Saturday, July 26, 2008

Does God Exist?



I'm letting the pet human have my website for one more evening.


This evening I added a new link in my favorite blog list. It is "Impure Reason" written by Carl Sachs, a philosophy prof in Texas. I first ran into him on Kirby Olson's blog, "Lutheran Surrealism." In fact, CS's debates with KO were a major reason I continued to follow LS. At one point CS began his own blog, only to stop posting for a significant time. Well, he's back. Yeah!

I've been cat blogging so much recently, I missed out on a debate that spanned across both Impure Reason and Lutheran Surrealism. The debate touched upon Intelligent Design, Evolution, Fundamentalism, Pragmatism, Pluralism, and culminated in a question posed on LS: "Does God Exist?"

Before any cat goes leaping over to these blogs, I will point out that these gentlemen are philosophy professors, and as such, are inclined to write and argue in formats such as: if a = b and b = c, then a = c. Not only that, many of the arguments presented by both the bloggers and the commenters, are supported with extensive citations.

Well, I don't have a PhD, just a lowly BS, but I do have an opinion.

Does God Exist?

This question has no earthly, human answer. Language is finite, and any attempt to prove the existence of a presence or being that may be infinite, will fail.

Language constrains our human attempt to prove or disprove the existence of God.

*************************************************
This dilemma reminds me of the Epicurean Paradox regarding the problem of evil:

Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?" — Epicurus


For many years I struggled with reconciling my relationship with God and the presence of evil. (And I will say, that on two occasions in my life, I truly believe I saw the devil....which is not to try to explain what the devil is or is not, I just know I saw it.)

When anyone asks me if the glass is half full or half empty, I don't give the typical response. My answer has always been this:

"It depends on how you ask the question. If one does not specify what the glass has in it (it is assumed water) then the answer is: "the glass is always full, because what ever portion of the glass is not filled with whatever liquid referred to, is filled with air, which is also matter."

But if one specifies is the glass half empty or full with water, then my answer is this:

"Why must the glass be half empty or half full? Why can't it be that the water is just at the halfway point?


At some point in time, I realized that the Epicurean Paradox is unanswerable because it asks the wrong question. It is so typically human to point fingers, this time at God, for the existence of evil

A more appropriate question is this:

Evil exists in the world. SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT EVIL WHEN CONFRONTED BY IT?

Reason, senses, and feelings aside, we can never prove whether God exists. Therefore, I believe the question, "Does God Exist" is the wrong question to ask.

WW

13 comments:

jh an Mickey Mantle said...

God duz egzist ... becuz God created jerry koosman!!!!!
wow!
i'm impressed!
luv--jh

DeadMule said...

You know, WW, a very wise professor once summed it up like this: We argue about answers without realizing we aren't asking the same questions. So I think you are absolutely right.

mike said...

But if one specifies is the glass half empty or full with water, then my answer is this:

The glass is just too big for the amount of water in it!

Skittles, The Huntress said...

Dear Mike,

Ha! That's a good one!

WW

jh said...

st thomas asks
is there a reasonable and logical way in which the question of the existence of god can be treated??

he takes his point of departure not from theology but from basic science from physics

he asks

is there motion?
can the human eye and mind detect action?

thomas aquinas loved his aristotle

anyway
so there is motion
now the physical principle requires us to observe that nothing moves of itself

and then it would then move us to regard the fact of being
the two basic unspoken acknowledgments in the human mind about everything we encounter in the physical world are:
1...there is something
2...what is it?

but then we also are moved to inquire
from whence cometh things
nothing comes of itself
there must be a prime mover

what is so disturbing about a
divine intellect???

what is necessary
what is contingent

do humans have the intuition for perfection?
artists do
musicians do
lovers do

the soul is moved to want perfection
and this is little understood even by philosophers

flowers bloom and die
animals are born
they do their animal things
and they die
humans manifest a curious quality
they have faces and are
given to moods and explorations
the soul is immaterial substance
it cannot know decay
the brain is not the mind
we are immortal
while our bodies join with the earth
our immortal souls
the crucial element of the person
the mind
will live eternally
and if not
nihilism is a good antidote

god is pure act

Jaxon said...

I would highly suggest for you, and any one else interested to read the book ""The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions." by self-professed secular Jew and mathematics/philosophies teacher David Berlinski.
This tells the story of a Jew who was forced to dig his own grave prior to being shot by a German soldier. Prior to being shot, the old Jewish man advised the German that “God is watching what you are doing.” The Jewish gentleman pointed what i think is the real problem with atheism. "If you have the time please check the book out

Skittles, The Huntress said...

Dear Jaxon,

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I shall look for the book, although if it's too graphic about the Holocaust, my pet human may have to skip some parts. She gets weird that way.

Luv,
Skittles, The Huntress

Skittles, The Huntress said...

Dear JH (the other JH, not Jeter Harris. brother of Mickey Mantle)

How absolutely delightful to have you stop by my blog. It's a rare occasion when someone from the Lutheran Surrealism realm pops on over here. I got a few comments when I published my reviews of Kirby Olson's poetry and book. And of course, Helen stops by every now and then so her cat, Rosie, can have some fun on the internet.

