lapwing

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"those who voted in support of the motion viewed their colleagues as having a mental disorder."
I think this is another error. Supporters of the motion are saying that (belief in) God is not a delusion: those who voted against are saying that (belief in) God is a delusion. I think you should change "in support" to "against" to get the meaning right. If you are saying that belief in God is not a delusion then you are not saying that anyone is deluded or has a mental disorder. Only opponents of the motion said this (given the medical definition of delusion).

"I'm not saying I don't understand what controvertible or incontrovertible means"
Neither am I saying that, but you did ask me earlier for my "standards for incontrovertible proof" and I was trying to make the point that you've already shown you have knowledge of such standards viz. "I simply do not believe that the claims so far presented justify a belief in the Christian God." ie a sense of what is controvertible so you should be able to establish in your own mind what standards are demanded by incontrovertibility. So again I ask you do you have incontrovertible proof for the non existence of God, or failing that do you have any proof?

Are you atheist, agnostic or something else?
I have no problem if you prefer not to identify with either of the first two labels but I still contend that saying: "Atheists on the other hand have simply said that they do not find the evidence presented so far for God convincing and they do not accept religious faith as a good argument." does not correspond to the dictionary definition of atheist. Do you deny the existence of God? Please can you describe your position more clearly.
My position: I believe an eternal, transcendent, creator God exists. I do not believe this can be proved or disproved incontrovertibly. So my belief in the existence of God is a faith belief.

No because an agnostic is answering a different question from what is posed
Explain this statement please.

the burden of proof
You're obviously keen to bring this into the discussion. I'm not sure we can sensibly bring that in until you have defined your position about how you view the proof of God's non existence. A good discussion can be found in section 3 of http://philosophynow.org/issues/78/Wheres_The_Evidence note the following statements: "However, without a judge or rules to determine who has the burden and how it is to be discharged, it becomes unclear how the concept is to be applied, or even whether it has clear application." and "On the contrary, as evidentialism says, evidence is required for the belief to be justified even if there is no burden to defend the belief. This means that even if the burden of proof never falls on the atheist in disputes with theists (something we have so far found no reason to believe), it does not follow from that fact that atheists can rationally believe without evidence that there is no God or other divine reality. Consequently, the concept of burden of proof is also of no use to the New Atheists in avoiding the demands of evidentialism." but do read the whole article.

This house believes that God exists
As I said before because a neutral title like this was not used implies that the neutral definition of delusion was not intended.

there are other Gods out there
This is an inaccurate way of putting it. I think you mean to say that there are diverse religions which have different concepts of God, or gods. An eternal, transcendent, creator God is not boxed up by man's conception of God. So rather you need to ask in what way has the transcendent God (or gods) been revealed. Otherwise you end up with nonsense questions such as "is the God of Islam the same as the God of Christianity and/or the God of Judaism". An eternal, transcendent God is not boxed up in that way. Rather you have to ask if the revelation of God in religions etc is true or not e.g. did God reveal Himself to Moses, through Jesus or to Muhammed etc?
For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote: "those who voted in support of the motion viewed their colleagues as having a mental disorder."
I think this is another error. Supporters of the motion are saying that (belief in) God is not a delusion: those who voted against are saying that (belief in) God is a delusion. I think you should change "in support" to "against" to get the meaning right. If you are saying that belief in God is not a delusion then you are not saying that anyone is deluded or has a mental disorder. Only opponents of the motion said this (given the medical definition of delusion).


Oh? I misstated what I wanted to get across. What I wanted to get across was the idea that I has presented in my #9 post here which is the picture that Craig wanted to paint on what a vote against the motion implied about their colleagues.

lapwing wrote:
"I'm not saying I don't understand what controvertible or incontrovertible means"
Neither am I saying that, but you did ask me earlier for my "standards for incontrovertible proof" and I was trying to make the point that you've already shown you have knowledge of such standards viz. "I simply do not believe that the claims so far presented justify a belief in the Christian God." ie a sense of what is controvertible so you should be able to establish in your own mind what standards are demanded by incontrovertibility. So again I ask you do you have incontrovertible proof for the non existence of God, or failing that do you have any proof?


