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Thread: What would count as proof of God

  1. Top | #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Higgins View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post

    Such as actual gods being seen doing godly things as a matter of routine.

    Basically the same things that make people confident in the existence of real things in the real world. I know my dining table exists, because my spaghetti doesn't land in my lap.

    I know gods don't exist, because theists have to eat off their knees.
    But what would be godly verses just highly advanced?
    "Actual god" versus "just highly advanced" = semantic issue.

    A "God" is merely a being or power that's super-duper impressive to those who want to worship him/her/it. Call the conjectured power or being "advanced" instead if you like, but if the worshiper calls it "God" then that's how... and is the one and only way... to determine that it's a deity. It has to be someone's deity to be a deity.

    So, could the OP's scenario convince me it's God? If I valued the noise 'gawd' as an explanation for anything, then Yes. But I don't, so No.

    "Is it a deity?" is not a problem you can solve like an engineering issue (what is it? what's it made of? how does it work?). Instead it's a question of values. Do you value the word "God" as meaningful? Do "sentient" and "very powerful" and "incorporeal" and "deserves worship" seem like they all fit together in your mind? If not... if the values aren't all there (maybe especially if the "deserves worship" bit is missing)... then probably "advanced alien being" is what your more science-informed sensibilities are going to make of a powerful incorporeal being that can make you believe it exists.
    Last edited by abaddon; 05-19-2019 at 07:56 PM. Reason: added the quote to be clear what I'm addressing

  2. Top | #52
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Higgins View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post

    Such as actual gods being seen doing godly things as a matter of routine.

    Basically the same things that make people confident in the existence of real things in the real world. I know my dining table exists, because my spaghetti doesn't land in my lap.

    I know gods don't exist, because theists have to eat off their knees.
    But what would be godly verses just highly advanced?
    "Actual god" versus "just highly advanced" = semantic issue.

    A "God" is merely a being or power that's super-duper impressive to those who want to worship him/her/it. Call the conjectured power or being "advanced" instead if you like, but if the worshiper calls it "God" then that's how... and is the one and only way... to determine that it's a deity. It has to be someone's deity to be a deity.

    So, could the OP's scenario convince me it's God? If I valued the noise 'gawd' as an explanation for anything, then Yes. But I don't, so No.

    "Is it a deity?" is not a problem you can solve like an engineering issue (what is it? what's it made of? how does it work?). Instead it's a question of values. Do you value the word "God" as meaningful? Do "sentient" and "very powerful" and "incorporeal" and "deserves worship" seem like they all fit together in your mind? If not... if the values aren't all there (maybe especially if the "deserves worship" bit is missing)... then probably "advanced alien being" is what your more science-informed sensibilities are going to make of a powerful incorporeal being that can make you believe it exists.
    Yup, sycophancy isn't part of my makeup, so even if some religious sect did present me with their god, and it was able to do all kinds of inexplicable things, and it knew everything, and it was kind and caring, and etc. etc., I still wouldn't worship it.

    I might respect it (if it earned my respect, for example by alleviating human suffering); I might learn from it, if it could teach me something plausible and interesting. But worship? Worship is for tyrants. It's a human mechanism for building the ego of a leader, while reducing the risk of rebellion from his minions.

    A god worthy of the name would neither want nor demand worship - and a god that's not worshipful is no god at all.

    I know that most people are in awe of powerful and/or famous people. But kings, rock stars, CEOs etc. do nothing for me. I don't care if you own the company, or if you are the janitor - the respect you get will depend on what you do and say, not what titles you hold. If you can sack me on a whim, I might fear you; But if you would do so, just because you can, I wouldn't want to work for you anyway. And fear isn't respect - a mistake that is common amongst gangsters and theists is to conflate the two.

    If a being can damn me to eternal suffering, it won't get respect from me as a result - and indeed it would instantly lose any respect I had for it if it damned anyone (including me). Fear? Perhaps. But not worship, nor respect.

    The very foundational principle of most religions - that a god can command respect - is deeply wrong.

