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let’s discuss this question…
Posted: 01 April 2005 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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How can you get a clear answer on who God is, If God does not exist?

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Posted: 04 April 2005 03:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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[quote author=“CherokeeAtheist”]How can you get a clear answer on who God is, If God does not exist?

“God” certainly DOES exist, as an abstract concept that many people believe in.  As such, the concept can be defined, althought everybody has a slightly different idea about what it means.  smile

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Posted: 05 April 2005 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Got me there.

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Posted: 07 November 2005 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Hmmmm, Interesting question. 

How about the opposite.  “Can you be bad if you believe in God?” 

OOOhhhh, now that one is easy.  rolleyes

Elder Norm

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ARO "www.aro-religion.org"  The belief in Reality and the organized seach for its measure.

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Posted: 17 November 2005 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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lol

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Fighting the evil belief that there is a god(s).

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Posted: 17 January 2006 02:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Re: can we be good without God?

[quote author=“trinitydoktor”]Let me being by saying that to deny God’s existence is tantamount to saying that we are living in a chance universe, a universe of matter in motion, of sound and fury, signifying nothing. A chance universe gives us no reason to think anything is right or wrong. .... Furthermore, we have no reason to expect, in a chance universe, that conventions of the future will be like those of the past, even if the future has been like the past ... in the past!

This is where you make your mistake.  Obviously, we CAN expect that what we have discovered about the past will continue to hold true in the future—if it did not, there would be no point in thinking about anything!  So the universe is obviously NOT the random, chance universe that you imagine it “would be” without God.

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Posted: 20 January 2006 02:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Re: Can we be good without God?

[quote author=“trinitydoktor”]You say that we CAN (your emphasis) expect the future to be like the past. But what is it that we are assuming is true that justifies this expectation?

It is not an assumption, it is observation borne out by past experience.  If the universe did not have some order to it, Science would never have gotten off the ground.  Heck, Evolution itself wouldn’t have gone anywhere!  In a random universe, you might let go of a bowling ball, today it might fall downwards, next time it might fall up, the time after that it might shoot off at a 45 degree angle.

The next question has to dig deeper. Does it fit with your world view? Does it fit with my world view? Does it fit with what we presuppose is true about the universe?

My thinking might be looked at as following the structure known as modens ponens:

If it rains, the sidewalk is wet. 
It rains.         
Therefore, the sidewalk is wet.

I would rephrase this differently:

If it rains, the sidewalk is wet.
The sidewalk is wet.
Therefore, it has rained.

Of course, you might say that the sprinkler system might have been on, or a water main broke, but the point is to build up a coherent view of the universe by asking it questions, instead of by starting with the solution we want and working backwards.  For instance:

Similarly, from my world view (what I believe about God as an eternal, unchanging being who has made a logos and not a chaos), my argument might be structured as follows:
If there is God, there is good reason to expect order and regularity.
There is God.
Therefore, there is good reason to expect order and regularity in the universe.

See what you’re doing?  You assume the thing you want to prove.  WHY do expect order and regularity if God exists?  Why couldn’t God create an essentially chaotic universe, just for his amusement?  And why couldn’t order be a natural consequence of the universe having physical laws?

The following demonstrates the argument from another angle:

If there is no God, there is only matter, energy, time, chance that does not support the idea of trust in the expectation for order and regularity.
There is no God.
Therefore, there is only matter, energy, time, chance that does not support the idea of trust in the expectation for order and regularity.

Once again, from my point of view, you start with the assumption that order cannot arise from a universe which has no God, and use that to prove the assertion that there is a God.

I’m starting to get the idea, doktor, that you are a lot more versed in philosophy than I am, so please be gentle when you tear up my arguments.  Try not to use too much technical jargon, so that I can follow what you’re saying, okay?  smile

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Posted: 21 January 2006 04:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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?‘s for 3doc: Is God all knowing?
            Is God loving?
            Has God always been all knowing?
            Has God always been loving?
            Is Jesus and God the same person?

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Posted: 17 February 2006 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Hello atheistic hereic,

A way to answer your question is to say that God possesses attributes without limits. He is wise, powerful, pure, right, good and true, to mention a few. Being eternal, there has never been a beginning to God and his attributes, and there never will be an end. God never changes, so as to become more loving or wise, for example.

This view of God is drawn from the world around us and more specifically from the Holy Scriptures. As a finite human, we cannot be expected to understand these attributes exhaustively, even though we might truly understand them. The reason I mention this I hope to clarify with the following illustration (which is not meant to cover ever case). A child might not understand the love of her parents and even maintain that her parents do not love her when they do not buy her the clothes she wants from the mall. However, they take that money and spend it on a refrigerator/freezer that will hold and preserve the food that will sustain her life. And still, she might think that her parents are not loving. My point is that it is often not always apparent on the surface what is really happening in our rather complex world. Life is more nuanced than we think, especially when it comes to God. As C S Lewis said, God is not a tame lion.

