DOES GOD EXIST?

 (joesix) has the habit of leaving contrary comments. Here is one.

It’s entirely possible that everything from those pinpoints of small colored lights to the microscopic blood vessels within us all was created by a single omnipotent being who orchestrated a big bang that still affects the laws of nature 16 billion years later.  I find it highly improbable that such a being cares at all about the petty political squabbles of a country that’s only been around for two centuries. (from here)

Does God Exist? I am not certain what  thinks about that matter. However, before we decide whether God cares for us, we have to ask whether He exists.

There is actually a fair amount of evidence that points to a Creator. In fact, until recently, few doubted the existence of God or gods. Why is it different now? Well, we are actually little different from those who preceded us. We just worship our gods somewhat differently. Whereas our ancestors chose to believe in wooden, stone, and metal idols, we are better educated and not so easily fooled. Nope! We just idolize our government, our careers, money, a movie star, a politician, a fast car, a big house…. Like the ancient Romans, we too have many gods. So who needs God?

Can we prove God exists? The answer to that is both yes and no. As Peter Kreeft observes:

God exists, we can know that, we can give reasons, and those reasons amount to proof, but not scientific proof, except in an unusually broad sense. (from here)

Science does not offer the tools required either to prove or disprove the existence of God. It’s ironic. Even though we created science to study the relationship between cause and effect, our science is totally insufficient to study the ultimate cause.

What follows is a short list of material on the argument for God’s existence.

Can You Prove God Exists? presented by Peter Kreeft: Kreef is a respected professor philosopy. He starts with an couple of essays and ends with a 70 minute audio lecture. Because logic is inherent to philosophy, Kreef has the skill required to provide a rigorous argument.

The Case for a Creator presented by Lee Strobel: Strobel is a former atheist who changed his mind. The Case for a Creator provides an audio presentation.  Below is a more detailed video presention. Because Strobel seeks something rather impossible, scientific proof, he uses some arguments that are a bit weak. Nonetheless, though less conclusive than the philosophical argument, Strobel survey of the scientific evidence is interesting.

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis: In addition to explaining Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis’ book offers arguments for the existence of God. For example, we long for something the earth cannot satisfy.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on one hand, never to dispise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or a mirage.  I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of my life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.

We also have a couple of encyclopedias of philosophy on the Internet, the Internet Encylcopedia of Philosophy and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Searching either with the terms argument God exist will bring up plenty of articles that consider whether God exists.

Does god care for us? See DOES GOD CARE?

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I am just an average citizen interested in promoting informed participation in the political process.
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10 Responses to DOES GOD EXIST?

  1. joesix says:

    I’m not sure what made my comment “contrary.” This post looks pretty contradictory to me, however. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re saying that we can never quantitatively prove or disprove the existence of God, so that in itself is proof of His existence. What?!

    We can prove that the entire universe was formed 16 billion years ago from a single explosion that still affects us to this day. That alone seems like sufficient enough evidence that there is no Biblical version of God who worries about us eating shellfish or letting women speak in church. Of course, you could ask, “Where did the Big Bang come from?” You could answer, “God,” but then I would have to ask, “Where did God come from?” There’s always going to be that unknowable factor in all faiths, be it religion or science. Just as you may have a gut feeling that He truly does exist, I have a gut feeling that He doesn’t.

    Whatever the case may be, any deity who created everything and then “rested on the seventh day,” so to speak, leaving us alone with our own free will, certainly had no intention of instilling a sense of morality on one species on one planet in one solar system in one galaxy. You cited C.S. Lewis, which reminded me of another quote from him I just read that someone used to justify their support for same-sex marriage:

    “Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question — how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mahommedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.”

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  2. Citizen Tom says:

    joesix – “Contrary” is in the dictionary.

    What I said is that science does not provide the tools to either prove or disprove the existence of God. We have never used science to study God; we have used science to study His creation, and what God has created we do not understand. All we have done is model some of cause and effect relationships we have observed.

    We can prove that the entire universe was formed 16 billion years ago from a single explosion that still affects us to this day.

    Actually, we cannot prove any such thing. What some experts have done is model what appears to be an expanding universe. With what little data they have, they have projected back in time, and they have hypothesized a big bang, conjecturing that creation occurred in an instant. Augustine did the same a thousand year before (see http://citizentom.com/2008/04/29/science-and-religion/).

    What we can do is use logic to prove God must exist. Since he does an excellent job of it, I refer you to Peter Kreeft.

