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Refutation of existence of an all powerful being.

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Isn't this an exact mirror of what has happened in this thread though? The atheists have assigned a false and irrational definition to the theist position and then attacked that definition rather than the one that the theist actually holds.

Further, have I not demonstrated that the atheist objections on this thread have a false and irrational definition of "all powerful"?

They say that in order for a being to be "all powerful", he must have the ability ("power") to lack a power.

But the "power" to lack a power is NOT a power. lol. If it was, then weakness (lack of power) is equal to strength (possession of power). In fact, this means that the most powerful being must "have the power" to be the weakest being. This is ridiculous.

This (the atheist definition of "all-powerful") is obviously self-contradictory and therefore needs to be rejected.

The "refutations of an all powerful being" in this thread all depend on that irrelevant, erroneous, and self-contradictory definition and therefore all of those refutations fall with it.

All-powerful does mean that you can do all - regardless of what it is, and including contradictory things. If the theists aren't trying to argue that, then that's what they need to argue. It is not on us to make qualifiers and quantifiers for them, they're the ones who need to do that.

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It is baffling to me that Objectivists are incapable of seeing the horrendous error in equating "inability" to "ability" and "weakness" to "strength". Your argument basically says that in order f

"Worship"?? What you tell me by this inflammatory use of the term is that no rational discussion with you is possible. Good day, sir.

Yes. God. Have I ever seen Him? Do I have empirical proof that He exists and that He doesn't have a cause? No. Do I need it? No. Instead of asking insinuating questions with vague implic

All-powerful does mean that you can do all - regardless of what it is, and including contradictory things. If the theists aren't trying to argue that, then that's what they need to argue. It is not on us to make qualifiers and quantifiers for them, they're the ones who need to do that.

Two Points:

A) No serious theologian has ever defined "all powerful" in that way and any genuine attempt on the part of an atheist to understand the theologians position would have made this evident fairly quickly. Perhaps you'd like to argue that the theologians should have been more specific and more upfront for your sake. Fine. Whatever. The fact that you NOW understand that this is not what they mean is sufficient to show that the type of "refutation" in this thread is not a refutation at all.

B ) "All-powerful" does not and should not include the power to do contradictory things- even for atheistic Objectivists. The ability to contradict one's self is emphatically not a power, but a deprivation of power. It is a weakness, not a strength. If a being is incapable of weakness and irrationality, this is not a lack of power. If you wish to say that the inability to be weak or irrational is a lack of power, then you are saying that weakness and irrationality are powerful and that the more powerful a person is, the more he should be capable of weakness and irrationality. This destroys Objectivist ethics entirely. I don't think you want to (or should want to) hold to this type of argument.

Edited by Jacob86
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A) No serious theologian has ever defined "all powerful" in that way and any genuine attempt on the part of an atheist to understand the theologians position would have made this evident fairly quickly.

Regardless, it's really more just a silly thing than a fantastic refutation at all, if you want to call it a refutation in the first place. It's good for a laugh among atheists I'm sure, but that's about it, it's not a philosophically solid point. Whatever the case, positing the existence of an all-powerful being is STILL arbitrary. No one is even saying that the inability to do something is some kind of power anyway. I have no idea why you keep suggesting anyone is saying otherwise. I guess you're thinking people are saying "for an all-powerful being to be possible, it must be capable of weakness," but the point is really that any such proposed being is in SOME capacity able to operate outside existence.

Basically, you're saying that the demand for any super-powerful being operate within the confines of existence is a demand for a super-powerful being to have weaknesses. The reason it might sound different to you is precisely because you DO believe that an all-powerful being created existence, which you justify by having this being be a volitional consciousness without any physical form, (a being which - whether you accept it or not - necessarily operated "beyond" existence). Although, somewhere in there, you'll see also that you're also saying humans are inherently weak creatures because they are able to contradict themselves. You literally said that it's a weakness. That's what destroys Objectivist ethics.

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Jacob86, if all of your arguments in favor of there being a god (or God) were shown to be invalid, you would then reject your belief in god?

Or is it the case that you believe on faith that there is a god (or God) and are searching for some way to ground your belief rationally?

In other words, were you an atheist who became convinced of the existence of god (or God) due to what seems to be a rational argument(s), or are you a believer-on-faith who is searching for a way to rationally validate your pre-existing, faith-based belief?

Edited by Trebor
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In other words, were you an atheist who became convinced of the existence of god (or God) due to what seems to be a rational argument(s), or are you a believer-on-faith who is searching for a way to rationally validate your pre-existing, faith-based belief?

(emphasis mine)

FYI, no major theologian has understood faith to be belief in the absence of evidence. Seriously. That's an artifact of people like the New Atheists.