To one of your other points, Jesus is God. The Westminster theologians of the 17th century expressed it that there are three persons in the one true God.

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Posted: 18 February 2006 12:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Hello Advocatus,

As we proceed with our discussion, I want to point out that a lot of what I will tend to present will have to do with epistemology, that is, how we know what we know, and what are the limits of human knowledge. The epistemological consideration arises in many ‘ultimate questions’ and, as I want to admit at the end of this comment, is not without its moral aspect.

Let me add that I will argue that part of a sound world view is to 1)not only to recognise the presuppositions one utilises but to 2) to see to it that the view of the world to which one holds is consistent with those presuppositions.

Therefore, yes, I do not argue that the world does not demonstrate order. I would say the world demonstrates order. However, that argument, that recognises order and expects its continuation, is consistent with my presupposition that there is a God behind it (namely the triune God of the Scriptures) who reveals himself to be a God of order and in relation to whom there is nothing or no one more ultimate. I say that from the standpoint of limited, or dependent, human knowledge.

I argue additionally that if the basic presupposition is one of human autonomy and a chance universe, that whatever is simply is, and that things occur by random variation, there is no reason to expect the continuation of order much less to have a category for it in a world where anything can happen.  The problem about order only arises if in a chance universe order is claimed and its continuation anticipated. That is not consistent with the presupposition of a random universe. This is an absolutely crucial point, and I hope I have been able to show just how basic the discussion has to get. It has to go to the core of world views.

Another example would be to take immaterial laws of logic that apply in our world. The focus is on ‘immaterial.’  Do immaterial laws of logic really exist? It makes sense that they do if there is a God, who is personality and spirit, but not if there is simply randomness, materialism, impersonality. That is why a Christian theist argues that God is the Grund aller Erkenntnis, to throw in some German. He is the basis of all rationality, because we have to use immaterial laws of logic and our rationality that do not fit with a non-believing world view to even try and (logically) deny He exists.

If someone responds that the ‘law’ of natural selection imposes order on the randomness, anyone concerned with the justification of that statement will want to see if the ‘law’ of natural selection is consistent with whatever else is assumed or presupposed. I have to take a short detour and say that ‘assumed’ or presupposed, at the most basic level means axiomatically taken, or not provable…Everyone has axiomatic components to a world view. Aristotle said an indication of an educated person was to know what to take as axiomatic and what one should try to prove. We all have to start somewhere or we end up with an infinite regress, and we do not live that way.

So, to return to the point, is a ‘law’ of natural selection sensible to consider in a godless universe? Is it consistent with randomness?  If the response is that the law of natural selection is more basic than randomness, then what basis do we have trust in its continuing to be law when we think we see things happening randomly. When will randomness perhaps take over? You see, I am at the point where I would have to say we will believe anything in order to not have to admit that God is behind the universe.

To your point about chaos, I would not expect God to create a chaotic universe, because he has revealed himself to be otherwise. Additionally, I see that revelation from the Scriptures confirmed in the external world. Again, there is consistency between my presupposition about God’s existence and the reality as I encounter it and rationally process it.

When you write that we have to have order or “Evolution itself wouldn’t have gone anywhere!”, you are making my point. Your expectation of evolution (that it depends on order) is not consistent with your belief in evolution, which depends on chance.

I would predict that if the penny can drop, and this point is understood, we will have a paradigm shift, a Copernican Revolution in academia and thinking in general. And you read it (perhaps) first on CFI. We will not have a paradigm shift because the facts change; rather, a paradigm shift will be the result of a different world view approach to the facts.

Our original topic was “Can we be good without God?” Imagine the attempts that have been made. We thought we could explain being good without God by looking at nature, but nature shows us something else. We thought democracy might get us there, but with majority rule what if 51% want to destroy 49% of the population of a country? We might fall back to saying “just because we know that certain things are right,” but what sort of reasoning is that?

You wrote the following, 

“I would rephrase this differently:

If it rains, the sidewalk is wet.
The sidewalk is wet.
Therefore, it has rained.”

That is not sound reasoning. The fallacy is called asserting the consequent, as I best recall. If the sidewalk is wet (consequent), it is not necessarily the case that it rained (antecedent). Yes, it may have rained, but it does not have to rain in order for the sidewalk to be wet. On the other hand, if it rains (antecedently), it follows that the sidewalk will have to be wet. In both cases I exclude extraneous facts, such as a covered sidewalk.

Lastly, you end the comment with the following:

“Once again, from my point of view, you start with the assumption that order cannot arise from a universe which has no God, and use that to prove the assertion that there is a God.”

