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Tags deism , theism

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Old 4th January 2021, 11:25 PM   #1
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A defense of theism/deism

This thread's about a defense of theism/deism, that might include, apart from more general objective reasons, subjective reasons as well.

Since personal subjective ideas might be discussed here, I'll request other posters to be considerate/respectful in how they present any criticism they might want to make. (And I'm going out and saying this, because I'm taking the liberty of starting this thread myself , and getting this discussion going.)

-------

Context (copied from the Pascal's Wager thread):


Originally Posted by GDon View Post
... I'm a theist, but not a Christian. I believe in a generic omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent deity, which generally the Wager supports IMO. ...



...Occam's Razor on all the other gods. Non-Occam's Razor related points for the Wager's God.


I think that approach makes sense, but it will make for a possibly long (but interesting!) conversation. We could do it in this thread, or maybe in another.

If you are happy with that, I'll make a separate post in this thread to get us started. I'm not a Christian, so I'll be defending a more generic "God of the Philosophers" ...



... Yes, I think you can. Or at least I think *I* can, though it may be a long discussion, as per my invitation to discuss this above. ...


Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
... That sounds interesting.

Youíre right, though, this might be off-topic, in as much this pertains more to your specific reasons, and leading to your specific conception of God, rather than a more general defense of Pascal's Wager. To keep both discussions focused, I think it might make sense to start another thread. I'll start that thread right after I post this, and post the link below.

Although I'm going out and starting this thread, this is ďyourĒ thread, for you to present both general reasons to defend deism (or whatever particular form of God you choose to defend), as well as any subjective and/or personal observations you care to put out there. (And obviously, only to the extent youíre comfortable sharing anything personal, and only to the extent you yourself find this exercise meaningful. I'm taking the liberty of starting this thread on your behalf only to set the ball rolling, as it were, and as preferable to asking you, instead, to start a thread yourself on this. What and how much to discuss there, is entirely your call.)
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Old 5th January 2021, 01:31 AM   #2
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Theism is really an arbitrary irrational belief in an imagined God.

Originally Posted by G'Don
... I'm a theist, but not a Christian. I believe in a generic omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent deity.....
What is a generic God ?

Which book teaches about G'Don's generic God?

It is interesting to note that Christians were called atheists since at least the 2nd century.

Justin's First Apology
Quote:
Hence are we called atheists. And we confess that we are atheists, so far as gods of this sort are concerned, but not with respect to the most true God, the Father of righteousness and temperance and the other virtues, who is free from all impurity..
Athenagoras' Plea for the Christians III
Quote:
Three things are alleged against us: atheism, Thyestean feasts, OEdipodean intercourse..
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Old 5th January 2021, 05:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
What is a generic God ?
Which book teaches about G'Don's generic God?
Also I wonder whether this God is generic enough since he requires faith in him ignoring the person's other virtues, such as compassion, kindness, honesty, generosity, etc.
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Old 5th January 2021, 06:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
What is a generic God ?
The only God we're actually allowed to talk about in God discussions for some reason.
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Old 5th January 2021, 06:23 AM   #5
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- You don't get to get out of intellectual standards by just saying the word "subjective."

- Vague nonsense isn't more intellectually viable than detailed nonsense. "I'm a theist not religious" and "I'm not religious I'm spiritual" and belief in a vague God of vague vagueness is not "smarter" or more intellectually justified then belief in any one specific God or theology. The guy who is 100% sure that some kind of dragon lives in his garage is not displaying higher intellectual standards than the guy who is 100% sure that a 3 toed, green, female, 2 year old Mongolian Pygmy Forest Dragon lives in his garage.
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Old 5th January 2021, 06:28 AM   #6
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An excellent way to put it JoeMorgue.

On what basis would one impart motives of any kind, let alone try to distinguish benevolence or malice, to a hypothetical universe-creator with any confidence?

Or even a creator with the capability of intent or agency enough to consider it a "creator" semantically?

I mean, it's fine to decide so if that's how you prefer to imagine the universe, but I expect by discussing it you are seeking a basis in reason.
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Old 5th January 2021, 06:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
- You don't get to get out of intellectual standards by just saying the word "subjective."

