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Author Topic: The Impossibility of the Existence of God.
HadouKen24
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As I mentioned in another thread, I consider the word "God" as used by Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Zoroastrians to be either without any possible referent and/or to be completely meaningless. I intend to argue in support of this thesis.

Note that this is intended to encompass the most common variants of theism. Specifically, I am addressing the idea that God is a personal being that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, is the Creator of the world, and the judge of human souls after death. Notions of God that do not involve these attributes are not addressed by these arguments.

I will do this by analyzing the definition of God and showing that

1) God must be external to time, i.e., eternal, or the definition for God is meaningless.

It is usually assumed that omniscience includes foreknowledge of people's decisions. It is also assumed by most religious systems that humans have free will. If these two statements are to be compatible, then God must be eternal. If God is outside of time, then what we consider "fore"knowledge is not really knowing beforehand, since there is no robust sense of "before" or "after" when dealing with eternity.

I do not believe it is much of a leap for Christians to say that omniscience involves divine foreknowledge of human choices. There are multiple explicit and implicit examples throughout the Bible of God knowing people's decisions beforehand. Hence, the only question is whether or not the Christian will accept free will or, like Calvinists, reject the idea that people's moral choices are freely made.

The problem with saying that humans have no free will is that this now means it is meaningless to say that God is good. If we have no free will, then we sin because God made us that way. He is thus inescapably far more responsible for our sins than we ourselves are. The common Christian response is that God's goodness is higher than ours, and in some sense surpasses our understanding. But this is to rob the word "good" of its meaning. It is just as meaningful to say that God is omniflagtigulous as it is that God is omnibenevolent in the Calvinist sense.

Hence, God must be outside time, or it is meaningless to say that God is good.

2) If God is eternal, then God cannot be the Creator.

To say that God is the Creator is in part to say that God is the cause of the world, and the world is an effect of God's actions.

However, cause and effect are notions that are only meaningful within the context of time. A cause always comes chronologically prior to the effect or else it is not really the cause. (Even if the notion of traveling back in time makes sense, we're still only dealing with a looping back of the time line that still requires chronological priority in some sense.)

However, if God is eternal, then "cause" is a meaningless term to apply to him. To be eternal is to be outside the context in which cause and effect apply.

Hence, God cannot be the cause of the world, and thus cannot be the Creator.

3) If God is eternal, then he cannot be a person.

Integral to personhood as we know it is experience. A person, at the absolute minimum, must have experiences of some sort. However, experiencing things involves a cause and effect relationship. Experience requires the flow of time. As noted above, God cannot be involved in any sort of cause and effect relationship. Hence, there is no robust sense in which God can be said to be a person.

If this is the case, then the multitude of religious prayers, rituals, and sacred writings which depend on God's having personal qualities are all meaningless and incoherent. God does not hate or get angry. God cannot love in any sense we understand. God does not judge, forgive, or condemn people. In short, if God is eternal, then he is so far from our understanding that almost anything we say about him is absolutely meaningless.

God as Christians, Muslims, and Jews describe him not only does not exist, but cannot exist.

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KnightEnder
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You've convinced me. [Smile]

KE

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DaveS
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If God is eternal He is boundless. Science tells us that our universe is neither. That means that either God came into existence when the universe did and will cease to exist when it does, or He is the God of many universes. Mormons see that somewhat differently, but I'll let them jump in about that.

I don't have a problem with that conflicting with Judeo-Christian biblical understanding for a different reason than HK24. Basically, even if God is infinite, man is not. If God's knowledge and understanding encompass all things, ours does not. We contemplate God like a child looks at the world, vastly inadequate to think or talk about its enormity. God is not us and we are not Him, and therefore we cannot possibly understand Him. To use a crude metaphor, God exists in every dimension we can conceive and ones we cannot, and we are creatures bound to a certain few.

[ July 06, 2008, 06:51 AM: Message edited by: DaveS ]

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drewmie
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I'm LDS, and I agree with a lot of what HK24 says (though not all). I also agree with DaveS's observation that we have to recognize our limitations in understanding God, whether we believe in God or not.

