Author Topic: Please validate your belief in your God  (Read 55598 times)

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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #58 on: October 03, 2012, 08:59:40 PM »
No, I do not.  For any finite set of points, there are an infinite number of equations that go through all of them.  Similarly, there's at least one alternative explanation for every phenomenon.

Do you believe that some explanations for phenomena in our universe are more reasonable and rational than others, or do you consider all explanations to be on equal footing?

If no, then how do you explain the explanatory power and predictability of some explanations over others? 
If yes, then what do you base the increased 'reasonableness' on?   

Zeus, Thor, and Vishnu are all conceptions of God.

Do you see them all as equally reasonable 'alternative explanations' to your version of god?  If yes, then please explain.  If no, then I assume you see your god as a superior explanation, and I would like to know why you feel that way (and what tool you used to get there) so that I can decide for myself whether or not your stance is reasonable. 

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What tool do you find works better than the scientific method at determining objective truths about the universe?
I haven't found any.  Therein lies the problem.  I know of no tool that determines objective truths about the universe.

If that is true, then what tool are you utilizing that assists you in coming to the conclusion that your particular version of god is the truth over all the others that have ever been postulated? 

The only tool that I have ever seen that is capable of giving us more accurate explanations of the universe (not necessarily objective truths) is the scientific method.  If we have no other tool that even comes close to giving us accurate explanations (and by accurate, I am talking about predictability, reliability, consistency, etc), do you see it as folly to trust that process more so than you might trust others? 
 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #59 on: October 03, 2012, 09:20:04 PM »
Insofar as I understand, her theological beliefs are basically an exercise in semantic vagueness.  'God' exists, but isn't a person, force, or presence in reality.  But exists, mind you.  She'll tell you a whole lot about what god isn't but will make damn sure to let you know that she can't tell you what god is.  But god is real.
Interesting.  Perhaps she feels she lacks the words to describe God properly?  She sounds like she'd be interesting to talk to, at any rate.
I agree she'd be interesting to talk to, but then again I think it'd be interesting talking to Deepak Chopra and Fred Phelps, so take that as you will :)
But I don't think it's a "she can't articulate her concept properly"...it's more of a "god cannot, in principle, be articulated or understood but I can say without hesitation exists" kind of thing.

I imagine that my little summation is missing quite a bit of nuance, and it wouldn't surprised if some of that nuance is relevant.  But it's all really rather squishy and nebulous.
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In what ways does this differ then from the claim "If the 64th Regiment of Rigel 7 didn't create the universe, we might not even be here!"
Well, for starters, I don't know who or what the 64th Regiment of Rigel 7 is.  Is it ontologically prior to the universe?
So it's this, right here, that I think 3sigma is getting at.  Just as you do not know who or what the 64th Regiment of Rigel 7 is, I do not know who or what god is.  Start from there.

Um.  Yes.  64th Regiment of Rigel 7 is ontologically prior to the universe.
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...so is it simply inadequate or principally flawed?
As a tool?  Neither.  For empirical investigation?  It's great.  For establishing objective truths?  It's inadequate.

Much as a screwdriver is good for screwing screws, so-so for hammering nails, and terrible for tightening bolts, so is the scientific method good at what it does, but not good at what it doesn't.
Can you expound on this a bit more?  I suspect that you can elaborate on the reasons why a screwdriver is good for screwing screws and terrible for tightening bolts.  Do you think you could do something similar for why the scientific method is good for <insert some descriptor here> and terrible for <insert another descriptor here>?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #60 on: October 04, 2012, 06:01:51 AM »
It's factual because it's an accurate depiction of the God in whom I believe.

You are equivocating yet again, Mooby. It might be a factual description of what you imagine your God to be, but it isn’t a factual description of any actual god, which is what I’m asking for in this thread. No god has ever been proven to be eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent or the source of all being. No god has ever been proven to exist at all. Claiming your God is omnipotent is no more factual than claiming Santa Claus lives at the North Pole. Look Mooby, we know you can’t provide a factual description of your God. Why not just admit that instead of engaging in this prevarication?

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Those are valid explanations for a posteriori belief, but as I said above I believe in an a priori god.

Without any facts, observation or experience there is nothing to distinguish your a priori god from imagination.

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My beliefs refer to things external to myself, while my imagination is self-contained.  Also, as I mentioned in my last post, my imagination comes from me, and I come from the universe, so a god prior to the universe could not come from me unless I am more prior to the universe than God, which would make me prior to the universe, which we're assuming for the moment that I'm not.

More word salad. Simply claiming your God is prior to the universe doesn’t make it so. You need to establish the truth or validity of that claim (and all the other unsupported claims you’ve made). You’re also evading questions again, Mooby. I asked you if your God is real or imaginary. Please answer that.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #61 on: October 04, 2012, 04:44:18 PM »
How can Mooby honestly claim to be aware of beings, forces or entities that existed before the universe began and that exist outside of time and space? Entities that leave no physical sign of their presence, but just somehow he knows they are there. And he gets testy when we suggest he is, at best, imagining these beings, and at worse, lying to us about all this.

He just says things that don't make sense and expects us to accept it without explanation. And when we get close to pinning him down in something close to a real statement of fact, he starts in with the semantics and the critiques of someone's word usage and phrasing.

We are wasting our time with Mooby. He is as slippery as an eel. Over the past few years, we have done this dance over and over again and gotten nowhere. It is almost as if he has nothing real to offer here, and can't just admit that he is making stuff up as he goes along.

Where are these entities, Mooby? And how do you know they exist? What evidence do you have that people who believe in other gods (or who don't believe in any gods) don't have?

I predict that, if he responds to this at all, he will pick apart my statements but will not directly address the main point of what I am saying. He will never answer the questions. He can't. Watch.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #62 on: October 05, 2012, 10:11:54 PM »
Do you believe that some explanations for phenomena in our universe are more reasonable and rational than others, or do you consider all explanations to be on equal footing?
Yes, in that I think there's merit in a method such as the scientific method that can organize observations of phenomena into theories.  No in the sense that I think all explanations are equally unable to find objective truths.

To illustrate, I think I see a phone in front of me.  Some explanations are better than others in telling me about the phone, with science being great at explaining how the phone works.  But all that is moot if the phone is not actually there.

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Do you see them all as equally reasonable 'alternative explanations' to your version of god?  If yes, then please explain.  If no, then I assume you see your god as a superior explanation, and I would like to know why you feel that way (and what tool you used to get there) so that I can decide for myself whether or not your stance is reasonable.
Again, yes and no.  I see them as good precursors for God, encompassing some of the concepts of a modern deity, but are a bit limited in scope.  If you follow Western theological traditions and philosophical branches such as metaphysics, the god that emerges is an infinite, perfect being.  And when we look at what deities, if any, could possibly be necessary for existence, it's not hard to conclude some version of Aristotle's unmoved mover, who would be the perfect source of all being. 

So, from my point of view, the minimum necessary requirements for a deity, if one exists, would be a perfect, infinite source of all being.  And I think omniscience/omnipotence/omnipresence would follow from that.  Earlier religious systems like the Greek/Roman/Norse pantheons (and early Judaism) had groups of superhuman deities that accomplished some godly traits like creation, miracles, etc., but they still treated their gods as products of the universe (which is why Thor translates so easily to comic form) and thus are only an early approximation of the concept of God.

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If that is true, then what tool are you utilizing that assists you in coming to the conclusion that your particular version of god is the truth over all the others that have ever been postulated? 
I think I somewhat answered this above; ultimately it's a conclusion I've reached after years of contemplation, study, discussions, etc.  It's not so much that I'm choosing one truth over all others as much as I see each religious belief as an attempt to put together a very large puzzle, and I'm just looking for what appears to be the most complete picture.  Of course, I don't have the puzzle cover, and I'm not 100% sure the puzzle even exists (anyone can take random pieces and try to force them to match), but I'm still giving it a shot.

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The only tool that I have ever seen that is capable of giving us more accurate explanations of the universe (not necessarily objective truths) is the scientific method.  If we have no other tool that even comes close to giving us accurate explanations (and by accurate, I am talking about predictability, reliability, consistency, etc), do you see it as folly to trust that process more so than you might trust others?
No, I don't see it as folly to use the scientific method as it's intended.  The scientific method is revolutionary in its ability to translate empirical experiences/observations into working theories that can be used to explain the world, and develop new theories.  We've done a lot of great things with that, and modern technology would likely have not progressed as it has without it.  I rely on it heavily every day, and I can't fault anyone else for relying on it, either.

