TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

The Existence of God

Is there really a God? Or did everything just poof?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jun 14 2013: Not an open-ended question for a change, and yes, there "really [is] a God," and yes, She created all that we see, and all that we don't see.

    My question, Cheyenne, why are you asking?

    For all the confidence that's placed in it, science will never answer the question satisfactorily using empiricism, as the Creator can't be seen, and creation occurs behind the scenes, as it were, with the physical universe resulting from a non-physical matrix.

    In a time/no time, the question of the existence of God will be answered for believer and skeptic alike. Until then both sides of the argument will continue to debate it ad infinitum, as there's nothing either can say or propose that will convince the other of what they choose not to believe.
    • thumb
      Jun 14 2013: Actually over time some do change their minds. I did.
      • thumb
        Jun 14 2013: YOU changed your mind. No one can do that for you, notwithstanding the cogency of their argument, or the persuasiveness of their presentation.

        I stand by my statement: "there's nothing either [side] can say or propose that will convince the other of what they choose not to believe."
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: Sure, the way it is worded you are basically saying people believe what they choose to believe.

          One thing that comes to mind, not to be argumentative but you got me thinking, sometimes belief may not be 100% a choice. You might want to believe in something, but that might be at odds with the information you become aware of.

          That was kind of my experience. I guess there are people who would like to believe but can not deny what they perceive to actually be the truth. Others seem to be immune to evidence.

          Right now if I wanted to be a Christian I could go to a church and walk up at the end and mouth the words but I still would not actually believe. I couldn't trick myself even if it offered untold rewards.
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: See that's the thing Obey. I am as certain as I can be that God exists, & that because of the evidence. I am your mirror image. We do believe what we want to believe, even when it comes to the evidence. We have both heard most of the arguments, & could refute each other 'til the cows come home, but not be changed.

          There are indeed many preachers who do not believe. Some know they don't believe, some don't.

          :-)
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: Wil, Obey and Peter,
          I wholeheartedly agree with the concept....""there's nothing either [side] can say or propose that will convince the other of what they choose not to believe." (Wil)

          "We have both heard most of the arguments, & could refute each other 'til the cows come home, but not be changed." (Peter)

          If you truly believe what you write Peter, why are you constantly trying to "save" us, "warn" us, etc?

          As I have said many times, I totally accept and respect YOUR belief as YOUR belief. It is not, however the one and only belief.
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: Dear Colleen,

          "why are you constantly trying to "save" us, "warn" us, etc?"
          You have put this in just about all your posts to me. If I am guilty, I apologise. I do try not to go on about it as I know from experience it is counter productive. Most people of integrity are pretty immovable on their core beliefs; you & I have that in common. Common sense tells us that we cannot all be right.
          Let's have a truce. I will try not to save you ; you try not to mention it; & maybe something productive will emerge.

          :-)
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: I LOVE it Peter......YES.....YES.....YES......ABSOLUTELY:>)
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: Peter I guess we have difference views on what counts as compelling evidence sufficient to support belief in an invisible imateriaterial being. Most Christians say god is spirit but no one can really describe or demonstrate spirit. they can't tell the difference between spirit being somewhere or everywhere and not being there.

          I guess we agree there is no physical evidence of gods existence in the way we can prove you and I exist.

          Most Christians say the ressurection is proof the bible is true and god exists. And they believe the resurrection happened as described becasuse they believe the bible is true. Circular.

          Peter if the ressurection did happen, how do you know a god did it? And if some being can heal a dead person, how does that prove they can create a universe. Creating a universe seems to be a bit more challenging. And if it did happen how does that make every word in the bible true.

          I suggest you nay have layer upon layer of assumptions not supported by sufficient evidence.

          Maybe you can define what god is, and if you say spirit, what is spirit and how do you know there is spirit.
          What is your best evidence any god exists

          How can I confirm this god exists and is not a mental construct.
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: Peter I guess there are people believing in other gods and goddesses who are equally certain. They may have religious texts, personal experiences, feel stuff etc but in regads to a completely different god or goddess.

          Wil and I are going round in circles for a similar reason. The conclusions he has come to seem unfounded to me, like yours do, but he seems as certain as you, as did Vijay about conflicting god views.

          There seems to be a pattern where old writings, unanswered questions, a search for meaning, agency assumption and personal experience combine to output contradictory beliefs that people hold with equal fervour.
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: Hi Obey,
          Sometimes I get the idea that you would like me to persuade you scientifically that God exists. More realistically I think you just like the banter. Whichever, you seem to be very interested in the subject. Trouble is I don't have the time to answer ALL the objections you have. I know if I start, you will come up with another list.
          For me; coming to this in mid life ; I soon had to admit that anything offering eternal bliss had to be worth the benefit of the doubt. So, as I researched the subject, I was very open to the possibility of the reality of God. You know what ? God came through, & I've never looked back. God honours those who honour Him. Should we really expect Him to honour those who use all their intellect to deny Him. If you don't want to know Him then He's cool with that. He went through agony to give you the opportunity, even He can do no more.

