Why I believe in God

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bipedalhumanoid
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Post by bipedalhumanoid » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:50 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote:
Of course not. What it means is that at that time, you have no reason to take it seriously. And when you consider the multitude of spurious claims that can possibly be made without evidence you can come to understand just how unlikely it is that such a claim is correct.
But if St Augustine got time-being-finite right, based to an important degree on Platonic philosophy, and with no evidence - right to the degree that time-being-finite has played an invaluable role in the important theories of scientists such as Einstein and Lemaitre (Big Bang) then surely the idea of God warrants some attention. Don't forget that St Augustine was pretty much on his own on this.
The two are worlds appart. The assumption that time had a beginning is nowhere near as grandiose as the claim that an invisible, intelligent, omnipotent, omniscient creator existed forever and created the entire universe.

Time either had a beginning or it did not. There are only two options. he had a 50/50 chance of getting it right.
Patrick Fowke wrote: Then there is the testament of millions of people throughout history who claim to have had religious experiences (and often following prayer to Christ, for example).
something nicely rebuked by the current, much more likely, natural explanation that I entered this discussion with. And lets not forget all the people who attribute the same religious experiences to non-christian religious beliefs.
Patrick Fowke wrote: Then there is the evidence of Christ and his miracles (not disputing that
such "evidence" can't be disputed) and so on.
Yes disputed and rejected. And lets not forget the similar evidence supporting other religions. You reject that of course.
Patrick Fowke wrote: Then there are more general philosophical arguments for the existence of the divine apropos the "metaphysical" quality of music, art, human love, aesthetics, and so on. The claim for the existence of God, as I see it, warrants far more attention (based on the types of testaments / evidence, and to a degree, arguments) than St Augustine's solo claim 1500 or so years ago about the nature of time.
Those arguments are based on a presupposition that renders their use in this context as question begging.
Patrick Fowke wrote: And, let's not forget, fairly-crazy as his idea might have been to his contemporaries 1500 or so years ago, it took the genius and hard-fought work of a scientist such as Estein to given real credence to his claim (and Einstein didn't stint on lauding Augustine for his claim - a claim based on sound Platonic reasoning).
You make it sound like Einstein built his research around the idea that the universe had a beginning. This is not true at all. Einsteins theories had nothing to do with cosmology. Einstein basically said that the speed of light is the ultimate speed limit in the universe and that the energy, mass and the speed of light are relative.
Patrick Fowke
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Post by Patrick Fowke » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:58 pm

bipedalhumanoid wrote:
Time either had a beginning or it did not. There are only two options. he had a 50/50 chance of getting it right.
As I already mentioned, and as Einstein and others in the 20th century aknowledged, Augustine's claim was based on sound Platonic reasoning - not on the flick of a coin ..
bipedalhumanoid
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Post by bipedalhumanoid » Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:00 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote:
Time either had a beginning or it did not. There are only two options. he had a 50/50 chance of getting it right.
As I already mentioned, and as Einstein and others in the 20th century aknowledged, Augustine's claim was based on sound Platonic reasoning - not on the flick of a coin ..
I fail to see what difference it makes. He used reasoning to come up with what was one of two choices and you're lauding him for being correct not for his reasoning.
MichaelNugent
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by MichaelNugent » Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:03 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote:I am not an absolute theist (or is it theist absolutist ..). I strongly believe in God but not to the extent, I hope, that I am without critical faculty when it comes to experiences / ideas in general about the subject of God. Therefore I am open to the possibility that my experiences could have been material in origin (chemical reaction in the brain / body, whatever). But I, strongly, doubt it.
Patrick,

I know the conversation has moved around a bit since your last reply to me, but I’m still trying to understand why it is that you believe in a god. As I understand so far from your first post and your response to my first question, the reason is this:

You regularly experience bouts of intense ecstatic peacefulness, which you are open to believing may be material in origin, but which you strongly believe to be divine in origin, and you also believe that the divine cause of these experiences is a god.