So it's this, right here, that I think 3sigma is getting at.  Just as you do not know who or what the 64th Regiment of Rigel 7 is, I do not know who or what god is.  Start from there.

Um.  Yes.  64th Regiment of Rigel 7 is ontologically prior to the universe.
I'm not quite sure what you're asking for; I've listed what I think the minimal traits for God are twice so far.

I take it from them being prior to the universe that Rigel 7 is not a planet or other place within the universe, since they're prior to that.  And they're probably not restricted to space or time, since those are properties of the universe.  And they might not even be phenomena, since we don't know of phenomena outside the universe.

Can you expound on this a bit more?  I suspect that you can elaborate on the reasons why a screwdriver is good for screwing screws and terrible for tightening bolts.  Do you think you could do something similar for why the scientific method is good for <insert some descriptor here> and terrible for <insert another descriptor here>?
Sure!

Empiricism is the synthesis of ideas based on experiences.  The scientific method is great for generalizing those ideas into formal theories about how the world works.  For instance, a doctor may use a new treatment on a case and note it worked.  She may then use it on all her patients with a similar presentation, and get positive results.  If she treats new cases the same way based on experience, it's an empirical treatment.  If she then researches this treatment using the scientific method in a randomized, controlled trial, she could turn it into a scientific theory (and then probably try to publish it so others could replicate her results).  So science is great for turning subjective observations into generalizable theories with minimized bias.

However, you may notice above that the scientific method relies on empiricism, and thus is limited to what can be observed empirically.  That's where we start to run into limitations: if we're using empiricism as our source of knowledge, then how to we come to know the validity of "Empiricism is a valid source of knowledge?"  We can't do it empirically, as it's circular.  Also, we have no reason to think that we can potentially observe everything that exists, or that observation is the only way we can know anything about what exists.  So we're left with a bubble of knowledge somewhere within the set of all possible knowledge, and we really don't know how much of the set it encompasses or how well it does it. 

So in short, science is terrible at doing anything outside its bubble.

Claiming your God is omnipotent is no more factual than claiming Santa Claus lives at the North Pole.
Santa Claus does live at the North Pole.  Whether he's real or not is a different matter entirely.

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Without any facts, observation or experience there is nothing to distinguish your a priori god from imagination.
Is there anything to establish that claim from imagination?

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More word salad.
Again, that's not word salad.  Look up the term before you look sillier than a creationist claiming evolution is "just a theory."

Where are these entities, Mooby? And how do you know they exist? What evidence do you have that people who believe in other gods (or who don't believe in any gods) don't have?
I don't believe God is an entity.  And no, that's not semantics, that's 2500+ years of a very important conceptual difference.  If you don't understand that difference, you are not going to understand any of my posts in this thread, including this one.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline JeffPT

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #63 on: October 05, 2012, 11:39:33 PM »
To illustrate, I think I see a phone in front of me.  Some explanations are better than others in telling me about the phone, with science being great at explaining how the phone works.  But all that is moot if the phone is not actually there.

If the scientific process illustrates that the phone works reliably, predictably and consistently then is that not evidence leading to the notion that the phone is actually there?  And if the phone does not work reliably, predictably and consistently, and if there is no solid evidence for the phone at all, is that not evidence leading to the notion that the phone might not be there after all?   

Again, yes and no.  I see them as good precursors for God, encompassing some of the concepts of a modern deity, but are a bit limited in scope.

You make a good point here and I am going to take it where it's dying to go.  This is nothing more than the evolution of the God concept, is it not?  The problem I see with that is that evolution does not imply a progression toward truth... only a progression toward being more 'fit for survival'.  Could it not simply be that the modern concept of God exists in it's present form because science has completely obliterated the old ways of thinking?  After all, the old concepts of God were much more 'in your face' than the current, more nebulous, 'out there' versions that we see today.  Furthermore, why do you think it will not continue to evolve even further than it has?  Do you honestly think that at this present time, all evolution of the God theory is suddenly going to stop because it's finally been figured out?  Don't you think the people in ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt thought the EXACT same thing about their positions?   

If you follow Western theological traditions and philosophical branches such as metaphysics, the god that emerges is an infinite, perfect being.

And in another 250 years, that thought process might be considered a religious 'transitional fossil'. 

So, from my point of view, the minimum necessary requirements for a deity, if one exists, would be a perfect, infinite source of all being. And I think omniscience/omnipotence/omnipresence would follow from that.

That's fine, and I can see your thought processes here.  But do you have any evidence that such a being exists?  And if you do not, what makes you think it exists?  From my point of view, Aristotle's unmoved mover might be possible, but everything else is a major reach. 

Also, can you please explain how a deity can be perfect and omnimax at the same time?  Especially since perfection is a matter of perspective.  My definition of a perfect being might be vastly different from yours.  And if you are going to say it's God's definition of perfection, by definition, shouldn't that be my definition of perfection as well?  After all, a perfect being would be perfect in everyone's eyes at the same time.  The problem is that if God exists, I don't think he's perfect at all and my evidence can be summed up in 2 words... pediatric oncology. 

Earlier religious systems like the Greek/Roman/Norse pantheons (and early Judaism) had groups of superhuman deities that accomplished some godly traits like creation, miracles, etc.,

Yes. Just like Jesus.  Instead of a bunch of them, its just one. 

but they still treated their gods as products of the universe (which is why Thor translates so easily to comic form) and thus are only an early approximation of the concept of God.

Do you think you could convince a follower of Thor that Thor does not exist?  Why or why not? 

I think I somewhat answered this above; ultimately it's a conclusion I've reached after years of contemplation, study, discussions, etc.  It's not so much that I'm choosing one truth over all others as much as I see each religious belief as an attempt to put together a very large puzzle, and I'm just looking for what appears to be the most complete picture.

By being a follower of a specific religion, however, you're taking it a lot further than just saying 'this appears to be the most complete picture', aren't you?  Also, how does this differ from what everyone else does with their religion?   

Of course, I don't have the puzzle cover, and I'm not 100% sure the puzzle even exists (anyone can take random pieces and try to force them to match), but I'm still giving it a shot.

What is it about the atheist position gives you pause?  Because I'm giving it a shot as well.  And from my position, the god you spoke about with the characteristics you mentioned 'might' exist, but to act as if it does, in the absence of evidence you clearly say you don't have, seems very crazy to me.   Is it the prime mover thing?  What part of 'I don't know how it all came to be' doesn't work for you?  Are you completely ruling out the idea that everything could just be natural?  If so, why? 

No, I don't see it as folly to use the scientific method as it's intended.  The scientific method is revolutionary in its ability to translate empirical experiences/observations into working theories that can be used to explain the world, and develop new theories.  We've done a lot of great things with that, and modern technology would likely have not progressed as it has without it.  I rely on it heavily every day, and I can't fault anyone else for relying on it, either.

It seems that the sum total of your beliefs in God are not furnished by using the scientific method.  Do you find that the process you have used, which seems to largely be a product of philosophy and logic applied with very few corroborating facts, is better than the scientific method at determining the existence of anything? How about determining the existence of God?  If there is a difference, please explain why the existence of God is better determined by not using the scientific method. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #64 on: October 06, 2012, 12:10:55 AM »
God and Jesus translate pretty easily to comic book form just like Thor. Because comic books are usually about made-up characters with superhuman powers. Funny how we only find references to such characters in mythology, comic books, action movies, kid's tv shows and......religion.

One of those takes itself seriously and wants to make laws and control people's thoughts and behavior. The rest are fun diversions. &)
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #65 on: October 06, 2012, 06:47:54 AM »
Santa Claus does live at the North Pole.  Whether he's real or not is a different matter entirely.

No, Mooby, Santa Claus doesn’t actually live at the North Pole because, like your god, Santa Claus is imaginary. Fact is the quality of being actual. So it isn’t factual to say Santa Claus lives at the North Pole and it isn’t factual to say your god is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent or the source of all being. You have failed to provide a factual description of your god, as we knew you must.

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Is there anything to establish that claim from imagination?