According to Swinburne, there are three major conceptions of faith in the tradition of Christian theology: The Thomistic view, the Lutheran view, and the Pragmatic view.

According to Aquinas, faith is "a form of mental certitude about absent realities that is greater than opinion and less than scientific knowledge." Let me explain - the idea here is not that you believe something without a good reason to believe it is true.

The distinction between opinion and scientific knowledge, for Aquinas, works like this. You have opinions about matters of fact when you don't know the principles that make them true. (For example, a caveman would know that a rock would fall when he dropped it without knowing the principles of physics. The caveman would therefore have a mere opinion that the rock would fall when he dropped it, in Aquinas' sense.) You have scientific knowledge about a matter of fact when you do know the principles behind it. (For example, a modern physicist would have scientific knowledge that a rock would fall when he dropped it.)

Faith in the Thomistic conception is different from either opinion or scientific knowledge. You first get some good reason to think that God exists, then you get some good reason to think that God informed the world of such and such a proposition. Your certitude of that proposition is then justifiedly higher than in the case of a proposition that you only have an opinion about, because you trust in God's goodness.

Notice that Thomistic faith in a proposition is not even possible in the absence of a good reason to believe that God exists and that the proposition is true.

The Lutheran view of faith is similar to Thomistic faith, but it adds to the Thomistic conception a certain trust in God as a person. The Pragmatic view cuts out the belief element of faith altogether, and merely requires that you trust God. Neither of these involves believing things for no good reason.

I'm not convinced that some of the contributors to this thread have studied the worldview that they are criticizing. That's not a good thing, especially when you are claiming to have refuted the worldview in question.

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Regardless, it's really more just a silly thing than a fantastic refutation at all, if you want to call it a refutation in the first place. It's good for a laugh among atheists I'm sure, but that's about it, it's not a philosophically solid point. Whatever the case, positing the existence of an all-powerful being is STILL arbitrary. No one is even saying that the inability to do something is some kind of power anyway. I have no idea why you keep suggesting anyone is saying otherwise. I guess you're thinking people are saying "for an all-powerful being to be possible, it must be capable of weakness," but the point is really that any such proposed being is in SOME capacity able to operate outside existence.

The thread is labeled "refutation of an all powerful being", so I took it as that. Regardless, I was more concerned to point out the fallacious nature of this type of "refutation" and how it goes against objectivist ethics.

The argument is basically "If an all powerful being can't be non-all powerful, then He's not all powerful".. Everyone just puts something different in the underlined spot (creating a building so high that He can't jump over it, contradict Himself, clone Himself, etc...)

The fact that an all powerful being would not be capable of doing these things is evidence of His omnipotence-- not evidence against it, since all of these things would demonstrate a lack of power and weakness. If one wishes to hold to this refutation, then one must equate weakness and irrationality with power...which Objectivists should never want to do.

That's my point.

Basically, you're saying that the demand for any super-powerful being operate within the confines of existence is a demand for a super-powerful being to have weaknesses. The reason it might sound different to you is precisely because you DO believe that an all-powerful being created existence, which you justify by having this being be a volitional consciousness without any physical form, (a being which - whether you accept it or not - necessarily operated "beyond" existence).

What is all this talk about "inside and outside the confines of existence"?? I do not believe that an all powerful being created existence- I believe that an all powerful being created all particular existents apart from Himself, but this does not violate the axiom of existence any more than me creating a hamburger does.

Although, somewhere in there, you'll see also that you're also saying humans are inherently weak creatures because they are able to contradict themselves. You literally said that it's a weakness. That's what destroys Objectivist ethics.

Yes- the ability to contradict yourself IS a weakness. Would you like to contend otherwise?? lol. This doesn't mean that I am condemning humanity as essentially weak... because the ability to contradict is not essential to our nature. Am I not allowed to condemn what is evil in humanity without being accused of condemning humanity as such??

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Jacob86, if all of your arguments in favor of there being a god (or God) were shown to be invalid, you would then reject your belief in god?

Or is it the case that you believe on faith that there is a god (or God) and are searching for some way to ground your belief rationally?

In other words, were you an atheist who became convinced of the existence of god (or God) due to what seems to be a rational argument(s), or are you a believer-on-faith who is searching for a way to rationally validate your pre-existing, faith-based belief?

I am convinced in the existence of God because of the compelling rationality behind that position. My allegiance is to truth and rationality-- no matter where that takes me. To be perfectly honest, there are times that I irrationally wish that I could negate my knowledge of God because it could make some things easier (much the way an objectivist may be tempted to give up on attempting to be productive and become a playboy).

