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Thread: Does god exist?

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    Does god exist?

    I appreciate that similar forums have already been created, but I wish to start a fresh page, and furthermore, most past threads of a similar sort have not been open discussions, whereas I intend this one to be just that. Please argue your opinion on whether or not god exists.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Depends what you mean by exist. God definitely exists in the minds of humans that believe in him. As an atheist I believe God, Satan and their enormous legions of angels and demons are just made up by primitive men without access to a scientific method to determine what is true or not. I cannot fathom why modern humans believe in them but there is a social and emotional aspect to religion that tends to frown upon non-believers. There are also several hundred years of philosophical arguments that help make it sound logical that there must be God so I think that helps solidify his actual existence for those that probe deeper.

    Does God exist as a physical being? Very unlikely. Even if some intelligence did indeed create this specific universe, I would imagine that being to be a super powerful alien race experimenting on living things; hence the constant wiping out of millions of disobedient humans and a strangely specific interest in our sexual behavior. It's what we humans do to other animals too if you think about it.

    So I'm YES on God exists as a metaphysical creature and no on a physical one.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    As an atheist I believe God, Satan and their enormous legions of angels and demons are just made up by primitive men without access to a scientific method to determine what is true or not.
    What do you mean by primitive?
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde View Post
    What do you mean by primitive?
    Ancient, pre-historic, pre-science, unskeptical, believing in the supernatural, having no other means to know better.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Depends on what you man by God.

    In the religions understanding of it, complete with miracles and so forth. No.
    I see a lot of different people claim to have revealed knowledge of such deities and lots of antipodal claims of said deities doing things, but no actual reliable proof of any of it.
    So at face value I think it is simply human nature to invent imaginary beings more powerful than themselves they can turn to when they find life overwhelming and fueled by our great imaginations and sense of self aggrandizement.

    But, such ideas are not strictly impossible. You must leave your mind open for discovery. And many ideas encompassed in these constructions of gods are in some ways reasonable.

    There is even a definition for God I can find little to no fault in. That is to call the universe itself God. It is indeed greater than any individual person. It is greater than any collection of us. It is after all everything there is. It is the only entity that knows everything for it is everything. It is the only entity that is utterly timeless for no matter how it changes it can never be anything less than everything. It is not bounded by time for its very existence defines time. It knows all that has every happens and all that will ever happen. It determines the outcome of all events through its imitable laws and retains all authority and power.

    The only thing it doesn't do is assuage our egos by setting us above and apart from the rest of creation or ensure that our temporary state of will can transcend the laws of the universe. In this universe, god's concerns are not our concerns. Only in the Gods that we invent for ourselves is that true.
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Ancient, pre-historic, pre-science, unskeptical, believing in the supernatural, having no other means to know better.
    On what do you base your assertion that they were unskeptical of things?
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Ancient, pre-historic, pre-science, unskeptical, believing in the supernatural, having no other means to know better.
    Ya, I wouldn't go there. Ancient man lacks much of the knowledge we have today. And we lack much of the knowledge mankind will have in the future. Such is life.

    But I think to say they are unskeptical or to point to a belief in the supernatural supposes some fundamental difference in man then and now. There have always been atheists or the like around that deny or challenge the religions of their day. Skepticism is intrinsic to mankind from what I can tell, its just a question of where you direct it and to what degree you wield it. And as for the supernatural, there is no shortage of belief in that today.

    The development of the scientific method is significant, though not all modern people choose to accept it. The reference to historical is 50/50. I think we have a somewhat more reliable historical record than we once did due to the proliferation of media, but there is always intrinsic doubt as to the absolute truth of history. And societies in the primitive ages still strove to record and remember their history as diligently as they were able.

    The only real critique I think you can level at our ancestors is they were far more ignorant of the natural workings of the world. This is not insignificant at all, especially when we are talking about religions that offer explanations for natural phenomenon. But it is not entirely damning, especially for the more spiritual ideals of religion.
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Ya, I wouldn't go there. Ancient man lacks much of the knowledge we have today. And we lack much of the knowledge mankind will have in the future. Such is life.
    I get what you're saying but our knowledge doesn't really tend to go backwards. We no longer think it necessary that there are intelligent agents controlling the natural world at a smaller scale: we have looked deep and found inanimate particles. We no longer take unproven claims seriously, especially those that cannot be reproduced. We now have great deductive skills and can look back on claims to miracles and assume that they never happened or didn't happen in the way they described.

    So I do agree with your point, we will always look 'primitive' in our future eyes but even then I still think that there is a marked difference in the approach to thinking about the world since the Enlightenment. We no longer take claims on face value and we have challenged deities have found them wanting. Some of us even claim to be even more moral than God so he doesn't even have the upper hand there either.