This is the reason why I began with the comment on epistemology. I maintain that my thinking is consistent with my presuppositions. I take issue with your, and every non-believer’s, position, that there is consistency between thinking there is order when there is chance at the core of reality.

Cornelius van Til, a theologian, once said that humanity reminds him of a girl he once saw on her father’s lap on a train to Philadelphia. Only because she was on his lap was she able to slap her father in the face. That, he said, is a picture of how we behave towards God.

Maybe in more acceptable terms, because it was written by a non-believer, is the following quote from Aldous Huxley. He confessed that his reasons for arguing against the message of the Bible were not unbiased and objective philosophical reasons. He ‘had an agenda’ (how postmodern):

“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do.

For myself as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain
political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of
morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our
sexual freedom; we objected to the political and economic system because it was unjust. The supporters of these systems claimed that in some way they embodied the meaning (a Christian meaning, they insisted) of the world. There was an admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever… (Aldous Huxley. 1937. Ends and means. Chatto & Windus, London, pp. 272, 273).

I look forward to your thoughts.

trinitydoktor

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Posted: 18 February 2006 03:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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God

ram,

I just read your reply to theatheistheretic.

My immediate reaction was fear.

Whenever someone talks about God as if such a being actually exists it frightens me. I doubt that this concerns you at all. The fact that you and other who believe that there is such a being is troubling to millions of people. But I am sure that this doesn’t bother you at all—or does it?

Bob

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Posted: 18 February 2006 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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God

To Ram (the believer):

Have you read Kai Nielsen’s book: :“Ethics Without God?”  If not, you should.

Regards, Wes

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Fairness is Justice

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Posted: 20 February 2006 02:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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[quote author=“ram”]Let me add that I will argue that part of a sound world view is to 1)not only to recognise the presuppositions one utilises but to 2) to see to it that the view of the world to which one holds is consistent with those presuppositions.

I recognize that your worldview is consistent with your presuppositions, but then so is mine.

The problem about order only arises if in a chance universe order is claimed and its continuation anticipated. That is not consistent with the presupposition of a random universe.

But I don’t believe in a random universe!  Nor does any atheist that I know of.  So right away, most of your argument swishes right down the sink.

He is the basis of all rationality, because we have to use immaterial laws of logic and our rationality that do not fit with a non-believing world view to even try and (logically) deny He exists.

Where did you get the idea that logic and rationality “do not fit with a non-believing world view”?  Is this just something that you prefer to believe because it makes it easier for you to deal with us?

So, to return to the point, is a ‘law’ of natural selection sensible to consider in a godless universe? Is it consistent with randomness?

I repeat, your insistance upon “randomness” is a straw man.

  To your point about chaos, I would not expect God to create a chaotic universe, because he has revealed himself to be otherwise.

You started with a purely logical construction, where you tried to prove that God must exist because he would only create an orderly universe, and now you are straying aside from pure logic and saying that God “revealed himself” (presumably in the Bible).  Which is it?  Or is it a combination of both?

When you write that we have to have order or “Evolution itself wouldn’t have gone anywhere!”, you are making my point. Your expectation of evolution (that it depends on order) is not consistent with your belief in evolution, which depends on chance.

Straw man noted once again.  I used that statement to demonstrate that order must exist at the very foundation of the universe, and we cannot use that to deduce the existance of some kind of intelligent creator.  I find at this point that I really must offer my apologies, Ram.  You obviously have a lot more training in philosophy that I do, and you were also obviously looking for someone you could talk rings around within that context.  I’m sorry, but if you’re just going to run around in that same “random universe” circle, I can’t play by your rules.

Can somebody else take over for me?

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Posted: 20 February 2006 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Thank you for your comments. I want to offer responses to everything you have written, but I want to do that after I am certain that I am not misunderstanding you. Therefore, I first have a couple of questions.

You wrote, “But I don’t believe in a random universe! Nor does any atheist that I know of.” There seem to be lots of atheists who believe in the evolutionary story of natural selection operating on random mutations and occurrences in the world. Richard Dawkins of Oxford comes to mind. Random change is the randomness of which I am thinking. It is right out there as a major tenet of evolution.

Am I to understand you, then, that you believe there is a supernatural personal being, God, who is behind the existence of the universe? If you do not believe in a supernatural personal being, God, do you believe in evolution in the limited sense that it is explains the diversity of life in complex living organisms already in existence?

What is your belief regarding ultimate origins? Is it evolution in the broader sense that the theory of evolution explains how complex organisms like birds and flowers and human beings came into existence in the first place?

In other words, I am interested to learn about your starting point, your explanation for the non-random universe you say we inhabit, because you seem to be more reflective than to say, “Well, that’s just the way it is.”

Looking forward to continuing the conversation.

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Posted: 20 February 2006 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Bob,

Please give me a bit more explanation about your fears. I am curious.

trinitydoktor/ram

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