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View Poll Results: Do you consider yourself an agnostic or atheist?
agnostic 57 36.54%
atheist 99 63.46%
Voters: 156. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-28-2014, 07:39 PM
 
Location: OKC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
But if the definition implies unreality, what are we to do? How do you square an omni-max eternal deity who is outside of everything including time with reality? Anything we can theoretically observe, he is defined as being outside and separate from that, having created it from nothing. At some point the definition itself pushes it into unreality.

If a god can be measured, understood, constrained, or manipulated what makes it a god? This is not a conclusion I came to as an unbeliever, it was what I was taught as a Christian. Anything that was subject to any sort of naturalistic reality was not a real god, and not worthy of worship. It is a contradiction, because the premise is that God is "real" but that he exists beyond reality. If he was merely real, then he would just be a powerful thing.

There may be some religions that don't make these distinctions but at least the fundamentalist brands of Christianity explicitly demand supernaturalism as a condition of God, becasue they argue that the god described in the Bible is transcendent, supernatural, beyond reality even though he is "real".

-NoCapo
I agree that the problem is the way we have framed the debate such that a theist must prove a god is both real and unreal at the same time. That is why I think a debate framed this way is meaningless, even if both parties consent to those terms. We beg the question when we ask it.

I think the problem comes from a lack of clarity surrounding the terms used. I think if we described the same phenomena differently we could get back to addressing the central claim of whether a being such as that described in the Bible could exist.

A Christian may say God created all reality. But in acknowledging that a God existed, he must mean that God created all reality EXCEPT God himself. I think most Christians would accept this redefinition, and it would put God back into nature. God existed within this reality, (which he must by definition if he exists) and then created everything else that came along after.

A Christian may say God is not subject to the laws of nature. But in acknowledging that provision he has created a law of nature - that God is not subject to any of the other laws. Again, I think Christians would accept this redefinition and this redefinition would pull God back into the realm of the natural.

A Christian may say God exists outside of this reality. But "reality" is everything that exists, so that statement couldn't possible be true. I think most Christian's would agree that "God exists outside of this physical dimension," which captures what they mean while avoiding the illogic of their initial claim.

I think redefining God this way more accurately captures what Christian's mean, and it avoids the pitfalls of arguing over whether a being that is unreal by definition might be real.
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:41 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
We foist supernaturalism on their claim in way they don't intend. They don't intend "unreal" to be part of their claim, in fact, they intend just the opposite.
I can only speak to what I know deeply, which is the fundamentalist / evangelical / literalist flavor of Christianity. There, god is not god if he isn't supernatural. Of course they don't intend that to be synonymous with "unreal" and wouldn't THINK of it in those terms. Nor are they consciously placing god outside the realm of proof in order to fashion him in their own image. I'd reserve that sort of intentionality and self-awareness for the grand pooh-bahs of the religion, particularly the founders ... the ones who steered the faith into a particular definition of orthodoxy. They merely showed the way, provided a framework of "thinking" that would make sure that orthodoxy would place place god squarely under the control of the church. The church asserts god, and defines god. Inconvenient truth that contradicts those assertions and definitions, are not tolerated. A god who exists within nature is a god who can be judged by natural laws and subjected to them -- and to our scrutiny and skepticism.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
In terms of this debate, the distinction between natural and supernatural isn't helpful even if it is employed by both sides. By insisting that supernaturalism is a useful distinction between gods and nongods, we only make matters more confusing and avoid addressing their central claim - that a god such as one described in the bible does exist.
I think we address the central claim just fine. I agree that "supernatural" is a rather useless and illogical label, and that the central question is whether god is real. Since the Christian god is claimed to be supernatural, that makes that particular god inherently unreal, whether or not Christians like to think so. There are also, oh, about a million other reasons why such a god cannot be real; some of them, like the Problem of Evil, are quite powerful indeed, and can never be refuted based on logic. Specific gods are generally child's play to dispose of, so long as you don't expect their followers to wilt and give up -- they are too invested.

I appreciate what you are trying to do by disposing of "the supernatural" but it is a though-construct that is incredibly pervasive and influential and the most I think you can do in discussing it with fundamentalists and even most Christians generally is to address the supernatural as a container for all things Unobtanium, for all unjustified claims, for all wishful thinking -- in short, a location for the Unreal.
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:51 PM
 
Location: OKC
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I agree that most Christians consider God to be supernatural. But what they mean by that term may not have been thought through. After some reflection, they may find that definition makes no sense in the way we are using it, and find another term that more appropriately describes their position.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I agree that most Christians consider God to be supernatural. But what they mean by that term may not have been thought through. After some reflection, they may find that definition makes no sense in the way we are using it, and find another term that more appropriately describes their position.
I think you are right. When I was a believer we even had a word for believers like this... Liberal. If they weren't heretics, then they were close to it. I do recognize that I am skewed because I came out of a relatively insular fundamentalist background, but between those who don't care enough to analyse it that deeply, and those who's doctrine won't allow it, you come out to a sizeable chunk.