For example, the Problem of Sin has vexed Christians for centuries, i.e. the contradiction of a perfect God who knowingly creates imperfect beings who will sin and fail. This would seem to negate moral agency in favor of determinism, which would mean God is imperfect, making him not God. Christians (especially Catholics) have typically set this aside as one of the "mysteries" we have to simply accept as incomprehensible to us.

LDS doctrine solves this for Mormons to some degree, since we believe God has always existed as an individual agent, and all of us have also always existed as individual agents. In other words, God's "creation" of us was simply to "organize" us into spirit bodies preparatory to receiving physical bodies, in addition to other things He did for us to offer greater opportunity for existing, imperfect "intelligences," something that can be neither created nor destroyed. Problem of Sin solved.

However, these doctrines by no means comprehend God's plan or intentions. They simply offer a rational, non-contradictory framework explanation of something which is far greater than we could possibly understand at present. So while the "problem" is solved, there is no justification for theological hubris. Much of the "mystery" remains.

In other words, while I believe in a religion that I think gives me a great deal of insight and understanding of God, I am — by any reasonable, objective measure — just as much of an idiot regarding the true nature of God as everyone else. My beliefs are about helping me find peace and joy and help others find some as well, but they certainly don't make me smarter or better than anyone else.

This is a difficult balance for Christians, Muslims, and any other strongly-held philosophy, religion, or movement. It requires maintaining both a tremendous confidence in one's beliefs along with the constant mental disclaimer that one could be completely off base. Orthodoxy and humility are always difficult to maintain together, which is why I think the comments by HK24 and DaveS go so well together.

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Mynnion
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This argument is only true if you determine that God cannot affect change in time if he is external to it. I am not sure that argument holds water. I am external to things half way around the world but I can still initiate change. If God exists in all demensions rather than only our 3D version he could as easily impact time as we do space.

This may or may not be valid but there is no reason to believe our understanding and logical arguments apply to an omnipotent omnipresent being.

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drewmie
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Exactly! It's great! We can have interesting, stimulating theological discussions and arguments, all with the understanding that we could be completely off base. It really takes the pressure off such discussions when we assume nobody can truly prove anything.

That's why it's so frustrating to see some Creationism versus Evolution debates. The Creationists have the LEAST evidence, and yet are so often the most sure of themselves. On the other hand, scientists who actually believe in science accept from the outset that things can never be that certain in science, even though they have the greatest evidence. As such, Creationists will often completely misuse scientific terms like "theory" and force scientists to acknowledge other things are "possible," rather than understanding that these terms don't undermine the theories, but are simply the basis for ALL science.

Of course, we see that kind of hubris in all areas of mass movement. Political parties, environmentalists, Islamists, Zionists, PETA, AARP, NEA, etc, etc. The loudest voices (and often most powerful) of humanity are typically the most tightly strung and stubborn.

Consequently, I have this rule: No matter the issue or position, mistrust any group that equates or confuses success of the group with success for their cause.

[ July 06, 2008, 04:03 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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philnotfil
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Eternal in our usage is different from eternal in God's usage. Try think of it as external rather than eternal.

"Eternal punishment is God's punishment" "name of God is endless" "God is the same yesterday, today, forever" "God is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, from everlasting to everlasting"

Before this world/existence/period of time, God was as he is now. He is now as he is now. When this world/existence/period of time is done with, he will still be as he is now.

"without beginning of days or end of life"

During this world/existence/period of time He has no beginning and will have no end. Time is meaningless to him from that point of view. We have also been told that this life will seem like the blink of an eye when we get to the other side of things, how many blinks for the entire world/existence/period of time?

Anyway, all of those attributes of God are describing him in relation to what we know and experience, and they don't fit very well since he is above and beyond our mortal experiences.

Great topic for a gospel speculation class. God knows everything pertaining to this world, does He know everything pertaining to every world? Does His Father know what he is doing?

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HadouKen24
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DaveS:

quote:
I don't have a problem with that conflicting with Judeo-Christian biblical understanding for a different reason than HK24. Basically, even if God is infinite, man is not. If God's knowledge and understanding encompass all things, ours does not. We contemplate God like a child looks at the world, vastly inadequate to think or talk about its enormity. God is not us and we are not Him, and therefore we cannot possibly understand Him. To use a crude metaphor, God exists in every dimension we can conceive and ones we cannot, and we are creatures bound to a certain few.
There are all kinds of things whose "enormity" we can't comprehend, and yet to speak of them is perfectly meaningful. The distances between the stars are so vast that I cannot put them in terms I can imagine. The galaxy is so big I can only understand it as an intellectual abstraction.

