Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Mammon

God, Theism, Religion and Objectivism

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Objects exist in reality. We observe and conceptualize them. The concepts exist in our heads.

In contrast, the world of forms, from what I can understand, is a realm where concepts are supposed to exist apart from a consciousness. But that is a contradiction, as the concept of "concept" depends on a consciousness.

Plato's idea is that our 'souls' return to the immaterial realm where we have direct access to these forms, and we are constantly reincarnated in some endless search to recreate these forms to the best of our ability while never being able to achieve perfection, only a immitation of a form. He also says all knowledge is recollection.

Naturally you can see why I want to know exactly why he is wrong. However, his theory splits consciousness from existence but arguably, while these forms exist independently from consciousness -- man is still inherently aware of all of them, he 'observes' them -- in Plato's world sensory perception is incompetent and real perception only happens in between the non-stop pointless cycle of reincarnation.

Edited by ilrein

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A soul apart from a brain. A realm that is not material, nor conceptually founded on the material. Direct access that is not objective. These concepts are all built on the concepts he tries to separate them from. They become meaningless words the moment they are used outside of their context. "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1. You missed that fact that someone who rejects reason in favor of faith cannot be reasoned with - he is not interested in reality based facts or logic.

Not everyone who believes in god has rejected reason--quite a number of the ones I have met are merely philosophically naive and uncritical. In general, this is the assumption you should make until you learn for a fact that the person rejects reason or thinks that faith is "above" reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not everyone who believes in god has rejected reason--quite a number of the ones I have met are merely philosophically naive and uncritical. In general, this is the assumption you should make until you learn for a fact that the person rejects reason or thinks that faith is "above" reason.

Faith is the negation of reason.

You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

Being philosophically naive implies that the faculty of reason is not being used to perceive reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey turbo,

1. My friend is a rational individual, he has simply not been exposed to Objectivism -- we don't have aimless conversations where the words we use have different meanings.

2. I suggested this, but it's not good enough to be at a gray area, I want to definitely prove God doesn't exist.

3. This is only partially true, Nate Branden said it's not irrational for savages to believe in God because they lack a way to pass superior judgment. This is just as true in modern times, ie Lil Wayne ferverently believes in God but he also happens to be a hero.

4. I'm aware, I'm not that new ;) Remember I wanted to stay away from ethics? I'm interested in the fundamental [il]logic and I want to be able to justify it flawlessly and coherently when I speak off the top of my head.

If your friend was rational he wouldn't sacrifice reason for faith.

Exposure to Objectivism is not a prerequisite of thinking rationally.

Like I said, it's not possible to disprove the existence of something that doesn't exist.

Branden doesn't think savages can use their own physical senses and the ability of their own reasoning minds to perceive reality?

That's not surprising.

What does Lil Wayne being a hero and believing in god have to do with anything?

My fourth point was not just about ethics, it gave a REASON that the concepts of faith and religion were originally created.

And like I said, faith and god are not about logic, they are about FALSE PREMISES.

CHECK YOUR PREMISES!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Faith is the negation of reason.

You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

Being philosophically naive implies that the faculty of reason is not being used to perceive reality.

You are right, but many people of faith can learn of their error and correct it. Faith exists because of a desire to pursue values that are ultimately rational. This is different than nihilism, not in final consquence, or source of error, but in extent of progression.

A faithless nihilist rejects all value. A person of faith has identified some values, has a not-so-well articulated sense of the source of those values, and therefore has a desire to pursue them. Faith is a stepping stone towards reason or nihilism. It all depends on the person, in their exposure to ideas/ability to think critically whether they choose one path or another. Most people who tend towards reason become 'agnostic'. Most people who tend towards nihilism become fundamentalist. Some people complete the journey towards rationality, or towards anarchic radicalism.

But I think that when you discuss ideas with a person of faith, it would be proper to discuss mainly the problems with faith, and the process of epistemology. This before diverging to other topics. So I agree with you in spirit.

I for one have decided that even if a being proved he was God via miracles and the like, I would still never believe that he was 'God' since God is impossible. He would be a 'powerful being'. Maybe even a creator of earth and man, but not 'God'. The same 'rules' that make existence, interaction, concepts and the like possible, rule out a God. I haven't developed an articulate way of expressing these conclusions to others, but I appeal to the standard arguments centered on the tenets/axioms of Objectivism as evidence enough of this sentiment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wanted to disprove God on metaphysical grounds.

You cannot prove that something that does not exist... does not exist. I.e., because god is a figment of imagination there's no evidence that such a thing exists.

In other words, it is NOT your obligation to disprove the existence of a god, it is your friends obligation to prove that a god exists. That means he has to provide supporting evidence to this claim that something he is calling a god exists.

No one has ever provided evidence that god exists and no one will ever be able to do it. A zero, a nothing, a figment of imagination does not leave a trail, it does not interact with objects, there will be nothing to cite as factual evidence supporting "its" existence.

Incidentally, "disprove" means building a case using factual evidence, which explains a phenomena better than a previously argued, factually supported case.

