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General Religious Discussion / Re: take the quizz
« Last post by Add Homonym on Today at 07:56:21 AM »
You don't get very far, if you don't press the Absolute Truth Exists button. Becuz, if you aren't sure of absolute truth exists, then your uncertainty is an absolute truth, apparently. Who knew it was that simple?
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Hello PhilosoB,
   A few months ago, Parking Places met with Dennis in the debate room.  Part of the agreement before starting was debating as "if" god exists.  PP agreed to the terms, and the debate went on.  That's the problem here - as you stated - "if" you assume god exists, then the arguments 1,2,3,4,5.  Phil, we are atheists - you lost us at "hello", if you see what I mean. 


A would however argue with you in your premises that this "maximally great god", even according to christianity, in the old testament becomes even more maximally great in the new testament, which doesn't follow.....  But I'm sure you have His reasons covered.   As a christian, you think that god has a plan and everything is working according to that plan. That is the rub, Phil.  Here is an example.

A few years ago 3 young boys in New Jersey playing hide and seek, locked themselves in the trunk of an old car on their property in the middle of summer.  The frantic family, searching a couple days for the missing 7 year olds, found that the boys had passed away.


Now, one would say (need to say), as a Christian, believing in this "maximally great god", that the boys death was part of the plan.  Tough for the family to see, as a pastor may console, but nevertheless that was god's will.   Now, once one crosses the atheist line, removing your word "if" - the light bulb goes on - reality makes sense.  Humanity is on it's own. The boys death was an accident.  There never was a maximally great god with a maximally great plan that allows things to happen only by design.
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PhilosoB; is this not another use of your argument?

Premise 1: A maximally great being would create a world in which the maximal amount of living creatures would exist.
Premise 2: The God of Christianity is a maximally great being.
Premise 3 (from 1 and 2): Therefore, the God of Christianity would create a world in which the maximal amount of living creatures existed.
Premise 4: If the God of Christianity exists, then the world in which the maximal amout of living creatures exist, is the actual world.
Premise 5 (counterfactual from 4): If the God of Christianity exists and the actual world exists, then the actual world contains unicorns and dragons.

Now it appears to me that I failed in my logic right at the first statement when I presumed to know what a 'maximally  great being' would do.
It is also the same place you failed in your logic.
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Chatter / Re: anyone want to ride shotgun with me on a dog forum?
« Last post by lectricpharaoh on Today at 06:00:16 AM »
Mohammed was a bad guy?  You'll get no argument from me.  He was a pedophile, hatemonger, and conquering warlord.  However, he's got something Jesus doesn't: solid historical evidence of his existence and deeds.

I'm not sure what the point of the post is, though- Mohammed was bad, therefore Jesus?  Biblical Jesus, if he existed, was a bit of a douche himself.  He didn't abolish or condemn the slavery sanctioned in the OT.  In fact, he claimed all the OT stuff was in full force.  He came to bring a sword, not peace.  He demanded his disciples hate their families and own lives.  He had temper-tantrums in the temples.  He introduced the idea of a special place of love and happiness eternal suffering and torment, just for not 'accepting' him.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: take the quizz
« Last post by lectricpharaoh on Today at 05:44:00 AM »
That site is a mess, but funny.  If you make it to the end, though, and still don't say you believe in God, it gives you some crap about how you really do believe in God, but are just 'running from' your belief.  Then the 'exit' button redirects you to the Disney web site- WTF?

Anyways, worth a laugh.  :)
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If I understand this verbiage accurately, you seem to say that since we don't know precisely and perfectly which god exists and have a certain level of information about him, we can't love him.
It's hard to love something you don't believe exists.  Do you love Santa?  By all accounts, he's a pretty swell guy, so if you don't love him, why not?

Furthermore, how well must we know another human before we can love them or do we just love our mental vision of a person? This is just an ad hoc argument.
Obviously, we can't know everything about another.  There will always be stuff about them we don't know, but that's not a prerequisite for love.  However, I think being confident that they indeed exist in the first place is a prerequisite.

Plus, even if your idea of them turns out to be way off, it's still more accurate than the mental image you have of a being that has not evidenced its existence in any way.

Here is the recap of my argument:

Premise 1: A maximally great being would create a world in which the maximal amount of people would freely choose a loving and saving relationship with this being.
What is a 'maximally great being'?  Please define it without using circular arguments, such as saying it's a being that wants to and is capable of ultimate good actions, while defining 'good' as 'what the being considers good'.  Also, please don't use a meaningless tautology, like you did in a later post ('a maximally great being is and can only achieve the highest degree of standard or quality in whatever he does').  This doesn't really tell us anything new.  There's nothing about the god's motives in this.  What if it wants to create 'maximum mediocrity', or 'maximum suffering'?  Hell seems a pretty good way to accomplish the latter.

