The Disconfirmed Deity

Conventional wisdom has long presumed the impossibility of 'disproving' the existence of God. But the longer I contemplate it, the more I wonder about our common approaches to the question, and the more I suspect that conventional wisdom may be wrong.

The issue of God's existence is often erroneously addressed as a quantitative or factual question, which can be indisputably resolved through some objective measurement or testing. For example, if someone claims there's a cat under the bed, one need only pull the bed away and look, laying the matter conclusively to rest.

I suggest the issue of God's existence is a qualitative or evaluative question -- a proposition confirmed or refuted through weight of evidence. For example, U.S. criminal trials begin with a mandatory presumption of innocence and the prosecution attempts to offer evidence sufficient to reverse it “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Obviously, objectivity is still necessary in examining each point of evidence. But discerning where (or if) the accumulated weight of evidence overturns the initial presumption is unavoidably subjective.

We begin by narrowing our focus to the biblical deity Yahweh, with a specific, commonly agreed upon set of fundamental qualities. Just as any argument can be 'disproven' by falsifying it's component premises, I submit that the presumption of Yahweh's existence can also be refuted, by critically examining these qualities and falsifying each in turn. For example:

OMNIPOTENCE

Revelation 19-6: “...the Lord God omnipotent reigneth...”

The inherent fatal flaw of 'omnipotence' is perfectly highlighted by the unpresuming eloquence of a child's question -- “Can God create a rock so heavy he can't lift it?” In other words, if a being is unable to create an impossible task for himself, he is NOT omnipotent. If he IS able to create such a task, he is STILL NOT omnipotent, because there's STILL something he cannot do (complete the task). The very notion of omnipotence is an absurd logical paradox. It is literally IMPOSSIBLE, for Yahweh or anyone else!

OMNISCIENCE

1 John 3-20: “...God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things...”

Yahweh demonstrates ignorance on numerous occasions throughout the Bible narrative. For instance, he fails to perceive that Adam and Eve will 'fall' in the Garden, or that humankind will become so 'sinful' he'll need to destroy them in a flood, or that his Israelites will make him so angry at Sinai that Moses has to talk him out of slaughtering them.

Omniscience also clashes with Yahweh's other supposed qualities. For example, he cannot transgress his own laws and therefore CANNOT empirically know what it is to 'sin.' And omnipotence and omniscience are mutually exclusive with regard to the past, present and future: If one is omniscient and knows them with certainty, he is therefore unable to change them (and is not omnipotent). If he IS omnipotent and CAN change these states, he cannot know them with certainty (and is not omniscient).

OMNIPRESENCE

Jeremiah 23-24: “...Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth?...”

In the Bible Yahweh routinely and unambiguously revealed his presence to a tiny portion of humanity for thousands of years before disappearing two millennia ago. Yet he NEVER personally revealed himself to Europe, Asia, Australia, the Americas, most of Africa and the planet's various island nations. In fact, the VAST MAJORITY of humankind had never even heard of him until they were proselytized in the last millenium! By any practical historical measure, Yahweh has NOT been 'omnipresent.'

OMNICREATIVE

John 1-3: “...All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made...”

Theoretically, a plane of existence can precede an entity that will exist within it (things can be added to it). Or an entity and its plane of existence can both emerge simultaneously. However, an entity CANNOT precede its own plane of existence. Logically, if the entity exists, so must its plane of existence, by default.

Heaven is Yahweh's plane of existence. He could NOT have preceded it, and therefore could NOT have created it. And if we insist upon the theological premise that everything must begin with an external 'creator,' this necessarily also applies to both Yahweh's plane of existence and Yahweh himself! In other words, both Yahweh and Heaven were fashioned by yet ANOTHER 'creator' (who was created by yet another, who was created by another, and so on).

JUSTICE

Deuteronomy 32-4: “...all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he...”