-NoCapo
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:14 PM
 
Location: OKC
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Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
I think you are right. When I was a believer we even had a word for believers like this... Liberal. If they weren't heretics, then they were close to it. I do recognize that I am skewed because I came out of a relatively insular fundamentalist background, but between those who don't care enough to analyse it that deeply, and those who's doctrine won't allow it, you come out to a sizeable chunk.

-NoCapo
You're probably right.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
A Christian may say God exists outside of this reality. But "reality" is everything that exists, so that statement couldn't possible be true. I think most Christian's would agree that "God exists outside of this physical dimension," which captures what they mean while avoiding the illogic of their initial claim.

I think redefining God this way more accurately captures what Christian's mean, and it avoids the pitfalls of arguing over whether a being that is unreal by definition might be real.
I'm not sure how much more useful or logical such a position would be. Since we humans are physical beings, that is we exist in the 'physical dimension', it would seem that our perception and understanding is limited to other physical things.

Defining god as something that exists outside the physical dimension might make it more logically possible (I guess ), but such a definition is not any more practical because it seems we humans are incapable of comprehending something that isn't in some way physical.

Even abstract concepts like time, justice, fairness, etc. are only meaningful when applied to real or at least hypothetical, potentially real situations. I don't see how defining god this way makes the concept any more applicable to human existence.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:41 PM
 
Location: OKC
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Originally Posted by Apathizer View Post
I'm not sure how much more useful or logical such a position would be. Since we humans are physical beings, that is we exist in the 'physical dimension', it would seem that our perception and understanding is limited to other physical things.

Defining god as something that exists outside the physical dimension might make it more logically possible (I guess ), but such a definition is not any more practical because it seems we humans are incapable of comprehending something that isn't in some way physical.

Even abstract concepts like time, justice, fairness, etc. are only meaningful when applied to real or at least hypothetical, potentially real situations. I don't see how defining god this way makes the concept any more applicable to human existence.
It opens up the possibility of a god who exists in another multiverse.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:52 PM
 
40,103 posts, read 26,772,494 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apathizer View Post
I'm not sure how much more useful or logical such a position would be. Since we humans are physical beings, that is we exist in the 'physical dimension', it would seem that our perception and understanding is limited to other physical things.
Defining god as something that exists outside the physical dimension might make it more logically possible (I guess ), but such a definition is not any more practical because it seems we humans are incapable of comprehending something that isn't in some way physical.
Even abstract concepts like time, justice, fairness, etc. are only meaningful when applied to real or at least hypothetical, potentially real situations. I don't see how defining god this way makes the concept any more applicable to human existence.
This would be what is referred to as carnal-minded as opposed to spiritual-minded. Far too many believers remain carnal-minded despite instructions not to be. I agree with you about the reasons for it. It makes understanding and knowing God extremely difficult.
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Old 03-30-2014, 04:06 PM
 
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I consider myself to be and agnostic on the grounds that it satisfies my scientific education and training (and attitude). There is no proof that there is a God or Gods but equally there is no proof that there is not a God or Gods, thus I regard agnosticism to be the only logical path. Although if one supreme being or another were to drop by for a cup of tea and biscuits I would be quite happy to convert (after they had proved that they were a deity worthy of my worship) and after I had pointed out the various cockups in the design of the human body.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
Note as I think I pointed out earlier, (maybe it was a different thread) I am not speaking of big "E" evolution alone. I also mean evolution of technology and science, etc.
I know and I addressed that. So why you feel the need to make a "note" out of it when it was the very core of the post you are pretending to be replying to, I do not know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I submit to you the humans of 300 years from now will be more different from us than the humans of 300 years ago are different from us. Technology evolution isn't linear, it's exponential.
As above you appear to have hit REPLY on my post without actually reading it because I addressed this too. You can pretend and fantasize about exponential scientific evolution all you like but the fantasy will not become fact. Technology is so far subject to the limitations of the universe in which we reside and whether you add 300 years, 3000, or 3 million we currently have no reason to expect to overcome the limitations it puts upon us. Such as the speed of light barrier or the energy requirements.

Again, I do not doubt the probabilities of other life out there or the probabilities of that life being technologically superior to us. But I see no reason to expect them to appear god like to us given they are subject to the same universal constraints as we. It is at that point you leave the realm of discourse and plant both feet firmly in the realm of fantasy.

As I said however I am not limited to Abrahamic gods here. But I am limiting my discourse to life created within the universe or multiverse. When I speak of "gods" I speak of life that created the multi/universe, not live created by it or within it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I understand that you don't want to call Norse or Greek god's "gods"
Do you? Amazing how you can understand something of me I never said, espoused, or implied. Fantasy again. You use it a lot.
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