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View Poll Results: Do you believe in a Deity?

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Thread: About the existence of a Deity

  1. #1 About the existence of a Deity 
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    I want to start this topic as a discussion topic about the existence or non-existence of a Deity.

    Why should there be a God, or why shouldn't? Wich evidence points towards existence or non-existence? Does believing in God makes a person feel better? Does believing in God turn people away from logic and science?

    Personally, I believe in God, more specifically the God of the Bible. Much thinking about science, society, metaphysics and phylosophy, along with my personal experience led me to believing.

    My reasons to believe include:

    1- If there was a Big Bang, there was no time nor space prior to it. Whatever brought the Big Bang into happening mustn't be subject to time or space.
    2- All the universe is too organized. All the "pre-defined" constants in the universe, such as the charge of electron, the spin of several particles, the forces of nature (Gravity, Electromagnetism, etc), are very precise, in the sense that if they were a little different, maybe some atoms beyond Helium could never form.
    3- Life. Life is amazingly complex, so complex that I cannot conceive it happening spontaneously. Even if it did happen spontaneously, the constants of the universe couldn't have been any different, otherwise the outcome "life" couldn't be possible.
    4- Believing in God as Father and Friend gives them hope. Everyone makes mistakes in life, some, very big. Believing in God's forgiveness and love heals many emotional or traumatic wounds.
    5- The life of Jesus Christ. I have no reason to believe that the Bible is a forgery. Yes, it could have been changed in some parts and/or transation errors could occur, but I do not think that would be enough to totally change the essence of Jesus' teachings. If it is a forgery, it is an AMAAAAZING forgery IMO.
    6- My personal experience.

    These reasons are enough for me to believe in God.

    I'd like to ask to use this topic to expose opinion, not to flame or try to persuade anyone into your opinion. Thank you.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    This is a philosophical topic and not one related to the scientific study of religion directly. Moved to a more appropriate venue.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    This is a philosophical topic and not one related to the scientific study of religion directly. Moved to a more appropriate venue.
    cheers mate!
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  5. #4 Re: About the existence of a Deity 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fgil90
    These reasons are enough for me to believe in God.
    It doesent matter if we WANT to believe in a God or DONT want to believe in a God.

    Either a deity exists or it doesent.

    There is no proof that one exist.

    Therefore using any time or energy thinking about a God is wasted regadless of if it exists.

    Face it OP, you believe in a God because you WANT to believe there is a god and you are using reasoning as an excuse.
    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  6. #5 Re: About the existence of a Deity 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    would you agree that if you were unconvinced by any of the six arguments that you present that your belief in God would be either non-existent, or very tentative?

    I am a devout agnostic and a brief look at my take on your arguments may reveal why?
    Quote Originally Posted by Fgil90
    1- If there was a Big Bang, there was no time nor space prior to it. Whatever brought the Big Bang into happening mustn't be subject to time or space..
    There is nothing that presently justifies such an statement in such an absolute manner. Competing views of the beginning suffer from the fact that our current theories cannot penetrate that far, and our observational data are even more remote from the origin.