However, regardless of where I started my philosophical/theological journey-- that ultimately shouldn't matter when discussing truth. After all, Rand began her very first philosophical journals with the determination to show that religion (theism) is the chief evil in the world.

I don't blame her for starting there (we all have to start somewhere)..but ideally one allows truth to overcome one's presuppositions- no matter how difficult that might be.

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I am convinced in the existence of God because of the compelling rationality behind that position. My allegiance is to truth and rationality-- no matter where that takes me. To be perfectly honest, there are times that I irrationally wish that I could negate my knowledge of God because it could make some things easier (much the way an objectivist may be tempted to give up on attempting to be productive and become a playboy).

However, regardless of where I started my philosophical/theological journey-- that ultimately shouldn't matter when discussing truth. After all, Rand began her very first philosophical journals with the determination to show that religion (theism) is the chief evil in the world.

I don't blame her for starting there (we all have to start somewhere)..but ideally one allows truth to overcome one's presuppositions- no matter how difficult that might be.

I wonder if you've read Swinburne's The Existence of God. I found the argument of that book fascinating. I think it really captures why religious people believe what they do.

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Is this all-powerful, all-knowing being of yours capable of tracing his own beginnings? If this being is omniscient, it should be a piece of cake.

IF He had a beginning, of course it would be a piece of cake. And if He did not have a beginning, then there would be nothing to trace.

What's your point?

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I am convinced in the existence of God because of the compelling rationality behind that position. My allegiance is to truth and rationality-- no matter where that takes me. To be perfectly honest, there are times that I irrationally wish that I could negate my knowledge of God because it could make some things easier (much the way an objectivist may be tempted to give up on attempting to be productive and become a playboy).

However, regardless of where I started my philosophical/theological journey-- that ultimately shouldn't matter when discussing truth. After all, Rand began her very first philosophical journals with the determination to show that religion (theism) is the chief evil in the world.

I don't blame her for starting there (we all have to start somewhere)..but ideally one allows truth to overcome one's presuppositions- no matter how difficult that might be.

I asked you for a direct answer, but given that you evaded the question (wrongly stating that it doesn't matter where one starts), I take it then that you did indeed start with a belief in the existence of God on faith, and that you have since sought to rationally justify your arbitrary and irrational belief.

Interesting and revealing comment about yourself, that at times you irrationally wish that you could negate your "knowledge" of God because it could make some things easier. (Why in the world would you think that an Objectivist would be tempted to "give up on attempting to be productive and become a playboy"?)

What are those things that would be easier for you could you negate your "knowledge" of God?

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I asked you for a direct answer, but given that you evaded the question (wrongly stating that it doesn't matter where one starts), I take it then that you did indeed start with a belief in the existence of God on faith, and that you have since sought to rationally justify your arbitrary and irrational belief.

I answered your question. lol. Don't accuse me of evading it. You asked if I believed in God based on faith or based on reason and I told you that it was based on reason. If you are asking if I first began consciously examining the reasoning from a neutral standpoint, then the answer is "no".. because that's kind of impossible. lol.

Do you think that it DOES matter where one starts? Do you think that IF I started out "wanting" to believe in God and then discovered rational arguments for God's existence that therefore those arguments are no longer rational??? What if someone began by "wanting" to believe in Capitalism and eventually discovered that it had much valid reasoning behind it. Does the fact that they began by wanting it to be true alter or negate its truthfulness?

Remember, as I said before, Rand began her philosophy WANTING Atheism to be true. So if you are EVER going to use this kind of subjective argument against a Theist, you had better be consistent and use it against Rand's Atheism as well.

But, since your so interested in my own personal journey, Ill be happy to indulge you:

I grew up as an atheist/agnostic not really ever consciously thinking about whether or not there was a God except for the occasional philosophical musings. I was invited to (and attended) Mormon Church with High School Friends (80% of my school was mormon), but I recognized the insanity of that fairly quickly and didn't get involved. At 17 I decided that I needed to figure out for myself whether or not there was a God and if so, what type of God He is and if He expected anything of me... I realized that IF God existed, I couldn't hide behind my ignorance and agnosticism. So I began looking into different ideas of God and became attracted to various types of theology and philosophy (comparing and contrasting, chewing meat, spitting out bones, etc...) Through much study, debate, questioning, etc... I am rationally convinced that God exists and that He must have certain attributes and a certain type of relation to His creation.

There you have it.

However, I still want to emphasize that even if I HAD started out "wanting to believe in God by faith, and then desperately looking for evidence to back up my emotional crutch".. that would not in any way, shape, or form, alter or negate the rationality behind the objective arguments for the existence of God. (It may negatively affect my sincerity in my belief or my personal psycho-epistemology or my ability to effectively communicate it to others, etc... but it would NOT alter the objective content being spoken of in this thread).

