Religion alwaysng seems to provoke interesting responses doesn't it! I guess a lot of what Christians believe is based on other presuppositions that you need to believe in for the Christian view to make sense. Obviously, one element of this is the role of the Bible in religion and how Christians view it as the word of God, therefore providing direction for Christians. This also gives Christians a book from which they derive a number of their theological premises such as the omniscience and omnipresence of God.
Another way to argue about God is by looking at worldviews, presuppositions and logical outcomes of the existence and non-existence of God. In other words, do people live as though there is a God? If so, then maybe God exists. I would say that all people are inconsistent, that is, they presuppose in God. For instance, if people believe in order, morality, justice, etc., these are all meaningful only if there is a God.
The strongest argument I have ever heard for God's existence is the apple pie. If you walk into a kitchen and there is a delicious apple pie sitting on the windowsill cooling, the logical assumption that you can draw is that someone baked that pie. The pie didn't just magically appear out of nowhere, nor did a cosmic bang rearrange all the molecules in the kitchen to create a pie. There was a baker.
I am finding these posts fascinating. At age 63, I have been thinking about God and religion a lot. So, here are some of my thoughts.
From where, or how, do human beings get the idea of God? From what we know, humans seem to be the only species that conceive of God. Other animals don't!
This i a very difficult question to aswer; but answer it I will. I hope that, in the process, I do not step on any one's toes. If I do, it is unintentional. Please forgive me.
Now, hre goes!
Humans are able, not only to think, but are able to be self-conscious of their thoughts as well. In other words, humans are AWARE. I am defining awareness as our innate capacity to both be conscious of our own thoughts and of other people's presence around us, and the presence of other things in our environment.
For centuries now, millenia in fact, humans have struggled with a very simple contradiction: simple to pinpoint, but very complex in terms of understanding. The contradiction is that while we intellectually, theoretically understand the concept of infinity, we are painfully aware that physically, numerically we cannot attain it. The brain, exercising one-seventh of its capacity, cannot solve this contradiction: we understand infinity but we cannot touch it.
Isn't God the same? It seems to me, from even the dialogues that precede mine in these posts, that human beings begun to become aware of God from the time they were aware of this contradiction.
The Grand Design, the miraculous symetry of nature, and many such things then seem to provide the so-called material connection between the universe and God: someone must have created it, the saying goes. All this could not have come about by chance.
Well, chance or not, the ultimate contradiction stays. Not being able to solve this contradiction, we have accepted our subordination to the puzzle and attribute it to God.
In my mind, I regard the human preoccupation with God as an infinite (there we go again!) source of energy. To be sure, this energy can be misdirected and misused as we have seen so many examples in history, right up to this day; but, still, by and large, the preoccupation with God is a positive one.
Does God exist? It does not matter. What matters is that we THINK of God, create him in our own image, and use this concept as energy to do good for mankind. When I teach a student, or a farmer sows seeds for wheat, when couples make mad passionate love, we are all, consciously or unconsciously releasing enrgy for the good of mankind. Then, when the spontaneous overflow of powerful energy is over, when we collect our emotions in tranquility, we once again concentrate on this eternal contradiction: we know infinity; and we do not know it!
I would just like to tack on to Number 4's post that Lewis is an excellent author to read if you are looking for a book that reasons logically about God's existence and involvement with humans. In addition to Mere Christianity, you might consider reading Lewis's The Screwtape Letters. It discusses thoroughly the aspect of God's existence (and Satan's) and does so in Lewis's classic allegorical style.
I agree with post #2--there is beauty and symmetry in almost every aspect of nature and creation. That is not random or merely accident. A divine hand with a divine plan was involved.
In addition, I do not believe the humanists' point of view that man is basically good. The very nature of human beings as depicted in the news daily is not good. If humanity was "basically good" there would be no need for a savior and there would be no evil in the world. Whether or not you believe in God, you can not deny that evil exists...and it bothers everyone--Christian and other-than-Christian.