Infinity in mathematics is similar. There is no way that any human can hold an infinite number of anything in his head, much less visualize what it means for one infinity to be greater than another one, but one can analyze infinities mathematically all the same.

We can speak of these things because we know what they mean, even if we cannot come up with anything more than an abstract concept. To speak of something so vast and enormous that we can't understand it even in in this abstract sense is, essentially, to admit that we have no clue what we're talking about. And if we don't know what we're talking about, then we aren't really talking about anything at all; our words have no meaning.


quote:
LDS doctrine solves this for Mormons to some degree, since we believe God has always existed as an individual agent, and all of us have also always existed as individual agents. In other words, God's "creation" of us was simply to "organize" us into spirit bodies preparatory to receiving physical bodies, in addition to other things He did for us to offer greater opportunity for existing, imperfect "intelligences," something that can be neither created nor destroyed. Problem of Sin solved.
I have no idea what any of that means. How can "I" exist without some sort of body, since is by means of a body that I sense and perceive, and thus gain a sense of self?

Are you saying that God is not actually eternal--outside of time--but only sempiternal--existing within time without beginning or end?

And what about the rest of the world? Was it created ex nihilo, or merely "organized" in the same fashion?

Mynnion:

quote:
This argument is only true if you determine that God cannot affect change in time if he is external to it. I am not sure that argument holds water. I am external to things half way around the world but I can still initiate change. If God exists in all demensions rather than only our 3D version he could as easily impact time as we do space.
Perhaps I wasn't clear. Yes, you can initiate change across the world, but you're still acting within the context of spacetime.

If God is eternal, then he transcends spacetime. Cause and effect only make sense within spacetime, so to apply the terms to him is to commit a category error. Saying that an eternal being caused the world is nonsense for the same reason that it's nonsense to say that I painted my happiness blue with a tinge of salty-sweet.

quote:
This may or may not be valid but there is no reason to believe our understanding and logical arguments apply to an omnipotent omnipresent being.
To which my response to DaveS applies. If our understanding doesn't apply to an omnipotent omnipresent being, then it makes no sense to even talk about an omnipotent omnipresent being.
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DaveS
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We're doing what we all know can't be done, trying to explain God as if in His own terms. Isn't that the essence of hubris? We can extrapolate from experience to understand what happens halfway around the world, and we can apply proven mathematical rules to measure the vast distances between things we will never touch. But how does anyone attribute purpose to God's "plan" or extract useful guidelines from God's meaning? This is overreaching, IMO.

If God is as great and mysterious as true believers say, then they should not try to explain him, because any attempt will fail. Worse, the attempt can't help but be self-reflexive, because you use yourself as the reference point that HK24 rejects. It is also dangerously self-justifying because the claim of understanding God's eternal purposes is what puts tyrants in control of their less certain and less aggressive brethren.

I like Drewmie's less inclusive statement about what Mormon's believe a little more. It's not humble, because it still puts man at the center and pinnacle of existence both, but it at least doesn't claim certain knowledge of God Himself.

I don't believe in God as others here do, but the conversation still has room for my view for the sole reason that I also think about the great mysteries that are outside the scope of my intelligence. You can call it God and visualize how you do, and I'll call it something else and see it differently. But I think the experience and the importance of the exercise is very much the same.

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Mynnion
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Is God outside of space/time? We can speculate all we want but if a God exists that is big enough to create the universe and all its laws how can we assume that he is not big enough to exist both in and out of space/time.

In the math classic "Flatlands" it is impossible for the one and two dimensional beings to recognize the existance of a three dimensional being.

I will not claim that God exists. I choose to believe there is a God but that is a matter of faith. I can no more prove his/her/its existance than I can prove both my location and velocity at the same time.

We can speculate all day long on whether God exists but is it really possible to prove or disprove the existance of being beyond are comprehension? It is like an ameoba trying to explain calculus.

