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Thread: Why must theists prove god exists?

  1. Top | #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    I had a philosophy professor who was a teen in Lithuania in WWII.

    He told a story about the Soviet occupation. A Soviet political officer was giving the town an indoctrination lecture. One of the people stood up and said 'If god does not exist why must you prove it?' The Soviet shot him.

    Turning the question around for the theists if god exists and you have faith why must you prove it?

    Christianity above all others is obsessed with arguments to prove god. To me it seems it is not us atheists they are trying to convince, they are really tying to convince themselves.
    I note that most believers don't give two shits about proving that God exists, especially outside of the context of being obliged to take a introductory philosophy class in college where it is always the central topic.
    Most Christians know that belief in God is irrational and that the evidence favors atheism, which is why they actively repress any doubts or rational thoughts that naturally bubble up into consciousness and get mad at people and claim it's "impolite" to have rational discussions about God's existence. Few Christians think that faith is a valid epistemological method to arrive at beliefs and which is why they reject faith whenever considering claims that the want to actually know the truth about. Their claims that "faith is a virtue" is a purely dishonest pretense they don't really accept but utter to justify their deliberate avoidance of rational thought about God.


    And in that class, they mention the, like, five theologians over the past two thousand years who've written meaningfully on the subject, most of them centuries ago. I mean, how often do you actually meet someone who cares about philosophically proving the existence of God?
    The whole reason that the nonsensical notion that faith is a valid basis for belief is pushed by monotheism is that they know that reason is not compatible with theism. They would love to prove God's existence rationally and the leaders of the major religions have tried to con their flocks with pseudo intellectual apologetics. But since they know they cannot provide any honest argument for God, they pretend they don't care and that "faith is a virtue", which is a notion they don't honestly accept as evidence by the fact that they don't rely upon faith for any belief they hold that is rationally defensible.

    Why do so many Christians so quickly and unthinkingly use every positive improbable event or "miracle" as "evidence of God"? Because they want there to be evidence that makes their theism rationally defensible, so they hunt for evidence wherever they can. They don't look to formal philosophy b/c they know that only dishonest selective unreasoned use of "evidence" can be used to give theism a veneer of intellectual legitimacy. This need to "prove" God is also evident in why pseudoscience like "irreducible complexity" and "Intelligent design" spread like wildfire among Christians in the 90s, where people that had always pretended they didn't care about scientific support for God suddenly were quoting Behe. Granted, few Christians actually read his books, they just started saying "what about the human eye?! Aha! I've stumped you!" The vast majority of Christians who I have talked to about why they hold their beliefs will start by trying to give some pseudo science or pseudo philosophical rationale like the argument from design, then when the failure of these are exposed will retreat to "well, I just have faith and religion is about faith".

    I'd say atheists are, on the whole, a lot more obsessed with the issue of "proof", insisting that it should be the only rational basis for belief
    Atheists are more honestly consistent in their valuing of evidence based reasoning about God, but most theists will try to make philosophical/scientific arguments for their theism when they think they can get away with it.
    By definition, reasoned determination that the evidence favors one conclusion over all others is the only rational basis for belief.
    Theists actually also know this simple logical fact is true, which is why they apply that standard constantly in daily life, every time they actually care about knowing the truth. They go to lengths to ignore and avoid this fact when it comes to God b/c they know God is not rationally defensible and therefore is implausible, but they care more about the emotional benefit of believing he is real than knowing what is true. Theism is willful deliberate unreason and delusion in order to avoid an emotionally unpleasant reality. Its psychologically the same as the parent who believes their child is innocent of a wrongdoing despite clear evidence of it, or people whose faith in human authorities like Trump is unwavering in the face of clear evidence that their beliefs about the authority are wrong.

    quibbling about where the burden of it lies like it's some grand court case, etc.
    Burden of proof is NOT just about court cases, it's a cornerstone of all rational thought. The existence of any particular entity or relation among entities constrains the possible universes that can co-exist with it. Thus, there are far fewer possible universes where a X exists than possible universes where X does not exist. Thus, the a priori probability is far lower that God exists than that God does not exist, just like if you make up a creature never imagined before, the probability that it actually exists is near zero and far lower than the probability that it does not exist. Since belief that X exists is a rejection of all universes where X does not exist, it is irrational to believe in X until you have enough evidence to go from near zero probability to at least 50%.

    Again, almost all theists abide by this approach on all other topics where they don't have a bias, where they treat non-belief as the rational default until their is sufficient evidence to accept a positive claim. Which shows that they don't sincerely believe in their own dishonest excuses that since God cannot be disproved, it is rational to believe he does.

    The issue of "atheism vs theism" etc came up a heck of a lot more often in my secular education than in my religious schooling, and more explicitly in terms of "proof" when it did.
    Well of course, because many centuries of reasoned thought has shown the theism loses in every reasoned evaluation of theism vs. atheism. It isn't that being able to rationally defend theism is not important or of interest to theists, but that they know it is a losing enterprise. Since they care more about protecting their belief than whether their belief is true, then they will actively repress any rational discussion of the subject, which they do both within themselves and try to do in others and social discourse by attacking those who have such rational discussions are "rude", "offensive", "militant", and "bigoted".
    Last edited by ronburgundy; 11-25-2019 at 09:04 PM.

