Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What it would take.

Most people never give any serious thought to whether or not they ought to believe in a deity. Most people accept the idea through cultural osmosis. And the god they believe in is thus determined by the culture in which they are reared. In other words there is no intellectual attempt to draw a valid conclusion at all. No evidence is considered, no proofs are sought, there is only a conclusion that they accept. I can’t do that. If others can that’s their problem.

So what would I need to convert me to Christianity or any other religion for that matter. Here are the steps that I would need to go through and I will use Christianity as the example because I live in nations which are historically Christian.

The first thing that needs to be presented to me is proof that there is a god. To do that they need to define what a god is and then give me proof he actually exists. This is prior to the use of holy books, etc. The first thing is whether a being as they describe it exists. And since they assert the being exists the burden of proof is entirely their own to meet.

Assuming that they have done this they will next have to show that this being is comprehensible. If it is not then it is absurd to ask me to belief anything particular about something which is, by definition, not comprehensible. So if you resort to telling me how we can’t understand him then I would want to know how you understand that. If you say he is unknowable I’d want to know how it is that you claim to know something about something which is unknowable. If the being you believe is not one that can be intellectually understood then don’t expect me to understand anything about it.

Now let us suppose that you have done both these things. You have satisfied me that their is a deity and you have defined it in a way that is comprehensible. Now the real work begins.

At this point you have to give me compelling evidence that of all the possible gods which men have claimed exist that the Christian god is the one that is most consistent with what evidence you have presented. Still at the point the Bible is not strictly admissible to the argument. That comes later. Based on pure logic and non-supernatural facts of reality show me that one specific god is now the one that makes the most sense. And I suppose that along the way you would need to show why there is only one such deity.

So let us supposed that you have done this. I am not convinced that there is a deity and I comprehend what sort of being it is that is being discussed. Let us assume I have even accepted that a specific deity is the only one that makes sense. Now you have to show that he has decided to make himself known through a book.

So we have to take all the holy books that people have claimed were inspired or written by god and line them up. And you need to show me why one specific book was written by the only possible god. You would have to show that the book is reliable. It would need to be non-contradictory in nature. Now that doesn’t apply to human books only to god books. A deity I presume wouldn’t write contradictions. It would need to be historically accurate as well. It would need to correspond with what reality already shows us.

Once that book is picked out you would need to show me that there is only one logical interpretation of the book. If there are hundreds of interpretations you really have to show me why I must pick one of them over the others.

Now those are the steps I would need for a conversion. Now one last thing regarding comments to this posting. The comments section is reserved for remarks regarding this process. It is not the place to try and go through these steps. That I suspect would take far more space than our comments provide. If you think one step is wrong then comment on why it is wrong. If you think there are other steps that should be added then mention those and why you think they should be added. But please don’t attempt to use the comments as a forum to try and satisfy these requirements. This is about the methodology one ought to follow to draw a conclusion not about the evidence that satisfies it.


Blogger Publius II said...

Very good article! I hope you and your family had a good Christmas and plan on having a good New Year as well.

Your process sounds like it is right on, with maybe one slight adjustment. The point where you want only one logical interpretation I think is going to be a tough one. I say this due to the very nature of the God who is communicating through the book. If He is an infinite being, our finite minds will be always striving to fully understand, but I'm not sure it's possible. And so you get multiple possible interpretations that come up on some of things discussed in said book. Certainly there are a vast majority of interpretations that can be thrown out due to their ILLOGICAL nature, leaving only a handful of logical ones. The illogical interpretations seem to me to come from misunderstanding the book as a whole, or just plain ignorance of the book. When one has a more full understanding, the interpretations narrow themselves down.

Very thoughtful post though.

December 29, 2006

Blogger Ethereal said...

Ultimately, it comes right to perception. We perceive things the way that reality shows it to us.

This is why I am not a believer. Because of the fact that a deity created us without reason and then commands us to worship him. Another reason is because your holy book supports slavery and consider black people cursed. Since you, Publius, support spricture, you support slavers and that is where you and I personally disagree.


December 29, 2006

Blogger IConrad said...

Not precisely related to your post, NGZ -- but still highly amusing.

Enjoy. :)

December 30, 2006

Blogger Publius II said...

ethereal, I thank you for your comments, but you're entirely mistaken on several levels, in my humble opinion. First your assumption that God created without reason is completely nonsensical and baseless. Wherever did you get such an idea? Scripture is clear that God's reason for mankind is His own glorification, and for fellowship with us.

Secondly, the Bible doesn't necessarily condone slavery, it simply treats the subject within the reality that it existed, and instructs on how masters and slaves should think and behave within such a structure. No where in Scripture will you find any statement saying "slavery is a good idea," or anything of the sort. Instead you have the idea that slavery exists as a social standard and condition, and therefore, behave in such and such a manner. This is the case in many issues that were social in nature. Scripture is ultimately more concerned with the internal condition of the individual rather than the ramifications of social institutions.

January 01, 2007

Blogger GodlessZone said...

God created beings with no free will so he could torture some for eternity and others to worship him. He's got a ego problem.

The Bible orders slaves to obey their masters. It tells them the masters have the moral right to own them and that they must obey. That is condoning. And your fellow fundamentalists in the US were the strongest supporters of slavery. Most the fundie denominations today got their start when the split off from the northern sects because the North didn't support slavery. Theologians wrote long treatises on how the Bible endorses slavery. And your fellow Calvisnists in the Reconstructionist movement are the only group advocating a return to slavery. Even if the Bible only acknowledged this evil existed that shows the Bible is man's book and culture bound. If a moral deity were behind it then it ought to condemn slavery. Now why wouldn't he put that in? He was quite concerned about what people did with their genitals but not very concerned when the treated other humans as property (which is what you say he sees us as anyway). So either he condoned it or he didn't give a damn. If it were a "sin" or immoral it would have been quite easy to add a "thou shalt not keep slaves" when he was handing out his rules. Surely instead of "slaves obey your masters" he could have added into the bible "masters free your slaves". That he did not do so seems to be an endorsement which is how the church saw it for thousands of years.

January 12, 2007


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