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threads
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It's like Carl Sagan's invisible dragon in the garage.
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Hannibal
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you are trying to convince the allready convinced?

or trying to convince the un convincable?

i am puzzled

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HadouKen24
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quote:
Is God outside of space/time? We can speculate all we want but if a God exists that is big enough to create the universe and all its laws how can we assume that he is not big enough to exist both in and out of space/time.
Even if he can, the fact remains that if God created the world, then time had a beginning. The act of creating the world has to involve the creation of time--and yet the notion of creation is absolutely nonsensical apart from time.

quote:
We can speculate all day long on whether God exists but is it really possible to prove or disprove the existance of being beyond are comprehension? It is like an ameoba trying to explain calculus.
If God is "beyond our comprehension" as far as you claim he is, then we can't talk about God at all. To speak of something so far beyond our comprehension that we cannot even come close to knowing what it is, is to simultaneously speak of it and to deny that it can be spoken about. There is a self-contradiction involved in asserting the existence of a God completely beyond our comprehension.

If that's what you mean when you say "God," then what you say has no meaning, and hence does not refer to anything or anyone at all.


quote:
you are trying to convince the allready convinced?

or trying to convince the un convincable?

i am puzzled

It is frequently asserted that atheists cannot reasonably say with certainty that God does not exist. While I am not strictly speaking an atheist--I would be classified as a panentheist by anyone interested in making such distinctions--I do agree with most atheists in that I reject the commonly held variations on theism. Unlike most atheists, I do so because as much because I believe they cannot be true as much as an analysis of the likelihood of their being true or of the reasonableness of believe them to be true.

This is, in essence, an apologia for certain varieties of strong atheism. I may not be able to convince believers, but I can at least show non-believers stronger reasons as to why they shouldn't believe.

(Although I have to say that efficacy of logical arguments in this area are much under-appreciated. I myself rejected Christianity based solely on logical arguments I had no answer to. I am not the only one I know of who has been convinced by logical arguments alone; a full third of my friends at college had been as well, and dozens and dozens of internet acquaintances.)

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by HadouKen24:
the fact remains that if God created the world, then time had a beginning. The act of creating the world has to involve the creation of time--and yet the notion of creation is absolutely nonsensical apart from time.

From our perspective [Smile] Our time has a beginning. The scriptures clearly state that God's time and our time are not the same. It is entirely possible that God's time does have a beginning, but that beginning would be outside of our timeframe and meaningless to our understanding. So as to not hurt our brains He just tells us that he has no beginning, in the world/existence/time frame that we inhabit, He has no beginning.

quote:
If God is "beyond our comprehension" as far as you claim he is, then we can't talk about God at all. To speak of something so far beyond our comprehension that we cannot even come close to knowing what it is, is to simultaneously speak of it and to deny that it can be spoken about. There is a self-contradiction involved in asserting the existence of a God completely beyond our comprehension.

If that's what you mean when you say "God," then what you say has no meaning, and hence does not refer to anything or anyone at all.

When the speed of light was beyond our comprehension could we still speak about it and ponder it? What about infinity, can we really comprehend infinity? Yet we still talk about it and theorize about it, and sometimes even use it.

We don't have to comprehend something to talk about it. We won't come to a true understanding of it if it is truly incomprehensible, but we can get some idea of what things are and are not within that area of incomprehension. Something about "for now, through a glass darkly" maybe?

If we don't talk about, and ponder, and study the things that we don't understand, we will never understand them. Do we have to comprehend God to comprehend His love for us? Do we have to comprehend God to comprehend that following the commandments will lead to a better life?

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RickyB
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"It is entirely possible that God's time does have a beginning, but that beginning would be outside of our timeframe and meaningless to our understanding."

You mean like 15 billion years, or something? [Smile]

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kenmeer livermaile
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Applying logic to the concept of God is good fun, great intellectual stimulation, and often poetically inspiring, but logically, it is patently illogical.

God is an irrational construct, God bless It's omega pointy head.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"It is entirely possible that God's time does have a beginning, but that beginning would be outside of our timeframe and meaningless to our understanding."