Interesting and revealing comment about yourself, that at times you irrationally wish that you could negate your "knowledge" of God because it could make some things easier. (Why in the world would you think that an Objectivist would be tempted to "give up on attempting to be productive and become a playboy"?)

What are those things that would be easier for you could you negate your "knowledge" of God?

Why are you SO interested in MY psychological workings? I was simply being honest about the fact that it is more difficult in the short run to keep the entire context of your knowledge in view. It is much easier in the short run to neglect the larger context and act range-of-the-moment... not better, but easier (and only short term). This is a common theme in Rand's writing- I don't know why you would challenge me on it. In fact, a great example is when Galt is tempted (momentarily) to be jealous of Rearden and his success, but then he "remembered the full context of the situation". Rand put it much better, but I don't have time to look up the quote right now. The point is that almost everyone (if they're honest) is tempted at times to ignore or neglect the wider context for the sake of momentary comfort or ease.

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(emphasis mine)

FYI, no major theologian has understood faith to be belief in the absence of evidence. Seriously. That's an artifact of people like the New Atheists.

Exactly! lol. However, it is also sort of the fault of modern Theists being anti-intellectual because they bought into Kants worldview along with the rest of the world...but that's somewhat of a different story.

About "Faith", I don't think I could really say that I matched up with any of those views (even the Thomistic one).

Faith is simply feeling and acting in accordance with your knowledge in spite of immediate obstacles to doing so. It is "seeing the unseen" philosophically and acting on it in spite of the fact that the immediate context seems to be saying the opposite. Galt seeing and being convinced of a superior and rational worldview acted on "faith" (I would say) in that knowledge and rebelled against the modern "wisdom of the age" which was in direct opposition to what he knew to be true. Faith is always IN an OBJECT-- meaning that it is a positive response to and disposition toward KNOWLEDGE/REASON...not against it. Proper faith is not a whim or a wish... and neither is it ever a legitimate ground for belief in anything. Reason is the ground for belief and faith is the proper positive disposition toward that reasoning in spite of contextual impediments.

I'm not convinced that some of the contributors to this thread have studied the worldview that they are criticizing. That's not a good thing, especially when you are claiming to have refuted the worldview in question.

I think you've nailed it on the head here. When reading Aquinas and Aristotle, it is seriously difficult to believe that they were positing a non-existent consciousness which created all of existence, including itself. And yet THAT is the straw-man that is constantly raised up and attacked as "Theism". I don't think either Aquinas or Aristotle were THAT stupid. They also weren't stupid enough to posit a being who is "so all powerful" that he can lack a power or contradict Himself.

These strawmen are philosophical childsplay.

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You have been challenged on you "rational" basis for believing in God before, and it was demonstrated than that your basis is arbitrary and unproven on several counts. You arbitrarily require a volitional first cause and grant to your God that which you won't grant to existence - eternal existence.

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You have been challenged on you "rational" basis for believing in God before, and it was demonstrated than that your basis is arbitrary and unproven on several counts.

And all of you "demonstrations" and "objections" have repeatedly been against fictitious straw-men that do not resemble my position, like the one below:

You A)arbitrarily require a volitional first cause and B)grant to your God that which you won't grant to existence - eternal existence.

A) We agreed that "arbitrary" means lacking any reasoning. Have I "required a first cause" without putting forth copious reasoning to back it up? If I have, then you can call it an arbitrary position. But if I have provided even a moderate amount of reasoning behind my position on that point, then do not call it arbitrary. You can disagree with my reasoning and point out flaws in it- but you cannot call my position arbitrary. I have, in fact, shown that it is contradictory and therefore false to imagine that there is not a first cause. See the infinite regress thread. I believe mine is the last post, to which no one else has replied. In that post I succinctly demonstrate the inherent contradiction in the possible positions in attempting to avoid a first cause position.

B) Once again you equate "physical existence" with "existence as such" in a debate where that very issue is in question. How many times (seriously) do I need to explain that my position is that God is an existent. He exists. He is included in existence. My position does not pit God against existence and "grant" anything to God which is not "granted" to existence. If God is included in existence and if God is eternal, than existence is eternal. That is my position. That has always been my position. I have labored intensely to correct you EVERY time you've mis-read or mis-understood that position.

Please, Please, Please, Please, if you are going to attack a position (and much more, if you are going to declare triumphantly that you have succeeded in defeating that position), PLEASE, make sure that you actually understand that position first. It saves A LOT of time.

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FYI, no major theologian has understood faith to be belief in the absence of evidence. Seriously. That's an artifact of people like the New Atheists.