In any rational, moral conception of 'justice' the punishment or restitution is proportional to the offense. Yet, according to Yahweh the absolute worst conceivable 'sin' -- the only sin that CANNOT be forgiven -- is blasphemy against him! EVERY OTHER offense is equal in the sense that they are all resolved with same punishment (Hell) or the same plea bargain (accepting Jesus). In effect, a slanderer (along with anyone who isn't 'saved') is inescapably doomed to hell fire while a genocidal murderer can be redeemed! By any HONEST assessment, this is NOT equity or justice!

MERCY

Micah 7-18: “...he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy...”

In the Bible, every instance of Yahweh's 'forgiveness' is predicated upon some demand for atonement or sacrifice. But TRUE forgiveness requires no atonement, sacrifice or even acknowledgment from whomever is being forgiven! Like true love, it is an UNCONDITIONAL gift from the heart.

And Yahweh clearly DOES “retaineth...his anger for ever,” because his punishment is INFINITE (far exceeding any FINITE offense humans could conceivably commit). Inflicting endless suffering is the very opposite of mercy.

A God With No Qualities?

In our brief examination of Yahweh's supposed essential, elemental qualities, some are inherently impossible while most are impossible within a biblical context. Collectively, they define Yahweh's existence, and if they are all refuted, the being they define is likewise refuted. Ultimately, the cumulative weight of evidence suggests that these impossible, imaginary attributes belong to an impossible, imaginary being!

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Comments 40 comments

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I truly understand your logic. I understand it because I am an atheist and do not believe in fantastic, mythical, illogical, superstitions.

But people of "faith" will never stop believing in what they have been told to have faith in.

The very same arguments can be made for the nonexistence of Santa Clause, and people of faith can understand that Santa Clause doesn't really exist. But they cannot apply the same logic to faith in deities.

They can readily 'disconfim' SAnta, Elves, Unicorns, Thor, and several other things, but when it comes to their 'personal' god, they cannot connect the dots.

It baffles me and many others.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Star!

I didn't realize this hub would be visible so quickly after publishing it (which is why I just now added a paragraph that I'd initially forgotten -- just before my section on "omnipotence"). It's fixed now.

Of course, I realize this argument probably won't immediately change any minds that are already convinced. Still, I've long toyed with the idea of making the actual effort to 'disprove' God's existence, but never believed I could really do it. I've worked on this one for the last few weeks, but I suppose I could say I've really been writing it for the last few years...


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Maybe if atheists would share their 'defining moment' when they realized there is no god.

For me, I had been struggling with working with Jehovah's Witnesses who would allow their infants to die rather than accept exchange transfusions.

After watching a few babies "bleed out" and die, I realized how stupid it was to think there is a god "watching over them".

Hemolytic disease of the Newborn is a genetic disease that occurs because of evolution, not because some demon or soul resides in people's blood!

I used to think that it was a powerful faith that would allow a parent to watch an infant die like this, but now I know scientifically that it is not only preventable, it is completely ignorant to keep believing crap like that.

JWs have no problem seeking medical attention for an illness or a cut that needs stitching, but they still stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that blood is not magic.

Eventually, science will explain this psychosis of faith, but until then, we can only do the best we can with the logical explanations we have to offer.


mio cid profile image

mio cid 4 months ago from Uruguay

This is a well written and reasonable article that I enjoyed reading and made me think. Even though I consider myself and call myself Catholic I really don't know for sure if god exists or not ,or better said if god is or not.A teacher told me once in elementary school that god doesn't exist, god is.Let me share a thought from an atheist I admire ,Eduardo Galeano, he said ( I don't want you to take it as disrespect) that scratches, it scratches good, but it scratches where it doesn't itch.All the facts you present make a lot of sense,and I even think they're indisputable If god, or Yahweh , or Great Spirit was a man but obviously he is something beyond our human comprehension so I don't think human logic applies.What all the religions try to do is to translate the knowledge they have at a spiritual level , to a worldly language human beings can understand.Or maybe I'm wrong you're right and there is no spiritual component or soul to living things. Also, I have to follow you since we're fellow knights


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Star, have you ever written your own de-conversion story? If you have, feel free to add a link here. My own is linked at the end of this hub.