It's also a rare occasion if I get serious on this blog. Mostly it's for humor and escapism.

I shall consider your thoughts, so beautifully woven with finite words, yet seeming to touch infinity.

Skittles, The Huntress

The Country Shrink said...

WW,

I think your question "Does God Exist?" is actually the right question to ask. I think God defines that question, and we need only look in our own hearts to know the answer about evil...."Yes it certainly exists." But the question of "evil" is meaningless without the existence of God in my opinion. Without the existence of God, it's only different natural processes that we find objectionable because of our evolutionary history. With that perspective, we may choose to label something as "evil," but that is a distortion of "natural" history.

I love your blog, by the way. My wife is a dog-person, but as for me, I love cats!!

Skittles, The Huntress said...

Dear Country Shrink,

Thank you for stopping by! I don't get too many humans commenting here.

If I accept that evil exists, and the devil exists, (which I do accept and know for certain)then I must also accept that God exists. Or the other way around.

I am more fascinated by the attempt to use language to define something that transcends language. I am fascinated by poetry, as poetry attempts to use language to bring us closer to the infinite.

And partly it's my quirky sense of humor....a bunch of philosophy profs arguing about God's existence. Somehow that strikes my funny bone.

My grandfather was a bishop in the Lutheran Church. In his retirement, he played golf every week with other retired ministers. One day a seagull swooped down and picked up my grandfather's golf ball off of the green, carried it about 100 feet away, then dropped it. A lengthy argument ensued between the ministers about what constituted an "act of God" in golf, or whether he would have to play the lie. That strikes me as hilarious, as does a group of bookish philosophy profs arguing about the existence of God.

WW

The Country Shrink said...

WW,

I love the seagull story. That reminds me of one fellow I knew who had been doing a lot of years of "hard living." He asked God for a sign one day..."God, just give me a sign that you're there!" Right after he asked for that, a goose presented him with a sign that landed on his face and all down the front of his shirt. I think he found that compelling for awhile. ;)

I agree with you on the use of language and philosophers trying to argue the existence (or not) of God. I think I have yet to see a philosophical argument that ever ends. People just seem to get tired of it and go back to their lives.

Алиса said...

Hi!
Jesus said to them,"Truly, truly, I say to you ... I am." JOHN 9,58

Skittles, The Huntress said...

Dear Anita (?) From Russia,

How nice to hear from you! I think you may be my first comment from Russia!

Thanks for stopping by!

WW
&
Skittles

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Does God Exist?



I'm letting the pet human have my website for one more evening.


This evening I added a new link in my favorite blog list. It is "Impure Reason" written by Carl Sachs, a philosophy prof in Texas. I first ran into him on Kirby Olson's blog, "Lutheran Surrealism." In fact, CS's debates with KO were a major reason I continued to follow LS. At one point CS began his own blog, only to stop posting for a significant time. Well, he's back. Yeah!

I've been cat blogging so much recently, I missed out on a debate that spanned across both Impure Reason and Lutheran Surrealism. The debate touched upon Intelligent Design, Evolution, Fundamentalism, Pragmatism, Pluralism, and culminated in a question posed on LS: "Does God Exist?"

Before any cat goes leaping over to these blogs, I will point out that these gentlemen are philosophy professors, and as such, are inclined to write and argue in formats such as: if a = b and b = c, then a = c. Not only that, many of the arguments presented by both the bloggers and the commenters, are supported with extensive citations.

Well, I don't have a PhD, just a lowly BS, but I do have an opinion.

Does God Exist?

This question has no earthly, human answer. Language is finite, and any attempt to prove the existence of a presence or being that may be infinite, will fail.

Language constrains our human attempt to prove or disprove the existence of God.

*************************************************
This dilemma reminds me of the Epicurean Paradox regarding the problem of evil:

Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?" — Epicurus


For many years I struggled with reconciling my relationship with God and the presence of evil. (And I will say, that on two occasions in my life, I truly believe I saw the devil....which is not to try to explain what the devil is or is not, I just know I saw it.)

When anyone asks me if the glass is half full or half empty, I don't give the typical response. My answer has always been this:

"It depends on how you ask the question. If one does not specify what the glass has in it (it is assumed water) then the answer is: "the glass is always full, because what ever portion of the glass is not filled with whatever liquid referred to, is filled with air, which is also matter."

But if one specifies is the glass half empty or full with water, then my answer is this:

"Why must the glass be half empty or half full? Why can't it be that the water is just at the halfway point?


At some point in time, I realized that the Epicurean Paradox is unanswerable because it asks the wrong question. It is so typically human to point fingers, this time at God, for the existence of evil

A more appropriate question is this:

Evil exists in the world. SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT EVIL WHEN CONFRONTED BY IT?

Reason, senses, and feelings aside, we can never prove whether God exists. Therefore, I believe the question, "Does God Exist" is the wrong question to ask.

WW

13 comments:

jh an Mickey Mantle said...

