Sunday, January 27, 2013

Why God? (Part 3)


This is the last in a three part series considering the question "Why believe in God?" The earlier entries examined why we might want to consider thinking about God's existence and discussed both sides of the arguments for God's existence from the viewpoints of design and being. Here we will analyze the basics of the ideas behind the thesis of God from cause and from morality.   Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

Both of these ideas about the existence of God have two counter arguments. This is what the logic of debate has discovered and not an attempt to bias the description of those arguments. Some cases are more complex than others and take longer to explain. Please do not let word count sway your mind, rather the ideas that are contained within the words.

Once more to be clear, I do not hope to change your mind, rather to help clarify why it is we believe what we believe.


From Cause

The first cause.
Pro: Everything that exists has a cause. Since causes can not go on infinitely backward, there must have been a first cause. 

The first cause is God. 

If there is a beginning, it must have begun from something, and that something is what we call God.



Creating oneself.
Con 1: Who created God? Does God require a God that created God? If God is never created then he must be infinite. If there is an infinite, then we do not need God. This argument does allow for an infinite God, but only if we are a part of him and therefore a part of God. It leads however to the paradox that if the universe is infinite, then the universe must be God. 

 This proof can only work if God is the universe and humans, snakes, trees and rocks are a part of the universe and therefore each a part of God.

Complicated, inter-connected causes.
Con 2: There are no single causes. Everything has always existed.  Everything exists all together at once. Many things must happen in order for a something to happen.

 The billiard ball only goes into the pocket if there is a billiard table, pockets, a player, a cue stick, and some action is performed. All of these are only partial list of the things necessary for the ball to go into the pocket.

Cause is an illusion of the human mind thinking it is separate from the universe. Actually human beings are a part of the universe and made of part of it that appear separate because of the configuration of our parts.

Since there is no single cause, there is no single God.

Permitted immorality?

From Morality

Pro: If there is no God, then everything is permissible. Some things are not permitted, they are immoral. 

That morality exists proves God must too. 

Morals are descriptions of what we ought to do. Morals are about commands we should follow. Commands can not exist with out a God. 

Morals come from God.

Cats eat birds too.
Con 1: It is a fact that cats eat mice. There are lots of cats that eat mice and they eat them whenever hunger or desire drives them to. There is no moral basis for cats to eat mice, they just do it because that is what cats are. 

Just because things are the way they are does not require a God. Things could be the way they are because they happened at random (see argument Con 2 for From Cause above). 

The cat's action of “eat to live” is description of what it ought to do. It is the command the cat follows. This command can exist with out the need for a God.


Lesser of two evils?
Con 2: Sometimes morality requires choice between two evils or two goods. Since not all choices are absolute no command really fits the definition of absolute morality. 

Some things work better than others sometimes but not all the time. Sometimes you have to kill other people to live. Sometimes its' wrong to kill people. 

Every command has a flaw to be found. There is no absolute morality, and therefore no absolute need for a God. Commands are morally ambivalent and require no God.


There you have the four basic arguments for and against God's existence. There are many dozens of sub-arguments extending from these basic four. I encourage you find them and read on if you would like to know more.


For those who believe you can find more arguments supporting your position here.

A good summary of arguments from the disbelievers can be found here.

I will not pretend to be an authority, rather a questioner who explores. This is merely what I have found so far. The journey of understanding will continue long after me. Oh that I could stand on the shoulders of taller giants and know more.

6 comments:

  1. Your second con is more of a pro than a con. Everything cannot exist at once - the idea that everything just existed at once from nothing is irrational therefore there must be a cause yet it is impossible to create yourself therefore there must be a God because only God could do what would seem to us as impossible.

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  2. I think the argument implies that there was no creation and therefore no creator. Perhaps it would be better said "everything has always existed".

    It is hard for me to summarize these arguments in a way that is clear. A very educational process for me. I will re-editing that section after some more research. Thanks for the feedback.

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  3. Maybe it is difficult to summarize your arguments because God is making it difficult :-)

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  4. Wrong Reply Box... oops

    here it is
    It's just so confusing...
    If, you got mugged and were stabbed and bleeding, and the only thing the robber forgot to take was your cell phone, who you gonna call, a priest or a doctor?

    "Hello doctor. Help!"
    Great article.

    ReplyDelete