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The Law of Identity and God

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This is a great point - We really need to know which God we are talking about here. My posts assume the Christian version of God, but it could be another. There has been over 3,700 supernatural beings worshiped in history and if I’m not mistaken over 2800 of them qualify as a deity. I like the classics simply because they are more interesting (go Thor!) but we are likely better off narrowing it down to the most popular religions today. Here is a list I had copied some time ago but it should still be close on estimations:

  1. Christianity: 2.1 billion followers
  2. Islam: 1.3 billion
  3. Hinduism: 900 million
  4. Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
  5. Buddhism: 376 million
  6. African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
  7. Sikhism: 23 million
  8. Juche: 19 million
  9. Spiritism: 15 million
  10. Judaism: 14 million
  11. Baha'i: 7 million
  12. Jainism: 4.2 million
  13. Shinto: 4 million
  14. Cao Dai: 4 million
  15. Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
  16. Tenrikyo: 2 million
  17. Neo-Paganism: 1 million
  18. Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
  19. Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
  20. Scientology: 500 thousand

For the record, I am speaking of the "Christian Version" of God - the Classical Christian God (of Aquinas, Edwards, etc..).

The rest are irrational.

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That really doesn't make any difference. All these gods are supernatural beings, meaning they transcend reality and therefore cannot be defined in principle.

You are equating "nature" with "the sum of reality" and "supernature" with "non-reality".

In the context of a philosophical discussion on Theism, those terms are not used that way.

Rather, "nature" refers to "physical reality" and "supernature" refers to "non-physical reality".

It's really just another way of saying "physics" and "metaphysics".

"Meta" & "Super" both meaning "above and beyond" -- not "divorced from" or "apart from", but "all-encompassing"

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Nothing in existence is unlimited including existence itself.

What is existence limited by?

Unlimited means undefined.

No, Unlimited means no metaphysical limits.

Undefined means no epistemological distinctions.

If God is unlimited, he transcends the boundaries of existence, [Who said that!?] or in other words doesn't exists. But if God exists, he has to exist withins the limits of existence, to obey the law of identity and causality, [Agreed!] won't be able to perform any miracles, to create or destroy Universe, to change the course of stars or human destiny-in other words he is not god.

I don't know what you mean by "limits of existence", but to say that God must obey the law of identity, to remain in existence, etc... is just to say that God must be God. Why do you think He would have a problem with that? lol. Do you think that God really wants to not be God?

Concerning the rest, you went from the category of logical necessity (the blue) to the category of im/probability (the striked out section) as if there wasn't a difference. It is obviously illogical to say that God (or anything) violates the law of identity or is "beyond existence". It is not illogical to say that God could do any of the rest of what you listed.

What is it about the nature of those things you listed that makes it illogical (impossible) for God to interact with them the way you described?

And remember, there is a difference between the Logical/Possible/Nature of a thing and the Usual/Probable/Way we're used to seeing a thing.

Not a dichotomy! but a difference.

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That really doesn't make any difference. All these gods are supernatural beings, meaning they transcend reality and therefore cannot be defined in principle.

Perhaps. But until we have a definition of God, we cannot be certain of the context we're dealing with, can we? If we don't have a clearly defined context, then we're dealing with an arbitrary definition of God - whatever suits the moment - and there is no rational discussion that can be held on that foundation.

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For the record, I am speaking of the "Christian Version" of God - the Classical Christian God (of Aquinas, Edwards, etc..).

Sorry, can you be more specific? Can you please summarize the definition of the Classical Christian God (of Aquinas, Edwards, etc..)

The rest are irrational.

Proof required.

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Clark's comment is about identifiable phenomena. It refers to something that does not contradict the laws of logic and is exactly a consequence of following it. If a primitive savage sees a lighter and thinks it is magic because he doesn’t understand it that is the fault of him not understanding the identifiable facts involved. He will call it “Magic” because he does not identify it and more importantly is making no attempt to do so. He is substituting magic for the responsibility of thinking about why the lighter does what it does. The lighter is beyond his knowledge and while the knowledge may be beyond his level of thinking that doesn’t change the fact he could learn about it if he tried. To do so he would need to abandon the concept of magic and use the laws of logic.