I don’t understand this. Are you trying to say, “Is there anything to distinguish that claim from imagination?” If so then my answer is, yes. I am not imagining the fact that you have failed to provide a factual description of your god. I’m not imagining the fact that you’ve failed to provide a shred of sound evidence or a single sound argument to show your god is real. Consequently, I’m not imagining the fact that you have completely failed to distinguish your belief in your god from imagination.

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Again, that's not word salad.  Look up the term before you look sillier than a creationist claiming evolution is "just a theory."

As expected, you resort to quibbling in an attempt to evade my question. Is your god real or imaginary, Mooby? Please stop evading that question.

Let’s review your progress so far in answering the OP. You’ve failed to provide a factual description of your god. Your descriptions so far tend towards defining your god as non-existent or imaginary. You’ve failed to provide any sound evidence or sound arguments to prove beyond reasonable doubt that your god is real. You’ve failed to explain what, if anything, distinguishes your belief in your god from imagination. So far, you’ve failed to validate your belief in your god. Allowing yourself to believe an unvalidated feeling, idea or situation is true is self-deception. Consequently, it would seem that you are simply deceiving yourself.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #66 on: October 06, 2012, 03:48:35 PM »
So in short, science is terrible at doing anything outside its bubble.

Terrible argument, terrible conclusion, terrible idea. F minus.  this was really awful, Moob. 

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Offline lotanddaughters

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #67 on: October 06, 2012, 04:44:23 PM »
So in short, science is terrible at doing anything outside its bubble.

Terrible argument, terrible conclusion, terrible idea. F minus.  this was really awful, Moob.

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Offline Mooby

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #68 on: October 06, 2012, 10:53:00 PM »
If the scientific process illustrates that the phone works reliably, predictably and consistently then is that not evidence leading to the notion that the phone is actually there?  And if the phone does not work reliably, predictably and consistently, and if there is no solid evidence for the phone at all, is that not evidence leading to the notion that the phone might not be there after all?
Only if I'm already assuming things that can lead me to those conclusions.  If there's a Factor X that distorts my initial perception of the phone, and distorts my perception of the phone in the same way all throughout my investigation, and I'm not aware of it, how can I know my conclusion is sound?

For just one possible example, what separates you and I from the little old lady in a nursing home who's looking for a crossing guard to "help me cross the street?"  Sure, we as outside observers can see that she has dementia, but how do we get an outside perspective on our own perceptions?  If it's really the year 2072, and we're merely lost in our own sea of memories, then we could do science until we're blue in the face, but what good does that do us if we're not even in the right decade?

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This is nothing more than the evolution of the God concept, is it not?  The problem I see with that is that evolution does not imply a progression toward truth... only a progression toward being more 'fit for survival'.  Could it not simply be that the modern concept of God exists in it's present form because science has completely obliterated the old ways of thinking?
That's certainly a possibility, and one I don't discount.  And in saying that it occurs to me that, while I've mentioned in other threads that I consider myself an agnostic theist, I did not remember to restate that here.  Hopefully that didn't cause any confusion.

That being said, I don't give that conjecture much credence for a few reasons:
- The scientific method became formalized around the 17th century, while most of the concept of a modern "omnimax" deity were formalized around the 3rd century.
- Empiricism, which encompasses science, did not gain much traction until the Middle Ages when Aristotle's writings were recovered from the Arabs, translated, and distributed in Europe.  By then, rationalist writings containing modern ideas about God had been circulating in Europe about ~1000 years, with many of the translators (such as Thomas Aquinas) being theologians who talked about those same concepts.
- The earliest criticisms of anthropomorphic polytheism (that I'm aware of) were from Xenophanes in the 500s BC, who rejected the Greek pantheon for a more "out there" eternal, singular, universal deity somewhat reminiscent of deism.  The earliest materialist/prescientific criticisms of God (again, that I'm aware of) were from Epicurus in the 300s BC.

So, while I doubt we'll have any way of knowing for sure, I think we'd be hard pressed to make a case that science was a driving factor for our current conception of God, as the timing just doesn't appear to work out.  You might be able to make a case with some specific doctrines--for example, the idea of Hell as a state rather than a physical place didn't become popular in Catholic theology until the 20th Century, after the scientific revolution--but I just don't see how we can say science was the driving force for the theological evolution of God.

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Furthermore, why do you think it will not continue to evolve even further than it has?  Do you honestly think that at this present time, all evolution of the God theory is suddenly going to stop because it's finally been figured out?  Don't you think the people in ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt thought the EXACT same thing about their positions?
Have I given the impression somewhere that I do not think the idea will evolve?  If so, that's the wrong impression.  I don't think I'm smart enough to have the final, most complete answer on anything, especially God.

Rather, as someone who believes God can and does reveal Himself to humanity, I'd be worried if our concepts of God stopped evolving, because that would suggest that God stopped talking, or that we stopped listening, or that we never really had a clue in the first place (an option most atheists would surely agree with.)  I'd be elated if/when it evolves further, because that would mean we have new ways of understanding God, and perhaps could lead to more people deepening their relationships with Him.

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And in another 250 years, that thought process might be considered a religious 'transitional fossil'.
Maybe.  Then again, maybe not.  Who's to say?

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That's fine, and I can see your thought processes here.  But do you have any evidence that such a being exists?  And if you do not, what makes you think it exists?  From my point of view, Aristotle's unmoved mover might be possible, but everything else is a major reach.
Yes and no.  As I mentioned earlier, I think God can and does interact with the world, and thus these interactions are evidence of God's existence.  However, they require one to both recognize that interaction of God and be right in that recognition, and even if both of those are met, the evidence is anecdotal at best, and there's always a possible alternative explanation.  For this reason, I would say that this evidence isn't really suitable as a foundation for proof of God, but rather is more of an icing on the cake for those who already believe.

Ultimately, my faith has a basis akin to axiom, which probably sounds a bit strange in a vacuum.  Hopefully, though, parts of it are starting to become a little clear with respect to my thoughts on science, objective reality, and what it means to be ontologically prior to the universe.  All of them are intertwined, but I don't want to complicate things by trying to say it all in one post.

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Also, can you please explain how a deity can be perfect and omnimax at the same time?
The definition of perfection with respect to God has changed loads of times throughout history.  When I use it, I'm generally equating it to the idea of God as absolute, so I'm basically using it as shorthand for "omnipotent, omniscience, omniprescent." 

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Yes. Just like Jesus.  Instead of a bunch of them, its just one. 
Sort of.  Though in the ancient pantheons, the anthropomorphic superhuman beings were the deities, whereas Jesus is a deity in human form.  In other words, Thor and Zeus were not human, while Jesus was.  And Thor and Zeus' deity did not extend past being superhuman, while Jesus is considered to be consubstantial with the Father as God.
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Do you think you could convince a follower of Thor that Thor does not exist?  Why or why not?
Probably not, because faith isn't usually gained or lost in conversation with a single person.

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By being a follower of a specific religion, however, you're taking it a lot further than just saying 'this appears to be the most complete picture', aren't you?  Also, how does this differ from what everyone else does with their religion?   
It's one thing to reach a conclusion, it's another to apply it.  And religions offer a community of people with similar ideas all attempting that application.  Religion allows me to express my faith in God by giving me a direction and context in which to do it.

And it doesn't differ.  I have no issues with people of other faiths.  In fact, conversations with people of other faiths generally lead me to appreciate how they express their faiths through those different beliefs.

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What is it about the atheist position gives you pause?
I'm not quite sure how to answer this just yet, and I'm hoping to end this post soon, and this post is already pretty lengthy, so I'm going to defer this to later.  It has a lot to do with my overall world view, though.

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Are you completely ruling out the idea that everything could just be natural?
No, I have not ruled that out.

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It seems that the sum total of your beliefs in God are not furnished by using the scientific method.  Do you find that the process you have used, which seems to largely be a product of philosophy and logic applied with very few corroborating facts, is better than the scientific method at determining the existence of anything? How about determining the existence of God?  If there is a difference, please explain why the existence of God is better determined by not using the scientific method.
In short, I don't think the scientific method has anything to do at all with God's existence.  It's based on naturalistic principles, and thus is operating under the assumption that the universe is based on laws.  Since the supernatural tends to break those laws, I don't see how science could ever form valid theories about the supernatural's existence/nonexistence.


