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Offline median

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The Six Absences
« on: January 07, 2014, 03:32:53 PM »
Dan Barker once pointed out six absences regarding things used to demonstrate a God and how those absences justify non-belief. They are:

1. The absence of evidence for a God
2. The absence of a coherent definition of the term "God"
3. The absence of a good/sound argument for a God
4. The absence of agreement among believers as to the 'nature' of 'God' or his alleged moral principles
5. The absence of a good/sound response to the problem of evil
6. The absence of an apparent need to believe in a God

When applied to any other alleged invisible 'being' that has been proposed to exist throughout history these absences would be sound justification for not only lacking belief but also rationally concluding that such alleged beings do not exist. I propose then that we apply the same reasoning to the alleged God "Yahweh". One need only do a Google or Wikipedia search to find literally hundreds of proposed gods from different cultures in history, and many of them predate Christianity and Judaism. The theist literally has to deny specific portions of the historical record (and be an atheist about other alleged gods) in order to continue thinking their deity is the authentic and/or 'original' one. Humans have been creating god concepts for thousands of years to fill the gaps in their knowledge, satiate their fear of the end of life, and give them a sense of 'greater meaning'.

So, the question is are these absences sufficient for disbelieving in an invisible 'supernatural' deity? Are they sufficient for concluding that a deity called "Yahweh" does not exist? What do you think and why?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 03:40:06 PM by median »
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 04:45:14 PM »
I certainly have no argument with that list. I've said for years that not only is there no evidence for any god that has been claimed to exist, but, and especially with christianity, the variety of beliefs surrounding one god makes it pretty clear at at least most of it is made up. One version could perhaps be correct, but not two or more.

And of course I assume that none of them are.

And though I hadn't thought about it, the apparent lack of a need for a belief in god is worth adding to my arsenal of reasons.

I like all six of them. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.
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Offline SevenPatch

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2014, 05:00:34 PM »
I'm not sure I understand number 6.

If God exists, why would a need to believe be required.

I know there are religions that make that requirement but what about deism (non intervention) god.

To me it seems that number 6 applies more to a non-belief in certain religions.
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Offline OldChurchGuy

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2014, 08:26:38 AM »
Dan Barker once pointed out six absences regarding things used to demonstrate a God and how those absences justify non-belief. They are:

1. The absence of evidence for a God
2. The absence of a coherent definition of the term "God"
3. The absence of a good/sound argument for a God
4. The absence of agreement among believers as to the 'nature' of 'God' or his alleged moral principles
5. The absence of a good/sound response to the problem of evil
6. The absence of an apparent need to believe in a God

When applied to any other alleged invisible 'being' that has been proposed to exist throughout history these absences would be sound justification for not only lacking belief but also rationally concluding that such alleged beings do not exist. I propose then that we apply the same reasoning to the alleged God "Yahweh". One need only do a Google or Wikipedia search to find literally hundreds of proposed gods from different cultures in history, and many of them predate Christianity and Judaism. The theist literally has to deny specific portions of the historical record (and be an atheist about other alleged gods) in order to continue thinking their deity is the authentic and/or 'original' one. Humans have been creating god concepts for thousands of years to fill the gaps in their knowledge, satiate their fear of the end of life, and give them a sense of 'greater meaning'.

So, the question is are these absences sufficient for disbelieving in an invisible 'supernatural' deity? Are they sufficient for concluding that a deity called "Yahweh" does not exist? What do you think and why?

From a perspective of pure logic and reasoning, this list is as good as it gets.  Clear and concise and objective.

However, for me, theism is first and foremost subjective.  So I continue to embrace theism even in light of this list.  I enjoy theism and will probably be a theist the rest of my life.  If that makes me delusional, so be it. 

As always,

OldChurchGuy
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2014, 11:38:50 AM »
I'm not sure I understand number 6.

If God exists, why would a need to believe be required.

I know there are religions that make that requirement but what about deism (non intervention) god.

To me it seems that number 6 applies more to a non-belief in certain religions.
The same criticism could be levied on points 4 and 5.  Consistency of moral principles revealed to the human populace only applies to a deity that is moral and wants people to be moral.  The existence of evil is only a problem for a deity that wishes to prevent evil.  A non-interventionist or malevolent deity is not eliminated as a possibility with 4, 5, or 6.

I honestly think that points 1 and 2 are sufficient.  Personally, I'd swap the order as well.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2014, 11:49:21 AM »
From a perspective of pure logic and reasoning, this list is as good as it gets.  Clear and concise and objective.

However, for me, theism is first and foremost subjective.  So I continue to embrace theism even in light of this list.  I enjoy theism and will probably be a theist the rest of my life.  If that makes me delusional, so be it. 