    If you investigate C. S. Lewis further, I think you will find that he did not endorse homosexuality. In his day, few would have seriously equated a same-sex relationship with marriage. Where I think Lewis is coming from is this Bible passage.

    Matthew 19:3-12 Amplified Bible (AMP)
    3 And Pharisees came to Him and put Him to the test by asking, Is it lawful and right to dismiss and repudiate and divorce one’s wife for any and every cause?
    4 He replied, Have you never read that He Who made them from the beginning made them male and female,
    5 And said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be united firmly (joined inseparably) to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?
    6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder (separate).
    7 They said to Him, Why then did Moses command [us] to give a certificate of divorce and thus to dismiss and repudiate a wife?
    8 He said to them, Because of the hardness (stubbornness and perversity) of your hearts Moses permitted you to dismiss and repudiate and divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been so [ordained].
    9 I say to you: whoever dismisses (repudiates, divorces) his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
    10 The disciples said to Him, If the case of a man with his wife is like this, it is neither profitable nor advisable to marry.
    11 But He said to them, Not all men can accept this saying, but it is for those to whom [the capacity to receive] it has been given.
    12 For there are eunuchs who have been born incapable of marriage; and there are eunuchs who have been made so by men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves incapable of marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let him who is able to accept this accept it.

    If you have trouble with the above try this translation, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2019:3-12&version=MSG.

    Anyway, what you want is an oxymoron — same-sex marriage? But go ahead, if you don’t like the traditional definition, offer your own. Instead of constantly beating up the traditional definition, try explaining and defending an alternative definition that doesn’t render the word “marriage” meaningless.

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    • joesix says:

      Measuring the speed of light, noting the continued expansion of all space, recognizing the wavelengths that permeate throughout the entire universe — these point to a logical theory of how everything came to be. What proof is there that God made man separate from the animals? That He abhors homosexuality? That He told every Republican candidate for president to run? The proof for the existence of a higher being lies entirely in gut feelings, and that’s not enough for me or other empiricists to discard our own gut feelings.

      It’s likely that Mr. Lewis would not approve of homosexuality today. It’s likely that most of my heroes from centuries past wouldn’t approve of the things we allow today — divorce, women’s rights, abolition of slavery, interracial marriage, marriage among different social classes. That doesn’t change the fact that Lewis’ argument still provides a powerful case for keeping government and religion separate.

      If you feel the government does have to recognize some kind of marriage and you’re focused on the semantics of the word “marriage,” then let them keep that English word, and Christians can use the original Hebrew word, “חתונה.”

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  3. Citizen Tom says:

    joesix – Because we act upon our beliefs, our beliefs are important. Because we communicate our belief with our words, our words are important. In fact, our words are too important to let them sink into sophistry. Yet too often we do.

    Because we are His creations, God cares for us, but it is time for me to sleep. So that post will have to wait for Sunday.

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  4. Pingback: DOES GOD CARE? | Citizen Tom

  5. Citizen Tom says:

    joesix – I don’t think you either listened to Peter Kreeft or read what he wrote. I wonder if you even gave much thought to what I wrote. For example, did I cite the Bible as evidence? Not exactly. What I did is borrow the words. They state better than I what I think needs to be said.

    Argument from Design – If the universe did not have some order to it, we would not be able to talk about it. Mathematics would have no utility. Even the Theory of Evolution would be meaningless. To the extent your response makes any sense, it is because you have two arguments conflated. What I think you are trying to say is that because evil exists God cannot exist. It is called The Problem of Evil. Kreeft responds to that issue as a question in his audio presentation. Here is mine.

    Romans 8:28 American Standard Version (ASV)
    28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

    Argument from First Cause – No. Our existence alone does not prove that God cares for us. However, it is a place to start.

    Does God care about Sea Monkeys? I suspect He does, and I guess His concern would easily dwarf our own. Before you consider yourself the God of Sea Monkeys, try to imagine what it took to create Sea Monkeys.

    Argument from Desire:roll: Try reading what Kreeft wrote.

    Pascal’s Wager – Why is it important to believe in God? It is exactly as you mention. You had a fear of God, what the Bible calls the beginning of wisdom. The love of God results from true wisdom.

    When we deny the existence of God, we behave differently. Consider Lucifer. While He cannot deny God’s existence, he can deny God’s sovereignty, and he does. Because of his pride Lucifer denies the lordship of the One True God. Pride induces a form of insanity. Even though Lucifer did not create the universe, he would have things as if he had created all things. Lucifer would be god.