- Vague nonsense isn't more intellectually viable than detailed nonsense. "I'm a theist not religious" and "I'm not religious I'm spiritual" and belief in a vague God of vague vagueness is not "smarter" or more intellectually justified then belief in any one specific God or theology. The guy who is 100% sure that some kind of dragon lives in his garage is not displaying higher intellectual standards than the guy who is 100% sure that a 3 toed, green, female, 2 year old Mongolian Pygmy Forest Dragon lives in his garage.
Obviously not, females only turn green after they mature at 8 or 9 years.

Sheesh everyone knows this!
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Old 5th January 2021, 06:53 AM   #8
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This is why I bristle so hard at the idea that replacing old school religion with newer (often still with pretensions to "ancientness" oddly enough) vague new age Hippie-ness is seen as a "step forward."
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Old 5th January 2021, 06:56 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
Theism is really an arbitrary irrational belief in an imagined God.



What is a generic God ?

Which book teaches about G'Don's generic God?

It is interesting to note that Christians were called atheists since at least the 2nd century.

Justin's First Apology

Athenagoras' Plea for the Christians III

Interesting, didn't know that.

Because they didn't worship the Roman gods, I suppose? Much as Christianity used to see (still sees?) all non-Christians (atheists as well as followers of other religions) as heathens. And as Islam sees all unbelievers (in Islam) as Kafirs.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:06 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
This is why I bristle so hard at the idea that replacing old school religion with newer (often still with pretensions to "ancientness" oddly enough) vague new age Hippie-ness is seen as a "step forward."
I agree that it is, only in the sense that the vague new age Hippie-ness tends to be less willing to justify violence and misogyny. It is not really a step forward in the sense of an evidence-based look at reality.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:13 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by gnome View Post
I agree that it is, only in the sense that the vague new age Hippie-ness tends to be less willing to justify violence and misogyny. It is not really a step forward in the sense of an evidence-based look at reality.
I think separating intellectual standards and moral standards like this is problematic.

"It's okay if you believe in nonsense as long as you don't hurt anyone" is not a center that can hold.

And it leaves us standing there holding our (bleeps) with no way to combat it when it (usually inevitability) does turn to moral harm.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:17 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Interesting, didn't know that.

Because they didn't worship the Roman gods, I suppose? Much as Christianity used to see (still sees?) all non-Christians (atheists as well as followers of other religions) as heathens. And as Islam sees all unbelievers (in Islam) as Kafirs.
The difference between an atheist and a theist is that the atheist believes in one less god than the theist.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:19 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
- You don't get to get out of intellectual standards by just saying the word "subjective."

- Vague nonsense isn't more intellectually viable than detailed nonsense. "I'm a theist not religious" and "I'm not religious I'm spiritual" and belief in a vague God of vague vagueness is not "smarter" or more intellectually justified then belief in any one specific God or theology. The guy who is 100% sure that some kind of dragon lives in his garage is not displaying higher intellectual standards than the guy who is 100% sure that a 3 toed, green, female, 2 year old Mongolian Pygmy Forest Dragon lives in his garage.

Agreed, absolutely. Vagueness and subjectivity aren't "smart", and nor do they give one a free pass as far as being reasonable.

But we don't know what those reasons are yet, because he hasn't even started discussing them! Isn't it kind of unfair to characterize someone's reasons as vague and/or nonsensical before they've even presented them?

Besides, as far as the "subjectivity", I'm not even sure the reasons that are proposed to be discussed touch on that at all. They may not, those reasons may turn out to be entirely objective. I added that descriptor because in case GDon wants to discuss his subjective reasons as well, then I for one am interested in listening.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:22 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
The difference between an atheist and a theist is that the atheist believes in one less god than the theist.

Yep!

(Although -- sorry, small nitpick on that joke -- that would apply only to the mono-theist!)
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:27 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
But we don't know what those reasons are yet, because he hasn't even started discussing them! Isn't it kind of unfair to characterize someone's reasons as vague and/or nonsensical before they've even presented them?
Because pro-tip... because they will literally never characterize their own reasons because they don't actually have valid ones.

I get it, we're supposed to give the "benefit of the doubt" but this discussion literally always goes the same way and I'm tired going through the same steps.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:29 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Because pro-tip... because they will literally never characterize their own reasons because they don't actually have valid ones.

I get it, we're supposed to give the "benefit of the doubt" but this discussion literally always goes the same way and I'm tired going through the same steps.
And of course never let themselves be pinned down with an actual specific description of their god.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:32 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Because pro-tip... because they will literally never characterize their own reasons because they don't actually have valid ones.

