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Does God Exist?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by BrandenTownsend, May 1, 2004.

  1. dudley thoth

    dudley thoth Member

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    To Master Virgil 8)

    I do not believe God is an essence.

    I don't really need to answer this one, but I wouldn't object to the notion that God has physicality.

    Evil was simultaneously counteracted by the supreme good. In eternity, the beginning and the end are one. It is by the grace of God that the wheel of temporality is slow turning:

    The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 N.I.V

    To be fair, I said the opposite of this.

    Difference of opinion is the cause of objectivity only in so far as different people perceive the universe in different ways. I think we can both agree on this.

    Right, the truth is objective.

    Indeed they do, and they are moral/ethical ones (see above)

    This is a fair point. However, it is one that has already been made. (see above)

    Yet, it would not be impossible for an intelligent God to reveal the truth, would it?

    I feel this has already been covered.

    C.S Lewis makes a fair case that the universal way is a ethical/moral one, and so I feel He uses the term fairly. The Dao can also be compared with other cosmic orders that uphold moral principles.

    The universe and the order which sustains it is not subjective. As you now say. Our individual or collective perceptions do not dictate reality.

    The Confucian way of life can only be practised within one type of society, and it assumes that the natural world is a reflection of that society. All that happens on earth is due to the 'decree of heaven'. and all things have regular courses to follow, the 'way of heaven'-the succession of day and night, the sequence of the four seasons, the harmonious conduct of father and son, rular and minister, husband and wife, elder and younger, friend and friend. All under heaven (the world, that is China) is under the Emporor, the 'Son of heaven', who owes his power to the 'decree of heaven'. Within this all-embracing harmony the moral power of the Emperor and his conduct of ritual have immediate, magical effects on the natural and social order. (The Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Living Faiths, 1959/2001, p.360)

    Early Confucian thought (was)...an intuitive process of responding with one's 'te' (moral power, derived from heaven) and harmonising one's actions with it. ('Making Moral Decisions' Holm. J 'ed', 2001, p.170)

    The five notes of the Chinese pentatonic scale are associated with the harmony of the five elements and the five planets.... The five social duties...associated with the pentatonic scale are the "five activities of high importance under heaven" announced in the Confucian Doctrine of the Mean. They are, namely, "the obligations between prince and minister; between father and son; between husband and wife; between elder and younger brothers; and between friends. Those" we read, "are the five obligations that have great effects under heaven." "Tuned to tone of Heaven and Earth," we learn from another text of the second century B.C., "the vital spirits of men express all the tremors of Heaven and Earth, and Man does not come from a physical union, from a direct action; it comes from a tuning on the same note producing vibrations in unison....In the Universe there is no hazard, there is no spontineity; all is influence and harmony, accord answering accord." ('Primitive Mythology' Campbell. J, 1969/2000, p.453-4)

    For sure, Confucious' ideas were developed to work within a specific society. A society, furthermore that was believed to be the one true copy or reflection of the objective universal order.

    I'm sorry that I haven't responded to all you have said in your last post. I'm tired, so I'm off to bed. 8)

    God Bless.
     
  2. Alaric

    Alaric Active Member

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    Actually Spink, there is no empty vacuum beyond the galaxies - the universe is ALL. There is no origo from where all galaxies are speeding away from, and there is no 'edge' of space - all galaxies are speeding away from earth in the same way in all directions (the further away they are, the faster they are going, but it's not like the Milky Way and all galaxies around us are flying away from the place of the Big Bang, because there was no place - the Big Bang was everywhere), and if you travelled in one direction for long enough, you would end back where you started. There is no empty vacuum at all, as far as I understand it. Weird, yes, but that's the way the astronomers explain it.

    I agree with Thrasymachus about certain concepts being meaningless. I don't think people have clear ideas of God either - usually when they think it makes sense, they just haven't noticed the contradictions or circular reasoning or absurdity or meaningless of the things they claim to 'know'.
     
  3. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    And Alaric, all those things that make up our idea of god exist outside of us. Things we sense and see. It is impossible to imagine something that has no bit of it in reality.

    And thrasymachus, if you cannot concieve of infinity, how is that you are able to discuss about it. Something infinite may or may not exist, but, the idea of it still does. And again, it is impossible for the human mind to conceive of something that does not have atleast in part objective reality. Anything you make up has its roots in your perception of something. And of course if mathematics does not refer to reality than it is pointless. How so then can mathematics include the idea of infinity if it does not refer to something in reality? And i disagree about mathematics making reality abstract. If anything it takes out all abstractness from it. If you have 2 things, and you add one more, you end up with 3. That is not debateable. This is not abstract, it is fact. And we define almost anything with negation. How would define light, the opposite of dark. Black, the the presence of all colors, white, the absence of all colors. The thing is, these opposites exist in nature. Now we define infinite as the opposite of finite, yet we cannot find anything in nature infinite. Yet we can define it as so it does. So where does it exist?

    Now, of course you will never find a perfect triangle or circle, actually you will never find a triangle or circle as themselves. You will only find objects in the shape of them. Yet we know that a perfect triangle's angles add up to 180 degrees do we not? The existence of infinity is such like the existence of a triangle. We all know what a triangle is, we can concieve of it, we can make things look like it. Yet we cannot produce a "triangle" in nature. Infinity is like this, we all know what infinity is, <-2,-1,0,1,2> and so on, and we can conceive of it. Or else we wouldn't be able to discuss it. Yet you cannot produce something infinite in nature. Yet, the idea is still there. So now we must ask, where did the idea come from?
     
  4. Thrasymachus

    Thrasymachus Member

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    Once again, there is absolutely no idea of the nature of God, for all theists alike would agree that their God is incomprehensible. The only thing that theists, of all varieties of sects and beliefs, are able to positively assert, however not able prove nor substantiate with any amount of evidence, is that this God entity created the universe, and that it is therefore finite, according to their beliefs. We shall leave aside the absurdity of such a notion for now. What remains important, within this particular debate, is that this assertion is the only affirmative statement that any theologian can say about God; all other statements are statements of negating what God is, of course. . . .

    Secondly, I agree. It is impossible to imagine something that does not relate to our sensory experience. This elucidates why no one can perceive, within their minds, of significant figures such as triangularity, rectangularity, and so forth. Accordingly, mathematics is not inherent within nature. Mathematics and logic are our way of abstracting, limiting, and approximating what we see, in order to compare, contrast, condemn, and justify our immediate reality. It is the way in which our minds function, by abstracting what we experience in order to communicate through language, namely, verbal and mathematical language.

    Correspondingly, it is with mathematics that we create an intellectual map of reality, which is so abstract that the links between the mathematical symbols and our sensory experience become tenuous and no longer apparent. Here is a fine example of how mathematics abstracts reality; One mathematical equation can be clarified by describing it with three or more pages worth of verbal interpretations. The abstraction is quite apparent. . . .

    One last thing--THINK, my fellow philosopher!
     
  5. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    It is true, being a taoist, i would in turn say that the Eternal Tao is unknowable. That is an idea of Tao, unknowable, incomprehensible, perfect, infinite, eternal. Those are all ideas of the Tao. However we sure can know about infinity and eternal, but we do not necessarily understand it. It is like an animal who hears and sees and smells an engine. The animal knows that the engine exists, but does not understand how or why it works. We are like that. We can sense the idea of infinity and an eternal essence. Yet we do not fully understand it. I have met a few zen monks who I believe undrestand it very much. They are an amazing delight to listen to, and even be in company with.

    However, I still do not see mathematics as abstract, if anything it is the opposite. It makes everything simpler. It sums up those 3 or more pages of verbal interpretation in one simple equation. It makes, especially in physics, complex things in nature simple and easier to understand. And shapes are inherent in nature. Mathematics helps us understand the world and how it works, just like science, thats all. But do you believe infinity exists? I can think of one thing that is infinite... change. Change never ceases to exist, always has, and always will. But what causes change, this I call Tao.
     
  6. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    "Mathematics and logic are our way of abstracting, limiting, and approximating what we see, in order to compare, contrast, condemn, and justify our immediate reality. It is the way in which our minds function, by abstracting what we experience in order to communicate through language, namely, verbal and mathematical language."

    So, does this negate the fact that we can clearly conceive of infinity and eternity? And if these ways are unfit to communicate with, how do you communicate? And how else are we going to understand the world around us?

    Lastly I would like to say, I can conceive of the idea of infinity and eternity quite well. Whether you can or not I am not sure. But I believe you can, yet you seem so determined to destroy the idea of these ideas yet you define them and clearly understand them as you try to discredit them. Remember, what humans do is inconceivable, incomprehendable, inknowing to insects and such. Yet that does not change the fact that we do what we do. It is not impossible for a higher form of existence whether essence or energy, to follow suit. And again, Think, and you will think of infinity and eternity, and you will conceive of them. Whether you know where they came from or not, they are there.
     
  7. Thrasymachus

    Thrasymachus Member

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    Transcendental philosophy, such as Taoism, holds the notion that the ultimate reality is fundamentally unknowable. Since it is that we, as physical organisms, have limited sense organs, we therefore have limited perceptions of reality as well, making the ultimate, sub-atomic reality forever obscured to our eyes...

    However, that is not to say that the 'Tao' is perfect, but rather it is simply too small to be known to us. Correspondingly, we experience the ultimate reality indirectly, as opposed to our direct experience of reality, which is perceived in the everyday world.

    Now in regards to Infinity; we are aware of it's existence, however we cannot understand it, since we think of all things causally and in respect to time. Accordingly, we are not able to conceive of infinity, irrespective of whether it is spatial or temporal, however we are able to approximate it by refering to it within mathematical theorems and so forth. For instance, I may say that a particular function continues in an infinite regression towards the right. You would be aware that the given function is infinite, however you would not be able to conceive of it being infinite, that is, you could never understand it.

    Theoretically, I can do the same with the universe. I can say that the Universe is infinite, yet I would not be able to understand how and why. . . . Although, at least there is something to be known about it, as opposed to the notion of God, of which there is nothing to be known.


    Once again, you are making the same mistakes in your reasoning. The ultimate reality does consist of shapes, however not the significant ones that are found within mathematics. Accordingly, mathematics abstracts reality by using universals (You know, numbers and geometrical shapes) to describe particulars ( You know, all of the unique objects within reality). By doing this, mathematics creates an intellectual map of reality used in order to describe reality, by approximating it. The key word in the prior statement is the term 'map', for by mapping reality, the map becomes necessarily approximate, and all language is fundamentally approximate, regardless of whether it be verbal or mathematical. Just the same, all philosophy is necessarily linguistical, for by reasoning we use language.

    You're a Taoist you say. If this is true, then you should know that since the ultimate reality is fundamentally paradoxical and irregular, you could never objectively compare and contrast anything, since all things are different. This is where logic and the human Intellect come in, for by intellection, we abstract and approximate reality so that we can compare and contrast. . . .

    The Key Principle is that by abstracting and approximating reality, you wander farther and farther from reality, to the point where you are within a geometrical vacuum; pure and absolute illusion!
     
  8. Alaric

    Alaric Active Member

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    No - and this is exactly the problem! The animal does NOT know that an engine exists, only that there is some dark lumpy thing over there that sounds and smells seem to be coming from. It doesn't know where the engine begins and ends, what it does, how it works, or why it's there, and it can't even be sure that the sight, smells and sounds correspond to the same thing. Likewise, what you think you sense, be it the Tao or people's souls or whatever, could be a million other things, but you've just decided to leap to unjustifiable conclusions.
     
  9. Thrasymachus

    Thrasymachus Member

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    That was very well said, as it was succinct and insightful!
     
  10. Mr Spinkles

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    Good point, Alaric. Great discussion, all--keep it up!
     
  11. dudley thoth

    dudley thoth Member

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    To Mr_Spinkles :hi:

    If you were able to provide ONE example of an ORDERLY society of human beings that believe it is right to go around lying, stealing and killing one another, I wouldn't need to prove the obvious point that such a society cannot exist.

    I believe I covered subjective ethical thought. If you believe my argument to be illogical then dismantle it.

    C.S Lewis argument is logical. If you believe it to be "pure wishful thinking" then demonstrate it. The exambles you gave are inadequate. If we were to look at them properly we would discover that they strengthen, rather than weaken, my case. 8)
     
  12. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    First off, the Tao is both unknowable and knowable. Part of it is knowable, the rest is unkowable. This is the totality found within the Tao. And why would the Tao be too small to be known to us, wouldn't it be too big? The small things are easier to understand. You have said that you are aware of the existence of infinity. Yet you keep saying that it can not exist with the notion of god or tao. Why can it not? You put it with the notion of the universe being infinite, what is the difference?

    And I understand that perfect triangles to not exist, yet that does not defeat the idea that a perfect triangle is perfect. And can be conceived as such. And that one can be perfect, whether or not we can find one in nature or not. And again, change is infinite, that is something in nature. Therefore I can conceive of infinity.

    And alaric, so you are saying that what the animal perceives is not an engine? The point I was trying to make is that We know and understand that it is an engine. But an animal can still sense, but it is unknowable to them. Does that negate the fact that the engine exists?
     
  13. Thrasymachus

    Thrasymachus Member

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    I'm actually enjoying tearing apart your fallacious assertions piece by piece, statement by statement!

    The 'Tao', that is, the Ultimate, Sub-Atomic Reality is fundamentally unknowable to us. We cannot conceive of it because reality at this level seems to be paradoxical, however we experience it indirectly with our ordinary perception. For instance, take a fine look at the dual nature of electromagnetic radiation, which is understood to be light. It exists both as wave interference and as a collection of particles, which is contradictory from a macroscopic-perspective. . . .

    As we penetrate deeper and deeper into the ultimate reality, we realize more and more that our ordinary concepts cannot be used in order to understand reality at this level, making the 'Tao', as you call it, inconceivable to us. This is the central problem with quantum physics. . . .

    Logic deals with reality from an ordinary perspective. It cannot be used to analyze reality on a sub-atomic perspective because reality at this level is, once again, seen to be illogical.

    On a seperate note, the presence of infinity is known, however not understood. If the universe is infinite, no finite creature could understand how or why. This is why infinity is an inconceivable concept, consisting entirely of negations.

    A 'perfect' triangle is also inconceivable because you cannot conceive of anything perfect. There is no getting past this. Perfection, like infinity, is a complete negation of that which is known to us, namely, reality.

    If change is infinite, then logically you must believe that the universe is infinite, for the universe changes displacement with each passing moment, thus diminishing the notion of a finite universe. . . .
     
  14. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    ***MOD POST***

    There's no need for statements like this. Let's keep it civil and stick to your arguments please. There is no reason to make it personal.

    Thank you.
     
  15. Alaric

    Alaric Active Member

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    You said "The animal knows that the engine exists," but it doesn't. Say there's a cat sitting on a roof looking down on someone working on a car's engine in their driveway. It doesn't see (or hear or smell) a 'man' bent over a 'car' 'fixing' an 'engine', it sees a creature like the one that feeds it near a thing (the car). If it has seen a car moving, then it might see the car as separate from its surroundings, but certainly not the engine. The smell might eventually become associated with the open bonnet of the car, but just as easily with the guy's overalls, or tools. The sound only occurs when there is someone near or inside the car, so the sounds could come from them.

    So when you claim to sense something, you're associating sensations to things that might or might not correspond to the same thing. Your sensing of the Tao might just be an allergic reaction to something, for all we know. Same with soul-sniffing. Describe what you feel, in what circumstances, then we'll see if we connect the dots in the same way and come to the same conclusions.
     
  16. Thrasymachus

    Thrasymachus Member

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    I disagree. This forum has personal written all over it, especially considering the circumstances. If by now he has not realized his absudity, it should be elucidated to him directly. I'm quick to tell anyone if he or she is being ridiculous. How long must one continue to destroy the same fallacious assertions without becomming bored? Someone has to end the circus eventually. Too much patience is a horrid thing. . . .
     
