Author Topic: The "You know God exists" Argument  (Read 582 times)

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Offline median

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The "You know God exists" Argument
« on: March 23, 2014, 01:30:09 PM »
Christians (such as Ray Comfort and others) often quote, reference, paraphrase, or allude to the below passage when attempting to debate with those of us who do not share their view (i.e. - those who do not accept their claims). Essentially, they argue that you (the non-believer) do believe in the God Yahweh (perhaps secretly) but that you "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" due to your "sin" (or other various reasons). What is your response to this claim and why? Christians, if you do think this reasoning is sound please feel free to demonstrate how you know that we know that this "Yahweh" exists and by what sound means you were able to determine this.

ROMANS 1:18-23

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.


http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+1&version=KJV
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 01:32:27 PM by median »
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2014, 01:52:39 PM »
Good question, median. Where do others get the idea that not only do they know what they think, they also know what we think? Despite what we say?

They are already wrong about god. Why do they so set on being wrong about us too?
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2014, 01:59:04 PM »
"You know Harry Potter exists, but you reject the truth because you're a muggle/Voldermort worshiper."
"You know *insert name of deity here* exists, but you reject the truth because *insert moronic excuse here*."

This is the standard reply, I believe.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Online OldChurchGuy

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2014, 02:49:40 PM »
Christians (such as Ray Comfort and others) often quote, reference, paraphrase, or allude to the below passage when attempting to debate with those of us who do not share their view (i.e. - those who do not accept their claims). Essentially, they argue that you (the non-believer) do believe in the God Yahweh (perhaps secretly) but that you "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" due to your "sin" (or other various reasons). What is your response to this claim and why? Christians, if you do think this reasoning is sound please feel free to demonstrate how you know that we know that this "Yahweh" exists and by what sound means you were able to determine this.

ROMANS 1:18-23

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.


http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+1&version=KJV

It is my understanding the above verses are written by Paul as a criticism of the Gentiles (anyone who is not of the Jewish faith).  Paul goes on later to criticize the Jews (Chapter 2 thru 3 verse eight) and finally both groups as sinful (3:9 - 20).  [This is from notes in my NIV Study Bible].  Fast forwarding 20 centuries and declaring this now applies to atheists seems silly to me.   

At the time of Paul's writing (around 57 CE) a spiritual force was a given.  The argument focused more on which spiritual force applies rather than if a spiritual force exists.  Granted, there were atheists back then but they lacked current science to back their ideas so were marginalized for the most part.  At least, as I understand history. 

End of lecture.

OldChurchGuy
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 02:52:06 PM by OldChurchGuy »
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Offline median

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2014, 02:59:54 PM »
OCG and others,
Thanks for your responses. I really would like to know (from some other believers on here) what makes them think that they "know" that we know there is a God. How can one determine this? My suspicion (from my past experience) is that you don't know. You just assume the bible (and your interpretation of it) is correct and then go from there. It's really just a presupposition. Am I wrong? If so, where/how?
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline Nam

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2014, 04:11:19 PM »
One context does not solidify another context.

Does the jungle man who has never heard of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the god all three worship and praise, does this man know, in his heart, of their god and instead wishes to deny it based on--what? If introduced to such a being, is he supposed to set aside his current knowledge of spirituality[1], and blindly accept the other because its scripture states he should? Is a fool if he doesn't?

I think not.

Anyone can write such a thing and it does not make it true; whether what is written is from thousands of years ago or today. Just based on the fact that one or a group of people find it to be true also does not mean it is true.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are faith-based religions; they are not knowledge-based religions. Faith is believing without evidence, proof, or knowledge. How can one "know" something where their sacred texts tells them, "Only I[2] know."?

-Nam
 1. if any
 2. Biblegod
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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2014, 05:06:52 PM »
One context does not solidify another context.

Does the jungle man who has never heard of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the god all three worship and praise, does this man know, in his heart, of their god and instead wishes to deny it based on--what? If introduced to such a being, is he supposed to set aside his current knowledge of spirituality[1], and blindly accept the other because its scripture states he should? Is a fool if he doesn't?

I think not.

