The Reason for God

spumoni
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The Reason for God

This is a well reasoned discussion at google talks by the author Tim Keller on the logical reason for belief in God.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxup3OS5ZhQ

 


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Thanks, but nothing new here!

Thanks, but nothing new here!

Edit:

BTW an epic FAIL on his answer to the first question.


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tl;dwWhy don't you make your

tl;dw

Why don't you make your own arguments rather than just linking videos? Or at least give us a summary of what he talks about. Right now it looks like you just typed "reasons to believe in god" into youtube and linked the video.


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 Yeah, it's an hour long

 Yeah, it's an hour long video. Is there any part of it you'd like to discuss? I think addressing an entire book in a single post is a bit difficult.

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fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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a discussion requires engagement

I find many discussions on this site terse and simplistic.  This was an attempt to garner a more in depth conversation.  Apparently its too much to ask.


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Well sorry if I don't want

Well sorry if I don't want to waste an hour of my life on a video that does not gaurentee any kind of quality. There's a reason why movie critics exist.


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spumoni wrote:I find many

spumoni wrote:

I find many discussions on this site terse

This is a bad thing ? 

 

spumoni wrote:
and simplistic. 

 

Yeah, that's what I always think when I read one of Deludedgod's posts all the way through : Too simplistic.

 

spumoni wrote:
This was an attempt to garner a more in depth conversation. 

 

Eh, no, this was an attempt to plug this guy's book. 

 

spumoni wrote:
  Apparently its too much to ask.

 

Watch an hour long infomercial for yet another God book ? Yeah, kinda.

If he makes any arguments that haven't been crushed here yet, why not just list them ? 

 

Er...you did watch it yourself, I hope ? 


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Anonymouse wrote:spumoni

Anonymouse wrote:

spumoni wrote:

I find many discussions on this site terse

This is a bad thing ? 

 

spumoni wrote:
and simplistic. 

 

Yeah, that's what I always think when I read one of Deludedgod's posts all the way through : Too simplistic.

 

spumoni wrote:
This was an attempt to garner a more in depth conversation. 

 

Eh, no, this was an attempt to plug this guy's book. 

 

spumoni wrote:
  Apparently its too much to ask.

 

Watch an hour long infomercial for yet another God book ? Yeah, kinda.

If he makes any arguments that haven't been crushed here yet, why not just list them ? 

 

Er...you did watch it yourself, I hope ? 

 

The proof is in the pudding.  One liner responses, very enlightening.  I find it hard to take atheists seriously when they won't even engage subjects.  Somehow I'm expected to read idiots like Dawkins and a short video is somehow beyond the capacity of most atheists.  I guess atheists are just lazy.


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spumoni wrote:The proof is

spumoni wrote:

The proof is in the pudding.  One liner responses, very enlightening.  I find it hard to take atheists seriously when they won't even engage subjects.  Somehow I'm expected to read idiots like Dawkins and a short video is somehow beyond the capacity of most atheists.  I guess atheists are just lazy.

Damned straight.

 

 

[edit] C'mon! That's funny, and you know it.

I haven't watched the video. I'll try to find some time in the next couple of days, though, just because you have a point. It would be nice if you'd give us an indication if there's something specific you liked, so we can pay particular attention. Otherwise, our short little attention spans will drift, and we'll miss something important, and then we won't be able to have a full discussion.

You know how atheists are.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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spumoni wrote:The proof is

spumoni wrote:
The proof is in the pudding.  One liner responses, very enlightening.  I find it hard to take atheists seriously when they won't even engage subjects.  Somehow I'm expected to read idiots like Dawkins and a short video is somehow beyond the capacity of most atheists.  I guess atheists are just lazy.

*sigh*

Listen, the point is, even if I watch this thing, I'm going to need you to point out just exactly where the value lies in what he's saying. Because I can tell you right now, what's "reason for god" for you, could be meaningless babble to me. So if I watch this video, I'm simply going to miss what you think is so important.

I've listened to dozens of those guys, and it was always a frustrating waste of time. Please understand that I'm sick of asking questions and being told to "just buy the book", "just watch my videos", "just take my seminar". If this guy has a point, and you know what it is, why not just tell us ? 

And I never asked you to read Dawkins. I haven't read him myself and have no intention to.

But I'm sure that if you'd like to know something about the points he makes in his book, people here who read it will be only too pleased to tell you.