    Moreover, even if the independence of pre-Big Bang from time and space (whatever that means exactly) were real it says nothing about the existence or non-existence of a God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fgil90
    2- All the universe is too organized. All the "pre-defined" constants in the universe, such as the charge of electron, the spin of several particles, the forces of nature (Gravity, Electromagnetism, etc), are very precise, in the sense that if they were a little different, maybe some atoms beyond Helium could never form.
    I find the apparent fine tuning of the fundamental constants intriguing. I suspect that something interesting may be going on. That might include deliberate design. I believe that is an area worthy of further scientific investigation.
    However, I am also aware of the Weak Anthropic Principle and of recent work that suggests the fine tuning is not quite as fine as it seems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fgil90
    3- Life. Life is amazingly complex, so complex that I cannot conceive it happening spontaneously.
    With respect, that is just a foolish argument from incredulity. It really doesn't matter what you can conceive of, the universe will go ahead and do its own thing.
    Moreover you may have a simplistic notion of what the spontaneous emergence of life involves. The first life would have been dramatically simpler than anything that exists today. There would have been a vast amount of prebiotic chemistry going on, including perhaps the establishment of autocatylytic cycles and development of primitive 'metabolisms'.
    Life didn't emerge by a spontaneous act but by hundreds of spontaneous acts, all perhaps inevitable and each relatively simple, over many millions of years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fgil90
    Even if it did happen spontaneously, the constants of the universe couldn't have been any different, otherwise the outcome "life" couldn't be possible.
    If you are a StarTrek fan you will be familiar with the line, "It's life Jim, but not as we know it."
    I rest my case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fgil90
    4- Believing in God as Father and Friend gives them hope. Everyone makes mistakes in life, some, very big. Believing in God's forgiveness and love heals many emotional or traumatic wounds..
    Are you serious? Believing in Santa Claus made my children excited and happy at Christmas. Believing in the tooth fairy helped ease the pain of losing their milk teeth. Neither the pleasure and security they derived from these, nor the intensity of their belief made either Santa Claus or the tooth fairy real.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fgil90
    5- The life of Jesus Christ. I have no reason to believe that the Bible is a forgery. Yes, it could have been changed in some parts and/or transation errors could occur, but I do not think that would be enough to totally change the essence of Jesus' teachings. If it is a forgery, it is an AMAAAAZING forgery IMO.
    There are strong arguments against the existence of Jesus. Personally I suspect he was a historical person around whom legends grew, some of them manipulated by his disciples to meet their own agenda.

    Are the principles he supposedly espoused good ones? Yes. (But if you are such a Bible enthusisast are you also against eating shellfish and in favour of stoning adulteresses, and if not why not?) However, none of that is any way evidence for a God. You do realise, do you that the legend of the God incarnate rising from the dead predates Christianity. Just as early Christians adopted the pagan festival of Saturnalia and converted it to Christmas, it seem entirely plausibe they would have suborned the old legends about a dying God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fgil90
    6- My personal experience..
    Sorry, nothing there for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fgil90
    I'd like to ask to use this topic to expose opinion, not to flame or try to persuade anyone into your opinion. Thank you.
    None of the above is an attempt to persuade you, though I would hope you would consider the points I gave raised with a truly open mind. (Psalms 119:18)
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Dear Fgil90

    As you may notice, Skinwalker's moved your thread across to this, the philo sub-forum and I, for my sins, am one of the moderators here.

    Some comments...

    1. The poll itself seems straightforward enough, so let's see how that goes.

    2. Your reasoning, as it were, that lies behind it, is a diferent matter, so please expect large numbers of comments, and, this being the internet, not every one will necessarily match what you consider to be appropriate standards of courtesy or debate (even though us mods will do our best to excise the more extreme ones).

    3. Your reasons to believe are, of course, up for debate and I will make two broad-ish comments about those:

    a. Terminological issues

    Deity and God are not necessarily the same thing, and neither of them necessitates the Christian God. So it might be wise for you to specify what you mean by these terms or you wil have a number of disagreements on your hands.

    In addition I have a bit of a bugbear about the term "believe in". For me, it is effectively synonymous with "faith" (that which requires no evidence or reason for someone to cleave to), and is therefore different from common or garden "belief", or what I refer to, for clarity as "belief that". I could believe that the Sun is currently shining (as it is, in this part of West London right now - huzzah and hurrah for finally, it is Spring!), but that does not necessitate, or even imply, any "faith" in sunshine. A lot of people seem to confuse the two and then create arguments, based on "belief in", that they conflate with "belief that", or vice versa.

    b. Well known arguments

    This is not to denigrate you, or discredit your thoughts, but to point out that, in philosophy at least, a number of arguments have already been considered regarding the notion of the nature or existence of a deity. With regard to your points, some that spring to mind are:

    1- If there was a Big Bang, there was no time nor space prior to it. Whatever brought the Big Bang into happening mustn't be subject to time or space. One question is this: why should 'something' have 'caused' the Big Bang? Vide Hume's Problem of Induction. Second question is this: If something 'caused' the Big Bang, and was therefore 'outside' our space and time, why does that warrant talk of a Christian god? Why could it not be just another natural phenomenon?