Anyone can write such a thing and it does not make it true; whether what is written is from thousands of years ago or today. Just based on the fact that one or a group of people find it to be true also does not mean it is true.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are faith-based religions; they are not knowledge-based religions. Faith is believing without evidence, proof, or knowledge. How can one "know" something where their sacred texts tells them, "Only I[2] know."?

-Nam
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 2. Biblegod

Having led a sheltered life, I thought all religions are faith based.  Apparently that is not the case.  What are the knowledge-based religions?

Ever curious,

OldChurchGuy
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Offline Nam

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2014, 05:52:52 PM »
My comment is directed at the fact that those three religions specifically rely on, demonstrate, and outright state, their religion is faith-based. Not all religions state that. Your religion mentions it so often, it's mind boggling. The Old Testament (if including the books Christians leave out that the Jews and Muslims do not) it is only mentioned twice, I believe but the NT too many to count. Christians hold faith, according to the NT, more so than anything else. Knowledge is not a part of their vocabulary because knowledge is a product of reason, and the Bible tells you what to reason. Now, do most Christian follow that precept? Of course not.

-Nam
A god is like a rock: it does absolutely nothing until someone or something forces it to do something. The only capability the rock has is doing nothing until another force compels it physically to move.

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously - Humphrey

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2014, 06:00:50 PM »
If this "God" actually existed,he should hire a new PR guy. From the dawn of time till the coming of Jesus to the present,he forgot to include the rest of the world in his plan. The Chinese,African,Hindu and the people of North and South America had NO idea of the existence of such a Deity.

 Now theists will say that we "knew",so why did they go around the world KILLING us for "praying" to the wrong gods?
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Offline median

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2014, 07:38:53 PM »
If this "God" actually existed,he should hire a new PR guy. From the dawn of time till the coming of Jesus to the present,he forgot to include the rest of the world in his plan. The Chinese,African,Hindu and the people of North and South America had NO idea of the existence of such a Deity.

 Now theists will say that we "knew",so why did they go around the world KILLING us for "praying" to the wrong gods?

Christians are likely to argue that those 'professors' of Christianity, back then, were not "true" Christians. They were "wolves in sheeps clothing" or "false converts" b/c they didn't practice the "right" version of Christianity (i.e. - today's interpretation). Further, I think they are likely to say that those other cultures (China, India, etc) did know about Yahweh (as crazy as that sounds) but they chose to worship a false god because of their sinfulness, depravity, etc.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2014, 10:26:49 PM »
Having led a sheltered life, I thought all religions are faith based.  Apparently that is not the case.  What are the knowledge-based religions?

You could argue that some of the Indian derivative religions are knowledge based, because they emphasize mind cultivation techniques, and a lot of consciousness woo. Also, the Native American religions where their adherents consume various drugs, like "the vine" and peyote, have a direct knowledge of something, and their religion isn't structured in a way that says "you have to believe or you get burned". It's just people in a tribe, using their drugs for healing, and exploration purposes, and those in the tribe who don't grok it, just accept the mythology they are told.
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2014, 01:10:47 AM »
 ;D I think everyone is really atheist but in order to deny it to themselves, some people make things up at random. They also avoid hearing something different in case their delusion is shattered.

After all, atheism came first, our hominid ancestors were mostly atheist. The first small traces of religion are found in Neanderthals. ;D
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Offline Jesuis

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2014, 01:02:21 PM »
God is that which is conscious in life.  The highest evolved moral and ethical human being experiences God and devises a way for others to know the same.  He becomes a Theist (one who knows God through his conscious awareness ) and everyone else are atheists - they did not know and have no method or follow no method. If any human being wanted to know they have to do the same self evolution observation to becoming a true humane being. That is the path we need to evolve on - "Blessed are the pure at heart for they shall see God".
According to Theists: Theists know God, Atheists don't.

Offline median

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2014, 01:12:18 PM »
God is that which is conscious in life.  The highest evolved moral and ethical human being experiences God and devises a way for others to know the same.  He becomes a Theist (one who knows God through his conscious awareness ) and everyone else are atheists - they did not know and have no method or follow no method. If any human being wanted to know they have to do the same self evolution observation to becoming a true humane being. That is the path we need to evolve on - "Blessed are the pure at heart for they shall see God".