For all I know, our standards may vary. e.g science doesn't deal with incontrovertible proofs. Since you chose to use the idea of incontrovertible proofs, I'm simply wondering what sort of thing you had in mind. And I thought that since you had such a strong positive belief in your God, that you would be in a better position to enlighten me.

lapwing wrote:
Are you atheist, agnostic or something else?
I have no problem if you prefer not to identify with either of the first two labels but I still contend that saying: "Atheists on the other hand have simply said that they do not find the evidence presented so far for God convincing and they do not accept religious faith as a good argument." does not correspond to the dictionary definition of atheist. Do you deny the existence of God? Please can you describe your position more clearly.


Maybe you need to take a look at another dictionary e.g according to Dictionary.com,

Dictionary.com wrote:
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.


I'm an atheist according to the sense of the second definition above. I'm a firm believer in allowing people to describe themselves. Also, I don't think agnosticism and atheism are mutually exclusive. There are people who describe themselves as agnostic atheists.
Also, the sort of atheist one identifies themselves as also depends on the God under discussion.

lapwing wrote:
My position: I believe an eternal, transcendent, creator God exists. I do not believe this can be proved or disproved incontrovertibly. So my belief in the existence of God is a faith belief.


Okay. Do you think presenting faith as a reason for believing the existence of a being is a satisfactory argument?

lapwing wrote:
No because an agnostic is answering a different question from what is posed
Explain this statement please.


Atheism is a question on whether or not one believes that there is a God.
Agnosticism is question on whether or not someone knows that there is a God.

lapwing wrote:
the burden of proof
You're obviously keen to bring this into the discussion. I'm not sure we can sensibly bring that in until you have defined your position about how you view the proof of God's non existence. A good discussion can be found in section 3 of http://philosophynow.org/issues/78/Wheres_The_Evidence note the following statements: "However, without a judge or rules to determine who has the burden and how it is to be discharged, it becomes unclear how the concept is to be applied, or even whether it has clear application." and "On the contrary, as evidentialism says, evidence is required for the belief to be justified even if there is no burden to defend the belief. This means that even if the burden of proof never falls on the atheist in disputes with theists (something we have so far found no reason to believe), it does not follow from that fact that atheists can rationally believe without evidence that there is no God or other divine reality. Consequently, the concept of burden of proof is also of no use to the New Atheists in avoiding the demands of evidentialism." but do read the whole article.


I only read the part on the burden of proof. I already said that on this issue of God, we first need to identify the God under discussion. Once we do that, I think that it is clear that the burden of proof is more on the believer in that God though as the article pointed out, one still wouldn't be justified in disbelieving that God even if there wasn't evidence. But the first step I think would be to identify the God.

lapwing wrote:
This house believes that God exists
As I said before because a neutral title like this was not used implies that the neutral definition of delusion was not intended.


What do you mean by "neutral title"? The way I see it, maybe those who organized the debate wanted what they got.

lapwing wrote:
there are other Gods out there
This is an inaccurate way of putting it. I think you mean to say that there are diverse religions which have different concepts of God, or gods. An eternal, transcendent, creator God is not boxed up by man's conception of God. So rather you need to ask
   in what way has the transcendent God (or gods) been revealed. Otherwise you end up with nonsense questions such as "is the God of Islam the same as the God of Christianity and/or the God of Judaism". An eternal, transcendent God is not boxed up in that way. Rather you have to ask if the revelation of God in religions etc is true or not e.g. did God reveal Himself to Moses, through Jesus or to Muhammed etc?


Sorry but I don't see how pointing out that there are different ideas of God is a nonsense question. For all we know, maybe the Christian God isn't really transcendental.
We don't know that there is an eternal, transcendental God out there. It may be a committee of Gods, or there may not be any Gods so how do you wish to back up a claim such as an eternal, transcendental God? By definition? If you go by that, you should note that you've still not yet demonstrated that that definition actually matches anything here in the world.