No, Mooby, Santa Claus doesn’t actually live at the North Pole because, like your god, Santa Claus is imaginary. Fact is the quality of being actual. So it isn’t factual to say Santa Claus lives at the North Pole and it isn’t factual to say your god is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent or the source of all being.
I think you are conflating a description of Santa with the reality/fictionality of Santa.  If we did a poll with the question, "True/False: Santa lives at the North Pole," what do you think the results would be?

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Are you trying to say, “Is there anything to distinguish that claim from imagination?” If so then my answer is, yes. I am not imagining the fact that you have failed to provide a factual description of your god. I’m not imagining the fact that you’ve failed to provide a shred of sound evidence or a single sound argument to show your god is real. Consequently, I’m not imagining the fact that you have completely failed to distinguish your belief in your god from imagination.
Sorry, yes.  "Distinguish."

And you're not addressing the claim I quoted.  Here is the claim:
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Without any facts, observation or experience there is nothing to distinguish your a priori god from imagination.
Is there any way to show that, in the absence of the things you mentioned, there is nothing to distinguish god from imagination?

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Let’s review your progress so far in answering the OP. You’ve failed to provide a factual description of your god. Your descriptions so far tend towards defining your god as non-existent or imaginary. You’ve failed to provide any sound evidence or sound arguments to prove beyond reasonable doubt that your god is real. You’ve failed to explain what, if anything, distinguishes your belief in your god from imagination. So far, you’ve failed to validate your belief in your god. Allowing yourself to believe an unvalidated feeling, idea or situation is true is self-deception. Consequently, it would seem that you are simply deceiving yourself.
Interesting.  Perhaps you could show me what a factual description that validates something's existence looks like?
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #69 on: October 07, 2012, 12:14:43 AM »
I think you are conflating a description of Santa with the reality/fictionality of Santa.  If we did a poll with the question, "True/False: Santa lives at the North Pole," what do you think the results would be?

Obviously, if you didn’t make it clear whether you were asking for the factual or fictional answer, most people would naturally assume you were asking for the fictional answer and say, “Yes.” Would you then feel justified in believing that Santa Claus is real and actually lives at the North Pole? That appears to be how you are trying to justify your religious beliefs.

However, here I am asking you specifically for a factual answer. Please provide a factual description of your god, not a description of how you believe or imagine your god to be and not a description of what people say about any god. Provide an answer only consisting of facts that can be verified and proven to be true. Please stop trying to somehow misunderstand my request. Please stop giving the kind of specious and contrived responses you’ve provided so far.

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And you're not addressing the claim I quoted.  Here is the claim:
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Without any facts, observation or experience there is nothing to distinguish your a priori god from imagination.
Is there any way to show that, in the absence of the things you mentioned, there is nothing to distinguish god from imagination?

Yes. The way to show it is to ask you to provide something that distinguishes your a priori god from imagination. Your failure to do so will show that there is nothing to distinguish your a priori god from imagination. So, please provide something that distinguishes your a priori god from imagination.

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Interesting.  Perhaps you could show me what a factual description that validates something's existence looks like?

Read almost any scientific paper that describes pretty much any real phenomenon. The thing about scientific papers is that they describe phenomena in such a way that—if you have the intelligence and resources—you can verify them for yourself. Can you show us a description of your god that comes anywhere near that?

Your constant evasion is revealing, Mooby. Is your god real or imaginary? You’ve already evaded that question three times in this thread. I’m going to keep asking until you answer it.

Offline JeffPT

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #70 on: October 07, 2012, 12:33:49 AM »
Only if I'm already assuming things that can lead me to those conclusions.  If there's a Factor X that distorts my initial perception of the phone, and distorts my perception of the phone in the same way all throughout my investigation, and I'm not aware of it, how can I know my conclusion is sound?

The scientific allows for assimilation of new information such as the discovery of 'factor X'.  And the scientific method is the only method we currently have that does it's best to weed out as many possible 'factor X's' that it can.  But we can postulate an infinite number of 'factor X's' for every single phenomena that we experience in our universe.  Living our lives as if just one or 2 of those are true, however, seems a bit strange given the fact that there is no evidence of any specific 'factor X'.     

That's certainly a possibility, and one I don't discount.  And in saying that it occurs to me that, while I've mentioned in other threads that I consider myself an agnostic theist, I did not remember to restate that here.  Hopefully that didn't cause any confusion.

Yes, I remember you saying that at one point.  And I remember thinking to myself that it's an incredibly strange stance to take.  You don't know if God exists, but you live your life as if it does.  How is that different from not knowing whether leprechauns exist, but living your life as if they do? 

That being said, I don't give that conjecture much credence for a few reasons:

SNIP for brevity only...

So, while I doubt we'll have any way of knowing for sure, I think we'd be hard pressed to make a case that science was a driving factor for our current conception of God, as the timing just doesn't appear to work out.

Whether science is solely at the root of the demise of the older god theories is not something I wished to become a major point in the discussion.  In point of fact, there were probably many factors in the evolution of the god theory, science being just one of them.  Science of the likes of Gallileo, Copernicus, Newton, etc. all chipped away at the old God theories.  The fact remains that the current theories on god could be (and likely are) the 'most fit' to survive in modern society.  Just as we humans are 'most fit' to our current environment, and in another few millions years, we will be transitional fossils. 

Have I given the impression somewhere that I do not think the idea will evolve?  If so, that's the wrong impression.  I don't think I'm smart enough to have the final, most complete answer on anything, especially God.

There is a major difference here though, Mooby. God either IS, or IS NOT.  Either it exists, or it doesn't.  The evolution of the concept of God must be seen in different terms than the evolution of the human understanding of God.  If we are talking about a concept of God that is not real, then what you will see is an evolution over time that allows for the God concept to fit well with whatever society if finds itself in.  The evidence that this is likely the case rests in the fact that different versions of the supernatural have appeared for thousands of years, and all of them are fit to survive in the societies they are based out of.  If we are talking about our concept of a God that is ACTUALLY REAL, then it stands to reason that our concept must be evolving toward an eventual truth, and there it would stop. 

With no evidence to present, how would you ever find out when you had it right?  Worse yet, how do you know that you're even remotely close, given that there are an infinite number of possible deities that we can come up with?

Do you feel your theological and philosophical positions carry even a single ounce of weight in the discussion?  Do you feel that theology and philosophy are equally proficient with the scientific method at weeding out all the possible 'factor X's' that could crop up?

Rather, as someone who believes God can and does reveal Himself to humanity, I'd be worried if our concepts of God stopped evolving, because that would suggest that God stopped talking, or that we stopped listening, or that we never really had a clue in the first place (an option most atheists would surely agree with.)  I'd be elated if/when it evolves further, because that would mean we have new ways of understanding God, and perhaps could lead to more people deepening their relationships with Him.

This is the type of thing everyone talks about with you.  You're slimy (in that you like to slip through the cracks) in the way you answer questions like this.  But here's an interesting conclusion from this paragraph of yours...  The only way that our understanding of God would stop evolving is if He finally provided evidence to everyone that he existed.  Concepts evolve, Mooby.  God (the omnimax, perfect form you suggest) does not.  If our understanding stopped evolving, then we could finally say we understood God.  Until then, its just more realistic to say you haven't got a clue. 

And if God reveals himself to humanity, then why do you think your version is more likely to be real than say... the Egyptian version?  After all, if you're right and God does reveal himself to humanity, then the form he revealed to the Egyptians was completely different than the form he reveals to you.  Which one is right?  Maybe you evolved away from the correct concept a long time ago? 

Yes and no.  As I mentioned earlier, I think God can and does interact with the world, and thus these interactions are evidence of God's existence.  However, they require one to both recognize that interaction of God and be right in that recognition, and even if both of those are met, the evidence is anecdotal at best, and there's always a possible alternative explanation.  For this reason, I would say that this evidence isn't really suitable as a foundation for proof of God, but rather is more of an icing on the cake for those who already believe.

In your opinion, what general characteristics are present in situations where God has interacted with the world?  What distinguishes it from non-God interactions?   

The definition of perfection with respect to God has changed loads of times throughout history.  When I use it, I'm generally equating it to the idea of God as absolute, so I'm basically using it as shorthand for "omnipotent, omniscience, omniprescent." 

