What if there were incontrovertible proof of God?

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LaserGuy
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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:28 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:if today we prove that a God exists, and that God turns out to be Cthulu, what is your response going to be?


Do you think that would count as a win for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby DSenette » Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:31 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
DSenette wrote:if today we prove that a God exists, and that God turns out to be Cthulu, what is your response going to be?


Do you think that would count as a win for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

yes! (it really is a great church, may his noodleyness smile down upon you with all his bollognesed glory!)
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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby Mambo4 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:15 pm UTC

I skimmed most of this thread -I was going to post on the logical fallacy of the "no god means no morality" argument, but it seems to have been well shot down.

I'll just add this opinion:
if there were incontravertible proof of God ,
It would also demonstrate that our understanding of God beforehand was universally flawed and incorrect.

In other words proof of God's existence would not constitute proof of the "correctness" of any religion.
Just as the fact that fire burns does not prove the existence of phlogiston.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby a_toddler » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:44 pm UTC

on a similar note, there's a reason why a religion is often called a 'faith' - because it requires some level of faith to be religious.

it would destroy the essence and idea of religion as we know it. if there were incontravertible proof of God, the 'unfaithful' suddenly become the 'mentally retarded'. it would also mean the 'faithful' simply become..well nothing.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby Falling » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:17 am UTC

a_toddler wrote:on a similar note, there's a reason why a religion is often called a 'faith' - because it requires some level of faith to be religious.

it would destroy the essence and idea of religion as we know it. if there were incontravertible proof of God, the 'unfaithful' suddenly become the 'mentally retarded'. it would also mean the 'faithful' simply become..well nothing.


It's always struck me as incredibly strange that people think this.

If we assume the events in the Bible are true, does that mean that many of the people mentioned didn't have real faith or religion? When God told Abraham to kill his kid, wasn't that faith?

I have faith in my partner and my family.... but I still know they exist.

In no other area do we use the term faith when there isn't even a shred of proof.

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Re: What if there were incontrovertible proof of God?

Postby pizzazz » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:25 am UTC

DSenette wrote:moral frameworks develop ALL the time in the absence of a belief in god, or in the presence of a belief in god that's WIDELY different than other beliefs in other gods.

IF morality came from a universal god, then morality would be fixed and it would be uniform across all beliefs in any god as their beliefs all go to the same god ultimately.

IF morality comes from a unique god (i.e. "the one true god") then morality would be variable across different faiths, but one set of morality would be demonstrably better than another (i.e. people who believe in "the one true god" would be "better off" than those that don't)

since neither of those are actually true, then either no god exists, or morality doesn't come from god.


Your first "if" point is debatable at best, because it assumes that all morality systems come from god (as opposed to one coming from God and others from people), and that no moral system has ever been corrupted by people, and perhaps other things I can't think of right now.

Your second "if" point is wrong. Who is to say that morality is designed to improve life on Earth for the most moral? In fact, that is often irrelevant or even directly opposed to the real goal. Moreover, you can't compare different societies by morality system if you have no idea how many people actually follow said morality system, and that's ignoring societies with more than one system.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby distractedSofty » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:48 am UTC

It depends on the form of the proof: if it is found that all matter is made up of tiny strings, vibrating in the shape of the words "Yahweh was here", then I don't think it changes anything: it would not invalidate empiricism as a valid model (so it would not cause science to grind to a halt), and it would not really change the nature of religion (we know that there is a creator/god, but we still don't know if they want anything from us). Declared agnostics might choose to join the religion they like best, but most of the ones I know would probably not care much.

If, on the other hand, a god along the lines the old testament god shows up on Earth, then there is only one rational outcome: war (with the god, of course). What else would you expect to happen if an entity showed up, threatening to torture and kill people who do not comply with their demands? (And then actually carrying it out)

Falling wrote:I have faith in my partner and my family.... but I still know they exist.

In no other area do we use the term faith when there isn't even a shred of proof.