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lapwing

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"since you had such a strong positive belief in (your) God"

But I've said that my belief in God (God doesn't belong to me so your is inappropriate) is a faith belief. I've not claimed I can prove God's existence incontrovertibly. In fact I've said that I don't think that such a proof exists, or is possible. Incontrovertible=certain, undeniable, not open to question. Now you say you don't believe in the existence of a supreme being or beings, but without being able to prove that then surely your belief is also a faith belief. If you're hung up on standards or the word incontrovertible then just present your reason(s) for being sure that your belief is true. I don't have a technical (e.g. rules of logic) definition of incontrovertible in mind. As I said before you can disregard the word incontrovertible - maybe substitute "convincing" and please don't say that you don't know what will convince me - that will just be dodging the question.

"Do you think presenting faith as a reason for believing the existence of a being is a satisfactory argument?"

Well that depends on what is meant by satisfactory? Given that there is no incontrovertible proof for God's existence (we cannot detect God by our senses) then, in a sense, yes. The sense is to realise that faith belief does not prove God's existence or bring God into existence. God exists independently of what we believe. For we live by faith and not by sight.

"we first need to identify the God under discussion"
"Sorry but I don't see how pointing out that there are different ideas of God is a nonsense question. For all we know, maybe the Christian God isn't really transcendental. We don't know that there is an eternal, transcendental God out there. It may be a committee of Gods, or there may not be any Gods so how do you wish to back up a claim such as an eternal, transcendental God? By definition? If you go by that, you should note that you've still not yet demonstrated that that definition actually matches anything here in the world."

Firstly I didn't mean that the fact of different ideas of God is nonsense - the nonsense is then to extend that fact to saying that for that reason there are or may be different Gods. There may be different Gods (since we can't prove otherwise) but the fact of religions with different definitions of God will not affect the actuality of God's existence, if God(s) exist(s). One must be careful not to critique religions such as Christianity on the assumption that God does not exist, since that assumption immediately undercuts the religion and makes any further discussion of it unsound.

Transcendental=beyond the material world, not experienced but knowable (in the personal connaitre or intuitive sense, not the knowing of a scientific fact). Now I won't say that Dawkins' The God Delusion is completely without merit but there are some weak sections. One particular weak section is where he argues that God has to be too-complex-to-be-possible in order to maintain such a complex universe - the weakness of scientific reductionism. How can you be sure that what we can detect with our senses and with the help of tools such as the Hubble Telescope is all there is?

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote: "since you had such a strong positive belief in (your) God"

But I've said that my belief in God (God doesn't belong to me so your is inappropriate) is a faith belief. I've not claimed I can prove God's existence incontrovertibly. In fact I've said that I don't think that such a proof exists, or is possible. Incontrovertible=certain, undeniable, not open to question. Now you say you don't believe in the existence of a supreme being or beings, but without being able to prove that then surely your belief is also a faith belief. If you're hung up on standards or the word incontrovertible then just present your reason(s) for being sure that your belief is true. I don't have a technical (e.g. rules of logic) definition of incontrovertible in mind. As I said before you can disregard the word incontrovertible - maybe substitute "convincing" and please don't say that you don't know what will convince me - that will just be dodging the question.


Convincing would be a better word but still, I'll need to know something about the God you believe in. The "your" that I used there was not to imply that the God belonged to you but to indicate that I was referring to the specific one you and others who believe as you do, also believe in.

lapwing wrote:
"Do you think presenting faith as a reason for believing the existence of a being is a satisfactory argument?"

Well that depends on what is meant by satisfactory? Given that there is no incontrovertible proof for God's existence (we cannot detect God by our senses) then, in a sense, yes. The sense is to realise that faith belief does not prove God's existence or bring God into existence. God exists independently of what we believe. For we live by faith and not by sight.


