Thursday, 26 February 2015

'Whether or not God exists' is a fake problem

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The modern question of 'whether God exists, or not' is a fake problem, a pseudo-problem.

We know that God exists.

(We all know this by revelation and experience; built-into us before we were born into this mortal life: We are born knowing it - and there never was any significant dispute about this obvious fact until very recently in human history.)

The proper question is what we do about it.

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God exists - but there is a choice concerning what we, personally, are going to do about the fact.

We do not have to be grateful to God for what He has done for us, nor do we have to love God. We can choose to blame God for what He has done for us, or not done; we can choose to hate God.

In other words, we can choose what side to be on: God's side; or not-God's side.

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We know that God exists, and we can only claim not to know God exists by also claiming ignorance of all the profoundest, deepest matters.

Modern Man has taken this route: modern Man has tried to escape the dichotomy of being either/or for/ against God by pretending not to know about God.

Having done so, modern Man finds that he is forced to deny knowledge of all Good.

Thus modern Man (who falsely claims 'not to know' whether or not God exists) is forced to be a 'relativist', indeed a nihilist; modern Man is forced to claim that truth, beauty and virtue are equally uncertain, as equally unreal, as he pretends God to be.

In denying the reality of God, modern Man denies even the possibility of meaning and purpose.

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(Because if we cannot know the reality of God, we cannot - by exactly the same arguments - know the reality of Good. If God is merely an evidence-free subjective assertion, then so is Good.)

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The fake assertion that he 'does not know' whether or not God is real is the condition that stuns, dismays, paralyses modern Man - which makes him hate himself, his life, his civilisation - which drives him into self-distraction and self-delusion.

Behind this pretence-piled-upon-pretence; we all know that God exists: that is not the problem.

The true questions relate not to existence but to matters such as the nature of God, his motivations, his relation to us, our responsibilities and destiny; and the implications of the answers for our own un-evadable choice: pro or contra.

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Note: I use the singular God as a short-hand which implicitly includes 'gods'.  This is an argument for deity, not for monotheism.

6 comments:

  1. I cannot intellectually know that God is.

    To know that God is, is to know absolutely that I am not deluded in my apprehension. It is to have an irrefutable certainty that my experience is not just a matter of neurochemistry, biological bias, projection, poor memory, limited intellect and deep desire. I have to be completely honest in saying that I cannot know, and I have to be aware of how my wish that it were so, does not make it so. Neither does my experience of extremes of ecstasy - which I have known through many diverse forms of induction. I have had poems spontaneously spring out of those states, and I have seen beauty that has left me in slack-jawed, silent awe. With all that, I cannot know, because I am limited and biased, subject to distortion, delusion and error.

    Humility - the queen of virtues - requires acknowledging my limits and biases, and with that comes uncertainty. Certainty is hubris, and must be avoided. I, therefore cannot assert to knowing that God is.

    I can try to the best of my ability to perceive and experience my life as honestly as I am able. I can extend my experience and sense of beauty to others in art. I can be thankful for life - even without a definite thing to which that thanks is expressed. I can experience all those things which make my life meaningful, and be joyful in what I come to see, hear, and share with others.

    I will, however, resist the tendency to say that God is, or is not. I have to be stripped of my biases to apprehend honestly, and there will always be limits to how stripped down I can be, and there will always be more biases to contend with. This does not preclude experiencing those things to which the religious ascribe to their God, but it does preclude my projecting an idol to which I apply the label 'God'. As soon as people reduce what is irreducible they fall into error. As soon as people claim to know what they cannot know, they fall into delusion.

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  2. @NF -You confim my point.

    "To know that God is, is to know absolutely that I am not deluded in my apprehension..."

    By these criteria you cannot know anything at all - you cannot even know that anything you wrote was true - ergo you are a nihilist.

    "Humility - the queen of virtues - "

    To whom? Not to a Christian.(That would be Love). To claim to know the primacy of a virtue is to claim some source of knowledge - this claim only makes sense if you can say why you have chosen humility as the queen of virtues; why this is your primary assumption; why you have any primary assumptions at all.

    "requires acknowledging my limits and biases, and with that comes uncertainty. Certainty is hubris, and must be avoided."

    Certainty is name for a psychological state which is often necessary for effective action- its lack is often paralysing doubt. Certainty in the sense of 100 percent infallible and perfectly accurate now and forever and everywhere is sheer made-up nonsense - not the basis for living. If you are ordered to torture an innocent child, do you need to be 'certain' that is wicked?

    "I can try to the best of my ability to perceive and experience my life as honestly as I am able. I can extend my experience and sense of beauty to others in art. I can be thankful for life - even without a definite thing to which that thanks is expressed. I can experience all those things which make my life meaningful, and be joyful in what I come to see, hear, and share with others."

    But this is psychotherapy, not philosophy. You are just saying that if you feel cheerful, then philosophical nihilism doesn't matter. Experience suggests otherwise - nihilism is the primary existential problem. .

    "I will, however, resist the tendency to say that God is, or is not. I have to be stripped of my biases to apprehend honestly,"

    I have never met, nor even heard of,an unbiased man who was yet alive. Everyone who cares is very biased. Bias is necessary and inevitable. The only valid question is whether the biases are good ones.

    " and there will always be limits to how stripped down I can be, and there will always be more biases to contend with. This does not preclude experiencing those things to which the religious ascribe to their God, but it does preclude my projecting an idol to which I apply the label 'God'."

    As I suspected, you do know God exists.You merely object to the idea that God should be idolised.

    "As soon as people reduce what is irreducible they fall into error. As soon as people claim to know what they cannot know, they fall into delusion."

    Like bias, reductionism is intrinsic to existence. How could anybody talk of anything without reducing it? We can talk about how best to discuss things, but we cannot avoid reduction.

    As for delusion - your philosophy, as described earlier, denies any difference between delusion and reality because all are equally uncertain, and the primacy of humility means that nothing could ever with certainty be rejected as delusional.

    It would be much more coherent for you to admit that your refusal to concede the reality of God is simply a denial of something you live by. To repeat - everything you say against the existence of God applies equally to the existence of Good - and (thank Heavens) you are not prepared to give up the existence of Good.

    So you are a theist. The honest thing is to admit the fact. Admit it and move on. You can then try to find out more about God and the implications, if you want to - of not.

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  3. Knowing God or that God exists isn't about certainty. It can't be. Uncertainty is simply part of what it means to be human. Can we really be absolutely certain of anything? Certainty seeking is frankly what can prevent a lot of intelligent, thoughtful people from even considering God in their daily lives. Faith only demands a willingness to commit to living for God in the face of uncertainty. Faith then is demonstrated by a relationship with God, not just being certain in your mind He exists.

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  4. @Uhg- Yes. That is why there is something dishonest, fake, about the way the subject is usually discussed.

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  5. Would you like me to explain the problem -- or have you already made up your mind? -- Lurking Nihilist

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  6. @JF- There is an obvious paradox about a 'Nihilist' making blog comments! Of course, all Nihilists are very selective about their Nihilism - most are, for example, very Left wing and radical in politics,although some are more Nietzschian/ fascist/ militarist. A 'complete' Nihilist wouldn't be saying or doing anything much - probably would not live many hours.

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