 


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spumoni wrote:I find many

spumoni wrote:

I find many discussions on this site terse and simplistic.  This was an attempt to garner a more in depth conversation.  Apparently its too much to ask.

Of course you have to have life needlessly complex. It is impossible  for you to accept that atoms are not the product of magic. So you needlessly assign the control over the googles of googles of googles of atoms in the universe to a man in a white robe vs a man with a pitchfork.

"POOF" logic is your game and we are the people pointing out the myth behind the curtain.

 

 

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I watched approximately 17

I watched approximately 17 minutes of the video. He had an interesting anecdote about the proposed correlation of societal health and education with religiosity, but he offered nothing more than anecdote; he apparently has no understanding of statistics. I decided to continue watching to see what else he would argue, but I stopped watching when he tried to use the "atheists have just as much faith" card during his construal of atheism as consisting of only positive atheism, and thus excluding negative atheism, or weak atheism, which is the position that the vast majority of RRS members and moderators hold, and a position that one cannot argue against with the "faith card". A general rule of thumb: possess an understanding of a position before attempting to argue against it. When you find an apologist who argues against atheism and actually knows what the word atheist means, let us know.

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 Come on, VP.  You know if

 Come on, VP.  You know if they got all the definitions and our arguments right, they'd not have a case.  They have to argue against a distorted version to sound like they have something.


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stuntgibbon wrote: Come on,

stuntgibbon wrote:

 Come on, VP.  You know if they got all the definitions and our arguments right, they'd not have a case.  They have to argue against a distorted version to sound like they have something.

That only works if you're actually trying to challange atheists. If you are instead simply preaching to the converted, it doesn't really matter.

15 minutes in, and nothing here to suggest he's going to address atheism. Rather, he's trying to make theists feel good for not being atheists. I have to pause it, as I have to go prep and roast a turkey, but I'll get back to it in a bit.

I just wish I knew what was supposed to be so convincing.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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nigelTheBold

nigelTheBold wrote:

stuntgibbon wrote:

 Come on, VP.  You know if they got all the definitions and our arguments right, they'd not have a case.  They have to argue against a distorted version to sound like they have something.

That only works if you're actually trying to challange atheists. If you are instead simply preaching to the converted, it doesn't really matter.

15 minutes in, and nothing here to suggest he's going to address atheism. Rather, he's trying to make theists feel good for not being atheists. I have to pause it, as I have to go prep and roast a turkey, but I'll get back to it in a bit.

I just wish I knew what was supposed to be so convincing.

What should be so convincing is repeating something. If you repeat it enough it must be true. The sun is a thinking being by that standard because people repeated and dipicted that claim in Egypt for 3 thousand years.

 

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Brian37 wrote:nigelTheBold

Brian37 wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

I just wish I knew what was supposed to be so convincing.

What should be so convincing is repeating something. If you repeat it enough it must be true. The sun is a thinking being by that standard because people repeated and dipicted that claim in Egypt for 3 thousand years. 

Thanks. That helps clear things up.

I probably skipped logic the day the professor taught this.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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I watched a bit more of the


 

I watched a bit more of the video.

He goes on to argue that the argument from evil falls flat because it relies on an argument from ignorance. I suppose he is construing the argument from evil as saying: we cannot make sense of the suffering, therefore the suffering is senseless, therefore an all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfectly loving being would stop it. He has put forward a caricature of the argument, just like he caricatured the position of atheism earlier in his video.

Here is a fairly decent portrayal of the argument from evil...

Assumptions:
(A) God exists
(B) God is all-knowing
(C) God is all-powerful
(D) God is perfectly loving
(E) Any being that lacks any of the three above properties would not be God

Argument:
(1) Evil exists
(2) An all-knowing being would know that evil exists
(3) An all-powerful being could eliminate it
(4) A perfectly loving being would desire to eliminate it
(5) Thus, evil does not exist (from 2,3,4)
(6) Thus, no being is all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfectly loving (from 1,2,3,4,5)
(7) Thus, God does not exist (from E,6)

The argument does not say evil is senseless. If a God existed that was not all-powerful, not all-knowing, or not perfectly loving, then we very well could make sense of the evil. If no gods existed, we could make sense of it.

