Monday, May 5, 2008

Freethought Monday

Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to freethought monday.  Todays topic is philosophical arguments against the existence of God (Judeo-Christian version that we are all somewhat familiar with)    Try some of these donkeys out for size.....

1.  If God exists, then he is perfect
2. If God exists, then he is the creator of the universe.
3. If a being is perfect, then whatever he creates must be perfect.
4.  But the Universe is not perfect.
5.  Therefore, it is impossible for a perfect being to be the creator of the universe
6.  Hence, it is impossible for God to exist

Or how bout this one......

1.  If God exists, then he is trancendent (i.e., outside space and time).
2. If God exists, he is omnipresent
3. To be transcendent, a being cannot exist anywhere in space.
4. To be omnipresent, a being must exist everwhere in space.
5. Hence it is impossible for a transcendent being to be omnipresent.
6. Therefore, it is impossible for God to exist.

and finally..

1.  If God exists, then he is nonphysical
2.  If God exists, then he is a person (or a personal being)
3.   A person (or personal being) needs to be physical.
4.  Hence it is impossible for God to exist.

Thoughts?  Comments?  


Brett said...

Okay... I'll bite:

Syllogism #1:

First, on what basis do you argue that if God is perfect anything he creates must be perfect? You state this as fact but do not defend it? What cosmic law says anything he creates must be perfect? You have assumed but not defended one of your foundational premises? In other words is the foundation is faulty so is the building.

Second, How do you define perfect? What is your reference point for perfection? You have not stated how the universe is not perfect? Indeed, you are caught on the horns of a dilemma. If you say perfection is what God is, then God cannot create another God so nothing God creates can be perfect. If you suggest it is moral perfection then you have no way to critique it. For according to you evil does not exist it is a construct and you have not demonstrated that the universe isn't perfect. If you suggest that a perfect universe would simply be the lack of sin, God did create that, but man brought sin into the world. So now man is accountable for the imperfection, not God, but you have unjustly accused God and acknowledged your own imperfection - i.e., sin.

So... yes the world is imperfect, but you must presuppose God to believe that. Having acknowledged its imperfections, you admit your own culpability for your sin before him.

Syllogism #2:

Again your premise is false. To be transcendent means you are not limited by time and space, not that you cannot interact with it or exist within it.

False premise equals faulty syllogism.

Syllogism #3:

Again, where does your premise that a person needs to be physical come from. That is like a person who has only seen white people saying a person has to be white to be a person. Your experience does not define reality. Furthermore, the idea of person - as in the three persons of the Trinity comes from "persona" originally referring to a subsistence. It never meant that he was somehow a create being but exists in three subsistences. Your are arguing against a false notion of the personhood of God. I will join you in deconstructing a false notion that God is a created being. But your personhood is contingent upon your being created in God's image. If God does not have personality - neither do you.

We'll call this.... Clear Thought Tuesday.

Garrett said...

Ladies and gentleman you can always attack any of these by attacking the foundation. You can do that in any philosophical debate,....For example if I said The sun rises every day in the east......the sun rises everyday.....therefore the sun will almost certainly rise tomorrow..........
My opponent can say....what is your definition of the "The sun?" Did you know it doesn't actually "rise" per se? Your foundation is faulty...therefore your argument is bad..... You can get into an absurd regress...I don't blame Brett for doing this, it is the only avenue that he has in my opinion.

As far as evil...Brett (perhaps) and other thelogians (certainly)have wrestled with the verse from Isaiah 45:7 (KJV) which states that it is "God" who actually created evil. Look it up folks!

If I told Brett that I don't believe evil exists then I will revise that statement. He may have caught me in a moment where I meant to say "sin" does not exist. Indeed I don't believe that sin exists because sin is a religious concept in a religious book. And if salvation is the cure for sin, then guess what folks...Atheism is the prevention.

If Brett wishes to get into a ad infinitum exercise of parsing every word of these 3 syllogisms then that is his right. But for everyone else, I say, "use your reason and common sense!"


I have so "not" wanted to venture into this discussion as you know that we differ on the subject of our belief in God. But I also do not want to be absent in listening to the dialgue that you write about your non belief in God. I am enjoying reading the exchanges between you and Brett. It is a healthy and very informative on both sides. Love ya, Susan

mark said...

"Ladies and gentleman you can always attack any of these by attacking the foundation". Exactly. That is the first place to start when having a debate.
A position, or argument, is always predicated by having an understanding of the question asked, and the definition of the terms involved. These must be mutually understood and agreed upon by either side of the debate. However, if one side is unwilling to define it's terms, or trys to shift and change its definitions, then one will end up having a circular argument that will go nowhere.
If I walk up to you and try to knock you over, what will be most effective? Smacking you upside the head, or knocking your feet out from under you? Same thing with debates. If you take out the foundation, the house of cards crumbles.
I will be interested to read a post at some point in which you write about your view of "evil", what it is, does it exist, how do we recognize it, etc.

Brett said...

Tiger, Okay, I am back from vacation... and ready to respond. First, yes Mark is correct - an edifice is only as good as its foundation. A syllogism is only as good as its premises. If you want to posit that you can come up with any premise and build a syllogism on it then if someone critiques the premise you use a 'don't look at the man behind the curtain' defense I ask who is using common sense. I could simply posit the following:

#1 - In order for God not to exist Garrett must be correct.
#2 - In order for Garrett to be correct he must be seven feet tall.
#3 - Garrett is not seven feet tall so God must exist.

Then when you say this is a faulty premise I respond and say 'yes Garrett that is a very neat philosophical trick, just attack my foundation... but everyone can see you are not seven feet tall so you must be wrong!'

Why would you try to demonstrate that you are, in fact, seven feet tall. That is not necessary - my premise is as lame as New Kids on the Block reunion tour. It is not worth the time or effort. Furthermore, if you grant my faulty premise you have no hope of answering the syllogism because you can never prove that you are seven feet tall.

Likewise, your syllogisms are based upon concepts and definitions that have not been historically agreed upon, implemented, used, etc. Why would I grant these then try to argue against them? You're the one who's not seven feet tall!

Garrett said...

No No No Brett

My syllogisms are based on what christians and the bible says about god, he is perfect...he is transcedent...things that you believe and takes it to its natural conclusion. Your thing about me being 7 feet tall doesn't wash, it would be the same thing if I said God is a purple unicorn. That is not something that the bible says or that christians believe.

Brett said...

Where does the Bible say:
'... if God created the universe it has to be perfect?'
'... whatever a created being creates has to be perfect?'
'... to be transcendent a being cannot exist in time and space?'
'... a person (or personal being) needs to be physical?'

These are your (undefended) premises. The ones that are biblical I have no problem with. :)

Let me illustrate - you did say 'God cannot exist' so my first premise you agree with. It is my second premise that you must seven feet tall that I added without substantiation. I agree that God is perfect, the creator of the universe, transcendent, omnipresent, and nonphysical. It is your follow up premises that you posit are also necessary that I have critiqued.

For the record, I don't believe that you need to be seven feet tall to be correct, but that would be cool.