Monday 20 August 2007

Would God know if he Didn't Exist?

Fairly evenly split on the Islam issue.
Islamophobes- seventeen.
Islamophiles- sixteen.

For the record, I voted for the losing side.

This week's poll is actually going on to be on the biggest issue of the lot.
Does God exist?

But before you cast your votes, consider the question.

I always say that it is one of the two questions where people answer a different question to the one being asked.

The other is 'Do you believe in Aliens?'

The question is not, in fact, 'Do you believe in Grey Aliens and that a UFO landed at Roswell?'
But people answer it as if it is.

Likewise, the question asked here, isn't 'Do you believe the Bible is all true?' or 'Is there an afterlife?'

It actually means 'Do you believe the universe is directed by a conscious intelligence, capable somehow of communicating with us?'

Now, the universe certainly has a fabric. It is one spacetime. The fact is, there are only two possible explanations in Physics for the ability of our universe to produce us in the first place.
Both, of necessity are equally unprovable.

But they ARE the only two explanations.

This is the only universe, and it directs itself to form itself in this way, because it is conscious.

There are an infinite number of universes.

So I don't quite see why the Atheist believes his belief any more scientific than mine.
I would say that there are factors, which to me, show at least SOME evidence in favour of the first, as in, th huge number of people throughout History who have INSTINCTIVELY felt it to be right, as if it was something we KNEW.

I would point out something else.
We see ourselves as being conscious and intellignt.
Both of those are ultimately simply the product of electro-magnetic transmission of information.
The same way a computer works.
We of course, are much more sophisticated than the computer, having been designed by millions of years of natural streamlining.

But this is all produced by the way the universe works.

Since it has been transmitting electro-magnetically across itself for thirteen billion years, is it not natural to assume that it has evolved intelligence and consciousness over that time that we can only dream of.
That it is capable of directing itself.
And directing the course of evolution.

Not intervening, but setting the courses.
And transmiting our yearnings and desires into us.

Even our consciences.

So I always roll my eyes to heaven when Atheists who know nothing of physics presume to tell me Science has no need of God.
Notice that the most Atheist of Scientists are those stuck in the nitty gritty of Biology.
Most Physicsts are either Agnostics, or loosely Theistic- Forty percent of US university Physics Professors believe in God.

Off topic a bit, I was a good boy and went to mass yesterday, over a month since I last went- and I was late, getting there on the first reading.
Worse, I wouldn't have gone if my flatmate hadn't woke me up. Though she's not religous herself, she knows I always feel better about going when I do go, it's just I love my bed on Sunday mornings.

Now here's wierd. Found this over at Finding Life Hard.
My favourite colour is blue.
Why am I red?

You Are a Red Crayon

Your world is colored with bright, vivid, wild colors.
You have a deep, complex personality - and you are always expressing something about yourself.
Bold and dominant, you are a natural leader. You have an energy that is intense... and sometimes overwhelming.
Your reaction to everything tends to be strong. You are the master of love-hate relationships.

Your color wheel opposite is green. Green people are way too mellow to understand what drives your energy.

Well, there you go.
Find out your crayon and colour, then ponder the existence of God.

Have your say!


Anonymous said...

But they ARE the only two explanations.

I think our knowledge of the universe is almost infinitesimally small - what we'll learn in the next few thousand years will probably make all our current theories seem ridiculous in some way.

For anyone coming back and trying to explain it to us it'd be like trying to explain quantum mechanics to cave people.

I'm an atheist (though most would say I'm agnostic - I don't believe in absolutes or real certainty) as I see it as a real "don't know" attitude. Without access to the secrets of existence I can only go on the day-by-day, and that, for me, has been consistently deity-free.

I don't think science needs God, just an awareness of its own limitations.

Anonymous said...

"Do you believe the universe is directed by a conscious intelligence, capable somehow of communicating with us?"

Yes. There will always be inexplicable phenomena that extricates our normal thought processes. We just have to believe the universe has a Soul of it's own and wants to align our Soul with it's Soul in the macrocosmic cavalcade of stars.
There are times when I have specific questions about certain things in my life and the universe answers them by leading me to directly to the source, or fount of knowledge that I need.

Does going to mass make you a good boy or a good boy based in fear that something tragic would happen if you didn't attend a house of worship? Just curious?

Anonymous said...

I’m a blue Crayon who doesn’t really mind whatever type of sky pixie (or non sky pixie) that people choose to believe in.

I doubt if there is a God but I wouldn’t presume to say I’m right. If there is a divine I suspect it is in all of us rather than a particular being or entity.