I get it, we're supposed to give the "benefit of the doubt" but this discussion literally always goes the same way and I'm tired going through the same steps.

On second thoughts, it is probably me who's being unfair here. I shouldn't have put that word 'subjective' there in the thread title at all, given that I don't even know if subjectivity is at all part of the discussion -- although I myself am interested, even if some of those reasons do turn out to be subjective. That unnecessarily makes people less receptive to any discussion that might follow.

I think I'll request the mods to remove that word from the thread title.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:35 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Yep!

(Although -- sorry, small nitpick on that joke -- that would apply only to the mono-theist!)
Hardly a new joke, there are many versions of it - my favourite more up to date version is from Ricky Gervais
I donít understand how you donít believe in God.Ē

Well, you know how you donít believe in Zeus?
Like that.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:40 AM   #19
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Yeah but the problem isn't the word "subjective" it's the concept.

Either we let "Because magic" into the discussion or we don't. But without letting magic into the discussion there is no discussion. So the apologist will mumble-mush mouth their way into as much conversation as possible trying to get a conversation going to be a self feeding meta-conversation and then use that to justify the conversation.

In other words read my new sig line. That's what we're gonna get.

Ted: So why do you believe in God?
Bill: (Long, poorly formatted, stream of consciousness rambling about some deep philosophical statement about the question.)
Ted: That's not what I asked.
Bill: (Another long, poorly formatted, stream of consciousness rambling about a base philosophical debate and not the question)
Ted: Still not what I asked.

This cycle will repeat until:

1. Ted gets frustrated and says something vaguely snarky and the discussion will then become about how "mean" Ted is.
2. Bill tries to use the discussion about the discussion as proof that the question is valid.
3. Some other form of self-feeding meta-discussion about the discussion will drown out the question, which again the apologists will paint as a "win."
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:41 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Hardly a new joke, there are many versions of it - my favourite more up to date version is from Ricky Gervais
I donít understand how you donít believe in God.Ē

Well, you know how you donít believe in Zeus?
Like that.

Not particularly funny, actually, is it, that version? (The original version is witty, while this one isn't.)

But Ricky Gervais's "jokes" are like that I suppose. Not particularly funny, any of them ... except when he says it you do end up laughing, sometimes.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:54 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I think separating intellectual standards and moral standards like this is problematic.

"It's okay if you believe in nonsense as long as you don't hurt anyone" is not a center that can hold.

And it leaves us standing there holding our (bleeps) with no way to combat it when it (usually inevitability) does turn to moral harm.
More along the lines of "it's marginally better to believe in nonsense that tells you not to harm people than nonsense that teaches the alternative."

I agree that it does not gain ground on the overall problem of believing nonsense.
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Old 5th January 2021, 09:23 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Yeah but the problem isn't the word "subjective" it's the concept.

Either we let "Because magic" into the discussion or we don't. But without letting magic into the discussion there is no discussion. So the apologist will mumble-mush mouth their way into as much conversation as possible trying to get a conversation going to be a self feeding meta-conversation and then use that to justify the conversation.


3. Some other form of self-feeding meta-discussion about the discussion will drown out the question, which again the apologists will paint as a "win."
I expect it will boil down to redefining omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent to support the preconceived conclusion and then saying that anyone not using those definitions is arguing against a strawman.
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Old 5th January 2021, 09:56 AM   #23
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Unfortunately, I believe in FSM and Xhe killed all other gods including GDons.

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Old 5th January 2021, 10:01 AM   #24
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"... I'm a theist, but not a Christian. I believe in a generic omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent deity, which generally the Wager supports IMO. ..."

GDon, what even is the point in believing in such a vague and inconsequential thing? What even is the point of trying to defend such a belief?

Most atheists get hung up on the unprovability of the thing. Me? I get hung up on the ridiculous inconsequentiality of the thing. So go ahead and believe in your inconsequential flat earth, or your inconsequential ghostly apparitions, or your inconsequential generic theos.

I'm not sure what kind of defense Chanakya had in mind, or what kind of defense you're prepared to make. I'm not particularly interested in explanations for why it's okay to believe, under this or that rational framework. I would be interested in explanations for why it matters to believe. Explanations of what substantial benefits accrue from this belief. Benefits we can all appreciate, even if we don't agree that the trade-offs are worthwhile.