Okay, but the Latin origin of the word fidem means trust. Looking at the concept youll see that a necessary requirement of "trust" is objective evaluation of a person or thing based on prior behavior. This evaluation needs to be based on empirical evidence, evidence that gives me confidence that the person or thing will behave in a certain manner in the future.

Wikipedia defines trust as:

reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

If I reject the "evidence" for God (because there is none) then it does no good to quibble over the meaning of the term. Faith is not a means to knowledge, its an evasion of it.

I'm not convinced that some of the contributors to this thread have studied the worldview that they are criticizing. That's not a good thing, especially when you are claiming to have refuted the worldview in question.

Thats a strong statement. Ive probably read a lot of the same books that you have on the subject, the only difference is: I dont accept their arguments as evidence for anything.

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Thats a strong statement. Ive probably read a lot of the same books that you have on the subject, the only difference is: I dont accept their arguments as evidence for anything.

I deliberately didn't pick anyone out in particular, because I don't know what any of the contributors to this thread have read or not read. I'm just going off of what I can discern from the posts that have been made. I'm glad that you've studied some of this stuff.

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I answered your question. lol. Don't accuse me of evading it.

I had asked:

"If all of your arguments in favor of there being a god (or God) were shown to be invalid, you would then reject your belief in god?

Or is it the case that you believe on faith that there is a god (or God) and are searching for some way to ground your belief rationally?"

You replied:

"I am convinced in the existence of God because of the compelling rationality behind that position. My allegiance is to truth and rationality-- no matter where that takes me."

I'll take you at your word, that you will follow the evidence and reason no matter where that takes you, and that you are currently "convinced in the existence of God because of the compelling rationality behind that position," but if you come to realize that the "compelling rationality behind that position" is wrong, you'll then reject your belief in god (or God, or whatever it is that you believe).

I had also asked:

"Were you an atheist who became convinced of the existence of god (or God) due to what seems to be a rational argument(s), or are you a believer-on-faith who is searching for a way to rationally validate your pre-existing, faith-based belief?"

You have now replied:

You asked if I believed in God based on faith or based on reason and I told you that it was based on reason. If you are asking if I first began consciously examining the reasoning from a neutral standpoint, then the answer is "no".. because that's kind of impossible. lol.

Interesting that you think that it is "kind of impossible" to begin from a neutral standpoint.

Do you think that it DOES matter where one starts? Do you think that IF I started out "wanting" to believe in God and then discovered rational arguments for God's existence that therefore those arguments are no longer rational??? What if someone began by "wanting" to believe in Capitalism and eventually discovered that it had much valid reasoning behind it. Does the fact that they began by wanting it to be true alter or negate its truthfulness?

Remember, as I said before, Rand began her philosophy WANTING Atheism to be true. So if you are EVER going to use this kind of subjective argument against a Theist, you had better be consistent and use it against Rand's Atheism as well.

"Do you think that it DOES matter where one starts?"

Yes, it does matter where one starts.

What's with this "wanting" to believe as a basis of searching for the truth?

Miss Rand did not begin her philosophy "WANTING Atheism to be true." (You previously said that "Rand began her very first philosophical journals with the determination to show that religion (theism) is the chief evil in the world.")

Here's what she said (Journals of Ayn Rand, edited by David Harriman, Chapter 3, "First Philosophical Journal," p. 66) and what I assume you are referring to:

These are the vague beginnings of an amateur philosopher. To be checked with what I learn when I master philosophy—then see how much of it has already been said, and whether I have anything new to say, or anything old to say better than it has already been said.

April 9, 1934

The human race has only two unlimited capacities: for suffering and for lying.

I want to fight religion as the root of all human lying and the only excuse for suffering.

I believe—and I want to gather all the facts to illustrate this—that the worst curse on mankind is the ability to consider ideals as something quite abstract and detached from one's everyday life. The ability to live and think quite differently, thus eliminating thinking from your actual life. This applied not to deliberate and conscious hypocrites, but to those more dangerous and hopeless ones who, alone with themselves and to themselves, tolerate a complete break between their convictions and their lives, and still believe that they have convictions. To them, either their ideals or their lives or worthless—and usually both.

I hold religion mainly responsible for this. I want to prove that religion breaks a character before it's formed, in childhood, by teaching a child lies before he knows what a lie is, by breaking him of the habit of thinking before he has begun to think, by making him a hypocrite before he knows any other possible attitude toward life. If a child is taught ideals that he knows are contrary to his own deepest instincts, [ideals] such as unselfishness, meekness, and self-sacrifice, if he is told he is a miserable sinner for not living up to ideals he can never reach and doesn't want to reach, then his natural reaction is to consider all ideals as out of his reach forever, as something theoretical and quite apart from his own actual life. Thus the beginning of self-hypocrisy, the killing of all desire for a living ideal.