When you say that you have faith in your family, you don't mean that you believe that they exist. You mean that you believe that they love you, that they can do something, or that they will behave in a certain way. And you do so with no need of proof: you have faith in your partner without needing them to shower you with gifts or perform feats of strength, for example(Or at least, I would hope that you do).

Most religions consider blind faith to be one of the highest virtues. Christianity, for example, has the story of Thomas as a cautionary tale: "See kids, this guy wanted evidence of the extraordinary claim that his friends were making. Can you believe him?".
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
So to answer your question, at least some of the biblical authors considered the faith of those who met Jesus to be a "lesser" faith than what a modern day believer would have.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby Manabu » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:02 pm UTC

If there were incontravertible proof of God, and it is anything like in the bible, it would be like living in an very powerfull totalitarian state. Think 1984, with thought police and eternal torture...

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby a_toddler » Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:02 pm UTC

I don't get the thought police and eternal torture bit.

I can see how a totalitarian religious state could form, but the other bits? Wouldn't those two be unnecessary because people will just think, "eh...God'll get you in the end anyways"

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby Thirty-one » Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:17 pm UTC

The thought police bit was probably a reference to God seeing you when you're naughty, seeing you when you're nice etc.
Annoyed, getting worked up or bored by the post above? Help is here.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby elasto » Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:07 am UTC

Except that God of Christianity doesn't expect you to have perfect thoughts or live a perfect life - just that when you do fall short that you ask for forgiveness and try to better yourself.

And even then if you choose not to ask for forgiveness or better yourself, it's not like you get struck by a lightning bolt there and then. Ultimately you still have free will in all this. That's kinda the whole point.

(If it turns out God does exist that probably proves free will exists too, otherwise a lot of things don't seem to add up)

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby distractedSofty » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:59 am UTC

elasto wrote:(If it turns out God does exist that probably proves free will exists too, otherwise a lot of things don't seem to add up)

It only doesn't add up if you make a pretty big assumption: that God has free will.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby elasto » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:13 am UTC

distractedSofty wrote:
elasto wrote:(If it turns out God does exist that probably proves free will exists too, otherwise a lot of things don't seem to add up)

It only doesn't add up if you make a pretty big assumption: that God has free will.

Ugh. I went to type a post a few times but just can't do it justice in a short paragraph. It's way too meaty a topic for this thread - it deserves a thread in its own right.

Someone else can start it if they wish, though; Like human free will I've pondered on it and debated it a few times and lack the energy or enthusiasm to do it again right now :p

I think that, in short, my opinion is that it doesn't much matter whether God has 'true' free will or not, I think that either way eternal heaven and hell are incompatible with a just and loving God if we don't have free will. Of course, given how little the Bible actually speaks about the afterlife, it's possible it's much more complicated than the simplistic picture the Bible appears to paint, and so the question is probably more open than I gave it credit for in my throw-away sentence.

See? There'd still be lots of knowledge to seek out even if we did find out that God exists!

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby distractedSofty » Sat Jun 25, 2011 8:16 pm UTC

elasto wrote:I think that, in short, my opinion is that it doesn't much matter whether God has 'true' free will or not, I think that either way eternal heaven and hell are incompatible with a just and loving God if we don't have free will.

If a god has no free will, then the terms "just" and "loving" don't really make much sense to describe it(for us, who do not live in that universe).

Your argument, as I understand it, is that if there is no free will, then there cannot be heaven and hell, since your god would not punish people who had no choice in the matter. But if the god has no free will either, then he may have no choice but to punish them.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby A_pathetic_lizardmnan » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:25 am UTC

distractedSofty wrote:
elasto wrote:I think that, in short, my opinion is that it doesn't much matter whether God has 'true' free will or not, I think that either way eternal heaven and hell are incompatible with a just and loving God if we don't have free will.

If a god has no free will, then the terms "just" and "loving" don't really make much sense to describe it(for us, who do not live in that universe).

