Existence of God (spinoff from Quadrinity)


#1

[quote=Cosmo]Why not? What is it that prevents you from even acknowledging that the slimmest possibility even exists that he does not exist?

[/quote]

The reasons I stated before.

An interesting statement. The appendix is not alone; there is no shortage of human body parts that either serve no purpose or seem rightfully out of place. I am not trying to disprove to you God’s intelligence or power - but, what do you think it would take for you to acquiesce to the possibility that he may not exist?

Nothing. My intellect, the wonder of creation, the systems of life. I cannot disbelieve the existence of God. It’s too difficult for me.

One step at a time, indeed. Here’s some questions for you to ponder. If you answer them, perhaps then we can talk about accepting Jesus.

  1. We have no scientific evidence that God exists. In the 12,000 years since man settled down and ended its hunter-gatherer lifestyle, do you not think that someone would have found God if he did indeed exist?

Ancient gatherers looked in wonder at the world around them. Neanderthals buried their dead and there’s even evidence of some possible ritualistic remnants from their culture. They may not have developed as much reasoning power as we do now, but it does appear that they believed in a higher being.

  1. What about the thousands upon thousands of other Gods that are also said to exist? What of Zeus and Hera? What of Dionysus, Quetzalcoatl, and Vishnu? What of Allah? What of Ra, Osiris, and Mercury? What reason do you have for being a near-complete atheist, in that you believe in one God but deny the existence of thousands of others that have been named to exist? What is it that makes you cling to only one? Is there really such a big difference between me, the atheist, and you, the christian?

All these are results of man’s searching for God. Because of the ancient cultures’ realization that there had to be a higher power, they tried to explain it in their own terms in the absence of divine revelation. That’s why all ancient cultures were theistic. They however became crazily theistic. But this further shows that man is indeed hard-wired to believe in a god.

Now we believe in One God because in the fulness of time, a God did reveal himself to man, and declared himself to be the Only God; there is no other. The rest didn’t show themselves. (BTW, Apollo and company were aliens, see Star Trek: Who Mourns for Adonais :smiley: Ra was Gouaould; see Stargate SG-1 :D).

  1. What of evil? If you had the power to prevent 3,000 deaths and the collapse of two skyscrapers on a given day in September, wouldn’t you? If God is able to prevent evil but is unwilling, is he not malevolent?

God gave us free will and in his wisdom, which is beyond our own, he allows us to exercise this free will. It is part of his love for us, believe it or not. God is all good, none of what is evil was created by him. But he allows us to exercise our will even to do evil, for there is no evil from which he can bring out good. Yes, it sounds like a cop-out, but it is the truth.


#2

[quote=porthos11]Ancient gatherers looked in wonder at the world around them. Neanderthals buried their dead and there’s even evidence of some possible ritualistic remnants from their culture. They may not have developed as much reasoning power as we do now, but it does appear that they believed in a higher being.
[/quote]

Agreed, but that does not answer my original question. Early man was undeniably the source of our modern concept of God, yet all you have done here is describe the reasons why man created the concept of God. We are still at as impass as to whether he actually exists; yet there is no evidence for him doing so.

[quote=porthos11]That’s why all ancient cultures were theistic. They however became crazily theistic. But this further shows that man is indeed hard-wired to believe in a god.
[/quote]

No argument from me. Psychological experiments have shown time and time again that man tends to believe in some sort of deity when he lacks rational explanations about the world around him.

I maintain, however, that in this day and age, we are in a much different situation than early man was. We have explanations for just about all of what early man pondered about, so why, today, must we still cling to the notion?

[quote=porthos11]Now we believe in One God because in the fulness of time, a God did reveal himself to man, and declared himself to be the Only God; there is no other. The rest didn’t show themselves.
[/quote]

Evidence, please. When, and how, did he “reveal himself”? When and where did this declaration take place?

There are millions and millions of muslims who would gladly state that your god is the one who did not show himself, and that Allah did. On what grounds do you reject their theories to instead accept your own?

[quote=porthos11]God is all good, none of what is evil was created by him. But he allows us to exercise our will even to do evil, for there is no evil from which he can bring out good.
[/quote]

If God did not create evil, who did? Are you suggesting that there is more than one God?

What of slavery? In Leviticus, Moses is given a number of specific guidelines about the treatment and punishment of slaves, yet today the church condemns slavery. Was God wrong about slavery?


#3

These conversation are almost the same as I had with an Atheist who said he lived in Israel and was studying Islam and Arabic.

Ask that gentleman where the atoms and all the energy that make up the universe came from.

That person , next year, may very well be a polytheist. I met one polytheist who was an Atheist before he was a believer in the Greek Gods. They seem to think it is intellectually superior to deny God.