OR, he might equate his level of knowledge with the laws of logic and declare lighters to be impossible and irrational. ;)

God in any form does not use advanced technology that we fail to understand and subsequently substitute magic as a band aid to thinking. Technology follows the laws of logic (A=A) while God by definition uses some mysterious power that allows the laws of logic to be contradicted. He can make things act against there nature, or even make something out of nothing. God makes A =/= A happen. That is a huge difference. There is no point that any species could advance to make A=/=A. It is the equivalent of saying math will advance to the point it will be able to divide by zero.

God could not and would not want to violate the laws of logic. Everything God does (including creating the physical universe and having control over it) is within the realm of logic. You assume that it's not because it is "beyond your level of thinking" about those things. If you want to argue that God doing X is illogical, then you must identify the nature of the X being discussed and demonstrate how God doing it is an instance of A = ~A.

So yes, God is disproved by logic. By the definition of the followers that invented him he contradicts axioms, logic, and the laws of nature.

Again, within the context of a serious philosophical discussion on Theism, I don't know of many (if any) Theists who have claimed that God contradicts the axioms or logic.

The laws of nature, however, are not synonymous with the laws of logic. If you want to claim that they are, then please explain your reasoning.

There is also the identity contradiction in the idea that God lacks measurements, the contradiction of existence since He exists everywhere at once or nowhere at all depending on who you ask, is miraculously conscious of all consciousnesses at once Orwellian style,

Now THESE seem more like actual logical arguments against the existence of God. Perhaps you could pick one (or a few) and elaborate on them.

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Sorry, can you be more specific? Can you please summarize the definition of the Classical Christian God (of Aquinas, Edwards, etc..)

The self-existent (not owing any part or aspect of its existence to anything else outside of it), omnipotent (having the power to do all things/ without any weakness), omniscient (knowing all things) , omnipresent (having no spatial limitations, but all of space and time being inside of Him), immutable (unchangeable in His essence, not ultimately affected by anything other than Himself) Being which created all other existents and upholds all other existents by His will and the word of His power.

I can't say that that is a perfect or exhaustive definition, but it should be a good one to work off of for this discussion.

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The self-existent (not owing any part or aspect of its existence to anything else outside of it), omnipotent (having the power to do all things/ without any weakness), omniscient (knowing all things) , omnipresent (having no spatial limitations, but all of space and time being inside of Him), immutable (unchangeable in His essence, not ultimately affected by anything other than Himself) Being which created all other existents and upholds all other existents by His will and the word of His power.

I find this definition to be inherently unworkable.

If all of space and time is inside of God, where is God, and how does he cause anything to occur, if he is outside of time?

I won't bother asking how you assert such a being exists - we've been down that rabbit hole before, and you have yet to acknowledge that your requirement for his existence is not only arbitrary but that it also arbitrarily ignores other possible solutions to the demand arbitrarily created.

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For the record, I am speaking of the "Christian Version" of God - the Classical Christian God (of Aquinas, Edwards, etc..).

The rest are irrational.

I'd be curious to know how the Christian version of God is rational but the other 19 religions, or frankly all 3000+ Gods, are not. That sounds pretty selective. How can you be an atheist to over 3000 Gods but find an exemption for one of them? The only argument I see from that list is whether one wants to be consistent or not…

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OR, he might equate his level of knowledge with the laws of logic and declare lighters to be impossible and irrational. ;)

He's still wrong :)

God could not and would not want to violate the laws of logic. Everything God does (including creating the physical universe and having control over it) is within the realm of logic. You assume that it's not because it is "beyond your level of thinking" about those things. If you want to argue that God doing X is illogical, then you must identify the nature of the X being discussed and demonstrate how God doing it is an instance of A = ~A.

Sure I can. Making matter out of nothing is a basic contradiction. Even the "big bang" theory doesn't try to do that since it is about expansion and energy transfer. God is about creationsim which means God just magically appeared one day then made the universe appear one day. Out of nothing. Or was it something? And if so did you use technology to do this? Which means he is not a God but a superior alien that one day we will advance to. Either way, magic simply doesn't exist - Except in a young girl's heart :P

He is either an all powerful being that can do miracles (A is not A) or it is a being bound to the same universe as us which means he is no longer defined as a God by any religious definition of the word.

Now THESE seem more like actual logical arguments against the existence of God. Perhaps you could pick one (or a few) and elaborate on them.

I'll get back to these later when I have time to give you a proper response.

Edit - lousy copy paste error...

Edited by Spiral Architect
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I find this definition to be inherently unworkable.

