Question from an athiest


#1

“It’s not just that we don’t know how it was created (the universe), but that its existence logically implies the existence of a creator.”

-Contarini (fellow member of site)

I got this response in another thread, and within the response
(as a whole) he appeared to be hostile toward me. Coming from a religious person, this is usually typical for me as an athiest.

I try to be logical and realistic with how I view the world and fairly existential. From the knowledge we’ve aquired to this day and time, I am curious to see how you defend a creator as being logical.

I’ve discussed god with religious people many times, and usually they’re reduced to the cop-out of: it’s simply about faith.

So, I was somewhat shocked to see someone claim that the existence of the universe “logically implies a creator.”

How is god not just the result of religious peoples’ lack of direction and fear of death?

I am being blunt with this thread, but I know most of you are great people, and most of my friends are some amount of religious, so I truely don’t mean to offend. That may be hard to believe, but I really just want to get some good responses and discussion.

I appreciate your input, thanks!


#2

The existence of God is implied by logic, but one must accept certain principles of logic on faith.

For example, the principle of sufficient reason:
Everything that is, has a reason why it is.

Some [atheist] scientists today will say that quantum physics calls this principle into question, but the problem with that conclusion is that it is wholly unscientific.

If one accepts the principle, then God follows logically from the reason of the universe.


#3

There are really several ways that the existence of the universe logically implies a creator, but let me try to put it very simply.

Everything that exists was either created or uncreated. If anything is not created, then there was never a moment when it did not exist. But the universe at one point did not exist, so the universe was created. Now if anything created exists, then at least one uncreated creator must exist as well, because anything which is created requires a creator. Thus, there must be at least one uncreated creator.


#4

Let me give you a bit of a better logical demonstration, from St. Thomas Aquinas:

“We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence — which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.” - newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm


#5

This is the Deism argument. Posit some sort of abstract creator figure, and then discuss logical holes in what you have just created. Christians very often fall victim to it themsleves.

Aristotle’s argument was that every event is caused by a preceding event - eg the harvest is caused by the sower, and the sowing is caused by the farm manager deciding to plant wheat in that field, which is caused by high bread prices, and so on. Aquinas’s answer was that that produces an infinite regression. The argument seem infantile, until you remember that the mathematics of infinite series wasn’t worked out when Aquinas wrote.

We can spend all day on the Deist argument, wondering whether universes can just happen, or if God needs a cause, or whether a small child in a greater universe could qualify as God in this one. All fascinating and great fun, but it won’t get you very close to understanding whether Jesus’ teachings were true or not.


#6

You have to remember that this is an apologetics forum where people are giving a defense of their faith. This necessitates argument where people are going to disagree with each other. These arguments can get heated and so appear hostile, but personal attacks are forbidden on this forum, not only because they are uncharitable but because they are also illogical. I have never seen the member to which you refer engage in these types of attacks.

I try to be logical and realistic with how I view the world and fairly existential. From the knowledge we’ve aquired to this day and time, I am curious to see how you defend a creator as being logical.

I’ve discussed god with religious people many times, and usually they’re reduced to the cop-out of: it’s simply about faith.

We are all existentialists to a certain degree in that everything we know comes through our existence. Here is one argument for the existence of God that I find convincing: ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/billramey/kalam.htm.

And faith is not a cop-out. Atheists have faith in many things just like theists do. The primary article of faith for an atheist is that God does not exist. They base this on many other things that they hold on faith. It is notoriously difficult to prove that something does not exist. You might be better off adopting some form of agnosticism where you take a position that you don’t know whether God exists or not but believe it cannot be proven, or that the evidence against it is greater than the evidence for it.

So, I was somewhat shocked to see someone claim that the existence of the universe “logically implies a creator.”

How is god not just the result of religious peoples’ lack of direction and fear of death?

Lack of direction and fear of death may be the motivation of some Christians for their belief in God. But I think you will find here that people have a reasoned defense for their beliefs. You’ve been provided some in this thread already.

I am being blunt with this thread, but I know most of you are great people, and most of my friends are some amount of religious, so I truely don’t mean to offend. That may be hard to believe, but I really just want to get some good responses and discussion.

I appreciate your input, thanks!

No offense taken. This is the place to argue about such things.


#7

This is my solely my ruimination of the whole situation, so please correct me when necessary:

To start off with, after reading your initial comments in this thread and the other (that you are alluding to,) I honestly can’t assess if you are really asking a question, or just plain venting your frustration that you can’t understand the concept of God or those who do. Please bare with me, let me try to explain what I mean.

  1. There are many theologies that understand that God is so incomprehensible that it wouldn’t be possible to “prove” God’s existence (or what God “really” Is) by the observations of anything created. Even those that do reason that any observation or “proof” is the lowest account for God. God is nothing that can be recorded and observed because that would box him in.