          I can answer your points one by one, & you can come up with more. However, if you were me, would you not be tempted to spend more time with those who really want to know ?

          :-)
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: I understand peter.

          I guess you can also see my point that it is a sort of subjective rather than evidence that would convince someone with a reasonably skeptical mind.

          I guess there is no reason why a god would provide compelling evidence that would easily convince people using their brains and looking for sufficient evidence and reason to believe in them.

          The approach I use is the same that leads me to the conclusion we don't yet have evidence to support a reasonable believe in the gods of any religion.

          However, the christian dogmas sometimes includes the threat of hell. It does seem perverse to me that a creator would not sufficiently indicate it exists and differentiate its message so it stands out in way that we know it is from a god.

          But there is no reason to assume a god is not perverse and cruel by human standards as Yahweh of the bible so obviously is.

          Again even if there is no evidence that does not disprove a being worthy of the name god exists. Just not being able to disprove something is not a good reason to believe in it IMO.

          I'm not using my intellect to disprove a god exists, I'm using it to see if there is sufficient evidence and reason to believe in any of them.

          If there is a god that created humans, it gave us the ability to rise above intuition and to use reason and critical thinking.

          I'm interested in knowing and believing more true things and less false things. So I don't accept flimsy evidence, fallacious arguments, etc about extraordinary claims.

          Anyway Christianity is not alone in this, Muslims have their own framework for justification,, I lived in a Buddhist country for years, spoke with believers and monks and they also have no compelling evidence many of their claims like reincarnation etc.

          I want to know if your god reasonably exists and not start building a construct in my mind and being cognitively bias interpreting feelings and events like most religious beliefs. How tell if god is not a cognitive construct?
        • thumb
          Jun 15 2013: Hi Obey.
          We have a bird feeder outside our living room. Watching the birds feed is all the proof I need that God exists. You can dissect & analyse that bird, & come up with a tale of millions of years, but it doesn't wash. That bird is an engineering miracle, & just one of trillions.
          We live on different planes.
          You go on about slavery, child sacrifice, genocide, genital mutilation, etc., always blaming God. There are no positives, or interest in the reasons for the negatives. Sorry Obey, I can't help you. Wish I could.

          :-)
        • thumb
          Jun 15 2013: Peter I guess that highlights the difference.

          Obviously my understanding is based on science that indicates you are looking at the results of 3 billion years of evolution and descended from dinosaurs etc back to the earliest vertebrates, hence the similarities in biology and DNA.

          For me personally being the result of 3 billion years of evolution is at least as awesome as various creation myths like the garden.

          I do go on about the nasty aspects of the bible and the god it describes, don't I. Mainly to remind people this is also part of the god you are talking about and some claim is the arbiter of morality, and is the epitome of love etc. I keep putting it up because it really highlights the aspects of this religion people tend to gloss over, or not really come to terms with. From previous conversations I know you have.

          There are positives in some religious expression, and perhaps I should acknowledge that more. It's not all demonizing homosexuals and threatening kids with hell. I guess Christians donate more to charity, and if they focus on the positive teachings of Jesus, it can be more benign then some other religions. But there is that barbaric iron age aspect that really jars, all the city destroying and death, the angry Jealous god. There are other benefits, even if a god does not exist.

          I guess it is the not so nice bits that bother me, and being blind to them.

          People assert things that over time I've realised don't stand up. And its not just Christianity. There was some Hindu stuff the other day. And I've had a few run ins with Muslims and new age stuff etc.

          I really try to believe what has sufficient evidence and reason, not to believe what I would like to be true. It would be nice if there was a benevolent god and pleasant afterlife. That's obviously not your god or hell. but if demonstrable so be it.

          I actually helped myself some years ago by asking why do I believe certain things. I know you have had your own journey in the opposite direction
        • thumb
          Jun 16 2013: Hi Obey.
          If we take Sodom as a 'for instance'. Forced homosexual gang rape of strangers was normal & legal. Chances are children would be placed alive onto red hot statues of Molek, etc. What future is there for that kind of society where folks live in the real fear of brutalisation? Humans being as they are, this sort of behaviour is bound to spread. Presumably it had, worldwide, at the time of the flood. What would you do if you were God?
          You make the assumption that this life is the main event. This decision is made with a brain that is the end result of chance & choice. What if this life is just the labour suite of the main event? I guess you pays your money & makes your choice.

