Have I proven that God does not exist?

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kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 07:59 pm
@richard mcnair,
richard_mcnair;125965 wrote:
What do you mean? I've not been living on mars for the whole of my life, and I've met many different people from different background, and I think, like the majority of people I know what sort of people believe what.

Are you trying to say that what I have said is wrong, and that the people in the world who have actually experienced the suffering aren't usually the religious ones, whereas the people in the world who have merely heard about, or read about the suffering in the world, but have never actually experienced it aren't the atheists?


What I am wondering is how you know, other than your own limited experience, that people in general do not give up their faith in the face of adversity. To know that you must have taken a survey, or a poll. I did not say you are wrong. I am just wondering how you know you are right?
 
richard mcnair
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 08:06 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;125966 wrote:
What I am wondering is how you know, other than your own limited experience, that people in general do not give up their faith in the face of adversity. To know that you must have taken a survey, or a poll. I did not say you are wrong. I am just wondering how you know you are right?

Well as I just said, for a start the vast majority of jews who survived the holocaust didn't give up their religion afterwards. The vast majority of people from poorer backgrounds are religious - religious/atheistic divide pretty closely follows the poor/wealthy divide. The vast majority of people who survive freak natural disasters don't suddenly become atheists.
You live in new york don't you? Was the general atmosphere after 9/11 one of several people suddenly giving up their faith, having had a light bulb going off in their minds, and suddenly proclaiming that god can't exist? Or was it more like the opposite?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 08:11 pm
@richard mcnair,
richard_mcnair;125970 wrote:
Well as I just said, for a start the vast majority of jews who survived the holocaust didn't give up their religion afterwards. The vast majority of people from poorer backgrounds are religious - religious/atheistic divide pretty closely follows the poor/wealthy divide. The vast majority of people who survive freak natural disasters don't suddenly become atheists.
You live in new york don't you? Was the general atmosphere after 9/11 one of several people suddenly giving up their faith, having had a light bulb going off in their minds, and suddenly proclaiming that god can't exist? Or was it more like the opposite?


You may be right. I don't seem to have your sources of information. I don't live in New York City. And even if I did, I don't think I would know the answer to your question.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 08:21 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;125976 wrote:
You may be right. I don't seem to have your sources of information. I don't live in New York City. And even if I did, I don't think I would know the answer to your question.
just to help richard_mcnair's argument:

Quote:
China: It is estimated that 20 million Chinese lost their lives during Mao's Cultural Revolution. Christians stood firm in what was probably the most widespread and harsh persecution the Church has ever experienced. The persecution purified and indigenized the Church. Since 1977 the growth of the Church in China has no parallels in history. Researchers estimate that there were 30-75 million Christians by 1990. Mao Zedong unwittingly became the greatest evangelist in history.
El-Salvador:
The 12-year civil war, earthquakes, and the collapse of the price of coffee, the nation's main export, impoverished the nation. Over 80% live in dire poverty. An astonishing spiritual harvest has been gathered from all strata of society in the midst of the hate and bitterness of war. In 1960 evangelicals were 2.3% of the population, but today are around 20%.
Ethiopia:
Ethiopia is in a state of shock. Her population struggles with the trauma of millions of deaths through repression, famine, and war. Two great waves of violent persecution refined and purified the Church, but there were many martyrs. There have been millions coming to Christ. Protestants were fewer than 0.8% of the population in 1960, but by 1990 this may have become 13% of the population.
Examples such as these could be multiplied. The history of mankind has been a history of suffering and war.

 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 08:35 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;125978 wrote:
just to help richard_mcnair's argument:


The trouble is, of course, what Francis Bacon called, "the neglect of negative instances". How many people have given up their faith in contrast to those who did not? Do you know that?

Bacon tells this story:

He was at a museum of paintings with a friend and they stopped to look at a picture of people who had just survived a terrible storm at sea and who were on their knees thanking God for having saved them. Bacon's companion remarked on how inspiring that picture was of those pious people. And Bacon asked him where were all the paintings of people who drowned at sea.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 08:54 pm
@richard mcnair,
richard_mcnair;125970 wrote:
Well as I just said, for a start the vast majority of jews who survived the holocaust didn't give up their religion afterwards.