As always,

OldChurchGuy
This is how I'm reading this, and I recognize that I may be pushing away a lot of relevant nuance, but I'm curious as to the response:

The objective truth of your beliefs in regards to a deity is unimportant.

Is it fair to say that, if, somehow, definitive objective proof of the non-existence of god were to present itself, it would have no impact on how you approach life?
"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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http://deepaksducttape.wordpress.com/

Offline OldChurchGuy

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2014, 12:43:31 PM »
From a perspective of pure logic and reasoning, this list is as good as it gets.  Clear and concise and objective.

However, for me, theism is first and foremost subjective.  So I continue to embrace theism even in light of this list.  I enjoy theism and will probably be a theist the rest of my life.  If that makes me delusional, so be it. 

As always,

OldChurchGuy
This is how I'm reading this, and I recognize that I may be pushing away a lot of relevant nuance, but I'm curious as to the response:

The objective truth of your beliefs in regards to a deity is unimportant.

Is it fair to say that, if, somehow, definitive objective proof of the non-existence of god were to present itself, it would have no impact on how you approach life?

Interesting question.  You, Nam and I would have had a lot of fun in Sunday School class, I think.  But I digress.

For me, my conclusions and understandings of God ARE objective truths in that they are true for me.  I realize that explaining the situations which I understand to be a sign of God's presence is purely subjective in that these instances cannot be duplicated nor measured.  But for me, they are real and, therefore, objective.  No doubt this sounds like a very twisted piece of logical reasoning and perhaps it is.  But that is my story and I'm stickin' to it. 

Regarding the question of definitive objective proof of God's non-existence, I don't know.  I suspect my initial reaction would be to either ignore it or try to find a loop-hole.  I might eventually come to embrace it, but I am not certain. 

Reading back on this may explain why some theists who are on this site trying to engage you guys in the superiority of Christian theism over atheism seem to adamant.  They have their religious experiences which seem objective and real to them.  Therefore, they may see themselves on equal footing with people on this website who are asking for objective evidence.  Just a thought.

As always,

OldChurchGuy
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2014, 02:14:30 PM »
Interesting question.  You, Nam and I would have had a lot of fun in Sunday School class, I think.  But I digress.

For me, my conclusions and understandings of God ARE objective truths in that they are true for me.  I realize that explaining the situations which I understand to be a sign of God's presence is purely subjective in that these instances cannot be duplicated nor measured.  But for me, they are real and, therefore, objective.  No doubt this sounds like a very twisted piece of logical reasoning and perhaps it is.  But that is my story and I'm stickin' to it. 
I'm not sure I'd call it a 'twisted piece of logical reasoning'.  But I think there is some conflating of the words 'objective' and 'real'.  I don't deny that subjective experiences are real.  They are.  But they aren't objective.  You liking or disliking vanilla iced cream is subjective.  Your tasting of vanilla iced cream is subjective.  That a cold, churned collective of dairy product embedded with chemicals that most people associate with a flavor called 'vanilla' made contact with your tongue is objective.
Quote
Regarding the question of definitive objective proof of God's non-existence, I don't know.  I suspect my initial reaction would be to either ignore it or try to find a loop-hole.  I might eventually come to embrace it, but I am not certain. 
Try as I might, I still have not been able to fully circumvent the natural human tendency to dislike the feeling of being wrong.  Your initial reaction sounds pretty much like my initial reaction when something happens to make me think I might be wrong about something (e.g. someone tells me something contrary to what I currently believe).  My use of the word 'definitive' was intended to try to get around that part, but honestly, at the end of the day, I suppose it would depend on the nature of this 'definitive objective proof', wouldn't it?

But I asked because you said that your theism is, first and foremost, subjective.  Which is backwards from the way I view most everything - I can only have a subjective experience in response to something objectively happening.  The subjective experience of me tasting metal is in response to something objective:
1) Some metallic object made physical contact with my tongue.
2) I am in the midst of experiencing a heart attack, and the physiological rumblings upon my body induced an experience of tasting metal.
3) A neurological misfire happened in my brain (extraordinarily strong EMI, a stroke, LSD, a seizure, etc.) that induced an experience of tasting metal.
4) A deity induced the experience of me tasting metal (perhaps through some physical means, perhaps through some divine-somethingorother).
5) A playful alien induced the experience of me tasting metal (perhaps through some understood physical means, perhaps through exploitation of physical laws that make no sense to humans right now).

Subjective experience is my response to things objectively happening.