Religion is also the first enemy of the ability to think. That ability is not used by men to one tenth of its possibility, yet before they learn to think they are discouraged by being ordered to take things on faith. Faith is the worst curse of mankind; it is the exact antithesis and enemy of thought. I want to learn why men do not use logical reasoning to govern their lives and [solve] their problems. Is it impossible to them or has it been taught to them as impossible?

I believe this last. And the teacher is the church. Thought and reason are the only weapons of mankind, the only possible bond of understanding among men. Anyone who demands that anything be taken on faith—or relies on any super-mental, super-logical instinct—denies all reason.

Why are men so afraid of pure, logical reasoning? Why do they have a profound, ferocious hatred of it?

Are instincts and emotions necessarily beyond the control of plain thinking? Or were they trained to be? Why is a complete harmony between mind and emotions impossible? Isn't it merely a matter of strict mental honesty? And who stands at the bottom of denying such honesty? Isn't it the church?

I want to be known as the greatest champion of reason and the greatest enemy of religion.

Brackets from Harriman's book. Miss Rand was 29 years old when she wrote that entry.

She began by "WANTING Atheism to be true"?

But, since your so interested in my own personal journey, Ill be happy to indulge you:

I grew up as an atheist/agnostic not really ever consciously thinking about whether or not there was a God except for the occasional philosophical musings. I was invited to (and attended) Mormon Church with High School Friends (80% of my school was mormon), but I recognized the insanity of that fairly quickly and didn't get involved. At 17 I decided that I needed to figure out for myself whether or not there was a God and if so, what type of God He is and if He expected anything of me... I realized that IF God existed, I couldn't hide behind my ignorance and agnosticism. So I began looking into different ideas of God and became attracted to various types of theology and philosophy (comparing and contrasting, chewing meat, spitting out bones, etc...) Through much study, debate, questioning, etc... I am rationally convinced that God exists and that He must have certain attributes and a certain type of relation to His creation.

There you have it.

However, I still want to emphasize that even if I HAD started out "wanting to believe in God by faith, and then desperately looking for evidence to back up my emotional crutch".. that would not in any way, shape, or form, alter or negate the rationality behind the objective arguments for the existence of God. (It may negatively affect my sincerity in my belief or my personal psycho-epistemology or my ability to effectively communicate it to others, etc... but it would NOT alter the objective content being spoken of in this thread).

For a good explanation of the detriment of accepting ideas on faith, see this quote from Robert Efron, M.D.

You say "atheist/agnotic." You did not believe in the existence of god (or God, or whatever it is that you now believe exists) and you also held the view that it is impossible to know one way or the other if there is or is not a god (or God or whatever it is that you now believe exists)?

You do realize that agnosticism is not a third alternative with respect to theism/atheism?

You had previously said:

"To be perfectly honest, there are times that I irrationally wish that I could negate my knowledge of God because it could make some things easier (much the way an objectivist may be tempted to give up on attempting to be productive and become a playboy)."

Now you say:

Why are you SO interested in MY psychological workings? I was simply being honest about the fact that it is more difficult in the short run to keep the entire context of your knowledge in view. It is much easier in the short run to neglect the larger context and act range-of-the-moment... not better, but easier (and only short term). This is a common theme in Rand's writing- I don't know why you would challenge me on it. In fact, a great example is when Galt is tempted (momentarily) to be jealous of Rearden and his success, but then he "remembered the full context of the situation". Rand put it much better, but I don't have time to look up the quote right now. The point is that almost everyone (if they're honest) is tempted at times to ignore or neglect the wider context for the sake of momentary comfort or ease.

I am not particularly or generally interested in your psychology excepting to the extent that you yourself reveal something about your own psychology which bears on what you are asserting. If it bothers you SO much for someone to comment on your own psychological revelations, perhaps the thing to do is to not bring them up in the first place.

I had forgotten all about the scene in Atlas Shrugged where John Galt was "tempted to give up on attempting to be productive and become a playboy."

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And all of you "demonstrations" and "objections" have repeatedly been against fictitious straw-men that do not resemble my position, like the one below:

A) We agreed that "arbitrary" means lacking any reasoning. Have I "required a first cause" without putting forth copious reasoning to back it up? If I have, then you can call it an arbitrary position. But if I have provided even a moderate amount of reasoning behind my position on that point, then do not call it arbitrary.

To be reasoning, it must be based on premises that have a basis in reality. None of your premises do. You drew conclusions that excluded one possibility in favor of your own and called it reason, when it was bias.

You can disagree with my reasoning and point out flaws in it- but you cannot call my position arbitrary.