Your argument, as I understand it, is that if there is no free will, then there cannot be heaven and hell, since your god would not punish people who had no choice in the matter. But if the god has no free will either, then he may have no choice but to punish them.

Unless the goal is to deter behaviors that are considered undesirable. Just because an entity has no choice of how to respond to a set of conditions doesn't mean that entity will respond the same to different conditions. The carrot and the stick work just as well in the absence of free will. So if this God is encouraging certain traits in humans in the same way we breed E. Coli for a specific trait, heaven and hell make a lot more sense.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby elasto » Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:39 am UTC

distractedSofty wrote:
elasto wrote:I think that, in short, my opinion is that it doesn't much matter whether God has 'true' free will or not, I think that either way eternal heaven and hell are incompatible with a just and loving God if we don't have free will.

If a god has no free will, then the terms "just" and "loving" don't really make much sense to describe it(for us, who do not live in that universe).

Your argument, as I understand it, is that if there is no free will, then there cannot be heaven and hell, since your god would not punish people who had no choice in the matter.

My argument is slightly more subtle than that since, as I think has been established in the free will threads, it would still be justified for human societies to have jail for criminals even if we established for certain that humans didn't have free will.

I am reluctant to take it further in this thread as 'Does God have free will and what would the implications be if he didn't?' I think would be a sufficient derail as to incur the wrath of the purple names!

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby jigawatt » Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:08 pm UTC

It's puzzling to me how there are very few (if any) responses along these lines: "If God were {proven/disproven}, I would be forced to wholeheartedly abandon my {[atheism, agnosticism, naturalism, whatever]/[christianity, judaism, islam, whatever]} and undergo a complete change in my world view.

If there is a God, and God did create the entire universe, and God did create me and for his (Yes, "his"; I am a Christian) own purposes , then I can't go around saying "Is it a GOOD thing that God exists?" or "Is society WORSE off now that we know that God exists?" My understanding of good and evil, better off and worse off, and right and wrong better be based on what God himself says about such things, and not based on my own musings from my (previous) naturalistic world view.

In many of the responses above, the attitude that people would take if God were shown to exist would be something like, "Ok God, now that you're here how will you help us to advance science?" The question should be, "Almighty God, what is it that you would have us to do?" God's existence is a game changer.

If, on the other hand, a god along the lines the old testament god shows up on Earth, then there is only one rational outcome: war (with the god, of course). What else would you expect to happen if an entity showed up, threatening to torture and kill people who do not comply with their demands? (And then actually carrying it out)


Yeah, let me know how that turns out.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby DSenette » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:05 pm UTC

jigawatt wrote:It's puzzling to me how there are very few (if any) responses along these lines: "If God were {proven/disproven}, I would be forced to wholeheartedly abandon my {[atheism, agnosticism, naturalism, whatever]/[christianity, judaism, islam, whatever]} and undergo a complete change in my world view.

If there is a God, and God did create the entire universe, and God did create me and for his (Yes, "his"; I am a Christian) own purposes , then I can't go around saying "Is it a GOOD thing that God exists?" or "Is society WORSE off now that we know that God exists?" My understanding of good and evil, better off and worse off, and right and wrong better be based on what God himself says about such things, and not based on my own musings from my (previous) naturalistic world view.

In many of the responses above, the attitude that people would take if God were shown to exist would be something like, "Ok God, now that you're here how will you help us to advance science?" The question should be, "Almighty God, what is it that you would have us to do?" God's existence is a game changer.