God duz egzist ... becuz God created jerry koosman!!!!!
wow!
i'm impressed!
luv--jh

DeadMule said...

You know, WW, a very wise professor once summed it up like this: We argue about answers without realizing we aren't asking the same questions. So I think you are absolutely right.

mike said...

But if one specifies is the glass half empty or full with water, then my answer is this:

The glass is just too big for the amount of water in it!

Skittles, The Huntress said...

Dear Mike,

Ha! That's a good one!

WW

jh said...

st thomas asks
is there a reasonable and logical way in which the question of the existence of god can be treated??

he takes his point of departure not from theology but from basic science from physics

he asks

is there motion?
can the human eye and mind detect action?

thomas aquinas loved his aristotle

anyway
so there is motion
now the physical principle requires us to observe that nothing moves of itself

and then it would then move us to regard the fact of being
the two basic unspoken acknowledgments in the human mind about everything we encounter in the physical world are:
1...there is something
2...what is it?

but then we also are moved to inquire
from whence cometh things
nothing comes of itself
there must be a prime mover

what is so disturbing about a
divine intellect???

what is necessary
what is contingent

do humans have the intuition for perfection?
artists do
musicians do
lovers do

the soul is moved to want perfection
and this is little understood even by philosophers

flowers bloom and die
animals are born
they do their animal things
and they die
humans manifest a curious quality
they have faces and are
given to moods and explorations
the soul is immaterial substance
it cannot know decay
the brain is not the mind
we are immortal
while our bodies join with the earth
our immortal souls
the crucial element of the person
the mind
will live eternally
and if not
nihilism is a good antidote

god is pure act

Jaxon said...

I would highly suggest for you, and any one else interested to read the book ""The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions." by self-professed secular Jew and mathematics/philosophies teacher David Berlinski.
This tells the story of a Jew who was forced to dig his own grave prior to being shot by a German soldier. Prior to being shot, the old Jewish man advised the German that “God is watching what you are doing.” The Jewish gentleman pointed what i think is the real problem with atheism. "If you have the time please check the book out

Skittles, The Huntress said...

Dear Jaxon,

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I shall look for the book, although if it's too graphic about the Holocaust, my pet human may have to skip some parts. She gets weird that way.

Luv,
Skittles, The Huntress

Skittles, The Huntress said...

Dear JH (the other JH, not Jeter Harris. brother of Mickey Mantle)

How absolutely delightful to have you stop by my blog. It's a rare occasion when someone from the Lutheran Surrealism realm pops on over here. I got a few comments when I published my reviews of Kirby Olson's poetry and book. And of course, Helen stops by every now and then so her cat, Rosie, can have some fun on the internet.

It's also a rare occasion if I get serious on this blog. Mostly it's for humor and escapism.

I shall consider your thoughts, so beautifully woven with finite words, yet seeming to touch infinity.

Skittles, The Huntress

The Country Shrink said...

WW,

I think your question "Does God Exist?" is actually the right question to ask. I think God defines that question, and we need only look in our own hearts to know the answer about evil...."Yes it certainly exists." But the question of "evil" is meaningless without the existence of God in my opinion. Without the existence of God, it's only different natural processes that we find objectionable because of our evolutionary history. With that perspective, we may choose to label something as "evil," but that is a distortion of "natural" history.

I love your blog, by the way. My wife is a dog-person, but as for me, I love cats!!

Skittles, The Huntress said...

Dear Country Shrink,

Thank you for stopping by! I don't get too many humans commenting here.

If I accept that evil exists, and the devil exists, (which I do accept and know for certain)then I must also accept that God exists. Or the other way around.

I am more fascinated by the attempt to use language to define something that transcends language. I am fascinated by poetry, as poetry attempts to use language to bring us closer to the infinite.

And partly it's my quirky sense of humor....a bunch of philosophy profs arguing about God's existence. Somehow that strikes my funny bone.

My grandfather was a bishop in the Lutheran Church. In his retirement, he played golf every week with other retired ministers. One day a seagull swooped down and picked up my grandfather's golf ball off of the green, carried it about 100 feet away, then dropped it. A lengthy argument ensued between the ministers about what constituted an "act of God" in golf, or whether he would have to play the lie. That strikes me as hilarious, as does a group of bookish philosophy profs arguing about the existence of God.

WW

The Country Shrink said...

WW,

I love the seagull story. That reminds me of one fellow I knew who had been doing a lot of years of "hard living." He asked God for a sign one day..."God, just give me a sign that you're there!" Right after he asked for that, a goose presented him with a sign that landed on his face and all down the front of his shirt. I think he found that compelling for awhile. ;)

I agree with you on the use of language and philosophers trying to argue the existence (or not) of God. I think I have yet to see a philosophical argument that ever ends. People just seem to get tired of it and go back to their lives.

Алиса said...

Hi!
Jesus said to them,"Truly, truly, I say to you ... I am." JOHN 9,58

Skittles, The Huntress said...

Dear Anita (?) From Russia,

How nice to hear from you! I think you may be my first comment from Russia!

Thanks for stopping by!

WW
&
Skittles