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.