existence. But you fail to make any meaningful distinction between the two words "Is" vs "exists".

    If you want to raise a distinction, that's something you have to show, not me. I see no difference between "God Is" and "God exists".

    See above regarding gravity, and note that "proof" is not required - just enough evidence to justify the general concept, in this case. Although, we ought to recognise that gravity is not a thing like pots and pans. It is a concept, more like the number 3.

    Your belief, I gather, is that God is more than a mere concept.

    A blind person should start with an open mind about the existence of sight. Suppose a sighted person says to the blind person "I see a car coming" or "I see a tree over there" or similar. The blind person can then test whether this "sight" thing works the way it is advertised to work. The blind person can hear the car go past, or walk over and touch the tree in the location indicated. The blind person doesn't just have to accept that sight is real, in the sense of just believing in it on faith. The blind person can test it, indirectly.

    What you're doing, essentially, is asking the blind person to just accept, on the basis of the sighted person's word, that the sighted person has this apparently magical sense that the blind person doesn't have. What possible reason does the blind person have for believing that - separate from issues of trust in the other person and so on? What objective reason is there to believe in God?

    For me, there would have to be some objective evidence in order for me to know. Otherwise, my belief wouldn't be justified.

    I don't know whether God exists. I see no convincing evidence for God.

    I'm not making an assumption, other than that if something is real there should be some evidence of it. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

    I say it does. It's obvious. I think your attempt to distinguish "God Is" from "God exists" is sophistry.

    It would be silly to believe in something that doesn't exist. Wouldn't it?

    Your premise is your conclusion. That's what begging the question is.

    Let me rephrase that slightly. You can't have a logical debate about whether logic exists without first assuming that logic exists. Obviously, if you're going to apply logic, it must exist to be applied, in the first place.

    But there's no reason we can't have a logical debate about whether God exists, assuming we agree in advance that logic exists, and we agree about what it means to have an honest debate etc.

    Either "God Is" is a premise - an assumption - or it is a conclusion. For you, I think you want it to be both. That is begging the question.

    Let's assume that "God Is" is a premise. That's what I've been saying all along, after all. It's an assumption you make right at the start. Then your version of theism follows.

    But that says nothing about the atheist who rejects your premise. The prior question is "Is it reasonable to assume that God Is, as a point everybody can agree is 'obvious' and unquestionable?" And the atheist has a very clear answer to that question.

    Why do you think my personal beliefs are at all relevant to determining whether God exists?

    No matter what my personal beliefs are, the sensible place to start is by asking the unbiased question "Does God exist?" The discussion/analysis might then lead, further down the line, to a re-evaluation of the belief. You don't start with the conclusion. You start with the question.

    That there are theists and atheists only imply that people believe or do not believe in God. People's beliefs can be wrong. What's so hard to understand about this?

    Showing that God does not exist would be a conclusion, not a starting point.

    No. The basis of "atheist" is non-belief in God.


    If I ask for evidence of bananas, am I assuming that "bananas don't exist" is correct? Why is God any different?
  10. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Example of circular argument:

    P1: God Is
    P2: Is-ness means (in part) that everything exist because of what Is
    C1: If something exists then it does so because of God
    P3: We exist
    C2: Therefore we exist because of God
    C3: Therefore (from C2) God Is.

    Spot the circularity?
    Hint: compare P1 and C3
    This is a valid argument, but it is circular.

    Compare that to the following if we remove the circularity by not assuming up front the Is-ness of God.
    Note that we can even include the premise about what Is-ness means.

    P1: Is-ness means (in part) that everything exists because of what Is
    P2: We exist.
    C1: We exist because of something that Is

    That's about as far as we can go.
    It may be that existence is sufficient for Is-ness, that we exist simply because we Are.
    It may be that there is something else that Is to which we owe our existence.
    But removing the premise, the a priori assumption, that God Is, we can't go any further.
    All we can say is that we exist, at least if that is a premise that we all accept (notwithstanding any argument from solipsists).
  11. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    That's not an answer.