Belief is not required to accept this premise. Even atheists can assent to the idea that the God conveyed in Christianity is a maximally great being which is the widely accepted view. Whether he exists or not is irrelevant to this premise.
Actually, what parts of the bible that I've read leads me to conclude that the Christian god is horribly inept- maximally inept, even!

@The Gawd: I didn't steal this from you, I was just incrementally constructing my reply.  Glad to know I wasn't the only one to point it out, though.  :)

While "hiding", the God of Christianity has amassed billions of followers throughout history. To argue that God could have more followers if he acted differently is simply conjecture and misses the point of my argument.
I have two arguments against this.  First, there is every reason to expect that if he revealed himself, and was a kind, loving deity, there would be many more followers.  Even if a few resented his physical manifestation, many more would follow him.

Second, and more importantly, there are a lot of people who believe in different gods, many of which are mutually-exclusive with the Christian god ('no gods before me' and all that).  Therefore, by not taking any action to discourage their worship, even by popping in and saying to the Hindus, Muslims, Wiccans, etc 'You guys have it wrong', he is facilitating a less than 'maximal' quantity of loving followers.

To show why anything less than 100% of the population choosing this 'loving relationship' is acceptable given your own definition of a 'maximally great' god, you need to accept at least one of a) the god does not desire this loving relationship, and/or b) it is impossible to achieve 100% (ie, the 'maximal' amount is less than the entire population).

Of course, I don't know the exact number of how many people will develop a saving relationship but certainly not everybody. Using their own free will, many will choose not to have a saving relationship. My argument simply states that in a world of free willed people, a maximally great being would set it up so the maximal amount of people will decide to have a saving relationship as could be possible.
To say that your deity would 'set it up' so whatever number of people would freely choose anything ('saving relationship' or otherwise) presupposes that a) your deity can influence our choices without encroaching on our free will, or b) there is no free will in the first place.  Either case allows a 'maximally great' being to exert its influence in such a manner as to get the exact outcome it desires (ie, everyone worshipping it, or whatever).

Quote from: PhilosoB
Belief is not required to accept this premise. Even atheists can assent to the idea that the God conveyed in Christianity is a maximally great being which is the widely accepted view. Whether he exists or not is irrelevant to this premise.
Incorrect; if this entity does not really exist, then it cannot be maximally great.  An entity that exists in the real world is necessarily greater than an otherwise-identical entity which does not exist in the real world.  Therefore, your premise cannot be accepted unless a person believes that the Christian god actually exists.  As not all humans believe this, this premise is not acceptable as part of an ontological argument.
Haha, kicked in the nuts with the ontological argument!  I love it!  :)

I did not miss your conditional statement.  The problem is that the Christian god must actually exist for this to be at all relevant.  Even if it does exist, it might not be a maximally great being, in which case your argument would not apply to it; you are simply assuming that it is maximally great, without any basis in fact.  Anyone can imagine a theoretical "maximally great" being without that being actually existing in any way, shape, or form.
Anselm of Canterbury would disagree with you.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: take the quizz
« Last post by none on Today at 03:57:42 AM »
I gave a longer analysis in another thread but I thought I'd mention something about it here and maybe copy/paste my longer analysis here if wanted or needed.

The first question is about absolute truth.

Some events have conflicting explanations that are both true in the sense they explain the event accurately.

Two clocks traveling at different speed record different time elapsed.

That is just one example of two truths ( different elapsed time ) that are verifiable that explain an event that are contradictory.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: take the quizz
« Last post by eh! on Today at 03:30:46 AM »
agree fully, I am impressed by the profile it has got, the level of debaters it has induced into a debate, the number of counter webpages, the amount of discussion and the crippling effect it has on normally functioning people in street debates. not to mention that people have made a full time living form it.
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Once again, this is a exaggeration of the problem. While there are certainly many proposed gods, some gods and religions correspond to reality better than others. Any cursory examination of the reasoned arguments for different gods will begin to narrow down the list very quickly.
Just a quick response here; the question needs to be whether any god or religion corresponds well enough to reality to justify the effort needed to follow their dictates (or more accurately, the dictates that humans made on their behalf).  A god which corresponds to reality with a value of 0.000000001 is going to be more of a match than one which has a value of 0.00000000001.
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A maximally great being is not burdened by too many relationships or having to balance relationships and the universe. This reflects a misunderstanding of the concept of being maximally great. A maximally great being is not burdened by anything as this would indicate a deficiency of greatness.
Honestly, your definition of "maximal greatness" incorporates wishful thinking.  In effect, what you're really saying here is that because you've defined maximal greatness that way, that it must be that way in order to be maximally great.  This is nothing more than a philosophical mind-trap; reality does not care about how you define maximal greatness.  It does not matter what you include in a definition; what matters is whether that definition is a useful description for some part or another of reality.  In other words, it doesn't do any good to say that your "maximally great" being has unlimited time and resources to pursue relationships unless you can show that it is possible to have unlimited time and resources to pursue other things.