For the sake of argument, we shall assume that the evil does make sense; none of the evil that exists is senseless. That doesn't change the veracity of the argument, though. If you accept the theistic assumptions outlined, you're doomed because the premises lead, deductively, to a proof by contradiction. The argument shows that the existence of evil rules out the existence of God (as defined), and the existence of God (as defined) rules out the existence of evil. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

His argument, that the argument from evil relies on the fallacy of the argument from ignorance, seems to arise from his assumption that one of the greater-good theodicies successfully resolve the problem. Specifically, he relies on the unknown purpose defense. His acceptance of the validity of that theodicy leads him to think that the argument from evil relies on an argument from ignorance. Perhaps he did not try to caricature the argument from evil, but simply never looked at it without his rose-colored glasses on.

The unknown purpose theodicy does not work. It effectively abandons any possible justification for thinking that God is good, assuming God exists. Determining if something is good or bad requires at least some understanding the motive and intent of that God, but the unknown purpose defense explicitly denies such an understanding. If you use this theodicy, then you cannot assert that God is good without begging the question. This is special pleading in its purest form.

It also denies any possible justification for offering help to your fellows, because you would never know if you are working with God, without God, or against God. This attempt to rescue God from disproof results in throwing morality into the gutter, as you could never talk intelligibly of an outward moral virtue for yourself, for others, or for your God, and thus you would find yourself in moral paralysis.

I may watch more of the video later. I don't have my hopes up that it will put forward a good argument, though, seeing as how I've encountered three duds in a row thus far, and those weren't even new duds.

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Hey, VP, I love that final

Hey, VP, I love that final argument. I hadn't quite seen that before.

IOW if we shouldn't condemn God for what we see as allowing an evil thing to happen, because it may be 'necessary' to avoid some greater evil, then we maybe shouldn't condemn any apparently evil act for the same reason.

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Correct. It also has the

Correct. It also has the implication that we shouldn't praise any apparently righteous behavior either, because it might be necessary for an evil of equal or greater magnitude.

Anyway, I watched a bit more of the video.

Keller attempts to rebut Hitchens' argument that basically asks why God, if God exists, would allow his followers to commit such horrendous evils in his name. I have not heard Hitchens put forward any arguments, so I'll provisionally accept this portrayal of Hitchens' argument for the sake of argument.

Keller responds by saying that people seem to have an innate tendency to twist or pervert any worldview or philosophy for the attainment of evil ends. His response fails.

Even if humans had such an innate tendency, they also have the innate tendency to favor self-survival and to fear that which can destroy them. If God existed as defined, as having omni-attributes, then God could increase their fear of destruction and their favoring of self-survival to such an extent that it would overpower their tendency to twist or distort worldviews and philosophies. Those individuals not sane enough to recognize God's potency could be simply washed away, like God supposedly done during the worldwide flood. In such a scenario, God could prevent his followers from committing horrendous evils in his name.

The only way one could construe Keller's argument as successfully resolving the problem is to construe his argument as supporting non-intervention, such as that postulated by deism, because that would, to a certain extent, absolve god of any wrongdoing by not intervening. Unfortunately, he is not arguing for deism or anything similar. Using non-intervention to defend the notion that an interventionist god exists does not work; it contradicts itself.

Then, he argues that this tendency to twist or distort worldviews or philosophies occurs in Buddhism, Shintoism, Christianity, and Islam. I do not disagree. Unfortunately, he goes on to argue that violence, oppression, etc. also arose from atheism. This response also fails. Atheism is not a philosophy or worldview. Atheism only pertains to atheists within whose brains you will not find an acceptance of the proposition "a god exists". It does not put forward any principle, doctrine, belief, assertion, proposition, and therefore there is no principle, doctrine, belief, assertion, or proposition that someone could twist or distort in favor of violence, oppression, etc. so nothing could arise from atheism. Nothing that an atheist accepts grounds itself in atheism, distorted or not, because that cannot happen. In the "atheism outgrowth" for lack of a better term, he mentions Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and so on, but all of these individuals did what they did because of their mental health, their upbringing, their political views and aspirations, their anti-intellectualism, and so on, but none of that has anything to do with atheism.

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Visual_Paradox wrote:Anyway,

Visual_Paradox wrote:

Anyway, I watched a bit more of the video.
 

 

Dude, I admire your patience and stamina.