You mean like 15 billion years, or something? [Smile]

He doesn't use years [Smile]
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kenmeer livermaile
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It's also entirely possible that God was born from the Big Bang.

Or shot out of PEZ dispenser and traveled back in time to arrive 'just in time' to trigger the Big Bang.

Then God disappeared into the pre-Bang past.

Where all the really good PEZ is kept.

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LinuxFreakus
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No matter what you say, believers will always come back with some long illogical argument which basically amounts to "well i still think you're wrong... just because...".

Basically the problem is that atheists and theists tend to have different beliefs about whether logic counts as evidence concerning the quality of existence and whether subjective experience counts as evidence for objective reality.

As a logical person, I cannot prove or disprove the existence of any sort of deity, so I simply lack any god belief.

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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:

I don't have a problem with that conflicting with Judeo-Christian biblical understanding for a different reason than HK24. Basically, even if God is infinite, man is not. If God's knowledge and understanding encompass all things, ours does not. We contemplate God like a child looks at the world, vastly inadequate to think or talk about its enormity. God is not us and we are not Him, and therefore we cannot possibly understand Him. To use a crude metaphor, God exists in every dimension we can conceive and ones we cannot, and we are creatures bound to a certain few.

I knot this is a very prevalent notion in modern theologies but it rings hollow to me. If you have the belief that man was made in God’s image then God seems rather cruel. If we are to be the pinnacle of creation and yet too stupid to even understand what God is what does that say about God? If God put us on Earth and wanted us to understand and follow his plan he should of at least made us smart enough to be able to understand what God is. I’m not saying that God would have to explain himself to us but a theology that begins with God is beyond understanding seems completely meaningless to me.
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RickyB
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"As a logical person, I cannot prove or disprove the existence of any sort of deity, so I simply lack any god belief."

And we have a winner! Bring out the Pith Award! [Smile]

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DaveS
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quote:
If we don't talk about, and ponder, and study the things that we don't understand, we will never understand them. Do we have to comprehend God to comprehend His love for us? Do we have to comprehend God to comprehend that following the commandments will lead to a better life?
PNF, you made some good points in your post, but here you tripped over the line and say things you really can't defend. If you concede that God is incomprehensible, then you can't know that he loves you. Second (and secondarily), following those Commandments and/or many others is likely to lead to a better life. They make sense independently of your God (even the first). My view is that since we invented God, it's only natural that we endowed him with our best qualities so that He could guide us.
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LinuxFreakus
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"As a logical person, I cannot prove or disprove the existence of any sort of deity, so I simply lack any god belief."

And we have a winner! Bring out the Pith Award! [Smile]

What are you talking about? [Confused]
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TheSteelenGeneral
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http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

the quick + dirty:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDHJ4ztnldQ&NR=1


1. According to believers, people with invisible diseases, like blood cancer, get healed by prayer. But there isn't a single cases of grown back limbs, not even in the bible. Why is that?
2. Why is the Bible full of anti-scientific nonsense
3. Why would god answer your prayers, but not let starving kids find food?
4. Why does god order somany people to killed in the bible: disobedient teens, sunday workers, non-virgin marriers, etc. gays. (btw. far more gays then not die happy at an old age. why didn't god strike em down, or use instruments, like crazy religious nuts to kill em?)
5. why do christians divorce at the same rate as atheists and jews?

hope to have added,

be of good cheer!

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rightleft22
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“Is God outside of space/time?”
“Even if he can, the fact remains that if God created the world, then time had a beginning.”

I disagree

Time an “illusion” created by the need of, or a result of, consciousness.
Time is a measurement providing the ability to order our world and create sense of our world as we sense it.

Does time exist out side mans concept of it? What role does it play in the concept of cause and effect?

God Is – I Am – No-Thing.

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threads
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It is possible to have timeless causality but there are no working timeless models of the universe*. To say that time is an illusion is to deny all of the modern theories of physics. General relativity requires time (ex: spacetime intervals are measured using both time and classical distance) and quantum mechanics requires time (ex: Angular momentum).