I'm amenable to both objective benefits ("adopting this belief magically fills my refrigerator with good food every week") and subjective benefits ("adopting this belief keeps my existential angst at bay and allows me to function at a much higher level than otherwise"); and even social benefits ("professing this belief gives me access to an influential support network in my community and around the world").

And no, I don't think the Wager supports inconsequential belief, at least not in spirit. Pascal was trying to mitigate a stated risk: Believe, or suffer eternally. This risk cannot arise from a generic, ill-defined deity. Specifically-defined deities have specifically-defined requirements for worship and obedience. Pascal knows what the Christian God expects, and his Wager aims specifically to thread the needle of his rationality and that acceptance.

What needle are you trying to thread here? What requirements of your generic deity are you trying to meet with this belief of yours?
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Old 5th January 2021, 10:04 AM   #25
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Oh look. The same arguments with the same feigned exasperation against arguments not being made, preemptively getting pissed off about things not being said. Color me surprised.

I like Gervais' Zeus thing. It sounds funny and convincing, doesn't it? Thing is, it's a bad argument. A lot of people come to the conclusion that first causes are incomprehensible (or uncomprehended here and now with no foreseeable resolution, for the pedantics). Some of them will casually saddle up to an existing religion, and be at peace with it. If you ask them how old the universe is, they won't say 6000 years, no matter what their church doctrine. But Gervais drags it back to a super-defined literal God, who can be factually disproven, because it's the only way he can 'win': reframe and change the argument. Which is just what we see here, putting words in other's mouths till it is on your terms.

But that's cynical. Maybe on this thread we'll see some honest discussion in good faith. For the first time in forum years. We'll see.
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Old 5th January 2021, 10:11 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Oh look. The same arguments with the same feigned exasperation against arguments not being made, preemptively getting pissed off about things not being said. Color me surprised.

I like Gervais' Zeus thing. It sounds funny and convincing, doesn't it? Thing is, it's a bad argument. A lot of people come to the conclusion that first causes are incomprehensible (or uncomprehended here and now with no foreseeable resolution, for the pedantics). Some of them will casually saddle up to an existing religion, and be at peace with it. If you ask them how old the universe is, they won't say 6000 years, no matter what their church doctrine. But Gervais drags it back to a super-defined literal God, who can be factually disproven, because it's the only way he can 'win': reframe and change the argument. Which is just what we see here, putting words in other's mouths till it is on your terms.

But that's cynical. Maybe on this thread we'll see some honest discussion in good faith. For the first time in forum years. We'll see.
I'm providing honest discussion in good faith. But this thread is probably doomed by the fact that the primary claimant did not start it, probably didn't ask for it, and doesn't seem to be aware of or interested in it.
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Old 5th January 2021, 10:24 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm providing honest discussion in good faith. But this thread is probably doomed by the fact that the primary claimant did not start it, probably didn't ask for it, and doesn't seem to be aware of or interested in it.
Agreed, it wasn't directed at you. I was recently in (what I thought was) a pretty benign discussion about the applicability of an analogy, presented by a claimed agnostic. It was dizzying how quickly the dogpile of reframers jumped on. Looking back on other threads, there is a...common theme, shall we say.

Hopefully Chanakya will take up the mantle, because you are right, GDon can't be forced into defense by proxy. But I'd lay odds that the thread was doomed by inclusion of the T word in the title. For my part, I've been down this dead-end street before and don't intend to spend a decade throwing fits about how I'm tired of talking about it.
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Old 5th January 2021, 10:55 AM   #28
Thermal
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
"... I'm a theist, but not a Christian. I believe in a generic omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent deity, which generally the Wager supports IMO. ..."

GDon, what even is the point in believing in such a vague and inconsequential thing? What even is the point of trying to defend such a belief?

Most atheists get hung up on the unprovability of the thing. Me? I get hung up on the ridiculous inconsequentiality of the thing. So go ahead and believe in your inconsequential flat earth, or your inconsequential ghostly apparitions, or your inconsequential generic theos.

I'm not sure what kind of defense Chanakya had in mind, or what kind of defense you're prepared to make. I'm not particularly interested in explanations for why it's okay to believe, under this or that rational framework. I would be interested in explanations for why it matters to believe. Explanations of what substantial benefits accrue from this belief. Benefits we can all appreciate, even if we don't agree that the trade-offs are worthwhile.