If, on the other hand, a god along the lines the old testament god shows up on Earth, then there is only one rational outcome: war (with the god, of course). What else would you expect to happen if an entity showed up, threatening to torture and kill people who do not comply with their demands? (And then actually carrying it out)


Yeah, let me know how that turns out.

because you're assuming the existence of a SPECIFIC god (Specifically the Christian God....and even MORE specifically the christian God that YOU have personally chosen to believe in, with the specific characteristics that you have attributed to him. which BTW are not the same specific characteristics that ALL christians attribute to the "same guy") was to be proven.

what if a DIFFERENT god get's proven?

as previously stated, the existence of a creator being does not prove the veracity of religion. so just because someone could prove that there is a being that was the creator of the universe does not automatically mean that that guy is the same guy you think he is, or that he gives a shit about you, or me, etc...
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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby Czhorat » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:19 pm UTC

jigawatt wrote:It's puzzling to me how there are very few (if any) responses along these lines: "If God were {proven/disproven}, I would be forced to wholeheartedly abandon my {[atheism, agnosticism, naturalism, whatever]/[christianity, judaism, islam, whatever]} and undergo a complete change in my world view.


Several people concurred with my contention that if the existence of God were proven, it would move "study of god" from religion to science.

jigawatt wrote:me and for his (Yes, "his"; I am a Christian) own purposes , then I can't go around saying "Is it a GOOD thing that God exists?" or "Is society WORSE off now that we know that God exists?" My understanding of good and evil, better off and worse off, and right and wrong better be based on what God himself says about such things, and not based on my own musings from my (previous) naturalistic world view.


I'm missing part of your logic. If you can prove that the universe has a creator, why does it follow that that creator's opinion on morality is worth more than anyone else's? I don't expect my children to accept my beliefs for no reason other than "because I said so". The originator of a movement, founder of a country, or inventor of a project gets no special rights as to the morality of any of the above (beyond what is in said movement or country's charter). Why is creation in this case equal to moral authority?

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:14 pm UTC

jigawatt wrote:It's puzzling to me how there are very few (if any) responses along these lines: "If God were {proven/disproven}, I would be forced to wholeheartedly abandon my {[atheism, agnosticism, naturalism, whatever]/[christianity, judaism, islam, whatever]} and undergo a complete change in my world view.


The existence of God does not imply that any particular religion is correct. Even if God does exist and does want us to follow a certain religion, does not imply that we have to do so. I could simply choose not to care about what God thinks.

jigawatt wrote:If there is a God, and God did create the entire universe, and God did create me and for his (Yes, "his"; I am a Christian) own purposes , then I can't go around saying "Is it a GOOD thing that God exists?" or "Is society WORSE off now that we know that God exists?" My understanding of good and evil, better off and worse off, and right and wrong better be based on what God himself says about such things, and not based on my own musings from my (previous) naturalistic world view.


Not at all. God's conception of good and evil may not necessarily be the same as ours, or be useful for our purposes. Suppose we have a cat and some mice. The cat thinks "the mice are evil because they are trying to invade my territory; therefore I am justified in killing them to protect my home." The mice think "the cat is evil because it kills us when we go looking for food". Good and evil change based on perception; therefore there is no reason, necessarily, that God's conceptions of good and evil are the same as ours. Indeed, it is entirely possible that things God thinks are "good", we would consider "evil", and things we think are "good", God would perceive as "evil". If God is using threats and extortion to try to force us to do its bidding, then we might well do it, but, from our point of view, it would be pretty clear that God is evil.

jigawatt wrote:In many of the responses above, the attitude that people would take if God were shown to exist would be something like, "Ok God, now that you're here how will you help us to advance science?" The question should be, "Almighty God, what is it that you would have us to do?" God's existence is a game changer.


Why should this be the case? Why should we care what God thinks? Why should we worship it?

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby Sanjuricus » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:47 pm UTC

Any God that has to demand worship is not worthy of worship.
Mostly kind of almost...ish.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby aoeu » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:06 pm UTC

Sanjuricus wrote:Any God that has to demand worship is not worthy of worship.

You may ponder worthiness in hell.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:43 pm UTC

aoeu wrote:
Sanjuricus wrote:Any God that has to demand worship is not worthy of worship.

You may ponder worthiness in hell.