Would you accept faith as a satisfactory reason for believing in the existence of faeries?

lapwing wrote:
"we first need to identify the God under discussion"
"Sorry but I don't see how pointing out that there are different ideas of God is a nonsense question. For all we know, maybe the Christian God isn't really transcendental. We don't know that there is an eternal, transcendental God out there. It may be a committee of Gods, or there may not be any Gods so how do you wish to back up a claim such as an eternal, transcendental God? By definition? If you go by that, you should note that you've still not yet demonstrated that that definition actually matches anything here in the world."

Firstly I didn't mean that the fact of different ideas of God is nonsense - the nonsense is then to extend that fact to saying that for that reason there are or may be different Gods. There may be different Gods (since we can't prove otherwise) but the fact of religions with different definitions of God will not affect the actuality of God's existence, if God(s) exist(s). One must be careful not to critique religions such as Christianity on the assumption that God does not exist, since that assumption immediately undercuts the religion and makes any further discussion of it unsound.


So you're saying that people having different ideas of God doesn't imply that there are different Gods out there. Sorry but what you appear to be doing is simply asserting that there must only be one God which just happens to be yours. Otherwise, you would be an agnostic theist.
So how does one critique a religion such as Christianity? Or are you saying only people who according to you simply have another idea of God can critique Christianity?
Can people who don't believe in faeries critique the belief in faeries?

The focus on the Christian God is due to its popularity so I don't see the problem with being specific on this especially when not being specific could easily lead to fallacies.

lapwing wrote:
Transcendental=beyond the material world, not experienced but knowable (in the personal connaitre or intuitive sense, not the knowing of a scientific fact). Now I won't say that Dawkins' The God Delusion is completely without merit but there are some weak sections. One particular weak section is where he argues that God has to be too-complex-to-be-possible in order to maintain such a complex universe - the weakness of scientific reductionism. How can you be sure that what we can detect with our senses and with the help of tools such as the Hubble Telescope is all there is?


I don't claim that what we can detect with our senses is all there is.
So God is knowable by intuition? So what conclusions can those who do not have this intuition and those whose intuition leads them to conclude that there are multiple Gods out there draw? Keeping in mind how error prone intuition has been shown to be.

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lapwing

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"God and fairies"

I don't consider this a stupid or derisive question since if we allow that we cannot detect invisible beings like God or fairies then how can theists say that God exists and fairies don't. Well firstly they play different parts in human culture - when Dawkins stumbled over the full title of The Origin of Species on UK radio 4 he invoked "Oh God" rather than "Oh Tinkerbell" say. Now that's a common reaction not peculiar to Dawkins of course, but what people do in extremis is often revealing. So I would argue that God and fairies, though both described as spirits, play different parts in human culture.

Now why is that? Well taking the Christian religion (though this argument is not confined to Christianity) it is a revealed religion i.e. part of its doctrine is that God chose to reveal Himself either aurally, visually or both on a number of special occasions e.g. to Abraham, Moses and ultimately through His Son Jesus. Now these accounts are presented as historical though, of course, skeptics attack them as unreliable. There is some archaeological evidence supporting the historical accounts in the Bible - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_artifacts_significant_to_the_Bible
but this doesn't prove the Bible true but does qualitiatively distinguish God from (say) fairies.  Fairies feature in Celtic folklore but I would argue that their origins are qualitatively different - overtly mythic rather than historical.
One must also note that according to Christianity, God is not the only spiritual being - there are angels and fallen angels as well.

"people having different ideas of God doesn't (necessarily) imply that there are different Gods out there."

Again you have to be careful not to dictate the nature of God just from what humans believe. I would include the word necessarily before imply in your statement.

intuition=knowing something without perceiving it (by your senses)

"So what conclusions can those who do not have this intuition ... draw"

Oh taste and see that the LORD is good Ps 34:8a AV

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Rev 3:20 NIV

Christianity is an experimental or experiential religion. One has to take a leap of faith (based on the evidence) to experience God personally. It requires one to make a change of direction in life and admit one's lack of perfection and self sufficiency to meet God's standards. One will discover that Jesus has paid the penalty for one's shortcomings and one will be granted a personal relationship with the creator of the universe. Incredible, but many people testify to this truth through their own experience.



