Does God Exist?
Debate Rounds (3)
Part of the SUMMA THEOLOGICA Q#3:
"The existence of God can be proved in five ways.
"The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.
"The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.
"The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence " which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.
"The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But "more" and "less" are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.
"The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God."
MY OWN ARGUMENT:
Besides this, no effect can be greater than its cause. Thus, man, being alive, intelligent, and having free will, cannot have been made by an unintelligent force or accident of nature. Thus, a living intelligent being with free will must have made man.
As I have already mentioned, this is not the route I will take. Instead, in this round I shall use your own concept, looking backwards, to show you the flaws in your arguments, and to show you how absolutely none of your arguments prove the existence of any god. In the next round, I would like to use argue my case using history and logic. Before I continue, I'd like to show you a very short, and very simple numbers game, and for a very good and relevant reason. I hope that you will refer to it when you finish reading each of my arguments. The point of this very short game is to highlight the difference between coming to a logical fact-based conclusion, and coming to a faith-based conclusion. Here is the game:
I want you to pick any number between 20 and 99. Don"t tell me what your number is (not that I"ll hear you). Now I want you to take your number, and add the 2 digits together, then subtract the sum from your original number. Example: if your number is 65, add 6+5, then subtract the sum (11) from your original number. This will leave you with a new 2-digit number. Finally, I want you to add the 2 digits of your new number together. I"ll bet all I own that if you read the instructions correctly and did your math correctly, that you and any of the readers who tried this, were left with the same number. That number being 9. Know that right now, someone is trying this with a number that you did'nt choose, and they're arriving to the same conclusion. It is an irrefutable fact that if you follow this formula with any number between 20 and 100 (in the case of 100 you add 10 +0) that you will always wind up with 9. My point is that here is an argument you can create that holds up because it is completely supported by facts, whereas your arguments end in faith-based conclusions.
In your argument of "motion and the first mover," you bring forth the well-known riddle: What Came First, The Chicken or The Egg? This is a concept, a "labyrinth" of thought, that I would often lose myself in as a child, searching the depths of my mind for an answer, and not for whether the chicken came before the egg, but whether god, or anything for that matter, could really exist. You highlight this concept very well several times throughout your argument. One of the points you make in this argument is that "what is in motion is only in motion because something caused it to be in motion." Your main point, in nearly all of your arguments here, is that "everything is created/moved/affected by something else. Now by that logic, you succeed to highlight the idea that nothing can exist. You literally say in your first argument that "this cannot go on to infinity, because there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover." You"re right: If you go back in time forever, there"s no beginning, and if there"s no beginning, how can anything exist?
The flaw in your argument is that you are assigning a destination at the end of infinity by saying, ""therefor it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other"god"" The flaw in your argument is that, to make it work for you, you are taking the infinite out of infinity. Here"s an example of what you're doing:
Imagine a hole that is infinitely deep, with a small diameter of only 4 feet. Not a very wide hole, but endless in depth. If you were to drop a penny into this infinitely deep hole, how far would it fall? The answer is that it would never stop falling as long as it remains intact, and at no point can you decide that "well, it has to stop somewhere otherwise it"ll never end, and everything has to end somewhere." Do you understand the flaw in your argument now? When you grow weary of looking backwards into infinity for a beginning that you'll never reach, you cannot just decide, for the sake of the argument, that you"ll be creating a beginning where you feel it"s appropriate, because really, it leads you right back to the question, "well what created god? And if god is infinite, and you go back in time for ever, there's no beginning, and if there's no beginning, how could god really exist?" What came first, the chicken or the egg? The numbers game above is easy to dissect, and it leads you straight to the same unchanging conclusion. And you can reach that conclusion because all of the work is there, all of the work beyond the idea.
In your second example, "the nature of the efficient cause," you use the same "chicken or the egg" concept to make your point that "things that exist, can"t arise from things that don"t exist." That can be directly rephrased to "every being comes from something before it, and every action is caused by something before it." So, if you follow that formula backwards, it"s still an infinite process. So really what you"re getting at is "There"s the idea of infinity, but there"s also the idea of god, somehow these ideas aren"t working so well together, so I"m just going to pick god."
