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The existance of God. . . . .

  1. Nov 21, 2006 #1
    What if to say that God exists or does not exist is meaningless? That's the way we think of things; either it's real or it's not. But God's the creator of existance. Why must we limit an omnipotent being to existance or nonexistance? What if there's more than what exists and what does not, like a grey area in between, or a completely new category that I or nobody else could really define? Just an idea.
     
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  3. Nov 21, 2006 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    What if anything? If all you have is what ifs, that doesn't amount to much. If you have an actual idea for a condition that transcends existence/nonexistence lest's hear it.
     
  4. Nov 21, 2006 #3

    DaveC426913

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    Sounds to me like you're limiting God to exisiting...
     
  5. Nov 21, 2006 #4
    Ignosticism is very valid.
     
  6. Nov 21, 2006 #5
    Although it is self-contradictory to ascribe existence and non-existence to X at the same given point in time, it might be interesting to talk about whether our yes-or-no concept of existence is adequate for describing reality.

    For example, according to an article in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy, ("Intentionality in Ancient Philosophy"), a Stoic named Chrysippus proposed that bodies which can act or be acted upon "exist" while things that can't act or be acted (as far as the Stoics knew) like
    space, time, and abstract concepts "subsist." Things that subsist are not non-existent--the contents of the mind are real. So we have at least two categories of reality.

    Conservative Christians think that God exists--he can act and be acted upon. As far as God having no body, neither does gravity, so the idea of bodiless agency is not a big problem for theism AFAICT.

    Some liberal Christians, like Jung, believe that God is part of the psyche. God subsists rather than exists. This doesn't mean that God isn't real. God under this account is as real as the psyche.
     
  7. Nov 22, 2006 #6
    Does gravity "exist"? What about the red color? Space? The number 5?

    If we posit that in order for something to exist it must be part of the universe, can we say that the universe exists?

    God certainly does not exist in any way we can conceive of things existing, because we don't really understand what existence is. To be fair, we cannot properly conceive of anything existing. We have no way to prove that anything exists at all, which shows how little we know about what exists and what doesn't.
     
  8. Nov 22, 2006 #7
    God is that without limits; lesser beings require "limits" to define "God."
     
  9. Nov 22, 2006 #8

    Evo

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    Let's just remember that this discussion is limited to discussing the "possibility that something or things might have "x" qualities". Do not bring up specific religions, we do not allow religious discussion.
     
  10. Nov 22, 2006 #9

    Office_Shredder

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    Similiarly, we can ask if the set of all sets that contain themselves exist. Then we realize that we need a new set of axioms, because we've absolutely confused ourselves
     
  11. Nov 23, 2006 #10
    in reply to Modern Baroque: Yes, gravity almost certainly exists. Its existence is inferred, rather than directly perceived, but the large range of real, tangible phenomena explained by this force/curvature of space justifies the near certainty about its existence.

    The color red is an artifact of human categorical perception; our brains impose nice neat categories on continuous gradations of frequencies of sound and light, so we see distinct colors and hear distinct notes. However, since there is a range of frequencies that prompts the perception of a given color, and in any case, "red" exists phenomenologically, we can say that "red" exists.

    We be confident about the existence of space for the same reasons that we are confident about the existence of gravity: modern physics theories, IIRC, ascribe properties to space that are empirically measurable, at least in principle.

    Does the number 5 exist? Yes, but how it exists is darned hard to figure out. On one hand, the abstract concept "5" exists as information stored in human brains. On the other hand, in a universe that seems describable by rigorous mathematical models, how can quantities not be an objective part of the universe?

    Speaking of the universe, there is some physical evidence for its existence, inasmuch as there is physical evidence for the Big Bang.

    As for God not existing in any way that we can conceive of things existing *because* we don't know what existence is, this is a non-sequitor. If we have no concept of existence, it doesn't make sense to make a judgment about whether God exists or not.

    As for the idea that "we have no way to prove whether anything exists or
    not," I disagree. For instance, I think that the non-existence of philostigon, the ether, and mechanisms for Lamarkian evolution has been proven to the satisfaction of scientists in the relevant fields.