For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote: "God and fairies"

I don't consider this a stupid or derisive question since if we allow that we cannot detect invisible beings like God or fairies then how can theists say that God exists and fairies don't. Well firstly they play different parts in human culture - when Dawkins stumbled over the full title of The Origin of Species on UK radio 4 he invoked "Oh God" rather than "Oh Tinkerbell" say. Now that's a common reaction not peculiar to Dawkins of course, but what people do in extremis is often revealing. So I would argue that God and fairies, though both described as spirits, play different parts in human culture.


Does the fact that they play different parts in human culture make one of them more likely to exist than the other?

lapwing wrote:
Now why is that? Well taking the Christian religion (though this argument is not confined to Christianity) it is a revealed religion i.e. part of its doctrine is that God chose to reveal Himself either aurally, visually or both on a number of special occasions e.g. to Abraham, Moses and ultimately through His Son Jesus. Now these accounts are presented as historical though, of course, skeptics attack them as unreliable.


And I would say that these skeptics have good reasons for attacking them as being unreliable given what we have come to learn about human psychology, sociology and what we've found out through anthropology. People's senses can be fallible and subject to hallucinations among other things.

lapwing wrote:
There is some archaeological evidence supporting the historical accounts in the Bible - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_artifacts_significant_to_the_Bible
but this doesn't prove the Bible true but does qualitiatively distinguish God from (say) fairies.  Fairies feature in Celtic folklore but I would argue that their origins are qualitatively different - overtly mythic rather than historical.
One must also note that according to Christianity, God is not the only spiritual being - there are angels and fallen angels as well.


Huh? Are you saying the lack of artifacts for certain folklore somehow makes one account more valid than another? Then there is the issue of the presence of artifacts not making accounts valid. Just as the presence of real locations doesn't make a story more true.
I could say that they play similar parts in human culture though to different degrees. The way I see it, they are both a demonstration of our human tendency to introduce agency as a cause where there is none.

lapwing wrote:
"people having different ideas of God doesn't (necessarily) imply that there are different Gods out there."

Again you have to be careful not to dictate the nature of God just from what humans believe. I would include the word necessarily before imply in your statement.

intuition=knowing something without perceiving it (by your senses)


Okay, include the word necessary. I have to ask, aren't you dictating the nature of God from what at least you believe? Is there some reason why your idea of God is to be preferred over that of others?
On intuition, I simply say that it is too fallible for one to depend heavily on it when it comes to questions this important.

lapwing wrote:
"So what conclusions can those who do not have this intuition ... draw"

Oh taste and see that the LORD is good Ps 34:8a AV

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Rev 3:20 NIV

Christianity is an experimental or experiential religion. One has to take a leap of faith (based on the evidence) to experience God personally. It requires one to make a change of direction in life and admit one's lack of perfection and self sufficiency to meet God's standards. One will discover that Jesus has paid the penalty for one's shortcomings and one will be granted a personal relationship with the creator of the universe. Incredible, but many people testify to this truth through their own experience.


This doesn't really answer the question I asked on intuition. What I asked was what conclusion could someone else whose intuition leads them to believe that there are multiple Gods draw?
Are you asking them to just believe?

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lapwing

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"Does the fact that they play different parts in human culture"

The God who many theists worship is a God who intervenes in the human world.

"People's senses can be fallible and subject to hallucinations among other things."

But of course this doesn't prove that (say) witnesses of miracles were all hallucinating. This argument is motivated from the presupposition that miracles can't happen i.e. the presupposition that God does not exist.

Artifacts do provide evidence of  historical events and accounts. The use of real places in an account can indicate the historical intention of the record though there are other indicators. The use of imaginary places points more securely to the account being intended as mythic.

"Is there some reason why your idea of God is to be preferred over that of others?" Do you mean monotheism vs polytheism?

"On intuition, I simply say that it is too fallible"
As I've already said there is no incontrovertible proof for God's existence but there is evidence e.g. the NT accounts for which we have so many preserved manuscripts.


