Philosophical proof that 'God' is a man-made concept

mavaddat's picture

To me, Plato's 'Euthyphro' still gives us the quintessential outline of why any God must have been made up by humans. The idea is that, unlike all other objective facts that we know about the world, for some reason it's up to humanity to specify all of God's attributes a priori, or by definition. Although Socrates was talking to Euthyphro about 'piety,' any suggested attribute of God can be equally called under question in the same way. We define 'the sun' to be something like 'the fiery ball in the sky,' but this definition is always open to revision based on further investigation in a way that the concept of God is not. And the (epistemic) difference between these two concepts is very important. Consider the following:

Many people think that our knowledge of God flows from God down to us through some religion or messenger or subjective experience. However, if this is true, then it fails to account for how we can recognize a religion as being from God in the first place. It fails for being able to decide who is a messenger of God in the first place. And it also fails to account for how we can determine which experiences are genuinely experiences of God and not just our own minds. If we are supposed to choose a religion based on how well it reflects God's will, then we must have some sense of what God's will is in the first place. Yet, if we learn what God wants from religion, how can we decide which religion is from God? It's like trying to decide whether a certain handwriting belongs to a certain person before knowing what that person's handwriting even looks like.

If choosing a religion is an arbitrary process that does not depend on our choosing a good religion, then the only possible standard for choosing between religions is one that man makes up. If it does depend on our choosing a good religion, then once again man must have some sense of what is good and what is bad prior to choosing his religion. In this case, again it is not what God wants that matters, but what the dictates of man's morality tells him to choose.

So ultimately humanity must be the final judge as to what religion he chooses and by what standard he chooses. To say that humanity must abide by God's standard when choosing a religion is to put the theological cart before the horse, since it presupposes that we already know what God's standard looks like, which is the very thing we would want to figure out!

Morality is a collective social construct, but it surely does not 'come from' religion. For if it did, then to say 'my religion is good,' would be merely tautological, since any religion would itself be (by definition) the source of good for its followers and would thus set the standard of right and wrong. If this is the way we're going to speak, then no two religions can be compared, since for the followers of extremist Islam (for example) their religion defines what is good for them. If this is the case, then it means that they have been completely indoctrinated and convinced not to question what they have been told. Indoctrination is an arbitrary process, since any religion at all can be good by definition. It is when we all work with a common standard of good and evil that it becomes meaningful to speak of one religion being better than another. But then if we already have this common standard of right and wrong, why do we need religion? The answer is obvious to me: we don't.

With some modification, the question posed by Socrates in the Euthyphro is something like this: Is a religion good because it comes from God (in which case it's important to follow the 'right religion')? Or does God give us a religion because it is good (in which case all that matters is being good)? If it is the former, then we have no method to decide what religion to follow. If it is the latter, then we don't actually need religion, per se, so long as we recognize what is good about any one religion. In either case, God must be judged by man, not the other way around. For there can be no imperative for us to obey an unjust tyrant, no matter what claim he has on our creation or however powerful he is. Might simply does not make right, and a God that does not pass our standards of morality does not warrant obedience.

Holy_Spirit_is_Welcome's picture

Talking philosophical proofs

1. The universe had a beginning

2. Anything that has a beginning is caused by something else.

3. The universe was caused by something else

 -----

1. Every part of the universe is dependent

2. If every part of the universe is dependant, then the universe must also be dependant as a whole

3. Therefore the whole universe is dependant for existence right now on some independent entity

 -----

1. All designs imply a designer.

2. There is great design in the universe.

3. Therefore, there must be a great designer of the universe

 -----

1. Moral laws imply a law-giver.

2. There is an objective moral law.

3. Therefore, there is a moral-law-giver.

 -----

1. Every natural innate desire has a real object that can fulfill it.

2. Human beings have a natural, innate desire for immortality.

3. Therefore, there must be an immortal life after death.

-------

As long as you are willing to let yourself be convinced that God is an imaginary entity, he will remain an imaginary entity in your opinion, whether he actually exists or not. It is not so wise to assume that your preconceived notions mandate the non-existence of God.

-------

Proverbs 12:15
"The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice."

 

Iruka Naminori's picture

Holy_Spirit_is_Welcome

Holy_Spirit_is_Welcome wrote:

1. The universe had a beginning

2. Anything that has a beginning is caused by something else.

3. The universe was caused by something else

-----

1. Every part of the universe is dependent

2. If every part of the universe is dependant, then the universe must also be dependant as a whole

3. Therefore the whole universe is dependant for existence right now on some independent entity

-----

1. All designs imply a designer.

2. There is great design in the universe.

3. Therefore, there must be a great designer of the universe

-----

1. Moral laws imply a law-giver.

2. There is an objective moral law.

3. Therefore, there is a moral-law-giver.

-----

1. Every natural innate desire has a real object that can fulfill it.

2. Human beings have a natural, innate desire for immortality.

3. Therefore, there must be an immortal life after death.

-------

As long as you are willing to let yourself be convinced that God is an imaginary entity, he will remain an imaginary entity in your opinion, whether he actually exists or not. It is not so wise to assume that your preconceived notions mandate the non-existence of God.