The word disprove does not apply in this discussion, because no one has ever demonstrated the existence of a god by building a case using factual support, i.e., evidence. Just like your "friend" people have only made assertions assuming the existence of a gold.

Edited by phibetakappa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was discussing philosophy with my friend and I hit a road block. I explained the 3 axioms but I had trouble verbally proving God is illogical and doesn't exist. His point was God does have identity as 'all-knowing, all-good, omnipresent', therefore he doesn't violate the axiom of identity. Now I didn't take those characteristics as irreducible primaries, but the topic turned ethical while I wanted to disprove God on metaphysical grounds.

What did I miss?

Here's what you missed. "All-knowing, all-good, omnipresent" are not an identity of something. "Knowing, good, presence" are attributes of entities. Attributes cannot be metaphysically separated from the entities; they are isolated by a process of abstraction. Entities are perceived on a perceptual level by sensory processes. So the question still remains, where (and how) do we perceive God? If God is a "thing" then ask your friend to point to him in reality, or point to the facts that make your friend think there is such a thing. Then argue about those facts. Your friend must establish the existence of the entity before you can argue about its attributes.

Arguing that God has an identity because of his alleged attributes is like saying that the green gremlin sitting on your shoulder has identity because he is green. BUT HE DOESN'T EXIST!! In other words, identity presupposes existence.

Edited by A is A

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wanted to disprove God on metaphysical grounds.

What did I miss?

I don't know, but here are some solid, coherent arguments against the existence of God (and yes, they do prove that God cannot exist):

The omnipotence paradox

Most, if not all, monotheistic religions claim the existence of an omnipotent God. This argument leaves the concept of omnipotence as a mere paradox unable to exist in a logical universe. If a deity is in fact omnipotent, then he is able to create a rock he himself cannot lift. Since he cannot lift the rock he just created he is not omnipotent.

Argument from free will

All monotheistic religions claim their god to be omniscient, and at the same time claim to have been given free will by the very same god. These two concepts are incompatible. Here is why: An omniscient being knows everything, including the future will of his supposed free willed- designees. Since the will is already known, it cannot be free at the same time.

Source: http://oneminute.rationalmind.net/god/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Faith is the negation of reason.

You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

Being philosophically naive implies that the faculty of reason is not being used to perceive reality.

The faculty of reason doesn't "perceive" reality. It integrates and applies the information provided by your perceptions. Perception is automatic. Reason is not.

And many people who believe in god have little or no *faith*, they simply do it out of lethargy and a compartmentalized approach to life. I suggest, before you start making broad claims about whether or not many people who have religion do this or that, you go out and actually meet some religious people and determine for yourself whether they act on faith or on such reason as they have and whether they perceive reality or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not everyone who believes in god has rejected reason--quite a number of the ones I have met are merely philosophically naive and uncritical. In general, this is the assumption you should make until you learn for a fact that the person rejects reason or thinks that faith is "above" reason.

Example: Isaac Newton. Aside from inventing physics and much of mathematics as we know it, he was a God Phreak.

Bob Kolker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Example: Isaac Newton. Aside from inventing physics and much of mathematics as we know it, he was a God Phreak.

Bob Kolker

Are you citing Isaac Newton as an example of rationality on this subject, or the opposite? (because he was the opposite)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You cannot prove that something that does not exist... does not exist. I.e., because god is a figment of imagination there's no evidence that such a thing exists.

In other words, it is NOT your obligation to disprove the existence of a god, it is your friends obligation to prove that a god exists. That means he has to provide supporting evidence to this claim that something he is calling a god exists.

While that is true, and I pointed that out in my first reply, God's various traits are logically contradictory and so impossible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you citing Isaac Newton as an example of rationality on this subject, or the opposite? (because he was the opposite)

We would call Newton well compartmentalized, these days. On matters of physics and mathematics he was totally rational. Hell, he invented it! On matters of the Ultimate Mysteries and Realities, he was .... well....mystic. Wrote four times as many words on the ultimate mysteries of the universe than he ever did on physics and mathematics. His main life work was to decipher the Bible Code and to find the ultimate principles of matter by way of alchemy. He was the last great alchemist and the first great theoretical and experimental physicist.

Bob Kolker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I wouldn't waste my time arguing with someone who's so far away from reason as to be religious. At least give me some decent starting material.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We would call Newton well compartmentalized, these days. On matters of physics and mathematics he was totally rational. Hell, he invented it! On matters of the Ultimate Mysteries and Realities, he was .... well....mystic. Wrote four times as many words on the ultimate mysteries of the universe than he ever did on physics and mathematics. His main life work was to decipher the Bible Code and to find the ultimate principles of matter by way of alchemy. He was the last great alchemist and the first great theoretical and experimental physicist.

