Philosophy of belief
Posted: 11 May 2014 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I floated this by my online philosophy class and didn’t get a response. The question was, what evidence would you accept for the existence of and all-knowing God with the power to influence this world. (Note benevolence was not mentioned)

I said, I would only need to see a group of people who said they believed, and had a consistent set of rules and actions that they said what was God wanted. If that group was more successful than everyone else, then I’d have to at least consider they might have something. It would help if it rained on their crops but the weather man couldn’t explain why, or they had more than average cancer survival rates or something too.

It seems to me his covers the hidden God problem and the problem of inconsistent Bible. The key word is consistent. That has been the problem of every religion, they might win a few battles but they eventually lose some, or even in peace time they don’t progress any faster than anyone else. Advancement, either in civil rights or technology to better feed ourselves has always come from something logical. I still hold out that I could be convinced of a God, but if part to the consistent rules, something immoral was required, like human sacrifice, I would still choose not to participate in the religion. But, I think if ever there was such a group that was doing obviously better than everyone else, and doing nothing immoral, the rest of the world would buy into it.

Any flaws in this logic?

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Posted: 11 May 2014 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The problem is that your argument makes perfect sense to non-believers, but not at all to believers.  We all have positive and negative events in our lives, both as individuals and as groups.  As Lois pointed out a while ago in another thread, confirmation bias is almost universal.  Theists will recall the positive events as showing that “god cared for them.”  And, they’ll either forget the negative ones, or claim that they or the person involved must have done something bad or against god’s wishes so is being punished. 

Yes, their logic is stupid, and backwards from cause-then-effect, so, while your write-up is quite rational, it won’t have much if any effect on believers.

Occam

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Posted: 11 May 2014 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Lausten - 11 May 2014 08:15 AM

I floated this by my online philosophy class and didn’t get a response. The question was, what evidence would you accept for the existence of and all-knowing God with the power to influence this world. (Note benevolence was not mentioned)

I said, I would only need to see a group of people who said they believed, and had a consistent set of rules and actions that they said what was God wanted. If that group was more successful than everyone else, then I’d have to at least consider they might have something. It would help if it rained on their crops but the weather man couldn’t explain why, or they had more than average cancer survival rates or something too.

It seems to me his covers the hidden God problem and the problem of inconsistent Bible. The key word is consistent. That has been the problem of every religion, they might win a few battles but they eventually lose some, or even in peace time they don’t progress any faster than anyone else. Advancement, either in civil rights or technology to better feed ourselves has always come from something logical. I still hold out that I could be convinced of a God, but if part to the consistent rules, something immoral was required, like human sacrifice, I would still choose not to participate in the religion. But, I think if ever there was such a group that was doing obviously better than everyone else, and doing nothing immoral, the rest of the world would buy into it.

Any flaws in this logic?

I personally, would never take anyone’s word for it.

If the evidence for god’s existence is not knowable to all, then it still requires a belief system based on the fallible words or understandings of people. If there was a being of all-knowing, all encompassing power and they want mankind to believe/worship them the only viable solution is to make itself known to all mankind. If it is unable to know what mankind needs to believe/worship it unfailingly, then of course it’s not all-knowing.

MzLee

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Posted: 11 May 2014 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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MzLee - 11 May 2014 11:41 AM

I personally, would never take anyone’s word for it.

If the evidence for god’s existence is not knowable to all, then it still requires a belief system based on the fallible words or understandings of people. If there was a being of all-knowing, all encompassing power and they want mankind to believe/worship them the only viable solution is to make itself known to all mankind. If it is unable to know what mankind needs to believe/worship it unfailingly, then of course it’s not all-knowing.

MzLee

Let’s not take their word for it. Let’s define “better” just like we define it now. Judge this theoretical group of believers like we judge societies now. The tricky part of this thought experiment is I’m assuming God is real and is doing something that is discernible from everything we now know as natural. We could still have theories about this God being natural, just beyond our current understanding, but we couldn’t prove it one way or another. It would definitely not be the god of the Bible, or any other that I can think of. It wouldn’t necessarily require worship.

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Posted: 15 May 2014 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Lausten - 11 May 2014 12:38 PM

It wouldn’t necessarily require worship.

Seems to me that’s one the ‘gives’ for the falsity of the Abrahamic “God” - their god is dependent on worship and exemplifies the pettiest of human attributes.

When I look at the universe around us and all the steps and stages that it took to get to this place and space in time - I know that any God that can encompass all that - can not possess the petty egos that our human minds and spirits are so wrapped up in.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To digress into my favor topic - it’s like climate science denialists - they are so wrapped up in their own world of ego; power; money-lust; political ruthlessness and embracing lies to get their way - that they simply can not fathom scientists who are in it for the pursuit of genuine understanding (dare I say truth*).