Because there's no better way to get people to love and adore you than torture. :roll:

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby jigawatt » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:17 am UTC

DSenette wrote:what if a DIFFERENT god get's proven?

I seek the truth, and if it's different from what I now believe is true, then I will change my beliefs (see my 1st paragraph above) to match with actual reality.

And let me also say that of course there are about a bazillion different conceptions of god/God, and the original post by Sanjuricus was not exactly specific, although
Sanjuricus wrote:Monotheistic religions would be vindicated

So here's what I'm assuming when I say "God" in this context (I'm stretching here by not including lots of characteristics of YHWH):
A supernatural deity (also Sanjuricus' words) who is eternal, isthe creator of all material things, is omniscient, and is omnipotent.

Czhorat wrote:If you can prove that the universe has a creator, why does it follow that that creator's opinion on morality is worth more than anyone else's? ... Why is creation in this case equal to moral authority?

In the examples you give, the people under their parents or an organizational leader share the same nature as their leader -- they're all human and ontologically equal. But God is different; he created everything that exists, and specifically he created you and me. Before such an almighty being, I can't imagine anybody saying "Well, I have differing views about morality than you do, so I'm just gonna go do my own thing, Mr. Almighty and All-Wise Creator, thank you very much." And if someone did say that, then you've got the "we should war with God" theory that distractedSofty mentioned.

LaserGuy wrote:Indeed, it is entirely possible that things God thinks are "good", we would consider "evil", and things we think are "good", God would perceive as "evil".

I absolutely agree. In fact I believe this is actually the case (read Romans 1). That's why we need to have a foundation for our morality that is consistent with our world view. I would argue that a naturalistic world view does not support what we would call moral and ethical behavior (and many atheists agree with me on this - who are YOU to say they're wrong?). Where do I get my ideas about good and evil if not from eternal almighty who created me? From my own (or someone elses) created mind and imperfect knowledge?

BTW, thanks to everybody for continuing this conversation -- I'm really enjoying it and I mean no personal offense to anyone.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby Whimsical Eloquence » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:40 am UTC

jigawatt wrote:My understanding of good and evil, better off and worse off, and right and wrong better be based on what God himself says about such things, and not based on my own musings from my (previous) naturalistic world view.


Why? You are familiar with an is/ought distinction, right?

God's proven existence and our (presumable) ability to communicate directly with him would mean an end to Science as he could literally provide any answer to any naturalistic question we could pose. God is aware of all the present natural facts about the world in an absolute sense - a rough modelling of which is science's goal. Therefore his comments about what "is" could be taken as truth. Yet, when we get to the issue of "what should be", he seems to be in the exact same moral position as the rest of us save that he has infinite factual knowledge.

Furthermore, I see no reason to revere this being. Acknowledge his Power, yes - anything else would be a denial of fact. But venerate it and him as just? That I cannot see a reason for. If anything God would be simply the same as the ultimate totalitarian dictator - able to do anything and know anything. But it is not by virtue of his Might that his actions become Right - just as it is for the ultimate tyrant. I could see a situation in which a God was just but equally one in which he was evil - along with all shades in between. Therefore I think we undertake moral judgement of a God in the same way we would any other absolute ruler.

Of course much of this presupposes that this God will not lie to us - as presumably an evil God would.
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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby Glass Fractal » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:47 am UTC

jigawatt wrote:And let me also say that of course there are about a bazillion different conceptions of god/God, and the original post by Sanjuricus was not exactly specific, although
Sanjuricus wrote:Monotheistic religions would be vindicated

So here's what I'm assuming when I say "God" in this context (I'm stretching here by not including lots of characteristics of YHWH):
A supernatural deity (also Sanjuricus' words) who is eternal, isthe creator of all material things, is omniscient, and is omnipotent.

In the examples you give, the people under their parents or an organizational leader share the same nature as their leader -- they're all human and ontologically equal. But God is different; he created everything that exists, and specifically he created you and me. Before such an almighty being, I can't imagine anybody saying "Well, I have differing views about morality than you do, so I'm just gonna go do my own thing, Mr. Almighty and All-Wise Creator, thank you very much."


