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God Is Logical
Posted: 03 October 2006 05:01 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Empirical arguments for God's existence do not work because we conceive of God as a sovereign will.  Where he goes he leaves evidence of his visit behind, as the Scriptures report.  But if he desires not to be known then he can easily make himself scarce, which he has obviously done with regard to many on this discussion board!  :wink:

But God loses nothing if his existence is known intellectually, as has been the case since Aristotle.  Lately Mortimer Adler of the University of Chicago has written that God exists—he is that than which nothing greater can be thought.

Now, when I last asserted this on the board here someone suggested such statements are a mere linguistic trick of some sort.  But I contend that the cognitive structure of the human mind naturally leads to belief in God as the only thing that makes sense.

Tested against human experience for thousands of years it is just easier to belief than not to believe.  The mind is more at ease when it is in service of an supreme being.  Notice how hard atheists work to defend a negative, for instance, that something does NOT exist, when there is not "evidence" that he does not.

These kinds of questions are settled by personal reflection on the nature of the argument for and against—what makes more sense.

I've seen Sam Harris, for instance, on two occasions.  His affect is flat.  He seems so cold and uncaring to me, heartless almost.  It makes me think that part of his brain, maybe the intuitive and warm parts of it, are not working well.

I think there is a kind of logic that does not require overwhelming empirical evidence for the truth of something.  Imagine if I required my wife every day, or every other day, to "prove" her love for me?

God is real and true and good.  Just let that soak in see how it feels for a change.  Try out such thoughts and see if they are not somehow self-evident.

I'm like Pastor Thomas, the Evangelist today.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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You use no logic at all in your supposed explanation of god. Take your useless apologetics elsewhere. Empty claims at god being real with no evidence mean nothing.

If god is in fact the greatest thing I can conceive of, then god is a world without your kind of nonthinking. So, I guess the greatest possible god I can conceive of is no god at all.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[quote author=“jon”]You use no logic at all in your supposed explanation of god. Take your useless apologetics elsewhere. Empty claims at god being real with no evidence mean nothing.

If god is in fact the greatest thing I can conceive of, then god is a world without your kind of nonthinking. So, I guess the greatest possible god I can conceive of is no god at all.

Hey Jon, you’re a real winner, aren’t ya. Somebody says something good and you just hit them over the head. Can’t you see that you are a miserable wretch….

Maybe some day you will sing with me and the other ex-wretches.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
Once was lost, but now I’m found
was blind, but now I see….

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 03 October 2006 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“Thomas”]

I’ve seen Sam Harris, for instance, on two occasions.  His affect is flat.  He seems so cold and uncaring to me, heartless almost.  It makes me think that part of his brain, maybe the intuitive and warm parts of it, are not working well.

An internet forum community is only as good as it’s most illogical member. And when it comes to the laugh factor, I give this one five stars!!

If you want to go off on airy fairy tangents about how an individual seems, or how their personality affects you, I could go on for pages about many of the people I’ve know who claim the righteous grace of christ in their life. Let me save some time and sum it up by saying, I’d feel more secure in a pit of vipers bathed in scent of rat, than in a congregation of your run of the mill evangelists.

rolleyes

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Posted: 03 October 2006 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“Thomas”]Tested against human experience for thousands of years it is just easier to belief than not to believe.  The mind is more at ease when it is in service of an supreme being.  Notice how hard atheists work to defend a negative, for instance, that something does NOT exist, when there is not “evidence” that he does not.

You won’t get much argument from me on the first point. It is easier, it does feel good. I could use that reasoning to eat ice cream instead of carrots. I think I would end up constipated. And, in fact, not feeling so good any more. In fact the protests of believers about the threats to their faith which daily appear are some evidence of how bad the constipation feels.