  2. Top | #112
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post

    No. The bible does NOT say the victim HAS to marry the rapist. It says the rapist has to make an offer to marry by way of an offer to her father of 50 shekels - the equivalent of ~ 5 years wages. If not accepted then God (the bible) sanctioned the death penalty for rape. That's right. The death penalty.
    Women in the Old Testament are only property and are treated as such. Before marriage, the woman is property owned by the father. After marriage, the woman is the property of the husband. The reason rape was seen as bad was that it lowered the value of the father's property, not because it was abuse of the woman... so the reason that the rapist had to reimburse the father. It was the father, not the woman, that decided whether or not to accept the offer of marriage or reimbursement.

  3. Top | #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    A litmus test for this might be a survey (informal or otherwise) of topics on an online religious discussion forum. It's been a while since I was on one, but from memory I don't think the question of, let alone proofs for, god's existence, came up as a topic anywhere near as often as on the atheist forums I've been on.
    In the 11.5 yrs I've been on this forum, almost all believers who appeared voluntarily on the forum were obsessed with proving the existence of God. As well, many tedious links have been posted by believers and non-believers on this forum to other online manifestations of believers attempting long involved proofs of a deity,

  4. Top | #114
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    Indeed

  5. Top | #115
    Contributor Speakpigeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post

    No. The bible does NOT say the victim HAS to marry the rapist. It says the rapist has to make an offer to marry by way of an offer to her father of 50 shekels - the equivalent of ~ 5 years wages. If not accepted then God (the bible) sanctioned the death penalty for rape. That's right. The death penalty.
    So what the Bible says implies that the rapist who can afford to spend 5 years of wages on a rape can escape the death penalty and continue to rape his victim now his wife for as long as he feels like it.

    Whoa. Holy Book. Impressively Good Book.

    It only figures once you admit the thing was written by blokes.
    EB

  6. Top | #116
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    No. It says the rapist either;

    - gets the death penalty

    or

    - must OFFER to marry her.

  7. Top | #117
    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    Deuteronomy 22:

    28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

    29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days
    .

    I see nothing to indicate any sort of offer.

  8. Top | #118
    Super Moderator Atheos's Avatar
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    Deuteronomy 22 is one of many chapters that demonstrate without question the barbaric origins of these "laws of Yahweh." It's mostly about property rights, starting with stray livestock, detouring through nazi-fashionista requirements, then ending with some of the most misogynistic legislation ever enacted. A raped woman would never voluntarily claim that she had been raped under those circumstances, as there was nothing to gain and the most likely outcome would be she'd get the death penalty.

    First, there's the guy who accuses his new bride of not being a virgin when they get married. Pa has to produce the "tokens of her virginity" or she gets stoned. If Pa produces the tokens the guy gets stoned. No, the guy pays a fine to Pa (100 shekles) and is now stuck with the bride he doesn't like. Great legislation, force two people to remain married who hate each other. The fact that the woman loses her life but the guy only gets a fine is not lost on those of us keeping count of the misogyny content.

    Country Rape vs City Rape:

    No rapist in his right mind would rape a betrothed woman "in the city" without first ensuring that she couldn't cry for help. Therefore the single most likely result of that bit of wisdom is that the gagged woman would either be put to death because she was raped and couldn't cry out loud enough for anyone to hear her, or she'd just shut the fuck up about it and stay alive. What a wonderful tribute to women's rights.

    If a rapist operated "in the field" on a betrothed woman he'd be best served to kill the woman to eliminate the evidence. The rapist gains nothing by letting her live, and if she rats him out he gets whacked.

    If the rapist goes after an unbetrothed woman it doesn't matter where it happens. He pays her father 50 shekles of silver and takes home his property. She has no choice in the matter. If she doesn't rat him out she gets stoned for not being a virgin when she does get married (see tokens of virginity above), and if she does rat him out she has to marry her rapist. Win, win. Not.

  9. Top | #119
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Brown View Post
    Deuteronomy 22:

    28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

    29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days
    .

    I see nothing to indicate any sort of offer.
    The option to pay 50 shekels and marry the woman comes immediately after the preceding invocation of the death penalty for rape. It is clearly a restitution arrangement to avoid being stoned to death and save the otherwise unmarriageable woman from penury.

  10. Top | #120
    Super Moderator Atheos's Avatar
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    No. Do you actually read the bible or do you just scan it and assume it means what you want it to mean? This makes twice in as many posts that you've misrepresented what it says.

    The "preceding invocation of the death penalty for rape" as you described it only applies to betrothed women. They are considered the non-vendible property of their betrothed (i.e., the husband cannot sell his wife to someone), and violation of those property rights is a capital crime in this scenario.

    Verses 28-29 only apply to unbetrothed virgins. They are considered vendible property of their father. The purchase price for these assets was set at 50 shekles of silver. There is no "or he will be stoned to death" clause in that section. Completely different crimes, completely different consequences.

    I don't blame you for not taking the bible seriously, as it really is laughably barbaric in many places. But you're going to get called out here by folks who evidently know it better than you do when you demonstrate lack of familiarity with what it says. I don't take pride in my in-depth knowledge of the bible these days. It's just a relic of obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in "Bible" in college and working 16 years as a church of Christ preacher. Looking back on it, it's hard to believe it's been almost 20 years now since I quit believing that nonsense.

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