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spumoni wrote: The proof is

spumoni wrote:
 

The proof is in the pudding.  One liner responses, very enlightening.  I find it hard to take atheists seriously when they won't even engage subjects.  Somehow I'm expected to read idiots like Dawkins and a short video is somehow beyond the capacity of most atheists.  I guess atheists are just lazy.

 

Where'd you go, Spumoni?  There are some quite pointed statements made here by VP...he's clearly NOT lazy and is willing to engage you in great detail!  

Hello?

You there?


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 Oddly, arguments like this

 Oddly, arguments like this really bite off more than they can chew.  If they didn't claim all that magnificent shit about god, they could have their cake and eat it, too.  Arguing for the existence of any god at all is very difficult, if not impossible.  Once you start claiming to know anything about it at all, you're just stacking bad arguments on top of bad arguments.

 

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Visual_Paradox wrote:I

Visual_Paradox wrote:
I watched approximately 17 minutes of the video. He had an interesting anecdote about the proposed correlation of societal health and education with religiosity, but he offered nothing more than anecdote; he apparently has no understanding of statistics. I decided to continue watching to see what else he would argue, but I stopped watching when he tried to use the "atheists have just as much faith" card during his construal of atheism as consisting of only positive atheism, and thus excluding negative atheism, or weak atheism, which is the position that the vast majority of RRS members and moderators hold, and a position that one cannot argue against with the "faith card". A general rule of thumb: possess an understanding of a position before attempting to argue against it. When you find an apologist who argues against atheism and actually knows what the word atheist means, let us know.
Would you please explain the distinction between positive and negative atheism?  I'm an apologist who argues against atheism, so I'd like to be sure that I know what atheism means.

Once an athiest, now a believer, and always ready to debate issues respectfully.


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What pisses me off is that

What pisses me off is that he says that believers and non-believers need to be respectful and tolerant of each others position. But his Bible tells him that atheists are fools, evil, deserving of torture and punishment and basically enemies of believers. So, if he is going to take that position, he pretty much needs to totally reject the Bible and invent a version of God that is respectful toward people that don't believe in him.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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RespectfulButBelieving

RespectfulButBelieving wrote:

Would you please explain the distinction between positive and negative atheism?  I'm an apologist who argues against atheism, so I'd like to be sure that I know what atheism means.

I'm pretty sure these are also referred to as strong (positive) and weak (negative) atheism. I suppose negative atheism is simply the lack of a belief in God while positive atheism is "denial" of God (whatever the heck that means)? Although, many people disagree and claim that no distinction actually exists. Instead, negative atheism is lumped together with people that are really don't know to form the category, agnostics, while positive atheists are painted as puppy-torturing demons. Overall, the amount of semantic disagreement over these few words is pretty ridiculous, even among atheists and theists themselves.  

My approach to this problem (and I believe this is the RRS's stance) is I simply split everyone into theists (believe in God) and atheists (don't believe in God) and use the term agnostic (cannot know for certain whether God exists) as a qualifier.

So...

100% chance that God exists - gnostic theist

>50% chance that God exists - agnostic theist

50% chance or not sure - agnostic

<50% chance that God exists - agnostic atheist (negative)

0% chance that God exists - gnostic atheist (positive)

I prefer this classification because the other method, for some reason, has a difference way of classifying <50% than >50%.

Thoughts, anyone?

Edit: Also, I think we often emphasize that agnosticism describes what we believe we can know, not our beliefs themselves. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

RespectfulButBelieving wrote:

Would you please explain the distinction between positive and negative atheism?  I'm an apologist who argues against atheism, so I'd like to be sure that I know what atheism means.

I'm pretty sure these are also referred to as strong (positive) and weak (negative) atheism. I suppose negative atheism is simply the lack of a belief in God while positive atheism is "denial" of God (whatever the heck that means)? Although, many people disagree and claim that no distinction actually exists. Instead, negative atheism is lumped together with people that are really don't know to form the category, agnostics, while positive atheists are painted as puppy-torturing demons. Overall, the amount of semantic disagreement over these few words is pretty ridiculous, even among atheists and theists themselves.  

My approach to this problem (and I believe this is the RRS's stance) is I simply split everyone into theists (believe in God) and atheists (don't believe in God) and use the term agnostic (cannot know for certain whether God exists) as a qualifier.

So...

