A Self-Evident God?

Introduction

I've always been interested in philosophy and intellectual debates and naturally much of that interest is in the debate over the existence of God and whether such a thing can even be proved or disproved. There is one tactic that I've mentioned in a previous hub that seems to unite most debaters who side with monotheism and that is that, when pressed, believers resort to presuppositional apologetics and the idea of a self-evident God.

In this hub I want to talk more about the absurdity of presuppositional thinking in regards to the supernatural and touch upon the divide between deism and theism as it relates to classical arguments for god's existence.

Knowledge and Faith

When he makes his arguments infamous presuppositionalist Sye Ten Bruggencate often discards the concept of faith and states that he and everyone else inherently knows that God exists and that atheists are just theists in denial. Similarly professional philosopher and Christian William Lane Craig openly admits that if presented with concrete evidence against his own beliefs he would still hold them as true due to the “witness of the holy spirit” in his “heart”.

What this tells us about presuppositionalists is that they cannot be told they are wrong or reasoned out of their position no matter how strong the evidence against their position may be. This intellectually disingenuous and it amazes me that some apologists not only admit to this insane level of bias but wallow in it and wear it as a badge of honor.

Rather than attesting to their knowledge of God this merely attests to their arrogant closed-mindedness and blind unyielding faith. Knowledge is a necessarily malleable thing. Any five year old knows the sky is blue, it's a common fact, but in high school when the child is older and learns the sky only appears blue due to sunlight scattering in the atmosphere it is easy for the average child to simply adjust to the new knowledge. Amending ones previous base of knowledge to include new or clarified facts is not a weakness, its a strength and its one of the reasons we have airplanes, space shuttles, vaccines and computers.

People like Sye and Craig are admitting that they will not, under any circumstances, amend their ignorance if knowledge steps in to replace it. This makes presuppositionalism inherently intellectually dishonest.

The Leap of Faith From Deism to Theism

One of the hardest hurdles for theists to cross in debates is the leap from proving a deistic non-interventionist deity to proving a personal and miracle performing God. This is because the deistic God is a nebulous assumption about the nature of the Universe and Cause and Effect and, essentially, doesn't need to be a being or person at all but can be any sort of Prime Mover to get the Universe started or give it order from the chaos. This featureless God doesn't even need to be considered supernatural to function as a first cause.

Philosophers will tell you that disproving such a nebulous God is nearly impossible because the Deistic God remains hidden, unseen, and might not even exist anymore (if we are assuming it did in the beginning). Most arguments for the existence of God however establish exactly this sort of deity, a God of the gaps to fill in our current understanding of some unknown or misunderstood aspect of reality. The Moral Argument and Cosmological argument are prime examples of trying to establish that natural reality or some aspect of our lives could not exist without an initial supernatural intervention or absolute foundation.

It is true that some mysteries remain regarding the birth of the Cosmos and regarding the order, harmony and chaos that exist within it. Atheists such as myself do not find the idea of a God, especially a specific theistic God such as Allah or Yahweh (The Abrahamic God), to be a satisfying explanation for these questions.

There are all sorts of nonsequiters employed by theologians and apologists to sneak in their religion of choice once they feel they have established this nondescript deistic God. Yet none have been able to draw a meaningful link between their particular God that cannot be just as easily established with some other pantheon, some other god or gods.

That's what the little dude inside the big dude's head said...
That's what the little dude inside the big dude's head said...
Source

The Galaxy on Orion's Belt

Let's say we find a second Universe within our own, similar to the Galaxy from the popular film Men In Black but one which we do not know the origin of. What good does it do us to say that someone or something must have made it? On the face of it is seems Obvious that SOME force, whether the intentional act of a being or a natural unguided processes, brought it into existence (barring the third Solid State option). What does it tell us to say that a God did it? Or an alien? It gets us no closer to the actual truth to posit such nebulous designers. Only through actual investigation and a search for evidence can we apprehend the truth.

So when theistic debaters retreat into rhetoric about the awe and beauty of nature, the harmony and cohesiveness of reality, and the complexity and intricacies of life they are merely asserting a God of the gaps. Often they will delve into a version of presuppositionalism here claiming that the fact that there is something rather than nothing or that the Universe is “Fine Tuned” makes the existence of God self-evident. The Bible does state that the unseen is made clear by the seen, in other words a version of the classic Ray Comfort argument “creation implies a creator”, assuming that some aspect of the nature of the Universe demands a designer.

In reality they are no different than ancient man, seeing a volcanic eruption that he had no real capacity to understand the cause of and claiming it to be the angry mouth of a vengeful God spewing down fire. For in the face of such devastation how could gods anger not be self-evident. Or the ancients looking up and seeing that the stars and moon foretold the seasons and when to plant and when to harvest. Seeing such guiding lights written in the heavens would have seemed a powerful sign that the gods were watching and that they had set those lights in the firmament, the dome of the heavens.