  2. Which leads me to the point that saying that the universe logically implies a creator is not something that is easily dismissed because it has been an argument used many times in many different ways, and it cannot be fully discounted- unless one’s own being can make sense of that which is greater than itself. And since in many ways we cannot even fathom or measure ourselves and what we are- it is not possible to “standardize” God.

  3. So what measure is man? I know I don’t know- but from what I observed, I know that we get things a bit crossed up. Most of your post alludes to the other thread; but the impression given (and I cannot assess how acurate this is, so again correct me) is that you were “offended” (in a manner, if not the typical definition of the word) by the “tart” commentary- yet you do not seem to take into account that the exchange as a whole was rather passionate; but not offensive. That is the impression I was given, the particular response (and your particular situation) was not meant to be hostile; but it wasn’t meant to be overtly merciful either. At the same juncture, I don’t believe that your participation was meant to be hostile- but it was written in such a way that it could be seen to have given a similiar impression, and my assessment of that stems from the fact that you are rather sure in your position; just as he (and others in the thread) were sure of theirs. So it more a case of misunderstanding then hostility on anybody’s part.

  4. But the greater misunderstanding, (and perhaps I am the most perplexed and out of my league) is in your question. You seem to think faith is some sort of cop-out; but it is an admittance that God is greater in all possible ways (and more) than what we can conceive- so like a loving parent, he has Given Himself to us, and explains himself in our childish manners. We have faith that is what going on. And that is what you can’t understand because you do not have that faith. It is something God given- so it is like we are speaking two different languages.

  5. And the only reason why is in your heart and my heart. You claim realistic logic and existentialism in your world view. And that I cannot fully appreciate because I don’t adhere to such a principle on the grounds that it starts with the self and works its way through. As a Christian I am called to work my way out of the self to get through. And on those grounds I imagine you’d object that it is the self deceived into thinking that the self is something escapable. So we are stuck at that impasse because we can’t measure ourselves.

  6. But perhaps someone else can measure us? Well not fully; but we know that they would be able to give us an approximation that a real us exists. So we mirror each other and get impressions and assess. Of course, how do we know that what the other is doing is real and has good intentions? We don’t; but we have faith that the other is real and has good intentions- so we assess and try to understand one another. And have faith that we are truly working through that existence.

  7. So if we can assess using our gifts, and have faith that our perceptions approximate what is correctly going on- we can also apply this to not just those like us; but to other object/animals in the world.

  8. Which is where we lead into the biological/chemical problem. At some point those things around us go from being biological and similiar to us to rather abstract chemical (with physics always swinging away) compounds that are logically apart of us but I would say to a level that is not self-evident. But the very use in us, and the structure and our relative knowledge of things allows us to logically conclude on faith that we are built chemically into biological characters. That physical “laws” govern this weird combination and transition- and we are apart of it. There is some sort of design.

continued:


#8
  1. And from our experience and assessment of things- we can logically conclude some things:

a) we don’t know what we are until we have faith that there is more out there that is real and independent from our consciousness.
b) we use this faith to make assessments and create
c) But we also are well aware that we ourselves are a creation of some kind; but that we have yet to find any satisfying process that creates nothing into something without a being like us for us to assess.
e) So since we cannot measure ourselves, but can observe and create to a lesser extent then ourselves- it is logical to conclude that we are the creation of something much greater than ourselves. A Supremity we call God.

  1. Is this the ultimate proof of Deity? No, I am probably “ripping off some previous idea” that has already been discredited in some method or another 1000 times over. The point was to show that it could be a reasonable (if not satisfying) answer- just as your assurance that God is the result of directionless fear could be. Especially when these arguments are dealt with by those smarter than myself. But it too has been discredited in some method 1000 times over. Particularly if you take into account that it was birthed in a period when the universe was still thought of as a wholly mechanical thing (I’m taking about a Newtonian world-type view.) Particularly if you take into account that most religion and theologies aren’t necessarily comforting in their afterlife outlooks. (There are more views of post-death as a dreary existence or a simple spiritual hohum copy of this life then there are paradises like those described in the Western faiths.) Particularly if you look to neuroscience which is beginning to identify parts of the brain that have direct ties to religious thought (as if we were made for it.) Particularly if you reason that fear is a natural emotion that can hinder all regardless of the situation and consequences, and that there are many articles you could read about the fear or lack of a father figure and the role that plays psychologically into someone’s belief system- so it is hard to discredit religion on psychological grounds.

Which leads us with our evidences and logics and the tools we try to use to measure ourselves and what is going on around us.

But this is just my two cents, and I apologize for any misstatement- like I said, I know I don’t know, so I try to walk with fear and trembling and try my best to understand; I’m too young and too stupid to make definitive proofs of anything. So I have faith that the little I have will hold up.