You contradict yourself here. Eternal, creator of all material things, omniscient, and omnipotent does not necessarily mean All-Wise or All-Good, those are traditional characteristic of the Christian God. It's totally possible for a generic deity to be utterly evil, in fact it would seem to be exactly as likely as being utterly good. All we would have is this God's word that it is good. Being infinitely powerful doesn't confer any degree of moral superiority, it's not even worth bringing up.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:25 am UTC

jigawatt wrote:In the examples you give, the people under their parents or an organizational leader share the same nature as their leader -- they're all human and ontologically equal. But God is different; he created everything that exists, and specifically he created you and me. Before such an almighty being, I can't imagine anybody saying "Well, I have differing views about morality than you do, so I'm just gonna go do my own thing, Mr. Almighty and All-Wise Creator, thank you very much."


I don't see why people wouldn't. I guess it depends what premises for God you choose, but in our current situation, apatheism is still a pretty rational choice even if God exists--at present, God has no tangible effect on our lives whether it exists or not, so even if we were able to detect/prove its existence, that would not necessitate any particular changes in behaviour unless the God also interacted with us differently from how it does at present. If we were created capable of making moral judgments and decisions for ourselves, and created with rational thought and "free will", then there is no reason we should abandon all of those good things and just do whatever the guy upstairs tells us to. If God didn't want us to think for ourselves, he wouldn't have made us capable of doing so.

jigawatt wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Indeed, it is entirely possible that things God thinks are "good", we would consider "evil", and things we think are "good", God would perceive as "evil".

I absolutely agree. In fact I believe this is actually the case (read Romans 1). That's why we need to have a foundation for our morality that is consistent with our world view. I would argue that a naturalistic world view does not support what we would call moral and ethical behavior (and many atheists agree with me on this - who are YOU to say they're wrong?). Where do I get my ideas about good and evil if not from eternal almighty who created me? From my own (or someone elses) created mind and imperfect knowledge?


I don't follow. My whole point was that "good" and "evil" depend heavily on perspective. Talking about such things in absolute terms is nonsense--there is no more an absolute good than there is an absolute beauty or an absolute velocity. Goodness is a quality that depends on the subjective experience of the beholder. If our worldview perceives God as evil, then that does not imply that we should throw out our worldview and adopt that of God.

I don't see why it matters that many atheists agree with you on this (although I'm somewhat dubious of that claim anyway). They might just be wrong. Without even knowing who these people are, it's hard to see why I should care what they think one way or the other.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:34 am UTC

Don't we already have more or less incontravertible proof of evolution? Just look at a petri dish of bacteria, and claim that things don't mutate and that the 'more sufficiently fit' organisms don't supplant the others. Yet, people deny it, so there is little reason to believe people wouldn't deny proof of no God.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby Czhorat » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:24 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Don't we already have more or less incontravertible proof of evolution? Just look at a petri dish of bacteria, and claim that things don't mutate and that the 'more sufficiently fit' organisms don't supplant the others. Yet, people deny it, so there is little reason to believe people wouldn't deny proof of no God.


That's a great point. I think that true scientists and skeptics would accept the new evidence. The biggest dissenters would likely be religious fundamentalists who find that the god which has been proven to exist doesn't match their preconceived notion.

So far as morality is concerned:

jigawatt wrote:
Czhorat wrote:If you can prove that the universe has a creator, why does it follow that that creator's opinion on morality is worth more than anyone else's? ... Why is creation in this case equal to moral authority?

In the examples you give, the people under their parents or an organizational leader share the same nature as their leader -- they're all human and ontologically equal. But God is different; he created everything that exists, and specifically he created you and me. Before such an almighty being, I can't imagine anybody saying "Well, I have differing views about morality than you do, so I'm just gonna go do my own thing, Mr. Almighty and All-Wise Creator, thank you very much." And if someone did say that, then you've got the "we should war with God" theory that distractedSofty mentioned.