Furthermore the idea of a self-evident God is made absurd when you consider that Christianity has been spread both by conquest and missionaries to peoples and cultures that have never heard of its God and some that have no gods at all, for a Christian apologist to claim that everyone knows God or that God is self-evident is to be entirely ignorant of the history of religion. These people are not arguing that a general idea of the supernatural is known all around the world but instead that their specific God is self-evident even to people who've never heard of it.

Not an exact quote of his but gets the idea of the argument across
Not an exact quote of his but gets the idea of the argument across | Source

Paley's Watchmaker and the Coasts of Norway

One of the most famous arguments for the design of the Universe is the Watchmaker analogy a version of which Ray Comfort uses (as seen above). The idea is that even if you were primitive and lacked understanding you would come upon a pocket-watch and know instantly that it was designed, that it had purpose, that it was unnatural, and so to would you see the order and natural laws of the cosmos and assume a designer, a purpose

There are many problems with this argument, but my favorite is what I like to call the Slartibartfast rebuttal. In the book Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy it is revealed that a group of aliens who look like mice colluded to create the Earth with a bunch of other scientists, artists, workers, etc. One of them, an alien named Slartibartfast, won a special award for his work designing the coast of Norway. The point being that if we assume the entire Earth is too complex and amazing to have formed naturally why don't we assume the same thing for specific parts of the Earth? Perhaps the Grand Canyon was designed by God, or Mount Everest, or the Hawaiin Islands and yet we KNOW in each case that these things formed naturally. We know that nature is capable of producing complex patterns and we have no evidence of divine tampering in any of it.

We can enlarge this argument or shrink it down to any size and it fits. For creationists and apologists will say that the Universe is too complex, some will say the Earth is too complex, others will say the biological cell is too complex. The Fine Tuning argument and the argument from irreducible complexity are birds of a feather and both are broken as can be. For why assume that it all has a creator when we know how many of these things form. We know how stars, planets and galaxies form and so the gap to force their God into becomes smaller.

Creationists constantly crone on about the irreducible complexity of even single-celled organisms yet none of them would be asinine enough to suggest that every single bacteria was specifically designed. And none of them would be dumb enough to suggest that the ocean has a separate god from volcanoes or that angry spirits affect the outcome of the harvest or that if you displease your ancestors there will be a plague. The complex order and complex chaos of the natural world do not denote an underlying supernatural pattern, such things are superstitious and devoid of merit.

How Many Gods?

The leap from Deism to theism is indeed a leap of faith, not one that can come from arguments or evidence and that fact alone is powerful evidence that all the gods man has ever worshiped are fictional. For how can we call Allah the self-evident God when Islam has only existed for a tiny blip of time compared to how long humanity has been here? How can we say that Jesus is the one true God when there were sons of God raised from the dead long before he was supposedly born?

We are not all that different from the ancients, living chaotic and often short lives surrounded by war and disease and disaster and trying to make sense of it. Our lives are filled with chaos and yet we search for order, for patterns, for a message amongst the madness.

Conclusion

Where once our Gods were blood-thirsty tyrants upholding the reigns of corrupt Kings as our societies have progressed our Gods have become kinder, gentler, more distant from our lives and more forgiving of our faults. It is because we have changed and slowly our gods have changed as well. They have been changing from the beginning because they are OUR creation and not the other way around.

So which gods shall we say are self-evident? Which gods shall we claim all men KNOW in their hearts to be real? Because that claim can be made about any of them and there are thousands. Presuppositionalism is the last hiding place of an apologist has nothing new to offer to the debate.

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Comments 61 comments

jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 20 months ago from Tasmania

Titen-sxull, thank you for starting this discussion. I wish you well and hope it can shed some light on the way our human minds chose to work.

I am not good at or practised in the art of philosophical argument, but neither is Bruggencate . He begins and continues his presentation by trying to denigrate and ridicule his opponent. He looks to the audience for support and seems to get courage from those who agree with him. He continually talks down to Matthew, using showmanship to get a laugh from the audience.

In a real, intelligent, respectful debate, where each proponent is willing to listen to the other's point of view and consider those points carefully in relation to his/her own point of view, then you are likely to get some cross-fertilisation of understanding.

This video does not demonstrate that, at least coming from Bruggencate. He is stuck firmly in his own egotistical desire for public support, in my honest opinion.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I have learned a new and interesting word today - Presuppositionalism. Too bad it is long, hard to spell, and totally incomprehensible to those that use this method to argue from.

Some religionists even claim to be able to read or 'know' the mind of god and what he/she/it is thinking in any scenario. God talks to them personally. I have to assume that their special god does indeed take time to listen and advise one silly human on one small planet inside one solar system, inside one galaxy, inside of billions of galaxies over billions of years.

