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Arguments for and against the belief in God

 
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2012 08:51 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

Again the idea can be succinctly expressed in the following:

Causal efficient responsibility does not equate to moral responsibility because moral responsibility requires more then determining the causal efficient agent...it requires awareness of consequences on such agent which mostly has a linear output on that regard...further, even if awareness is present it remains to be proven that awareness is a sufficient condition for choice...(...again the problem of free will, but lets not indulge on that endless path... Wink )


Thanks for the explanation.

I guess it comes down to how I view the human condition. The way I see it we are really good at seeing patterns. We can sort of test reality by guessing what might happend and then waiting to see if what was guessed, actually happens. Now it doesn't always happen how we guess but we can develope an understanding of how things are more likely to occur. Perhaps this is an error but some things humans do are behavioral and sometimes predictable.

If that is true at all, then certain behavior can result in certain predictable outcomes. (not always but higher chances of doing so.) This would mean that you do have a small ability to prevent, or effect a result. If you can catch yourself prior to acting, then you have a very tiny effect on what could result. Or you could realize that your action played a role in the result in some way based on the previous results. Both could be errors, I'll admit but if nothing can be predicted then by all means everything I just stated is complete garbage. I doubt that to be the case.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2012 09:05 am
@Krumple,
...precisely indeed I believe we far outweigh consciousness as the major factor for decision regarding unconscious factors present in our drive and impulses who condition from the very start our predisposition for using all our rational resources...no novelty in there...what might be a step forward though is to evolutionary relate that with the usefulness of kilt emotions to maintain a fresh memory on past events for a long time...Civilization forming highly depends on such ability. That also explains the gut feeling we all have that free will is not open for debate...
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2012 09:16 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

...precisely indeed I believe we far outweigh consciousness as the major factor for decision regarding unconscious factors present in our drive and impulses who condition from the very start our predisposition for using all our rational resources...no novelty in there...what might be a step forward though is to evolutionary relate that with the usefulness of kilt emotions to maintain a fresh memory on past events for a long time...Civilization forming highly depends on such ability. That also explains the gut feeling we all have that free will is not open for debate...


You might be right and it sounds like a good method. I doubt it is easy nor are we able to expect or rely on everyone to do their part. If you can only rely on yourself to particpate, I can also say it is not an easy thing ot accomplish. It almost goes against our learned behavior. I suspect that there would only be a small handful who could actually carry it out in a way that is effective enough to show the nice result. I hope I am wrong, but if it were possible, I believe it would have already been understaken, we wouldn't have been the first to discover it. It would have been accomplished long ago.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2012 09:29 am
@Krumple,
...note that while I said they are useful (kilt emotions) I didn't said they are rationally justified, or that we are indeed kilty responsible sort to speak...feeling kilty is to my view a deception of the mind a mirage that serves the purpose of optimal output in learning as emotions play a major role in memory conservation...the illusory sense of free will plays a similar role for this purpose as it is the reason why kilt can be presupposed and assumed in the first place.
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2012 09:35 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

...note that while I said they are useful (kilt emotions) I didn't said they are rationally justified, or that we are indeed kilty responsible sort to speak...feeling kilty is to my view a deception of the mind a mirage that serves the purpose of optimal output in learning as emotions play a major role in memory conservation...the illusory sense of free will plays a similar role for this purpose as it is the reason why kilt can be presupposed and assumed in the first place.


Yeah, I see what you mean. I like to think that even though the hammer is on it's way towards my finger that I can have a chance to catch a glimpse prior to their meeting so I might have an opportunity to pull my finger out of the way. If not then I might as well always be yelling owe.
0 Replies
 
RonPrice
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jun, 2012 04:18 am
@Alan McDougall,
Desperation is, for many, the reason for belief. Here is a piece I wrote about several famous writers who became believers for reasons, arguably, associated with a desperation to beleive.-Ron
-------------------------
CHAOS AND THE VOID: The desperation to believe

In the final chapter of his magisterial biography of Oscar Wilde, Richard Ellmann(1918-1987), American literary critic, recounts the last moments of Wilde’s life, and his being received into the Church. The story of T.S. Eliot’s(1888-1965) unexpected conversion to Anglicanism is a long and well-documented one. Eliot’s early poetry, certainly up to The Waste Land, betrayed an allegiance to art, not religion. But with the poems Journey of the Magi, Salutation, and the sequence Ash-Wednesday, it was clear that the direction of Eliot’s poetry was changing.