So you are using this made up term "God" to refer to only that which is natural in the natural world then? If that is the case, we already have a word that is just fine for that, without all of the theological baggage and hocus pocus. The word is nature. Please define this term "God" you are using and what exactly you are attempting to refer to when you are using it - b/c thus far all that it seems you are doing is taking something which is natural and attempting to repackage it in superstitious language to make it sound "cool" or "mystical", when there is no sound reason for thinking there is anything mystical about it.

When you don't have a valid explanation about what a certain phenomena is, such as what "consciousness" is, an appeal to yet another big mystery word ("God", etc) is insufficient for demonstrating anything. You cannot solve what is a mystery to you by appealing to yet another mystery.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 01:15:40 PM by median »
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2014, 01:14:50 PM »
God is that which is conscious in life.  The highest evolved moral and ethical human being experiences God and devises a way for others to know the same.  He becomes a Theist (one who knows God through his conscious awareness ) and everyone else are atheists - they did not know and have no method or follow no method. If any human being wanted to know they have to do the same self evolution observation to becoming a true humane being. That is the path we need to evolve on - "Blessed are the pure at heart for they shall see God".

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Offline screwtape

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2014, 02:20:22 PM »
God is that which is conscious in life.  The highest evolved moral and ethical human being experiences God and devises a way for others to know the same.  He becomes a Theist (one who knows God through his conscious awareness ) and everyone else are atheists - they did not know and have no method or follow no method. If any human being wanted to know they have to do the same self evolution observation to becoming a true humane being. That is the path we need to evolve on - "Blessed are the pure at heart for they shall see God".

WTF does this have to do with the topic of the thread? 
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Offline skeptic54768

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2014, 02:35:41 PM »
This argument is more than fair. Daniel Dennett says that people don't really believe in God.

So if Dennett can make the claim to know the minds of theists, then we can make the claim to know the minds of atheists.

Fair is fair in my opinion.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2009/jul/21/daniel-dennett-atheism-belief

"Daniel Dennett's The Folly of Pretence argues that most religious believers don't really believe in their religious belief, but only in the usefulness of believing, and he calls upon them to stop the pretence of belief."
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 10:34:40 AM by skeptic54768 »
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Offline Nam

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2014, 02:44:48 PM »
He's been preaching a lot lately.

-Nam
A god is like a rock: it does absolutely nothing until someone or something forces it to do something. The only capability the rock has is doing nothing until another force compels it physically to move.

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Online OldChurchGuy

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2014, 02:47:17 PM »
God is that which is conscious in life.  The highest evolved moral and ethical human being experiences God and devises a way for others to know the same.  He becomes a Theist (one who knows God through his conscious awareness ) and everyone else are atheists - they did not know and have no method or follow no method. If any human being wanted to know they have to do the same self evolution observation to becoming a true humane being. That is the path we need to evolve on - "Blessed are the pure at heart for they shall see God".

So is it correct to conclude atheists have impure hearts? 

Is it correct to conclude atheists have no conscious awareness?

Ever curious,

OldChurchGuy
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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2014, 01:43:44 AM »

[snip] Please define this term "God" you are using and what exactly you are attempting to refer to when you are using it - b/c thus far all that it seems you are doing is taking something which is natural and attempting to repackage [snip]

You're free to do as you wish, but I implore you... please don't feed the troll.  If I see one more of his posts, I'll do myself in, and my spirit will come back and haunt you... haaaauunt you!

Offline Nam

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2014, 02:06:44 AM »
A wasteful suicide.

-Nam
A god is like a rock: it does absolutely nothing until someone or something forces it to do something. The only capability the rock has is doing nothing until another force compels it physically to move.

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously - Humphrey

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2014, 04:06:08 AM »
My response as an atheist is that I know the difference between fact and fiction. I know the difference between denying something actually exists and lacking belief in something.

People who don't make those distinctions often rationalize / compartmentalize their beliefs so that they can function in the world. Those who genuinely can't usually end up institutionalized.
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Offline median

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2014, 12:36:09 PM »
The inherent assumption, by Christian apologists, that the passage in Romans (their interpretation of it, anyway) is true and is "the Word of God" is the real truth behind this argument. It really boils down to the "because I say" argument, time and time again. I think the entirety of Christianity has built itself upon this falsity.