So basically, not the way normal people use the world 'perfect'. 

Sort of.  Though in the ancient pantheons, the anthropomorphic superhuman beings were the deities, whereas Jesus is a deity in human form.

An evolution of the concept, exactly.  Evolution isn't wholesale change... it's slight modification over time. 

In other words, Thor and Zeus were not human, while Jesus was.

But God was not human when he 'interacted' with Mary, in much the same way Zeus was not human (though he pretended he was) when he mated with Alcmene which gave rise to Hercules.  Another slight modification. 

And Thor and Zeus' deity did not extend past being superhuman, while Jesus is considered to be consubstantial with the Father as God.

He is considered that now, but prior to the Council of Nicea, there were many different opinions on that.  That concept evolved as well.  Jesus was not always thought of as the same as God. 

In short, I don't think the scientific method has anything to do at all with God's existence.  It's based on naturalistic principles, and thus is operating under the assumption that the universe is based on laws.  Since the supernatural tends to break those laws, I don't see how science could ever form valid theories about the supernatural's existence/nonexistence.

If the supernatural exists, then science may not be able to reach proper conclusions about it, but science is the only way for us to reliably, consistently demonstrate the breaking of the natural laws in the first place.  Can you show me, or think of a study which shows that the supernatural has ever broken a single one of the universal laws?  If not, then why would you say it does? 


Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #71 on: October 07, 2012, 03:33:02 AM »
If you follow Western theological traditions and philosophical branches such as metaphysics, the god that emerges is an infinite, perfect being.
 

I don't believe God is an entity.  If you don't understand that difference, you are not going to understand any of my posts in this thread, including this one.

Are you surprised, when in the same response you talk about "god the being" and "god the non-entity"?  Perhaps the problem is that you are not successfully communicating what it is you believe.

So why not start from the very beginning and describe quite clearly what you mean when you say the word "god".  Don't bother with telling us (again) how many years of study of thousands of years of interest has led you to this point.  Just descibe the being, or the non-entity.

Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #72 on: October 07, 2012, 09:23:00 PM »
If you follow Western theological traditions and philosophical branches such as metaphysics, the god that emerges is an infinite, perfect being.
 

I don't believe God is an entity.  If you don't understand that difference, you are not going to understand any of my posts in this thread, including this one.

Are you surprised, when in the same response you talk about "god the being" and "god the non-entity"?  Perhaps the problem is that you are not successfully communicating what it is you believe.

So why not start from the very beginning and describe quite clearly what you mean when you say the word "god".  Don't bother with telling us (again) how many years of study of thousands of years of interest has led you to this point.  Just descibe the being, or the non-entity.

(my bolding)

That's the whole problem here. Mooby can't do that. Just like he can't tell us the most basic things, like whether his god is real or imaginary, an entitiy or a being or a force or a presence, and how to know the difference. But he can waste a lot of words and time obfuscating, picking apart our statements and avoiding our questions with semantic interludes.

I imagine him snickering as he types. I know I am. :D
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #73 on: October 07, 2012, 11:52:03 PM »
I liked it when God just hung around in the temple and sniffed animal fat.

But, no, no; that had to evolve into an all-loving God that either forgave you, if you believed his son died for you, or forgave you if you led a perfect life, which avoided all major forms of productivity and decisiveness.

My concept of God is now so vast, that my God cares if I watch porn on youtube, and my p.p. drips a bit of semen. Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great.

You can say what you like about my great God, but he does care. He cares about the worms growing in African legs. He cares deeply about them, so deeply that he would have a fit, if you killed any of them.
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #74 on: October 07, 2012, 11:57:14 PM »
Actually, my concept of God just evolved a bit more. He now no longer gives a shit about anything, because he is going through a depressive phase, which is common to a lot of gods, around the 13.7 billion year mark. He watched us evolve through the Cenozoic era, and got so bored waiting, that he forgot about us entirely, and will not drop in on us again, until the next snowball Earth.

Whereupon, he will then care deeply about how much semen I emit, and who I fuck.
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #75 on: October 08, 2012, 08:36:20 AM »
(Mooby) can't tell us the most basic things, like whether his god is real or imaginary, an entitiy or a being or a force or a presence, and how to know the difference.

In 7 posts, Mooby has said quite a lot.....

Quote from: Mooby
The definition of perfection with respect to God has changed loads of times throughout history.  When I use it, I'm generally equating it to the idea of God as absolute, so I'm basically using it as shorthand for "omnipotent, omniscience, omniprescent."

Zeus, Thor, and Vishnu are all conceptions of God.

In particular, I do not believe God is a phenomenon, if by "phenomenon" you mean something that is both a posteriori (dependent on experience) and empirical (based on repeated observation).....my belief is primarily a priori (independent of experience

God can and does interact with the world, and thus these interactions are evidence of God's existence.  However, they require one to both recognize that interaction of God and be right in that recognition, and even if both of those are met, the evidence is anecdotal at best, and there's always a possible alternative explanation.  For this reason, I would say that this evidence isn't really suitable as a foundation for proof of God

God can be observed, but that He's not observable as a phenomenon.  It might be more clear to say that God can cause phenomenon and/or make Himself known directly to our senses, but He is not a constantly observable phenomenon like your computer.

God is ontologically prior to experience, observation, detection, emotions, internal feelings, and imagination……my imagination comes from me, and I come from the universe, so a god prior to the universe could not come from me

I don't believe God is an entity. 

I'd be worried if our concepts of God stopped evolving, because that would suggest that God stopped talking, or that we stopped listening, or that we never really had a clue in the first place (an option most atheists would surely agree with.)  I'd be elated if/when it evolves further, because that would mean we have new ways of understanding God, and perhaps could lead to more people deepening their relationships with Him.

I'll try and summarise.

"God is omnipotent, omniscience, omnipresent.  It is not a being, although people have in the past assigned human traits and form to it.  It affects the universe, which can be detected, but never in a way that would lead to conclusive proof of its existence.  There is no static form of "god" that can be pointed to and labelled as correct, as our understanding keeps changing.  I could not be imagining god, as that god existed before me."

Hmmm.  Hopefully I've summarised those last 3 pages Mooby.  If there is anything material I've left out, I’d be grateful if you'd let me know - ideally in as concise a form as possible.

Assuming I've covered the salient points, I have a couple questions.

Firstly, given that there is no means of detecting "god", on what basis can you conclude that god existed prior to you?  Is this a "there had to be something to create everything" argument, or something else?

Secondly, you seem to be saying "believe first", and you can then recognise what god does…because there is nothing god does that can be pointed and to say "ONLY god could have done that".  But if there is nothing to point at that proves god - and since our conception of what-the-heck god IS is perpetually changing, on what basis can anyone assign any degree of "truth" to their conception?  Surely it is at least as likely that our conceptions are gradually getting further and further away from what god is, than that we are getting closer?

Final question.  God can do anything, knows everything, is everywhere.  Okay.  But given all that, is that god sentient in any way?  Does it have preferences, or plans, or goals?  I note that you have at no point noted it as being omni-benevolent…..does this god "care"?

Perhaps more importantly, why should I?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #76 on: October 08, 2012, 06:25:25 PM »
Can you expound on this a bit more?  I suspect that you can elaborate on the reasons why a screwdriver is good for screwing screws and terrible for tightening bolts.  Do you think you could do something similar for why the scientific method is good for <insert some descriptor here> and terrible for <insert another descriptor here>?
Sure!

Empiricism is the synthesis of ideas based on experiences.  The scientific method is great for generalizing those ideas into formal theories about how the world works.  For instance, a doctor may use a new treatment on a case and note it worked.  She may then use it on all her patients with a similar presentation, and get positive results.  If she treats new cases the same way based on experience, it's an empirical treatment.  If she then researches this treatment using the scientific method in a randomized, controlled trial, she could turn it into a scientific theory (and then probably try to publish it so others could replicate her results).  So science is great for turning subjective observations into generalizable theories with minimized bias.

However, you may notice above that the scientific method relies on empiricism, and thus is limited to what can be observed empirically.  That's where we start to run into limitations: if we're using empiricism as our source of knowledge, then how to we come to know the validity of "Empiricism is a valid source of knowledge?"  We can't do it empirically, as it's circular.  Also, we have no reason to think that we can potentially observe everything that exists, or that observation is the only way we can know anything about what exists.  So we're left with a bubble of knowledge somewhere within the set of all possible knowledge, and we really don't know how much of the set it encompasses or how well it does it. 