Peter Ackroyd(1949- ), the English biographer, novelist and critic, writes that Eliot, like so many modernists, was “aware of what he called the void in all human affairs: the disorder, meaninglessness and futility which he found in his own experience. Human affairs were, at their heart, inexplicable intellectually; his scepticism taught him that they could only be understood or endured by means of a larger faith.” –Nebula, Vol. 2, No. 3, September 2005.

Evelyn Waugh’s(1903-1966) conversion from what he called the “absurd caricature” of modernity to the “real world” of Catholicism was, Joseph Pearce(1961- ), Professor of Literature at Ave Maria University, writes, “greeted with astonishment by the literary world. It caused a sensation in the media. Given the controversy surrounding his decision, Waugh succinctly explained the reasons for his conversion in his essay, “Converted to Rome: Why It Has Happened to Me.” The modern world faced a choice between Christianity and Chaos.

Reminiscent of the French poet and essayist Charles Baudelaire’s(1821-1867) formulation of modernity, Waugh had to choose between the eternal and the immutable or the transient, fleeting, and contingent. Like Eliot, Auden, and Wilde, Waugh chose the eternal and the immutable found in Christianity. In the final passages of Brideshead Revisited(1945), a novel of redemption, we see what can be read as the narrator’s second conversion; and at the same time, we see Waugh subtly renouncing the idea that art will lead us to paradise.

In his youth the Anglo-American poet, W.H. Auden(1907-1973), was interested in Freudian psychoanalysis and Marxism, interests that waned with age. According to a web page sponsored by The Academy of American Poets, while Auden never entirely abandoned these early interests, Christianity and especially Protestant theology had become a primary preoccupation by the 1940s. The best book length study of literary figures who converted to or were influenced by Christianity is by Joseph Pearce, Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1999.

Can some fortuitous conjunction
of circumstances make it possible
to bend the conditions of human
life into conformity with a set of
prevailing human desires? Such
hopes are merely illusory, & they
entirely miss the nature & meaning
of the great turning point we have
passed through during what is this
climacteric of history since, say, the
1840s, 1850s, the entire 20th century,
and into this third millennium. Great,
how very great…is the magnitude of
the ruin, the catalogue of horrors-----
unknown in the darkest of past ages.1

1 The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, Foreword, and p.1, Baha’i World Centre, Haifa, Israel, 2001.

Ron Price
31 May 2012

Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jun, 2012 08:26 am
@RonPrice,
If anything aspiring to order is essentially a pretty secular trait...Civilizations are build upon that need...and well they are build because they can...Romantic drama regarding the said "chaos" of our lives neglects the fact that said "chaos" is also the reason of diversity and non linearity of our range of emotions and experiences in this world...the boring image of a quiet Paradise if anything to my view is a put off regarding the good reasons for belief in God...but then what vision of God are we conveying here ? The standard one ? That's an to easy target for rocket science to aim to...what about choosing a smaller, less noisy, less colourful bulls eye, as for instance the deep study of the nature of Being instead of the folklore easy melon ? Or is that a far to abstract to distant to troublesome aim to point into ?
...ironically is almost with an amusing unavoidable smile one watches so many hardcore atheists like children in the playground looking for a T.O.E. a unifying justification...you see, while one may well easily attack a concept is often far harder to wash down its fundamental cause...
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jun, 2012 10:48 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
The following quotes come from a different thread but are relevant to understand why we all look for X, or the common source, be it atheists or theists...plus, also it is a good justification for the non division between "creator" and "creation"...
(...the comas meant to justify the use of the term even if invalid logically once the fusion of both concepts renders its original meaning invalid...)

Quote:
its been said already infinity's may be confined self enclosed...I think Cantor was the one showing there are Infinity's with different sizes...that is, there are smaller and bigger infinity's...on the other hand Infinite diversity is quite a different matter and people often associate Infinity with Infinite diversity...from where I stand Infinite diversity it is not possible...say for instance a continuum space is not logical...how much length would one need to walk a meter if a meter was in fact infinitely divisible in a continuum space frame ? We would have to walk infinitely each time we go forward...any Infinity is grounded on a fixed referent...