Personally though I don’t need a supernatural element to assist in my wonder at the majesty of ‘creation’.

Anonymous said...

Quite an apt title for your post, I should say. Yes, I believe in a higher consciousness that directs certain courses of our lives.

But like you assert, does it really matter if we obsess over it, explain it, or define it? The acceptance without proof literally defines faith. And it is this that is necessary to believe in God. I don't believe in a religion, I don't try to relate to any of the dogma of any religion. James (of the original 12) asserted: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen."

It is this acceptance of the unknown as fact that is faith. Like a child. Why try to define something further with our stilted language and understanding?

Very simply put, it's like trying to define color without knowing the words that colors have been assigned. We'll only rely on our limited understanding and experiences. It may be vastly stunted compared to the reality of that color or someone else's experience, but it is our belief. Do we really need to start wars or arguments because someone else describes blue as warm?

I'm green by the way, but I think I get you sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I was the blue crayon!

The question "Does God exist" is a really tough question, and it's hard for me to simply answer yes or no! It's more than just yes or no, for me and putting limitations on it like that make it hard to wrap it up in a neat little package! You are very deep and thought provoking...I alwasy leave yoru blog thinking!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to answer-I don't know but I fucking hope so. Is that ok?

Anonymous said...

Matt- However much we learn, we'll still be stuck with much the same propositions.
Someone who doesn't know is an agnostic.
An Atheist is someone who believes with certainty there is no God.

Alexys- Ultimately I believe God is explicable. Part of the problem is we now understand how he works so much, we forget what we are looking at.
Going to mass makes me feel that whilst I haven't got very far at the whole repentance thing, at least I'm making. It's like the lottery, you have to buy a ticket if you hope to win.
It's actually saying the Nicene creed I get most satisfaction out of.
I also find looking up at the Mosaic of Christ Risen inspires me.

Grendel- I don't see God as supernatural, I don't believe in any of that.
I think God operates through the known laws of the universe.
I think we see his action everyday, just don't realise it. I believe that all Energy IS God.

Helen- The Epistle of James is one of my favorites, possibly because It's so easy to refute Calvinists with it- Luther wanted it removed fro the Bible, as he did the Apocalypse.
I think there is a sense in which all religions that stand the test of time describe some aspect of reality.
St Augustine said there were two roots to faith- reason and revelation. Most people these days seem to the second is most important, but I'll be honest mine is almost entirely based on the first.

I don't get the colour wheel thing, but glad you get me :)

Jenny- To me it's just the question, does the universe mae sense?
I think it does.
Pearly Gates and all that, less convinced about, but hey, I haven't a clue really.

Steph- It's a fairly good answer. At least you're honest. I'm not sure if he does exist, he'd want us to worry too much about it.

Anonymous said...

God exists as much as us breathing exists - we tell us that's what we need to do/believe in to exist.

So, okay, without oxygene you die, but without God, you most likely wont... just imagine now those true believers, to whom God is more important then air... taking God away from them would be like cutting your air supply...

So - does God exists...?

Um... do you breathe?

Anonymous said...

I voted. I don't need to tell you what I chose.

I did that the other day. I got blue, and I wanted red. How ironic. though after the day I had, it kinda suited.

Maybe give it a day or two and do the crayon test again. Then maybe you'll get blue.

Anonymous said...

Crikey! You have all missed the important issue.

I was a green crayon!

Anonymous said...

An Atheist is someone who believes with certainty there is no God.

[hobby horse]

Sorry to be pedantic, but the "a" prefix simply means "without" - the positive denial of the supernatural is something quite different, and actually quite rare.

Atheists can be agnostics, nihilists, humanists, naturalists, etc.

Agnosticism is the view that questions regarding the supernatural/divine are unanswerable as they relate to the unknown. On a day-to-day level agnostics tend to be either atheistically inclined (like myself) or theistic inclinded.

[/hobby horse]

I'm green, by-the-way:

Your world is colored in harmonious, peaceful, natural colors.

While some may associate green with money, you are one of the least materialistic people around.

Comfort is important to you. You like to feel as relaxed as possible - and you try to make others feel at ease.

You're very happy with who you are, and it certainly shows!

Your color wheel opposite is red.

Every time you feel grounded, a red person does their best to shake you.

