I think both, theists and atheists, would conclude the same from your question. If you are atheist simply because you think that God would, inevitably, be a sadist - then, I suggest that your motivation is wrong.
I will also suggest contemplating some verses of William Blake.
Have a nice day,
I'm an atheist and I usually point such out before starting a religious conversation with anyone.
I often want to say things to a theist like the following when someone is suffering:
"Do you think God is enjoying watching that?"
and they'll sometimes reply with something like:
"why do you hate God"
to which I like to reply with something like:
"I don't hate God or anyone - I just don't want to be like (or worship) any such God."
Would all of you agree that good communication was talking place, with the above conversation?
You DID NOT describe the present King of England, because as we are aware, England currently has no king. You DID describe a fictional person that EXISTS only imaginatively. This imaginary person you call Brian, is not the king of England, so I am sorry, but you were unable to describe the present king of England because to do so there would have to currently be a king of England to describe.
If your position is that god exists only imaginatively, THAT is sufficient for logical discussion. Premise 1: God exists, Premise 2: Only imaginatively
The point I am trying to make is an attack on the ubiquitous misconception, the (IMO) false dichotomy that some things are real and other things are not real. It seems to me that you are in the camp that says "some things are real, some things are not". I am in the camp that says "everything is real"
As to your challenge: --You say that "admitting god's existence is logically necessary to discussing the qualities of god.." You can surely see your claim is false if we substitute "Brian" for "god"?--
When you talk about Brian, you are describing a being that you imagine. A being that exists only imaginatively CAN be described and logically discussed. But supposing something or someone who doesn't exist at all, precludes the illogically supposed "non-thing" or "non-being" from having any properties at all to describe, therefore any discussion is logically baseless.
You ask me to describe the present king of England. Well, Brian's a stout fellow with a military bearing, being a Navy man, married to the the second cousin of the queen of Prussia... What point would you care to make?
My point is the same as Russell's. What i am doing above is describing a fictitious person as if they existed - we are well aware that there is no present king of England but we have no problem writing about him as if he did. You say that "admitting god's existence is logically necessary to discussing the qualities of god.." You can surely see your claim is false if we substitute "Brian" for "god"?
Perhaps you mean to say that admitting the *possibility* of the existence of x is necessary to discuss x's qualities? Even this isn't right as we can discuss the attributes of impossible things such as square circles.
You and I have a fundamental disagreement here. I'd like to avoid a back and forth "yes it is/no it isn't" session or reusing basically the exact same arguments that weren't convincing the first time.
You say that you can easily describe attributes or qualities of the present king of England. If you would please humor me and attempt to do so (even briefly) I think this would help me illustrate my point.
Brent & richwil and whomever else it may concern
I find "Beliefs about God" to be acceptable. Should this change be effected, I will create a subcamp "Truths can be known about god" which would be a good place for my other camps.
You claim that "admitting god's existence is logically necessary to discussing the qualities of god..." This is simply false: describing the attributes or qualities of x does not entail or require that x exists. For example, i can easily describe Father Christmas or the present king of England.
On the other hand, if the attributes of x are logically inconsistent with reality then x cannot exist. For example, if x is omniscient, omnipotent and loving yet there is unavoidable suffering then x does not exist.
I object to changing the title to 'Truths about God' because the proposed title lacks neutrality. 'Beliefs about God' would be ok by the same token.
The current tree of "What is God?" is complete mess (see below). Some sub-camps are simple rewording of others. There are also wrongly placed sub-camps and the general feeling is that people created them often without giving them a serious thought. I will, therefore, give some thought to a general outline for "Beliefs about God". However, I'm a bit of novice in theology and will need help here.
42.13 What is God?
--31.75 Mother Nature
----11.75 Atheist: There is No Good Evidence that God Exists.
------2 If God already exists while there is evil, there can be no hope.
----11.25 God does exist.
------9.25 There is only one God.
--------5.25 Jesus is the Son of God.
----------5 As taught by the LDS Prophet.
------------2 God created everything.
--------3 We are all God
--------1 There is only one Goddess (Merlin Stone, _When_God_Was_A_Woman_)
------2 There is more than one God
--------1 The Chuch Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
----3.5 "God" and "existence" are synonymous, "God exists" is redundant
----2.25 The question whether God exist doesn't matter
----1 God may or may not exist.
--9.5 God does not exist.
----1 If God already exists while there is evil, there can be no hope.
--0.5 Worshipped Being
----0.5 Outgrowing Worship â€“ Good
--0.25 A metaphor
--0.13 One's Ruling Logic
Have a nice day,
We may have a semantic issue with word "purpose". In my vocabulary, purpose can only be described as predetermined goal. Now, let's have a look at your expression:
"I'm am talking about a bottom up purpose, the kind of purpose that would result in a genetic search computer algorithm, and so on. For example, survival of the fittest is better, so that is the bottom up purpose of evolution, to select for such things that are better. I'm talking about the kind of purpose that spontaneously self organizes or is discovered, out of nothing, not something that is directed from above."