If only the gods were indeed self-evident. Then we would not have to have differences of opinions on whose god was real, right, or ever present.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Thanks for the comment jonnycomelately. Sye is infamous for his word games and as you can see he uses those word games to stymie and derail any real discussion of the topic at hand. There are many Christians who are willing to have discussions and debates on honest terms but hardcore presuppositionalists like Sye are not. They believe that they are above having to defend the existence of God since in their worldview everyone already knows that God exists.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"If only the gods were indeed self-evident. Then we would not have to have differences of opinions on whose god was real, right, or ever present."

Exactly. If a specific God was self-evident you'd think humanity would rally behind that religion and abandon the other religions in droves yet even today we have new religions sprouting up and old religions fracturing into even smaller pieces.

Even if they try to say that some vague deistic God is self-evident we are left with a nebulous and impotent concept of God that serves no purpose other than to explain the unexplained.

"Presuppositionalism. Too bad it is long, hard to spell, and totally incomprehensible to those that use this method to argue from."

Now if only my spell check recognized it as a word.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 20 months ago from Michigan, USA

I don't buy it when certain apologists like Craig claim that, even if the facts and evidence go against them, they still wouldn't even consider changing their mind, because of their faith.

Perhaps I'm just naïve, but I believe that there are essentially two types of people who are committed to the presuppositionalist approach -- those who haven't yet comprehensively considered enough of the available evidence, and those who have but who dishonestly remain committed to apologetics anyway, for whatever nefarious purposes.

Though I don't know anything about Bruggencate, I place Craig in the second category. I believe he understands far too much about theology and the real world to still honestly believe in much of the crap he espouses.

Maybe that puts me in the same league as those believers who insist all atheists are closet theists, but I still resolutely believe in the innate human thirst for truth and knowledge. I'm still inclined to believe that, with enough time and enough intercourse with the truth, even the most stubborn believer can eventually be brought around.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Paladin - "with enough time and enough intercourse with the truth, even the most stubborn believer can eventually be brought around".

I wonder that some people have hardened brain areas around the concept of religion. I'm beginning to think it's more like an illness. Some people recover and others never do. There are drugs that affect areas of the brain responsible for "religious" experiences. I think these people are more susceptible to suggestion, but only in a young age. Then it seems to take over that part of the brain.

Some of us escape the permanence of brain training, but some have become 'hard-wired' to believe what they have been told without question. They are dreamers who are unable to process linear, factual logic. These people sincerely cannot change the way they think.

Hopefully, evolution will favor the logical thinkers and some day the dreamers will be a thing of the past.


Stargrrl 20 months ago

@Austinstar: So that is your idea of a believer? Someone who is "hard wired" and has almost an illness? Religion is not an illness. You speak as if truth was the anecdote to the illness that is religion. You couldn't be more wrong. Believers in God do not have to be weeded out by evolution. That is completely absurd. Do you think yourself more evolved or something because you are an atheist? Where is all that knowledge going to get you in the end? Nowhere. From where I am standing, you've got things reversed.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"There are drugs that affect areas of the brain responsible for "religious" experiences. I think these people are more susceptible to suggestion, but only in a young age. Then it seems to take over that part of the brain."

One of the things that first made me doubt was the realization that those sorts of experiences, ones that might be considered spiritual or transcendent, could be caused by completely non-religious experiences. Inducing such profound experiences doesn't require superstition but it can help uphold a superstition you currently have.

I think for many people religion is more cultural and it becomes part of their identity. Religion has the tendency to make you emotionally dependent on these fantasies to the point where when they are challenged it feels as if YOU are being attacked rather than simply your beliefs.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

That does sound plausible. On my Baphomet hub, I tried to defend the rights of Satanists to do whatever it is they do regarding "worship" and what I was saying just flies over this person's head and she assumes that I must be a Satanist for defending their rights of free speech.

And I have noticed this with others here who totally identify themselves as "Christians". It seems to be the only glasses through which they can look at the world. It is their identity! This lack of empathy for other religions (or non-religion) is a sure sign that their amygdala is corrupted (or whatever part of the brain that functions as an individual identifier).


Stargrrl 20 months ago

Titen, religion may be cultural for some, but not for me. It's a choice. I disagree that people become emotionally dependent on fantasies, because to them, they are not fantasies! They are only fantasies to you. It is an insult to say that people who believe are less evolved, and it was a quite ignorant statement, I would add. I know you weren't the one who made the comment, but you defended it.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 20 months ago from Tasmania

Stargrrl, it is your sort of blind, obstinate, unintelligent trash in the name of your religion that finally convinced me your type christianity has its rightful place in the trash can.

Illogical, unarguable, self-designed for personal affirmation, your "faith" is something you are entitled to.

Like JMcFarlane, Austinstar and Titen-Sxull , I have no fear of your particular "god," but if you use that "god" to in any way limit my choices in life, then you will find a strong voice of freedom right here in front of you.