So in short, science is terrible at doing anything outside its bubble.
I guess we could use non-empiricism as a source for knowledge, but in that case you damn well better be prepared for Galactus' return to devour the Earth.

Look, I need some means of separating fantasy from reality.  If you want to claim that observation is too limiting, can you maybe throw me a bone and give me some other method of separating fantasy from reality?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

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Offline Mooby

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #77 on: October 08, 2012, 10:43:08 PM »
Yes. The way to show it is to ask you to provide something that distinguishes your a priori god from imagination. Your failure to do so will show that there is nothing to distinguish your a priori god from imagination.
How does my failure to do something have any bearing on whether your claims are objectively true?

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Interesting.  Perhaps you could show me what a factual description that validates something's existence looks like?

Read almost any scientific paper that describes pretty much any real phenomenon.
I'll take that as a "no," then.

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The thing about scientific papers is that they describe phenomena in such a way that—if you have the intelligence and resources—you can verify them for yourself.
You and I must be reading different papers, then.  I've yet to see anything close to what I'd consider a verified description of a phenomenon in them, but then again, I'm only guessing at what you have in mind.

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Your constant evasion is revealing, Mooby. Is your god real or imaginary? You’ve already evaded that question three times in this thread. I’m going to keep asking until you answer it.
I'm a theist.  I believe God is real by definition.  If I thought God was imaginary, I'd be an atheist.


Yes, I remember you saying that at one point.  And I remember thinking to myself that it's an incredibly strange stance to take.  You don't know if God exists, but you live your life as if it does.  How is that different from not knowing whether leprechauns exist, but living your life as if they do?
It's not.  The question's the same: "Ok, I don't know whether leprechauns exist.  Now what?"  The answer might be different depending on loads of different factors, though.

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The fact remains that the current theories on god could be (and likely are) the 'most fit' to survive in modern society.
Well yes, by definition anything that survives is "fit."  Where are you going with this, though?

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If we are talking about our concept of a God that is ACTUALLY REAL, then it stands to reason that our concept must be evolving toward an eventual truth, and there it would stop. 
Oh, I see.  Not to get too far into specific religious views, but I believe that due to God's infinitude vs. our finite minds that any attempt at fully describing God is going to be an approximation.  So I personally don't think theists will ever all agree on one definitive "true" version of God.

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With no evidence to present, how would you ever find out when you had it right?  Worse yet, how do you know that you're even remotely close, given that there are an infinite number of possible deities that we can come up with?
As I've suggested before with some of the other deities or hypothetical creators, as you move up in scale these "infinite" deities all start to blend together.  For instance, the idea of an infinite omnimax deity puts serious constraints on polytheism, unless you elevate one deity above the rest, which tends towards a God/demigods or God/angels system.  That would also eliminate finite gods like Zeus and Thor, since they don't meet the mark.  In other words, I think the evolution of the concept of God pushes us in a direction where eventually we're all describing the same deity with a different name.

So, for me it's not a matter of picking one god from thousands of gods; it's about finding the one God they're all pointing towards.  And when you look at it that way, you're suddenly not choosing from infinitely many gods anymore; you're constructing your concept of a single one.

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Do you feel your theological and philosophical positions carry even a single ounce of weight in the discussion?
I'm not sure what you're asking, since this discussion is basically all about my theological and philosophical positions.

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Do you feel that theology and philosophy are equally proficient with the scientific method at weeding out all the possible 'factor X's' that could crop up?
I think they're equally unproficient at it.

I think you misunderstand what I mean by Factor X.  I'm talking about a factor that is present from before we start the science until after we're done it, and is there when we restart it the next time.  I'm not talking about a confounding variable; I'm talking about the reality in which the experiment was conducted.

If one of the NPCs in Skyrim suddenly gained rational thought and started doing science, but wasn't aware he was in a video game, how could he possibly weed out that Factor X?  After 1000 experiments proving that magic exists and 1000 experiments failing to show electricity is possible, at what point would he discover that his science is only describing someone else's simulation and have no bearing on objective reality?  How does one possibly weed out that Factor X?

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In your opinion, what general characteristics are present in situations where God has interacted with the world?  What distinguishes it from non-God interactions?
I don't think there are any defining characteristics, since God is unrestricted in His ability to interact with the world.  The ones that we note are the ones that appear to define scientific principles, but I have no guess at what proportion of those are true interactions and what proportion of interactions are of that type.   

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He is considered that now, but prior to the Council of Nicea, there were many different opinions on that.  That concept evolved as well.  Jesus was not always thought of as the same as God.
I am aware of that.  Christian doctrines grew over time.

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Can you show me, or think of a study which shows that the supernatural has ever broken a single one of the universal laws?  If not, then why would you say it does?
I don't know of any published studies that conclude supernatural origins for observed miracles.  But then again, science doesn't investigate phenomena under the assumption that the supernatural exists.

Anyways, that's all I have time for tonight, hopefully I can finish the rest tomorrow.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #78 on: October 08, 2012, 11:36:11 PM »
How does my failure to do something have any bearing on whether your claims are objectively true?

It demonstrates that you have nothing to distinguish your god from an imaginary god. The total absence of anything to distinguish your god from an imaginary god proves you are imagining your god. All you need to do to prove me wrong is to provide something that distinguishes your god from an imaginary god so by all means do that. Provide something—anything—that distinguishes your god from an imaginary god.

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I'll take that as a "no," then.

Very well then, let’s try this instead. Think of a real person with whom you have a personal relationship. Now, think about all the facts you would be able to provide if I asked you for a factual description of that person. For example, you could provide one or more of the following: the person’s height, weight, gender, skin colour, eye colour, hair colour or distinguishing features or marks. These could all potentially be verified by me or almost anyone else by examining the person ourselves. Can you provide any such facts about your god with whom you also claim to have a personal relationship? I’ll tell you what, let’s start with the simplest and most basic fact: what is your god’s composition? Is your god composed of matter or energy? Is it a force? If it is none of those then what is it? Please provide facts that could potentially be verified by me or anyone else.

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I'm a theist.  I believe God is real by definition.  If I thought God was imaginary, I'd be an atheist.
[bold mine]

I’m not asking for beliefs, Mooby. I’ve made it clear time and time again throughout this thread that I’m asking for facts. Real means actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact not believed to exist or occur. What you believe has no bearing on the truth. I’m asking for the truth. So, for the fifth time, is your god real or imaginary?

You’ve already stated in this thread that you don’t believe your god is an entity or a phenomenon, but you’ve also stated in a previous thread that you have a personal relationship with it. Please provide a cogent explanation for how you can have a personal relationship with something that has no distinct and independent existence and cannot even be observed to exist.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #79 on: October 09, 2012, 12:53:33 AM »
I think you misunderstand what I mean by Factor X.  I'm talking about a factor that is present from before we start the science until after we're done it, and is there when we restart it the next time.  I'm not talking about a confounding variable; I'm talking about the reality in which the experiment was conducted.

If one of the NPCs in Skyrim suddenly gained rational thought and started doing science, but wasn't aware he was in a video game, how could he possibly weed out that Factor X?  After 1000 experiments proving that magic exists and 1000 experiments failing to show electricity is possible, at what point would he discover that his science is only describing someone else's simulation and have no bearing on objective reality?  How does one possibly weed out that Factor X?

What an interesting point.  I presume the parallel is that we are in a similar "bubble" of reality that we cannot break out of or establish the truth or otherwise of the potential creator that exists outside?

Our Skyrim NPC could establish a multitude of what he called "facts" about his world, and may well conjecture about what kind of being created the "real" world that he lives in....but how close at all could he get to establishing what the "true god" was like?  Given that we know that his reality is a construct inside ours, we can laugh and be sure that any "god" he arrives at, whether by logic or belief, is going to be vastly and significantly wrong.