100% chance that God exists - gnostic theist

>50% chance that God exists - agnostic theist

50% chance or not sure - agnostic

<50% chance that God exists - agnostic atheist (negative)

0% chance that God exists - gnostic atheist (positive)

I prefer this classification because the other method, for some reason, has a difference way of classifying <50% than >50%.

Thoughts, anyone?

Edit: Also, I think we often emphasize that agnosticism describes what we believe we can know, not our beliefs themselves. 

I like percents. But I dont think all christians which you would call gnostic theists are at 100%. I was at 99.9 before I started hanging around here...now more like 90 but I would lean toward the agnostic, it cant be known (to any objective degree)...I believe it (some days more than others). I have faith that I would define as the extent that my belief is in action. But I understand that there can be no definition for God and hence he does not exist in the sense I thought he did. And he cannot technically exist as a thing inside or outside the universe like I would have thought before.

I would think most agnostics are not at 50% or above but more like 1-10%.

Most atheists seem to be below 1%. Almost all the positive atheists would say the probability is remote...<.001 I'm guessing...

its difficult to put probabilities at 0 or 100 anyway for anyone on any event. I think the 0's are like that because no definition makes sense. Not because of a rare rare event occuring. The probability may be undefined for atheists until we agree on a definition of events.


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Check out this

Check out this page.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/am_i_agnostic_or_atheist

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:

I like percents. But I dont think all christians which you would call gnostic theists are at 100%. I was at 99.9 before I started hanging around here...now more like 90 but I would lean toward the agnostic, it cant be known (to any objective degree)...I believe it (some days more than others). I have faith that I would define as the extent that my belief is in action. But I understand that there can be no definition for God and hence he does not exist in the sense I thought he did. And he cannot technically exist as a thing inside or outside the universe like I would have thought before.

I would think most agnostics are not at 50% or above but more like 1-10%.

Most atheists seem to be below 1%. Almost all the positive atheists would say the probability is remote...<.001 I'm guessing...

its difficult to put probabilities at 0 or 100 anyway for anyone on any event. I think the 0's are like that because no definition makes sense. Not because of a rare rare event occuring. The probability may be undefined for atheists until we agree on a definition of events.

When you say "most agnostics are more like 1-10%" etc., I assume you're referring to people that would call themselves agnostics, and, likewise, with every category. If that's the case, then I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. First, I think there are very few actual fence-sitters; there appears to be a giant gap in the middle of the playing field. Along the same line of reasoning, most people whom consider themselves agnostics appear to hold that God most likely doesn't exist. They don't consider themselves atheists because there seems to a pervasive definition of atheism as absolute knowledge that no God or Gods exist, which is still held by a large part, if not the majority, of at least the U.S. population. 

I agree that it's extremely difficult to put probabilities at 0 or 100%. Induction, for all practical purposes, is a process that is absurd to doubt, but we can't really say that it ever proves or disproves something with 100% certainly, although I suppose it could gather enough evidence to make the difference ridiculously minuscule and mostly semantic. Anyways, most atheists are agnostic atheists, and, you'll disagree with me here, but I also get the impression that most Christians feel they are 100% certain of the validity of their beliefs. 

Finally, of course, we can only put a qualitative percentage (qualitative percentage?) on these things because there is no way for us to actually quantify the chance of God existing. I think you implied something slightly different; "there can be no definition for God?" 

But, if you've called him something that you can't define, then you've already defined him, haven't you? 

Sigh, I suppose it's rather pathetic that people like you and I have been debating this issue for over a thousand years, but we haven't even agreed on the definitions of the very terms that are most fundamental to the topic.

 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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spumoni wrote:This is a well

spumoni wrote:

This is a well reasoned discussion at google talks by the author Tim Keller on the logical reason for belief in God.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxup3OS5ZhQ

 

Pony up with some disimbodied godsperm and replicate human flesh surviving rigor mortis, get your findings peer reviewed by the AMA and then you will have something. We await (*cough cough*) your findings.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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JustAnotherBeliever
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butterbattle wrote:Check out

butterbattle wrote:

Check out this page.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/am_i_agnostic_or_atheist

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:

I like percents. But I dont think all christians which you would call gnostic theists are at 100%. I was at 99.9 before I started hanging around here...now more like 90 but I would lean toward the agnostic, it cant be known (to any objective degree)...I believe it (some days more than others). I have faith that I would define as the extent that my belief is in action. But I understand that there can be no definition for God and hence he does not exist in the sense I thought he did. And he cannot technically exist as a thing inside or outside the universe like I would have thought before.