I'm amenable to both objective benefits ("adopting this belief magically fills my refrigerator with good food every week") and subjective benefits ("adopting this belief keeps my existential angst at bay and allows me to function at a much higher level than otherwise"); and even social benefits ("professing this belief gives me access to an influential support network in my community and around the world").

And no, I don't think the Wager supports inconsequential belief, at least not in spirit. Pascal was trying to mitigate a stated risk: Believe, or suffer eternally. This risk cannot arise from a generic, ill-defined deity. Specifically-defined deities have specifically-defined requirements for worship and obedience. Pascal knows what the Christian God expects, and his Wager aims specifically to thread the needle of his rationality and that acceptance.

What needle are you trying to thread here? What requirements of your generic deity are you trying to meet with this belief of yours?
This is an interesting distinction. Flat earth is not a half-bad analogy, should you allow it:

For all intents and purposes, people do treat the earth as flat. It's usefull, and practical, and serves us well, even though we know we're dangling on a spinning rock with only the very weak force of gravityand the grand scale of the apparently flat scenery keeping the illusion up. Similarly, we don't worry about all that empty space between protons and electrons allowing the world to fall apart. Generic theism is just a way to think about things.

The failing of the analogy of course is that we have concretely established the nature of the planet. It's no longer unknown. Not quite so with first causes. So a belief in some kind of kinda-sorta god and/or religion can be viewed as a convenient metaphor for living, much like treating the earth as flat for reasonable intents and purposes. The only difference is the known nature of the model in the case of the earth.
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Old 5th January 2021, 11:45 AM   #29
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Oh yes the "What does it matter?" routine.
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Old 5th January 2021, 12:12 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Oh yes the "What does it matter?" routine.
Not quite. More like:

"Given that it obviously doesn't matter, I see no problem in playing along with your belief. Get back to me when you believe something of consequence, like General Relativity, or a God that actually makes a difference."

That said, this is looking more and more like a call-out thread.

ETA: And actually, the more I think about it, the more I think GDon's belief could be discussed under the topic of the Pascal's Wager thread anyway. It's directly relevant to the question asked in the thread title. Subjective or objective, whatever his defense is, it can be discussed there.

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Old 5th January 2021, 01:54 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
This is an interesting distinction. Flat earth is not a half-bad analogy, should you allow it:

For all intents and purposes, people do treat the earth as flat. It's usefull, and practical, and serves us well, even though we know we're dangling on a spinning rock with only the very weak force of gravityand the grand scale of the apparently flat scenery keeping the illusion up. Similarly, we don't worry about all that empty space between protons and electrons allowing the world to fall apart. Generic theism is just a way to think about things.

The failing of the analogy of course is that we have concretely established the nature of the planet. It's no longer unknown. Not quite so with first causes. So a belief in some kind of kinda-sorta god and/or religion can be viewed as a convenient metaphor for living, much like treating the earth as flat for reasonable intents and purposes. The only difference is the known nature of the model in the case of the earth.
I have a hard time associating our lack of knowledge about everything that happened before or immediately after the big bang with theology, modern or ancient. I mean, even if the big bang was the act of some sentient being, I don't see any through thread from that event to any religion being practiced today or throughout our history. Other than all of them claiming to be worshiping that sentient being and much more.

Being the prime mover is one thing. Caring about how each and every human lives their life seems to be a completely different thing. I can't seem to put the two in the same room.

Really, the only reason creation creeps into religion seems to be as some sort of proof about whose god is greater. Anything less than the god of creation is just a bit weak. I'm surprised there isn't a branch of Christianity that claims to worship Jesus's grandfather, you know the father of the father. Quadritarian is one more than trinitarian.

I'm comfortable not knowing about the moment of creation or anything prior to the big bang. It is an interesting field for discussion and investigation, I suppose. If we learn more I will likely read a few articles about it. But, I doubt we will learn anything that will impact me on a personal level. Unless one of my offspring are involved in the research.

If I'm wrong I expect the right Rev. Dr. Thermal to be a real dick about it and rub it in my face, though. So that's something to look forward to.
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Old 5th January 2021, 02:01 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Oh yes the "What does it matter?" routine.
theprestige can defend his own words, but I think there is some validity in using his more carefully stated standard as a bit of an all purpose woo filter: If your claim is so inconsequential, what is the point in even wondering if it is true?

----

Woo: I can talk to cats, but only about the flavor of certain colors, so you wouldn't understand.

Me: No, I wouldn't care.