    Fear god? Sure, if you show me a scary one. Worship god? Why?

  3. Top | #53
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    The HLN network ran a two-parter on the Oklahoma City Bombing last night. There was a comment from an Oklahoma sheriff that I found choice. They had just reenacted McVeigh's capture after the bombing. What happened, briefly: he was stopped on the highway because his car had no plates. When the officer spotted a gun on him, he was cuffed and detained. Meanwhile, from a truck axle found near the bomb site, the FBI tracked down the rental truck McVeigh had used. When they canvassed the motels between the rental site and Oklahoma City, they got his name off a motel ledger. The next day, just before he would have most likely posted bond on the license plate and concealed gun charges and been released, they arrested him for the bombing.
    Okay -- with all that as preface -- the sheriff who brought McVeigh in said, "I always said that it was divine intervention that put all those things in place."
    Can you imagine that level of religious conviction? First of all, it was FBI intervention. Second, he imagines that God, who knows all, sees all, judges all, watched McVeigh pull off the murder of 168 people, including kids at day care, but it warms his heart to think that God set up the arrest. It makes it into a 'faith story.' Sheesh. I guess it's not dumber than the typical faith story in Guideposts, but I laughed loud enough to wake up my dog.

  4. Top | #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    The HLN network ran a two-parter on the Oklahoma City Bombing last night. There was a comment from an Oklahoma sheriff that I found choice. They had just reenacted McVeigh's capture after the bombing. What happened, briefly: he was stopped on the highway because his car had no plates. When the officer spotted a gun on him, he was cuffed and detained. Meanwhile, from a truck axle found near the bomb site, the FBI tracked down the rental truck McVeigh had used. When they canvassed the motels between the rental site and Oklahoma City, they got his name off a motel ledger. The next day, just before he would have most likely posted bond on the license plate and concealed gun charges and been released, they arrested him for the bombing.
    Okay -- with all that as preface -- the sheriff who brought McVeigh in said, "I always said that it was divine intervention that put all those things in place."
    Can you imagine that level of religious conviction? First of all, it was FBI intervention. Second, he imagines that God, who knows all, sees all, judges all, watched McVeigh pull off the murder of 168 people, including kids at day care, but it warms his heart to think that God set up the arrest. It makes it into a 'faith story.' Sheesh. I guess it's not dumber than the typical faith story in Guideposts, but I laughed loud enough to wake up my dog.
    Which demonstrates to me quite convincingly that the only evidence any person has for a god is their emotions. All god claims reduce to personal emotional attachment.

  5. Top | #55
    Super Moderator Atheos's Avatar
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    Strain out a gnat, smoke a camel. Or something like that.

  6. Top | #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    the only evidence any person has for a god is their emotions.
    Emotions are evidence of a Mind... like Pee is evidence of Urination.

  7. Top | #57
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    the only evidence any person has for a god is their emotions.
    Emotions are evidence of a Mind... like Pee is evidence of Urination.
    Emotions are evidence of an endocrine system. There's no particular reason to consider a 'mind' to be a non-fictional entity.

    We have a nervous system, and an endocrine system. Mind appears to be an entirely imaginary construct of these two systems.

  8. Top | #58
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    "Mind" should be used as a verb, not as a noun. It is a process, not a physical 'thing'. Mind ends with death but brain, nerves, glands, etc. are still there.

  9. Top | #59
    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    "Mind" should be used as a verb, not as a noun. It is a process, not a physical 'thing'. Mind ends with death but brain, nerves, glands, etc. are still there.
    That would depend on how they deathed.

  10. Top | #60
    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    "Mind" should be used as a verb, not as a noun. It is a process, not a physical 'thing'. Mind ends with death but brain, nerves, glands, etc. are still there.
    It is perfectly fine as a noun. Nouns are used as names for lots of nonphysical things. But your main point is correct that "mind" is not a physical thing anymore than words like "society" or "election" denote physical things. We may think of an election as a series or collection of physical events, but it would make no sense to try to describe its meaning as just that. It plays a functional role in human society.

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