{*working towards truth, that is}

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Posted: 16 May 2014 08:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Cc: good points. If worship was one of the things this groups was doing that they claimed was required, that would seriously challenge my criteria for a consistent set of rules. In the actual world, this is much easier to see, since gods have always been worshipped and none of them have worked out. If someone suddenly carved out a new idol and started sacrificing goats to it and then discovered the cure for cancer without a college education, that would be weird.

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Posted: 01 June 2014 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Lausten - 16 May 2014 08:03 PM

In the actual world, this is much easier to see, since gods have always been worshipped and none of them have worked out.

Lausten, I have to disagree that gods have always been worshiped and none of them have worked out.
Just look at god in the overall big picture from the beginning until now.

The definitions and meaning of god has changed over time. But I do not believe the first, oldest and longest lasting gods of mankind were ever worshiped the way people worship god today.

For example, during the period of the domestication of earth. The period in mankind’s time that most of all the fruit, nuts, grains, animals and vegetables that we use today were created to be used by mankind. God was understood to be the “collection of man’s knowledge”.  Even the earliest religious genesis stories of creation has man on earth before god.
 
Now this belief that God was the collection of Man’s knowledge has moved down through history to the Egyptians and ended up with Jesus.
I better clear this up a little. In Egypt, your knowledge came from god. That’s why the brain was discarded in burial, it served no value. The Gnostic thought of Egypt was that you could talk to god and ask for knowledge and god gave you knowledge that was sent to you by sunlight. Remember, the gods of Egypt did not die, they went to heaven, which was in the sun. Then the sun became the god RA, because it had the knowledge of all the past kings of Egypt. You can see the base teachings out of India, but being changed to the Egyptian thinking. As the power of management left god, the kings became more powerful until they were both god and king. This tied into the the none India religions of gods being animals, to gods being part animals and part human, to gods being in human form. A real mix of several older religious thoughts. Jesus stay away from the the older animal gods but seemed to agree with the older Gnostic thinking.

The books of Mary and Thomas were too Gnostic for the bible. Gnostic means knowledge. Check out the oldest painting of Jesus in the early churches. Jesus was always standing on a cloud of light. That is the Gnostic cloud. When man’s knowledge gathers in abundance it forms the holy Gnostic cloud and that cloud omits light. Light was the Egyptian term for transform or teaching of man’s knowledge.  Even Paul, I believe mentioned the seventh heaven, which is Rigveda, or going back to the time when god was knowledge, and so did Islam. But this seems never to be a subject of discussion.

Remember Jesus’ got into trouble for claiming to be god and had to go to court. Jesus had trouble teaching the old belief that everyone is part of god and that god is made up of the knowledge of all mankind. He had to change and water down his teachings to the general public, but I think he still taught Mary and Thomas and a few others the older religious teachings from India.

It might be that the closest thing we have to the older religion today is the internet.

It seems man has move god from the good of mankind to cater to his own personal needs and values. Where the oldest known gods of mankind had gods’ laws that kept the government working for the good of mankind and gave the people protection and power to keep the government working for them instead of the other way around like it is today.

[ Edited: 01 June 2014 11:54 AM by MikeYohe ]
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Posted: 02 June 2014 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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MikeYohe - 01 June 2014 11:38 AM
Lausten - 16 May 2014 08:03 PM

In the actual world, this is much easier to see, since gods have always been worshipped and none of them have worked out.

Lausten, I have to disagree that gods have always been worshiped and none of them have worked out.
Just look at god in the overall big picture from the beginning until now.

 

Since, as you say, “this seems never to be a subject of discussion”, I’m left either accepting your analysis or learning ancient languages and a ton of history to determine if what you’re saying has merit. I’m not going to do either of those. I’m going to accept the consensus knowledge of scholars. If a subject isn’t discussed, there’s not a lot I can say about it.

Regardless, you seem to be changing my statement about specific gods being worshipped to a more general sense of how gods are worshipped or how the word “god” has changed over time. I don’t really care if the gospel writers didn’t accurately teach what they meant to teach. I can see that their teachings don’t align directly with India. That’s enough for me.

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Posted: 02 June 2014 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Lausten - 02 June 2014 10:23 AM

Regardless, you seem to be changing my statement about specific gods being worshipped to a more general sense of how gods are worshipped or how the word “god” has changed over time. I don’t really care if the gospel writers didn’t accurately teach what they meant to teach. I can see that their teachings don’t align directly with India. That’s enough for me.

I understand your direction. The history of our past is very interesting to me. The point I was trying to make was for the statement - “The question was, what evidence would you accept for the existence of and all-knowing God with the power to influence this world.” And I thought if you looked at god in the Gnostic way, one might view the internet as the all-knowing God with the power to influence this world. And the evidence is in the knowledge,(being the Gnostic God was the collection of all of man’s knowledge).

Anyway, it is what it is. Just wanted to help.