#4

[quote=Cosmo]Agreed, but that does not answer my original question. Early man was undeniably the source of our modern concept of God, yet all you have done here is describe the reasons why man created the concept of God. We are still at as impass as to whether he actually exists; yet there is no evidence for him doing so.

No argument from me. Psychological experiments have shown time and time again that man tends to believe in some sort of deity when he lacks rational explanations about the world around him.

I maintain, however, that in this day and age, we are in a much different situation than early man was. We have explanations for just about all of what early man pondered about, so why, today, must we still cling to the notion?

Evidence, please. When, and how, did he “reveal himself”? When and where did this declaration take place?

There are millions and millions of muslims who would gladly state that your god is the one who did not show himself, and that Allah did. On what grounds do you reject their theories to instead accept your own?

If God did not create evil, who did? Are you suggesting that there is more than one God?

What of slavery? In Leviticus, Moses is given a number of specific guidelines about the treatment and punishment of slaves, yet today the church condemns slavery. Was God wrong about slavery?
[/quote]

First God revealed himself in creation. You agree that man is wired to seek God. That in itself is a strong enough clue about a Creator. Then he revealed himself to Abraham. Evidence? Because Jesus said so. Now I do not yet assume Jesus is divine. I just say for now that he taught of Abraham and the Covenant and the Law as revealed in the Old Testament. Jesus taught about Abraham and God’s covenant with him.

But yes, that’s not enough. Jesus could have easily been a wacko who didn’t know any better than we do now. But historians (Tacitus, a hostile pagan writer, for instance) wrote of the existence of a “Chrestus” who was crucified under Pontius Pilate. No doubt of Jesus historical existence there. The pagan writers also write about the Christians, not favorably, I might add, but they do. They and Christian historians as well write of followers of Jesus dying martyr’s deaths proclaiming one thing: his Resurrection from the dead. These would be foolhardy deaths if the Resurrection were a hoax.

No way is this anywhere near Muslims blowing themselves up. Suicide bombers are suicidal fanatics, they do not die professing a faith, rather, they actively seek death for a misguided notion of reward.

The Christian martyrs did not seek death. But when threatened, they chose death rather than deny the truths about Christ. And this goes back all the way to the first century (James, Ignatius, Polycarp). If the Resurrection were a hoax, it would be easier to deny it than face death for a lie.

Therefore, from this I must believe that if the martyrs did indeed die without wavering for upholding the Resurrection, it had to have happened. And if indeed he rose from the dead, then he had to be who he said he was: God. Otherwise he was a loony. And Jesus taught of the one true God revealed to Abraham. Therefore I am a Christian and I believe.

Slavery was never commanded: it was merely tolerated. God did not command polygamy either, it was tolerated. The people’s primitive culture had to mature as God progressively clarified his truths.

And no one created evil. Evil is not the opposite of good. It is the absence of good. All God created is good. Evil is the result of man misusing his free will to abandon what is good.


#5

[quote=Exporter]Ask that gentleman where the atoms and all the energy that make up the universe came from.
[/quote]

What is the purpose of this question? It’s likely that the atoms and energy that exists today always has - all the way back to the big bang.

Before the big bang, you say? I don’t keep up on my quantum mechanics, but it’s possible that there are theories floating around today that address that very point. Even if there are not, however, nowhere do we need to assume ‘God’ simply because we couldn’t find the answer. We might have the answer in a few weeks, months, or years.

Remember what has happened before. When man was unable to explain the sun’s motion across the side, he attributed it to God - a statement that has been proven false by today’s science. Who is to say that, at some point in the future, an attribution of matter and energy to God will not be proven false in a similar way?

[quote=Exporter]They seem to think it is intellectually superior to deny God.
[/quote]

Many atheists, including myself, may do just that. However, the difference lies in the fact that we are still open to the possibility of God’s existence - yet the religious community is not as open to the possibility of God’s nonexistence.

Remember, everyone is born an atheist. :slight_smile:


#6

[quote=porthos11]First God revealed himself in creation. You agree that man is wired to seek God. That in itself is a strong enough clue about a Creator.
[/quote]

Careful there. I agreed that man, in absence of better scientific knowledge, will tend to proclaim belief in a higher power. That in no way points to this higher power actually existing.

[quote=porthos11]Then he revealed himself to Abraham. Evidence? Because Jesus said so.
[/quote]

How do we know Jesus said so?
Because the bible said so.
How do we know that the Bible is truthful and accurate?
Because the bible says it is truthful and accurate.

Do you see the circular logic here? You cannot argue your point in this manner.