----

Woo: I believe in a god that has no impact on space, time, the future, any after life or any other aspect of our physical world. Would you like to discuss?

Me: No, why would I care about something that has no impact on me or any humans?

Seems useful at least as a way to prioritize how one spends their time. (I didn't mean that sarcastically, but the irony of that line as compared to my post count is not lost on me.)
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Old 5th January 2021, 02:05 PM   #33
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And the script is being followed line by line.

The topic is reasons for theism, not "No wait I want to have a broad philosophical talk and not actually answer the questions."

Also "I want to have a philosophical talk about my right to have a philosophical talk" is not the topic either."
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Old 5th January 2021, 02:11 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
And the script is being followed line by line.

The topic is reasons for theism, not "No wait I want to have a broad philosophical talk and not actually answer the questions."

Also "I want to have a philosophical talk about my right to have a philosophical talk" is not the topic either."
Sorry, I don't have any reasons for theism, so I talked about other stuff. Give me enough time and I think we can steer this whole thread to a nominally on-topic post that includes references to Miley Cyrus, ABBA, and Bach. Gregorian chants would be a bit on the nose.
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Old 5th January 2021, 02:18 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
theprestige can defend his own words, but I think there is some validity in using his more carefully stated standard as a bit of an all purpose woo filter: If your claim is so inconsequential, what is the point in even wondering if it is true?

----

Woo: I can talk to cats, but only about the flavor of certain colors, so you wouldn't understand.

Me: No, I wouldn't care.

----

Woo: I believe in a god that has no impact on space, time, the future, any after life or any other aspect of our physical world. Would you like to discuss?

Me: No, why would I care about something that has no impact on me or any humans?

Seems useful at least as a way to prioritize how one spends their time. (I didn't mean that sarcastically, but the irony of that line as compared to my post count is not lost on me.)
Mostly it's just that I'm enjoying having more than one tool in the toolbox.

You can't reason someone out of something they didn't reason themselves into. And woosters in general seem to be pretty impervious to the usual "burden of proof, that can be claimed without evidence", etc.

So I'm having fun exploring the "congratulations on vehemently defending something that is manifestly useless" dimension of such claims.
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Old 5th January 2021, 03:19 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Nay_Sayer View Post
Unfortunately, I believe in FSM and Xhe killed all other gods including GDons.

Vengeful are his noodles.

Is he made from generic noodles however, or a famous name brand?

I can see the FSM splintering into a multitude of different entities identified by different brands of pasta.
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Old 5th January 2021, 03:28 PM   #37
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I doubt anyone takes the FSM seriously enough to schism over it.
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Old 5th January 2021, 03:49 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Also I wonder whether this God is generic enough since he requires faith in him ignoring the person's other virtues, such as compassion, kindness, honesty, generosity, etc.
Cite?
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Old 5th January 2021, 10:09 PM   #39
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The christian god is well defined to the point he contradicts himself on nearly every point. He can be a forgiving god or vengeful and brutal. He can be demanding or lax in how one must worship.
The believer gets to choose the best version and others declare it good. Even if they prefer a different version.

The generic god also needs some properties to be defined by. Capable of healing for a prayer? Forgiveness for sinners? Turn the other cheek or smite the enemy brutally?

What are we being asked to accept as a valid god?

Even leaving logic and reason at the door this generic diety leaves little to discuss as there are no scriptures or guidelines beyond what a believer decides. As little or as much as he will allow us to know.

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Old 5th January 2021, 11:39 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
This thread's about a defense of theism/deism, that might include, apart from more general objective reasons, subjective reasons as well.

Since personal subjective ideas might be discussed here, I'll request other posters to be considerate/respectful in how they present any criticism they might want to make. (And I'm going out and saying this, because I'm taking the liberty of starting this thread myself , and getting this discussion going.)

-------

Context (copied from the Pascal's Wager thread):
Thanks, Chanakya. But defending theism, or at least my ideas about theism, wasn't what I had in mind. I've explained what I believe and why a few times on this board. The bottom line is "it's a faith position", which I don't expect anyone other than me to accept.

Instead, it's about the "many gods" objection. From the other thread:

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
No, the question that is being begged is the veracity, the reasonable-ness, of Pascal’s premise, that while the existence of other Gods can be ruled out, the existence of the Christian/RCC God cannot.