    This satisfaction falls short of absolute metaphysical certitude, but I submit that there are justified degrees of confidence in one's knowledge that lie between said certitude, which is not really needed for useful human inquiry, and epistemological nihilism, which anyone can arrive at by
    insisting on arbitrarily stringent criteria for counting claims among those that we have a right to be reasonably sure about.

    Lren
     
  12. Nov 23, 2006 #11
    I agree with all that, except I think you have overlooked your own statement. You said gravity "almost certainly" exists. Why "almost"?

    So are the people in our dreams. Do they exist?

    Following that line of reasoning, we can establish that anything we can think of exists. Doesn't seem right to me.

    You don't need physics theories to measure space, a ruler will do just fine. The question is, does space exist? Mind you, many people think space is made of "nothing". How can something made of nothing exist?

    Sure, but here is exactly where the problem is. We start out by thinking that only objects can exist. As we further explore the meaning of the word "exist", we find we are forced to accept that many things exist which we previously thought did not exist. There is a name for that situation, it's called confusion.

    Most people think the universe is what it contains. It isn't. The word "universe" means something like "the collection of all things that exist". The universe is not a thing, it is a collection, and a collection is an abstract concept. It's quite possible that the universe does not exist, even though stars and planets do.

    It's not a non-sequitur. If you don't know the exact meaning of a word, you can't establish the truth of a statement in which that word is used.

    We have a concept of existence but it is a vague concept. Many people claim that God is a simplistic notion that stands for something beyond our ability to comprehend. If that is really what the word God means, then it does not really matter much whether God exists or not, because any assertion about God is ambiguous.

    I am quite confident those things, and many others, do not exist. But that is not what I'm talking about.

    Agreed, except I don't think anyone here is concerned with useful human inquiry.

    There are degrees to that. To question the existence of stones is not the same thing as questioning the existence of the number 5. You can be practical about the former but not about the latter. You can be perfectly justified dismissing people who don't believe in the existence of stones as lunatics, but you can't say the same about skeptics of the existence of numbers.

    Going back to the original question, asserting or denying the existence of God is far from being a simple question that can be answered in a practical way.
     
  13. Nov 26, 2006 #12
    the existence of God

    ModernBaroque’s quote: “I agree with all that, except I think you have overlooked your own statement. You said gravity "almost certainly" exists. Why ‘almost’?“

    Because I think that human beings are too finite and fallible to reach absolutely indubitable conclusions.

    Lren’s quote: ”The color red is an artifact of human categorical perception.”

    ModernBaroque’s response: “So are the people in our dreams. Do they exist?”

    Well, the people in our dreams aren’t artifacts of categorical perception. Categorical perception is the brain’s tendency to impose categorical structure onto perceptions of wave forms—sound or light. Sound frequency varies continuously, yet we hear distinct pitches. The frequencies of light from a rainbow vary continuously, yet our brains impose categories on them, so that we stripes of a small number of colors.

    This is unrelated to the issue of how we characterize, ontologically, the occurrence of people-images in our dreams.

    ModernBaroque quote: “Following that line of reasoning, we can establish that anything we can think of exists. Doesn’t seem right to me.
    Mental events must exist in some sense; otherwise, it would be meaningless to claim that people experience mental events but doorknobs don’t. But it is important to distinguish concepts or imaginings that represent knowledge of actual physical entities and concepts or imaginings that do not.

    ModernBaroque quote: “You don't need physics theories to measure space, a ruler will do just fine. The question is, does space exist? Mind you, many people think space is made of ‘nothing’. How can something made of nothing exist?”

    Space isn’t nothingness. It has properties: curvature & virtual particles to name two. You do need modern physics to know that “space” is a thing and does have properties, and that most people are mistaken to believe otherwise. But even if space were a Newtonian void, it would still have properties, namely its dimensions (all three of them) and its extent (finite? infinite?).

    ModernBaroque quote: “Sure, but here is exactly where the problem is. We start out by thinking that only objects can exist. As we further explore the meaning of the word "exist", we find we are forced to accept that many things exist which we previously thought did not exist. There is a name for that situation, it's called confusion.”

    I will gladly concede to the fact that philosophy has not solved all of its problems. Sorry I can’t reply more intelligently, but I’d need to do a hell of a lot of research on metaphysics before I could.