As for working hard to defend a negative, I don’t. You deny that it is easy to reject belief because it is the negative of what you call the easy option of believing. Still with me? Of course there is no evidence for the absence of something. Do you want me to apologize for this logical necessity? Nothing leaves no evidence of itself. On the other hand, people lie all the time and say that something happened in a particular manner when indeed it did not happen in that manner at all. This evidence of belief is all around us. Many believers believe you are lying about the divinity of Jesus. They believe it so much, they will blow you up to prove their point. See, you’re dead. You obviously were lying. Bang! If that is not evidence of what they believe, I do not know what evidence is.

The trace of belief in the behavior of people is clear. I do not take this as being sufficient evidence of the thing in which they believe. Obviously those believers in the non-divinity of Jesus must have it wrong, according to you, but the evidence that they believe it is clear. People believe the stock of a company will always go up, and sometimes it does not. Many of the investors in the former Enron felt a bit like this. God is a company whose stock is touted always to go up. People believe that dinosaur fossils have been carefully arranged by the hand of god. People believe in the tooth fairy. Probability of tooth fairy’s non-existence: about 99 percent, with thundershowers and global warming continuing over the weekend. In the Bible Belt, thundershowers expected to produce toads the size of hailstones. Update at 11.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 06:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Thomas: Tested against human experience for thousands of years it is just easier to belief than not to believe. 

Ted: Doing what is easier has no innate appeal. It is easier (at first) to be a drug addict or an active alcoholic. It is easier to pass up all opportunities at education and employment than to do the necessary work.

Thomas: The mind is more at ease when it is in service of an supreme being.

Ted: If your mind is at ease in service to your supreme being, you must be ignoring the religious threats that most people will go to a Hell of eternal punishment. If your religion is trinitarian and you believe three is one, then your mind has found ease only by crippling your reason.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“Ted Shepherd”]Ted: Doing what is easier has no innate appeal. It is easier (at first) to be a drug addict or an active alcoholic. It is easier to pass up all opportunities at education and employment than to do the necessary work.

This reminds me somehow of a quote, it think it was from Robert Frost, but I’m not sure:

In my youth, I was conservative, so that I could afford to be liberal in my old age.

Nowadays, it’s “In my youth I damn liberalism and pay lip service to conservatism so that I can be well-versed in its ideology in my old age, while continuing only to damn liberalism and pay lip service to conservatism.”

Being well-versed in anything is not the same as being educated. Take that from one Goldwater conservative to another.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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My point about intellectual style was narrow—that there is an ease, naturalness and gracefulness to belief whereas disbelief seems to make people crabby, cold and testy—because of the innate structure of the human mind.

And yes, dogmatism does violate that principle.  The Trinitarian formula is not the best explanation for the deity of Christ but it is not a mere confusion of the numbers one and three!  I was hoping for better argument than that.

To see the logic in ontological proofs you’d have to think about them and not dismiss them.  They are not presented as empirical evidence but as another KIND of proof.  I thought that was clear in what I said.  Continuing to demand “evidence” and dismissing out of hand apologetics is not intellectually sound.  I’m sorry but it just is not.  There is plenty of “evidence” in apologetics but that is beyond the scope of an internet discussion and is frustrated by the “alternate naturalist explanation - but we don’t know what it is, yet” rebuttal.  The naturalist presuppositio is specifically designed to reject a supernatural belief system.  But to say it is the only “rational” explanation of the matter is just plain wrong.  Logical proofs are not subject to crude empiricism.

So let me approach it this way, on the basis of an experiential challenge:  I challenge the atheists here to repeat a simple mantra:  “God is real, true and good; and he loves me.”  Say it over and over to see how it “fits” in the mind.  Notice your heart rate and level of anxiety.  What parts are disturbing to you?  How does one word or the other affect you or recall past personal experience?  Is it a good or a painful memory?  How does that experience affect your thinking today?  Would it be nice to be able to appropriate the whole of that mantra to your own personal experience?  Doesn’t your soul leap at the prospect of being loved by a good and true God?  That than which nothing greater can be thought?

Amen.