* as of yet (of course)

[ July 08, 2008, 10:35 AM: Message edited by: threads ]

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RickyB
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I've never been good on the abstractness of time thing, but... even with no humans, doesn't sequence of events still mean something in physics? If there were anyone to observe, there would be a point "before" a given star went nova, and a point "after". A point where a star is there and is impacting other bodies in space, and a point where said impact is removed/replaced. No? [Smile]
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LinuxFreakus
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
I've never been good on the abstractness of time thing, but... even with no humans, doesn't sequence of events still mean something in physics? If there were anyone to observe, there would be a point "before" a given star went nova, and a point "after". A point where a star is there and is impacting other bodies in space, and a point where said impact is removed/replaced. No? [Smile]

Yes and no. With respect to human experience, it is basically sufficient to say that cause and effect must be in spatial contact or connected by a chain of intermediate things in contact, however relativity and quantum mechanics have changed the way we think about causality at the most fundamental levels.
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rightleft22
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The question of the existence of God was being argued based on the understanding of ‘time’, ‘beginning’, ‘cause and effect’….

“To say that time is an illusion is to deny all of the modern theories of physics. General relativity requires time and quantum mechanics requires time.”
The theories do not prove the existence of time as anything other then a measurement need to create order and meaning of our experience. The concept of time, a label created by man, exists as a measurement and that is all it is. As such it cannot prove or disprove the existence of God.

Most people experience experience linearly even though multiple experiences are occurring at the same time; it is in this sense that “time” is an illusion. When a person is unable to order time/experience the result is a world no less real to the experience’er.

God being inside or outside of time is meaningless – For God to be God, God must be God.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by threads:
It is possible to have timeless causality but there are no working timeless models of the universe*. To say that time is an illusion is to deny all of the modern theories of physics. General relativity requires time (ex: spacetime intervals are measured using both time and classical distance) and quantum mechanics requires time (ex: Angular momentum).

* as of yet (of course)

What about outside our universe?
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by TheSteelenGeneral:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

the quick + dirty:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDHJ4ztnldQ&NR=1


1. According to believers, people with invisible diseases, like blood cancer, get healed by prayer. But there isn't a single cases of grown back limbs, not even in the bible. Why is that?
2. Why is the Bible full of anti-scientific nonsense
3. Why would god answer your prayers, but not let starving kids find food?
4. Why does god order somany people to killed in the bible: disobedient teens, sunday workers, non-virgin marriers, etc. gays. (btw. far more gays then not die happy at an old age. why didn't god strike em down, or use instruments, like crazy religious nuts to kill em?)
5. why do christians divorce at the same rate as atheists and jews?

hope to have added,

be of good cheer!

The short version: Why doesn't God prove to us that He exists [Smile]
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flydye45
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Linux is back? Tak about back from the grave... [Wink]
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LinuxFreakus
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
quote:
Originally posted by TheSteelenGeneral:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

the quick + dirty:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDHJ4ztnldQ&NR=1


1. According to believers, people with invisible diseases, like blood cancer, get healed by prayer. But there isn't a single cases of grown back limbs, not even in the bible. Why is that?
2. Why is the Bible full of anti-scientific nonsense
3. Why would god answer your prayers, but not let starving kids find food?
4. Why does god order somany people to killed in the bible: disobedient teens, sunday workers, non-virgin marriers, etc. gays. (btw. far more gays then not die happy at an old age. why didn't god strike em down, or use instruments, like crazy religious nuts to kill em?)
5. why do christians divorce at the same rate as atheists and jews?

hope to have added,

be of good cheer!

The short version: Why doesn't God prove to us that He exists [Smile]
Or another short version: The question of whether god exists is irrelevant because it is clear that whether you believe it or not, there is no effect on our daily lives.

[ July 08, 2008, 11:52 AM: Message edited by: LinuxFreakus ]

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rightleft22
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“Because it is clear that whether you believe it or not, there is no effect on our daily lives”

How is that clear?

Your statement of what you believe/think affects your life; if it did not then you don’t believe it. (I think this is what Lewis was getting at).

Belief, real or not, changes the way we create the narrative that defines our identity.(again we enter into a world of illusion)
I believe it’s going to rain sometime today so I carry an umbrella. Did my belief affect my daily life?
It never rained so I didn’t use the umbrella however looking for the umbrella meant I left the house 30 second later, I stop at an intersection and get hit by a car that lost control just at that moment. Belief, statistics, probability, fate, cause, effect …

The question of God is not irrelevant as the answer yes, no, or maybe changes the personal narrative, weather were conscious of it or not.

