Total Posts:36|Showing Posts:1-30|Last Page
Jump to topic:

The Argument From Nonbelief

Freeman
Posts: 1,239
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/7/2011 3:38:08 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
After coming across many different formulations of the argument from nonbelief, I can't help but feel as though none of them are simple in such a way so that a person with no training in philosophy whatsoever could easily understand them.

Many of the arguments are very long with up to 4 and even 6 different premises. They may be logically very strong, but they seem to be (at least to me) rhetorically unpersuasive -- i.e., their length makes them less understandable and thus less persuasive to a general audience. For example:

P1: If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God are in a position to participate in such relationships--i.e., able to do so just by trying to.
P2: No one can be in a position to participate in such relationships without believing that God exists.
P3: If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists. (from 1 and 2)
P4: It is not the case that all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists: there is nonresistant nonbelief; God is hidden.
P5: It is not the case that there is a perfectly loving God. (from 3 and 4)
P6: If God exists, God is perfectly loving.
C: It is not the case that God exists. (from 5 and 6) Schellenberg

P1: If God were to exist, then he would possess all of the following four properties (among others):
(a) being able to bring about situation where all humans capable of believing in God come to believe that God exists by the time of their physical death.
(b) wanting all humans to believe that he exists by the time of their physical death.
(c) not wanting anything else that conflicts with his desire to allow all humans to believe that he exists by the time of their physical death as strongly as it.
(d) always acting in perfect accord with what he wants.
P2: If a God had all four properties listed in (P1), then everyone capable of believing in God would believe in God by the time of their physical death.
P3: Not all humans capable of believing in God believe that He exists by the time of their physical death.
P4: Therefore, there does not exist a being who has all four properties listed in (P1). (from 2 and 3)
C: Therefore, God does not exist. (from 1 and 4) Drange

Like I said earlier, I can't help but feel as though these are all unnecessarily long. As such, I've come up with my own version that I think captures much of the spirit of these arguments, but that is also much simpler. Hopefully nothing important got lost.

P1: If God exists, then all otherwise rational human beings always have a fair opportunity to come to believe that God exists.
P2: It is not the case that all otherwise rational human beings always have a fair opportunity to come to believe that God exists: there is reasonable nonbelief; God is hidden.
C: Therefore, God does not exist. (from 2 and 3)

So, let me give a brief defense of (P1) and (P2).

Firstly, it seems quite clear that given God's desire for people to have a relationship with him, he would want all people to believe in him (or at the very least to always be given a fair opportunity to believe that he exists). Belief in God is, after all, a prerequisite to having a relationship with God. It makes absolutely no sense to say that God is all loving, all powerful, all knowing and wants everyone to have a love relationship with him, but yet some people are occasionally not given a fair opportunity to believe that God exists.

Secondly, it seems plainly evident that not all rational human beings have a fair opportunity to believe in God always availible. There is reasonable nonbelief (i.e., some people have reasonable doubts about God as a result of the sparse evidence for God's existence). On top of this, some humans living in remote parts of the world have never even gotten an opportunity to hear about God.

With both premises being fairly plausible, it seems like a good argument. Therefore, the conclusion seems to be valid. Of course, you are free to try and point out any flaws.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
vardas0antras
Posts: 983
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/7/2011 3:42:44 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/7/2011 3:38:08 PM, Freeman wrote:
After coming across many different formulations of the argument from nonbelief, I can't help but feel as though none of them are simple in such a way so that a person with no training in philosophy whatsoever could easily understand them.

Many of the arguments are very long with up to 4 and even 6 different premises. They may be logically very strong, but they seem to be (at least to me) rhetorically unpersuasive -- i.e., their length makes them less understandable and thus less persuasive to a general audience. For example:


P1: If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God are in a position to participate in such relationships--i.e., able to do so just by trying to.
P2: No one can be in a position to participate in such relationships without believing that God exists.
P3: If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists. (from 1 and 2)
P4: It is not the case that all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists: there is nonresistant nonbelief; God is hidden.
P5: It is not the case that there is a perfectly loving God. (from 3 and 4)
P6: If God exists, God is perfectly loving.
C: It is not the case that God exists. (from 5 and 6) Schellenberg

P1: If God were to exist, then he would possess all of the following four properties (among others):
(a) being able to bring about situation where all humans capable of believing in God come to believe that God exists by the time of their physical death.
(b) wanting all humans to believe that he exists by the time of their physical death.
(c) not wanting anything else that conflicts with his desire to allow all humans to believe that he exists by the time of their physical death as strongly as it.
(d) always acting in perfect accord with what he wants.
P2: If a God had all four properties listed in (P1), then everyone capable of believing in God would believe in God by the time of their physical death.
P3: Not all humans capable of believing in God believe that He exists by the time of their physical death.
P4: Therefore, there does not exist a being who has all four properties listed in (P1). (from 2 and 3)
C: Therefore, God does not exist. (from 1 and 4) Drange

Like I said earlier, I can't help but feel as though these are all unnecessarily long. As such, I've come up with my own version that I think captures much of the spirit of these arguments, but that is also much simpler. Hopefully nothing important got lost.