If all of space and time is inside of God, where is God, and how does he cause anything to occur, if he is outside of time?

"Where is God?" is sort of a misguided question (unless you want to say "He's everywhere" - but even that can be misleading). He doesn't have a body and therefore He does not have a location.

Ultimately He has one single eternal (timeless) decree which encompasses everything that He wishes to occur inside of time.

I won't bother asking how you assert such a being exists - we've been down that rabbit hole before,

And I prefer to leave that to it's appropriate thread and maintain the original intent of this thread which is logical arguments against the existence of God.

and you have yet to acknowledge that your requirement for his existence is not only arbitrary but that it also arbitrarily ignores other possible solutions to the demand arbitrarily created.

And you have yet to acknowledge that your entire epistemology is arbitrary by its own arbitrary standards, and that it enables you to have a very arbitrary application of important epistemological terms: like the term "arbitrary".

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He's still wrong :)

Exactly.

Sure I can. Making matter out of nothing is a basic contradiction.

How so?

Even the "big bang" theory doesn't try to do that since it is about expansion and energy transfer. God is about creationsim which means God just magically appeared one day then made the universe appear one day.

Correction: God never "appeared" one day. He always existed - and chose to create the universe "one day".

Out of nothing. Or was it something? And if so did you use technology to do this?

Out of nothing (but Himself). There couldn't have been anything (technology or otherwise) for Him to use in order to create everything else.

Which means he is not a God but a superior alien that one day we will advance to. Either way, magic simply doesn't exist - Except in a young girl's heart :P

Nice. Haha.

He is either an all powerful being that can do miracles (A is not A) or it is a being bound to the same universe as us which means he is no longer defined as a God by any religious definition of the word.

I think this may be where we are talking past each other. You consider miracles to be an instance of "A is not A". I consider them to be an instance of A behaving in an un-ordinary way, but not a contradictory way.

Perhaps we should focus the discussion on that point...

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Sure I can. Making matter out of nothing is a basic contradiction.

How so?

Really? You're asking how "something out of nothing" is a contradiction?

I bet no one in the Universe could ever answer that to your satisfaction, so you might as well stop asking.

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Really? You're asking how "something out of nothing" is a contradiction?

I bet no one in the Universe could ever answer that to your satisfaction, so you might as well stop asking.

I take it you changed your mind about wanting to debate?

It's not "something out of nothing". You're dropping the context of the conversation. It's "something out of nothing but God".

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You are equating "nature" with "the sum of reality" and "supernature" with "non-reality".

In the context of a philosophical discussion on Theism, those terms are not used that way.

Rather, "nature" refers to "physical reality" and "supernature" refers to "non-physical reality".

It's really just another way of saying "physics" and "metaphysics".

"Meta" & "Super" both meaning "above and beyond" -- not "divorced from" or "apart from", but "all-encompassing"

Your making a popular mistake. Meta means after and the word "metaphysics" is termed as such because the book Aristotle wrote on the subject we now call metaphysics was placed meta-after his book on physics by Andronicas of Rhodes.

Edit: How do you justify the concept of "non-physical" existents ? Entities are causal primaries every existent is entity dependent. There are no disembodied forces.

Edited by Plasmatic
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Your making a popular mistake. Meta means after and the word "metaphysics" is termed as such because the book Aristotle wrote on the subject we now call metaphysics was placed meta-after his book on physics by Andronicas of Rhodes.

Edit: How do you justify the concept of "non-physical" existents ? Entities are causal primaries every existent is entity dependent. There are no disembodied forces.

meta-

prefix meaning 1. "after, behind," 2. "changed, altered," 3. "higher, beyond," from Gk.
meta
(prep.) "in the midst of, in common with, by means of, in pursuit or quest of," from PIE
*me-
"in the middle" (cf. Goth.
miþ
, O.E.
mið
"with, together with, among;" see
mid
). Notion of "changing places with" probably led to senses "change of place, order, or nature," which was a principal meaning of the Greek word when used as a prefix (but also denoting "community, participation; in common with; pursuing").

Segregated for emphasis:

Third sense, "higher than, transcending, overarching, dealing with the most fundamental matters of," is due to misinterpretation of
metaphysics
as "science of that which transcends the physical." This has led to a prodigious erroneous extension in modern usage, with
meta-
affixed to the names of other sciences and disciplines, especially in the academic jargon of literary criticism, which affixes it to just about anything that moves and much that doesn't.
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Your making a popular mistake. Meta means after and the word "metaphysics" is termed as such because the book Aristotle wrote on the subject we now call metaphysics was placed meta-after his book on physics by Andronicas of Rhodes.