Man was created. Man falls from Grace. Man is able to live a Redeemed life, but with two gifts from God: we are created in His image AND we still have a sinful nature. We have a penchant for the evil things in life, but we also have Free Will so that we may CHOOSE to follow and worship the creator of the universe.
I love C. S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity which is a work he began as an atheist determined to prove that God does not exist. He came away with the logical conclusion from his research that states just the opposite.
Check that out and also look at the Truth Project taught by Dr. Del Tackett. He is quite dynamic as a teacher, and poses some tough questions like Who is Man? Who is God? Why does Evil exist in the world? Here's the link: http://www.thetruthproject.org/
The teleological argument is fairly convincing in terms of the idea of a design being present in every aspect of existence. While there might be a level of randomness in the equation, I cannot fully embrace that it is completely random throughout existence. I believe that the idea of design is a fairly compelling one.
1) You can't prove the prediction did not influence the story of Jesus. It is most likely a self fulfilling prophecy. Any prophecy which is vague enogh can be pushed to fit future events. And those future events can also be twisted to fit the prophecy.
2) You cherry-picked a science fact which parallels a bible-quote; 'I suspend the earth over nothing' contains vague echoes of our solar system because 'nothing' is like a vacuum and the Earth doesn't rest on another object. But, in fact, the Earth is not suspended over anything, it moves around the Sun, held in orbit at roughly right angles to its polar axis by a combination of the Sun's gravitational pull and the earth's straight line momentum. So actually it's wrong, the Earth is most definitely not 'suspended in gravity' over the Sun. And if you wish to use science's views to support the bible, then the 1000 other places where science completely refutes the bible must also be valid.
3) Of course the bible contains historical characters, but this proves nothing regarding this existence of God or the validity of the 'magic stories'. Just because some things in it are historically accurate, you cannot illogically extrapolate that to claim it is all true.
4) The claim that many people saw the resurrection is only supported by one source, the bible, and you have yet to establish that the bible is factual.
Their is plenty evidence that the Bible is divinely inspired and accurate.
Predictive Prophecy: Micah 5:2 Jesus Christ birth predicted 800 years before in a samll town with a population of 1000. Who could pinpoint a Savior and know what city, what tribe, and that he would be something special....God
Scientific Evidence: Job 26:7 I suspend the Earth over nothing...God knew 2000 years before satellites that Earth was suspended in gravity...Other religions believed it was being held up by Atlas, or that it was resting on the back of an elephant, standing on the back of a turtle swimming through the ocean.
Archaelogical Evidence: Approx 80 people in the Bible have been proven to live around the time frame mentioned in the Bible. Artifacts of King David have been found as well at the seat of the governor Pontius Pilate who sentenced Jesus Christ to his crucifixion.
Non:Secular Historians: A Roman Historian by the name of Cornelius Tacitus chronicled the life of Jesus Christ in his Talmounds...why would he speak of his existence if Romans hated Jews....why would he prove our Savior lived and suffered the extreme penalty.
Resurrection: The resurrection of Jesus Christ was witnessed by the disciples and ove 500 other eyewitnesses.
Read Romans 1:19-25
In 1987, Richard Dawkin's made a very pleasant and interesting documentary called "The Blind Watchmaker" which examines your "pie = baker" argument and explains how complexity can develope without a creator. Someone has put it on You Tube. To do this they had to break it into 5, ten minute parts. Here they are...
Part One http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fgf-g8jJ7Q&feature=related
Part Two http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sUQIpFajsg&feature=related
Part Three http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOKyODS3Kw8&feature=related
Part Four http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uzVYgPVtjQ&feature=related
Part Five http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ddh_GOEYCDE&feature=related
Or, there is this more challenging, high-brow, two hour lecture from Ken Miller on the flaws of Intelligent Design...
