Philosophy

How do Philosophers rate the arguments for/against God?

 

 

Helen De Cruz, a philosopher of religion, has conducted a survey of over 800 fellow philosophers, to see how well they rate various arguments for theism and atheism. The following charts show the average scores from each group.

Overall, the results show each side thinks most of their arguments are strong, while the other sides arguments are weak.

There is one exception to this: the problem of evil. Both sides agree that the problem of evil is a somewhat strong argument for atheism.

This is surprising because many non-philosophers often act as though it’s an non-issue or easy to solve.

 

philosophers on god

https://www.academia.edu/1438058/Results_of_my_survey_on_natural_theological_arguments

 

 

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Where Did God Come From?

where did god come from

Here is something really challenging to wrap our minds around (this in no way proves/disproves theism/atheism, but its an interesting thought exercise)

Where did God come from? Why does he exist? How can it be that something as incredibly sophisticated as an intelligent mind “just exists” without a creator, a cause, or an origin story? If your mind didn’t have a body, do you think its possible that your intelligent mind could “just exist” without a creator? Then how can Gods intelligent mind, which is superior to yours, “just exist” without a creator?

If its possible that a non-physical intelligent mind can “just exist” as a brute fact, is it possible that the non-physical laws of physics “just exist” without a creator? Why should a non-physical person be more likely than a non-physical law?

For the philosophically erudite, since God is defined as a metaphysically necessary thing, is it possible that the laws of physics are a necessary thing? Why should a non-physical person be more likely than a non-physical law?

If God cannot act contrary to his nature can he have free will?

does god have free will.Most people define “free will” as having a genuine choice between multiple options. For example, in a given situation it would be possible for a truly free being to have a genuine choice between (a) telling a lie or (b) telling the truth.

Yet God, per the formal philosophical definition and the Bible, cannot lie, “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Hebrews 6:18)

It seems to follow that if God cannot have a genuine choice, but *must* act in accordance to his nature, he cannot have genuine libertarian free will. This point is eloquently argued by the influential philosopher William Rowe in his book ‘Can God Be Free?’ I’ve outlined three of the most popular responses to this dilemma, are there any others?

OPTION 1: “God can act contrary to his nature, he just chooses not to”

RESPONSE 1: The universal consensus of philosophers and theologians is that it’s impossible for God to choose imperfection. If a perfect being could genuinely choose to be imperfect, then its perfection would be contingent upon circumstances, there would be a real possibility of God becoming not-God in the future, or Good-God becoming Bad-God. In any case, even Bible itself says “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18) not “it’s possible for God to lie, but he chooses not to.”

OPTION 2: “God isn’t constrained by his nature, he is characterized by his nature; thus he freely chooses that which he wants. In other words, God would never even desire to lie.”

RESPONSE 2: First, God did not determine or select his nature in the past (this would mean that he previously had a different nature). Second, God cannot change his nature in the future (for he is “immutable” or unchanging). Thus it seems that God is, a “prisoner” of his nature: (a) he did not choose it, (b) he cannot change it, and (c) he cannot act contrary to it, even if all this is willingly accepted, it precludes God from having genuine free will, but only the illusion or feeling of free will.

OPTION 3: “God has the freedom to act within the constraints of his nature. It’s impossible for him to tell a lie, but he can tell many different truths, or the same truth many different ways. Since he is perfect he does not require the option for imperfect choices.”

RESPONSE 3: Certainly this describes a limited form of freedom, but this is a concession that God does not have libertarian free will, but only a limited freedom. The irony with this response is that it means that Satan and humans have a greater amount of freedom than God.” Yet, in my opinion this is probably the best answer to this dilemma.

Theologians classify a human being as starting from conception, yet sometimes this “person” splits into two afterwards

TLDR; If we accept that a human being is formed at the “moment of conception” we run into a strange paradox: in some cases this “person” or “soul” splits into multiple “souls” or “persons” a few weeks later.

soul creation of twins

Most Christians I have met think that human life begins at conception, or the moment the male’s sperm fertilizes the females egg. It is at this moment, during the mixing of genetic material from the two parents that most theologians state the biological entity becomes a “person” or “human being” with its own soul.

 

Yet something strange happens in the next two weeks, this “human being” can then split to form two seperate fetueses. For you see, the process of Monozygotic Twinning (the biological act of creating twins) happens up to two weeks *after* the theologians say the fetus has a soul.

 

Does this mean that a second soul is then added to the fetus? (Which body does the first soul stay in?

Does this mean the original soul is split in two?

 

These are fascinating theological and philosophical questions that serve as reminders: things are not always as simple as they appear.

The range of beliefs about God

I’m frequently asked “are you and atheist or not?”

I rarely answer.

Why? Because most people have a very simplistic and inaccurate system of labels, often used merely to stereotype people into buckets. Most of us are binary thinkers, we think the choices are “dark red or dark blue” and if you’re not dark red, then you’re dark blue.

Hopefully this chart can help us appreciate the complexity of the situation a little bit more. These positions aren’t necessarily on a bidirectional scale, some positions overlap, some people hold more than one, other people tend to hop around all the time (I’ve been known to do that),there are still significant things missing from this chart, and etc, but at least its a start.

god related beliefs

If this universe is designed for humans, why is it so deadly and empty?

If this universe was designed for humanity then:

a) why is 99.999999% of the universe utterly inhospitable to life?

b) why is it so large that we can never physically or visit 99.999999% of it, even if we had a billion years and a really fast spaceship?

c) why have 99.99999% of former human generations who claimed it was designed for us not know any of the above. (1)

 

 

 

Is selfless suicide, done for others, morally wrong?

If someone becomes an organ donor, and commits suicide with the intent of donating their organs to help others, are they doing something morally wrong?

This act of suicide is an act that mimics the biblical story of Christ’s death for his friends. In addition the Bible says that “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

So is there a type of suicide, done for the intent of helping others, that is morally good?