"what conclusion could someone else whose intuition leads them to believe that there are multiple Gods draw?"
It might be better to consider polytheistic religions objectively and compare them to monotheistic religions. I certainly am not saying that you should believe what I believe because I say so. However, you could consider the problem that polytheism has with providing for the creation of the universe which implies at least one omnipotent being - but how can you have more than one omnipotent being?

For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote:

"Does the fact that they play different parts in human culture"

The God who many theists worship is a God who intervenes in the human world.


Faeries too were believed to intervene in the world.


lapwing wrote:
"People's senses can be fallible and subject to hallucinations among other things."

But of course this doesn't prove that (say) witnesses of miracles were all hallucinating. This argument is motivated from the presupposition that miracles can't happen i.e. the presupposition that God does not exist.

There are other phenomena other than hallucinations that explain these things better than miracles. It isn't about whether miracles can happen but about what miracles are and agree that they occur. I don't think you believe all miracle claims that you come across even those of other religious beliefs.


lapwing wrote:
Artifacts do provide evidence of  historical events and accounts. The use of real places in an account can indicate the historical intention of the record though there are other indicators. The use of imaginary places points more securely to the account being intended as mythic.

I didn't say that artifacts do not provide evidence of historical events. But that the fact that an artifact is present doesn't mean that the account is true. e.g from the list of artifacts article you linked, the first was on the Epic of Gilgamesh. Does the presence of that artifact mean that the story told is true?

What I mean is that use of real places doesn't mean that the story wasn't imaginary.


lapwing wrote:
"Is there some reason why your idea of God is to be preferred over that of others?" Do you mean monotheism vs polytheism?

Monotheism vs polytheism and monotheism against other monotheistic beliefs.


lapwing wrote:
"On intuition, I simply say that it is too fallible"
As I've already said there is no incontrovertible proof for God's existence but there is evidence e.g. the NT accounts for which we have so many preserved manuscripts.

Do you agree that due to the fallibility of intuition, it can be understood that someone wouldn't believe a God claim that is being justified with it?

Preserved manuscripts don't mean that the story told is accurate. Those preserved manuscripts can only show that certain copies agree with other copies.

Then there is the question of what actual historians think about the issue. A look at the historical method on Wikipedia leads me to conclude that the evidence isn't quite strong.

lapwing wrote:
"what conclusion could someone else whose intuition leads them to believe that there are multiple Gods draw?"
It might be better to consider polytheistic religions objectively and compare them to monotheistic religions. I certainly am not saying that you should believe what I believe because I say so. However, you could consider the problem that polytheism has with providing for the creation of the universe which implies at least one omnipotent being - but how can you have more than one omnipotent being?


I don't see why if one believes in polytheism, they should think that the universe had only one creator. Why couldn't there have been a group of creators? Who says omnipotence (whatever that means) is necessary for the creation of a universe? Couldn't it be by the deliberate planning of a group of interested Gods?

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lapwing

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On a point of order, you still haven't said anything that negates my assertion that your belief that God does not exist is no less a faith belief than my belief that God does exist. It's about time you either admitted this or gave good reasons otherwise.

"Faeries too were believed to intervene in the world."
But Dawkins' revealing "oh God" is one example of many that shows that fairies, if they exist, have had much less of an effect. This could be because they don't exist but God does.

"I mean is that use of real places doesn't mean that the story wasn't imaginary."
I don't deny that but the use of imaginary place names is a strong indicator that a story is imaginary. There are other means of determining the intended historicity of a given account so you use them all and weigh the evidence.

"what actual historians think"
So are there any contemporary (to NT or OT) historical events that you believe did happen, and if so why do you believe they happened.

"Who says omnipotence is necessary for the creation of a universe?"
It's a big universe now, so if not omnipotence required then what?




For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote: On a point of order, you still haven't said anything that negates my assertion that your belief that God does not exist is no less a faith belief than my belief that God does exist. It's about time you either admitted this or gave good reasons otherwise.