But the subject matter is in fact "superior" to the subject matter of physics as it is foundational to it. The etymology doesn't really matter that much.

Edit: How do you justify the concept of "non-physical" existents ? Entities are causal primaries every existent is entity dependent. There are no disembodied forces.

I quite frankly can't figure out how anyone could justify the idea that there is only physical existents (granted, I know you concede the non-physical stuff that goes on in our brains-- but even that you seem to reduce to chemical reactions of some sort).

My justification has to do with the fact that the ability of objectivity demands an aspect of the mind that is non-physical and is capable of informing the physical - a topic discussed in other threads. I could list other justifications, but they are more along the lines of arguments for the existence of God, the necessity of spirit, etc...

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Jacob86 you tell us that what "God" is doing may seem illogical to us but is really logical ultimately if we were able to think on "his" level.

This being seems unknowable yet you speak of "his" existence and even claim "he" is the Christian God. This entity's actions may not make any senseto us and can alter reality at any time for an unkowable reason. If this being can not be understood how can you assign the personality, moral codes, and the mythos surrounding the Christian God to it? It doesn't seem to follow that just because some super intelligent entity presides over our reality that this entity has any interest in humanity or even created the universe in the linear sense that the bible makes it out to be.

Objectivists associate conciousness with an organic being. It has been observed by biologists that certain creatures have different cognitive abilities and that most species haven't even developed anything close to what the higher mammals have. It has been argues by many intellectuals that the source of conciousness is the evolutionary process. Essentially our genetics replicate and the developement of conciousness allowed for those genese to replicate more. Conciousness promotes success in the world so it there is more of it. Conciousness is directly related to reproduction and survival.

"God", however is different than this somehow in that it seems to be just a conciousness that interacts with the universe in the same way a human mind acts on its body. However we have not seen any of sign that conciousness permeates the univeres. There are no gigantic nerve clusters or anything like that generating conciousness, nor transmiting its will throughout the universe.

Human conciousness has a nature that we are discovering, but this unkowable entity does not have any similarity to it.

3) You say that "God" is completely logical. I don't see why this would be the case either. A God that created the universe created all the rules. Basically this being was just setting up an arbitrary experiment, one of many alternate sets of rules playing out in interesting way. A great way for an eternal being to spend its time. However, you make it sound as though this entity alread had all the rules inside of it, and that the material universe is just these rules playing out.

However if this is the case then I do not understand why this entity would be considered to have a personality with desires and ideas but rather just a force of nature (rather, the force of nature). Without the choice between an arbitrary universe and ours, I don't think that it can be said this being created anything at all because there were not choices involved. It is more like hair growing.

How can it said that this being has any personality, ethics, or desires at all?

The idea of "God" being completely logical seems to reduce to pantheism.

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I think this may be where we are talking past each other. You consider miracles to be an instance of "A is not A". I consider them to be an instance of A behaving in an un-ordinary way, but not a contradictory way.

Perhaps we should focus the discussion on that point...

We do seem to have a way of heading to a particular point from opposite directions, don't we.

I consider miracles to be "A is not A" in this way to reflect God is granted the power to do as he pleases in the universe including "making things act against their nature". That is how religion casts Him.

"A behaving in an un-ordinary way" can happen but it's not because A is not A, it is because we have not Identifed all of the attributes involved. This is actually common which is why we have science. It is un-ordinary to us because we don't understand it... yet. We can however by learning. We can never learn however to make something "act against it's nature" or to make a contradiciton. There is no point we can learn/evolve to the point we can will the universe into existence, become infinite and be everywhere at once, read everyone's thoughts, impregnate our own mother before we were even conceived so we could be our own Father, and... well I think that get's the point across. Religion says God can do these things and more. The point of God, according to religion, is not that he can do things we don't understand yet, but he can do things we will never understand or be able to do ourselves.

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You are equating "nature" with "the sum of reality" and "supernature" with "non-reality".

In the context of a philosophical discussion on Theism, those terms are not used that way.

Rather, "nature" refers to "physical reality" and "supernature" refers to "non-physical reality".

It's really just another way of saying "physics" and "metaphysics".