P1: If God exists, then all otherwise rational human beings always have a fair opportunity to come to believe that God exists.
P2: It is not the case that all otherwise rational human beings always have a fair opportunity to come to believe that God exists: there is reasonable nonbelief; God is hidden.
C: Therefore, God does not exist. (from 2 and 3)

So, let me give a brief defense of (P1) and (P2).

Firstly, it seems quite clear that given God's desire for people to have a relationship with him, he would want all people to believe in him (or at the very least to always be given a fair opportunity to believe that he exists). Belief in God is, after all, a prerequisite to having a relationship with God. It makes absolutely no sense to say that God is all loving, all powerful, all knowing and wants everyone to have a love relationship with him, but yet some people are occasionally not given a fair opportunity to believe that God exists.

Secondly, it seems plainly evident that not all rational human beings have a fair opportunity to believe in God always availible. There is reasonable nonbelief (i.e., some people have reasonable doubts about God as a result of the sparse evidence for God's existence). On top of this, some humans living in remote parts of the world have never even gotten an opportunity to hear about God.

With both premises being fairly plausible, it seems like a good argument. Therefore, the conclusion seems to be valid. Of course, you are free to try and point out any flaws.

Ehh I would bother if this were a debate ... Sorry :(
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
belle
Posts: 4,113
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/7/2011 11:31:05 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
didn't god specifically reveal himself to the "chosen people"?

also i am not sure that "some people not being convinced by evidence" is the same as people not being given an opportunity to believe.

its an interesting idea, but i always thought that the argument from nonbelief was pretty much doomed from the start. how can you convince anyone, let alone a theist, that you haven't closed your mind off to the possibility of god?
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Freeman
Posts: 1,239
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/8/2011 9:38:01 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/8/2011 9:35:49 AM, wjmelements wrote:
I see you've abandoned the Religion Forum. What for?

Me?
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
unitedandy
Posts: 1,173
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/8/2011 4:05:18 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
P1 - If the Christian God exists, we have good reason to think reasonable non-belief in Christianity does not exist.
P2 - Reasonable non-belief in Christianity does exist
C - Therefore, we have good reason to think the Christian God does not exist.

Obviously, shortening the premises would lead to the argument having to be fleshed out when defending it, but as a blueprint, I think it seems okay.
vardas0antras
Posts: 983
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/8/2011 5:22:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/8/2011 4:05:18 PM, unitedandy wrote:
P1 - If the Christian God exists, we have good reason to think reasonable non-belief in Christianity does not exist.
P2 - Reasonable non-belief in Christianity does exist
C - Therefore, we have good reason to think the Christian God does not exist.

Obviously, shortening the premises would lead to the argument having to be fleshed out when defending it, but as a blueprint, I think it seems okay.

Do you want to debate this (3 rounds) ?
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Freeman
Posts: 1,239
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 12:45:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/7/2011 11:31:05 PM, belle wrote:
didn't god specifically reveal himself to the "chosen people"?

also i am not sure that "some people not being convinced by evidence" is the same as people not being given an opportunity to believe.

its an interesting idea, but i always thought that the argument from nonbelief was pretty much doomed from the start. how can you convince anyone, let alone a theist, that you haven't closed your mind off to the possibility of god?

I think it's rather easy to show that there is reasonable non-belief in the world. I can't really do much better than John Schellenberg, so I'll just quote him.

"But what exactly is this 'nonresistant nonbelief' to which I have referred, and why should we suppose that it exists? The basic idea here is the following: that there are in the actual world persons who do not believe that there is a God, and that in at least some of these people the absence of theistic belief is not in any way the result of their own emotional or behavioral opposition towards God or relationship with God or any of the apparent implications of such a relationship.[1]

This claim is not hard to substantiate, and is not itself resisted by many. As support, consider those who have always believed in God and who would love to go on believing in God but who have found, as adults, that serious and honest examination of all the evidence of experience and argument they can lay their hands on has unexpectedly had the result of eroding their belief away. These are individuals who were happy and morally committed believers, and who remain morally committed but are no longer happy because of the emotional effects of an intellectual reorganization involving the removal of theistic belief. Perhaps they will be happy again, but the point is that for the time being, it is the removal of theistic belief that they are inclined to resist, if anything.[2] For they were still on friendly terms with God and benefiting in a variety of ways from what they took to be contact with God when their belief in the existence of such a being was whisked away. (Since by 'belief' I understand an involuntary tendency to see the world a certain way--a 'seeing' that involves being passively represented to instead of actively representing the world to oneself by imagining or picturing it a certain way--what we are talking about here is something that can be 'whisked away' when the evidence no longer seems to support it.[3])

Perhaps even more convincing support for the existence of nonresistant nonbelief is provided by all those--both at the present time and throughout the past--for whom theistic belief has never been a live option. In some such individuals, quite other beliefs, supported by authority or tradition or experience, have held sway instead of theism. In others, the basic conceptual conditions of so much as entertaining the idea of a being separate from the physical universe who created it, and who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good and loving in relation to it, have never been satisfied.