I just prayed for you all and have shown you the way to the Father.  You can thank me later.  :wink:

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Posted: 03 October 2006 08:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Thomas: So let me approach it this way, on the basis of an experiential challenge: I challenge the atheists here to repeat a simple mantra:

Ted: I decline the challenge. I have too much self-respect to lie to myself like that. If you believe in a commandment—Thou shalt not lie—then your suggestion that someone else lie to himself is irreligious and indefensible. If lying is sinful for you, how can you in good conscience recommend lying to me? On the other hand, in a boy’s choir in church decades ago, I sang religious sentiments and Christian doctrine (“Holy holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!” for example) in hymns, over and over again. The experience did nothing for me. It did not feel like a lie at that time. I was a gullible kid. Those were the days when I believed in Santa Claus too. I notice that you have said nothing about Hell even after I mentioned it. Ignoring that part of Christian doctrine is one of the ways you protect yourself from the essential gloominess and tragedy of your religion.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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[quote author=“jon”]You use no logic at all in your supposed explanation of god. Take your useless apologetics elsewhere. Empty claims at god being real with no evidence mean nothing.

If god is in fact the greatest thing I can conceive of, then god is a world without your kind of nonthinking. So, I guess the greatest possible god I can conceive of is no god at all.

Indeed, it was pure logic (in Kantian sense), which may be why you missed it.

Jon, you are looking for something tangible—I suppose the best tangible evidence is how Christian folk are supposed to take care of each other—they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

Are you telling me that you have never seen Christian love demonstrated in your life?  You’ve looked around everywhere and not seen it?

Why did the New Testament authors write what they did?  Did they just make it all up; they lied?  Why would they do that?  Did they get rich or make it with the ladies?  No, they were despised and persecuted.  So why would they stick with a story that was so painful?

The miracles actually happened.  He is really alive just as they say.

God saved my life once.  I was bleeding to death after a boat propeller destroyed my left leg.  I left my body and went what seemed like about 45 feet into the air.  Particles of light streamed past my face as looked down through a kind-of portal.  I could see myself below in the arms of my son and friends who were trying to save my life.  My entire life flashed before my eyes and the faces of those I loved.  I was in the presence of God there and was given a choice of whether to go on with him where there was no pain, or stay.  I thought how terrible it would be to die in the arms of those that loved me.  I thought of my children and the life I wanted to continue—I’m a Pastor and teach Religion and Philosophy at a local college—I decided to stay.

Am I lying, Jon?

When one experiences things like this the “alternate natural explanation” argument is just silly.

You need to get real with yourself, Jon.  You’ve looked all around and have NEVER seen anything that would point you to God?

I seriously doubt that.

Everything I see everywhere I go I see God’s hand and work.  I did before but now I appreciate it more and am glad I’m alive in faith.  I love my life and trust God completely because he’s proven himself to me over and over and over again.  I’ve failed God before.  But he has never given up on me.

Now, you have evidence for God’s existence.  Better yet, I proclaim his love for you and me.

Now, are you going to consider this man to man or will you just go suck more lemons?

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Posted: 03 October 2006 10:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“Thomas”]
God saved my life once.  I was bleeding to death after a boat propeller destroyed my left leg.  I left my body and went what seemed like about 45 feet into the air.  Particles of light streamed past my face as looked down through a kind-of portal.  I could see myself below in the arms of my son and friends who were trying to save my life.  My entire life flashed before my eyes and the faces of those I loved.  I was in the presence of God there and was given a choice of whether to go on with him where there was no pain, or stay.  I thought how terrible it would be to die in the arms of those that loved me.  I thought of my children and the life I wanted to continue—I’m a Pastor and teach Religion and Philosophy at a local college—I decided to stay.

Am I lying, Jon?

I don’t think you’re lying, and that must have been a very powerful experience. It wasn’t, however, necessarily a supernatural one. An article was posted just last night about NDEs, presenting evidence on how the brain can convince us that we are ‘out of body’:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/03/health/psychology/03shad.html?8dpc


You’re willing to accept a supernatural answer without proof, Thomas. What do you say to those who undergo the very same experiences via scientifically repeatable experiments?