Quote
Reading back on this may explain why some theists who are on this site trying to engage you guys in the superiority of Christian theism over atheism seem to adamant.  They have their religious experiences which seem objective and real to them.  Therefore, they may see themselves on equal footing with people on this website who are asking for objective evidence.  Just a thought.
And again...there is a conflation of the words 'objective' and 'real'.

I do not deny the reality of your subjective experiences.  I deny your explanation for the cause of some those experiences.  Because if it's subjective experience all the way down, then by definition it exists only in your mind.

Does any of that make sense?
"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'."

- Eddie Izzard

http://deepaksducttape.wordpress.com/

Offline OldChurchGuy

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2014, 03:07:28 PM »
Interesting question.  You, Nam and I would have had a lot of fun in Sunday School class, I think.  But I digress.

For me, my conclusions and understandings of God ARE objective truths in that they are true for me.  I realize that explaining the situations which I understand to be a sign of God's presence is purely subjective in that these instances cannot be duplicated nor measured.  But for me, they are real and, therefore, objective.  No doubt this sounds like a very twisted piece of logical reasoning and perhaps it is.  But that is my story and I'm stickin' to it. 
I'm not sure I'd call it a 'twisted piece of logical reasoning'.  But I think there is some conflating of the words 'objective' and 'real'.  I don't deny that subjective experiences are real.  They are.  But they aren't objective.  You liking or disliking vanilla iced cream is subjective.  Your tasting of vanilla iced cream is subjective.  That a cold, churned collective of dairy product embedded with chemicals that most people associate with a flavor called 'vanilla' made contact with your tongue is objective.
Quote
Regarding the question of definitive objective proof of God's non-existence, I don't know.  I suspect my initial reaction would be to either ignore it or try to find a loop-hole.  I might eventually come to embrace it, but I am not certain. 
Try as I might, I still have not been able to fully circumvent the natural human tendency to dislike the feeling of being wrong.  Your initial reaction sounds pretty much like my initial reaction when something happens to make me think I might be wrong about something (e.g. someone tells me something contrary to what I currently believe).  My use of the word 'definitive' was intended to try to get around that part, but honestly, at the end of the day, I suppose it would depend on the nature of this 'definitive objective proof', wouldn't it?

But I asked because you said that your theism is, first and foremost, subjective.  Which is backwards from the way I view most everything - I can only have a subjective experience in response to something objectively happening.  The subjective experience of me tasting metal is in response to something objective:
1) Some metallic object made physical contact with my tongue.
2) I am in the midst of experiencing a heart attack, and the physiological rumblings upon my body induced an experience of tasting metal.
3) A neurological misfire happened in my brain (extraordinarily strong EMI, a stroke, LSD, a seizure, etc.) that induced an experience of tasting metal.
4) A deity induced the experience of me tasting metal (perhaps through some physical means, perhaps through some divine-somethingorother).
5) A playful alien induced the experience of me tasting metal (perhaps through some understood physical means, perhaps through exploitation of physical laws that make no sense to humans right now).

Subjective experience is my response to things objectively happening.

Quote
Reading back on this may explain why some theists who are on this site trying to engage you guys in the superiority of Christian theism over atheism seem to adamant.  They have their religious experiences which seem objective and real to them.  Therefore, they may see themselves on equal footing with people on this website who are asking for objective evidence.  Just a thought.
And again...there is a conflation of the words 'objective' and 'real'.

I do not deny the reality of your subjective experiences.  I deny your explanation for the cause of some those experiences.  Because if it's subjective experience all the way down, then by definition it exists only in your mind.

Does any of that make sense?

Makes as much sense as my attempts to explain my position. 

I do appreciate you not questioning my thinking or hurling any insults at my position.

Yes, it is human nature to examine a paradigm shift with great skepticism.  Probably a survival mechanism from our distant past.  :)

As always,

OldChurchGuy
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Offline Ataraxia

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2014, 03:48:45 PM »

However, for me, theism is first and foremost subjective.  So I continue to embrace theism even in light of this list.  I enjoy theism and will probably be a theist the rest of my life.  If that makes me delusional, so be it. 

"....which is worse: A lie that draws a smile or a truth that draws a tear?" - Miracle on 34th Street

That's what your post reminded me of. I hate the film, but anytime it's on I wind my wife up telling her that the truth that draws a tear is always better than a lie that draws a smile.... for adults anyway. It's great for kids with the added magic that Santa Claus brings them, I mean even now I still wish it was true, but it isn't. I'm happy and content enough with it not being true and switch to find the "magic" in the harmonious and giving (yet over commercialised) spirit of people at Christmas.

