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Origen

The Ontological Argument

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Over the past few years or so the Ontological Argument has had made a bit of a comeback (and reworking) thanks to Christian philosophers like Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, and others.

 

 

Any thoughts?

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More irrelevant psychobabble pushed forward by people who have nothing better to do than to come up with reasons why, or why not, something exists. The fact that we have the bible, something that men on their own are unable to put together without a miraculous intervention and guide to complete it, proves God exists. But that is not the only thing that points to the existence of God. One does not need to look too far in nature to see additional evidence.

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More irrelevant psychobabble pushed forward by people who have nothing better to do than to come up with reasons why, or why not, something exists. The fact that we have the bible, something that men on their own are unable to put together without a miraculous intervention and guide to complete it, proves God exists. But that is not the only thing that points to the existence of God. One does not need to look too far in nature to see additional evidence.
Can't we use both methods? Is there not a place for philosophical arguments?

 

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But to what end? If we are just going to hash on about a bunch of whatifs then no. I consider those kinds of discussions a waste of time. There are more important things to talk about.

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But to what end? If we are just going to hash on about a bunch of whatifs then no. I consider those kinds of discussions a waste of time. There are more important things to talk about.
I understand this is not something you find interesting or compelling and that is fine. However many others don't feel the same way. I do find them interesting and in some cases compelling.

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Any thoughts?

Just as a philosophical thought experiment, god isn't Maximally Great.

 

Specifically, the assumption that he must exist in EVERY possible universe is false ... Rather, what if each view of god held by man exists in some universe, yet none are 'maximally' great because they do not 'MUST' exist in all universes. It is possible to imagine a universe in which no god exists. Therefore the nearly-maximally great god exists in every universe except one.

 

Thus it is possible, however statistically unlikely, that the True Universe is the one in which there is no god.

 

###

 

I generally found the video interesting, but can't shake the feeling that it is a circular argument ... even if I can't put my finger on what might be a logical fallacy within it.

 

I'll chew on it some more and see if anything pops out at me.

 

 

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I generally found the video interesting, but can't shake the feeling that it is a circular argument ... even if I can't put my finger on what might be a logical fallacy within it.

It is interesting you should say that. Many people feel the same way. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is.

 

 

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Just as a philosophical thought experiment, god isn't Maximally Great.

 

Specifically, the assumption that he must exist in EVERY possible universe is false ... Rather, what if each view of god held by man exists in some universe, yet none are 'maximally' great because they do not 'MUST' exist in all universes. It is possible to imagine a universe in which no god exists. Therefore the nearly-maximally great god exists in every universe except one.

 

Thus it is possible, however statistically unlikely, that the True Universe is the one in which there is no god.

 

###

 

I generally found the video interesting, but can't shake the feeling that it is a circular argument ... even if I can't put my finger on what might be a logical fallacy within it.

 

I'll chew on it some more and see if anything pops out at me.

 

 

Actually, it would be impossible for a universe to exist without God, as He is the Creator. Without Him nothing is made, or exists.

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Over the past few years or so the Ontological Argument has had made a bit of a comeback (and reworking) thanks to Christian philosophers like Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, and others.

 

 

Any thoughts?

 

Thanks for posting.

 

I wonder if you would mind explaining your purpose in posting. Specifically, do you think that there is a person anywhere who does not believe that God exists?

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Thanks for posting. I wonder if you would mind explaining your purpose in posting.
Because I find it interesting and I thought others might as well.

 

Specifically, do you think that there is a person anywhere who does not believe that God exists?
Many people claim not to believe in a god. I see no reason to not accept their claim that they don't.

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Because I find it interesting and I thought others might as well.

 

I find it interesting as well.

 

Many people claim not to believe in a god. I see no reason to not accept their claim that they don't.

 

What do you make of Romans 1, in that case?

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[
] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

 

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What do you make of Romans 1, in that case?
It is a powerful apologetic written by the Apostle Paul that rips away any excuse for not believing and places the blame for unbelief squarely upon the shoulders of each individual.