I can if your premises have no basis.

I have, in fact, shown that it is contradictory and therefore false to imagine that there is not a first cause.

And you then ignore the requirement for your God to have a first cause.

See the infinite regress thread. I believe mine is the last post, to which no one else has replied. In that post I succinctly demonstrate the inherent contradiction in the possible positions in attempting to avoid a first cause position.

Being last doesn't mean you were right. Being the last one to post an argument followed by a lot of "Oh yes, you're right, I see that now, thank you" would be evidence that you were right. Being last in an endless circle of explanations why your reasons didn't work, followed by you regurgitating them with ever increasing verbosity just means people decided that there was no reason to keep bothering with you.

B) Once again you equate "physical existence" with "existence as such" in a debate where that very issue is in question. How many times (seriously) do I need to explain that my position is that God is an existent. He exists. He is included in existence. My position does not pit God against existence and "grant" anything to God which is not "granted" to existence. If God is included in existence and if God is eternal, than existence is eternal. That is my position. That has always been my position. I have labored intensely to correct you EVERY time you've mis-read or mis-understood that position.

Please, Please, Please, Please, if you are going to attack a position (and much more, if you are going to declare triumphantly that you have succeeded in defeating that position), PLEASE, make sure that you actually understand that position first. It saves A LOT of time.

Well if you'd like to pose a position that *CAN* be understood properly I'd be happy to - but since your position is a cognitive null - an arbitrary concept that can neither be proven nor disproved, I simply have to reject it every time.

But you've said existence can only be eternal if there is God - and not if there isn't - and ignored everything said about how matter can convert into energy and more importantly, VICE VERSA.

Last time and then I give you up for deliberately irrational:

Energy and matter are interchangeable. Why? E=Mc2.

Energy thus theoretically has a "pure" state.

Matter can be converted into energy - proven - nuclear physics - bombs and reactors alike.

This means energy can be converted into matter.

Energy has no mass and thus no gravity.

Matter has mass, and thus gravity.

So all you need is for energy to spontaneously coalesce into matter, which has been theorized by Hawking, and suddenly you have motion coming from a NON VOLITIONAL, FIRST ACTION.

Now - quantum physics indicates that is possible, but you ignore all that and declare it impossible and thus your God must be real.

Go on - tell me why that isn't arbitrary.

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I had asked:

"If all of your arguments in favor of there being a god (or God) were shown to be invalid, you would then reject your belief in god?

Or is it the case that you believe on faith that there is a god (or God) and are searching for some way to ground your belief rationally?"

You replied:

"I am convinced in the existence of God because of the compelling rationality behind that position. My allegiance is to truth and rationality-- no matter where that takes me."

I'll take you at your word, that you will follow the evidence and reason no matter where that takes you, and that you are currently "convinced in the existence of God because of the compelling rationality behind that position," but if you come to realize that the "compelling rationality behind that position" is wrong, you'll then reject your belief in god (or God, or whatever it is that you believe).

I had also asked:

"Were you an atheist who became convinced of the existence of god (or God) due to what seems to be a rational argument(s), or are you a believer-on-faith who is searching for a way to rationally validate your pre-existing, faith-based belief?"

You have now replied:

Interesting that you think that it is "kind of impossible" to begin from a neutral standpoint.

"Do you think that it DOES matter where one starts?"

Yes, it does matter where one starts.

What's with this "wanting" to believe as a basis of searching for the truth?

Miss Rand did not begin her philosophy "WANTING Atheism to be true." (You previously said that "Rand began her very first philosophical journals with the determination to show that religion (theism) is the chief evil in the world.")

Here's what she said (Journals of Ayn Rand, edited by David Harriman, Chapter 3, "First Philosophical Journal," p. 66) and what I assume you are referring to:

Brackets from Harriman's book. Miss Rand was 29 years old when she wrote that entry.

She began by "WANTING Atheism to be true"?

For a good explanation of the detriment of accepting ideas on faith, see this quote from Robert Efron, M.D.

You say "atheist/agnotic." You did not believe in the existence of god (or God, or whatever it is that you now believe exists) and you also held the view that it is impossible to know one way or the other if there is or is not a god (or God or whatever it is that you now believe exists)?

You do realize that agnosticism is not a third alternative with respect to theism/atheism?

You had previously said:

"To be perfectly honest, there are times that I irrationally wish that I could negate my knowledge of God because it could make some things easier (much the way an objectivist may be tempted to give up on attempting to be productive and become a playboy)."

Now you say:

I am not particularly or generally interested in your psychology excepting to the extent that you yourself reveal something about your own psychology which bears on what you are asserting. If it bothers you SO much for someone to comment on your own psychological revelations, perhaps the thing to do is to not bring them up in the first place.

