Given how horribly off-railed the last thread went, I suppose it's sensible (and in line with my ulterior motive) to cast the net more widely this time.
Objective: Discuss (construct and attack) the arguments for and against God's existence.
We won't try to prove one position or the other, so drop your pitchforks, although you are more than welcome to try. The only criteria that has to be satisfied is the overarching topic, viz., God's existence. Beyond that, any particular topic is game: free will, soul, omnipotence, math, logic, quantum physics (though I don't think I can participate much in this realm), etc. It is, however, your responsibility to make the connection to the God topic.
Think of it as a playing field, a special kind of room where you can talk about this topic, instead of battle grounds. There is much demand to defend this epistemological position, but I don't think it's unreasonable for everyone to entertain the possibility that "We cannot know if we and others are necessarily wrong or right; we are just giving good or bad arguments for our beliefs."
Requirements: Since this is posted in the Rubik's Cube, I feel obligated to set some ground rules of conduct.
- This is not an opinion poll. If you take a stance, you need to have a reason to support your decision; other people jabbing at your support (successfully or otherwise) doesn't necessarily dictate that you should change your beliefs, so you need one, however indefensible it may be.
- Try to be rational and objective (robot-like, or should I say, Eos-like). I'm guilty of acting from emotions all the time, but let's give each other a break here.
- Be as clear as you can and avoid the "Oh I didn't mean that" kind of cop-out.
Definitions--not the rules by which we have to play, but how I'm conceptually thinking about the terms, just so that we're on the same page:
- God: The idea of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent being. Not Jesus Christ, not Buddha, not Allah, not any specific worshiped God. He is a necessary, incorporeal, and objective being--existing independently of human thoughts--and has those three aforementioned characteristics.
- Omnipotence: The ability to bring about any possible state of affairs. The alternate definition that I might adopt once the previous goes south (for the sake of keeping the discussion going and shaping a more defensible picture) is the capability of maximal power, i.e., capable of bringing about more states of affairs than any other being.
- Omniscient: Maximal knowledge. If something is true, God knows about it.
Let p be a state of affair, g denote God, and K be the 'knowing' predicate: (∀x) [ (x=p^x=true) → Kgx ]
- Omnibenevolence: Maximal goodness--God always does the maximum amount of good. This one is tricky, but can be narrowed down. Since we're talking about God, I think it's sensible to assume the existence of universal, objective moral values. Moreover, relativism as a moral theory is crap anyway, so I don't think I made a big leap there. In Value Theory, there is a region of study that focuses on Aesthetics, which I can agree is a different kind of "goodness". I'm not too familiar with it, so I'll just ignore it. Besides, the word benevolent doesn't exactly seem to mean "beautiful".
If you see faults in how I view those terms (a paradox perhaps between omniscience and omnibenevolence), feel free to make the attack.
To get things started, I'll take a comment from the last thread, @GreatOrator2:
You seem to be implying that physical evidence is requisite to all proofs, which I suppose to be of the same manner we hear from Sherlock Holmes or science.
Consider, then, how we can make a statement like this:
- If it's raining outside, then we ground is wet.
- I'm on the 31st floor of a building, I look out the window and see it raining.
- Thus the ground must be wet some hundreds of feet down there.
If the only admissible proof of the ground being wet is that there has to be some evidence to it being wet (a person walking in with wet shoes, for example), how did I make that inference above? Surely the rain is not the evidence of a wet ground.
In the same manner, we might not have direct evidence to God's existence, but is it entirely impossible--if he exists--to make the inference using what we do know to be true to derive his necessary existence?