Anonymous said...

i was brought up religious, but educated scientifically. hence the schism in my thoughts regarding religion vs. spirituality. to me, there is a force which was ultimately responsible for the creation of our universe, and other dimensions and existences. that force is God. in my experience, i've witnessed phenomena that would be considered unexplainable, or beyond coincidence to simply describe as random or karmic. today i believe these things are not meant to be understood, they are beyond understanding... they are simple reminders of God's existence. on that tangent, God exists, but also transcends existence.

Anonymous said...

btw, i was a green crayon

Anonymous said...

So much depends on what we mean by "God."

Anonymous said...

Ultimately, whether represented as scientific inquiry or purely religious/moral/philosophical faith, the question of whether God exists is not a matter for the laboratory. It’s an intensely personal, investigative decision for every human being.
'pleased to see good sense won out in the poll. If you are an atheist or an agnostic, count yourself lucky that you don't live in an Islamic country where people holding your views tend to have a very, very hard time of it.

Anonymous said...

Heart- If God and energy are interchangeable terms, as I maintain, then there is no existence sans the deity.
There is nothing in St Augustine or Thomas Aquinas proofs of God that doesn't still hold.

Phish- I doubt it, I did it twice, and my answers were the true ones.
The summing up of my personality was probably close- about 90% right.
Don't worry, I know ho you voted.:)

Mutley- Well, according to the wheel, you being green, and me being red, you must find my posts scary.

Matt- 'A' does indeed mean without.
An Agnostic comes from a-Gnosis, meaning without knowledge.
A-theist means the concept of no God, as an'ism'.
An Ism is a creed.
Atheism is a creed.
Agnosticism is not knowing.

I'm a fairly loose Theist myself, in that I don't believe in much 'supernatural, merely that Theism is an actual description of the universe in terms we can understand, whereas Atheism is founded on a nonsensical premise in logic.

Green. Hmm. See Mutley.

Raffi- I find the Catholic doctrine of Free Will excellent for really understanding both quantum Mechanics AND evolution.
My religion is actually almost entirely based on science.
I guess I go to Church to worship the Big Bang and the DNA double Helix.
To me, that is how, a truly amazing God does things.

Green! Another one! Bewildered, yet shaken.

Paul- It does. I hope I put the case for my interpretation.

It's not the doctrinal positio of the church, yet in a sense it is. Nothing in it contradicts the Church.
Although, it does for Prots, which is why Creationism remains an exclusively Protestant thing.

Stan- It can't be proved in a lab, because we are the proof in itself. EVerything that exists prove God, but we don't see the wood for the trees.
There is existence, we can at least say that.
And that to me, is it.
Only two possible answers.
As for the poll, I should have voted twice, I bet others did. And I come here every day!

Anonymous said...

A-theist means the concept of no God, as an 'ism'.

The "ism" bit is contained within "theism" though: A[theism] rather than [athe]ism.

But, assuming your usage for the moment, can you name any such atheists? The most famous, Dawkins, Hitchens, etc. are all agnostics under your definition - as none of them claim that God can be positively disproven.

Anonymous said...

I am a Red Crayon, although I was surprised. It must be my impulsive and exhibitionist side.

I am one of Matt's non God Believing types. I think God exists in the mind of those who want it and that is fine. Just don't prosyletise too much when I am around. That is one tough word to spell.

Anonymous said...

Blimey - I am a yellow crayon. Yellow is a colour I never wear - how strange. I'm agnostic as you know but would love to believe. I respect and am interested in your explanation of the two explanations.

Anonymous said...

We should obviously keep apart then being red and green!

I guess you will know what my answer to the question is.

Anonymous said...

Oh and thanks for the link here and in Storm post!

Anonymous said...

Matt- It's not about proof, it's about FAITH.
The Atheist lives his life in confidence that God is non-existent.

It's a faith.

Colin- When people here I'm catholic, most people think it's a joke. I hardly mention it in day to day speech.
I believe it, though.

Liz- I see you as broadly theistic, but not sectarian.
Your posts on Ezra suggested a belief in Monist Consciousness.

Anonymous said...

It's a faith.

Only if you devalue the word considerably by reducing its meaning to nothing more than "assumption" - when people talk about having faith they seem to mean a bit more than just that.

Anonymous said...

Wow, so many green crayons...! This is what I got...

You Are an Orange Crayon

Your world is colored with offbeat, confident, and stimulating colors.
You have a personality that's downright weird - and you wouldn't change it for anything.
Loud and expressive, you voice your opinions fearlessly and strongly.
And while you have a strong personality, you can be friends with almost anyone.
Your color wheel opposite is blue. Your confidence is something blue people truly envy

Hmm, and all the while I'd been thinking that blue was my favourite colour...