How does one prove that a being is "all wise"? Many religions have a devil figure who would also be on a different ontological plane than we humans. Should the devil, therefore, be a judge of morality?

Without a solid grounding on human-understandable philosophical principles, the only moral argument you have would be an appeal to authority. Being that human-human interactions are within our ability to observe and understand, I don't see why one needs the authority of a deity to create a moral framework.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby jigawatt » Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:30 am UTC

Interesting replies, everybody. I think the big hang-up everyone is having is with my "All-Wise" statement. I would consider this part of omniscience, but I see not everybody defines it this way. So if omniscience mearly means something like "knowing all facts and possibilities" then we would have a being somewhat like the Infosphere of Futurama, albeit one who was really strong and happened to have created us and everything else.

I myself think that if we are created beings, and ones created for a purpose, then we should yeild our ideas about right and wrong to that being who created us. All-Good becomes a default characteristic for the God who created me, because I base my concept of good on what God thinks is good. I see that nobody here (so far at least) agrees with me on this, and would rather stand in moral judgment of his or her creator. The original question in this topic was "what if we find proof that God does exist?" The general concensus seems to be that we're ok with that hypothetical situation so long as we get to keep our notions of right and wrong.

LaserGuy wrote:(although I'm somewhat dubious of that claim anyway) ... They might just be wrong.

Ever heard of nihilism? Or, for some specific examples of atheists whose world view led to some pretty different ideas about morality, how about Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot? I realize that not all atheists believe this way, and I of course realize that some who call themselves Christian commit atrocities as well. But there are indeed some atheists who agree with me that atheism gives no basis for what we would call moral and ethical behavior. And I, for one, am glad that you think they're wrong. But I do wonder upon what basis you judge the moral understanding of these (fellow?) atheists, given a naturalistic world view?

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby cynicalbastard » Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:15 pm UTC

thorgold wrote: If God was disproven, I wouldn't be surprised if a good chunk of the world population just started dying off. Suicide, depression, just snuffing out from despair, et cetera.


I would be horribly depressed if there was a god. I'm an atheist in the sense that I have a very strong preference for the non-existence of god(s). God/ultimate truth takes away the fascination of life - why bother trying to explore the world if the whole truth will be revealed at death/end of world/second coming/coming christmas?

I also have a nagging suspicion that absolute truth would be no better for ones disposition than absolute power is said to be.



distractedSofty wrote:If, on the other hand, a god along the lines the old testament god shows up on Earth, then there is only one rational outcome: war (with the god, of course). What else would you expect to happen if an entity showed up, threatening to torture and kill people who do not comply with their demands? (And then actually carrying it out)

Count me in! That would be the only challenge left.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby DSenette » Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:24 pm UTC

the use of the word "omnipotent" or "omniscient" instead of "all-wise" doesn't really change anything

IF dude knows a lot, and dude created some stuff, it still doesn't mean that dude gives a flying shit what you do, or that there is a heaven, or any of that.

a scientist can "create" life in a dish, and know everything there is to know about that life....and still not give a flying shit about what happens to that life, or be able to promise it an after life.
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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby Greyarcher » Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:49 pm UTC

Of course atheism doesn't give a basis for morality; they're separate topics. Just because religion ties up morality with itself, doesn't mean not-religion would. For that topic you have, well, any writings in the topic of ethics and morality that don't involve gods in its reasoning.

Also, it's not really about "getting to keep our notions of right and wrong if God is proven". It's more like the proof is irrelevant to morality unless we also prove something more about this God. Like that it has specific desired policies related to morality, that it can provide good reasons or evidences suggesting that these are desirable policies, etc.