I do understand your position to an extent due to the half jovial debate I have with my wife over this issue, but I can't fathom believing in something I consider to be false, with the knowledge that I am deluded. I'd basically be lying to myself, and that I can't understand, but I appreciate your honesty.
If you keep on living your life as though your purpose is to be saved and go to heaven, you are missing the heaven that you are living in right now.

Offline OldChurchGuy

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2014, 04:13:51 PM »

However, for me, theism is first and foremost subjective.  So I continue to embrace theism even in light of this list.  I enjoy theism and will probably be a theist the rest of my life.  If that makes me delusional, so be it. 

"....which is worse: A lie that draws a smile or a truth that draws a tear?" - Miracle on 34th Street

That's what your post reminded me of. I hate the film, but anytime it's on I wind my wife up telling her that the truth that draws a tear is always better than a lie that draws a smile.... for adults anyway. It's great for kids with the added magic that Santa Claus brings them, I mean even now I still wish it was true, but it isn't. I'm happy and content enough with it not being true and switch to find the "magic" in the harmonious and giving (yet over commercialised) spirit of people at Christmas.

I do understand your position to an extent due to the half jovial debate I have with my wife over this issue, but I can't fathom believing in something I consider to be false, with the knowledge that I am deluded. I'd basically be lying to myself, and that I can't understand, but I appreciate your honesty.

Perhaps the key is that you consider the a given idea to be false.  I don't consider theism to be a false idea but for the purposes of this website there is no way to prove the existence of God. 

Not sure that helps or not.  Regardless, thanks for the civil exchange.

As always,

OldChurchGuy
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle - Philo of Alexandria

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion - Dalai Lama

Offline Ataraxia

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2014, 04:19:21 PM »

However, for me, theism is first and foremost subjective.  So I continue to embrace theism even in light of this list.  I enjoy theism and will probably be a theist the rest of my life.  If that makes me delusional, so be it. 

"....which is worse: A lie that draws a smile or a truth that draws a tear?" - Miracle on 34th Street

That's what your post reminded me of. I hate the film, but anytime it's on I wind my wife up telling her that the truth that draws a tear is always better than a lie that draws a smile.... for adults anyway. It's great for kids with the added magic that Santa Claus brings them, I mean even now I still wish it was true, but it isn't. I'm happy and content enough with it not being true and switch to find the "magic" in the harmonious and giving (yet over commercialised) spirit of people at Christmas.

I do understand your position to an extent due to the half jovial debate I have with my wife over this issue, but I can't fathom believing in something I consider to be false, with the knowledge that I am deluded. I'd basically be lying to myself, and that I can't understand, but I appreciate your honesty.

Perhaps the key is that you consider the a given idea to be false.  I don't consider theism to be a false idea but for the purposes of this website there is no way to prove the existence of God. 

Not sure that helps or not.  Regardless, thanks for the civil exchange.

As always,

OldChurchGuy

Well, I based it on your statement on 'if' it made you delusional.

Just for a bit of clarity, I don't consider the idea to be false, just that I see no way of ever showing it be true, as you seem to agree.
If you keep on living your life as though your purpose is to be saved and go to heaven, you are missing the heaven that you are living in right now.

Offline OldChurchGuy

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Re: The Six Absences
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2014, 04:22:01 PM »

However, for me, theism is first and foremost subjective.  So I continue to embrace theism even in light of this list.  I enjoy theism and will probably be a theist the rest of my life.  If that makes me delusional, so be it. 

"....which is worse: A lie that draws a smile or a truth that draws a tear?" - Miracle on 34th Street

That's what your post reminded me of. I hate the film, but anytime it's on I wind my wife up telling her that the truth that draws a tear is always better than a lie that draws a smile.... for adults anyway. It's great for kids with the added magic that Santa Claus brings them, I mean even now I still wish it was true, but it isn't. I'm happy and content enough with it not being true and switch to find the "magic" in the harmonious and giving (yet over commercialised) spirit of people at Christmas.

I do understand your position to an extent due to the half jovial debate I have with my wife over this issue, but I can't fathom believing in something I consider to be false, with the knowledge that I am deluded. I'd basically be lying to myself, and that I can't understand, but I appreciate your honesty.

Perhaps the key is that you consider the a given idea to be false.  I don't consider theism to be a false idea but for the purposes of this website there is no way to prove the existence of God. 

Not sure that helps or not.  Regardless, thanks for the civil exchange.

As always,

OldChurchGuy

Well, I based it on your statement on 'if' it made you delusional.

Just for a bit of clarity, I don't consider the idea to be false, just that I see no way of ever showing it be true, as you seem to agree.

Probably a good thing I never claimed to be a great communicator.  :)

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle - Philo of Alexandria

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion - Dalai Lama