I would think most agnostics are not at 50% or above but more like 1-10%.

Most atheists seem to be below 1%. Almost all the positive atheists would say the probability is remote...<.001 I'm guessing...

its difficult to put probabilities at 0 or 100 anyway for anyone on any event. I think the 0's are like that because no definition makes sense. Not because of a rare rare event occuring. The probability may be undefined for atheists until we agree on a definition of events.

 

Anyways, most atheists are agnostic atheists, and, you'll disagree with me here, but I also get the impression that most Christians feel they are 100% certain of the validity of their beliefs. 

Finally, of course, we can only put a qualitative percentage (qualitative percentage?) on these things because there is no way for us to actually quantify the chance of God existing. I think you implied something slightly different; "there can be no definition for God?" 

Thanks for the link. This is interesting. I might be an enthusiastic christian and think I am 100% sure (as I probably have in the past) but my 99.9 was because we all might be brains in vats or in the matrix. But I wasnt taking into account all the possible ways I could be wrong. And even if I dont understand math and that I cant be 100% and still be wrong thats one thing. Also people dont really know what their percent really is. We are guessing or estimating what it is which puts a confidence band on it. I try to put a confidence interval on everything just for practice  to see if I can get better at containing the real number. But in a sense, since probability is subjective it doesnt make sense to put an interval on it! Its only based on what I think I know.

So I agree that many Christians think theyre at 100%. I will consider that I have "maintained the faith" when I die even if I'm only at 51%.

As christians we are taught to be sure about where we're going...but lately I think maybe its better to not be so sure...but I figure I'm ok with not existing anymore after death, I deserve hell (but dont think its going to be that bad for most people) so Im ok with that, but I would still like to serve god for eternity if thats an option.


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JustAnotherBeliever

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:

Thanks for the link. This is interesting. I might be an enthusiastic christian and think I am 100% sure (as I probably have in the past) but my 99.9 was because we all might be brains in vats or in the matrix. But I wasnt taking into account all the possible ways I could be wrong. And even if I dont understand math and that I cant be 100% and still be wrong thats one thing. Also people dont really know what their percent really is. We are guessing or estimating what it is which puts a confidence band on it. I try to put a confidence interval on everything just for practice  to see if I can get better at containing the real number. But in a sense, since probability is subjective it doesnt make sense to put an interval on it! Its only based on what I think I know.

So I agree that many Christians think theyre at 100%. I will consider that I have "maintained the faith" when I die even if I'm only at 51%.

As christians we are taught to be sure about where we're going...but lately I think maybe its better to not be so sure...

but I figure I'm ok with not existing anymore after death,

I think the doctrines in Christianity, like most religions, value the truth, but they value themselves more. What I mean is that most pastors wouldn't tell you to impartially search for the truth, but to find the truth in Christianity, and this has always been my greatest objection to religion, this closed-mindedness, this, "have faith in Jesus" "God said it, I believe it, that settles it" mentality. In a way, it makes perfect sense; once a person truly believes in heaven and hell, the ultimate goal is not to find the truth, but to achieve salvation. However, if we never question our most basic beliefs and consider how they might be wrong, we will never correct incorrect assumptions, and this applies all over the world. The fundamentalists can harp as much as they want, but it is a fact that children overwhelmingly follow the religions of their parents.

Quote:
I deserve hell (but dont think its going to be that bad for most people) so Im ok with that,

The mainstream Christian concept of hell is eternal torture. I don't think anyone deserves that. If it's separation from God, well, I don't know.

Quote:
but I would still like to serve god for eternity if thats an option.

If this is the same God that allows people to go to hell, then I definitely wouldn't want to serve him. Then, even if he was a loving and just God, I would still object to "eternity" or "infinity" of any kind.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


JustAnotherBeliever
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butterbattle wrote:If this

butterbattle wrote:

If this is the same God that allows people to go to hell, then I definitely wouldn't want to serve him. Then, even if he was a loving and just God, I would still object to "eternity" or "infinity" of any kind.

I don't think anyone really thinks about how long eternity is so I would have to agree that anything that lasts for eternity sounds like a bad deal. Even bliss would get old. It doesn't make too much sense I guess. I hope god knows what hes doing.