Stargrrl 20 months ago

Jonny: A little angry, are you? First of all, I was talking to Titen, and Second, I do NOT care what you think. And who was trying to limit your choices in life? I don't care about your choices. I am not threatening anybody.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Whether they view them as fantasies or not isn't the point. Please try to understand that I do not believe God exists, or an afterlife for that matter. Such beliefs require faith and are, as near as my research has told me, not based on evidence of any kind. Of course it is your choice however choosing a religion is far more complicated than choosing what to wear or what breakfast cereal to eat.

"but you defended it."

Personally I believe that the tendency to superstition is evolutionary BUT that it shared by all humans. I do not subscribe to the idea that atheists are somehow superior and I don't believe Austinstar thinks that way either, I think you misunderstood her comment to some degree. As a former believer myself it would be stupid of me to assume that I somehow became more intelligent when I left my faith behind, rather I simply did more soul-searching, more studying and more thinking on the subject and over the course of several years came to the realization that I was an atheist.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Also if everyone could please keep it from becoming personal and keep things focused on discussions relevant to theism, atheism, religion, etc.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

"I simply did more soul-searching, more studying and more thinking on the subject and over the course of several years came to the realization that I was an atheist."

Exactly! And I understand that having a different way of processing logic doesn't make one better or worse than others, it just makes one different.

Being better or worse is a judgement call by those that think in terms of "good versus bad" instead of "A type" versus "B type".

A is not better or worse than B, they are simply different.


Stargrrl 20 months ago

Austinstar, that is not what you said a minute ago.

"Hopefully, evolution will favor the logical thinkers and some day the dreamers will be a thing of the past."

Who decides what is logical?

Titen, I have no doubt that you do not think yourself superior to others, but SHE specifically implied that in her last comment, talking about how religion was some disease, or that there it was some sort of brain disorder. Some may construe that as rude.

Moving forward, I will acquiesce to your request, Titen.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Logic is axiomatic.

Of course even a logical person can retain their religious belief but it seems to me that in those cases they simply suspend logic in regards to their religious beliefs, which is where faith comes in. While I still disagree with those that believe it is a matter of faith (and not a matter of evidence or logic) I cannot fault them for wanting to believe. The difference is that there came a time in my life when I was not satisfied by blind faith with no answers to the questions and sought those answers out no matter what the outcome was - to find the actual truth. And in my experience faith, since it can lead so many contradictory and illusory superstitions and delusions, cannot be a pathway to truth.

While atheism is not a definitive conclusion it is the one I believe fits the evidence I currently have available to me. And in all my years discussing the issue with theists I have not come across any convincing arguments or evidence, just more faith.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Evolution will decide which is "logical". And studies have shown that ultra-religious people have a different way of processing information derived from their senses. It has also been shown that the amygdala controls empathy or lack thereof.

Whether or not a corrupted amygdala is better or worse is still a judgement call and not one made by me.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Well don't forget that pure logic might not turn out to be evolutionary superior. If you subscribe the Star Trek theory of life you need a bit of Spock, a bit of Bones and a bit of Kirk =D.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I think I like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe theory also. Actually, I'm quite fond of many theories :-)


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 20 months ago from New Mexico

"And studies have shown that ultra-religious people have a different way of processing information derived from their senses"

So do Schizophrenics.

"Whether or not a corrupted amygdala is better or worse is still a judgement call and not one made by me."

Ask Jeffrey Dalmer.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

It's Jeffrey Dahmer (probably a typo). but, you are correct. I do tend to equate religiosity with psychopathology.

The same kind of reasoning seems to apply to both. Psychopathy is one of my fields of study as a scientist, and I have done quite a bit of research on the subject. I am a Medical Laboratory Scientist and have researched links between measurable blood hormones and mental illness. There are quite a few markers that indicate psychopathy.

But the parallels with religious zealots are striking as well.

Again, I don't tend to judge mental illness as "evil", as the person who is questioning my sentiments here in these comments does. Mental illness is a definition of a condition. These types of conditions are seen on MRIs and in other tests.

It is simply an observation and for lack of better ways to describe the differences in the amygdalas (for instance), corrupted is the way it is generally described.

The other female here in this discussion might describe mental illness as "one who is possessed by demons" and she has done so in other conversations. She also describes people that do not agree with her beliefs and yes, fantasies, as people who are being completely influenced by Satan or the Devil. She actually tells people that they will "burn in hell".

Well, she is entitled to her beliefs, but I assure you that I am also entitled to my beliefs, as is anyone else commenting here.


jacharless profile image

jacharless 20 months ago from Between New York and London

Since presuppositionalism is confined to the rules of Christianity, it is immediately biased. And that causes a problem for the philosophical argument. If fact, it negates any possible argument, which seems to be its underlying goal. And that stinks... Ha!

Excluding Theos for a moment -both science and sensation, can we ask the same question and make some determination? We know, based upon many historical references, from many times/dates and many civilizations, the Concept of a supreme authority/designer has existed.