    But I think to say they are unskeptical or to point to a belief in the supernatural supposes some fundamental difference in man then and now. There have always been atheists or the like around that deny or challenge the religions of their day. Skepticism is intrinsic to mankind from what I can tell, its just a question of where you direct it and to what degree you wield it. And as for the supernatural, there is no shortage of belief in that today.
    The biggest difference between atheism then and now, perhaps isn't in what is being said but what is being allowed to be said. Atheists are not killed nor frowned upon though they are admittedly still scorned upon by believers (e.g. my relatives) for the 'arrogance'. Indeed, in many areas atheism is on the rise - the disbelief in all things supernatural is being discussed by people all over the world (like here!) Knowledge and ideas are being spread and taking hold: because they make sense.

    I agree that there is still a great deal of belief in the supernatural but look at where that is highly concentrated: In Islamic countries that brook no challenges and for whom apostasy is death. In largely poor and undereducated countries such as India; or even large parts of America, who continue to challenge even evolution. So it's not really the same situation: it's not an intellectual free market decision that is being made - religion seems to thrive mainly where there is suppression of ideas or a discouraging of disagreement.


    The development of the scientific method is significant, though not all modern people choose to accept it. The reference to historical is 50/50. I think we have a somewhat more reliable historical record than we once did due to the proliferation of media, but there is always intrinsic doubt as to the absolute truth of history. And societies in the primitive ages still strove to record and remember their history as diligently as they were able.
    I challenge you to find someone that disagrees with the scientific method AND understands it!


    The only real critique I think you can level at our ancestors is they were far more ignorant of the natural workings of the world. This is not insignificant at all, especially when we are talking about religions that offer explanations for natural phenomenon. But it is not entirely damning, especially for the more spiritual ideals of religion.
    It's not just that ignorance though. It is the acceptance of or even requirement for supernatural beings and events; and the non-skeptical acceptance that ancient knowledge holds more weight than contemporaneous knowledge. It is also the change in modern societies that allow for the challenges of the religious might of the prevailing religions. But probably even more importantly, the acceptance that other religions have just as much right to exist as one's own (at least for the more enlightened people of the faith).

    I think all this makes us 'modern' thinkers and no matter how much more knowledge we have, we aren't going back there again!

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Ancient, pre-historic, pre-science, unskeptical, believing in the supernatural, having no other means to know better.
    You're exactly right. Modern skepticism was born with Descartes. Modern science came along shortly after that.

    Before that time most intellectual disputes were settled by arguing from authority, with the two biggest authorities by far being the bible and Aristotle.

    ---------- Post added at 09:33 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:17 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    There is even a definition for God I can find little to no fault in. That is to call the universe itself God.
    The word "God" has WAY too much baggage for that to work. You may as well try to rename the universe "Satan."

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934
    Atheists are not killed nor frowned upon
    That's not accurate. It depends where you live. Thank God for freedom of religion and conscience.

    ....the states that forbid non-religiousness – typically as part of “anti-blasphemy” legislation – include seven nations where atheism is punishable by death. All seven establish Islam as the state religion. Though that list includes some dictatorships, the country that appears to most frequently condemn atheists to death for their beliefs is actually a democracy, if a frail one: Pakistan. Others include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, the West African state of Mauritania, and the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...being-atheist/
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    I challenge you to find someone that disagrees with the scientific method AND understands it!
    Ask and receive

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper
    Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS[3] FBA (28 July 1902 17 September 1994) was an Austro-British[4] philosopher and professor at the London School of Economics.[5] He is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century.[6][7] He also wrote extensively on social and political philosophy. In 1992 he was awarded the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy for "symbolising the open spirit of the 20th century"[8] and for his "enormous influence on the formation of the modern intellectual climate".[8]

    Popper is known for his attempt to repudiate the classical observationalist/inductivist form of scientific method in favour of empirical falsification. He is also known for his opposition to the classical justificationist account of knowledge which he replaced with critical rationalism, "the first non justificational philosophy of criticism in the history of philosophy".[9] In political discourse, he is known for his vigorous defence of liberal democracy and the principles of social criticism that he came to believe made a flourishing "open society" possible.

    There are a number of people that attack the scientific method on philosophical grounds. Others who attack its practical implementation as being corrupted by politics and cultural norms. And there are those who attack its fundamental value to society as less satisfying that more traditional knowledge systems.

    On ODN you will find eye4Magic who while not challenging the validity of science, challenges its ability to access spiritual truths due to its myopic focus on material reality.

    I'm not inclined to agree with any of that myself. For me, the proof is in the pudding. Science gets the job of finding consistent knowledge reliably, more reliably than any other system we have available to us. Others have a spotty record of truth claims you can act on and get consistent results.

    ---------- Post added at 11:32 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:29 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    The word "God" has WAY too much baggage for that to work. You may as well try to rename the universe "Satan."
    Sort of. Keep in mind that "God" had an actual name back in the day and was more or less one of many gods. And even the God of today has various names in various cultures. God is a generic term after all, a trick of language to emphasize exclusivity. Its like calling my cat Cat because no other cat is truly a cat, only a shadow of Cat. I try not to let folks rob us of useful language.
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    Re: Does god exist?