.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“Ted Shepherd”]Thomas: So let me approach it this way, on the basis of an experiential challenge: I challenge the atheists here to repeat a simple mantra:

Ted: I decline the challenge. I have too much self-respect to lie to myself like that. If you believe in a commandment—Thou shalt not lie—then your suggestion that someone else lie to himself is irreligious and indefensible. If lying is sinful for you, how can you in good conscience recommend lying to me? On the other hand, in a boy’s choir in church decades ago, I sang religious sentiments and Christian doctrine (“Holy holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!” for example) in hymns, over and over again. The experience did nothing for me. It did not feel like a lie at that time. I was a gullible kid. Those were the days when I believed in Santa Claus too. I notice that you have said nothing about Hell even after I mentioned it. Ignoring that part of Christian doctrine is one of the ways you protect yourself from the essential gloominess and tragedy of your religion.

I was suggesting that you test the truth claims of the faith against your own experience of it.

If you do not take the test how will you know if God fits your cognitive structure as an argument for his existence?

Are you afraid?

If you are afriad then who has the dark and gloomy religion?

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Posted: 03 October 2006 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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[quote author=“Mia”][quote author=“Thomas”]
God saved my life once.  I was bleeding to death after a boat propeller destroyed my left leg.  I left my body and went what seemed like about 45 feet into the air.  Particles of light streamed past my face as looked down through a kind-of portal.  I could see myself below in the arms of my son and friends who were trying to save my life.  My entire life flashed before my eyes and the faces of those I loved.  I was in the presence of God there and was given a choice of whether to go on with him where there was no pain, or stay.  I thought how terrible it would be to die in the arms of those that loved me.  I thought of my children and the life I wanted to continue—I’m a Pastor and teach Religion and Philosophy at a local college—I decided to stay.

Am I lying, Jon?

.

I don’t think you’re lying, and that must have been a very powerful experience. It wasn’t, however, necessarily a supernatural one. An article was posted just last night about NDEs, presenting evidence on how the brain can convince us that we are ‘out of body’:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/03/health/psychology/03shad.html?8dpc


You’re willing to accept a supernatural answer without proof, Thomas. What do you say to those who undergo the very same experiences via scientifically repeatable experiments?


.

How do you explain the presence of God and the choice I was given?  How do you explain that I saw myself and the lobster pot buoys as they went by the boat?  It was objective reality, observed from a real vantage point in another ... world, Mia, a supranatural world or plane of existence (an alternative consciousness) that exists beyond our immediate sensations.

See, your “alternative naturalistic explanation” is evidence not of truth but of a bias, an evidentiary bias.  You have already decided what you will and will not believe.  It becomes a test of wills ... which is what I find boring on this board.  Willful disbelief.  A man has come back from the dead to speak to you ... because he wants to ... and you will not listen.  Sad.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 10:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“Thomas”]
How do you explain the presence of God and the choice I was given?  How do you explain that I saw myself and the lobster pot buoys as they went by the boat?  It was objective reality, observed from a real vantage point in another ... world, Mia, a supranatural world or plane of existence (an alternative consciousness) that exists beyond our immediate sensations.

I would suggest it’s like any vivid dream, Thomas. I am prone to flying dreams myself, and have invented entire citiscapes, along with their precise rooftops, which I zoom over and/or land upon. I meet people I have never known, and walk through rooms where I’ve never been, obviously making it up as I go along. It’s fascinating, and so lucid that I often wake up with the crisp detail still fresh in my mind. Our imaginations are enormous, but I think you are simply inclined not to accept that very real possibility.