I'd like to take a moment to point out your comment about fire in your example of "gradation.". You literally say that "fire"is the cause of all hot things." Will you entertain this for a moment and rub your hands together rapidly for 60 seconds? Please tell me if it was indeed fire that caused your hands to warm up. When you heat up your soup in the microwave, is the soup hot because it was on fire? Fire is the result of a violent interaction between carbon atoms and oxygen atoms, that's really it. Heat is a byproduct of that interaction. When you peel out in your car, is it the friction between the rubber and the road that causes smoke to rise, or is it fire? And of it"s a fire, then what caused the fire? See what I did there? ;-j
All facetiousness aside, you"re still making the point that all things are caused by things before them, and that can still be followed back into eternity where there is no beginning, and leaves you at no logical point to postulate a god. Need I remind you that you were created by your parents, and they, their parents before them, and so on? Now you mention that our "goodness," and "every perfection" are caused by god. I'd love to take the time to argue that our behaviors, good, bad, and in between, are strictly biological, and sociological. But you only mention our "goodness" once, so I too shall be brief. If you were trapped on an island with a group of 20 people, none of whom possess any formal survival skills, how essential would goodness (courtesy, altruism, kindness, helping) be to your survival? If you put no effort into helping the group as a whole, how much would the group want to provide for you? Also, take a moment to define "good." When a lioness kills a wildebeest calf to feed her cubs, is it good or bad? When the Romans swept the world by storm to expand their empire, was it good or bad, and for whom?
In your 5th example, "governance," you say that "whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end unless it is directed by something endowed with knowledge and intelligence." You use the example of an arrow, having no intelligence, meeting its mark only because the archer willed it so. Your point at the end IS STILL, as it has been for nearly all of your examples, is that everything is created by something. In this case you use intelligence. Man is intelligent so we must have been created by something intelligent. Pigney, you are intelligent, and your parents created you, and their parents before them. This goes back farther than we can ever see. Yes, intelligent beings can execute plans, and intelligent beings can use non-intelligent objects for myriad reasons, but we cannot see far enough into the past to answer some of life"s most pondered mysteries, including our beginning.
I think that even you know that your examples here, their conclusions, support only ideas, and do not conclude in facts. You use the word "must." "There must also be something which is to all beings, the cause of their being." The word "Must" says it all, that what you are deducing is not an irrefutable fact, but merely a strongly held belief, a desire, an idea that, by faith, and faith alone, you will adhere to. "It is necessary to arrive at a first mover." ""if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes... Therefor it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause...god." Which is to say that, for the sake of your argument, it is necessary to dismiss the concepts you have proposed because they cancel out the possibility of a god-based beginning, and you can"t imagine life without god, and therefore you don"t need any hard evidence. The moment you attach the word "god" to any mystery, you no longer have to ponder it, and it no longer troubles you. Unsolved mysteries remain unsolved because there is not enough evidence to solve them. We know that you reached the number 9, and we know how you reached the number 9, and we know that you will continue to reach the number 9, because all the evidence is in the formula. You can follow it back and forth from the beginning to the end. We cannot follow our biology to the beginning of life itself, not yet at least. We aren"t there. "There MUST be a god," does not mean that there is a god, it only means you can"t imagine anything else. So far, you have not proven anything.
Since I have no need to refute your response further, because my original arguments are ones of reason and FACT, I shall present some more:
Truth, love, knowledge, and morality all must have a source, which we all know as God (whether you say He is made of matter or a spirit, if you believe in truth you believe in a source of truth, this is God).
Why is there anything rather than nothing?
Why do we even ask if there is a God? All nations of all times have believed in one or more gods, it is beyond humanity (who seeks to make himself the greatest) to simply invent something greater, unless that greater being really existed.
What is the purpose of life without God? There is no purpose.
Now, you mention that "All nations of all times have believed in one or more gods," and you mention that many religions have multiple gods, but you don't mention at all how vastly different all of these gods are. Not every god in every religion is a creator. There are religions that have many gods, none of whom created life, and you don't mention that you don't believe in the gods of other religions. Also, you don't mention that all nations also have non-theistic religions, atheists, agnostics, and so on...
Let's take this opportunity to talk about the history of religions. We know that the Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism) are not the oldest religions in the world. We know that before those religions existed, there were people who believed as unfalteringly as you do, that their religion was correct. We know that when a religion has lost its luster, it is dismissed as mythology. Couldn't the Abrahamic religions one day be dismissed as mythology? But what do we know about your religion, and the Abrahamic religions in general? That they were enforced among millions through years of war, genocide, slavery, and myriad unredeemable acts. Did the conquistadors not invade south america and force the natives into slavery and new religion? Natives whom, until then had their own beliefs, morals, and values that stretched back to times unknown. The crusades was a campaign to spread christianity, not just claim land. Even natives of Africa who fell victim to the transatlantic slave trade. We're talking about natives who, for their entire lineage, had their own beliefs and values, captured and forced to change their beliefs, to assimilate into an unfamiliar culture, not so that they could live better lives, but so that thy could be more easily controlled. And this behavior is encouraged in the bible, especially the old testament. What about the people who once prayed to Zeus, and Poseidon. What about people who worshiped Ra, the sun god, and Nut (the goddess of sky and stars)?
