Friday, November 28, 2008

The Problem with Atheists Demanding Proof of God

The problem with atheists demanding "evidence" for God is that in assuming that evidence could prove something about God one is making the wrong assumption. That is one assumes that God is an empirical fact (if God exists God exits in the sense that objects in creation exists). So one is assuming we can just add a fact to the universe if God exist. The fact being being added is that in addition to all other existants there is also a thing called "God" which also exists.

This is a problem because God is not given in sense Data. God is the foundation of reality not just another thing in reality. God is not an object in creation along side mustard Jars and swizzel sticks, but is the basis upon which all things exist and cohere and can be known at all. God s not an empirical fact (since the divine is not an object of sense data). thus god si also beyond our understanding. This renders the chances of being ablet o muster evidence of God's existence pretty slim.

When we believe in God, when we come to believe, we are not merely adding a fact to the universe. we are actually discovering something new about our own being. So God is not just anther thing in the world but is actually the discovery of the truth about nautre our own being, and of all being.

God is being itself. This is meant in three different ways:

(1) The nature of being in its most abstract since apart from anything else in particular

(2) the foundation of all that is.

(3) not an individual thing or a being but a class of existence by itself that cannot be compared to anything and has no actual "thinghood."

What this means is that coming to believe in God is not merely adding a fact to the universe, it is a paradigm shift. It's a whole sea change, the ground upon which we understand reality shifts and we are in a whole uiverse. The theist an th atheist occupy totally differnt worlds.

coming to belief in God is coming to a realization about the nature of being; that there is a holy and eternal aspect of being that is worthy of our most serious devotion. More akin to eastern enlightenment than to just coming to hold a philosophical position.

All of this renders mere evidence pretty irrelevant. The idea that there is no evidence for God becomes very unimportant and is really what we should expect given the qualitatively different orientation of belief.

Belief in God is an existential and ontological paradigm shift that requires a phenomenological apprehension, not merely the accumulation of empirical facts and data.

what does this mean for rationality?

The atheist claims about the rationality of belief are irrelevant because that is based upon the assumption that there is only one kind of knowledge and that is empirical knowledge. believing a proposition with no empirical knowledge may or may not be irrational, but when the "proposition" is actually a phenomenological apprehension that is connected with a shifting of the ground upon which one understands the nature of being, it can hardly be held to the same evidential standards as empirical data.

There are different forms of knowledge. Not all knowledge is emprical and there are valid aspects of knowledge which are not empirical.

We don't have to comb the universe looking for squre circle before we decide there aren't any. We can know a priori that there are no squire circles. Thus deductive knowledge is knowledge and it can tell us something.



What can one do about this?

That leads to the problem what can tell atheists if one can't just show the data?

(1) Tell them why we can't show data and why it's irrelevant

(2) focal points


There are aspects of phenomenological apprehension that can be discussed and listed. We can apply the prima facie standards to a case for a rationally warranted belief. We cant' prove the existence of God but we can point to ways that one migh come to realize the reality of God.

Belief is an existential phenomenological matter. It's not something to be proven objectively in the firsrt place.

We can discuss these standards and forms of knowledge. Then I will talk about ways of realizing and the nature of paradigm shifts. that will be in other threads.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

ANOTHER problem is the way they insist upon what God is. Too many follow the Richard Dawkins school of hought which tries to firts define God in such a way as to make God sound ridiculous, then demand that the theist adheres to the definition of God they created, then to tear doen that argument they themselves created and to then declare they have shown God doesn't exist. Its a classoc strawman fallacy.

Basiclaly, they define God as "SKy Daddy". A man int he clouds we stupid theists like ot pretend is there ot make us feel better.

I was talking to an Atheist from Prougal who consistantly asked me why a human-like intity explaiend things ot a human mind. He wasn't akign to know, they never do. He was askign to get me to start askign quesitons and to think about the absurdity of the concept. He was tryign to raise my consiousness. The problem is, God isn't a Human-like concept at all. I told him this and instead of listenign to what I had ot say, he insisted that O accept God as a Human like concept in order to get me to understand that I am anthopomorphising nature in order to understand it in human terms. Of coruse I don't acutlaly do that, becaue I don't think of God as a human-like intety. Still, he insisted and I was forced to play along wihthte charade, knowign full wel lhe won't abandon his ridiculous notions.

Any postulated idea about God is usually not understood, because they want a simplified version of God that they can fit into their perception of what heists beleive, and thus prove their intellectual suoeriority for rejecting theism by telling us how silly it is we belive in this thing.

Any deep thought is automaticllay ignroed in favour of the image thye created of God as a man with magical powers, busily countign each fallign Sparrow, to paraphrase Carl Sagan.

Thats what they want and thats all they see.

-Zarove

J.L. Hinman said...

hey good to hear from you buddy. I know who you are. There's only one guy it could be.


Your analysis is right on the money.

J.L. Hinman said...

hey Zor I said that before I read to the end.I didn't need to see the signature I knew who it was.