As a philosopher the question is: if, over a current span of some 20,000 Gregorian years, the Concept has existed, and thrived, is there any merit to it? It does not seem very practical, useful or logical -be it from the most primitive culture to our high-tech speed-of-wifi-world to remain attached to such a Concept without some form of merit. That leads to the next question: where did the Concept originate, why did it thrive, splinter and each thrive under their respective approaches to the Concept? That is the real path to proving/disproving the merit. Although a seemingly impossible exploration, given it has a 20K year head-start and that both sides of Theos is scarred and peppered with ages of politics and selfism, does not mean we should grievously sigh and immediately dismiss the search for the truth behind it.

The answer is out there, or in there. So far, the Concept has merit -just from the mere fact it is being considered and debated. Let's abandon the negative self-imposed limitations of the Moral Dilemma (what's right/ what's wrong) and have a go at it...

Cheers.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 20 months ago from Tasmania

@ Stargrrl, you wrote:

"Jonny: A little angry, are you? First of all, I was talking to Titen, and Second, I do NOT care what you think. And who was trying to limit your choices in life? I don't care about your choices. I am not threatening anybody."

* No, certainly not angry. I don't get angry with something that .is/someone who is not worth worrying about.

* When we discuss in these forums, it is open to all....it's public. And I was a bit rude butting in there, my apologies for that.....but I do not apologize for speaking to your discussion points.

* It's obvious that you do care what I and everyone here thinks. Otherwise you would not get angry....

* If you had your way, you would indeed limit my choices. Tell me you don't think what I think and do is "of the devil." You would change my thinking and my choices to align with your christian beliefs if you were able and entitled to do so.

* Maybe you don't threaten anyone, personally. But your religion certainly does. In many countries of the world it threatens anyone who is found "guilty" of same-gender relationships with extreme punishment and social rejection.

You might try to ignore what I think and say, but I cannot ignore and sanction much of the things you believe and say about people who don't believe what you believe.

Is there anything in your religion that allows people to have differences yet encourages humility and social cohesion?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

"If fact, it negates any possible argument, which seems to be its underlying goal."

Well the whole point of presuppositional apologetics is that they can declare victory without any arguments at all. They go by the Bible verse that says "The fool says in his heart, there is no God." so to them anyone who denies the obvious reality of God is wrong even before the arguing starts.

" So far, the Concept has merit -just from the mere fact it is being considered and debated."

It is being debated because it is widely believed not necessarily because it has any merit. I think the longevity of the concept of gods is due to a great deal of factors. In ancient times such superstitions were useful to cement societies together, to combine an understanding of nature with rules and commandments. Later they were taken over by political powers, Christianity largely owes its success to the Roman Empire and being spread by conquest.

"does not mean we should grievously sigh and immediately dismiss the search for the truth behind it."

While I agree that we should not dismiss theism out of hand that is not what most atheists do. I am a former Christian who became an atheist because I began an honest search for God starting when I read the entire Bible. The search of the truth is ongoing but I have not seen anything that convinces me theism, and especially a particular brand or religion, is true.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

"the Concept has merit -just from the mere fact it is being considered and debated"

Then unicorns also have merit, I suppose. Among other things considered and debated.


jacharless profile image

jacharless 20 months ago from Between New York and London

Interestingly, Austin mentions unicorns, which historically has not been around as long as the concept of a Supreme Deity. Way to add nothing valid.

Titan, while I thoroughly agree that the totality of Theos from both expressions are cause enough to abandon the Concept, and also my liberation from higher ranks within power-Christianity, am glad to see you search for truth. That is the true meaning of Philos.

Said truth nor evidence thereof can be found within the realm of Theos, as any and all forms of it are tainted. So, we have to approach the question from an altogether different perspective.

Cheers.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

jacharless -The beginning of religion started with cave men worshiping fire, rain, and any other "god" they thought would explain the natural world.

The notion of a supreme deity didn't come along for thousands of years.

So, if you are looking for the 'truth', you are considering and debating the wrong concepts.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

I have to agree with you Austinstar, nature worship is likely the oldest religion.

Even in the Bible polytheism is the rule and monotheism is the exception. There is even a lot of talk of Yahweh having originally been a storm god, which is why he was always in conflict with Baal who was also a storm god. Also it is confirmed by archaeology that polytheism was practiced in the Palestine/Israel area and that Yahweh at one time had a wife (Asherah).


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Titen - Mankind has constantly tried to attribute human qualities to their gods. My question would be, "Why?"

If there were a supreme deity, and it had human qualities, it would have been able to correct its human frailties one would imagine. Or at least mitigate them in some way.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

It seems to be a hallmark of gods that they appear human or share our faults in some way, although monotheism based on those ancient scriptures now do all sorts of apologetic backflips to pretend their God is somehow perfect. Perhaps its because they saw their luck change from day to day, crops fail, plagues spread, storms raged, etc and attributed these things to their God and to any "sins" they had committed. So it seemed to make sense that God was sort of like them only far more powerful, just as vengeful and flawed as they were but without the human frailty and with the might to make whatever he did righteous.


