I am super busy studying for final exams, but I thought I'd allow myself to be preoccupied for a bit by this discussion here
After reading through this thread it seems to me that we are once again facing the great debate. We have Stile (and his consistently used 4/5-statement outline ) arguing that he knows God does not exist. We have Eliyahu arguing the opposite. With interjections between and throughout. Both have asserted what they believe to be true.
It interests me that we, as humans, get so caught up in this kind of argument. Focusing so much on the rationality, the mathematics, the science, all it turns out to be is one huge insult-filled, exponent citing spaghetti monster. Haha.
We are so quick to lose sight of the much bigger issues at hand. My issue lies with both sides.
Whether or not God exists is a matter of reality. Following the evidence is our best known method for determining the state of reality.
Your choice if you want to follow the evidence or not. By following the evidence... I know that God does not exist. By following the evidence... I know that God does not exist even more than I know you won't die the next time you post here at EvC.
For Stile, God does not exist. His subjective experience has told him so. He claims the collective "we" (meaning humanity I'm assuming?) have been unable to prove God's existence, since he cannot be seen, does not answer prayers, etc.
This confuses me since the majority of humanity would affirm the existence of some sort of a supernatural power, and there are many testimonies of supernatural experiences out there (ghost sightings, unexplained phenomenon, answering prayer, miracles, etc). Here are some links:
This is affirmed by history as well. Moreover, humans in general tend to believe in or at least leave the possibility open to the existence of some sort of supernatural force/forces. (Aliens/God/demons/spirits): So since "we" (as a human race) have (in general) a belief in some sort of supernatural, two things are apparent.
1. Stile is choosing the minority view that the supernatural doesn't exist.
2. It is obvious that Stiles' problem does not actually lie with the supernatural, but with the Judeo/Christian presentation of God. If this were not so he would not have begun his position by attacking (albeit non maliciously) an already established position like "God," and would have wrote "Any sort of supernatural force of any kind" or something of that nature.
So my question for Stile would be: "What about the Judeo/Christian God or the people who claim his name do you disagree with?" The churches? The hypocrisy? The assumptions? This is the internet, so one can only get so personal, but I truly believe if this was not a debate, and Judeo-Christianity were not Judeo-Christianity, if it had no name, if the religions did not exist and all you had was an unnamed book on an island somewhere, you would find room in your worldview for clothing the naked, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and setting the oppressed free. (Luke 4:17) That's Jesus. That's God.
Nowadays there is strong irrefutable scientific proof that God exist, in the form of the anthropic principle, the fine tuning of the universe.
Eliyahu, on the other hand, claims that God does exist, and that mathematics can prove the existence of said God. He has argued that due to the anthropic principle God can be proven to exist.
While this may be true or false, I would argue that trying to prove God's existence with science/mathematics to those who use the same means to disprove God's existence is equally as futile. Here is a prime example: The opposing side has refused to accept your thesis, and so you really have nothing more to give them than reiterating your point. How you do this is up to you, but no matter how many insults you include, appeals for reason you throw out, and references back to your original point you make they will always refute you with the same things.
I know Eliyahu is Jewish, so this is my personal perspective and I do not mean this in a disrespectful way (I am a protestant Christian). Jesus was counter-cultural. Meaning, when those challenging him came with intellectual arguments he confused them by not feeding their intellectualism. He simply loved people, and let that be the testimony that God is real.
So, in conclusion, the argument is really actually fruitless, for when debating on such an over-debated topic, especially over the internet, no ground can be gained on either side. It is only faith expressing itself in love that will have any merit in the kingdom (Gal. 5:6) and if that's either of you, I'll be seeing you there! Today. Tomorrow. And in eternity The Beatles really were right! Haha.
Raphael, I respectfully disagree with that conclusion. I can present myself as an example where debates such as these played a huge part in changing my mind completely from being a Protestant to becoming non-religious.
If, by "debates like these," you mean debates like this one on the internet, then I am genuinely surprised. I suppose my original conclusion was rushed; I am meaning to speak more towards the "proving of God's existence" side than the "non-believer."
What we usually see in debates such as these are completely illogical, and dare I say functionally illiterate, religious people such as Eliyahu and Faith on the religious side up against rational and well-educated people on the other side. People who obviously thought long and hard about religion.
That my friend, is exactly what I'm speaking towards. You have illustrated for us the exact thing I wish to combat. Why is it so often the case that the "religious people" are (either seen as or truly) completely illogical, while rational, well-educated people argue the other side? I truly believe that it is because religious people go about the argument the wrong way. Eliyahu and Faith, for example (they are the names you referenced) are seen this way for a reason.
There are exceptions to the rule, I immediately think of CS and RAZD and some others on this forum. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from them. Sometimes I think that religious people such as them just can’t live on the same planet as those fundamentalists. I don't have any repect for the rest of your conclusions. Just wishful thinking and preaching with absolutely no empirical evidence or merit to it.
I would totally agree with you. CS and RAZD are both excellent examples of that balance. I suppose then, that all I'm getting at is that from an I.D. perspective, and a specifically Christian one, I would not be so quick to try and use the same means of arguing my beliefs as "the other side." If I believe this Jesus stuff then I'm not going to approach the argument the same way. If I can love you guys, even through the internet, with at least my typed words, let that be the testimony that God is real. Or dont But at least its good vibes!
And I disagree with Raphael that argumentativeness is fruitless.
The very fact that we here at EvC have dialogue at all is...to me...fruitful. Its not about winning or losing a discussion so much as it is about finding two hundred new ways to say the same thing only better. At least for me....
I appreciate you saying this Phat. As you know I am still in my Undergraduate studies.....there are many here much wiser than I Faith and Eliyahu included. I tend to think out loud sometimes, and that communicates into type as well I fear. Haha. I see the benefits of what you're saying.
The conversation then is not fruitless, if the goal is to continue to grow in the the how of saying things, the journey, the process. I see merit in that. I have seen growth in myself from that very thing. I suppose my frustration speaks more towards those (myself included) proponents of I.D. who try and use the same argument process as those against and end up only getting frustrated and seen as illogical. My question would be: Why go about the debate the same way only to be seen a those things? If I had one goal it would be to change the perception of what "religious people" are like. Perhaps I am falling into the very thing I am fighting against. haha. Oh well...such is life. I still have a long way to go.