Cid, thanks for visiting and commenting. Rest assured, I don't take your comments as disrespect. I'm happy to hear other points of view, even (sometimes especially) if they differ from my own.

Carry on, Sir Knight!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

I have to admit I had a good chuckle at this hub! The premise is a good one but lets itself down as you're trying to use a series of Oxymorons to prove what you've already decided, but they can't do it because they are Oxymorons and as such are mutually impossible hence you can't use something that can't happen!

As for God creating a rock so big he can't lift it, my answer would be why would he?

From what we've observed creation serves a purpose so why would he do something that serves no purpose?

It's true that in the Genesis account God seems not to know that Adam and Eve had sinned at that time but that's reflecting a moment when God was operating within our time frame, at other times the Bible shows God operating outside of time (Jeremiah chapter 1 comes to mind "before you were formed in your mother's womb I knew you") so what the passage shows is that there are times when the Almighty steps into our dimensions and restricts himself to our limitations.

Those are my views to get the discussion going!

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for visiting and comment, Lawrence!

I believe logical contradictions and oxymorons are a perfectly valid way of critically examining notions that are, by their very nature, purely hypothetical -- for instance, omnipotence or omniscience. If the very notion itself is abstract, how else can we disprove it by demonstrating its impossibility with theoretical examples?

By the way, I keep meaning to visit and comment on your latest hubs, but I've been extraordinarily busy and have only managed to skim one of them. The one about family history looks pretty interesting!

Take care.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Good morning, Paladin. Here is my JW hub - http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/A-Christia...

I have written a few other hubs about blood and evolution. My specialty is blood banking and this involves a lot of genetics, so I have made feeble attempts to explain the genetics of blood in a number of hubs.

For the 'intelligent design' people out there, they tend to ignore genetics, perhaps because they don't understand it. But the point is that it is highly doubtful that an 'intelligent designer' would create humans with such a varied and random pattern of genetics is hard to believe.

Intelligent design would be to keep things simple. ONE blood group would suffice to do what blood does which is carry oxygen and nutrients to the cells of all living creatures. So, why have a practically infinite series of genetic markers?

I know, god's plan, blah, blah, blah.

The truth is that nature is chaos and random, not very intelligent at all. Dogs, for instance have 8 major blood groups! Humans have four. And both have billions of combinations of other genetic markers. There is no 'original' design.

We are cobbled together from nature over billions of years of time. A few billion years from now, if our species still exists, will be nothing like today's 'human' species.

The sooner a person understands the lack of a god or gods, the sooner they can join together in our true nature which is to become "one" with the cosmos (for lack of a better term).

We are part and parcel of the universe, not separate from it. Not "outside of space and time". There is no "outside of space and time".

Infinite energy + infinite matter + infinite space = the infinite universe.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Star, I can only imagine how frustrating and horrifying it must have been to helplessly watch a baby die that could have been saved if not for religious objections. I suppose that would be enough to make any reasonable person reconsider their views on religion!

For many of us, it's not that singular or dramatic. It's a long and slow process of baby steps that lead us to a fork in the road where we ultimately and finally decide we're going to begin taking a more critical and honest look at what we believe.

I hope someone will come across this hub and it will help move them closer to that point in their own lives when they, too, will make that choice.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I have shared it to my FB. You might want to consider sharing it on FB and Twitter with a hashtag of #atheist or #agnostic or whatever. This seems to help spread the word fast.

You can even submit it to group sites who might have an interest. Good luck and spread the good words!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

No can do. I quit Facebook years ago (over privacy concerns) and have never been inclined to indulge in Twitter's 140-character limit, so I've never even signed up.

Still, you do make an excellent point that I need to expand my audience. I've long contemplated starting a YouTube channel, where I can put my hubs in videos that can potentially reach millions of viewers. But I'll first need to get a better computer and an adequate microphone. With all the overtime I've been getting recently at work, I guess I need to take the financial plunge...


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Just think of Twitter as a small ad that is blasted out for free.

Bob and I have had limited success on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/LCargill

and I even joined the YouTube academy and have written a couple of hubs on YouTube how to do it. It's fun, but we need that 'viral video'!