My second question was this: Do you also attribute other characteristics and abilities to whatever it is that causes your ecstatically peaceful experiences? If so, what are these characteristics and abilities, and why do you attribute them to it?
Patrick Fowke
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Post by Patrick Fowke » Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:53 pm

bipedalhumanoid wrote:
I fail to see what difference it makes. He used reasoning to come up with what was one of two choices and you're lauding him for being correct not for his reasoning.
I said before that 20th century scientists such as Einstein lauded him (I didn't say I personally lauded him - other than riding on the back of what scientists say: for the simple fact that I am not a scientist with sufficient knowledge of the subject - I'll try and find some source material on this).

I'm going out now for the evening. Can resume this over the w'end of you're interested.

All the best
Patrick Fowke
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by Patrick Fowke » Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:58 pm

Michael
MichaelNugent wrote:
I know the conversation has moved around a bit since your last reply to me, but I’m still trying to understand why it is that you believe in a god.
I believe in God for a myriad or reasons (I think belief in the divine requires an holistic approach, and an holistic approach in trying to communicate that belief to others). The example I gave, poorly communicated, was just one of many.

I'm going out for the evening. I'll try and get back over the w'end - have a good one.
bipedalhumanoid
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Post by bipedalhumanoid » Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:24 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote:
I fail to see what difference it makes. He used reasoning to come up with what was one of two choices and you're lauding him for being correct not for his reasoning.
I said before that 20th century scientists such as Einstein lauded him (I didn't say I personally lauded him - other than riding on the back of what scientists say: for the simple fact that I am not a scientist with sufficient knowledge of the subject - I'll try and find some source material on this).

I'm going out now for the evening. Can resume this over the w'end of you're interested.

All the best
I look forward to the source. Have a good night mate.
adamd164
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Post by adamd164 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:05 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote:Lastly, if no evidence can be provided for something at a particular time in history (St Augustine made the claim, based, to some degree, on Platonic philosophy, that time was finite) does that mean that a claim without good evidence is necessarily false (rhetorical question, yes).
Patrick, you're assuming that the issue's been settled, when in fact the concept of time being infinite is perfectly compatible with modern post-Einsteinean physics, and is one of several theoretical models of the universe that have been advanced - dubbed the Cyclic Model, and it's recently revived and back in fasion in scientific circles.

Also here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1951406.stm
CelticAtheist
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by CelticAtheist » Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:05 am

Patrick Fowke wrote:Hello all,

Firstly, this post has been posted in good faith. I only write what I believe to be true. Not to cause offence or to challenge in a negative way.

I believe in God because I have had various metaphysical experiences that I believe were divine in origin. I am not a poet so I can't really evoke those experiences. All I can say is that they left me with a level of joy and peace beyond anything I could imagine the body being able to induce through physical stimulation. Suffice to say it was ecstatic. To borrow from Shakespeare it was something like:
'The clouds methought did open up and show riches ready to drop upon me that when I wak'd I cried to dream again'. (Tempest)
No offence, but many people claim to have metaphysical experiences.
Many of them are high, drunk, or insane (I'm not implying you are any of those, don't worry :D ).

Can you describe the experiences in detail (if you're comfortable with it)?
Patrick Fowke
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Post by Patrick Fowke » Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:12 pm

Hi Adam
adamd164 wrote: Patrick, you're assuming that the issue's been settled, when in fact the concept of time being infinite is perfectly compatible with modern post-Einsteinean physics, and is one of several theoretical models of the universe that have been advanced - dubbed the Cyclic Model, and it's recently revived and back in fasion in scientific circles.

Also here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1951406.stm
My emphasis is not so much on the actual truth of whether time is finite or not but how, in a particular point of history, we can lack the evidence to believe a certain truth. It doesn't necessarily follow that because we lack evidence for a claim that that claim is necessarily false.

Philosophy, for example, is built on claims.

Related to this point. I challenge atheists here to say, more exactly what they mean by "evidence" (I don't mean "evidence" versus "proof"). Just whatever you understand by "evidence" - "evidence" in the context of 1. God 2. science 3. philosophy 4. any other subject you can think of.
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