But even leaving that aside, there's another problem with your position which I doubt you've considered.  Say that your maximally great being really can maintain as many relationships as it needs to, that it does not need to balance them, and that it effectively has unlimited time with which to do so.  The fact remains that none of those apply to humans, which creates at least two major problems.  First, if time is meaningless to this entity, that means that no amount of time it puts into this so-called 'relationship' is worth the strictly finite time that a human has available to put into it.  It doesn't even come close.  Second, these relationships are really so important, then the entity with more resources available to put into them has a greater responsibility to than one which has less.  This should pretty much go without saying, yet for many Christians, especially Protestant Christians, it not only doesn't get said, but they somehow manage to get it completely backwards.  If these relationships are so important to this entity, then it should be the one to pursue them.  And yet, that is never the case.  It's always up to humans to pursue a relationship with this entity.

Quote from: PhilosoB
Belief is not required to accept this premise. Even atheists can assent to the idea that the God conveyed in Christianity is a maximally great being which is the widely accepted view. Whether he exists or not is irrelevant to this premise.
Incorrect; if this entity does not really exist, then it cannot be maximally great.  An entity that exists in the real world is necessarily greater than an otherwise-identical entity which does not exist in the real world.  Therefore, your premise cannot be accepted unless a person believes that the Christian god actually exists.  As not all humans believe this, this premise is not acceptable as part of an ontological argument.

Quote from: PhilosoB
I have addressed the concerns so the argument still holds.
And I have rebutted both again.  I'm sure that you'll come up with answers to those, at which point I'll come up with additional rebuttals, until one or both of us is sick of it.  This is why you need something more than logical arguments to prove a point.

Even leaving that aside, the fact remains that unless the Christian god actually exists, premise 3 is totally moot - because premise 2 cannot be true unless the Christian god actually exists.

Quote from: PhilosoB
If premises 1 through 3 hold, then this follows logically. Since I have addressed your arguments against the previous premises and no new arguments are presented here, it still holds.
First off, there is no reason to expect that the earlier premises will actually hold true.  And in actual point of fact, there are very good reasons to expect that they will not hold true.  For example, your first premise amounts to wishful thinking and special pleading - declaring that this entity of yours can ignore the limitations of the universe we live in for no good reason other than that it needs to be able to for your argument to hold true, as just one example.

Second, your responses to my arguments were far less than satisfactory.  In effect, they amounted to you arbitrarily declaring that my arguments didn't apply to yours and thus that your arguments therefore remained sound.  This is a useless way to argue, because you aren't going to succeed in convincing anyone that your arguments are, in fact, sound; what you are much more likely to do is convince people that you won't take objections to your arguments seriously.

Quote from: PhilosoB
You seem to miss the word "if" in the premises. This has not been an argument for God's existence, but rather, what we might expect if God exists. If the first two premises hold, the final three are the necessary logical progression. Unless there are further challenges to premises 1 or 2, this argument still holds.
I did not miss your conditional statement.  The problem is that the Christian god must actually exist for this to be at all relevant.  Even if it does exist, it might not be a maximally great being, in which case your argument would not apply to it; you are simply assuming that it is maximally great, without any basis in fact.  Anyone can imagine a theoretical "maximally great" being without that being actually existing in any way, shape, or form.

And finally, there is no reason to presume that the world could not be better than it is.  Even if an entity was maximally great, that does not mean that it would have to have put forth its best possible effort.  An entity which can only put forth its maximum possible effort is inferior to an identical entity which can put forth less than its maximum possible effort, provided that it can choose the amount of effort it puts forth.  And you are ignoring the actual limiting factor, intelligent beings, which even a maximally great being must cope with.  A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so even if you had a maximally great being around, it would still be limited by what intelligent beings in this universe could do.  Therefore, even its maximal greatness would be stymied overall by the far less than maximal qualities of ordinary human beings.
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