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LinuxFreakus
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quote:
Originally posted by rightleft22:
“Because it is clear that whether you believe it or not, there is no effect on our daily lives”

How is that clear?

Your statement of what you believe/think affects your life; if it did not then you don’t believe it. (I think this is what Lewis was getting at).

Belief, real or not, changes the way we create the narrative that defines our identity.(again we enter into a world of illusion)
I believe it’s going to rain sometime today so I carry an umbrella. Did my belief affect my daily life?
It never rained so I didn’t use the umbrella however looking for the umbrella meant I left the house 30 second later, I stop at an intersection and get hit by a car that lost control just at that moment. Belief, statistics, probability, fate, cause, effect …

The question of God is not irrelevant as the answer yes, no, or maybe changes the personal narrative, weather were conscious of it or not.

I'm talking about the big picture. I know it is possible to say if someone went to church one morning and a tornado wiped out their house while they were gone, then maybe the god belief saved the life.... but that isn't necessarily true... someone who didn't believe in god might just have gone to the grocery store instead. Believers and non-believers alike are just as likely to die in tornadoes, or get struck by lightning, or whatever.
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scifibum
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I'm having flashbacks to a very long, and very pointless, discussion with Linux about whether prayer serves a purpose.
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rightleft22
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I’m arguing that belief, right or wrong, illusion or real will, no must, create ones life philosophy and as a result must have an impact on who one becomes in daily life.
Regardless if we live up to our beliefs or not or even if we are aware of our life philosophy.

The statement “Its Clear” is ridiculous and hubris.
Unless one can know with certainly what lays behind the heart and mind of another person it cannot be clear what impact a specific belief might have on someone’s daily life.

As for the allegory
The belief that it was going to rain and that an umbrella would protect me from the rain had an impact on my behavior. I went out and looked for and carried around an umbrella, (physically affecting my daily life).
Did that belief have an unexpected impact?
Cause and effect beyond the immediate can only exist in hind sight and as such is unreliable as proof/defense of a belief system. That I ended up in an accident does not negate the belief that an umbrella will protect me from the rain.

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LinuxFreakus
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The belief that it would rain had an impact. But you missed my point entirely.

If nobody believed in god, people would still be doing just fine. They might be doing some different things with their lives, etc... but at an abstract level life would be largely the same.

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LinuxFreakus
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Although, I suppose we might not have Islamic terrorists hell bent on destroying Christianity/western culture....
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KidB
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The whole argument by way of causality is a straw-God argument, as most traditions posit not so much a creator as an origin - as in, God is the beginning, and the end, and encompasses all that lies in between. Furthermore, it is rather presumptuous to assume that time has only an "inside" and an "outside." It could just as easily have several dimensions, of which we perceive only one.

In Hinduism, God is the universe, including all the parts we don't see - the universe and its laws are all parts of his body and spirit, and time is essentially circular (or perhaps spherical), and as a property is intrinsically tied to consciousness.

quote:
From Gita 10

I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.

He is also referred to here as "the unborn," meaning not extant, not given a specific locus in time-space.

quote:
I am the Supersoul, O Arjuna, seated in the hearts of all living entities. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.Of the Adityas I am Vishnu, of lights I am the radiant sun, of the Maruts I am Marici, and among the stars I am the moon[...]of the senses I am the mind; and in living beings I am the living force [consciousness]
Most of the conundrum comes from incorrectly assuming that God is an "other," creating the cosmos like a scientist with a petri dish. But even medieval Christianity assumed that God was actively involved in the substance of the world, as the "Prime Mover." Pre-Enlightenment Xiantity was very mechanistic in this respect.

Only with Deism does the idea come about that God participated only at the beginning. But this notion is atheistic on the level of phenomenology, since it requires that God no longer participates - it is a late-era Xiantity concerned only with human motivations and behavior.

I'm an atheist, btw - in much the same manner as Linux F I take the term literally: "without a belief in God."

[ July 08, 2008, 02:47 PM: Message edited by: KidB ]

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