-------

Proverbs 12:15
"The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice."

 

You haven't read much on this site, have you?

Silly borg-again.

Books on atheism, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.

mavaddat's picture

Easy peasy

The Scottish philosopher David Hume defeated all these arguments more than two-hundred years ago. The common fallacy in the first two arguments is that you use a principle of practical reason which applies to individual things (i.e., 1. that everything that begins has a cause; and, 2. that everything is contingent), and then you apply it to the set of all things.

It is like saying that, Since each person must have a reason for getting on the bus, there must also be an independent reason why the set of all-people-on-the-bus are on the bus. But such an explanation is not needed once the reason why each person is on the bus is given. If we can trace back the cause of each individual thing, then we don't need an additional cause for 'the set of all things.' Since 'the set of all things' is the universe, it follows that the universe does not need a cause so long as each thing in the universe has a cause.

Given what we know about quantum mechanics, 'each individual thing' can be defined as the interaction of many quarks and other fundamental particles. Since these particles can spontaneously come into existence ex nihilo, everything is sufficiently explained.

Next!

Quote:
1. All designs imply a designer.

2. There is great design in the universe.

3. Therefore, there must be a great designer of the universe

True! The designers are us, baby, and we are fab-u-lous! (Sorry, that was my 'Birdcage' impersonation.) There is no design besides what humans create.

Next!

Quote:
1. Moral laws imply a law-giver.

2. There is an objective moral law.

3. Therefore, there is a moral-law-giver.

True again! Quoteth Kant:
Immanuel Kant wrote:
Every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends.
Thus, every rational being is a law-giver for his or her own self.

Next!

Quote:
1. Every natural innate desire has a real object that can fulfill it.
Oops. This is where you went wrong again. I have a natural innate desire to have sex with a forty foot woman. ... I rest my case.

Next!

Oh, that's all? Eye-wink

mavaddat's picture

Here's David Hume's own

Here's David Hume's own objection to your first two arguments:

David Hume, in his 'Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, wrote:
It is pretended that the Deity is a necessarily existent being; and this necessity of his existence is attempted to be explained by asserting, that if we knew his whole essence or nature, we should perceive it to be as impossible for him not to exist, as for twice two not to be four. But it is evident that this can never happen, while our faculties remain the same as at present. It will still be possible for us, at any time, to conceive the non-existence of what we formerly conceived to exist; nor can the mind ever lie under a necessity of supposing any object to remain always in being; in the same manner as we lie under a necessity of always conceiving twice two to be four. The words, therefore, necessary existence, have no meaning; or, which is the same thing, none that is consistent.

But further, why may not the material universe be the necessarily existent being, according to this pretended explication of necessity? We dare not affirm that we know all the qualities of matter; and for aught we can determine, it may contain some qualities, which, were they known, would make its non-existence appear as great a contradiction as that twice two is five. I find only one argument employed to prove, that the material world is not the necessarily existent Being: and this argument is derived from the contingency both of the matter and the form of the world. "Any particle of matter," it is said, "may be conceived to be annihilated; and any form may be conceived to be altered. Such an annihilation or alteration, therefore, is not impossible." But it seems a great partiality not to perceive, that the same argument extends equally to the Deity, so far as we have any conception of him; and that the mind can at least imagine him to be non-existent, or his attributes to be altered. It must be some unknown, inconceivable qualities, which can make his non-existence appear impossible, or his attributes unalterable: and no reason can be assigned, why these qualities may not belong to matter. As they are altogether unknown and inconceivable, they can never be proved incompatible with it.

Add to this, that in tracing an eternal succession of objects, it seems absurd to enquire for a general cause or first author. How can any thing, that exists from eternity, have a cause, since that relation implies a priority in time, and a beginning of existence?

In such a chain, too, or succession of objects, each part is caused by that which preceded it, and causes that which succeeds it. Where then is the difficulty? But the whole, you say, wants a cause. I answer, that the uniting of these parts into a whole, like the uniting of several distinct countries into one kingdom, or several distinct members into one body, is performed merely by an arbitrary act of the mind, and has no influence on the nature of things. Did I shew you the particular causes of each individual in a collection of twenty particles of matter, I should think it very unreasonable, should you afterwards ask me, what was the cause of the whole twenty. This is sufficiently explained in explaining the cause of the parts.

"I have a natural innate

"I have a natural innate desire to have sex with a forty foot woman." really?

God is not a man-made

God is not a man-made concept. RELIGION is a man-made concept. The great spiritual avatars such as Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, etc. never intended to start religions or be worshipped as they are today. They only wanted to inform and educate man-kind. What they taught was the science of the soul, the science of life, the science of the Universe, and the science of Man's spiritual evolution. They did not teach religious dogma (the man-made institutional aspects).