Link10103 profile image

Link10103 20 months ago

What does the length of time unicorns have been a concept have to do with anything charless? Or did you completely miss the point behind mentioning unicorns to begin with?


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 20 months ago from Tasmania

I would suggest that any belief system strives to satisfy a human need - or at least a perceived human need.

When I am threatened by my fellow man, I want support from someone who is mightier than my opponent. I construct a God that is mightier than anything my opponent can drum up.

When my crops fail and my family is threatened by starvation, I need an excuse for my failure to provide a crop, even if I have done everything I think is possible from my own effort. If my family has belief in a God that is above and beyond my and their world, He is responsible for the crop, not me. This lets me "off the hook."

When the crop is bountiful, we all feel excited and celebratory, full of fun and laughter, then a colourful, joyous, dancing festival brings with it an affirmation for me, a sense of safety and comfort. Eat, drink and be merry. My belief in God was justifies, I am happy.

All these human feelings and emotions lend weight to the "truth" of whatever my God represents.

Woe betide anyone who tries to deny the existence of my God, because then I would have to re-think my life and that would be a huge bother for my mind.

"So, brother, just believe what I say, don't ever question what I believe."


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 20 months ago from New Mexico

I was raised a Christian and also became an atheist from reading the bible and questioning it and wondering what was true and what was truth. I eventually came to the conclusion that in order to know what was true and what was false is to follow the evidence. If a supreme being, god or whatever, is true, even if it may be beyond our normal perception or a part of nature, it would still leave a trace of itself that would lead back to it... so far in all my studies of the sciences, not one scientific finding has shown even the necessity of a supreme being/god. Does that conclude that there is no such being? No, but it does say that we cannot conclude or assume or even consider the existence of such a being, otherwise we can also consider the existence of Superman, or unicorns, or fairies, etc.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Agreed artblack01

I would go one step further and say that my research has convinced me that all gods humanity have ever worshiped (at least the ones we know about) are fictional (with the exception of the obviously real like those that simply worshiped the sun or moon) and that we are their creators. I've also come to the conclusion that the concept of gods as we understand it would probably be a hindrance rather than a help in the event we do discover some ultra-powerful or ultra-intelligent being or beings. As the word is entangled with thousands and thousands of years of false gods calling a real and legitimately discovered god a god in the first place would be lead to the tendency of identify this being with the gods of old.

Which is partially what this hub is about. Craig thinks he can logically prove the Universe must have a causal God, a vague concept that he then identifies with his God of choice, conflating his weak deistic musings with Christianity as best he can.


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 20 months ago from New Mexico

I have heard pretty much every argument for god and not one is convincing, they are all assumption based arguments from ignorance.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I think it's like when you are a kid, you are convinced Santa exists, then when you grow up, there is evidentiary reason to believe that Santa is just a fantasy.

But since we cannot at this time prove that a god doesn't exist, people keep believing in what they were told to believe in by their parents.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Not to mention its as if half the world seems to have drank the Kool-Aid that not only is Santa belief socially acceptable but disbelief in Santa is strange and anyone who claims Santa doesn't exist or who demands evidence is somehow being closed-minded or intolerant. It really is a strange place to be in and it comes from the fact that these ideas and institutions are emotionally, politically and financially embedded.

It's the reason some police or military body hasn't raided the Vatican, tried those who work there and burnt it to the ground despite the institutionalization of sexual abuse and the massive cover-up and constant PR to sweep such things under the rug.

If people were not convinced there was something sacred about the Catholic religion we might see a new Nuremberg trial, because I feel as though the sins of the Catholic church, stretching back centuries and centuries, rival the crimes of the third reich. Which is why when I saw some friends of mine, atheists even, saying they liked the new Pope because he said something different than the status quo I just kind of stared at them like, "what are you f@#$ing stupid? He's a PR guy, a puppet meant to clean up their image. Pay no attention to the molestation and deception behind the curtain!"