    The question is: How can God ever exist for an atheist?
    Are you going to answer it?

    Obviously it is, because God does not exist as far as you're aware.

    Let's see.

    One of God's many names is, ''I AM'', the truth doesn't merely exist, ''It just Is''.
    For the duration of this thread I refer to God, as ''God Is''...
    Gee! Let me get back to you on that one.

    Do you think that because, you don't know for sure?
    Or because you know what God is, and therefore know that it cannot be known for sure?
    Is this an assumption, or just a lucky guess?

    I've also stated that I accept God, and you reject/deny God.

    How else can we obtain knowledge/information, without perspectives?
    Luckily we don't have to look at each indvidual person to decide what they believe. They are either theist, or atheist.

  12. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    It is.
    God does not exist for the atheist, which is a hell of a reason for being one.

    Is there a God, as you read this sentence James.
    You don't know?
    So there currently isn't.
    Until such time as there is.

    Nope. I'm saying God does not exist as far as atheists are aware, which is why atheists don't believe in God.
    There's no need to add anymore.

    Of course there is.

    1 Atheists reject, and deny God.
    2 Atheists do not accept God.

    ''Existence'' is an atheist issue. Atheist's don't believe in the ''existence'' of God, hence they don't believe in God.
    Theists simply believe in God.

    So why do you use both terms?

    The difference is ''God Is''.

    Whatever. I'm sure if you try hard, you can know what I mean.

    Therefore God does not exist? At least until someone can show God to you?
    Hence why I say, God does not exist for the atheist, as far as they are aware.

    For the theist, it isn't a conclusion.
    For the atheist, it is. Because the atheist sees God's existence, the same way he sees other things that exist.
    Hence for the atheist, God will never exist.

    No. The blindness comes right out of the starting gate. It's not a conclusion, it is a fundamental position.

    For the theist, yes. Some of us enjoy the challenge of trying to show that God ''exists'', but it is not what theism is about.

    And that is why God will never exist, as far as you're aware.

    Hence God doesn't exist (as yet).

    Of course I've made distinction James. You obviously haven't read my posts carefully.

    And if there is no evidence of it, it is reasonable to assume that the thing does not exist.
    Right? That would be the ''rationalist'' way of putting it. But the reality is, it does not exist, as far as you're aware.

    That's from your perspective James.

    You said earlier that you can explain the number 3 in a way we can both agree it exists.
    Can you do that?

    ''God Is'', isn't a conclusion, any more than ''Truth Is''.
    It is a foundation, from which to percieve the world.
    ''God does not exist'', is also a foundation from which to percieve the world.
    We came into this situation. We didn't make it up.

    ''God Is'', is not different to ''Logic Is''.
    If we want to discuss, whether or not God exists, we have to start from ''God Is'', and ''God does not exist''.
    You would like both parties to start from the latter, until it can proven otherwise. Ergo, you assume God does not exist, because God does not exist as far as you're aware.

    That's like saying '' Either ''logic is'' is a premise, an assumption, or a conclusion.
    In debating the existence of logic, which one would you say, sufficed?

    It's not a premise.

    Because you're an atheist.

    Again. Because you're an atheist.

    You are either theist, or atheist. Why is that?
    Why is it so important?

    But doing so on the basis of ''God does not exist as far as you're aware'', means it is based on a foundation.

    You prove my point.

  13. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    [P1: God Is (you can call God it what you like)
    P2: Is-ness meaning, something that is responsible for existence.
    C1: If something exists then it does so because of Is-ness. Call it God, or whatever you call it.
    P3: We exist
    C2: Therefore we exist because of whatever causes existence.
    C3: Therefore God, or whatever you want to call it, necessarily exits.

