Philosophical Discussion Thread (Stream of Consciousness #2)

anarchist's picture

After some more philosophical contemplation on my understanding and beliefs of the universe (which I like to add to regularly), I have come to an interesting conclusion on the workings of the universe. I thought a bit about atheism vs. theism and the existence of a creating (or at least influential)entity, and I realized that there is no logical reason to believe that a god does not exist.

Firstly, there is the logical contradiction of omnipotence that many people point out, which is the question of whether or not a god would be able to create a boulder so large that even he himself couldn't lift it. Obviously this one would be irrelevant in the case of an omnipotent, omnipresent being, because such a being could manifest itself in any form with any strength. Therefore, it could very simply create any boulder and manifest itself as a being which does not have enough strength to lift it. If it counts as still possible, because the god could change the strength of its given manifestation, as well as the gravity controling the rock, the question is still irrelevant because any form that the being could possess would only be a lifeless puppet conjured and controlled by the deity, not an autonomous creature in itself. A boulder cannot be compared to the strength of a possible omnipotent entity, because said entity has no physical strength.

There's also the argument of evolution being a direct disproof of a creator. This can't be rationally disproven, there's more than enough evidence to know this, but that does not mean it conflicts with the existence of a god. Natural selection could be intentional; certain organisms could be designed to fail, so the species could adapt, in a way that fits the logic that exists within the universe. And evolution would exist because either parts of the universe would be left alone (or made to seem like it is), which would make some parts change, and the species must change with that, and with the evolution of other species.

I could think of more points to argue here, but this is meant to be more of a discussion than anything. What are your thoughts? I know we have both theists and atheists here (as well as agnostics, I believe), so let's see what happens in the comments.

(Also, I am not commiting to the idea of logical theism; I am simply interested in how this discussion will turn out. Don't pay attention to these questions if you would rather focus on the larger issue of theism vs. atheism. Another note is that I am not an expert on philosophy. These are simply the most recent conclusions I've come to on my own thinking. I know some people here are more educated on the issue, and have read many books on the philosphy of atheism, so don't take this as what I believe to be the truth.)

I'll go ahead and throw out some hypothetical questions you could start with, if you want, asside from, of course, the question of whether or not theism is logically possible. I'm going to ignore the idea or solipsism here.

Would a god have to follow the logic it created? Did it create the logic and ban himself from ever breaking it?

Would it have to, or be uncontrollably compelled to, constantly control everything that exists, or could it let things go to work by themselves?

Assuming the muliple universe theory is true, would this being have power over other universes, or would its power be confined to this one? (This is sort of an extention of the second question.) If it isn't fully omnipotent, would it still be considered a god, or just a very strong influence?

Would a deity be a conscious being, a complex invisible cognition, or would it be an unconscious, passive force of unstopping creation existing outside the universe, as Lao-tzu suggested?

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Remember: keep an open mind. Be willing to accept, or at least recognize any valid, justified argument, and do not attack any belief. This is meant to be a friendly philosophical discussion, not an argument. If you are very attached to and emotional about your personal beliefs, it is probably best not to join in.

radiosilence95's picture

Well, there are plenty of

Well, there are plenty of logical reasons to deny the existence of any gods. You really should read Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion because it's a great book. It proposes several hypotheses to explain how the earth was created, one of the cooler ones being that the chemicals expelled from the trillions of stars in our galaxy slowly created earth over the course of billions and billions of years.

Your question of the omnipotence of any gods is interesting, but it doesn't really warrant an answer for me, since the idea that an intangible entity decided to create us is...really too improbable to consider, in my opinion. There's also the major issue of infinite regress: who created the gods? How did they come into being? Something cannot be created from nothing. It's a scientific principle.

Your hypothetical questions are also interesting. The second question you threw out, I think, is what a lot of theists argue about: is God influential, or does he allow the earth to simply do its thing? Voltaire's idea of God was the latter, and if I did believe in God, I would have to agree with Voltaire. The idea that God can control every aspect of every person's life when there are so many people on earth, plus controlling nature, plus the entirety of the universe, seems too impossible, even if we go with the notion that God's power is "unlimited." Plus I would think that even a god as controlling and demanding and harsh as the Christian God would leave a little wiggle room for humanity's free will.

The closest thing to God that I pay attention to is nature. I felt something spiritual when I was in Colorado, for example, surrounded by nothing but pure, untainted nature. And I think there is a spirituality that comes with nature, or maybe there really is this Buddhist idea of interconnectedness: everything in the world is connected. I like contemplating a lot of the spiritual stuff, not the religious, which involves the influence of an actual deity.

anarchist's picture

Well the creation of Earth has nothing to do with theism.

But yeah, the reason why a universe would be created by such a being is where I can't think of anything.

But I think the infinite regress is kind of irrelevant, since it's impossible for anything to exist without an infinite regress. Existence itself is an infinite regress. Lao-tzu, who was a very, very smart person, had a kind of god with limited power which manifested itself in nonexistence, but constantly created existence at all times, and was omnipresent throughout the whole cosmos, as a balance to it. He called this the Tao, and believed that everything is a manifestation of it, and will return to the same force at death, and will again manifest ourselves in everything.

He sort of had a form of reincarnation that's more like your natural interconnectedness thing. We are all the Tao and we will live forever as one being that creates and is part of all matter and energy. So that's a philosophy I'm very fond of. This idea I wrote about in the journal is sort of an expansion of that into "what if there was something like the Tao, except it could actually control that which it was manifesting itself as".

That's what my concept of a god is, basically. I've wanted to do some research on theistic religions to see if any other ones had a similar idea of a deity.

anarchist's picture

Also, on the point of polytheism and animism:

I don't think this is possible. More than one omnipotent being would not work. They would have to restrict each other's powers simply by existing, and that would just make logic explode.

jeff's picture

I think...

The burden of proof in cases like this would fall to believers. Atheists have no reason to prove something doesn't exist to make their case stronger.

Evolution doesn't directly disprove a creator, since that isn't its goal. And many religious people can make these two things co-exist without any problem (of course, once you're OK with talking snaked, killing your kids, and living inside of whales, you've really shown your malleability in the face of logic).

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"I am living this life as lovingly as I can be as flawed as I am." - Brandon Lacy Campos

anarchist's picture

Well I wasn't talking about Abrahamic religions.

Just a general god. I refuse to disbelieve in something without proof that it doesn't exist. I can't rationally believe in it either without proof. For now I'm a Taoist. I do believe in a sort of a god, but I can't be sure whether it's an actual deity or just an invisible abstract force that balances the existent universe that it maifests itself in.

Bosemaster42's picture

Perhaps,

You might find this an interesting read( I thought it was interesting, but left me with more questions than answers) ' On the Origin of the World ', search google for the Nag Hammadi library. It's essentially a large amount of scriptures found in a cave in Egypt. This particular document was describing the origin of God( Or at least what is perceived to be God) and the hierarchy of Heaven itself. There are omissions in the translation and some missing lines. I didn't feel it proved anything, but it was interesting to read.

elph's picture

Maybe there would be a more productive starting premise?

In the first paragraph of your (quite interesting) musings:

"...I realized that there is no logical reason to believe that a god does not exist."

Wouldn't it be more productive to start by stating the reasons you feel a god (or a hierarchy of omnipotent deities) is needed?

Then... we'll see if there exists "logic" that would undermine the need for such belief...

Ponder this: Doesn't that belief (quoted above) also imply that there is no logical reason to suppose that anything you can imagine can also not exist... some time... some place?

Also... you've expressed the premise as a double negative. Would you stand by the assertion if both the "no" and the "not" were removed?

anarchist's picture

There is no reason to believe anything I can imagine can't exist

as long as it's realistic and a counterexample hasn't been asserted. However, that's what philosophical theories are based on. No philosophical ideas at all would exist with the question you've asked. So the real question is why haven't you felt the need to ask this on my many journals about nihilism and solipsism?

And there is sort of reason to believe in a binding force, by default. There is no possible explanation of where life comes from an goes, what is outide the universe, and where energy originally comes from without one, so that's already more reason to assume it's at least probable than some other philosophies I've written about on here. The question of whether or not it would be conscious or powerful is the much more ambiguous one.

Then there's the quesiton of whether or not a passive, unconscious force like this could even be called a deity.