Sorry, rambled a bit :)


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 20 months ago from Tasmania

Hopefully there's no such Ex-Communication from H.P.! Freedom of speech is a precious right. Let's not give in to anyone who would limit such freedom.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

It is like you say. The more one examines religion and its motives, the harder it is to accept these people as sane. Have you heard of the Dominionist movement? It's extremely scary.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

I've heard of them and the frightening thing is some of them are in our legislatures. They seem to think pollution and climate change don't matter at all. There is also the Quiverfull movement, which subjugates women and brainwashes them into having as many children as possible, most of them homeschool these children and brainwash them with hardcore Creationist Evangelical Christianity.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

These dominionists want to bring back all biblical principles, including stoning (men, women and children), slavery, and they believe that helping the poor is a sin because god is punishing poor and sick people. To help them would be to go against god's will.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

I wonder what Jesus would say to the idea that the poor and sick shouldn't be helped. I guess they forgot that the meek will inherit the Earth.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I just don't understand how anyone could actually have these thoughts in their head. Where do they come from? I suspect that Ted Cruz is a Dominionist. And that scares me, a lot!


jacharless profile image

jacharless 20 months ago from Between New York and London

@artblack01,

Am wondering if you have ever considered the possibility that the truth/evidence you (and many others) seek -apart from the ritual ideologies of Theos (sensationalism and science) - is in plain sight; is not such a great and inexplicable mystery, that requires studying religiously, as it were, nor synthetic tests, weights/measures, check/balances, etc; nor simple dismissible because said approaches return false/empty. Looking for a single flake of snow during a blizzard is a bit ridiculous, no? Permit me to use Occam's Razor: "...the simplest explanation is often the correct one". In short, if the answer is "there is no God", then we simply end this blizzard hunt and let it go entirely, without any further consideration whatsoever, else if the answer is "There can be or is a God", then we, again, end the blizzard hunt and look right in front of us for the truth that the previous applications denied us.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

jacharless - the only problem I have with the belief in god is that it started from ignorance and continues to this day. It's all "god of the gaps". Just because you or I or Titen-Sxull cannot answer SOME of your questions, you automatically fill in the gaps with a 'god' of some kind.

Instead of looking for the real physical reason for something, you just make stuff up.

Remember when mankind thought a "rain god" made it rain? Yea, well, now we know that rain is caused by real meteorological events.

Eventually, we will be smart enough to figure out all of the gap questions, but religious people stubbornly hang on to their unproven ideas of some being who lives in the sky.


jacharless profile image

jacharless 20 months ago from Between New York and London

I'm sorry, but what proof/evidence do you have to support the Origin of the Concept was ignorance or communal necessity? If you have it, I'd be very interested in seeing it. Else, I can only assume you are applying precisely what this article speaks of: presuppositionalism, just from a polar perspective, leaving no room for exploration "outside" the boundaries of Theos.

The questions I have posed were not designed to be answered by you, Titan, etc but rather to open the possibilities beyond the current scope of Reason -to think without the "box".

And what precisely did I "make up"?

Cheers.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

jacharless - You are deflecting, I see. And I am wasting my time trying to reply to you since you can't seem to read my comments and their meanings. But I'll give it one more go. Here are your answers in order:

1. Proof of origin of the concept of god is found in studying religious history, particularly ancient history, ie: before the Abrahamic religions came along.

2. And what did you make up? Everything that you "believe" to be true without physical proof, analytical proof, and independently verifiable proof. Anything outside your "bible box" (or holy book), which is simply a collection of myths and legends and stories.


jacharless profile image

jacharless 20 months ago from Between New York and London

Ha! Boy are you on the wrong page.

If I told you what I "believe" you, and most others washed in the detergent of Theos, would inadvertently go mad. Hehe. Second, I have no "bible box" nor "holy book", so there is a definite bias you have and are applying, which I had already suspected. Why? Because I merely inquired as to the possibility of merit to the CONCEPT of a deity, you immediately assume I am a fundie or thumper? Absolutely and inexcusably pitiful. It is the Concept that interests me, not the feeble and hugely misguided parameters of humanities current definition of Reason, never-mind the countless failures of their tests using either -or both sides- of Theos to "prove" or "disprove" said existence.

Any-hoo, Enjoy the continued "inside the box" view.

Cheers.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Sorry, I tend to follow the thread/subject that is being put forward and not whatever it is that you imagine you are saying.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

It depends on which concept of god we are talking about. The general concept of a god or gods is more or less unfalsifiable because of how nebulous and vague it is.

But when it comes to specific God concepts, like the one of major religions old and new I think there is plenty of evidence that the origin of those gods was "ignorance and communal necessity". These gods have all the hallmarks of being made in OUR IMAGE by us, perhaps the reasoning I am using to arrive at this conclusion is inductive rather than deductive, I'm not sure, but I assure you it is not presuppositional.


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 20 months ago from New Mexico

The only box is reality, you can believe whatever you want, doesn't make it true. I want to believe in as many true things as possible and as few false things as possible.... I am leaving things like God(s), fairies, ghosts. alien visitors and weird monsters to science fiction, horror and fantasy.