Are you sure you can examine it in this way? You can say a majority didn't abandon their faith, but the faith itself is not based on a premise of something working in a particular way to begin with. For example if their belief stated that nothing ever bad happens to god's chosen people, and they are in fact gods chosen people, then by all means they would question it if they were knowledgeable to do so. Religon doesn't work that way and most religious people don't use that frame of mind either. So long explanation short, no good or bad event will waiver a believer.

It would stand to reason, that if adversity brings people closer to faith then by all means a smooth easy life causes you to reject faith? Is this why pain and suffering are justifiable, it's to maintain the faithful?

richard_mcnair;125970 wrote:

The vast majority of people from poorer backgrounds are religious - religious/atheistic divide pretty closely follows the poor/wealthy divide.


I would say my reasoning above is the same for this statement. The poor tend to be lower educated, if at all. The less educated you are the weaker your reasoning skills are if they exist at all. This is why children are easier to indoctrinate than adults. Children have weaker reasoning skills so it is easier to make connects that wouldn't normally occur.

richard_mcnair;125970 wrote:

The vast majority of people who survive freak natural disasters don't suddenly become atheists.


I would continue to say that my above argument holds to this reasoning as well. People don't use events like this to affirm or deject faith terms. Atheists who were once believers tend to fall into the category, a majority of the time, as reasoning out their belief. It has nothing to do with having a traumatic event taking place which was the final straw that broke the camels back. At least I have never heard any say it. Why? Because it is not a reasonable argument in the first place.

richard_mcnair;125970 wrote:

You live in new york don't you? Was the general atmosphere after 9/11 one of several people suddenly giving up their faith, having had a light bulb going off in their minds, and suddenly proclaiming that god can't exist? Or was it more like the opposite?


This is such an odd question. Were not the hijackers utilizing their religious beliefs to justify their actions? They actually grew in their faith so if your assertion were to state that people become stronger over adversity then by all means the hijackers should have become atheists just before the planes crashed. As silly as that is, I can't follow your reasoning. I have to go back to my original argument. People don't use adversity to reason out religious belief. Well I can speak for myself, I would not.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 11:23 pm
@Krumple,
kennethamy;125941 wrote:
Of course that is true. But what is being argued is that there is nothing which corresponds to that conception of God: the traditional Western conception of God.

This may be in response to another topic that is somehow being worked into mine or a continuation of another argument by some other person being worked in here since this is precariously immaterial. What is being argued in ArthBH's initial post seems to be (at least to me) a classic type of comparative consistency argument that usually comes about in the arguments about God and whether or not he exists. With that in mind, I don't see how you can say that what is being argued is that there is "nothing which corresponds to that conception
kennethamy;125941 wrote:
As for any other conception of God, whether anything corresponds to that has to be argued independently.

Which is why examples of Aristotle's God, Descartes God, and Leibniz's God were made.
kennethamy;125941 wrote:
But it is not an objection to an argument that nothing corresponds to the traditional Western conception of God that something may correspond to a different conception of God, as you seem to think it is.

This seems rather confused. Besides the fact that "western" God is being thrown in again (which is actually not a good idea considering that may something you are thinking about but not conveyed in the context of the thread), an important point as far as my post to ArthBh was that Gods existence could be conceived in a different way rather than nonexistent based on his own criteria.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 11:44 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;126014 wrote:
This may be in response to another topic that is somehow being worked into mine or a continuation of another argument by some other person being worked in here since this is precariously immaterial. What is being argued in ArthBH's initial post seems to be (at least to me) a classic type of comparative consistency argument that usually comes about in the arguments about God and whether or not he exists. With that in mind, I don't see how you can say that what is being argued is that there is "nothing which corresponds to that conception


I did not think your post was specifically addressed to the OP. But if it was, I apologize. In any case, I find it difficult to understand the OP.
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 01:32 am
@ArthBH,
I do not think it is possible to prove that "god exists" or that "god does not exist" and I think efforts to prove either proposition fairly miss the point. There are of course many different conceptions of god and the nature of god and how god acts in the world, so no single argument can throw doubt on all possible meanings of the word "god". God is not a conception that lends itself to scientific description or to rational proof. The best one can achieve is a conception of the divine which does not directly conflict with scientific knowledge and is not logically incoherent with experience.