    The existance of "God" is a logical way to define us. If "God" doesnt exist , equally it doesnt matter.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by redmist View Post
    The existance of "God" is a logical way to define us. If "God" doesnt exist , equally it doesnt matter.
    Not sure what you mean by that. What kind of equality and why can't their be any without god? Or why would god actually make us equal?
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Sort of. Keep in mind that "God" had an actual name back in the day and was more or less one of many gods. And even the God of today has various names in various cultures. God is a generic term after all, a trick of language to emphasize exclusivity. Its like calling my cat Cat because no other cat is truly a cat, only a shadow of Cat. I try not to let folks rob us of useful language.
    But by replacing "universe" with the word "God" you would be doing exactly that. "Universe" is a perfectly useful word to express the thought "all that exists." There is no reason whatsoever to replace it with the word "God" except perhaps as a means to obfuscate the difference between theism and atheism.

    When people say "I believe God exists" they virtually always have a particular, personal god in mind and rarely are they speaking tautologically as in "I believe 'all that exists' exists." Since "God" for the vast majority of people has an indelible meaning already (and it is not "all that exists,") it is a particularly bad idea to suggest that the words "universe" and "god" be used interchangeably.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Sort of. Keep in mind that "God" had an actual name back in the day and was more or less one of many gods. And even the God of today has various names in various cultures. God is a generic term after all, a trick of language to emphasize exclusivity. Its like calling my cat Cat because no other cat is truly a cat, only a shadow of Cat. I try not to let folks rob us of useful language.
    ...uh, every word 'emphasizes exclusivity' in the sense that definitions, you know, define something, which separates that thing from things that are different from it. I don't see how the word "God" emphasizes exclusivity in any unique way.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    When people say "I believe God exists" they virtually always have a particular, personal god in mind and rarely are they speaking tautologically as in "I believe 'all that exists' exists." Since "God" for the vast majority of people has an indelible meaning already (and it is not "all that exists,") it is a particularly bad idea to suggest that the words "universe" and "god" be used interchangeably.
    True, but there are some folks who don't take that line and who yet manage to get a spiritual understanding of the universe itself felling an emotional connection to it, one that is not all that unjustified simply by the natural state of things. So from a human perspective, that kind of natural God can take on much of the same meaning that an anthropomorphic god can.

    ---------- Post added at 12:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:42 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    ...uh, every word 'emphasizes exclusivity' in the sense that definitions, you know, define something, which separates that thing from things that are different from it. I don't see how the word "God" emphasizes exclusivity in any unique way.
    Because its capitalized in our language that often represents being personalized and persons are singular. So The God is singular and exclusive.
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Because its capitalized in our language that often represents being personalized and persons are singular. So The God is singular and exclusive.
    Sure, it excludes, say, "horses" and "Satan" and "Joseph" and so on. It's a term used to refer to an object. There's nothing special about that. "James" is the same way.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    True, but there are some folks who don't take that line . . .
    Pardon? Don't take which line?

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodriguez View Post
    Pardon? Don't take which line?
    The line of thinking that God is a personalized entity.
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    Re: Does god exist?

    As Sigfried pointed out, there *are* some legitimate criticisms of the scientific method as it is currently practiced. For a start, it bases its theories on the fundamental premise that anything that exists can be observed and quantified. Furthermore, people have taken it a step further and gone on to the somewhat silly claim that if current empirical science can't observe and quantify it, it doesn't exist.

    Another point, as Sigfried pointed out, is that politics often gets in the way of pure empirical investigation. Case in point: global warming/climate change/AGW/whatever they want to call it this week to fit with their data. Climate scientists are far from a consensus about this topic, and yet the majority of climatologists would have us believe that there's an almost universal consensus on the matter and that anyone who denies so-called "climate change" and its causation by human beings is guilty of heresy. They root out such heresy that rivals the Spanish Inquisition in some cases. It's shameful, especially in light of Climategate some years ago. If there were integrity in the scientific process, it might be more reasonable to look to it for answers... but there isn't. Academia and the scientific community are both inundated with liberals with agendas to push, and if they aren't liberal when they get there... they have to fix that very quickly if they want tenure. That's shameful, too.

    With these two glaring faults in the scientific method, is it any wonder that so many people look to other modalities for answers? The modalities of religion have internal consistency and provide a rational structure for the universe, provided that we start on the fundamental assumption that God exists.... which, to my mind, is no bigger a conceit than saying that we can quantify and measure and observe EVERYTHING IN EXISTENCE, given enough time.

    And in case anyone's wondering, I am a scientist. I have a BS in Biology with double minors in physics and philosophy and almost had enough to minor in psychology.
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