What has no evidence cannot be considered an answer.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

artblack - "What has no evidence cannot be considered an answer." I will have to disagree. Most kids grow up believing in Santa Claus. But when they grow up and see the "no evidence" part of the story, they can pretty much figure it out.


jacharless profile image

jacharless 20 months ago from Between New York and London

Which is one point I was leaning toward. Lack of evidence is not proof, nor are hallmarks. Appearances can be very deceiving, as we have clearly witnessed with many facets of human society, from politics to porn -even as exemplified in the above article, concerning presuppositionalism. However, I cannot concur without any kind of documentation or artifact that the Concept was born out of ignorance or common necessity. If fact, everything I have read/studied about our ancestors and their social order, from various areas and timelines, suggests quite the opposite. The concept was born out of intelligence. Then, very recently, I stumbled upon Göbekli Tepe, circa 10,0o0 BCE. A temple-city built 12,000 Gregorian years ago, mirroring closely the Inca style pyramid-temples build out of the mountains themselves. Interestingly, there is zero evidence to support these two civs had any relationship nor swapped information, yet both have the same (translated) name for a God : "the one who made creation". I for one cannot explain such a thing. But it is fascinating, and reason enough to search the archives of humanity to get-to the root of the Origin.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

jacharless - I am very familiar with Native American (North, Central, and South) cultures and somewhat familiar with Gobekli Tepe. I can assure you that every one of these cultures had a concept of a "creator". But that's just it, it's a concept. A concept that started with a gaps presupposition. They didn't know the origin of the universe, no one does, but their human brains filled in the gaps of knowledge with "the unknown". It's still ignorance, but not stupidity.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 20 months ago from back in the lab again Author

It is not my contention that the concept itself was born out of ignorance. There are many reasons why an ancient person might want there to be or believe that there is a god, even down to the hope that human beings are not alone in the Universe. The concept has many possible functions and origins. The hallmarks of something being a manmade concept can be used as evidence against a specific concept of God. I have several hubs about the Christian God showing that almost all of his features are contingent upon the Universe, rather than the Universe needing this God.

I'd like to see more information on this god with the same name that exists in two completely separate places and I would inquire as to whether these two cultures were separated by both time and space. As for the similar architecture that is not at all surprising as there are only so many basic shapes a building can possibly take.


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 20 months ago from New Mexico

Not referring to kids, referring to adults... but yeah, that is how I was as a kid, I figured everything out.... funny I pretended to still believe in Santa for my parents sake and more toys, afraid if I knew they would stop doing it. But Adults, many don't think about what is real and what is fantasy and they don't question it, even worse, if you don't believe they try to create situations that either put you in danger or disrespect everyone else's beliefs or nonbeliefs. Most adults believe in things like ghosts, and are scammed into things, for the most part those shows are entertaining, but people are so gullible they buy voice recorders and expensive cameras all for the expressed purpose of hunting that which does not exist. Even if you think it's possible these people are not qualified to find this sort of evidence rationally. They enjoy the discovery but notice how they skip the investigation part.

People follow anything that makes them feel good and that thing should not be a scam artist.


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 20 months ago from New Mexico

As far as the concept of a creator being born out of ignorance, there are religions far older, many of which seemed to surround not just the unknown but fear of death.... how did I get hear, where will I go when I die? These are questions that if you are unable to answer them due to ignorance, the lack of knowledge that we have and take for granted. We can investigate while they in the past can only ever wonder. We in this generation or even the next 100 generations will have collected so much knowledge but the sciences will still always ask questions, forever.... God is of the gaps and only for those who don't question it.


Christopher Jay T profile image

Christopher Jay T 16 months ago from Fort Worth, TX

I enjoyed your article. Although I don't consider myself an Atheist or agnostic, I think it is utterly when theists say they can prove god's existence. It's funny because they always say they have proof but never give us any.


vector7 profile image

vector7 16 months ago

My my, i did not finish (but i will) the read, but i did recognise devotion to knowledge. No pun in the making, haven't been on hubpages in a couple years. Just curious if you conclude personal experience obsolete to one's self if others present evidence against 'your' experience. i.e. you feel the wind blow, your friends disagree because there's no evidence.. they felt nothing and see no trees or, well anything, being blown. Would you 1] conclude with taking your personal experience was true, or 2] conclude you are now loopy, lol, and your fiends have thus disproven any "truth" to 'your' experience? :)


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 16 months ago from back in the lab again Author

Let me clean up you analogy with something less mundane than the wind blowing.

Let's say I start seeing a ghost, and I tell my friends about it and they say "I don't see any evidence" and I say "but he totally just gave you a wedgie! Of course I will begin to doubt myself if this ghost shows no ability to actually affect things around me.

If my experience is out of the ordinary I absolutely will doubt myself. Let me give another example, let's say I vividly recall being abducted by aliens, they come in a spaceship and I try to struggle but I can't and soon enough I'm in their flying saucer. My family says, "we didn't hear or see anything weird last night, are you sure you weren't dreaming? Are you sure it wasn't sleep paralysis?"

Of course I am going to doubt myself and my own experience as a potential dream/hallucination, unless other evidence can confirm that its real which I would certainly pursue.

Your example of the wind blowing is too mundane and normal when we're discussing paranormal or supernatural phenomenon.

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