So, MrsMonica, you suggest a pie presupposes a baker... Does a good pie presuppose a good baker? And a bad pie, a bad baker? Many people claim the complexity of The Earth is proof of God. But The Earth is clearly imperfect. Using your argument, we are forced to conclude that God cannot be both all-powerful and all-good because his creation is flawed. By your rationale, The ebola virus, cot death and earthquakes are proof of the nature of God.
Your argument is a homely version of William Paley's "Watchmaker" argument from 1802. This argument (put forward serveral times in this thread) is flawed. Firstly, complex artifacts do not, in fact, require a designer, but can and do arise from "mindless" natural processes. The second argument is that the watch (pie) is a faulty analogy. The third argument is that the watchmaker (baker) is a far more complex organism than the watch (pie), and if complexity proves a creator, then the question arises: so who created God? The watchmaker argument is a dud. Nowadays, Paley's argument is called Intelligent Design but it is still the same watchmaker argument. Creationists repackaged the watchmaker argument dozens of times since Paley's day, trying to claim it is an intellectual argument, but it isn't. It simply doesn't hold water.
(Richard Dawkins examines the watchmaker theory in his book, The Blind Watchmaker. Brilliantly, he refers to The Earth as the blind watchmaker's thumb!)
Already in the third chapter of Genesis the fall of creation puts a huge spin on things. If you're going to argue effective against belief in the God of the Bible and intelligent design, you have to take into account that the Bible does not claim that creation is perfect. Far from it. It is fallen, because our representative head, Adam, plunged all of creation into a fallen state through his choice to disobey. The Bible goes on to describe a creation that's still both beautiful (it still is isn't it?) and fallen, imperfect, decaying, headed for destruction. It's not enough to state that creation isn't perfect and therefore God could not have designed it without taking into account myriads of Bible passages describing a fallen creation as a result of man's sin.
This was a closed subject in the 19th century! - frizzyperm
I am unable to understand the basis of this statement. Is it that everything to be known, and everything knowable was already known in the 19th century? Or is it that in 19th century, the science had dug its face in sand to avoid the discomfort of realization that it can never prove or disprove the existence of God.
IF complexity proves the existence of a creator, then who created the complex nature of god? Another creator? - frizzyperm
This is where the concept of God comes in as a power that is able to create something out of nothing. As per Hindu philosophy, God is is something that remains after you have eliminated everything else. If one insists on using language of science, I will describe GOD as the nothingness out of which the Big Bang emerged and created this infinite universe.
A complex universe does NOT prove the existence of God! Hello...? This was a closed subject in the 19th century!
IF complexity proves the existence of a creator, then who created the complex nature of god? Another creator?
I am not sure which are the "three traditional arguments for God's existence" referred in post #1. Not only there are many different arguments to support God's existence, there are also many different views on nature of Gods. The kind of Gods as mentioned in Greek mythology are very different from the one and only one supreme God envisaged in Hindu philosophy.
One view of God is that it is not possible to either describe in words the nature of the world or to prove God's existence by arguments. One example give to explain this view is that we can use a scale to measure the length of anything, except the scale itself. It is said that the God is infinite and encompasses everything in the universe including the words that we use, and therefore any attempt to describe God in words is like using part of a scale to measure the scale itself. God or the reality of God, they say, can only be experienced or realized. I cannot be proven by arguments or described in words.
The same philosophy also speaks of the God being exactly opposite of infinite - that is 'zero', or 'shoonya' in Sanskrit. It becomes easy to accept possibility of both these two views of God - infinite and zero - being correct, when we consider the well established scientific theory of "Big Bang". As per this theory, this entire infinite universe was created in split second out of nothing by a phenomenon called Big Bang.
I really cannot prove the existence of the god, just as I cannot prove many of the well established scientific facts such as theory of relativity, or the the theory of big bang. I believe that these scientific theories are true because people wiser than me say that these are true. Similarly, I believe in God's exists because many people wiser than me, including great scientists like Einstein, say God exists.