    2. All the universe is too organized. All the "pre-defined" constants in the universe, such as the charge of electron, the spin of several particles, the forces of nature (Gravity, Electromagnetism, etc), are very precise, in the sense that if they were a little different, maybe some atoms beyond Helium could never form. Again, this is a famous philosophical issue. in the first place, it was cast as the Argument from Design and attributed mainly to the organisation of life on earth being too "perfect" to be possible without a mind driving i. AfterDarwin this idea fell into disrepute as Natural Selection shows how design can be created in a stepwise fashion. More recently, therefore, some scientists, noting these various constants, have spoken of something called the Anthropic Principle - the fact that the universe seems perfectly put together to accomodate us. But tere are tow versions of it. The first, frequently called the Weak Anthropic Principle simply points out that this is inevitable - if we exist, then it can only be because the universe is put together in such a way as to allow our existence. As we don't have other universes with which to compare this one, we have no idea whether or not this is rare or special, and cannot comment on it in that regard. The other version, the so-called Strong Anthropic Principle, insists that the universe must have been designed in such a way as to produce us, but alas, it has no further evidence or argument to add to the Weak Anthropic Principle, so is merely a statement of conviction, rather than an argument.

    3. Life. Life is amazingly complex, so complex that I cannot conceive it happening spontaneously. Even if it did happen spontaneously, the constants of the universe couldn't have been any different, otherwise the outcome "life" couldn't be possible. See my note above about the Argument from Design. For what it's worth, Hume, in his Dialogues on the Natrual Religions, pointed out the multiple flaws in this argument even before Paley actually asserted it specifically about the divine "watchmaker", and about a century before Darwin gave philosophers and scientists the mechanism by which this design could be created.

    4. Believing in God as Father and Friend gives them hope. Everyone makes mistakes in life, some, very big. Believing in God's forgiveness and love heals many emotional or traumatic wounds. It may do. For some. But it's not an argument in favour of the existence of the Christian god, just a statement about human psychology. And these days, therapy seems to work just as well for many.

    5. The life of Jesus Christ. I have no reason to believe that the Bible is a forgery. Yes, it could have been changed in some parts and/or transation errors could occur, but I do not think that would be enough to totally change the essence of Jesus' teachings. If it is a forgery, it is an AMAAAAZING forgery IMO. The Bible does not have to be a forgery (in fact, forgery is the wrong word, as it would imply some original that was copied). But the Bible does not have to be a deliberate lie either. Beowulf is not a deliberate lie, nor is Morte d'Arthur, nor the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. What they are, are compendia of myths, representing the beliefs of the people who compiled them. They represent what those people thought to be truths about their lives and their universe, but none of them makes the evidential claims of modern historians, who sift through texts and compare them with other documents, archaeological records and the like, to validate them. You may know that, the Bible apart, the only independent mention of Jesus is a short note by the Jewish historian Josephus. In addition, it is quite clear, from their composition dates, that none of the gospels can have been written directly by the eye-witnesses (the Apostles to whom they are attributed). Either they were written by others and attributed to the Apostles in question, or they were transferred, over time, by word of mouth from those Apostles until they were finally written down, over 50 years after the death of Jesus. You might wish to look it up if you don't believe me. The point is that there may or may not have existed a particular preacher, in the Levant, at that time, with whom we can identify the biblical Jesus, but the nature of his works has only the Bible for evidence, and it is unsupported by any other. To that extent, the credit we accord - to the Bible itself as evidence - will have to depend on the Bible itself. Given that Christians have for centuries struggled to reconcile the internally conflicting elements of the Bible (even the so-called synoptic Gospels do not actually agree on all details), the amount of credence we give these stories must of necessity be tempered with a little caution. It is not a cut and dried issue as your statement might make it seem.

    6. My personal experience. About this we can say little. I could claim my personal experience makes it impossible that a god exists, but we'd be fighting about opinions, rather than evidence or argument. So there is nothing really to say here.

    Welcome to the philo sub-forum, and I hope you have an enjoyable time in our company.

    cheer

    shanks
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  8. #7  
    Forum Freshman Fairy's Avatar
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    well i voted simply becasue im interested in the ratio of believers to non believers on this very forum.