[QUOTE=ArthBH;125254] If God is perfect, then everything he does must be perfect, he must be an absolutely perfect economist, and yet when we see things such as the Haiti earthquake, I cannot see how this disaster could possibly be beneficial -and by beneficial, I mean it in an economic sense, as in, although of course there will be some benefits to having a disaster, the problems it causes are much greater. So therefore he is not perfect. And I don't mean 'perfect' in any kind of subjective way, I mean it in a totally economic and existential sense, the original sense of the word, as in, he is flawless. [/QUOTE] Perhaps "divine perfection" and human notions of perfection do not coincide. Perhaps god is "not perfect" in the sense that you conceive of perfection.

[QUOTE=ArthBH;125254] So then you could say, well maybe he does exist, but perhaps he just isn't perfect. And I can't help but think, how can he not be perfect? [/QUOTE] There are many conception of god in which god is not all powerful and not all knowing. Even in the Bible god is fallible, In the second chapter of Genesis god miscalculates and creation goes awry. Throughout the bible gods plans go astray, god changes his mind, the covenants change, god argues with his creation, gets angry, god repents. The biblical picture of god is not the Greek philosophical notion of perfection (eternal, changeless, etc.). God may know all the possibilities of the future but perhaps the future does not exist to be known (not even by God). God may be very powerful, powerful enough to overcome entropy, chaos and the void but not powerful enough to suppress those forces altogether only powerful enough to bring forth order, complexity, life, mind and experience.

[QUOTE=ArthBH;125254] Like the universe and it's laws (which are existentially perfect), he is the absolute, he created himself, it would be implausible for him not to be perfect. He is a being of extreme power, he can do what ever he wants, so how could he not have created himself to be perfect? [/QUOTE] What created the universe? The big bang. What caused the big bang? God. What caused god? It really is an infinite regress with no scientific answer. God is in some sense defined as the ground of being, the essence of existence, the prime mover. Using those definitions there is no answer to what created god. God is the ordering, rational and creative principle in the universe.

[QUOTE=ArthBH;125254] And you could argue that maybe he no longer has control over Earth, but that would also mean he is not perfect, for there must be a fault in him to explain why he has no longer got control or cannot fight off satan. [/QUOTE] God is the good, the rational, ordering creative principle in nature. Satan (evil) is the void, chaos, destruction, the privation or absence of the good. Nature on the whole is not blind, indifferent and purposeless but "evil" is. God is the rational, creative ordering principle that creates value in the world, evil is the primordial force which destroys value.

[QUOTE=ArthBH;125254] You could argue that these things are sent to test us, but test us for what? Surely the horror that disasters such the Haiti earthquakes, the tsunami, World War 1 and 2, 9/11, and thousands of others are not worth it just to test us. [/QUOTE] I would say the notion that everything that happens is part of gods plan, in accordance with gods will or "permitted" by god is a serious theological error, a major cause of disbelief and causes religious cognitive dissonance.

[QUOTE=ArthBH;125254] So does this theory prove that God does not exist? Or am I missing something? [/QUOTE] At best it proves that the traditional orthodox western notion of an eternal, changeless, impassive, omnipotent, and omniscient deity acting by supernatural intervention needs revision in the age of science and reason. It does not prove that "god" in the larger sense of the term does not exist only that there are flaws in our conceptions of the divine. Man's conception of god has always been dictated by the larger worldview of the time. Our worldview has changed dramatically in the last two to three hundred years but our traditional conception of god has not caught up (we are working on it). Our religions and our worldviews are always a work in progress.
 
 

 
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