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It is a powerful apologetic written by the Apostle Paul that rips away any excuse for not believing and places the blame for unbelief squarely upon the shoulders of each individual.

 

So, all do know that there is a God, in other words, and when they say that they don't, they lie.

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So, all do know that there is a God, in other words, and when they say that they don't, they lie.
The text states they should have known better because God revealed Himself, therefore they are without excuse.

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Romans 1 explains men who create for themselves a false god. It applies to New Age religions and all forms of self worship. (Since we as a rule tend not to worship statues of animals made of gold).

 

Atheism has deeper and darker roots. In my case it went back to a violation of the first commandment. The empirical evidence of the experiences of life to that point attacked the very definition of god as being good. The logic argument went something like this:

 

god was, by definition, omnipotent, omnicient and omnipresent. Therefore the great evil that happens occurs because god was unable to stop it (he is not omnipotent). Or perhaps god was unaware of the great evil going on (he is not omnicient). Or perhaps he was busy somewhere else when that particular evil was happening (he is not omnipresent). If god is not omnipotent, omnicient or omnipresent, then he is, by definition, not god. Why worship something that is not god and unable to get the job done ... his arm is indeed short.

 

The alternative, is that God is omnipotent, omnicient and omnipresent. That he really does exist. That he had the power to do something, that he was aware of the evil going on, that he was in a position to intervene ... and God chose to stand by and do nothing. This means that God exists, but is not good. Even by neutral human standards, God is at best amoral and at worst immoral.

 

Thus the struggle becomes to believe in an impotent god or an evil God.

Enter someone like Bertrand Russel with: "The evidence of contemporary Christian life is such, that God, if he ever existed, must surely be dead."

 

It is far easier to believe in a universe in which God does not exist, than one in which god is impotent or God is evil. Thus the sin behind atheism is often very different than what is described in Romans 1.

 

As an atheist planning a suicide bombing, I considered long and hard the possibility that I might face the judgement of God. I accepted that if God existed that I belonged in hell ... surrounded by beings that hated him as much as I did for his indifference.

 

I hope that sheds some light on atheism.

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The text states they should have known better because God revealed Himself, therefore they are without excuse.

 

Really? I can't see that in the text. Can you? "Should have" seems to be absent for Paul's writing.

 

 

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

 

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him,

 

they exchanged the truth about God for a lie

 

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God,

 

Though they know God's righteous decree

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Really? I can't see that in the text. Can you?
Sure can.

 

"Should have" seems to be absent for Paul's writing.
Since I used no quotation marks, it is clear that I was simply summarizing the thought of the passage.

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OK, back on topic.

I found an interesting ontological counter argument.

 

We can imagine a maximally great triangle with three sides, therefore a triangle must exist in the real world.

 

But triangles do not exist, they are two dimensional mathematical construct and do not exist in reality.

The flaw was assuming that because something could or should exist, that it must exist.

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Sure can.

 

Since I used no quotation marks, it is clear that I was simply summarizing the thought of the passage.

 

If I treaded your words the way you've treated God's, in this instance, I'm certain that you would object.

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If I treaded your words the way you've treated God's, in this instance, I'm certain that you would object.
I should be banned from this site immediately.

 

Allow me to confess before the whole forum. I do not hold the same view as thatbrian. Thus I have treaded God's word unfairly. There can be no doubt as to my guilt.

 

@William do your duty.

Edited by Origen
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Since we have moved on to Romans 1 ...

 

Romans 1:28-31

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

 

debased = adokimos = that which does not prove itself such as it ought; unfit for, unproved, spurious, reprobate ... God made them 'brain damaged' and incapable of thinking as they ought. To accuse them of 'lying' implies that they know the truth and are deliberately making false statements. v.28 suggests that this is not necessarily so.

 

foolish = asynetos = unintelligent, without understanding, stupid ... "The fool says in his heart that there is no God." v.31 states that they are telling you the truth. Not that there is no God, but that they genuinely beleve what they are telling you. That, by definition, means that they are NOT lying. They are merely FOOLS.

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Back to the Ontological Argument ...

 

I figured out which part bothers me.