I had forgotten all about the scene in Atlas Shrugged where John Galt was "tempted to give up on attempting to be productive and become a playboy."

I wasn't a consistent philosopher (or a philosophical thinker on anything other than a very amateur level) at 17, so I would have considered myself an atheist at some points and an agnostic at others. My position, had I ever attempted to actually express it, would have been something like the following: "I don't think there is a God and even if there is, it is probably impossible to ever know that there is a God". Obviously, once it is expressed, its a very flawed position as it it. I came to realize this (partially) and decided to challenge myself by getting familiar with philosophy and theology in general.

There you have it.

To answer your other question, yes! If I was presented with compelling reason to believe that there is not a God, I would happily reject my Theism.

Regarding Rand, beginning with being anti-religion is very close (if not equal) to beginning with being anti-theism. I equated the two. If you'd like to argue that she may have been anti-religion, yet still open to the possibility of their being a God, I suppose that is possible- but not likely.

My point is that one's motivation for thinking does not determine truth. One may have a very false and evil motivation and still happen upon truth and this in no way negates the truth which they have happened upon. Likewise, the fact that they happened upon truth does not excuse their evil or irrational motivation. The point is that they are two separate issues.

Concerning my psychology. Your right, it was foolish to bring it up. I did so in order to communicate my allegiance to objective truth regardless of the my subjective short range feelings. It obviously caused more confusion than help, so I apologize.

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To be reasoning, it must be based on premises that have a basis in reality. None of your premises do. You drew conclusions that excluded one possibility in favor of your own and called it reason, when it was bias.

I can if your premises have no basis.

Do you wish to attack my conclusion as arbitrary (not proceeding from any premises) or do you wish to attack my premises as false (not being based in reality)??

Pick one.

You probably want to do both, but allow me to save you (and me) the time and frustration. IF my premises are false, my conclusion will be as well and therefore you ONLY need to attack my premises. So if you are having trouble deciding which plan of attack to take, do the premises first. Then, if you fail, accept that my premises are accurate and advance on to the next stage of attack which would be attempting to prove that the conclusion does not follow from those premises. BUT, once you ACCEPT the premises and advance on to examine the conclusion, do NOT take it back with your other hand and accuse me of having false or arbitrary premises.

And you then ignore the requirement for your God to have a first cause.

No. I ignore the "requirement" of the first cause (whether God or not) to have a first cause because such a requirement is a contradiction.

Being last doesn't mean you were right. Being the last one to post an argument followed by a lot of "Oh yes, you're right, I see that now, thank you" would be evidence that you were right. Being last in an endless circle of explanations why your reasons didn't work, followed by you regurgitating them with ever increasing verbosity just means people decided that there was no reason to keep bothering with you.

Actually, there was no endless reasoning between myself and anyone else on that thread. That was my first and last post on that thread. No one ever responded. If you'd like to be the first to respond to me on that thread, I welcome you with open arms. :)

But you've said existence can only be eternal if there is God - and not if there isn't - and ignored everything said about how matter can convert into energy and more importantly, VICE VERSA.

Last time and then I give you up for deliberately irrational:

Energy and matter are interchangeable. Why? E=Mc2.

Energy thus theoretically has a "pure" state.

Matter can be converted into energy - proven - nuclear physics - bombs and reactors alike.

This means energy can be converted into matter.

Energy has no mass and thus no gravity.

Matter has mass, and thus gravity.

So all you need is for energy to spontaneously coalesce into matter, which has been theorized by Hawking, and suddenly you have motion coming from a NON VOLITIONAL, FIRST ACTION.

Now - quantum physics indicates that is possible, but you ignore all that and declare it impossible and thus your God must be real.

Go on - tell me why that isn't arbitrary.

I will attempt to reply to this particular objection on the existence of God thread (I don't want to hi-jack this thread).

But, I will say that THIS objection/argument has not been your major objection against my position. You have mentioned this particular argument once (maybe twice) in the existence of God thread. But much more often than that, your main argument has simply been "Existence exists" as if I were denying or challenging the axiom-- in spite of the fact that I have gone to lengths to show that my position is perfectly consistent with the axiom.

So, don't act like I'm some dolt trying your patience on THIS (energy) argument. We've gone over it once before and it by far was not your main emphasis. Your main emphasis was and has been "existence exists".

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Here is another much simpler refutation of the omnipotence's concept.

Can all-powerful thing create the rock so heavy than he himself he cannot lift?

If he cannot he's not omnipotent, if he can he's not omnipotent again. Omnipotence is potency without identity, nothing in particular. There is no such a thing.

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