#9

Hi. As a former atheist (and there are lots of them here on the board) I have no hostility to you, and in fact understand where you’re coming from a lot more, I expect, than you understand where we’re coming from.

I wanted to point out that atheism is every bit as much about faith as religion is. That is to say, at the bottom of the atheist denial of God lies no proof, but only an assertion as to the way the world must be. Perhaps you’d like to comment on that.

Also, if you know about Occam’s Razor, applying it to the question of God vs. no God, it favors God. More to think about.

How is god not just the result of religious peoples’ lack of direction and fear of death?

How is disbelief in God not just the result of peoples’ unwillingness to give up their illicit pleasures?

I know when I went from disbelief to belief, I was not in the least seeking direction and having fear of death. Those simply were not on my radar screen. I thought my life was going quite well, actually.

BTW, did you know that non-believers commit suicide at four times the rate of believers? If it is non-believers who are more in tune with reality than believers, why is that? Does reality without God really lead one to the despair which can end in suicide? I think it does, actually. If everything human is about chemical reactions, then nothing human has any worth, any value. We’re all just clever apes destined (very soon) for oblivion.


#10

How is god not just the result of religious peoples’ lack of direction and fear of death?

As a former atheist myself, I would readily submit to you that your implication is, on a larger anthropological scale, typically correct - god (as an improper noun) is very often a mythological construct created by a society to assuage the very concerns you mention.

Understand, however, that this definition applies only to those gods of man’s design, a criterion which the Deity of Judeo-Christian ideology fails to meet. A Christian’s belief in God is borne of revelation, not superstition; he believes that Heaven has reached out to humanity, not the reverse.

And from whence does this so-called ‘revelation’ come? It is in exploring the foundation of Christian belief that faith is of prime importance.

Much of one’s understanding on any topic is hearsay; a professor of physics might speak of quantum theory with dogmatic assertion without ever having empirical knowledge of particle mechanics, simply because he has absolute trust in the various teachers and tomes that have been the sources of his instruction. Our professor speaks with assurance on his topic because he entertains no doubt as to the credibility of his witnesses; he has faith in them. Such is the collective trust of the Christian faithful in the word of the Apostles and their successors.

Our God is not one of invention or even proof, but rather of compelling evidence.


#11

And i suppose atheists are brave warriors? It could very well be that we are all victims of some deception or other, but thats why you have to hunt down the most probable truth, like the predator that you are:) , and then ask your self if it is something that you want. You could find out that God exists tommoro, but what is the point of knowing if you don’t care either way?

In any case, In a world filled with uncertainties, how do i know that my atheism wasn’t a result of brainwashing?


#12

Dear Athiest,

This reply isn’t from great saints or theology. It’s only me. I worked with an athiest a while back (perhaps he was agnostic). In any event, I used to use my cat as proof of the existence of God. Silly? Not really. How could such a lovely creature exist otherwise? How could nature’s intricate perfection come about by accident? All the glorious art and music throughout history is inspired by what? There’s something glorious in us. Where do our noblest inclinations come from?
To believe in God and feel His consolation is a reality beyond compare. Some say that athiesm is actually an affirmation of the existence of God. Fr. Corapi has said that the absence of God is insanity. There’s so much waiting for you. I wish you luck on your journey. p.s. - You may want to read some C. S. Lewis (“Mere Christianity”, “The Great Divorce”, “The Screwtape Letters”, and much more from this great Christian thinker…amusing and profound literature, including poetic theology).
:thumbsup: Rosalie


#13

Actually, regarding insanity, Frank Sheed makes the point which I believe that Fr. Corapi is referring to. Sanity is the perception of reality as it is. If a person sees reality as it isn’t, we say they are insane. IF God exists but someone thinks He doesn’t, they are quite literally not sane. SImilarly, if someone perceives that God exists but He does not, they are not sane.


#14

Fr. Corapi was working on the premise that God does indeed exist, and that without Him, there is insanity. It isn’t a matter of relativity. Fr. Corapi works with absolute truths.
:wink:
Rosalie


#15

I think now I realize that I made his “hostility” out to be worse than it really was, so I apologize for that.

I do believe one thing is true, we cannot be completely certain about anything we see. When it comes down to it, we make basic assumptions about the world based on what we observe to be known reality. Most would call these beliefs about the world “faith.” I do not.

At some point we need to calculate the probability of something and make a decision from there. So, beliefs ARE about “the greater evidence”

I base my beliefs upon this by holding queries against this observed reality. I trust someone or believe something baced upon past precedents, not faith.

So, believing that god does not exist isn’t faith. It is a belief baced upon greater evidence.