    When it is asked, why we ought to obey the will of the Deity, this question, which would be impious and absurd in the highest degree, if asked from any doubt that we ought to obey him, can admit but of two different answers. It must either be said that we ought to obey the will of the Deity because he is a Being of infinite power, who will reward us eternally if we do so, and punish us eternally if we do otherwise: or it must be said, that independent of any regard to our own happiness, or to rewards and punishments of any kind, there is a congruity and fitness that a creature should obey its creator, that a limited and imperfect being should submit to one of infinite and incomprehensible perfections. Besides one or other of these two, it is impossible to conceive that any other answer can be given to this question. If the first answer be the proper one, virtue consists in prudence, or in the proper pursuit of our own final interest and happiness; since it is upon this account that we are obliged to obey the will of the Deity. If the second answer be the proper one, virtue must consist in propriety, since the ground of our obligation to obedience is the suitableness or congruity of the sentiments of humility and submission to the superiority of the object which excites them. – Adam Smith from The Theory of Moral Sentiments

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    • joesix says:

      I don’t think you know how to have an adult discussion. Maybe I was raised differently, but back in my day, we weren’t allowed to tell people to Google other people in order to prove our points. You said you were summarizing Kraft’s arguments, and after reading 1,000+ words of the same pseudo-philosophical drivel, I got your point. I tried to counter all of your arguments as civilly and eloquently as I could, but when that fails, I have no other option but to directly refer you to the saint himself, George Carlin.

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      • Citizen Tom says:

        As it happens I posted a link to each of the topics that Peter Kreeft wrote about in the post. There were the topic headings in DOES GOD CARE?
        Argument from Design
        Argument from First Cause
        Argument from Conscience
        Argument from Desire
        Pascal’s Wager

        Nobody twisted your arm with regard to either reading or commenting. When you choose to comment in ignorance; however, it shows.

        Since the Carlin video contained foul language, I deleted it. If a man cannot express his thought without resorting to gutter language, then his thoughts belong in the gutter.

        When we dump our bodily waste in the potty we do so out of respect for our neighbors. We do not want to contaminate others with our waste. For the same reason, we should avoid contaminating others with mental waste of our minds. Therefore, if you wish to comment here, I ask that you show respect for the people who visit by not using vulgar language or posting vulgar materials.

        Have you seriously why George Carlin was so angry with religion? His reason was much like yours. The thought of God made him afraid, and what we fear we tend to hate. Since hating God is pointless (No one can hurt God.), those who hate God act upon their fears by persecuting the people of God.

        Consider the nature of Carlin’s humor. He resorted to foul language and ridicule. With the foul language he tried to show his fearlessness, thereby showing that he was afraid. With the ridicule, Carlin sought to justify himself by punishing and chasing away those who would remind him of God.

        Ridicule is actually a perversion of humor. That is because laughter is closely related to crying. When we tell a good joke, we laugh with other people. By sharing our burdens and the frustrations of our imperfections, we elevate each other. With ridicule we do the opposite. We heap scorn upon others; we try to add to their burdens and frustrations. Why? Some people think that when they push another down they elevate themselves.

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      • joesix says:

        Nobody twisted your arm to watch the George Carlin video. I apologize if the adult language offended you. I’m tempted to share his infamous “7 Dirty Words” routine to remind us of just how much power we attribute to words, the fear and disgust we can feel and pass on to others. I’m tempted to share Chuck Palahniuk’s “Guts,” which I don’t believe contains any “vulgar” words, but would make you feel faint just the same. There is great power in words, but it’s power that WE control, not dictionary writers, not governments, not even God.

        That fearless you hear in Carlin’s voice can also mean that Carlin wasn’t afraid. He — like many atheists — was steadfastly convinced that there was no God, or at least not a Biblical version of God who cares about comparatively trivial matters such as sodomy or baptisms or birth control.

        Laughter is close to crying because it allows us to open our hearts and our minds to things we ordinarily would avoid. Psychologists label humor as a defense mechanism, the healthiest defense mechanism of all actually. And it’s telling that this way to open our minds to unfamiliar ideas seems incredibly one-sided. While liberals can digest the news in humorous ways through Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Lewis Black, and the recently departed George Carlin, conservatives have . . . post-9/11 Dennis Miller? But I’m digressing and bordering on ridicule myself.

        I leave you with a G-rated Carlin quote that sums up my view of religion and its role in government (which I think is what started this unnecessarily long discussion in the first place).

        “Religion is sort of like a lift in your shoes. If it makes you feel better, fine. Just don’t ask me to wear your shoes.”

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