You really cannot have it both ways, not if you care to be reasonable. Either using the atheist’s reasoning you rule out all Gods, the RCC God included. Or else, in order to make your case, and as a starting point for your argument, you let in (the possibility of the existence of) all Gods. Anything else is blatant fallacious special pleading, unless you can clearly spell out your reasons for this exceptionalism.
To which I replied:

Originally Posted by GDon
I think that approach makes sense, but it will make for a possibly long (but interesting!) conversation. We could do it in this thread, or maybe in another.

If you are happy with that, I'll make a separate post in this thread to get us started. I'm not a Christian, so I'll be defending a more generic "God of the Philosophers".
This is a defence of the idea that Pascal can nominate a specific God for the Wager, using reasoning outside of the Wager.

To bring over some ideas from the other thread:

The two premises in Pascal's Wager that you listed are:
Quote:
1. Reason can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God;
2. We’ll take it that none of the other Gods, other than the RCC God, exist (or, if they exist, that they don’t matter), and focus only on the RCC God to the exclusion of all other Gods.
To get from the God in the Wager to a specifically Catholic God as opposed to, say, a Protestant God or Universalist God, requires more than the Wager. For example, Pascal's Wager doesn't address whether or not Jesus was born from a Virgin, or whether Mary ascended bodily to heaven, or which group of ancient books should be included in the Bible.

So the question of "Which God? The Protestant God or the Catholic God?" can't be answered by Pascal's Wager itself. So I'll defend the idea that a generic benevolent God as being applicable to the Wager, and then we can take it from there!

My reasoning here is that it's the type of God being used in what's called "The Atheist's Wager"
The Wager states that if one were to analyze their options in regard to how to live their life, he or she would arrive at the following possibilities:
  • You may live a good life and believe in a god, and a benevolent god exists, in which case you go to heaven: your gain is infinite.
  • You may live a good life without believing in a god, and a benevolent god exists, in which case you go to heaven: your gain is infinite.
  • You may live a good life and believe in a god, but no benevolent god exists, in which case you leave a positive legacy to the world; your gain is finite.
  • You may live a good life without believing in a god, and no benevolent god exists, in which case you leave a positive legacy to the world; your gain is finite.
  • You may live an evil life and believe in a god, and a benevolent god exists, in which case you go to hell: your loss is infinite.
  • You may live an evil life without believing in a god, and a benevolent god exists, in which case you go to hell: your loss is infinite.
  • You may live an evil life and believe in a god, but no benevolent god exists, in which case you leave a negative legacy to the world; your loss is finite.
  • You may live an evil life without believing in a god, and no benevolent god exists, in which case you leave a negative legacy to the world; your loss is finite.
There are two premises here:
1. That there is such a thing as "living a good life" and "living an evil life"
2. That there may or may not be a benevolent god.

I'll leave the first premise alone for now. But for the second premise: note the use of a generic "benevolent" god. Does the logic work with a non-specific god? I think it does. You don't need to list a specific known god for this logic to work. I propose the same for Pascal's Wager.

For those atheists who believe that there is reason to lack belief in all gods, the Atheist's Wager is moot. Similarly, committed Christians, atheists, etc, will find Pascal's Wager unnecessary. Obviously wagering is not necessary when you are sure of the result already!

And note that we are starting to eliminate gods here. Logically, malevolent gods are eliminated, since wagering will be of no use: we are screwed whatever we choose.

If you want to argue that "reason tells us all gods are fictitious", then the Wager is no longer applicable, since it falls afoul of the first premise.

So can we can eliminate other gods as well? Yes: people who have pretended to be gods, like Sathya Sai Baba, whose "acts were based on sleight of hand though his devotees believe them signs of his divinity."

So, in principle, we can say that some gods are more likely than other gods. But if some gods are more likely than other gods, then it is logical to say that there may be one or more gods who are the MOST likely. And you would gamble based on that outcome.

As I said: this may become a long discussion, so I will stop here, and please let me know what you think so far. Remember, the Wager is for those people who believe that reason can't tell us whether there is a god or not.

The two points here are:
1. Some gods may be more likely than other gods, leading to the idea that there may be a "most likely" god (of course that DOESN'T necessarily mean that that particular "god is likely!")
2. We can talk about gods in groups like "benevolent" gods.

(Edited to add: Just reading some comments: Yes, we can add the FSM to the list of gods more unlikely to exist. Or can we?!?)

Last edited by GDon; 6th January 2021 at 12:35 AM.
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