    8)
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  9. #8  
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    Thank you for all the replies, all are significant.

    One of the reasons for this topic is research. I think it is interesting to know each one's opinion about existence of a Deity, especially within a science forum.

    And don't worry about contradicting my arguments, please do it! Of course, all my arguments are simplified, otherwise, the first post would be immense and boring. But I want to know if which are the possible flaws of my arguments.

    As Ophiolite said, some of my arguments doesn't necessarely justify existence of a Deity, such as the Big Bang or fine tuning of the Universe, but, if one should especulate about parallel universes or many things that are beyond experimenting and testing in science, I think I am in a confortable position to believe that an intelligent being could have created the universe, maybe through the big bang. Parallel universe or God is a matter of preference, each requires beliving in something untested (maybe untestable) by science.
    Also thanks for the insight about life. I'm not a big fan of Star Trek though, but the quote is totally valid. Maybe life forms different than those we see could exist, and life could have spontaneously formed in many ways, but that does not contradict the existence of God IMO.
    About "believing in God, makes people feel better". Of course, as you said about Santa; making kids happy doesn't mean he exists. But what I was trying to point out is that believing in God is not as harmful as many people think. Believing in God could make many people happier, or emotionally healthier even if he does not exist. I believe in God but i'm open minded. Unfortunately many people are manipulated through the power of religion, which makes them not think about their beliefs.
    But if you are such a Bible enthusisast are you also against eating shellfish and in favour of stoning adulteresses, and if not why not?
    Jesus changed the way to deal with the Law that the Hebrew people had. He taught forgiveness, so I agree with Jesus here.

    Sunshinewarrior,

    I'm sorry if somewhere of my first post i said God and Deity are the same thing.
    I made a question regarding the existence of a Deity, then i exposed my beliefs, that I believe in a Deity and more precisely in the God of the Bible.

    Sorry about the long post, hope i have clarified some things here.
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  10. #9  
    Your Mama! GiantEvil's Avatar
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    I voted "No" of course. Now onward.
    If there was a Big Bang, there was no time nor space prior to it. Whatever brought the Big Bang into happening mustn't be subject to time or space.
    Please pardon my fuzzy logic in connecting these things, but reading that I thought this. The Tibetan Buddhist's hold that, in all of examinable phenomena, there is no definable first cause. That all is dependent arising. For this philosophy, Tibetan Buddhist's consider themselves atheist's. That's right, the Dalai Lama has stated in published text's that he is an atheist! Fascinating, to me at least.
    This is a philosophical topic and not one related to the scientific study of religion directly. Moved to a more appropriate venue.
    I would say that "the scientific study of religion" is a ridiculous concept, but I'm not going to. I could cite the scientific principal of symmetry, and then say "What about the religious study of science"? Well, there's been much religious study of science. Gregor Mendel, the Vatican has an observatory, and etc... So I must say that the scientific study of religion is a brilliant idea.
    Who, in cursory examination of the concept, would consider there to be any common ground between science and religion? But they are both investigations into the nature of the cosmos, and our relation to it. There in also, how might we separate philosophy from this mix? We can not. Some of our greatest science, like relativity, was birthed in the realm of wild daydreaming. Applying the rigorous scrutiny of science to religion, and philosophy, distills from them the potential good, and guard's against their potential harm. Just as an ethical code is the only thing that stay's reckless abuse of power gained from knowledge.
    And then, when we consider that profoundest of question's, the nature of conscience. We must bring to bear all the disciplines at our disposal. Are quantum physics and cosmology not mutually interdependent? Explain biology without chemistry, I dare you to try. Explain physics without math, impossible!
    I don't mean to speak against the necessary and proper order of separating disciplines, but certainly there are conditions where any concept of separation is erroneous.

    Thank you all for your consideration of my brain spew. 8)
    I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
    Lucky me. Lucky mud.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Sophomore schiz0yd's Avatar
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    the universe is a play, and 'god' is the scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic, who are each individually unaware of who they really are simply and brilliantly for the purpose of novelty. the collective consciousness. I am a deity. So are all of you. And we are the same one. So is your sock drawer.
    I prefer to use my right brain to study the universe rather than my left brain.
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