[quote=porthos11]But yes, that’s not enough. Jesus could have easily been a wacko who didn’t know any better than we do now. But historians (Tacitus, a hostile pagan writer, for instance) wrote of the existence of a “Chrestus” who was crucified under Pontius Pilate. No doubt of Jesus historical existence there.
[/quote]

Is it not possible that Jesus was a regular person - maybe even a magician, using sleight of hand? Is it not possible that people, seeking comfort and solace, greatly exaggerated stories about this man? There may be references to someone named Jesus existing, but there is no proof that he is who you say he is. The bible alone is not enough - see my points above.

[quote=porthos11]No way is this anywhere near Muslims blowing themselves up. Suicide bombers are suicidal fanatics, they do not die professing a faith, rather, they actively seek death for a misguided notion of reward.
[/quote]

Misguided, according to whom? Suicide bombers may be extremists, but they are religious extremists. You maintain that they are misguided fanatics, and they maintain the exact same thing about you. On what grounds do you dismiss their notions and instead embrace your own? How do you know you are right?

[quote=porthos11]The Christian martyrs did not seek death. But when threatened, they chose death rather than deny the truths about Christ. And this goes back all the way to the first century (James, Ignatius, Polycarp). If the Resurrection were a hoax, it would be easier to deny it than face death for a lie.
[/quote]

Again, this is speculation based on uncertain history. The bible alone is not enough.

[quote=porthos11]Therefore, from this I must believe that if the martyrs did indeed die without wavering for upholding the Resurrection, it had to have happened. And if indeed he rose from the dead, then he had to be who he said he was: God.
[/quote]

Muslim suicide bombers would rather die than accept christianity. By your own logic, that means that Islam is correct, whilst Christianity is false.

[quote=porthos11]The people’s primitive culture had to mature as God progressively clarified his truths.
[/quote]

Why would God put everyone through such trouble? They’re going about doing things all wrong until God clarifies things for them. If God does indeed exist, why didn’t he get it right the first time?

More importantly, if God is all-knowing, he KNEW before he set his truths out the first time that they would be misinterpreted by his people; that they would require clarification. Why, then, did God continue to distribute truths that he knew would fail? Was he unable to change his truths to that which would not be misinterpreted? If so, he is not omnipotent.

[quote=porthos11]And no one created evil. Evil is not the opposite of good. It is the absence of good. All God created is good. Evil is the result of man misusing his free will to abandon what is good.
[/quote]

What of the countless murders, rapes, and crimes committed? God just lets this all happen?


#7

[quote=Cosmo]Careful there. I agreed that man, in absence of better scientific knowledge, will tend to proclaim belief in a higher power. That in no way points to this higher power actually existing.

[/quote]

Exactly. This is the first revelation of God. Man on his own intelligence knows that only a higher being could have come up with creation. There had to be the first mover of all movement. This is why man looks for God, because he knows by his very nature that there is a higher intelligence. I refuse to believe all of this, myself included is a result of chance.

How do we know Jesus said so?
Because the bible said so.
How do we know that the Bible is truthful and accurate?
Because the bible says it is truthful and accurate.
Do you see the circular logic here? You cannot argue your point in this manner.
{/QUOTE]

No. Indeed I know Jesus said so because the Bible says so. But how do I know the Bible is truthful and accurate? Because textual critical analysis says that the manuscripts we have now are faithful reproductions of the originals, much like the copies of the Iliad, Odyssey, and the writings of Plato, Aristototle, Virgil, Ovid, etc. are faithful reproductions of the originals (which are several hundred years older than the New Testament, yet we study them in Literature class; no one disputes their accuracy). No way do we believe the truth of the Bible because the Bible says so. I am convinced however of the accuracy of the copies and extant manuscripts we have. This does NOT however prove that what the Bible SAYS is accurate. It just means the COPIES we have are.

[quote]
Is it not possible that Jesus was a regular person - maybe even a magician, using sleight of hand? Is it not possible that people, seeking comfort and solace, greatly exaggerated stories about this man? There may be references to someone named Jesus existing, but there is no proof that he is who you say he is. The bible alone is not enough - see my points above.

Okay I already mentioned that textual criticism shows that the extant manuscripts we have are accurate much like other contemporary documents, and even more ancient ones (e.g. Iliad). Now what makes us say they’re CONTENT is actually accurate? The blood of the martyrs.
[/quote]


#8

Misguided, according to whom? Suicide bombers may be extremists, but they are religious extremists. You maintain that they are misguided fanatics, and they maintain the exact same thing about you. On what grounds do you dismiss their notions and instead embrace your own? How do you know you are right?
Again, this is speculation based on uncertain history. The bible alone is not enough.

Muslim suicide bombers would rather die than accept christianity. By your own logic, that means that Islam is correct, whilst Christianity is false.