The definition of God as a Maximally Great Being with 'Maximally Great' being self-evident proof of existence in EVERY possible universe. The definition begins with the assumption that God MUST exist and then goes on to prove that God DOES exist.

However, whenever anything except God is inserted into the argument, it is rejected as an impossibility. Only God is allowed to be Maximally Great in the argument. Thus the conclusion feels built into the definition and all other rebuttals seem excluded by the definition.

Edited by atpollard

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Since we have moved on to Romans 1 ...

 

debased = adokimos = that which does not prove itself such as it ought; unfit for, unproved, spurious, reprobate ... God made them 'brain damaged' and incapable of thinking as they ought. To accuse them of 'lying' implies that they know the truth and are deliberately making false statements. v.28 suggests that this is not necessarily so.

 

foolish = asynetos = unintelligent, without understanding, stupid ... "The fool says in his heart that there is no God." v.31 states that they are telling you the truth. Not that there is no God, but that they genuinely beleve what they are telling you. That, by definition, means that they are NOT lying. They are merely FOOLS.

Atpollard thanks for posting that. While there are many reasons in the text for my view, I will only be addressing one for the moment and is the last clause of verse 20.

 

The Greek is: εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀναπολογήτους (ESV: So they are without excuse.)

 

What we have here is an articular infinitive (i.e. τὸ εἶναι) with a governing preposition (i.e. εἰς). This construction denotes either results or purpose. At this time it really does not matter given this discussion but it is one or the other and the point will become clear in just a moment. The immediate context is that God has relieved Himself through His creation. It is stressed from that which is seen (i.e. creation), we can know there is a God. In other words, anyone who sees\obverse creation could know that God exist.

 

Notice that the text does not say that everyone knows there is a God but there is no reason not to know there is a God given the created order of the universe. It is there. All anyone has to do is acknowledge it. As Calvin puts it:

 

So that they are inexcusable. It hence clearly appears what the consequence is of having this evidence -- that men cannot allege any thing before God's tribunal for the purpose of showing that they are not justly condemned. Yet let this difference be remembered, that the manifestation of God, by which he makes his glory known in his creation, is, with regard to the light itself, sufficiently clear; but that on account of our blindness, it is not found to be sufficient. We are not however so blind, that we can plead our ignorance as an excuse for our perverseness.

 

Now as Calvin says "that on account of our blindness, it is not found to be sufficient." People may turn away from the creation as evidence for God for any number of reasons. They may simply not care. They may reject it. They may ignore it. They may even misinterpret it. But none of that will work.

 

That brings us to the last clause of verse 20 (i.e. So they are without excuse). As I stated above, this construction denotes either results or purpose. So which is it? If results, then it is the consequence, effect, or outcome of it. The consequence not seeing God within His creation leaves them without excuse. If purpose, clearly the reason was to leave them without excuse. Most Greek scholars go with option 2 and so do I. The purpose of the evidence is to leave the unbeliever without any means to lessen his\her blame. There is nothing in this passage that shows that everyone believes in God and simply refuse to admit it, but this passage does show that their can be no denying God whatever one's reasons might be.

 

As Leon Morris states in his excellent commentary (The Epistle to the Romans: The Pillar New Testament Commentary):

The sinner may plead that he is ignorant. He does not know God. But Paul’s first point is that his ignorance is culpable. God has given a revelation in nature but people have closed their eyes to it. How then could they possibly see? But it is their own fault that they do not.
I like that: "ignorance is culpable." Edited by Origen
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I like that: "ignorance is culpable."

Sort of like the "Reasonable Man" test in court.

Would a 'reasonable man' conclude that there is a God from seeing his creation, if so, then it doesn't matter whether you claim you are convinced or not.

Under the law a reasonable man would have been, therefore you should have been.

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Sort of like the "Reasonable Man" test in court.

Would a 'reasonable man' conclude that there is a God from seeing his creation, if so, then it doesn't matter whether you claim you are convinced or not.

Under the law a reasonable man would have been, therefore you should have been.

I think that is fair. Or another example might be, O.J. They saw the evidence but no one could force them to accept\believe\see it.
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