Quote:
Say in integral or whole numbers for instance the number two is just by definition the sum of two ones and so on...the ground of infinity is not infinite variety meant as open ended in all possible senses but on the contrary based on infinite amounts of the same thing as its building ground...there the word diversity gets say tricky...while one may assert X,X is not X on the other hand informatively X,X doesn't had much to what essentially X is...is just a coordinate of extension of X...X1.X2,X3...
0 Replies
 
RonPrice
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Jan, 2014 03:57 am
ELIOT, AUDEN, GOD AND ME

The famous poet T.S. Eliot(1888-1965) thought of religion as “the still point in the turning world,” “the heart of light,” “the crowned knot of fire,” “the door we never opened”—something that remained inaccessible, perfect, and eternal, whether or not he or anyone else cared about it, something absolutely unlike the sordid transience of human life. From my perspective Eliot’s view of religion was its essential mystical quality, dealing as it does with the Unknown Reality which the wisdom of the wise and the learning of the learned will never comprehend. Such a view is at the centre of my belief system as a Baha’i.

The poet W.H. Auden(1907-1973) thought of religion as derived from the commandment: “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”—an obligation to other human beings despite all their imperfections and in spite of his own. It was an obligation that takes place in the inescapable reality of this world, not in a visionary, an inaccessible world that might or might not exist somewhere else. Auden’s view also reflects my Baha’i ethical and moral beliefs at the core of the Abrahamic religions.

The religious and philosophical views of poets inevitably shape their poetry. Auden’s Christianity shaped the tone and content of his poems and was, for most of his life, the central focus of his art and thought. This is, without question, true of the shaping of my poetry by the Baha’i Faith. This aspect of Auden’s life and work seems to have been the least understood by his readers and friends, partly because he sometimes talked about it in suspiciously frivolous terms, and partly because he used Christian vocabulary in ways that, a few centuries earlier, might have attracted the Inquisitor’s attention---according to Edward Mendelson,1 a professor of English and Comparative Literature and the Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. I hope that readers do not have trouble understanding my Baha’i beliefs as expressed in my poetry. I try to go out of my way to be clear and overt, explicit and serious.

Auden’s version of Christianity was more or less incomprehensible to anyone who thought religion was about formal institutions, supernatural beliefs, ancestral identities, moral prohibitions, doctrinal orthodoxies, sectarian arguments, religious emotions, spiritual aspirations, scriptural authority, or any other conventional aspect of personal or organized religion. Auden took seriously his membership in the Anglican Church and derived many of his moral and aesthetic ideas from Christian doctrines developed over two millennia, but he valued his church and its doctrines only to the degree that they helped to make it possible to love one’s neighbour as oneself. To the extent that they became ends in themselves, or made it easier for a believer to isolate or elevate himself, they became—in the word Auden used about most aspects of Christendom—unchristian. Church doctrines, like all human creations, were subject to judgment.

He made it clear that he understood perfectly well that any belief he might have in the personal God of the monotheist religions was a product of the anthropomorphic language in which human beings think. –Ron Price with thanks to 1Edward Mendelson, “Auden and God,” a review of Arthur Kirsch’s Auden and Christianity in The New York Review of Books, 6/12/’07.

We come close, here, W.H.,
you and I, but in this era of
1000 Christianities and the
troublesome historicity that
makes belief in Abrahamic
religions and all those smelly
little orthodoxies difficult, &
as George Orwell said were
contending for our souls,1….
I must side with Henry Miller,2
and his company of romantics
with their vitalistic & visionary
intensities seeing as they did
through their own eyes & not
through the eyes of others and
portraying our culture, and its
consumerist quagmire with its
soporific effect on men’s souls.3

1 George Orwell in The Phoenix and the Ashes, Geoffrey Nash, George Ronald, 1984, p.40.
2 American novelist and painter Henry Miller(1891-1980) held the view that the Baha’i Faith would “outlast all the other religious organizations in North America,” op. cit., p.56.
3 ibid.,p.55.

Ron Price
21/12/’11
0 Replies
 
inquier
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2014 12:36 am
@Alan McDougall,
Can arguments for the existence of God be disproved by argumentum ad absurdum, and did Gottfried Leibniz unintentionally do this with his version of the PSR (principle of sufficient reason)?

He said that nothing could happen without having a sufficient cause or reason, and that not even God could will something for no reason.

In fact, in his correspondence with Arnauld, I believe he insisted that it's impossible to say that God could will something for no reason without destroying every rational argument we have for his existence, because we'd be saying that things can "just happen," and that would mean that things could just come into existence without any Cause.

But taken to that extreme, wouldn't the PSR require there be some reason God willed me to sneeze and cough at the exact times I did today (and yesterday, and the day before)?