    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  14. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    I assume that in your C3 you actually mean "necessarily Is", given the difference between "Is" and "exists" that you wish to be understood?
    As such, your P1/P2 and C3 are the same: thus question begging.
    And since P1 and P2 are not shown to be sound, the conclusion also, no matter how valid, can not be considered sound.
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Thanks for doing our work for us.

    You have explicitly spelled out that you are begging the question - your premise P1 requires your conclusion C3 to be true. That is a textbook circular argument, rarely seen in the wild, since, the moment it is written most people see the flaw.

    You, apparently, have not:

    Since premise p1 is not shown to be true, all statements following it, including any conclusions, are not granted.
  16. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    P1 Is-ness = cause of existence (call Is-ness what you like. I call it God)

    P2 If something exist, it exists because of Is-ness.

    C1 We exist.

    C2 Is-ness necessarily exists

    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  17. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    P1 Is-ness = cause of existence (call Is-ness what you like. I call it God)

    P2 If something exist, it exists because of Is-ness.

    C1 Every thing exists.

    C2 Is-ness necessarily exists

    logical necessity: a logically necessary being is a being whose non-existenceis a logical impossibility, and which therefore exists either timeless or eternally in all possible worlds.

  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    The only thing this thread is missing:

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  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    This is just a restatement of the Cosmological Argument for God:

    P1: Everything that exists has a cause.
    P2: Things exist (e.g. the universe, people, trees, whatever).
    C1: Therefore, things have a cause. (Deduced from P1 and P2).
    P3: There cannot be an infinite chain of causes.
    C2: Therefore, there must be a First Cause, which can be called God. (Deduced from C1 and P3.)

    There are well-known problems with this, of course.

    One problem is that P1 and P3 apparently contradict each other: P3 tries to make a special exception to P1, effectively modifying P1 to read "Everything, other than God, that exists has a cause." It is P3 that defines the supposed "uncaused cause", which is God, and we see that God is then a premise rather than a conclusion. So this looks like it is begging the question, on the face of it. But...

    Is God a thing that exists? If the answer is "Yes", then according to P1, God must have a cause, but this contradicts the supposed conclusion in C2 that God is the First Cause.

    If, on the other hand, the answer is "No" then how are we to describe God? The only options are to say either that God is not a "thing", or that God does not "exist", or both. And these are the arguments that Jan is trying to run here. It is non-sensical to claim that God does not exist, as we're trying to conclude in C2 that God "must be" - or that God necessarily exists, as Jan puts it. So we're left only to argue that "God is not something" or "God is not a thing". But that doesn't make much sense as a matter of language - it seems we're trying to make a special pleading for God just to make the argument work, by exempting God from being a "thing". But "thing" is the most general kind of word we can use to talk about something. If we exclude that, we're basically saying "You're not allowed to talk about God."

    Added to the above are problems to do with accepting a priori either premise P1 or P3, even if each is considered on its own. Neither of these premises is obvious or uncontestable. It is not at all obvious that everything requires a cause (and if it did, why would God be an exception?). Nor it is at all obvious that a causal chain couldn't stretch infinitely far back in time.

    We could, of course, remove one of these problems by rewriting P1:

    P1': Everything that exists (apart from God) has a cause.

    But then the entire argument again begs the question, because God, which was to be proved, is assumed right from the start.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  20. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    In this case we only need to agree that some criteria was responsible for every thing that exists. It doesn't matter what you call it.

  21. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Given the fun that's been had with you applying your own definition of a word as simple as "atheist", insisting upon implications in the word that simply aren't there in everyone else's usage, I think it very much matters what it's called.

    But that's assuming that the initial agreement is reached, which is... doubtful.
    I, for one, can't agree to something I do not think can be known.
    Can you?
  22. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    How do you know gravity exists?

  23. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Just so there is no doubt, you are referring to the phenomenon by which objects of mass appear to attract each other?
    That would be known through direct experience of that exact phenomenon.

    Care to share the relevance of your question?

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