Theism is Rational; Christianity is Not


#1

It is very likely that God, a single being, exists, where God is defined as that which cannot be perceived, and from this definition and certain assumptions has the characteristics of being the best thing, thought thinking itself. “God is in a better state. And life also belongs to God; for the actuality of thought is life, and God is that actuality; and God’s self-dependent actuality is life most good and eternal. We say therefore that God is a living being, eternal, most good, so that life and duration continuous and eternal belong to God; for this is God.” (Aristotle, Metaphysics Lambda, Trans. Ross)

God, defined in this manner, can be defended, and this God I accept. But the Christian God I cannot. God had no son, no mother, does not write books, and indeed has no power to move things, but moves all things only by attraction.

Omnipotence is all-power, infinite potential, the ability to do and be anything. Only nothing is omnipotent. God has no potential, for anything that God could do God does.


#2

Do you hold to the eternity of the world?

-Rob

P.S. I loved your Ethics.


#3

The god of Aristotle’s construction may have some attractive intellectual attributes. However, it has no basis in history.

God, on the other hand, and His Son in particular, do. God’s Son, while on earth, was counted in a Roman census.

Blessings,

Gerry


#4

CHAPTER TWO
GOD COMES TO MEET MAN
50 By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation.1 Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.


#5

Yes, I do hold to the eternity of the world.

P.S. I loved your Ethics.

LOL!

I do use this name unworthily.


#6

I do not understand. If God, as has been above posited, exists, then It would be the author of all history, for all thiings would find their motion and being in God.

Could you explain what you mean, and (to risk sounding rude) why people should care?


#7

At this time I find such faith absurd, as well as divine revelation.


#8

Thanks. You can always count on someone named, ‘aristotle’ for answers to your questions! I’m going to try to make this eventually get on to topic, so bear with me.

Have you read the commentaries of Rabbi Moses Maimonides and Thomas Aquinas regarding whether or not we can say, with reason, that the universe is eternal?

LOL!

I do use this name unworthily.

:slight_smile:

I’m reading your Physics now, really excellent work.

-Rob


#9

Not the rabbi, but Aquinas, yes. I have read his commentary on Metaphysics, specifically Metaphysics Lambda, but he misunderstands Aristotle’s proof, not due to a failing in his intellect (perish the thought, for as I believe Aquinas to be a bafoon to Aristotle, I am a bafoon to Aquinas), but rather due to a poor latin translation of the greek.

Aidos is not very well understood, (sometimes rendered “eternal” in the Greek), and is often posited to mean “everlasting”. “Timeless” is a better understanding, as infinities, to Aristotle, are only potentially so, and not actually so, and God being everlasting in that sense would be an abomination to Its nature. It would mean that something within God’s nature were not actual, and so God would not be the best thing, but would be much like any other thing.


#10

Aristoteles, my son, welcome to the fora. Zeno sends his regards. Thales is around here causing trouble, as usual.

You Catholics be nice to Aristoteles. He was one of my best students.:smiley:

Remember, agape is the true theoria; and gnosis, the true theosis.


#11

\

Fair enough. Criticism of Catholicism is fair game, but let’s make sure you actually know the facts of that which you are criticizing. Ask away!


#12

I grew up in a Jewish family. I know very little about Catholicism. I don’t think I want to be one, but I am willing to explore.

I don’t like that they use the title “Roman”. I consider the Roman government, especially during the time Jesus lived, to be one of the most barbaric and disgusting and oppressive societies imaginable. They slaughtered Greeks, Christians, Jews.

This, and the Crusades, and the Inquisitions, worry me. But one cannot judge a culture or a belief based on its followers. Still, it does give a prima facia starting place.


#13

Indeed, and you’ll have to forgive me, because my learning compared to any of the above makes me quite the baffoon, I assure you.

I was referring specifically to where Moses Maimonides in his Guide to the Perplexed, book II, from about ch. 13 onwards, and Thomas Aquinas in the Summa both argue that, based on reason one cannot conclude the eternity of the world.

Aidos is not very well understood, (sometimes rendered “eternal” in the Greek), and is often posited to mean “everlasting”. “Timeless” is a better understanding, as infinities, to Aristotle, are only potentially so, and not actually so, and God being everlasting in that sense would be an abomination to Its nature. It would mean that something within God’s nature were not actual, and so God would not be the best thing, but would be much like any other thing.

From what I’ve read of Aristotle, I read him to be saying that actual infinites, when it comes to physical things, cannot be. I know he treats the issue of whether an actually infinite body can exist in the Physics, book III, ch. 5, and he concludes no. And yes, I would agree that his thought is that infinites are potentially so and not actually so. But, he seems to be referring to sensible bodies. But from his argument in Physics, I didn’t glean anything about an infinite spirit.

But, I would say this, what you seem to be saying about the infinite would be something Thomas would find an abomination as well. Thomas is the guy who said God was pure act. :wink: If God was everlasting in the sense that He still had to come to be in the future… that would be… not good. :slight_smile: God is outside of time, in our conception.

I’m trying to think of where to take this discussion, and I’m just trying to make some dialogue to find an opening for discussion about the subject of this topic. puts thinking cap on

-Rob

P.S. After reading Plato’s Parmenides it was a real treat to hear your quick handling of those theories (in Physics). :slight_smile: Aargh, if I have to hear one more time, “If One is…” :slight_smile:


#14

Aristotle,

If you are wrong you will burn in hell forever. Is it really worth the risk? Look at all the miracles and amazing signs of the Church.


#15

Forgive me, I did not communicate clearly. Aquinas definitly has no problem with actual infinities (at least in that they apply to God by analogy, and not univocally), and this is the problem I have with Aquinas. More to the point, the problem I have with Aquinas, is he had read Aristotle as supporting actual infinities as well, as they concerned eternal things (like God and planets).

My hopes in starting this discussion was in reading this forum, and noting that the atheists on here, few are they are, do not understand God’s proof as Aristotle (and even Aquinas) would have it. So they do not accept God, and irrationally so.

Also, I hoped to learn more about the Catholic Church. I should probably make a post in the “Apologetics” forum to address this.

Thank you for the (so far) very interesting and exciting conversation.

P.S. After reading Plato’s Parmenides it was a real treat to hear your quick handling of those theories (in Physics). :slight_smile: Aargh, if I have to hear one more time, “If One is…” :slight_smile:

He he.

Plato is interesting. I just can’t understand what he’s really trying to say. I’m much too “down-to-earth”.


#16

Or, possibly, if I am wrong and you are wrong, I will be in heaven, and you will burn in hell for all eternity.

Maybe there is a powerful being who controls our afterlife, who is cruel, and so formed the Catholic Church as a trick, putting all Catholics in hell, and everyone else in heaven.

I consider that just as likely as a Christian god.


#17

Pascal’s wager always wins in these battles “aristotle”. If your theory of God putting all Catholics in hell is right, then the God of this universe is irrational and a liar. But if he is rational, then he will do what He says, and put all NONCATHOLICS in hell forever. God doesn’t have to prove to you his religion scientifically or beyond all doubt. All he has to do is give you a warning about hell so that in conscience you become MORALLY directed to choose the true faith.

Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.


#18

Second things first, if God is God, you’d better care!

First, a little matter of etiquette. God is not an “it” for the people in these parts, any more than their wives, husbands, and children are “its.” If you don’t spit in our faces, we won’t spit back.

Now, as to the assertion: God has revealed himself in his creation, but he is separate and distinct from it, and sovereign over it. You claim to espouse theism, yet you come very close to presenting a pantheistic, or at least panentheistic, god that is not thusly separate and distinct from his creation.

Blessings,

Gerry


#19

For everyone:

I refer to God as “It”, not out of any disrespect, but because I find “Him” to be chauvanistic.

If people find this disrespectful, I will refer to God as a “She”.

But I will not refer to God as a male (save accidentally) because God has no penis.


#20

Maybe then you can explain these terms to me, :theism", “pantheism”, “panenthism”, by applying them to my specific beliefs.

I do not believe that the Universe was created, but rather I hold that the universe is eternal, and that God exists as a part of it, in a similar way as you or I do.

God simply attracted all things that do anything to exist, and to do what they do.

What would that make me?


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