          :-)
      • W T 100+

        • 0
        Jun 14 2013: "..if I wanted to be a Christian I could go to a church and walk up at the end and mouth the words but I still would not actually believe..."

        I have actually read interviews with religious LEADERS who feel this way......and yet they continue to TRY to shepherd a flock of believers.

        Appearances may be deceiving Obey.

        Some people live with a divided heart or a double heart all their lives, and fear keeps them acting one way or another. There may be few who have a 'pure' heart.

        There are believers, that for fear of what others will say, "appear agnostics or even atheists", and the are "agnostics or atheists" that for fear of what others say appear believers.

        What is fascinating is the fact that we will continue to act this way........we humans are very complex.
        [edited spelling]
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: That must be tough Mary.

          I guess its all some religious leaders know how to do. And you still have to feed your family etc.
      • thumb
        Jun 14 2013: Give it more thought: We're always at choice. We can choose to alter our worldview because of new information, or choose not to.

        Rationalization works well in these instances; it all depends on our predisposition.

        "Others seem to be immune to evidence."

        Evidence to one isn't necessarily evidence to another. It all depends on where you derive your evidence, and whether a preponderance exists sufficiently to shift a person's belief.

        As to the existence of God, for many it transcends belief, existing as an experience as profound as life itself, becoming a part of the very essence of their being.

        To ask believers to shift their belief regarding the existing of God is to ask them to give up life and to embrace death. Not many will fall on that sword.

        There are yet others who aren't believers but knowers. I fall in that category. Those who know, know that they know. They know because they've accumulated enough experience of knowing to know what they know.

        What I know, if it were your knowing, would literally blow your mind.

        "I couldn't trick myself even if it offered untold rewards."

        Now you understand what few do, the reason why some prayers go unanswered, why God reveals Herself to some and not to others, and why your life is the way it is: You are who you say you are. Biblically stated: I Am That I Am. Or, I Am Who I Am.

        In short, we can't lie to ourself. No one can. Our truth is the overriding force controlling our life and our experiences. For us to change our mind, we must first change our truth.
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: Wil, I will appreciate it if you can explain 'They know because they've accumulated enough experience of knowing to know what they know'?
        • W T 100+

          • 0
          Jun 14 2013: "What I know, if it were your knowing, would literally blow your mind"

          Perhaps this is the reason you chose an owl for your avatar?

          I really enjoyed reading your contributions.
          Thank you.

          Now, here is a question...you say "to change our mind, we must first change our truth".
          Why not the other way around?
        • W T 100+

          • 0
          Jun 15 2013: Wil, thank you for your thorough reply to my questions.

          I must say, I had not thought of this.
          I saw things differently. But yes, I can see that what you say is reasonable.

          I will have to reread it, and then meditate on it for a bit.
          Should I have another question or thought I'll come back and add it.

          Thanks Again!!
        • thumb
          Jun 15 2013: Sure people have different presuppositions, biases and different standards of evidence.

          I would say the scientific method tries to address this. In 400 years the output has been wonderful and terrible in terms of the technology and outcomes, severely cutting child mortality, reducing disease that no amount of praying and burnt offerings achieved.

          So in a sense science tends to be pretty reliable and non contradictory, consistent with the observations, repeatable etc.Although its use tapers off for what is not testable

          We can not test whether Zeus exists or Yahweh or Bacchus, or El, or MAduk, or Isis etc. So some claims in themselves will be problematic when it comes to evidence.

          Lower standards of evidence and intuitive or subjective personal experiences and revelation based beliefs seem to result in multiple contradictory beliefs that can not all be true.

          I suggest for all our human biases and weaknesses having a reasonable standard of evidence and not accepting g fallacies such as arguments from ignorance helps overcome our weaknesses.

          I suggest a higher bar rather than a lower one if interested in what is true about reality.
      • W T 100+

        • 0
        Jun 14 2013: Obey, I have heard many of them say the exact same thing....they must provide for the family.
        Do you think the sheep may be paying the price for being led by those who have no conviction, other than they need to provide for their family?

        So joining the cleric ranks is then more of a job?

        That is not the example we have in scripture for Christian elders. But I will stop here, because the rest will be off-topic.

        Thanks for the reply.
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: Its a bit of a reversal of man not living by bread alone.
          Actually even if you believe you have some calling and figure out you were misguided you still need some bread.
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: "Perhaps this is the reason you chose an owl for your avatar?"

          Precisely. Thanks for noting the connection.

          "I really enjoyed reading your contributions.
          Thank you."

          THANK YOU!