FB has settings for privacy now, I have never had any problems, but I also try not to put anything on social media that I wouldn't put on the front page of a newspaper!

Enjoy the overtime!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

No worries about the visits.

Austin

If you'll look at my hubs you'll see that the whole Intelligent design argument is actually built on Genetics and the idea that DNA cannot have 'self assembled' without some outside help. There are still some things we can't explain but that's one thing that we can explain! Take a look at my Hub on Intelligent design and see what I mean

Lawrence


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Sorry about the short reply earlier. I was 'running out to work'

Let's take the scenario you describe. I'd agree with you the two cancel each other out so you either can't have the 'huge rock' or the omnipotent being.

However observed data points out that every piece of matter in our universe has at least two forces working on it.

1) Gravity binds everything together and left to itself would cause everything to implode.

2) The cosmological constant. At the moment we're unsure exactly what this is but the repellant force is exactly 3.141 times greater than gravity causing the universe to expand.

Clearly the two are governed by an external force or person. They are roo precise to be an accident.

Is that something or someone the omnipotent being we call God?

Possibly and that's why the argument doesn't work in my view.

Lawrence


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

lawrence01 - your said, "Clearly the two are governed by an external force or person. They are roo precise to be an accident."

Sorry, but it is NOT clear to anyone. That's why everyone argues the points.

" DNA cannot have 'self assembled' without some outside help" - I have to say that this is a rote argument that religionists use. There is NO proof of this so-called "outside help".

There is every indication that nature is chaotic and RANDOM. You cannot use a scientific method to investigate this "outside help" because there is no evidence to test.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Austinstar

I'd like to refer you to Sir Fred Hulme's calculations on the likelihood of DNA 'self assembling and remember he was an atheist until the day he died!

He concluded it was mathematically impossible!

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Actually, Lawrence, there is no necessity for an 'external' force or person acting on the matter of the universe to keep it from imploding. Altogether, there are four fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces) at work in the universe, as well as many other, less fundamental forces (like momentum) that counteract the effects of gravity.

For example, it is momentum that keeps Earth and her fellow satellite planets from crashing into our Sun -- the most powerful gravitational source in our system. And even at the quantum level, it's the strong nuclear force (along with a bit of electromagnetism) that keeps a massive gravitational body such as a neutron star from collapsing into a black (at least until even that resistance is finally overcome).

Neither of these completely natural processes requires the intervention of any intelligent mind or guiding hand for maintaining the operation of the universe. Nor are they as 'precise' in their interactions as many people are inclined to believe.

Indeed, the universe is an almost unimaginably vast and mind-boggingly chaotic place. Though it does have fundamental forces guiding its operation, by and large, it's a turbulent cauldron of destruction. One could even argue that, in some ways at least, it's extremely 'disordered.'

For example, in just a few billion years, our own Sun will exhaust its hydrogen fuel, expand to a red giant and burn everything on planet Earth to a crisp. But before that happens, the 'finely-tuned' gravitational balances of our solar system may collapse due to the collision of our own Milky Way galaxy with the Andromeda galaxy -- which is currently on a collision course toward us.

If this is all the result of an intelligent designer, I'd say that designer is either a mad scientist or has an ugly sense of humor! ;-)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Lawrence, I've been scouring the internet trying to search for something about 'Fred Hulme' and DNA, and I'll be darned if I can find anything! Are you sure you've spelled the name correctly?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Nothing is mathematically impossible. What is impossible is our willingness to believe in people who say "that's impossible".

In my neck of the woods, we say, "if something CAN happen, it WILL happen", but we don't rely on myths, stories, and superstitions or invisible deities.

I do 3 or 4 impossible things before breakfast every day! So do you.

"For example, the simplest theorized self-replicating peptide is only 32 amino acids long. The probability of it forming randomly, in sequential trials, is approximately 1 in 1040, which is much more likely than the 1 in 10390 claim creationists often cite."

http://evolutionfaq.com/articles/probability-life


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 4 months ago from back in the lab again

This is a great hub, though it's difficult to tackle such dense subjects you've done a great job boiling things down into bite sized chunks. Disproving God is difficult because God is an ill defined concept that is constantly re-defined and the goalposts constantly moved.