So if the Skyrim/Mooby&Anfauglir parallel holds, then you have no way of determining if we too live in a 2nd or 3rd or 8th level bubble, or if the "god" you have arrived at is really the omnipotent prime you describe it as being, or merely a bespectacled Vl'Hurg sitting in his mother's attic jerking off while he downloads the latest update for MoobyworldTM.  By introducing this parallel, it appears that you are saying "we can't test for god in any way, so I go with what feels right to me, since the Truth is impossible to determine" - would that be correct?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #80 on: October 09, 2012, 09:11:48 AM »
So, for me it's not a matter of picking one god from thousands of gods; it's about finding the one God they're all pointing towards.  And when you look at it that way, you're suddenly not choosing from infinitely many gods anymore; you're constructing your concept of a single one.
And what are the building materials for this construction?  Are they any different to the materials that one uses to, say, construct a fictional story?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #81 on: October 09, 2012, 09:52:57 AM »
So, for me it's not a matter of picking one god from thousands of gods; it's about finding the one God they're all pointing towards.  And when you look at it that way, you're suddenly not choosing from infinitely many gods anymore; you're constructing your concept of a single one.

They aren't pointing anywhere, unless you think that creation of God is done democratically, and according to the needs and desperation of humans.

An omnimax God is only omnimax, if he uses his powers to intervene. The God who created this universe may well be a living, breathing part of it, but if he does nothing arbitrary, outside the initial start variables, then he is (relatively) not omnipotent. If he is a part of us, you could argue that he knows what we are thinking, and is therefore omnipresent -- unless he doesn't give a rats arse, or transfer the information outside of us, in which case he is not listening, and is (relatively) not omnipresent. ETC.

Or, put another factor X way, if we are in a simulation, the creator of that simulation may have no other purpose than for the simulation to run without interference. The creator refuses to intervene, because it spoils the purpose of running it. The creator refuses to look at anything besides certain amusing events, or the end-point, because the creator has no use for anything else, or couldn't handle the information from trillions of parallel simulations.

If this is the case, then in what way is this God similar to anything invented by humans in ages past? This God has no use to us.

Humans have requirements: justice, immortality, security. When would the real God deliver any of these to us?

When we love our neighbour?
When we study Eck, and learn soul travel?
When we take LSD and another drug we haven't discovered yet?
In a few hundred thousand years, when we have developed a God sensing mutation?
When we say "Ooompaloopadyne"?
When we sacrifice our child?
When we kill our neighbour?
Never?

One of the most disturbing things that modern science has discovered, is the amount of time that humans have been around. None of the major religions can cope with this factor, so they all fall in a screaming heap of denial about it. It doesn't make religious sense that we have been sitting on our arses for 200,000 years, or that we evolved from animals. That steady gradient from animal to human is a real problem, because it means that animals are also part of the theology, or they are not, and also we are not, because we are still too animal. Buddhism has factored this in a bit, but it still makes little sense to bother being a Buddhist.
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #82 on: October 09, 2012, 10:02:59 AM »
Quote
I'm a theist.  I believe God is real by definition.  If I thought God was imaginary, I'd be an atheist.
[bold mine]

I’m not asking for beliefs, Mooby. I’ve made it clear time and time again throughout this thread that I’m asking for facts. Real means actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact not believed to exist or occur. What you believe has no bearing on the truth. I’m asking for the truth. So, for the fifth time, is your god real or imaginary?
I'm not sure you're going to get anywhere with this, 3sigma.  Mooby is basically one experimental college film away from being a full-blown solipsist.
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #83 on: October 09, 2012, 03:58:42 PM »
^^^^Oh noes! Are we going to have to watch Mooby watching fruit rot? Would be as useful as this thread, but less entertaining.

As with many theists, we could put just about any imaginary or unlikely creature in Mooby's sentences in place of "god" and we would know as much. Giant Love Unicorn. The girl from Planet Claire. Leza of the Kongo. Big Bird.

And, how is monotheism is more "evolved" or accurate than polytheism?  One god belief is moving towards accuracy? A billion Hindus and millions of indigenous folks all over the world beg to differ. Since there is no objective evidence for any gods, why would one-god Christians think they are more likely to be right than the ancient Egyptians, Aztecs, Norse, Greeks or Romans? I don't get that at all. Because one is easier to remember? Is being monolingual somehow more advanced or evolved or accurate than being multilingual?

I guess if one god is better than many, no gods is best of all! Nogods ends with a pun for the win!
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #84 on: October 11, 2012, 09:35:59 PM »
This is a catch-up before I read the new replies.  Responses will be brief, so let me know if any are inadequate.

Are you surprised, when in the same response you talk about "god the being" and "god the non-entity"?  Perhaps the problem is that you are not successfully communicating what it is you believe.
Surprised?  No.  But I use two different words (being and entity) to clarify a distinction I've made in multiple posts so far:

Being
[. . .]existence is a principle (a source) of being, not a previous source, but one which is continually in effect. The stage is set for the concept of God as the cause of all existence, who, as the Almighty, holds everything actual without reason or explanation as an act purely of will.

Entity
An entity is something that exists by itself, although it need not be of material existence.

In short, being is the state of existing, while an entity is the thing that exists.  Similarly, though less precise, being is like a cause while an entity is like an effect.  I believe that God is both pure being and the source of all being (Being).  Though He can interact physically with the universe and manifest as an entity (Jesus,) I don't believe being an entity is a necessary part of His existence.  For this reason, God cannot be investigated as an entity, which is what science investigates.


Firstly, given that there is no means of detecting "god", on what basis can you conclude that god existed prior to you?  Is this a "there had to be something to create everything" argument, or something else?
As I mentioned to JeffPT, it's mostly an axiomatic assumption born from a rather inconvenient issue with reality that I've been alluding to, which I intend to expand on as we go.  Though I do find the uncreated creator to be consistent and satisfying with my views (along with several other logical arguments), I don't really consider it the basis of my faith.

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Secondly, you seem to be saying "believe first", and you can then recognise what god does…because there is nothing god does that can be pointed and to say "ONLY god could have done that".  But if there is nothing to point at that proves god - and since our conception of what-the-heck god IS is perpetually changing, on what basis can anyone assign any degree of "truth" to their conception?  Surely it is at least as likely that our conceptions are gradually getting further and further away from what god is, than that we are getting closer?
If we are drifting further away from, say, the ancient polytheists, then I'm not sure the problem is particularly relevant.  Such entities are basically evolved humans, like the Highlander or the X-Men or Superman.  If we identify them and learn about them, great.  If not, hopefully their feelings won't be hurt too bad by our failure to find them.

That being said, even if we do give such entities the "god" title, I'm not sure how you arrived at your conclusion that we're equally likely to be drifting towards or away from the correct description.  I gave some reasons in earlier posts why I think setting our sights higher up the ontological ladder is giving us a better view of God, and I can't immediately conceive of equally good reasons why we should be heading in the opposite direction.  Perhaps you have some insights I'm missing.

Assigning truth to conceptions is part of that pesky problem I mentioned earlier.  In short, I don't think we can.

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Final question.  God can do anything, knows everything, is everywhere.  Okay.  But given all that, is that god sentient in any way?  Does it have preferences, or plans, or goals?  I note that you have at no point noted it as being omni-benevolent…..does this god "care"?
Yes, I believe He has a plan, though I normally don't get into it for a couple reasons:
- I find it hard to describe such things without using language that personifies God as a human entity, making it less clear what I actually believe;
- Most theists regard this area as mysterious and not meant to be totally understood by humans, making it an especially challenging area to discuss with non-believers;
- These considerations are getting into religious views, since we're starting to talk about why God made us, what our purpose is, and what He expects back from us.

I see omnibenevolence as something that follows from the rest of God's traits rather than as its own trait as it is often listed.  But again, that's getting into religious views.

Quote
Perhaps more importantly, why should I?
That's ultimately up to you to decide, but I'd say it comes down to your direct goals and relevance to those goals.  For instance, if one of your goals is to understand the fundamental truths about reality, then whether God exists or not is about as fundamental as it gets, so God's existence directly affects your goal.  Similarly, if your goal is to find whether life has a purpose, then whether a God exists with an overarching plan directly affects your goal.

On the other hand, if your goal is to achieve happiness, then God's existence might be relevant if it's possible that He's passed on some inside info.  Or, if God's existence implies an afterlife, His existence might be relevant as the timeline for some of your goals may change (i.e. happiness until death vs. happiness for eternity.)


