Does God Exist? (Part II)

Statement

God does not exist.

Q1 Analysis

This statement may be a Q1 violation if you have "spiritual" or other supernatural beliefs or do not define "God" rigorously.

Q2 Analysis

This is not a Q2 violation so long as you would allow someone else to draw other conclusions about God’s existence using the same reasoning you use.

Discussion

There are a number of reasons you might conclude God does not exist, and those reasons might be logical, philosophical, linguistic, scientific, social, or faith-based/emotional.

Logical reasons include the belief that God is logically impossible. For example, you might argue that it is impossible for something to be infinitely good, omniscient, and omnipotent. But is it possible that this argument would fail if terms were defined differently? If so, then are you defining your terms the same way that religious people define them? Might there might be a way around this logical exclusion that you haven’t thought of?

Philosophical reasons include the belief that God could not possibly exist because, for example, the existence of evil proves that there is no infinite force for good. This is another case where defining terms differently or more rigorously might render the argument moot.

Linguistic reasons include the belief that God cannot even be discussed because nobody can really define the word "God." But does this argument prove that nothing we would refer to as God exists, or does it at most prove that people lack the ability to describe or conceive of something that, if it exists, they would label "God"?

Scientific reasons include the belief that God does not exist because science can explain everything without invoking God. But does this prove that God does not exist, or simply that if God exists He is either not scientifically required or has created a universe that follows strict physical rules? And are you sure that science has an explanation for everything, or are you just assuming that it eventually will? And are you sure that science should even involve itself with questions of religious truth?

Social reasons include the belief that religious traditions are unreliable because they developed over the centuries in the same way stories we now consider myths developed. But does the possibility that religious stories evolved prove that the stories have no facts behind them? Another social reason for atheism might be that you were treated badly by theists or had a bad religious experience. But does this prove that there is no God, or simply that not all religions and religious people are good?

Faith-based/emotional reasons include the belief that God does not exist because you just know there’s no such thing. Such an argument is not compelling to anyone but you.

In any of these cases, you must be clear whether you are attempting to prove that God doesn’t exist or that no deities of any sort exist. For example, proving that God cannot be both good and all-powerful does not prove that there isn’t a universe-creating deity out there that doesn’t have these properties. If you are attempting to prove that no deities exist — not even a deist deity that created the universe and no longer interacts with it — then you are attempting something very difficult. It is generally impossible to prove that something does not exist — particularly, in this case, because there is the possibility that a deity exists that you have not (or cannot) even conceive of.

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on January 25, 2011 at 9:56 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

Leave a Reply