My problem with omnipotence, other than the paradoxes you pointed out, is that there is no way to truly ever know a being is omnipotent. Omnipotence could never be proven, it could only ever be disproved if and when a more powerful being shows up. Even if we could establish a creator God there would be no way to know it is actually ALL powerful and that there isn't simply a more powerful God that created the first god.

Also I'd like to add that many Christians believe God created the Universe out of Nothing, implying that at one point there was nothing except God. Of course all of God's characteristics are meaningless if there isn't any time or space or Universe. Power, love, knowledge, mercy, all of them are meaningless if it's just God and the void.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Sorry. Got the name mixed up. It was Sir Feed Hoyle. He was an Astrophysicist who calculated that for random molecules to come together in the sequence required for DNA to self assemble. He calculated the chances to be so remote the chances against it happening are greater than the sum total of all the atoms in the known universe.

This led him to reject the big bang theory as being too close to creationism in favor of the steady state theory where the universe is eternal with galaxies receding and dying only to be replaced by newer galaxies that start again.

Sorry for the confusion, you have corrected me before about the name, but my point is DNA points to a creator (in my view)

Lawrence

Austin

What about the molecules that make up the hundreds of proteins in those acids? Those are where tge real calculations begin


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Hope you don't mind but I want to pick up on a point Titen raised about Christians saying God created the world 'put of nothing'

He's right but the Hebrew doesn't actually say 'Nothing' it says 'Chaos'. So it's partly out of wrong teaching in the pulpit (probably the Pastor doesn't know either)

Anyway recently I read Krauss' book 'A universe from nothing' where he points out that in physics 'Nothing' can mean a fluctuation in the quantum field (quantum theory) and that the universe may have come about due to this where 'by chance' more matter than antimatter came into being.

What he couldn't answer (and didn't try) was what caused the fluctuation? but he did say categorically it wasn't God (but offered no argument for why not!).

My question is couldn't the cause of the fluctuation and the Christian claim be one and the same?

I do agree with you though about the difficulty in proving or disproving God's existence.

Lawrence


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 4 months ago from back in the lab again

@Lawrence,

You are right that the Bible never states that God created the Universe out of Nothing. Ex Nihilo creation is primarily defended by apologists and theologians these days. They typically cast God as outside of time and space, transcendent, but as I pointed out without time and space his characteristics become meaningless.

"My question is couldn't the cause of the fluctuation and the Christian claim be one and the same?"

I find it highly unlikely. One of the problems is that the concept of God is constantly changing. The account of Noah's Flood suggests that there are "windows" in heaven, because there is water above the firmament. It's common knowledge that people in that area at that time thought the world was covered in a dome upon which the stars rested and above which there was water. Heaven really was in the sky. They really did see the world differently, today Christians see all that stuff and just assume its metaphor... but much of it wasn't when it was first written.

Today modern Christians have pushed God farther and farther away from the original Bronze Age Cosmology, the original Yahweh, the God who Abraham argued with about Sodom and Gomorrah who Moses had to talk out of a genocidal rage when the Israelites were griping in the desert. If you go back and read Genesis and Exodus and those early books it hardly seems like they're talking about the same character.

God keeps getting shifted into ever smaller pockets of scientific ignorance where Christians keep asking, "can we please just fit God here and call it a day?"

We still don't have any reason to fit God there, but if it makes you personally feel any better then who am I to stop you? All I can do is shrug my shoulders and offer my intellectual disagreement.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

You do realize, lawrence, that i have no need to prove that god exists. I am not making the claim that god does exist.

You are making that claim. Give me some evidence to test regarding your deity if you want me to understand why you insist that a god created the universe and controls your life and death.