Furthermore I find it hilarious when people do not believe in God. The truth is that God is not a singular entity somewhere in the ethers, the God who is like a man but with supernatural powers (as depicted in many religions). God is the collective consciousness of the entire Universe. God is not separate from anyone or anything in existence. God is one and God is all. The one consciousness that encompasses all consciousness. That includes you! Once you free yourself from all the man-made, religious, and scientific dogma you will truly start to see the big picture.

There is an excellent book by a man named Lee Bladon entitled "The Science of Spirituality" ... I would recommend it be read by anyone with an open and inquiring mind as to the truth behind our perceived reality. If you look it up on Google Books it lets you read the first half of the book entirely free. He also has a website (www.esotericscience.org) where you can read several articles from the book.

Namaste, dear friends.

Namaste wrote:God is not a

Namaste wrote:

God is not a man-made concept. RELIGION is a man-made concept. The great spiritual avatars such as Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, etc. never intended to start religions or be worshipped as they are today. They only wanted to inform and educate man-kind. What they taught was the science of the soul, the science of life, the science of the Universe, and the science of Man's spiritual evolution. They did not teach religious dogma (the man-made institutional aspects).

Furthermore I find it hilarious when people do not believe in God. The truth is that God is not a singular entity somewhere in the ethers, the God who is like a man but with supernatural powers (as depicted in many religions). God is the collective consciousness of the entire Universe. God is not separate from anyone or anything in existence. God is one and God is all. The one consciousness that encompasses all consciousness. That includes you! Once you free yourself from all the man-made, religious, and scientific dogma you will truly start to see the big picture.

There is an excellent book by a man named Lee Bladon entitled "The Science of Spirituality" ... I would recommend it be read by anyone with an open and inquiring mind as to the truth behind our perceived reality. If you look it up on Google Books it lets you read the first half of the book entirely free. He also has a website (www.esotericscience.org) where you can read several articles from the book.

Namaste, dear friends.

You've just made God an unnecessary concept. Congratulations.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin

Brian37's picture

Holy_Spirit_is_Welcome

Holy_Spirit_is_Welcome wrote:

1. The universe had a beginning

2. Anything that has a beginning is caused by something else.

3. The universe was caused by something else

A hurricane has a beginning, but you don't believe that Thor or invisible pixies cause a hurricane. Not that it will sink into your old argument infested head, but the universe does not need a being to cause it anymore than you believe Thor causes lighting and Thunder. Any more than a pile of driftwood on the beach becoming a home for a colony of insects constitutes a creator.

Quantum mechanics points too, along with the radiation in the universe points to a singularity none of it requiring a thinking being to be the cause, a random quantum uncaused twitch is all that is needed, not a god or cognition of any kind.

 

 -----

Quote:
1. Every part of the universe is dependent

2. If every part of the universe is dependant, then the universe must also be dependant as a whole

3. Therefore the whole universe is dependant for existence right now on some independent entity

NO IT IS NOT, a quark on the other side of the universe will never make contact with a quark in the atoms in my body. Just like my death will will not cause the extinction of the entire human species. Just like you will never meet all 6 billion people on this planet.

 

 -----

Quote:
1. All designs imply a designer.

2. There is great design in the universe.

3. Therefore, there must be a great designer of the universe

Do you really want to go there? Ok, for model's sake only, a god exists, if everything is designed then the nasty things too, like cancer, and ecoli and tsunamis are designed too.

 

Quote:
1. Moral laws imply a law-giver.

2. There is an objective moral law.

3. Therefore, there is a moral-law-giver.

And lucky for us out of the 6 billion people you just happen to know who this moral lawgiver is. And so does every other fan of every other religion, take a number.

 -----

Quote:
1. Every natural innate desire has a real object that can fulfill it.

2. Human beings have a natural, innate desire for immortality.

3. Therefore, there must be an immortal life after death.

If a desire is not harming others, then it is none of your business.

Humans can and do things to harm others, yes, but they also can control themselves.

And 3 is nothing more than a naked assertion. If you can accept that no humans were around to claim the existence of Allah 1 billion years ago, what makes you think humans will be around 5 billion years from now to go around claiming your pet god? Life after I die will be exactly like it was before I was born.

Quote:
As long as you are willing to let yourself be convinced that God is an imaginary entity, he will remain an imaginary entity in your opinion, whether he actually exists or not. It is not so wise to assume that your preconceived notions mandate the non-existence of God.

I don't have to convince myself that your god does not exist. Thoughts are a product of a material process(SCIENTIFIC FACT). So unless you can find evidence for the material brain of your invisible god claim, I think it is much more rational that you merely like the idea of a super hero protecting you.

-------

Quote:
Proverbs 12:15
"The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice."

Then be wise and accept that your god is nothing more than a superstition in your head that others have sold you.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

just stating a fact..

just look outside, you can't deny that such a complex and beautiful sight wasn't created by something bigger than ourselves. I am not saying you have to believe in God, but you have to agree that the world was made by something beyond our understanding!