How do you know I "know" your god is real?
-B/c the bible says so.
How do you know those who wrote the bible are telling you the truth?
-B/c the bible says so (it has prophesies that were fulfilled, etc)
And how do you know those were actually prophesies and not vague notions, or self fulfilled things after the fact?
-B/c I say so and the bible says it is the word of God and we can only trust is as authority

(and on and on it goes...)
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline screwtape

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2014, 07:40:58 AM »
^ xians aren't really good at understanding or getting to the bottom of the question "how do you know?"  They always seem to pull up short and stop prematurely.
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Offline junebug72

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2014, 08:07:31 AM »
Another reason why religion is bad bad bad, bad bad, bad...
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_paine.html#XXwlhVIMq06zWg2d.99

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2014, 08:39:30 AM »
This argument is more than fair. Daniel Dennett says that people don't really believe in God.....

Whoops.  Almost right.  Dennett, so far as I am aware from the link, doesn't categorically say "every professed believer does not actually believe".  What he says is that he finds it hard to accept that everyone who believes really believes, and - if that is the case - suggests that to "believe in belief" is not a good thing.

Consider that carefully, and perhaps read what he says again.

By contrast, the Bible verses quoted in the OP are absolutely specific.  "They DO believe" is the argument, "and therefore they are all wrong".  Not "some may believe, but hide it".  Not "hiding belief is bad if you actually believe".  But "all atheists actually believe, and all hide it". 

Happy to retract when you point me to the specific quote from Dennett where he says ALL professed believers actually just believe in belief.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Dominic

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2014, 11:46:34 AM »
I'm a Christian.  This argument sounds like pretence on the part of Christians who express it.

Most atheists appear to me to be genuine in their beliefs/claims.

There may be some people who 'know God' and yet pretend to be atheist for their own purposes but I suspect that this is very rare.



Offline median

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Re: The "You know God exists" Argument
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2014, 11:35:01 PM »
I'm a Christian.  This argument sounds like pretence on the part of Christians who express it.

Most atheists appear to me to be genuine in their beliefs/claims.

There may be some people who 'know God' and yet pretend to be atheist for their own purposes but I suspect that this is very rare.

There is a significantly large and growing group of Christians, called the Presuppositionalists, who espouse this very view quite heavily (online and elsewhere). There are quasi-leaders such as Cornelius Van Til (the Grandfather), Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen (one of the "fathers" of this movement), Matt Slick, Sye Ten Bruggencate, Eric Hovind, Ray Comfort, and countless others who all make this argument (which sprang out of the Presbyterian/West Minster movement). They have taken this argument directly from the text of the bible (and specifically the words of Paul). Christians can go ahead and debate what those passages mean, and that's fine with me, but it still doesn't change the fact that this argument is being used quite a lot as a kind of conversation stopper (i.e. - an attempt to make any criticism of Christian theology void at the outset; a kind of "I win by default" assertion). Is this really honest discourse? "You really DO know Jesus in your heart and you are internally/secretly lying about it. Therefore, your arguments are invalid from the beginning."

How does the apologist support this assertion? By making more bald claims and assumptions! He must assume the bible is the word of a god, assume his personal interpretation of that bible, and assume no reasoning is possible without his personal assumed theology being the case. It's a nifty trick but it doesn't work because anyone can do that with just about any superstition they want and the argument works just the same. "You know Santa is real but you just suppress the truth because you want to be naughty all year and still get presents!"

Unfortunately, our rebuttals do no good (most of the time) b/c the presuppositional apologist who argues this way cannot be reasoned with. He/she is completely closed-off to any interpretation or possibility other than his/her own current pre-commitment. What surprises me most is that these people claim to be followers of Christ, who supposedly told them to be honest, not to lie, etc. And yet here they are, bearing false witness about something for which they do not 'know' about our internal states, but rather has been assumed by them at the outset. Praise Jebus!

"Because the bible says...because I say so...because I believe...because I say so..."

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan