### Author Topic: Religion Discussion  (Read 40296 times)

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#### Xeda112358

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##### Religion Discussion
« on: May 21, 2013, 09:32:56 am »
It seems that some topics get easily derailed by religion and religion is a topic that people seem to like to respond to. My idea was that  we can use this topic as a way to respond to things dealing with religion if that response would otherwise be off topic. For example, to this topic, pimathbrainiac has requested several times to get the topic back on track. So i will instead post my response here, since it is completely about religion and not focused on the topic. Feel free to comment, respond, or bring in your own conversations from other topics

As always, try to remain civil. Since this is about religion, there will likely be offensive things said, but let's try to keep as much of that out of here as possible. We have done it before, so I know it is possible.

With the argument about their being a first cause, the argument is not invalid if you look at it mathematically. In fact, it is another example of mathematical induction (which, I would like to point out is completely logically sound, unlike philosophical induction). Take the natural numbers. Every number can be represented as the number before it added to 1. For example, 924576235238 is 1+924576235237. You can keep following this chain backwards until you hit 1. 1 is the smallest natural number-- the one where all natural numbers start. It does not come from anything else. You can think of this as the first cause, where 2 comes from that, and 3 comes from that, and so on.

The actual flaw in the argument does not come from assuming an initial cause is uncaused, even though all causes cause causes. The flaw is more in assuming there even was a 'first' cause. I can believe that if there was a first cause, then you could attribute that to a God (but even then, I would not be convinced that this being is anything that would impose directly upon anything other than the most base compositions of existence). However, if there was no first cause, that is where things get more interesting. What if you could simply keep going back and there never was a first cause? The God that is presented by the first cause argument is really powerful, but not sentient, moral, or any number of things like that-- it just is and that is the extent of it. There is no pleasing or displeasing such a thing. The God presented by the no-first-causes argument is one that I might call a Being, but since I have not thought fully on this branch of the topic, I have not yet convinced myself of this.

I am more inclined to believe that there was no 'first cause.' I think this is where many people fall into a trap because most people don't have to face the concept of infinity and so they choose to interpret 'first' as something finite-- which it is. I think that the argument may have been made, keeping with the idea of numbers, as one where the events could keep extending back through 0, -1, -2,... and that the chain of events never ended. The whole chain was envisioned and employed all at once by a Being outside of the system. Even then, it is a simple matter for us to see that, if we try. Draw a line segment. There are infinitely many measures along that line segment, yet you can see the whole thing at once.

If you think, you have a mind, because that is what makes you capable of thinking.

The mind is the soul and the brain working together.

If you have a soul, your soul must have been created.

Some being made your soul, and it would have to exist in its own existence, which would make it eternal, changeless, timeless.

This being is God.

("I am who am")
Points 1 and 3 are valid, but points 2 and 5 make a definition, so if we accept that definition, it is not debatable. Point 4 is where your argument falls through. There is no support for "Some being made your soul," or that "it would have to exist in its own existence" and this does not imply that it must be "eternal, changeless, timeless."

Also, even if you don't think that argument makes sense, how would you feel if you died and found out you were wrong about yourself being in a dream? This philosophy could make facing God at your judgement rather uncomfortable...
Personally, if this happens to me, then it is as simple as that-- I would be wrong and that is the extent of it. If God is a being that requires my devotion and belief more than being a 'good' person, then I cannot respect such a god. If that god values goodness, then I can respect such a god and I would see God as a friend. Regardless of the existence of God, I try to be a good person because that matters more to me than the belief in a god. I would rather do something purely out of my own desire to be good than with the bribe of eternal contentedness or the fear of eternal damnation.

#### harold

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 09:53:24 am »
So I took a look at Romans 1:20, it says
Quote
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Which is basically says "if God made everything and stuff exists, then God has eternal power and a divine nature". Let's analyze that:
Let's use X for "god made everything", Y for "stuff exists" and Z for "god has eternal power and a divine nature". Then it translates to (X ∧ Y) → Z. Without assumptions, does this imply Z? Nope. Does it imply ¬Z? Nope.
If you assume X and Y, then Z. Z could also be true regardless, because it's not a two-way implication. Or ¬Z, because one or both assumptions could be false.
Then there's an other issue: all of this assumes the statement was true in the first place, and there's no guarantee of that. The statement isn't proven, merely stated. It makes sense though - if god created everything then it's fair to say he's divine and powerful.

So what does Romans 1:20 do? Nothing but add to the confusion, really.
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#### flyingfisch

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 09:58:13 am »
Just to clarify, it is possible to prove God exists, but it is not possible to explain how He exists.

So, St. Thomas Aquinas gave five proofs for why God exists. Just because our human minds cannot understand the existence of God does not mean he does not exist.

A rock does not comprehend the existence of living creatures, but that does not make living creatures non-existent.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 09:58:42 am by flyingfisch »

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#### pimathbrainiac

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2013, 10:00:58 am »
If God created everything, then who created God?

This thought challenges the "someone created you" part of religion, because God would then have to have been created by someone higher and mightier, and then it chains on.
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#### flyingfisch

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2013, 10:05:52 am »
If God created everything, then who created God?

This thought challenges the "someone created you" part of religion, because God would then have to have been created by someone higher and mightier, and then it chains on.

No it does not challenge anything. There cannot be an infinite chain of "makers", so at some point there needs to be a supreme "maker". Now, just because you cannot explain how He can exist does not mean He does not exist.

I would rather do something purely out of my own desire to be good than with the bribe of eternal contentedness or the fear of eternal damnation.

Your "bribe" and "fear" are only the secondary reasons to be good. The primary reason is to please God, because you owe everything to Him.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 10:08:20 am by flyingfisch »

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#### harold

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2013, 10:07:05 am »
What if God created himself? Infinite chain broken. And never mind that it doesn't make sense, making sense was never a requirement..
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#### flyingfisch

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2013, 10:09:46 am »
What if God created himself? Infinite chain broken. And never mind that it doesn't make sense, making sense was never a requirement..

What if He did? It doesn't matter. We know He exists, and we cannot know how without some sort of divine revelation.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 10:10:03 am by flyingfisch »

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#### Xeda112358

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2013, 10:11:29 am »
Just to clarify, it is possible to prove God exists, but it is not possible to explain how He exists.

So, St. Thomas Aquinas gave five proofs for why God exists. Just because our human minds cannot understand the existence of God does not mean he does not exist.

A rock does not comprehend the existence of living creatures, but that does not make living creatures non-existent.
The 'proofs' by St. Thomas Aquinas (the ones you linked to in the other topic) each make unjustified claims. While that does not mean God does not exist, it does not prove that God exists.

If God created everything, then who created God?

This thought challenges the "someone created you" part of religion, because God would then have to have been created by someone higher and mightier, and then it chains on.
Well that is only assuming that God needs to be created
No it does not challenge anything. There cannot be an infinite chain of "makers", so at some point there needs to be a supreme "maker". Now, just because you cannot explain how He can exist does not mean He does not exist.
Well, why couldn't there be an infinte chain? Is it because humans cannot grasp that?
Your "bribe" and "fear" are only the secondary reasons to be good. The primary reason is to please God, because you owe everything to Him.
My primary reason lies more in devotion to others and the future

#### Stefan Bauwens

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2013, 10:12:01 am »
If God created everything, then who created God?

This thought challenges the "someone created you" part of religion, because God would then have to have been created by someone higher and mightier, and then it chains on.
That is a question that will be hard to understand, but I believe that he was not created and was always there already. Remember, the God is not limited by time, physics and stuff.

Xeda, the Bible says that we are not justified by doing good, but by having faith.

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#### harold

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2013, 10:13:14 am »
What if God created himself? Infinite chain broken. And never mind that it doesn't make sense, making sense was never a requirement..

What if He did? It doesn't matter.
It answers how he came to be without having an infinite regress, that's the point - though it is, arguably, no better explanation than an infinite regress.
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#### Xeda112358

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2013, 10:13:53 am »
Xeda, the Bible says that we are not justified by doing good, but by having faith.
Okay, that clarifies it for me more, thanks!

#### aeTIos

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2013, 10:45:04 am »
I'd like to throw in that it's not possible to prove something that's purely a matter of faith, such as the existance of God and evolution. I can't think up an explanation for this... you just have to believe me (/pun)

And yes, I think that evolution also is something you have to believe in.
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#### shmibs

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2013, 11:13:13 am »
* shmibs actually agrees

everything is, to some extent, something that has to be believed in. knowing your surroundings requires that you first have faith in the trustworthiness of your senses, knowing mathematical theorems to be correct requires first that you have faith in the work of those who have proven them (or, in the case where you have proven all the necessary prerequisites for some conclusion, faith in yourself ). for humans, then, "truth" is not an absolute, but rather a degree of certainty.

also, as per the rules, this topic will be watched. feel free to speak your minds, but don't let it turn into a flame war, please.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 11:14:01 am by shmibs »

#### aeTIos

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2013, 11:16:36 am »
Brings up the problem that in many religions there's a book that they believe is the truth...
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#### squidgetx

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##### Re: Religion Discussion
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2013, 12:24:17 pm »
* shmibs actually agrees

everything is, to some extent, something that has to be believed in. knowing your surroundings requires that you first have faith in the trustworthiness of your senses, knowing mathematical theorems to be correct requires first that you have faith in the work of those who have proven them (or, in the case where you have proven all the necessary prerequisites for some conclusion, faith in yourself ). for humans, then, "truth" is not an absolute, but rather a degree of certainty.

also, as per the rules, this topic will be watched. feel free to speak your minds, but don't let it turn into a flame war, please.

I don't think you can really compare faith in observation and maths with faith in a supreme being...

I agree with your point about truth really being more about a degree of certainty; but with maths you can go and redo all the work before to confirm its validity and with your senses you can confirm their consistency (eg red things are always red no matter who you ask; even if you don't know if your red is the same as other people's red, it's still a constant "fact" that this color is named red)

I cant think of a single way to increase the degree of certainty about the existence of a supreme being