    ModernBaroque quote: “Most people think the universe is what it contains. It isn't. The word "universe" means something like "the collection of all things that exist". The universe is not a thing, it is a collection, and a collection is an abstract concept. It's quite possible that the universe does not exist, even though stars and planets do.”

    I believe that you are mistaken. What I’ve heard about modern cosmology strongly suggests that the universe is a thing; that it had an initial state of zero space and infinite density; that it has since expanded and cooled; that it has anywhere from four to eleven dimensions, and that it may be spatially/temporally finite. Some interpretations of quantum theory suggest that there may be limitless numbers of them. Although there would not be a universe if there were no things in it, this does not change the fact that physical properties can be ascribed to the whole of it. Yes, we should attend to what physicists say about the universe when we explore its nature philosophically.

    Yes, it’s possible to ignore physics and conceive of the universe as the name of a set of things. It is also possible to conceive of things as artificial divisions of a Great Continuity called the universe.
    (I concede your point that we can’t tell whether God exists if we don’t have a clear concept of existence.)

    ModernBaroque quote: “I don't think anyone here is concerned with useful human inquiry.”

    I don’t think that anyone here is concerned with practical inquiry, but I count philosophy as a useful inquiry. If our thoughts are permeated with ideas about what is real, knowable, right, beautiful, etc., then a tradition that clarifies and elaborates on such important concepts—or at least identifies the mysteries that the said concepts suggest—is useful in my book.

    ModernBaroque quote: “There are degrees to that. To question the existence of stones is not the same thing as questioning the existence of the number 5. You can be practical about the former but not about the latter. You can be perfectly justified dismissing people who don't believe in the existence of stones as lunatics, but you can't say the same about skeptics of the existence of numbers.”

    In our modern world, belief in the number five is just as practical as the belief in stones. The belief is implicit in our school-day studies of mathematics, and in our everyday use of Arabic numerals, which denote numbers. What is more, the belief that stones don’t really exist is not considered irrational in certain philosophical and religious contexts. More than one religion includes that doctrine that the physical world (which includes stones) is illusory, and a young Bertrand Russell was not dismissed as a lunatic when he proposed that objects (including stones) were logical fictions, and that all that really existed were sense data. (He later abandoned Logical Atomism, but not for psychiatric reasons.)

    IMO, it’s more accurate to say that, in a philosophy in which physics and metaphysics are considered to be more or less the same activity, the nature of the existence of numbers is more problematic than the nature of the existence of objects like stones.

    ModernBaroque quote: “Going back to the original question, asserting or denying the existence of God is far from being a simple question that can be answered in a practical way.”

    That may depend on whose God you believe in.

    For example, suppose you believe in the personal God of evangelical Christianity (let’s call him God E). Asserting his existence is not that problematic: God E is the being who created the Earth in six days, did all the other things that the Bible said he did, and whose loving, all-powerful, and all-wise presence is evident to those who pray for his help. There’s nothing complicated about denying the existence of God E. One can even explain the denial by arguing that the Bible is not an accurate record and that putative perceptions of the presence of God are really imaginings. So too with other versions of God that allegedly leave cosmological, historical, and intra-psychic trails.

    For the existence of God to be as problematic as the existence of numbers, the God in question must, like numbers, constitute or be manifest in very abstract properties of reality, such as the purpose of the universe, etc.

    Lren
     
  14. Nov 27, 2006 #13
    The mathematic theory of the "grey" area you search for is found within a philosophy called "neutrosophy"--see here:http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/~mgr/404/burks/foldoc/86/79.htm. So, it may not be meaningless, IMO, to hold that "god exists and does not exist" is a truth statement.
     
  15. Nov 30, 2006 #14
    There may be, heck there may be a grey area inside of a grey area. Theres so much we can ponder about the universe yet so little we can figure out. Everything is so weird if you really really think deep about what Im talking about. Yes, weed does help, very much so, I like philosophizing high because it generates deeper thought and lets you look at everything. Mostly everything is pretty meaningless when you go all the way back to it. I hope theres a god or atleast something in the afterlife, just anything. I hope we dont just die off and it goes back to nothingness after we die. I like beleiving in god though because it gives you something to look forward to. For right now I just have to rely on altering my reality as much as possible.
     
