Archive for the ‘God's Existence’ Category

So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed thro’ all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to Unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a creator, rather than in that of a self-existent Universe

October 10, 2009

So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed thro’ all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to Unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a creator, rather than in that of a self-existent Universe. Surely this unanimous sentiment renders this more probable than that of the few in the other hypothesis.

Letter of Thomas Jefferson: 1743-1826 to John Adams Monticello, April 11, 1823

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I’m not a Christian, I’m not a Buddha

September 19, 2009

I’m not a Christian, I’m not a Buddha (sic.), I just believe in God. I think there’s more to life than what we can see.

Ruud Gullit, October 1996 after death of Chelsea Vice-Chairman, Matthew Harding in a helicopter crash.

Many people admit to there being a God but without special revelation this God remains unknown.

The Wish for God and God’s Existence

August 24, 2009

Why in fact should I not be permitted to wish? Why should I not be allowed to wish that the sweat, blood and tears, all the sufferings of millenia, may not have been in vain, that definitive happiness may finally be possible for all human beings – especially the despised and downtrodden?…May I not feel an aversion also in regard to the idea that the life of the individual and of mankind is governed only by the pitiless laws of nature, by the play of chance and by the survival of the fittest, and that all dying is a dying into nothingness?

It does not follow – as some theologians have mistakenly concluded – from man’s profound desire for God and eternal life, that God Exists…But some atheists, too, are mistaken in thinking that what follows is the nonexistence of God and the unreality of eternal life.

Hans Küng, Does God Exist? p.301

God in man’s own image – Tillich

August 24, 2009

The name of this infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of all being is God. That depth is what the word God means. And if that word has not much meaning for you, translate it, and speak of the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation. Perhaps, in order to do so, you must forget everything traditional that you have learned about God, perhaps even that word itself. For if you know that God means depth, you know much about Him. You cannot then call yourself an atheist or unbeliever. For you cannot think or say: Life has no depth! Life itself is shallow. Being itself is surface only. If you could say this in complete seriousness, you would be an atheist; but otherwise you are not. He who knows about depth knows about God.

Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations, ch.7

I know some people who ‘take seriously’ Sheffield United ”without any reservation’. And for them, their team is their god and Saturday afternoon their day of observance. But God is as He has revealed Himself to be.

The Parable of the Gardener

August 24, 2009

Two people return to their long neglected garden and find among the weeds a few of the old plants surprisingly vigorous. One says to the other, ‘It must be that a gardener has been coming and doing something about these plants’. Upon inquiry they find that no neighbour has ever seen anyone at work in their garden. The first man says to the other, ‘He must have worked while people slept’.

The other says, ‘No, someone would have heard him and besides, anybody who cared about the plants would have kept down these weeds’. The first man says, ‘Look at the way these are arranged. There is purpose and a feeling for beauty here. I believe that someone comes, someone invisible to mortal eyes.
I believe that the more carefully we look the more we shall find
confirmation of this’. They examine the garden ever so carefully and sometimes they come on new things suggesting that a gardener comes and sometimes they come on new things suggesting the contrary and even that a malicious person has been at work.

Besides examining the garden carefully, they also study what happens to gardens left without attention. Each learns all the other learns about this and about the garden.  Consequently, when, after all this, one says; ‘I still believe a gardener comes,’ while the other says: ‘I don’t’, their different words now reflect no difference as to what they have found in the garden, no difference as to what they would find in the garden if they looked further, and no difference about how fast unattended gardens fall into disorder. At this stage, in this context, the gardener hypothesis has ceased to be experimental, the difference between one who accepts it and one who rejects it is not now a matter of one expecting something the other does not expect. What is the difference between them? The one says, ‘A gardener comes unseen and unheard. He is manifested only in his works with which we are all familiar,’ the other says, ‘There is no gardener,’ and with this difference in what they say about the gardener goes a difference in how they feel towards the garden, in spite of the fact that neither expects anything of it which the other does not expect.

John Wisdom’s ‘Parable of the Gardener’, Philosophy and Psycho-Analysis (Oxford:Blackwell, 1953), pp.154-155

NB the God of the Bible differs from Wisdom’s Gardener. it cannot be said of Him thatno neighbour has ever seen anyone at work in their garden’. The witnesses to the resurrection and the general activity of God in the history of redemption recorded in Scripture are to be reckoned with.

Also, the weeds in the garden are explained, through special revelation, as the curse of the Fall. This world is not as it was at first when declared ‘good’.

But it must be said that merely reading off (fallen) nature will not lead the natual man to God apart from special revelation. As Wisdom correctly implies, seeing the ‘facts’ of nature leaves the question of its meaning within the grid of an apriori worldview.

Naturalism of La Mettrie

August 24, 2009

Not that I call in question the existence of a supreme being; on the contrary it seems to me that the greatest degree of probability is in favor of this belief. But since the existence of this being goes no further than that of any other toward proving the need of worship, it is a theoretic truth with very little practical value. Therefore, since we may say, after such long experience, that religion does not imply exact honesty, we are authorized by the same reasons to think that atheism does not exclude it.

Let us not lose ourselves in the infinite, for we are not made
to have the least idea thereof, and are absolutely unable to get back to the origin of things. Besides it does not matter for our peace of mind, whether matter be eternal or have been created, whether there be or be not a God. How foolish to torment ourselves so much about things which we can not know, and which would not make us any happier even were we to gain knowledge about them !

I do not take either side.

La Mettrie

Note
Julien Offray de La Mettrie (December 19, 1709 – November 11, 1751) was a French physician and philosopher, and one of the earliest of the French materialists of the Enlightenment. He is best known for his work L’homme machine (“Machine man”[1]), wherein he rejected the Cartesian dualism of mind and body, and proposed the metaphor of the human being as machine. Wikipedia

This work of La Mettrie’s denies the soul in man.

Not the God of the Philosophers

August 24, 2009

(speaking of philosophers seeking to prove God from nature)

I would not be surprised if they were addressing their arguments to believers, for those with living faith in their hearts can clearly see at once that everything that exists is entirely the work of God whom they worship. But…Scripture…speaks of God as a hidden God and because nature has been corrupted , He has left men to their blindness…Truly You are a God who hides Yourself (Isa.45.15)

Pascal

Resenting the God we claim not to believe in

August 24, 2009
The bastard! He doesn’t exist!
(Hamm, a character of Samuel Beckett in Endgame – referring to God)
Another example of the atheist hating the God he professes not to believe in. The parallel would be me hating the flying spaghetti monster for not really existing.