Actually, I have addressed this by pointing out that you chose for me a different definition of atheism. One that I didn't agree with. I addressed it in post #34.

lapwing wrote:
"Faeries too were believed to intervene in the world."
But Dawkins' revealing "oh God" is one example of many that shows that fairies, if they exist, have had much less of an effect. This could be because they don't exist but God does.


Or it could be because of the times in which Dawkins grew up. I don't think someone saying "oh God", "God damn" or "when hell freezes over" means that they actually believe that those entities or places exist. People of different cultures say different things under similar conditions. What does that say about their Gods or whatever they're referring to?
Faeries having less of an effect doesn't mean they don't exist.

lapwing wrote:
"I mean is that use of real places doesn't mean that the story wasn't imaginary."
I don't deny that but the use of imaginary place names is a strong indicator that a story is imaginary. There are other means of determining the intended historicity of a given account so you use them all and weigh the evidence.


I wasn't talking about the use of imaginary place names.

lapwing wrote:
"what actual historians think"
So are there any contemporary (to NT or OT) historical events that you believe did happen, and if so why do you believe they happened.


Sure. Take something like the Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria. I believe it was built and was destroyed by earthquakes.

lapwing wrote:
"Who says omnipotence is necessary for the creation of a universe?"
It's a big universe now, so if not omnipotence required then what?


Like I said, a God committee, a single powerful entity though not omnipotent or it wasn't created at all.

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lapwing

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"disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings"
This was your position in #34. What is stopping you from justifying it?

"Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria"
So does that mean that the only historical events that you believe are those intrinsically related to surviving artifacts? Does that mean you do not trust any documentary records? A very impoverished view of history would result from this approach.

"it wasn't created at all"
How would you then explain the existence of the universe?
For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote: "disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings"
This was your position in #34. What is stopping you from justifying it?


Which supreme being or beings do you wish me to justify my reasons for not believing in?

lapwing wrote:
"Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria"
So does that mean that the only historical events that you believe are those intrinsically related to surviving artifacts? Does that mean you do not trust any documentary records? A very impoverished view of history would result from this approach.


No it doesn't. You asked me for an example and I gave you one.

lapwing wrote:
"it wasn't created at all"
How would you then explain the existence of the universe?


What do you mean? We can both agree that the universe exists and that we somehow experience it.
Though that is simply one of the points counting against the idea of some omnipotent disembodied mind being behind it.

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lapwing

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"Which supreme being"
You could try the generic supreme being described by Craig in the debate or the "Christian God" (as I prefer the God whom Christians worship). Note that these two descriptions may refer to the same being. Am I right to think that you are not denying the existence of God out of hand but are yet to be convinced by any human description of God or gods?

So do you consider documents as a valid source of information on human history?

How and why did the universe come into being?
For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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lapwing wrote: "Which supreme being"
You could try the generic supreme being described by Craig in the debate or the "Christian God" (as I prefer the God whom Christians worship). Note that these two descriptions may refer to the same being. Am I right to think that you are not denying the existence of God out of hand but are yet to be convinced by any human description of God or gods?


If you think they refer to the same being, then I'll just go with the Christian God to avoid ambiguities.
With regards to the above entity, I don't believe in its existence because of the descriptions of him given in the Bible and of course, what Christians say about him.

lapwing wrote:
So do you consider documents as a valid source of information on human history?


That depends on the documents and what they contain.

lapwing wrote:
How and why did the universe come into being?


All we know about how the universe came into being is that it expanded from a very hot and dense state. Over about 13.7 billion years, it got to where it is now.

On the why question, I don't understand what sort of answer you're looking for. e.g why does Mars have 2 planets?

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lapwing

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So does this mean that you prefer to believe the accuracy of the parts of the Bible which, according to your interpretation, count against the truth of God's existence. On the other hand you prefer to distrust the accuracy of those parts of the Bible which provide evidence of God's existence?

"and of course, what Christians say about him."
"That depends on the documents and what they contain."

What do these statements mean i.e what is it that Christians say persuades you that God does not exist, and how do you determine which historical documents are trustworthy.
For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer