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Featured Theism Doesn't Ultimately Explain Anything

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Meow Mix, Jun 25, 2021.

  1. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Curious Kitty

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    This post has a wide scope, and because of that, it's going to be difficult to put it into some sort of cohesive structure, but I will try.

    There are a lot of "ultimate questions" that humans have: why does something exist rather than nothing, why is the universe the way that it is, things of that nature. Now, I don't want to draw a caricature of theists and theism here, so let me couch my words carefully: some theists have a tendency to smugly tell us non-theists, "I have the answers, and you don't."

    I'm just not convinced that this is the case: theism doesn't ultimately explain anything. Let me pick some example.

    "Why does anything exist rather than nothing?"

    Theistic responses range from something as naïve as "because God created the world" to something a little more exhaustive like "because God is ontologically necessary, and then God created the world."

    But does this really explain anything at all? What's the difference between presupposing God is ontologically necessary and simply presupposing the cosmos is ontologically necessary (if one were inclined to do that)?

    How about "does life have a purpose?"

    Some theists may say that life's purpose is to serve God, or glorify God, or any number of these things. But we can always ask a microcosm of the question: "Well, why that?" No matter what's said, there will always be a microcosm.

    And that applies to all of these other ultimate questions as well. Any answer that's given that purports to be an "ultimate explanation" will always have some microcosm that can be asked about it.

    This happens over and over in each topic: God can't be the foundation of morality (Euthyphro's Dilemma), can't be the foundation of logic (aseity-sovereignty paradox), doesn't explain why existence exists any better than non-theistic concepts, doesn't ultimately explain anything. It seems that theism is just adding another step to the long strings of microcosms of questions.
     
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  2. Conscious thoughts

    Conscious thoughts Veteran Member

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    Your question is very open and wide as you say.

    Theism to me is about finding the truth from within our own being, it means that hat i seeking is not to find a personified God who i can sit and have a chat with in my garden :) The answers God can and do give arise from within me, the more i read the teachings the more i look within, and not outside about that others believe or think or do.
    A "relationship" with God is not meant to be understood by those who are not on that path. it is a relationship between the seeker and the truth (God), That does not mean the answers i gain from my own search and practice has any value to you as a non seeker, or a seeker from an other path.

    Every question a theist ask has to do with the wish to understand what God is, and how all of that relate to our life here on earth, why we are here, how we got here, and what we have to do to become closer to God again.

    All of what i write here may not go along what other theists think or say, the answer you ill gain from different theists will be different because each one of us have not the same understanding even we may practice the same spiritual teaching.
     
    #2 Conscious thoughts, Jun 25, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
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  3. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    Just because someone has proposed a dilemma or paradox does not mean that God is not the foundation of morality or logic,,,,,,,,,,,,,and more importantly why we can trust logic.
    The existence of a God or not is the foundation of any ultimate hope and purpose in life however.
    No God means no hope and no purpose beyond our own little purposes that we might think up for our lives.
    But who cares anyway, ultimately they would be meaningless, as the writer of Ecclesiastes says.
     
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  4. Meerkat

    Meerkat He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy.

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    I wouldn't expect a belief like Theism to explain anything.
     
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  5. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    The key failure of theism to me is that it doesn't explain where god(s) come from. They are given a free pass, "Oh, they were always there"
    That was the reason as a young teen that I first started to doubt religion.
     
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  6. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Theism is about trusting in what we hope to be true, not explaining reality to us. Theism begins with our understanding the limits of what we can know, and accepting them. And then with the fantastic and hopeful possibilities that our not knowing allows for, within us. God is the great mystery of being. Theism is how we define that mystery for ourselves, and faith is our trying to live up to it.

    None if this is about explanations, really. It's about possibilities, and hope.
     
    #6 PureX, Jun 25, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
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  7. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    Your question about where God comes from could apply to the universe or anything before that, if we assume time.
    There had to have been a first cause or we could not be at this point in time yet and we could not be adding to an already infinite number of cause effect events.
     
  8. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium अहं ब्रह्मास्मि
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    I think the title of this thread should be "Theism Doesn't Ultimately Explain Anything to Me." ;)

    Most everyone sees the world from a different perspective, and not everyone is born with the same understandings of their existence. Just as theism doesn't help explain existence to you, a nonthiest worldview doesn't explain existence to a theist.