Look, I need some means of separating fantasy from reality.  If you want to claim that observation is too limiting, can you maybe throw me a bone and give me some other method of separating fantasy from reality?
I wish I could.  It would certainly make things more convenient.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #85 on: October 11, 2012, 10:39:23 PM »
It demonstrates that you have nothing to distinguish your god from an imaginary god. The total absence of anything to distinguish your god from an imaginary god proves you are imagining your god.
The latter does not follow from the former.  The absence of me throwing a ball to your satisfaction does not prove a ball cannot be thrown, the absence of me distinguishing George Foreman from Hulk Hogan to your satisfaction does not prove George Foreman is Hulk Hogan, and the absence of me distinguishing God from imagination to your satisfaction does not prove God is imagined.  You can't simply take two subjective things--my descriptions in my posts and your goalpost for distinguishing (which so far seems to be fluid)--and combine them together to establish an objective fact.

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I’ll tell you what, let’s start with the simplest and most basic fact: what is your god’s composition? Is your god composed of matter or energy? Is it a force? If it is none of those then what is it? Please provide facts that could potentially be verified by me or anyone else.
Again, I don't believe God is an entity.  Your request basically eliminates any deity that is not a materialistic god, which pretty much restricts you to discussing stuff like Epicureanism.  Which is all well and good, but I don't know of any religion like that practiced in the last 2300 years.  Maybe there's still a few around, but if so I doubt they're in large enough quantities to have members frequently crossing paths with WWGHA.

You say in your OP you want to discuss God, particularly as I believe in Him.  However, despite saying, "The first thing we need to do is determine exactly what it is you believe in," you don't really seem to be all that interested in what anyone actually believes.  Really, you only seem interested in claiming that a deity that isn't experienced in how you, as a nonbeliever, believe should it be experienced is imaginary.

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I’m not asking for beliefs, Mooby. I’ve made it clear time and time again throughout this thread that I’m asking for facts. Real means actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact not believed to exist or occur.
And I've made it increasingly clear that I don't think we have any way of determining any facts, including God.  Which is why I invited you to show me some facts.  You've given me a few things I can try to observe about another person--eye color, height, weight--but I have no way of knowing if any of those things are facts.

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You’ve already stated in this thread that you don’t believe your god is an entity or a phenomenon, but you’ve also stated in a previous thread that you have a personal relationship with it. Please provide a cogent explanation for how you can have a personal relationship with something that has no distinct and independent existence and cannot even be observed to exist.
I also told you in another thread that it would be a long, very involved discussion, which is precisely why I refused to do it in that thread.  We are so far from the point where I have a personal relationship with God that I don't know how I'd begin to explain it from this juncture, how long it would take, or how worthwhile the explanation would be.

What an interesting point.  I presume the parallel is that we are in a similar "bubble" of reality that we cannot break out of or establish the truth or otherwise of the potential creator that exists outside?
Basically.  You, me, and everyone else are trapped in bubbles formed by our senses.  Even if we tentatively accept their accuracy, our observations tell us that we only sense a small sliver of reality, and what we see/hear/smell/etc. is radically different from what other organisms experience.  Even as a little kid I remembering wondering, "What if what I see as 'green' is what everyone else sees as 'yellow' but I don't know the difference because I learned to assign the 'green' label to the color I'm seeing?"  And of course, those thought experiments are silly to an extent (though studies show women can see more reds than men), but they illustrate a fundamental issue with our sense perceptions.

And then we get to stuff like the fact that our brains are lazy and just weave stimuli together so that they make sense (why stuff like optical illusions work) and the fact that our memories are completely unreliable, and that we can observe (both in ourselves and others) situations in which our senses fail.

Finally, while I don't necessarily believe in any alternate reality conjectures such as the evolutionary argument against naturalism (which I mentioned in another thread), the simulation argument (which Skyrim illustrates), brain in a vat, Matrix, solipsism, metaphysical nihilism, etc., I think they illustrate an important component of our bubble: that even if our senses are intact, they can only interpret what they are presented.  And if that something is inaccurate, we can't get the right answer.

So we experience the world (which may be unreliable) through our senses (which can be unreliable), and interpret them through our brain (which is unreliable).  How, then, can we confidently say our beliefs are reliable?

We could try sticking to just theoretical knowledge, but even that has a problem: the Munchhausen Trilemma.

So at the end of the day, the question becomes, "What can we know?"

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Our Skyrim NPC could establish a multitude of what he called "facts" about his world, and may well conjecture about what kind of being created the "real" world that he lives in....but how close at all could he get to establishing what the "true god" was like?  Given that we know that his reality is a construct inside ours, we can laugh and be sure that any "god" he arrives at, whether by logic or belief, is going to be vastly and significantly wrong.
Possibly.  Though if he's contemplating a "first cause" deity, I don't see how his conclusions would be that far off from ours.

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So if the Skyrim/Mooby&Anfauglir parallel holds, then you have no way of determining if we too live in a 2nd or 3rd or 8th level bubble, or if the "god" you have arrived at is really the omnipotent prime you describe it as being, or merely a bespectacled Vl'Hurg sitting in his mother's attic jerking off while he downloads the latest update for MoobyworldTM.
Correct

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By introducing this parallel, it appears that you are saying "we can't test for god in any way, so I go with what feels right to me, since the Truth is impossible to determine" - would that be correct?
Not quite.  It's not really a matter of feeling right as it is a way of constructing a world view.  The rest looks fairly close.


They aren't pointing anywhere, unless you think that creation of God is done democratically, and according to the needs and desperation of humans.
You don't think it's possible to look at what's out there and identify trends?

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An omnimax God is only omnimax, if he uses his powers to intervene.
How do you figure?  I've always seen omnimax traits as describing potential or ability.

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If this is the case, then in what way is this God similar to anything invented by humans in ages past? This God has no use to us.
I agree, a deistic deity has little relevance for us outside of just knowing it exists for the sake of knowing it exists.

"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

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Re: Please validate your belief in your God
« Reply #86 on: October 12, 2012, 12:02:47 AM »
The latter does not follow from the former.  The absence of me throwing a ball to your satisfaction does not prove a ball cannot be thrown, the absence of me distinguishing George Foreman from Hulk Hogan to your satisfaction does not prove George Foreman is Hulk Hogan, and the absence of me distinguishing God from imagination to your satisfaction does not prove God is imagined.

However, that isn’t what I said. I didn’t say it proves your god is imagined. I said it proves you are imagining it. If you cannot distinguish your god from an imaginary god then you must be imagining it. You claim your god exists, but if, as you claim, it doesn’t have a material existence then it must necessarily exist only in your imagination.

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Again, I don't believe God is an entity.  Your request basically eliminates any deity that is not a materialistic god…

Saying your god is an immaterial nonentity defines it out of existence, which again shows you must be imagining it.

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And I've made it increasingly clear that I don't think we have any way of determining any facts, including God.  Which is why I invited you to show me some facts.  You've given me a few things I can try to observe about another person--eye color, height, weight--but I have no way of knowing if any of those things are facts.

As jdawg70 warned, Mooby retreats into solipsism. In making those statements, Mooby, you are admitting you do not have and cannot provide a single fact about your god. Without a single fact to support your god’s existence, you must necessarily be imagining it. And, of course, it goes without saying that, yet again, you’ve evaded my question, “Is your god real or imaginary?”

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We are so far from the point where I have a personal relationship with God that I don't know how I'd begin to explain it from this juncture, how long it would take, or how worthwhile the explanation would be.

I suspect any such “explanation” would be completely worthless. Your definition of a personal relationship is probably so far from common usage as to be meaningless.

Let’s review your progress again, Mooby. You’ve failed to provide a factual description of your god. You’ve failed to provide a shred of sound evidence or a single sound argument to prove beyond reasonable doubt that your god is real. You’ve failed to explain what, if anything, distinguishes your god from an imaginary god. In short, you’ve failed to validate your belief in any way at all.

In addition, you’ve admitted your god is immaterial, a nonentity and cannot be observed. You’ve effectively defined your god out of existence. Your claim to have a “personal relationship” with it defies all reason and logic, except perhaps in the fantasy realm of Moobyworld.

Now, given that you’ve admitted to having zero facts about your god and given that real means actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact, I’ll ask my question for the sixth time in this thread. Is your god real or imaginary? Don’t tell us what you believe. Your beliefs have no bearing on the truth. Don’t retreat into solipsism. Just give us the truth.