Bob Kolker

I know who Newton was, that's not what I was asking. I was asking about the reason why you mentioned him. Let me put it this way: Imagine you were alive when he was, would you expect a conversation on religion with him to be rational and constructive, and would you expect to be able to talk some sense into him, or not?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

L-C, I'm pretty sure I was good starting material, despite the faith I had when younger. I'm sure I'm not the only one on this forum who was raised in a religious family.

What do you think 'starting material' is? If they're already completely rational, then they're not starting down that road, are they? And if you won't argue with religious people about the existence of a god, then whom would you argue with?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a friend who fevershly believes in God. On a certain day, I tried to convince him that there was no such a thing as "God" and not a sinlge proof of his exsitence or non-existence.

He knew about Atlas Shrugged, so he asked me:

"Why don't you believe in God?"

"Beacuse there's no rational explanation that proves his existence"

"No, there's not, but Kant said, 'God is not a prolbem of reason, is a problem of faith'"

"I don't know what Kant said, I simply cannot belive in the immaterial"

He looked at my with certain suspicious, and said:

"According to Rand, happiness is the ultimate goal and only moral objective for man, isn't it?"

"Yes" I answered

"What if a person is only happy by believing in God? Would you dare to take that happiness from them?"

"Then they would be living a lie"

"But they would be happy in the end..."

Edited by Shinji Shiranui

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Except that there is no value to be derived from something that is predicated on a falsehood. No, Virginia, there IS no Santa Claus, and the years of your life you spent believing in him could have been spent doing something better and real.

When dealing with God-people, I usually don't waste too much time with them. Objectivism has some excellent arguments, but at times when I don't feel like going into detail I merely grab Epicurus' riddle, which attacks the very notion of what 'god' is:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
L-C, I'm pretty sure I was good starting material, despite the faith I had when younger. I'm sure I'm not the only one on this forum who was raised in a religious family.

It's a good thing that you shed your religious beliefs. At most I'd point them to Rand's work and let them fail or succeed.

What do you think 'starting material' is? If they're already completely rational, then they're not starting down that road, are they? And if you won't argue with religious people about the existence of a god, then whom would you argue with?

I wouldn't argue about the existence of a god, that debate is already settled for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Actually it's interesting, most people who believe in God have no logical means to believe in a concept such as evil. Most people believe in an omnipotent God, incapable of evil by definition, whose act of creation was willful in totality, i.e. 'God has a plan for all of us.' If we are all inescapalby part of God's plan, and God's plan is good by way of being an act of God, then there is literally no action we could take that could be defined as evil, or even bad, since it would be a criticism of God's 'perfectly good' plan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually it's interesting, most people who believe in God have no logical means to believe in a concept such as evil. Most people believe in an omnipotent God, incapable of evil by definition, whose act of creation was willful in totality, i.e. 'God has a plan for all of us.' If we are all inescapalby part of God's plan, and God's plan is good by way of being an act of God, then there is literally no action we could take that could be defined as evil, or even bad, since it would be a criticism of God's 'perfectly good' plan.

So does that mean there's no good either? Just the amoral unfolding of a divine will? Have any major theologians worked with those ideas?

Religion makes my brain hurt ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So does that mean there's no good either? Just the amoral unfolding of a divine will? Have any major theologians worked with those ideas?

Religion makes my brain hurt :P

Exactly. The meaning of God's existance is binary; either, as you put it, everything we do is the amoral unfolding of a divine will, or in the case that God is not omnipotent/omniscient/omni-whatever, God's existance literally has no meaning beyond being the catalyst for the advent of ourselves.

Or would be binary if God existed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have a friend who fevershly believes in God. On a certain day, I tried to convince him that there was no such a thing as "God" and not a sinlge proof of his exsitence or non-existence.

He knew about Atlas Shrugged, so he asked me:

"Why don't you believe in God?"

"Beacuse there's no rational explanation that proves his existence"

"No, there's not, but Kant said, 'God is not a prolbem of reason, is a problem of faith'"

"I don't know what Kant said, I simply cannot belive in the immaterial"

He looked at my with certain suspicious, and said:

"According to Rand, happiness is the ultimate goal and only moral objective for man, isn't it?"

"Yes" I answered

"What if a person is only happy by believing in God? Would you dare to take that happiness from them?"

"Then they would be living a lie"

"But they would be happy in the end..."

And your question is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know who Newton was, that's not what I was asking. I was asking about the reason why you mentioned him. Let me put it this way: Imagine you were alive when he was, would you expect a conversation on religion with him to be rational and constructive, and would you expect to be able to talk some sense into him, or not?

I don't expect to talk sense about God with any believer. But that is not what I would talk to Newton about. I would talk with him about motion, matter, force, energy, light. I believe discussing religion is a waste of time. If one is talking to a believer, then there is no rational basis for the discussion. If one is talking to a non-believer then it is redundant and unnecessary.

That is why my conversations are usually well bounded away from theology. Besides I find theology as boring as it is useless. Talking about math, physics, hiking, bicycling, and flying is much more interesting to me.

Would you like to talk about math and physics with me? If you have a question I will try to answer it. If you have something new and important to say, I am all ears.

Bob Kolker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...