    Each individual person is at their own level of understanding of the world. It would be nice if people left others to their own worldviews without imposing their own on others.
     
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  9. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Silent Generation - so don't expect much
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    Presumably many will not even bother asking such a question (too impertinent?), but as @Meow Mix proffered, the existence of God could so easily be exchanged for the existence of the universe (the big why question), and even if humans will struggle to find a complete answer to such it might just be humble for us to recognise such than accept the multitude of explanations so far given by the various faiths, and where all too many are simply arrogant in their beliefs and assumptions.
     
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  10. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    Yes, but science is very happy to say, "We don't know but are studying it"
    The introduction of god or gods just adds an unnecessary step.
    Why did there have to be a first cause? Do we know that? And if there was a 'first cause' why is it a supernatural being? It just doesn't make sense.
     
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  11. TagliatelliMonster

    TagliatelliMonster Veteran Member

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    With "first cause", do you mean the big bang happening at T = 0?
     
  12. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Curious Kitty

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    I disagree, of course; else I wouldn't have raised them as certainly as I did. I understand that someone could disagree, as you do.

    I am happy you have something that gives you joy and purpose. My aim wasn't to attack that, but this is a debate thread I suppose. OP argues that any purpose given by theism isn't any different from a purpose attainable without it.
     
  13. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Curious Kitty

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    This one doesn't bother me too much. I can accept the proposal of timeless and eternal things. I may be a non-theist, but I accept that things like logical self-identity and mathematics aren't temporal things. So I'm willing to extend a reeeeally long olive branch to entertain the idea of a timeless being. But boy is that olive branch stretching.
     
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  14. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Curious Kitty

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    I'll disagree with this reasoning.

    There is nothing about a past infinity that causes problems with now being now. Paradoxes arise when the infinity is treated like a timeline with something moving left to right on it or something like that; but with infinite time, now is trivial.

    However, we know that time had a beginning in the universe we know now, and it's unclear whether it makes sense to speak of what happened "before" the first Planck time. This is because time as we normally use the term is defined by the entropic gradient. There could be a metatime though, for instance in an eternal inflation model or any other model where universes are created and/or destroyed, there would be a metatime which could have an infinite past.

    Long story short, the premise that there must be a first cause is not true. It's possible there was one, but not necessary.
     
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  15. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Curious Kitty

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    I hear you, but I did want to start a debate thread, and posted it in a debate section on purpose ^.^ (just teasing)

    I do agree with people being able to have their worldviews (as long as they aren't hurting people), though. This is supposed to be for fun here.
     
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  16. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    ... Because there is a second-to-infinity of causes. and nothing that is NOT caused.

    "Supernatural" because it precedes and transcends nature. And "being" because ... what else can we call it? What state precedes and transcends existence, itself?
     
  17. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    I've never understood this objection. Why would we not be at this point yet? Even if there is not a start, there is only a finite amount of time between any two events.

    In other words, the scenario is NOT this:
    start---*infinite amount of time*--- now

    The scenario is
    ---*infinite amount of time*----any event in the past---*finite amount of time*---- now.

    And why could we not add to an already infinite amount of cause/effect events? An infinite number have already happened, and we add one more on. Seems simple enough to me.

    But back to the OP.

    I agree, the God hypothesis explains exactly nothing. It makes no new predictions, limits no future observations, gives no actual reason for anything. It just says 'magic!' and ignores the issues.

    That isn't an explanation.
     
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  18. jonathan180iq

    jonathan180iq Well-Known Member

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    Theism, like atheism, tells you something about a person's belief system, but very little else.

    I'm constantly perplexed by why we expect basic titles or terms to offer more insight than they're actually worth.
     
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  19. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    Hoo boy, did you get this all wrong.
    Theism is the one thing (actually a collection of things)
    that can explain anything & everything. That sets it
    apart from science, which is an imperfect method for
    describing just the material world.
    Of course, there is a fundamental problem with these
    nicht einmal falsch beliefs...the explanations are hokum.
    But hey, answers are still answers.
     
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  20. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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