The bible has been tested and found to be based solely on hearsay, stories, myths, conjectures, and superstitions. Where is heaven? Where is hell? Where is the dna from Jesus? Where are the 10 commandments carved in stone? Where is the ark of the covenant? The geologic proof of creation? Why does god not bother to come around and say hello on tv?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, everyone, for commenting. And thanks, Titen, for the thought-provoking take on omnipotence!

And Lawrence, I have absolutely no problem with going off on a tangent here in the comments. The whole purpose behind these hubs is for people to be exposed to other's ideas and to learn, and if the two of you engage in a conversation that takes me into previously uncharted territory, so much the better! :-)

I'll have to look up Fred Hoyle's take on DNA. You may or may not be aware of this, but Dr. Hoyle's actually the one personally responsible for the name "Big Bang" to describe the currently predominant hypothesis of the origins of the universe. He meant it as a pejorative (as he believed in a 'steady-state' universe), but it stuck, and now everyone uses it!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Titen

Thanks for the reply and I agree with you that our understanding has changed over time. That can feel like a 'moving the goalposts'.

However I'd like to point you to a reply I made in one of Paladin's previous hubs, the third most common compound in our universe is H2O or water!

As for the 'firmament' and the 'canopy' the Bible does talk if it being 'live a curtain' (Psalm 104 v 22 Job 9 v8) but more recently science has started to look at space itself this way (Einstein's theory of relativity and quantum theory both point to it!)

As for God being outside time and space it was the Kallam argument that proposed that back in the eleventh century.

By placing him outside and seperate to his creation we are effectively not moving the goalposts as he remains where he's always been.

Austinstar. The point of the hub was to argue that it could be proved God doesn't exist, my point is to defend the belief that he does and I apologize if I gave any other indication.

Lawrence

Paladin

Yes i was aware, he was actually mocking it at the time.

As i said he rejected it because of his calculations.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Lawrence - I am more referring to the points that Paladin makes in this hub. He is proving that god doesn't exist simply by using logic.

What believers try to do is prove that atheists are wrong simply by using "faith".

Faith doesn't work for atheists/agnostics. We tried faith and find it insubstantial, and unsubstantiated.

Studies show that prayer doesn't work. Faith healing doesn't work. Even biblical "predictions" aren't worth the paper they are printed on.

So, for my money, Paladin has definitive logic here that shows that god doesn't exist.

The only thing that would change my mind about deities is for one or more of them to show up and start curing cancer, regrowing severed limbs, fixing faulty genetic conditions, and showing the world all this "love" that believers keep harping on about.

But my guess, is that, like Ken Ham, no amount of logic and science would change your mind.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thank you, Star, for your kind words regarding my hub, but I suspect you're misreading Lawrence somewhat. I certainly can't presume to speak for him, and he certainly doesn't need me to defend him, but he strikes me as someone who's open to questioning his own ideas. At the very least, he's demonstrated a willingness to actually LISTEN to those with opposing points of view -- something vile con artists like Ken Ham would never do.

I believe Lawrence is someone with whom we can engage in serious, comprehensive and fruitful discussions of theological matters. There are certainly other Hubbers more deserving of our consternation and confrontation.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Austinstar

Thank you for that explanation. I just wasn't sure where your previous comment was 'coming from'

As for prayer and faith 'not working' that runs contrary to quite a substantial amount of non religious scientific literature that has pointed to anecdotal'evidence they probably do work!

My point with this hub is that the argument is built on a false premise and hence isn't correct!

For example the 'rock so massive' is impossible because for the rock to exist means one law of nature is at work on the rock. Gravity caused the rock to form by pulling the matter into that shape hence the argument can't work because gravity caused it to form, thus it can't be 'massive enough to do what Paladin wants it to.

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

To be fair, Lawrence, we're not talking about a naturally formed rock. We're talking about some sort of task -- a rock to be lifted or whatever -- created by Yahweh himself. What we're really talking about the inherent impossibility of omnipotence -- that the very idea itself is, as I noted in the hub, an absurd logical paradox.

To try to get around this paradox, one is required to apply some arbitrary exception or anomaly. For example, I've heard apologists say that, in this case, Yahweh can change temporarily change the laws of physics. But this doesn't really escape the paradox, because the very idea of such an 'escape clause' means that he CANNOT create an impossible task, after all, and is therefore not omnipotent!