  16. Dec 1, 2006 #15
    well, such as esthetician would like to demonstrate the god in mankind (honestly, i like esthetics..)
    however, actually god is nothing shape or which is to say nothing we could see..
    dont you really think that u r belief in god then one day u can see/meet the god face? that ridiculous, god created everything mysterously and wont tell us anyway. hence, it is abstract.

    in fact, what i say is based on my own religious ( just including my study range..)
    likes other religion, the one who people believe most, admire most is the God.
    but, what i think about the God is the Natural in this world and universe
    God creates most of the elements which they are related everythings.

    first of all, God creates lifes, life as a biology.
    Life exist is to proof everything are valuable in this world. it is everything for us.
    secondly, God create the emotion. chemistry as emotion.
    everything that will react each other despite only lives we are noticeable.
    thirdly, a behaviour or motion. as a physics.
    you may realize nobody like a thing that wont chg at all, so God create motion. for example, time.
    lastly, mathematics as a language. this is a God language that could deliver any meaning of geometrize on this universe.
    and we using this language to communicate or decode what the hell that God wrote in this world.

    After God created everything, he left us behind;
    God has not teach or mention anything;
    But, mother giving us a very special gift;
    The power to find about the God creation;
    That's right, our humans are trying to approach the God;
    We discoveries anything we can to find the God;
    That's why nobody is going to admire the God and we wanna to become a godlike!
    What I want, is to hunt up the burrow of the God with this brains as my scout;
    Just as Newtonians did long ago;
    Then one day if we found a new god, and on its soil to create a shining future.
     
  17. Dec 1, 2006 #16
    Whether God exists/not exists/is other then existence, From whence di it become?
    Is God an amalgam of several lesser entities or the spawn of a previous?
     
  18. Dec 1, 2006 #17
    I actually was in a debate about this earlier today at school, and i acted kind of like the third party moderator.

    i think the problem with this question is that many when many people hear the question of 'is there a god' instead of bothering to really listen to what the other has to say in his perspective, they bust out their trenching shovel and dig in deep with their M4 handy, not taking into consideration anything that the other has to say. the problem is that everybody beleives there has must be a god or they strongly beleive there is no god. there is no middle in this debate and that is why i think in most cases it is a pointless one.

    The true question shouldn't be whether he is real, we should be questioning why we ask that to begin with.
     
  19. Dec 2, 2006 #18

    Evo

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    That's actually quite easy if you study ancient history. Those that claimed the ability to talk to the invisible "gods' that controlled lightning, and wind and storms, floods, death, and life, these people obviously were superior to those that couldn't speak to the gods. Of course these were fakes, but they had enough theatrics to fool the common man, most of the time.

    All through history, the majority of people needed to be lead, needed to be told what to do. It's no different now from 10,000 years ago, sad to say. A lot of people NEED this, they really can't deal with day to day life without being told what to think. They need leadership, they are followers.

    Unfortunately, the greedy and manipulative discover this quite quickly and take advantage of these poor people. Some are outright evil, other's are just mentally ill, or dillusional. A few might even be sane, but believe in the mystical, those are ok, they're not hurting anyone intentionally.

    There are some that are just truly good people that want to help others and aren't wanting a reward in return.

    I personally don't care what a person wishes to believe in as long as it doesn't hurt them or the people around them. As long as it doesn't seep into politics or medicine or anything that will affect the decisions I make in my life or my loved ones. Once you cross that line, it is no longer ok. Your god cannot tell my god how I should live. Got it?
     
  20. Dec 2, 2006 #19

    Chronos

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    Unfortunately, even if we do nothing, some people will suffer from our inaction. Good people must voice their concerns when the greedy and power hungry players attempt to impose their will upon others. I will someday die, but not in vain. People have the right to choose their destiny based on facts, not the fantasies of madmen and ghouls. I reserve the right to stomp my foot on the ground every time some pompous ass tries to swindle ordinary people into worshiping his/her wisdom.
     
  21. Dec 2, 2006 #20
    I dont necassarily believ in a god, I just hope theres some sort of afterlife though Im doubting it, Im agnostic as far as my views go. I really dont know whats after death and neither does anyone else. Sure we have NDE`s but those arent truely far after death. Im actually a little anxious to see whats in store but not in any rush, for I have the rest of eternity.
     
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