          "[Y]ou say 'to change our mind, we must first change our truth'.
          Why not the other way around."

          Our truth came into existence because of our mind cooperating with our senses, what we saw, what we heard--our external reality--coupled with our internal reality, our internal senses, how we felt, and feel about what our external senses have informed us, what resonates for us, after giving it the gut check.

          We've been told that the "gut" is always right, and indeed it is, as it's where our truth lies, OUR TRUTH, not another's. Once OUR TRUTH has formed, we set up the first half of the equation, I AM THAT, and it would take the movement of heaven and earth to change it. It's not impossible mind you, just difficult. It's difficult, because for the time we hold that truth, we become THAT, hence OUR TRUTH and our Ego (our Self, our I AM) become one, completing the equation: I AM THAT, I AM (EGO)

          In order for you to change your mind, then, it becomes paramount for you to change YOUR TRUTH, for the mind is more a servant of the I AM, and not its master.
        • thumb
          Jun 14 2013: Will we seem to have different definitions of truth. I get you are talking about what we hold to be true consciously or unconsciously.

          I think this is different from is actually true.

          What is true is independent of what we believe.

          The earth rotates the sun whether or not we think this is true. If someone holds that the truth is that the sun rotates the earth, reality does not change to conform with this false belief, just their perception of reality.

          What is true is not a matter of opinion by my definition.

          What is true is not even restricted by our abilitity to conceptualise it.
    • Jun 14 2013: There is one thing that can (and should) convince people, and that's arguments that hold themselves together. We can't understand the Universe yet, and I fear that we never will, because the concept of infinity is so abstract that it's freaky. However, any earthly religion is just a produce of our own fears, insecurities, arrogance and hypocrisy, all hidden behind faith. We came up with religions to feel safe, to pretend we understand life, to control the masses, to give a name to evil, but most importantly, to feel important. With our consciousness comes a need to understand why we're alive, some people turn to the simplicity of religion and content themselves with what they're being told, other people keep asking the right questions and by doing so push our understanding of our existence further and further.
      • W T 100+

        • 0
        Jun 14 2013: "some people turn to the simplicity of religion and content themselves with what they're being told, other people keep asking the right questions and by doing so push our understanding of our existence further and further"

        Is it not possible to do both?

        Is it not possible to have a meager piece of cheese with a small glass of Schloss Johannisber Goldlack Riesling Trockenbeerenauslee?
        • Jun 14 2013: Not really. They're completely opposing ideas. The question science (I don't want to say science, but for lack of a better term...) tries to answer are the questions religion pretends to have all the answers to. Trying to do both of those things means that the person is on the fence about his religion, as faith alone is not enough for her. One will eventually take over the other.
      • W T 100+

        • 0
        Jun 14 2013: So, in your opinion, scientists cannot be believers, and believers cannot be scientists, because sooner or later one will take over the other?

        You speak very generally of science.

        There are so many branches of science.
        How can they all want to answer the questions that religion tries to answer?

        I'm sorry Etienne, I just do not feel you offer sound reasoning.

        Have you seen the talk by Clifford Stoll "The Call to Learn"?

        He ends it with a quote that is food for thought. Stoll is a bit whacky, but have patience, and watch it all if you can.

        Thank you for your reply, btw.
        Mary
        • Jun 15 2013: I should've been more specific. A firm believer of Christian mythology couldn't be a compelling archeologist, or astrophysicist, because these two fields completely destroy the legitimacy of his religion. Someone can, however, maintain a belief in a God or Gods, creators of the Universe, and maintain consistency with both his faith and his research, but it simply can't be done with Abrahamic religions because they utterly oppose eachother. One would have to twist and bend either his discoveries or his faith to fit the other. Although I have no problems with someone bending a faith to his own interpretation to fit his research, it also goes against the idea of faith in the first place. And no I haven't seen the video, but I will probably check it out soon.
      • thumb
        Jun 15 2013: I understand your point, and agree in part, but as Mary points out perhaps the outcome is not binary, not either or. There are many individual complex mixtures of what is supported by sufficient reason and evidence and that which is intuitive or speculative.

        There is a tension, and some make concessions in literal interpretations, in the face of evidence and others don't.

        It would be much easier perhaps to categorise people if there only fundamentalists and skeptics. But there is a diverse continuum of different variations.

        We are often somewhere between intuition-instinct and reason in most parts of life. If you see a person who fits a profile in your mind of a potential threat consciously or unconsciously we make assumptions that may or may not be correct. It might be a gentle person wearing a hoodie.

        I do support looking for evidence rather than relying on faith and intuition when trying to understand what is true. Intuition has a place, but needs to be tested.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.