Ultimately, no matter what rationalization is attempted to get around the inherent logical impossibility of omnipotence, it's eventually going to hit a brick wall on side of the equation or the other -- either the impossibility of creating the task, or the impossibility of completing it. Hence, the paradox.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 4 months ago from back in the lab again

@Lawrence

It's very convenient, don't you think, to reinterpret the beliefs of the ancients to fit discoveries that science has made?

Someone once told me that evolution is actually in the Bible because God commands the Earth to bring forth all living creatures, rather than doing the work himself, so that's God using evolution. It's very easy, like I said, to reinterpret, to move the goalposts, to pretend that's what the text really meant all along.

You are right that Kalam relies heavily on ex nihilo creation and the idea that God is outside of time and space. I think Christians wouldn't have such an uphill battle in these discussions if they abandoned the idea of an efficient cause without a material cause (that is to say God is the efficient cause but didn't have anything with which to create).


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

You're right about the apologists using the idea of a temporary suspension of the laws of nature. That's what the Miracles were (I'm not getting into the debate about them as we'll disagree there too


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Sorry about that.

Let's take the hypothetical 'rock' that's not naturally formed. As it's not naturally formed we have to presume it was supernaturally made by someone/thing

The rock is so big it's creator can't lift it. That speaks of creative power that (to me) can't be measured eg omnipotence!

Or maybe the thing is huge, bigger than everything else yet the creator can still lift it. That speaks of lifting power so great it too can't be measured.

The both of them taken that way argue FOR omnipotence and not against it!

See where I'm coming from?

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

I do, but that's what makes a paradox, Lawrence -- two mutually exclusive details inherent to the same idea. Considered separately (and keeping in mind that they're both hypothetical), there's no problem with either notion -- the lifting of a rock or creating one that's too heavy to lift.

But putting them both together -- which is perfectly valid under the guise of omnipotence (total, unlimited power) -- renders the idea ridiculous, which is the point!

We could even remove the rock altogether and use a completely different question to illustrate the very same paradox just as dramatically. For example, we could ask, "can Yahweh create a being more powerful than himself?"

At face value, the question itself may seem absurd but, again, that's the whole point -- illustrating the absurdity of omnipotence. If Yahweh CAN create a being more powerful than himself, then he is not omnipotent, because the mere possibility of creating such a being means that there is some measure of power that he doesn't possess (otherwise, NOTHING could be more powerful).

If he CANNOT create a being more powerful than himself, then it's self-evident that he is not omnipotent, because there's something he cannot do. There are doubtless many more examples one could use, but I suspect the point is sufficiently illustrated.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

WildBill, you are henceforth banned from posting comments on any of my hubs.

I've had enough of your games -- posting personal attacks on other users, then when they respond in kind, you report their comments to the HubPages moderators, and the hub gets un-published. I've reported your repeated abuse of HubPages, and hopefully others will do the same.

As of this moment, only signed-in users will be able to leave comments on any of my hubs.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Glad to see this hubs back!

I can see your point, but mine is that one of the two is valid (hypothetically) hence omnipotence can't be ruled out because it is possible and works out the way I claim.

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, Lawrence! I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.... ;-P


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 4 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Sounds like it, but I enjoy the discussion anyway.

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 3 months ago from Orlando Florida

I like your point by point discussion of the "qualities" of God and how you use the believers own Holy Book to discredit them. Believers definitely cherry pick the Bible.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 3 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, Catherine. I really can't think of any other way to 'prove' that any particular deity doesn't exist, other than refuting its presumed qualities, one by one -- just as one would any argument.

Skeptics have spent centuries challenging a generic notion of 'God' by critically examining all the philosophical and logical arguments presented on his behalf. But as long as we remain on such vague ground, the best we can ever hope for is a push -- for every argument refuted, there are two more that may prove the case.

I hope my hub provides an inspiration to those who wish to take a more methodical and specific approach to the question!

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