  17. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    The only point I was ever trying to make, and if I strayed a bit I apologize, was that we do know that infinity exists. Whether or not we understand it fuly. Somethings are not meant to be understood, or are not able to be, yes this is true. Yet it does exist. Another great part about taoism is that you can begin to understand the nonunderstandable by recognizing the simple fact that it is not understandable. That is the first step. Then once you get past the idea of understand, and know, and conceive, and all other words, you come to a place where all things make sense. This is when you come to know the Tao. Not by studying quantum physics. The Tao is not the same as god. One can find Tao and Zen even, within simplicity. And can find Tao within anything. Tao or Zen painting, archery, martial arts, poetry, meditation, walking, reading, anything. It is not a matter of concieving anything, it is a matter of living. And you say that the universe is infinite because it changes, no because it is the object of change not change itself. Change itself is infinite, change is the Tao. All things were thus caused by the Tao and change.

    Alaric, I understand what you are trying to say, but lets look at it this way. An animal sees and smells and hears the car. Whether or not it knows its a car, or how it works, it is still a car yes? They may not associate with the same idea that we have, yet it still is a car. We know it to be so. Therefore, when we sense what we associate as infinity, or eternity, or perfection, or tao... we may not be associating it with the right things, yet there is something that creates those ideas. Humans are able to (I suspect) better undderstand our associations than an animal. Therefore when we associate the idea of infinity with something, we understand that we are associating with something that has no end. Or something perfect with something that has no flaws. Even though we can not fully understand them, we are still able to conceive of the idea.
     
  18. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    Let me try to make things clear so we understand each other better.

    1. We know infinity exists even though we cannot understand it. With this I agree.

    2. We cannot understand or even comprehend fully what god is, This too I agree with. This is why I do not believe in god, I believe in the Tao. Which is different.

    3. The universe is infinite, I do not agree with this, for it includes physical properties which I believe had to have come from something, and I believe that something is change.

    4. I do not believe we can have infinite regress, therfore I believe that everything came from one eternal thing. I call this Tao.

    5. We will never understand the complexity of the universe and the Tao fully, therefore we must understand the simple parts. Once you understand the simple parts, the complex parts become simpler.

    6. And finally, yes, I agree that we will never be able to fully conceive of things, yet that does not negate their existence. Only our perception of their existence.
     
  19. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    You disagree with my moderation? Fine. Take it up with the Admin. But until you speak with him, I suggest you read and follow the first rule of this forum, which states:

    "While debating and discussion is fine, we will not tolerate rudeness, insulting posts, personal attacks or purposeless inflammatory posts. Our decision is final in these matters. "

    The discusion in this thread is boring you? Then move on.

    Thank you.
     
  20. (Q)

    (Q) Active Member

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    Some misconceptions:

    The concept of infinity is understood else we would not use it to describe certain concepts. For example, gravitational fields are infinite, they comprise what IS space and time. There are mathematical formulae that explain these concepts in perfect clarity.

    The universe is quite finite – there is a very finite amount of matter and energy. However, the universe is boundless and continually expanding – there is no ‘edge’ to the universe in the classical sense giving the impression of the infinite.

    So, if you have a hard time grasping the infinite, simply imagine an ant walking on the surface of an ever-expanding balloon. How far can he walk?

    As far as the universe containing physical properties ergo it must have come from something is a misnomer. Virtual particles pop in and out of existence everywhere in the universe, quite literally from nothing. Many of the properties of matter in a black hole have all but been squashed out of existence, yet the black hole exists and its matter still has an effect on other matter and energy. In fact, the singularity is supposed to contain mass with zero volume and infinite density - again, another infinite.

    And, I don’t agree that we will never understand the universe fully. If mankind manages to eek out a long healthy existence, we should be able to discover all the answers eventually – answers that are based in reality and give meaning to nature, of course.

    If everything came from one eternal thing, as you say, where is that eternal thing now? If eternal, it should still be there and we can detect it – if not, then it is obviously not eternal.
     
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