If you were to make a list of all the religions known to man, you would find that, despite many similarities, they are all vastly different, and you have to choose your religion to be the correct one for fear of some form of negative sanctions.
Anyway, all you need is to take a history class in school and you will learn that humans, that life in general, is older than religion. And that's an important point. Humans, and life in general, are older than religion. We all have ancestors who lived before the idea of god, before the torah.
Now, I'd like to take some time to point out some more flaws in your claims. I will will pick quotes, number them, and respond.
1) "If there is no eternal uncreated being, then there are no un-eternal created beings." - Pigney
Let's reassemble that claim without forfeiting its meaning. Yes, let's reverse it, and modify the language to make it less obscure. Here we go: There can be no finite beings if there wasn't a being that hasn't been created, to make them. Which is to say, "It would take a being that doesn't exist (your un-created being) to create a being that does exist." Absolute lunacy, preposterous. I love it.
2) This is my all-time favorite: "My mother and father did not cause thrown existence..." Pigney, I'd be amazed if they did. "...therefor they could not have given me existence, therefor, their parents likewise did not give them existence, and so on. The only thing that can give existence to something is something that has not received its own existence (god)." - Pigney
Where to start, I just don't know. Let's rephrase that last sentence, just a little. "The only thing that can give existence to something is something that has not been created itself, and therefor does not exist. So, existing things can only come from non-existing things." Come on Pigney. I get that you really believe what you're saying, but I don't get how you can just accept it without any real, empirical evidence. After all, if you're going to prove something to be true, and you want others to agree wholeheartedly, nothing works better than empirical evidence.... Or fear, fear of punishment for believing anything that contradicts the idea presented. Fear of going to hell, fear of being shunned by your community.
Now let's talk about the rest of that passage. I fear you haven't ever taken a health class or a biology class. Your parents made the choice to copulate. Your father chose to fertilize your mother's eggs (maybe you have siblings) with his own semen. Then your mom ate food, and you parasitized your own mother for 9 months! And then -here's the kicker- you were born with proof that they indeed created you. You came out carrying the DNA of both of your parents. That is their biological stamp, their genetic signature. They created you, and every cell in your body has proof of that.
3) "So there simply must..." There's that word "must" again. "...there simply must be a being that has not received its own existence in order for anything to exist." - Pigney
So, there simply must be a being that doesn't exist because it was never created, and that non-created being that doesn't exist simply must've created everything in the universe that does exist, because that's the only thing that makes sense.
4) "...if he had potency, he would not be god, again obvious." - Pigney
So after all that, you're calling the god, whose existence you're failing miserably to prove, impotent. Are you suggesting that god is feeble, weak, lacking the power to affect the mind and body? Or are you saying that god is unable to achieve an erection, or that god is infertile?
5) "Truth, love, knowledge, and morality all MUST have a source." - Pigney
Knowledge is something you gain through experience. You attribute morality to god and the bible, as the bible is indeed held up as our source of morality. The bible that encourages genocide, misogyny, and all sorts of unredeemable, violent acts. How many men, women and children were murdered and taken as spoils of war by Moses's command, or by god's command? How many accounts are there of women and children being offered as collateral damage for someone else's misdeed. How about the story of the man who was killed for gathering wood on the sabbath? Do you hold this up as your source of morality?
6) "...if you believe in truth you believe in a source of truth, this is god." - Pigney
It's true that hot sauce is meant to enhance flavor and spiciness. And since that is the truth, does this mean that hot sauce is god?
7) "What is the purpose of life without god, there is no purpose."
In all seriousness now, pardon my sarcasm and fun-poking, your purpose in life is something that you assign to yourself. Who can really say that there is a purpose of life? If you were born with a purpose other than to complete a family, then you are likely a slave of some sort (only likely, not certainly). Dairy cows are born with a purpose; to put milk in the cereal bowls and calcium in the bones of people around the world. Corn is planted and grown with a purpose. But the purpose of life itself, all we can do is imagine, but at this point we cannot collect any empirical evidence that suggests a purpose. And there's nothing wrong with that. You should be able to live with that. There's also nothing wrong with questioning that. You should be able to question everything, even your own faith. Somehow, I doubt you would ever grant yourself access to the seemingly endless realm of thought outside of your faith.
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