To me, this sounds like self-improvement --- a kind of eternal self-discovery. Each time we add something new to our knowledge (creativity) --- we add new qualitative complexities that we need to discover. And that means never-ending or eternal self-discovery. For this reason alone, I would leave "Mother Nature has a purpose" (for those who think top-down) and add camp "Eternal maturation of Mother Nature" or something similar (for those who think bottom-up). In both cases, I would not suggest references to computer algorithms, even when we are talking about evolution of genetic code. I suggest references to Complex Adaptive Systems theory. To get a better picture, there are few relatively good articles on Wikipedia. I also recommend articles on n-body problem and many-body problem. They are essentially referring to the same phenomenon --- but reading both gives more complete picture.
I would also caution against survival of the fittest as the only evolutionary criterion. This is a gross misinterpretation of Darwin himself. According to Darwin, there is a second criterion: survival of the kin, group etc. that often leads individual organisms to sacrifice themselves. This criterion is also now accepted by evolutionary biologists. In addition, I believe that in both camps proposed above, many theists and atheists may find a common ground and surprisingly agree about something.
Since you did not mention my suggestion about anthropomorphic camp, I will assume that you tentatively agree. I will, therefore, contemplate a bit how to articulate it and add it unless I receive suggestions to the contrary. I'm also open to suggestions for different articulations. I also expect here some theists and atheists to find some common ground and surprisingly agree.
Have a nice day,
"I suggest that "Believes about God" would be better
than "Truths about God". Some might firmly believe
that something about God is true, but even they
cannot provide evidence to justify the use of word truth."
Sweet, things just keep getting better and better. atypican, would you agree - that this is better? Although "Beliefs about God" would be better grammatically? I like "working hypothesis about God"' or "theories about God", but "Beliefs about God" probably captures that in a better way?
"I believe that those who support that Mother Nature
has a purpose --- should not be classified as atheists."
It sounds like you're telling someone what they should believe, or what they should call themselves or how they should name their camp?
"Certainly, purpose [is a belief] about God."
It is very frustrating to me that you would say this, because I feel a terrible communication fail is taking place with this. I think I understand what you are saying, and completely agree with it, but it is something very different than what I'm trying to talk about, by saying 'purpose'.
You're talking about some kind of top down, declared by God 'purpose' or what some would call 'intelligent design' and so on. I am talking about something diametrically the opposite of this. I'm am talking about a bottom up purpose, the kind of purpose that would result in a genetic search computer algorithm, and so on. For example, survival of the fittest is better, so that is the bottom up purpose of evolution, to select for such things that are better. I'm talking about the kind of purpose that spontaneously self organizes or is discovered, out of nothing, not something that is directed from above.
How could I better say the above, to avoid this kind of communication fail? I really struggle with this all the time, because this kind of communication fail almost always occurs when I say that.
"I would also caution about too many sub-camps.
I am well aware that there are so many different
believes about God --- that reaching an agreement
will be made very difficult. I, therefore, suggest
that we start thinking about how to merge some of
Absolutely! It's nice to have other stressing this, besides just me. We should always be working to have the most consensus, with the fewest camps possible - to make it easier on the reader - but not too few, as we still want to capture the essence of what everyone believes, without compromise, and the most efficient easy for all to understand camp structure.
Building as much consensus, and having as few camps as possible is what this site is all about. Too many people treat this as some kind of blog, where millions of everyone can have their own camp or statement about what they believe, with a lonely my way or the highway thinking, and they could care less about working or understanding what anyone else, besides themselves believes, or to try to build or work towards a consensus.
"We also need to make clear that we can agree
that we don't agree. I, therefore, encourage
atheists to start articulating their disagreements.
If they cannot --- that automatically means that
they only believe that they are atheists."
It seems to me, that is exactly what we are doing. I like calling myself an Atheist, as I hope no powerful beings ever have to hide from anyone or or any evil. But, I totally hate it because most people classify me with the type of atheists that believe evolution is not progressing towards anything, and other terrible beliefs, like 'my way or the highway' and so on. I like the current structure, because it shows that most atheist are, to me the good kind of atheists, unlike those to me bad kind that don't think evolution is progressing.
I suggest that "Believes about God" would be better than "Truths about God". Some might firmly believe that something about God is true, but even they cannot provide evidence to justify the use of word truth.
I believe that those who support that Mother Nature has a purpose --- should not be classified as atheists. Certainly, purpose is one of believes about God.
I would also caution about too many sub-camps. I am well aware that there are so many different believes about God --- that reaching an agreement will be made very difficult. I, therefore, suggest that we start thinking about how to merge some of the sub-camps.
We also need to make clear that we can agree that we don't agree. I, therefore, encourage atheists to start articulating their disagreements. If they cannot --- that automatically means that they only believe that they are atheists. In essence, if only one belief about God does not have an articulated opposition --- we will have to agree that there is an entity we may call God.
I also suggest anthropomorphic camp. It is clear and simple: Does God represents our own, human, aspirations?
Have a nice day,