I've been sneezing and coughing allot with this cold I have, but not constantly.

There are uneven intervals between coughing and sneezing spells, and between individual coughs and sneezes, and while I can well imagine God willing me to have this cold for some reason (like to humble me maybe), it seems absurd to think there's some reason for my coughing exactly 23 times today (at exactly 8:01 am, 8:01.5 am, etc., etc.), and there being (say) exactly 9 seconds between my last two coughs (especially since I haven't really been keeping track of such things, and I'm pretty sure no one else has, except maybe God Himself.)

But given Leibniz's argument for his PSR, would God not only have keep track of such things, but also have a reason for all of them?

Not just for me, but for every sporadically sneezing and coughing man, woman, child, and animal on earth?

Wouldn't He have to have some reason for willing every leaf in a forest of trees to fall exactly when it does, and to land at the precise point it lands, and isn't that absurd?

And if the logic behind the psr falls apart under close examination, what happens to the arguments for there being an Uncaused Cause?

Was Leibniz right when he said that it's impossible to say that God could will something for no reason without destroying every rational argument we have for his existence, because we'd be saying that things can "just happen," and that would mean that things could just come into existence without any Cause?
0 Replies
 
inquier
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2014 01:03 am
P.S. Leibniz believed in relational time and space, and (like Augustine) believed that God is the Creator of both (as I think most Theists do, whether they believe in Leibniz's relational time or Einstein's block universe), so my question concerns a God who is the Uncaused Cause of the whole space/time continuum.

Wouldn't He have to have a reason for willing every little seemingly random thing, and isn't that absurd?
0 Replies
 
PhilipOSopher
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Aug, 2014 03:46 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Regarding the ontological argument:
People have said that it's more of a 'jedi mind trick' type of argument, as once you accept that God is defined as the greatest being that can be conceived then you are 'trapped' into accepting the conclusion that he exists.
However, if the universe were infinite in the way of 'including' in itself every possible space/number/figure all at once, then would the argument actually WORK?
If it was infinite in every space imaginable existing all at once - some people may argue that it would have to (or at least very likely) include every possible idea manifest in some place through the universe. Whether that be a pink dragon made of candy floss named Gerald or the theistic God of the major world religions.
According to people who would argue this way then, the acceptance of the universe' infinity in this sense would automatically entail the existence of the God of religion.
Someone put this idea towards me - I'm not sure how sound the reasoning is though. Need some help please!
Phil (www.philosophersblogofideas.blog.com)
0 Replies
 
PhilipOSopher
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Aug, 2014 03:50 pm
@kennethamy,
We would however, to use your example of 'mind', need to KNOW exactly what we mean by 'mind', as this is necessary to be able to look in the right place for the right kind of evidence to prove its existence. I think I agree with you though in saying (by implication? My apologies!) that asking the question 'what is God?' might not be the best way to understand exactly what we mean by it. Definitions are rarely found or given in the form of questions, for example.
Phil (www.philosophersblogofideas.blog.com)
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Aug, 2014 08:37 pm
@PhilipOSopher,
It all depends on the conception of God. Any notion of a megamale in the sky is out of the question for me: I can't bring myself to consider any verbal arguement for or against such a silly notion. Maybe a notion of some kind of mystical god-head in the sense of a "devine" ground of existence might arouse and hold my interest. This is something I would seek to understand rather than know about. A form of subjective rather than objective "knowing."
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2014 02:58 am
Did you mean Andy Devine?

http://www.kids-n-cowboys.com/images/andy-devine.jpg

Or did you perhaps mean divine?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2014 03:00 am
Phil, you keep putting this link to your blog at the end of your posts. I consider that spamming the site. If i see you using that again, i will report you to the moderators and request that they at least remove the link from your posts--although i suspect it will be easier for them to just remove your posts altogether.
PhilipOSopher
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2014 07:18 am
@Setanta,
Apologies, Setanta. I initially thought it would be okay to use it as an add-on rather than posting just for publicity, as I was contributing to discussions as well within my posts but I'll stop doing so - I've realised now that it's rude in a way, and that these posts should be solely about discussing ideas rather than advertising right?
Sorry again if I've caused any offence,
Phil
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2014 01:08 am
@PhilipOSopher,
We get spammed a lot here--people have come to mistrust those who do it, or just seem to be doing it. I don't take personal offense, but i don't want the site to sink in a morass of spam, either.
0 Replies
 
 

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