I will also say this, though, because it is very important in a debate of this type - we must define our terms. It is very possible that we actually agree on most, if not all, of this faith and evidence business, but we are simply arguing over semantics. I am almost certain that we denote “faith” in different ways. Obviously this would make it difficult to sort things out. My definition of faith is (a belief in spite of a complete lack of evidence or emperical support). Under this definition, I have faith in absolutely nothing. :cool:


#16

Do you believe that your going to wake up tommoro?


#17

What is your greater evidence that came into existence on its own? What is your greater evidence that everything that is, caused itself?

Remember, belief and un-belief (in God) are not opposites. They are parallels, in that they are both (partially) explanations of why things are at all, and why they are the way they are. It does no good to say, as many atheists do, “I don’t know why the world exists, but I do know it’s not because of any God.” That is clearly an illogical claim driven by emotion, not facts or truths.


#18

[quote=predator]My definition of faith is (a belief in spite of a complete lack of evidence or emperical support). Under this definition, I have faith in absolutely nothing.
[/quote]

But I say that everything I see [empirical evidence] proves the existance of God.


#19

Well as to your second point, why would you assume belief in God is a result of lack of direction and a fear of death?

It’s much more comfortable to believe that God does not exist if you have a lack of direction and a fear of death. i.e. If there is no God, there are no eternal consequences to consider in determining my actions…so…party on!

Too your 1st point, I personally came to “know” God again first through his creation. (One of those mountain top experience kinda things.) I believe that everyone can come to know “something” of God through his creation, but that’s not the “logical” point.

The “logical point” is something like this: Anything that exists must have a cause, and if you keep going back eventually you have to get to a 1st cause and that 1st cause some call God.

Some folks can (and probably soon will in this tread) put this fort as a “proof” for the existance of God.

Once you establish that there is a first cause, then you can start to establish things that “must” be true about that first cause and then eventually you end up with a list of attributes for the first cause that sound like a reasonable approximation of our Human understanding of God’s attributes.

Then at some point in the logic train folks will conclude…Therfore God Exists.

I’ve never thought that the argument “proved” their was a God. (If you could prove it, it wouldn’t require faith!)

But it certainly offers a rational reason to accept that there is a 1st cause and that the first cause “might” be a loving God that cares about his creation.

Now I’m sure some Philosophy Phd Types can jump in and explain it all much better than I have. :blush:

Chuck


#20

If you’re “tuned” to the “frequency” of the “faith” world, then you DO in fact get massive amounts of information that God exists.

The fact that you’re not tuned in to that realm is merely a statement that you aren’t, but says nothing of those who are.

The fact that a microbe can’t “see” the sun as we do, says nothing of the “validity” of our perception of the sun.

At some point we need to calculate the probability of something and make a decision from there. So, beliefs ARE about “the greater evidence”

Your dataset, which is not inclusive of the “faith” realm, won’t allow you to make any decision but that this “faith” stuff is total nonsense (un-sensed), which is perfectly reasonable…! :slight_smile:

I base my beliefs upon this by holding queries against this observed reality. I trust someone or believe something baced upon past precedents, not faith.

Your argument hinges on the word “observed”.

Since you don’t observe the appropriate data, you can’t sensibly draw any conclusions about what you don’t observe.

You can be of the “opinion” that what you don’t observe is nonexistant, but you can’t make “scientific conclusions” about that which you don’t observe, other than they aren’t observed by you.

The jump from, “I can’t see it!”, to, “It doesn’t exist!”, is a rather large one.

So, believing that god does not exist isn’t faith. It is a belief baced upon greater evidence.

No. It’s based on LACK of evidence.

I will also say this, though, because it is very important in a debate of this type - we must define our terms. It is very possible that we actually agree on most, if not all, of this faith and evidence business, but we are simply arguing over semantics. I am almost certain that we denote “faith” in different ways.

That would be correct.

Obviously this would make it difficult to sort things out. My definition of faith is (a belief in spite of a complete lack of evidence or emperical support). Under this definition, I have faith in absolutely nothing.

Faith is holding any axiomatic principle as utterly true.

You probably DO believe that you exist, which you would hold as an axiom, and therefore you actually DO have faith in something.

I hold as axiomatic that God exists, and is described accurately by the Church (Catholic) teaching authority (Magisterium).

Since we both have faith in something, we’re really not that different in HAVING faith, only in what we have faith in.

Therefore, you are inherently as “religious” as I am.

The only question is what we believe in.

You believe in a Non-God Created Universe religion.

I believe in a God Created Universe religion.

My religion says that you will be in torment as long as you hold to the “non-God”-ness of the universe, even unto after you die.

Your religion (most likely) says that we all simply cease to exist after we die, so do what you want according to whatever rules you decide are “best” for your interests and the interests of that which you care about.

If I’m wrong,… tell me how. :slight_smile:

Mahalo ke Akua…!
E pili mau na pomaikai iaoe. Aloha nui.


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