None of what I say comes from the Bible. The martyrdoms of ancient witnesses such as Ignatius and Polycarp come from extra-biblical and secular sources, even sources hostile to Christianity. I wouldn’t say uncertain history at all. The mere fact of Tacitus and others writing of Christian martyrs show that these did indeed take place.

The big difference is that no one is forcing Muslims to apostasize at the point of a sword. The extremists willingly kill themselves to further their own purposes. This shows that they would use violence to advance their religion. This is not martyrdom as Christians see it. Present-day Muslims are not dying because they are being told to apostasize. Medieval Muslim deaths in war took place because of their aggression; e.g. Crusades, not because they were asked to renounce their faith.

The ancient Christians did not do that. They loved life and would have wanted to live longer to spread the Gospel. Under persecution, they HID, and preached in secret. But when captured and threatened, they accepted death as WITNESS to the Resurrection of Christ. That’s why I believe. Their blood speaks more powerfully because they did not want to die, yet would rather die than deny Christ. THAT’s why I believe the Bible. Not only because the manuscripts are accurate, but because Christian martyrs died professing the content of those manuscripts. I do not believe the Bible because the Bible says so. I believe it because the martyrs shed their blood defending it and the Church, since they were WITNESSES to the events the Bible relates.

Believe it or not, Christians still endure persecution around the world today. Including at the hands of Muslims.

Why would God put everyone through such trouble? They’re going about doing things all wrong until God clarifies things for them. If God does indeed exist, why didn’t he get it right the first time?

More importantly, if God is all-knowing, he KNEW before he set his truths out the first time that they would be misinterpreted by his people; that they would require clarification. Why, then, did God continue to distribute truths that he knew would fail? Was he unable to change his truths to that which would not be misinterpreted? If so, he is not omnipotent.

He did know and he DID get it right the first time. Misinterpretation and confusion was never part of God’s plan. His plan was for man to enjoy knowledge of him. It wasn’t God who put confusion. It was man, because man wilfully chose to reject him. It’s the risk God took when he gave us free will. If he did not give us free will, he is not omni-loving.

What of the countless murders, rapes, and crimes committed? God just lets this all happen?

Yes. Indeed he has the power to stop it, and I sometimes find myself wishing he would just send fire and consume the world, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. Again, he loves us enough to exercise our free will, and even let it bite us enough to discipline us. And there no no evil so great he cannot bring good out of it. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be omnipotent. It takes even more power to bring out evil from good than to stop evil in the first place.


#9

[quote=Cosmo]Careful there. I agreed that man, in absence of better scientific knowledge, will tend to proclaim belief in a higher power. That in no way points to this higher power actually existing.

How do we know Jesus said so?
Because the bible said so.
How do we know that the Bible is truthful and accurate?
Because the bible says it is truthful and accurate.

Do you see the circular logic here? You cannot argue your point in this manner.

Is it not possible that Jesus was a regular person - maybe even a magician, using sleight of hand? Is it not possible that people, seeking comfort and solace, greatly exaggerated stories about this man? There may be references to someone named Jesus existing, but there is no proof that he is who you say he is. The bible alone is not enough - see my points above.

Misguided, according to whom? Suicide bombers may be extremists, but they are religious extremists. You maintain that they are misguided fanatics, and they maintain the exact same thing about you. On what grounds do you dismiss their notions and instead embrace your own? How do you know you are right?

Again, this is speculation based on uncertain history. The bible alone is not enough.

Muslim suicide bombers would rather die than accept christianity. By your own logic, that means that Islam is correct, whilst Christianity is false.

Why would God put everyone through such trouble? They’re going about doing things all wrong until God clarifies things for them. If God does indeed exist, why didn’t he get it right the first time?

More importantly, if God is all-knowing, he KNEW before he set his truths out the first time that they would be misinterpreted by his people; that they would require clarification. Why, then, did God continue to distribute truths that he knew would fail? Was he unable to change his truths to that which would not be misinterpreted? If so, he is not omnipotent.

What of the countless murders, rapes, and crimes committed? God just lets this all happen?
[/quote]


#10

Cosmos,

The issue of evil has obviously been dicussed for millenia so I’m not
sure I am able to add anything novel to this subject. Good and evil, however, do in one sense point to the existence of God. Among all earthly creatures, only humans are able to consider the future and commit pre-meditated acts, whether for love of another or for selfish gain. In this is our freedom: the power to choose. Even in our legal system, to determine that an act was pre-meditated, carries with it more dire consequences. If you can concur with this focused definition of freedom then I can move on to my next point. If you, however, believe other earthly creatures have this ability, then to move forward in this vein would be fruitless. Let me know.:slight_smile:


#11

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