Couple if interesting quotes so that you know that it is not only my view that the Gnostic god seemed to be a good god to have.

Will Durant, American historian: “India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all”.

Mark Twain, American author: “India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”

Have a great day and be happy!

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Posted: 02 June 2014 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Lausten - 11 May 2014 08:15 AM

I floated this by my online philosophy class and didn’t get a response. The question was, what evidence would you accept for the existence of and all-knowing God with the power to influence this world. (Note benevolence was not mentioned)

I said, I would only need to see a group of people who said they believed, and had a consistent set of rules and actions that they said what was God wanted. If that group was more successful than everyone else, then I’d have to at least consider they might have something. It would help if it rained on their crops but the weather man couldn’t explain why, or they had more than average cancer survival rates or something too.

It seems to me his covers the hidden God problem and the problem of inconsistent Bible. The key word is consistent. That has been the problem of every religion, they might win a few battles but they eventually lose some, or even in peace time they don’t progress any faster than anyone else. Advancement, either in civil rights or technology to better feed ourselves has always come from something logical. I still hold out that I could be convinced of a God, but if part to the consistent rules, something immoral was required, like human sacrifice, I would still choose not to participate in the religion. But, I think if ever there was such a group that was doing obviously better than everyone else, and doing nothing immoral, the rest of the world would buy into it.

Any flaws in this logic?

I wouldn’t be so quick to accept the testimony of a group.  I would need to see god with my own eyes and he would have to answer a few questions to my satisfaction and stand up to some tests. He would also have to be seen, questioned and accepted by other people, preferably known atheists who have demonstrated intellectual ability and critical thinking skills.

I don’t think this is ever going to happen, but the door is open.

Lois

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Posted: 02 June 2014 01:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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MikeYohe - 02 June 2014 11:15 AM

I thought if you looked at god in the Gnostic way, one might view the internet as the all-knowing God with the power to influence this world. And the evidence is in the knowledge,(being the Gnostic God was the collection of all of man’s knowledge).

Anyway, it is what it is. Just wanted to help.

Actually, that’s pretty much where I wanted my answer to lead. Call it a thought experiment. I’m saying if some group of people, by following a set of rules and guidelines, did better than any other group, empirically, verifiably, without hidden exploitation, openly and honestly, then I would be compelled to at least give that set of rules and guidelines a chance. I know of no religion that has met that criteria. They pray for rain and they get drought. They pray for peace while going to war. They pray for health and make excuses for the random results. If some of them are doing well, it’s because they are using other people’s labor for their wealth gains.

Is there any set of rules or guidelines that has led to increased human rights, increased life spans, increased energy output, a more open and egalitarian society? A society that recognizes all knowledge from any culture and judges it based on its workability and its value to as many as possible? It’s not a formal set of rules, and they are far from perfect, but the scientifically based enlightened values of recent centuries are better than anything I’ve ever heard of. We have minimal archaeological evidence from places like the Anasazi or the Isle of Crete, but nothing like the scale we have today.

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Posted: 02 June 2014 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I’d be quite willing to accept the existence of a god if s/he could accomplish a few simple tasks I’d propose. 

1.  Reconstitute and bring back to life just a few people such as Einstein, Plato, Mozart, Schubert, Lincoln, my father, mother and my wife.

2.  Eliminate all poverty and suffering.

3.  Raise the IQ of everyone on earth by 100 points, and have them understand critical thinking and the scientific method..

4.  Eliminate all hate and envy and have everyone respect, like and help one another.

5.  Reverse the orbit of the earth around the sun without causing any harm.

I’m sure we could all think of additional verification tasks, but my offhand list of these should do for now.  LOL

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Posted: 04 June 2014 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Shoot, my standard is even simpler than that.  He’d just have to come to me and say, “Hi!”  He wouldn’t have to burn any bushes, wouldn’t even have to appear in physical form.  Naturally this could be a delusion on my part, “the coinage of my very brain” as Shakespeare puts it, but if it was powerful enough to make me believe it, I’d accept the existence of this god.

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Posted: 04 June 2014 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Here’s another way to look at it. If something is true, then if you have the ability to discover truth, it can be discovered. There is no example in history where a god was discovered in two places independently. Similarities yes, but those similarities are things that can be discovered without gods, like seasons and floods and being nice to each other. If all the Bibles and all the memories of Jesus were wiped clean, and then the exact same sayings of Jesus were discovered again (which I guess would mean God would send them down again somehow), that would prove something. Or it would be an incredible coincidence. Of course you can’t run that experiment. But look at how precious those Bibles and how important “sharing the word” is. Believers seem to think that was our one chance to hear from God.

Discoveries of real things however, like the concept of zero or infinity did happen more than once, independently. The idea of rules for how to act within the tribal boundaries or the value of family were discovered on separate continents. If everything from Galileo on were lost, we’d eventually figure out that the earth revolves around the sun.

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