Do you suppose that most people who teetered on the edge of death did not, just like you, consider “how terrible it would be to die in the arms of those that loved” them? It’s just that only those who survive come back with that tale to tell. The others simply die.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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[quote author=“Thomas”]Everything I see everywhere I go I see God’s hand and work.  I did before but now I appreciate it more and am glad I’m alive in faith.  I love my life and trust God completely because he’s proven himself to me over and over and over again.  I’ve failed God before.  But he has never given up on me.

Now, you have evidence for God’s existence.  Better yet, I proclaim his love for you and me.

Now, are you going to consider this man to man or will you just go suck more lemons?

God saves your life yet allows three innocent Amish (arguably the most peaceful people on the planet) school girls to be brutally slain – execution style – by a psychopath who claimed to be angry with God.  This is logical to you?  God – to use your reasoning – gave up on them.  How about conducting your own little test and contemplate the nature of such a deity.  Or the correct conclusion that he simply doesn’t exist.

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Posted: 03 October 2006 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Welcome back.

[quote author=“Thomas”]Empirical arguments for God’s existence do not work because we conceive of God as a sovereign will.  Where he goes he leaves evidence of his visit behind, as the Scriptures report.  But if he desires not to be known then he can easily make himself scarce, which he has obviously done with regard to many on this discussion board!  :wink:

If he has made himself scarce to us, then perhaps he wants us to go to hell?

But God loses nothing if his existence is known intellectually, as has been the case since Aristotle.  Lately Mortimer Adler of the University of Chicago has written that God exists—he is that than which nothing greater can be thought.

Now, when I last asserted this on the board here someone suggested such statements are a mere linguistic trick of some sort.  But I contend that the cognitive structure of the human mind naturally leads to belief in God as the only thing that makes sense.

A couple of comments:  First, this notion that God is that than which nothing greater can be thought, is a linguistic trick.  Furthermore, it is a trick that has been exploded countless times, by countless children, in countless playgrounds across the world.  The evidence can sometimes be seen written in sandboxes, and it looks like this: ∞ + 1.

Secondly, what I cannot understand is this notion that because belief in some God seems to be “natural”, that it logically follows that your God is real.  At best, this notion argues for the notion of a supreme being, but it does nothing in terms of clarifying which supreme being we should be talking about.

Tested against human experience for thousands of years it is just easier to belief than not to believe.  The mind is more at ease when it is in service of an supreme being.  Notice how hard atheists work to defend a negative, for instance, that something does NOT exist, when there is not “evidence” that he does not.

How hard does your mind work to not believe in unicorns?  How hard would it work to disprove unicorns if you woke up tomorrow, and found that most of the country was getting ready to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to fund unicorn research, and was going to war to defend unicorn rights?

These kinds of questions are settled by personal reflection on the nature of the argument for and against—what makes more sense.

As far as I can tell, the argument for (at least the one you are advancing) involves things being true because we want them to be.

I’ve seen Sam Harris, for instance, on two occasions.  His affect is flat.  He seems so cold and uncaring to me, heartless almost.  It makes me think that part of his brain, maybe the intuitive and warm parts of it, are not working well.

I thought he was calm and measured.  There are plenty of atheists that are warm, though, and plenty of Christians that are cold, and have much flatter affects than Sam, though.  If we want to prosecute an argument for the sins of its proponents, then I doubt that any argument will be left standing, but certainly Christianity, in all its myriad flavors, will not fair well.

I think there is a kind of logic that does not require overwhelming empirical evidence for the truth of something.  Imagine if I required my wife every day, or every other day, to “prove” her love for me?

This is fallacious on multiple levels.  First of all, you are asking us to accept a loose and fuzzy definition for logic, when logic (classical at any rate) is anything but loose and fuzzy.  Secondly, the example involving your wife is not applicable, because, presumably, she has proven her love for you on more than one occasion.  We are not demanding that God prove himself every day, merely that he prove himself at least once.

God is real and true and good.  Just let that soak in see how it feels for a change.  Try out such thoughts and see if they are not somehow self-evident.

Been there, done that.  I used to be a Christian, remember?  Religious certainty is self-reinforcing, not self evident.

-Matt

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