"Meta" & "Super" both meaning "above and beyond" -- not "divorced from" or "apart from", but "all-encompassing"

Yes, i aware of it. The problem is that theists forever stuck in the matter-spirit dichotomy. Objectivism doesn't recognize such a thing. Only existence exists and it includes everything-physical and spiritual. As everything else spiritual existents also have identity. Nothing can transcend existence or create it. If there is God, he also should be part of it.

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We do seem to have a way of heading to a particular point from opposite directions, don't we. I consider miracles to be "A is not A" in this way to reflect God is granted the power to do as he pleases in the universe including "making things act against their nature". That is how religion casts Him. "A behaving in an un-ordinary way" can happen but it's not because A is not A, it is because we have not Identifed all of the attributes involved. This is actually common which is why we have science. It is un-ordinary to us because we don't understand it... yet. We can however by learning. We can never learn however to make something "act against it's nature" or to make a contradiciton.

Agreed! I highlighted the red to simply say that that is how most Post-Kantian religion and most anti-intellectual religion casts Him. There is much philosophical Theistic thought before Kant (and some after) that does not fit that paradigm.. and specifically rejects it.

There is no point we can learn/evolve to the point we can will the universe into existence, become infinite and be everywhere at once, read everyone's thoughts, impregnate our own mother before we were even conceived so we could be our own Father, [HAHA!!] and... well I think that get's the point across. Religion says God can do these things and more.

You're right: WE will not ever have those abilities because those abilities are not within our nature. But the fact that they are not within OUR nature does not mean that they are illogical coming from ANY nature. BUT, if God is to have those abilities, then there is a very specific type of nature that He must have which is compatible with those abilities. He must be Himself (A is A).

Oh, and about the virgin birth: I love your depiction of it! Haha, but that's a little bit of a misunderstanding. To stay on topic I won't get into it unless you think that is a really important issue to discuss in this thread.

The point of God, according to religion, is not that he can do things we don't understand yet, but he can do things we will never understand or be able to do ourselves.

One of the primary goals of God in Christian Theism is that He would be KNOWN/ "understood" by His people. This may not ever happen exhaustively but one does not need exhaustive knowledge in order to have real and valuable knowledge.

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For the record, I am speaking of the "Christian Version" of God - the Classical Christian God (of Aquinas, Edwards, etc..).

The rest are irrational.

Are you familiar with the Flying Spaghetti Monster? What irrational trait does his Highness have, that your God doesn't?

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Agreed! I highlighted the red to simply say that that is how most Post-Kantian religion and most anti-intellectual religion casts Him. There is much philosophical Theistic thought before Kant (and some after) that does not fit that paradigm.. and specifically rejects it.

I'm going to preface the rest of this post and say that I think we're getting ready to go in circles and I might better understand if you elaberate on this more. It might help if I understood your possition since I'm simply repeating mine.

You're right: WE will not ever have those abilities because those abilities are not within our nature. But the fact that they are not within OUR nature does not mean that they are illogical coming from ANY nature. BUT, if God is to have those abilities, then there is a very specific type of nature that He must have which is compatible with those abilities. He must be Himself (A is A).

That is a pretty big "if" you have hanging there. Your going to need to explain that "if" and multiple "natures" since I really cannot work off of a maybe or what I'm reading as a Moorcock multiple universe scenerio. Not saying that is what you said, simply that is how it looks to me. So I'm getting clarification.

Oh, and about the virgin birth: I love your depiction of it! Haha, but that's a little bit of a misunderstanding. To stay on topic I won't get into it unless you think that is a really important issue to discuss in this thread.

Nah, we should probably avoid things like the Virgin Pregnancy for this thread. Not that I wouldn’t mind discussing them, but they will likely get into areas outside of the God and Identity argument which is the point of the OP. I did (admittedly and rather flippantly) toss it out since I do find it an example of a gross contradiction. I have a feeling, however, that you have a different take on it and I hardly want to derail the thread on nuances in Scripture regarding certain parables. Needless to say I take them at face value and find massive contradictions as a result. I will add however that the story of Genesis and Original Sin is one that goes beyond a contradiction into one I find outrageous. As a Catholic I learned that I am a sinner for having the capacity to have the knowledge allowing me to have this debate with you, for example, which means it was evil to have grasped the Law of Identity to begin with. Talk about contradictions with baggage. Well that and the fact God wanted Eve to be an easy on the eyes garden gnome in his private garden. That just isn’t right.

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