The word "God" for me, after all, means something like "Creator god of monotheistic religions; various dubious stories about it; various claimed traits and actions; not much proper evidence or tests for it, as tends to be the case with gods". Proof of such a god doesn't mean much to me.
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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:07 pm UTC

jigawatt wrote:I would argue that a naturalistic world view does not support what we would call moral and ethical behavior (and many atheists agree with me on this - who are YOU to say they're wrong?)

Ever heard of nihilism? Or, for some specific examples of atheists whose world view led to some pretty different ideas about morality, how about Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot? I realize that not all atheists believe this way, and I of course realize that some who call themselves Christian commit atrocities as well. But there are indeed some atheists who agree with me that atheism gives no basis for what we would call moral and ethical behavior. And I, for one, am glad that you think they're wrong. But I do wonder upon what basis you judge the moral understanding of these (fellow?) atheists, given a naturalistic world view?


I don't follow. Where do you think that Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot derived their morality from? Why should I care about their rejection of naturalism?

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby qetzal » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:15 pm UTC

jigawatt wrote:I myself think that if we are created beings, and ones created for a purpose, then we should yeild our ideas about right and wrong to that being who created us. All-Good becomes a default characteristic for the God who created me, because I base my concept of good on what God thinks is good.


What if, hypothetically, this proven God told you that it's moral to kill and eat other people (including children) to ensure that your family prospers. What if God told you it's actually immoral NOT to kill and eat children unrealted to you whenever the opportunity arises?

Please note that I'm not trying to be inflammatory. I mean this as a serious test of your claim that we should do whatever God says, no matter how wrong or extreme it might seem to us.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby DSenette » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:18 pm UTC

jigawatt wrote:Ever heard of nihilism? Or, for some specific examples of atheists whose world view led to some pretty different ideas about morality, how about Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot? I realize that not all atheists believe this way, and I of course realize that some who call themselves Christian commit atrocities as well. But there are indeed some atheists who agree with me that atheism gives no basis for what we would call moral and ethical behavior. And I, for one, am glad that you think they're wrong. But I do wonder upon what basis you judge the moral understanding of these (fellow?) atheists, given a naturalistic world view?

what about any number of people who claim to derive their moral structure from god, but still do stupid/evil/horrible shit?

a LOT of people have done some pretty horrible crap in the name of "the lord" (and i'm not SPECIFICALLY talking about crusades) and what they claim he has said is the right thing to do
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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby jigawatt » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:40 pm UTC

Laser, I think their ideas about morality arose from their naturalistic world view (which I dont think they rejected). What I'd like to know is why you think their ideas about morality were wrong.

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby DSenette » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:54 pm UTC

jigawatt wrote:Laser, I think their ideas about morality arose from their naturalistic world view (which I dont think they rejected). What I'd like to know is why you think their ideas about morality were wrong.

if a homosexual person's morality (i.e. it's ok to be gay) arises from their naturalistic world view, then why do "you" (a metric fuck ton of christians) think their ideas about morality are wrong?

because their morality is a direct contradiction of your morality.

that's the fun of morality, it's all different. what i think is moral isn't specifically what YOU think is moral. what Pol Pot thought was for the good of his people, most everyone else thinks is morally reprehensible.
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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:01 pm UTC

jigawatt wrote:Laser, I think their ideas about morality arose from their naturalistic world view (which I dont think they rejected). What I'd like to know is why you think their ideas about morality were wrong.


You said earlier that many atheists agree with you that a naturalistic worldview does not support moral/ethical behaviour. Those are the atheists I was interested in. I don't understand what Stalin et al. have to do with this at all now. Do you think Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot believed that they themselves were behaving immorally or unethically?

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Re: What if there were incontravertible proof of God?

Postby jigawatt » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:20 pm UTC

No, they thought they were acting morally and ethically (ie they thought genocide was the right thing to do). And since they remained naturalists, they clearly believed that naturalism doesn't necessarily lead to OUR kind of morality. At the very least, they believed that genocide and naturalism were compatible.

My question is, are they indeed compatible? If not, why not?


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