Given these different forms of support, it would take something like willful blindness to fail to affirm that not all nonbelief is the product of willful blindness (even if some of it is). Being a generous sort, I will assume that none of my readers is willfully blind and accordingly take it as having been established to everyone's satisfaction that there is nonresistant nonbelief."

http://www.infidels.org...
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
belle
Posts: 4,113
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 5:59:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 12:45:20 PM, Freeman wrote:
Given these different forms of support, it would take something like willful blindness to fail to affirm that not all nonbelief is the product of willful blindness (even if some of it is). Being a generous sort, I will assume that none of my readers is willfully blind and accordingly take it as having been established to everyone's satisfaction that there is nonresistant nonbelief."

http://www.infidels.org...

heres the thing though. it makes perfect sense to you that perfectly openminded non-belief is possible. but to a theist, the opposite is true. it seems *obvious* to them that god exists; anyone who affirms otherwise must be willfully blind. even if they don't believe that atheists are consciously closed to the idea, its always possible that we are *unconsciously* closed to it. we don't have access to all of our mental processes. so the theist could hold that we may think we are open to the idea of god, but that we actually are not.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 6:13:28 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 5:59:02 PM, belle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 12:45:20 PM, Freeman wrote:
Given these different forms of support, it would take something like willful blindness to fail to affirm that not all nonbelief is the product of willful blindness (even if some of it is). Being a generous sort, I will assume that none of my readers is willfully blind and accordingly take it as having been established to everyone's satisfaction that there is nonresistant nonbelief."

http://www.infidels.org...

heres the thing though. it makes perfect sense to you that perfectly openminded non-belief is possible. but to a theist, the opposite is true. it seems *obvious* to them that god exists; anyone who affirms otherwise must be willfully blind. even if they don't believe that atheists are consciously closed to the idea, its always possible that we are *unconsciously* closed to it. we don't have access to all of our mental processes. so the theist could hold that we may think we are open to the idea of god, but that we actually are not.

i guess that's a distinct possibility for less educated theists (i.e. those who no modicum of philosophical reasoning for their defense, and rely purely or mostly on faith to justify their position. they always tend to be conservative, Republican, Fox news viewing bastards) but not so much for those who actually are respectable in their belief. Example of the latter is PCP here on DDO.

I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 6:19:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 6:13:28 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:

I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

Yup.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
belle
Posts: 4,113
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 7:25:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 6:19:22 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 1/9/2011 6:13:28 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:

I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

Yup.

in that case, what would you say to this argument?
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
belle
Posts: 4,113
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 7:27:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 6:13:28 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

i never meant to imply that many theists think that atheists don't actually believe their position, or that they are maliciously motivated, though i am sure some do. i was more trying to suggest that they might believe even though the atheist is trying to be open to god or believes they are open to god, they may have failed for one reason or another... due to a subconscious prejudice or something.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 7:54:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 7:27:54 PM, belle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 6:13:28 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

i never meant to imply that many theists think that atheists don't actually believe their position, or that they are maliciously motivated, though i am sure some do. i was more trying to suggest that they might believe even though the atheist is trying to be open to god or believes they are open to god, they may have failed for one reason or another... due to a subconscious prejudice or something.

Who created the subconscious?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 8:04:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Who created the subconscious?

This - unless the theist can conjure some argument showing that atheists are responsible for their own anti-God-subconscious, it seems hard to avoid the argument's potency.
vardas0antras
Posts: 983
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 8:26:31 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

Not exactly, I do think that a big factor is sin, are you aware of it ? Most likely not.
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 8:28:12 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 8:26:31 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

Not exactly, I do think that a big factor is sin, are you aware of it ? Most likely not.

Wait, we're atheists because of sin?
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 8:37:52 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 7:25:57 PM, belle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 6:19:22 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 1/9/2011 6:13:28 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:

I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

Yup.

in that case, what would you say to this argument?

This and the PoE are the only philosophical arguments I take very seriously at all against God's existence. Not to say that I think they are sound, but just to say that I do consider them carefully and thoughtfully.

Going off on a slight tangent:

In any case, ascribing psychological motives to people who don't believe as you do has always makes me vaguely uneasy and unsettled. There's something far too easy about these "explanations" - and the problem is exactly that we are complex creatures that have motives that could plausibly be construed as reasons for religious belief or non-belief all at the same time. That simple fact should make people wary about using these type of "explanations". It's incredibly simplistic and naive to say that belief or non-belief can be explained by listing a couple of psychological motives. It may very well be true of a lot atheists that they are atheists because they want to sin or are willfully ignorant or whatever but to say that is simply the reason(s) and leave at that is the mark of not being a fair. The Golden Rule and all that.

I mean, seriously, Thomas Nagel himself (one of the best contemporary philosophers) has admitted to having a "cosmic authority problem":

"I believe that this is one manifestation of a fear of religion which has large and often pernicious consequences for modern intellectual life.

In speaking of the fear of religion, I don't mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper—namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and wellinformed people I know are religious believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, hope that I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that.

My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind. Darwin enabled modern secular culture to heave a great collective sigh of relief, by apparently providing a way to eliminate purpose, meaning, and design as fundamental features of the world."

Is that entirely indicative of his reasons (and others) for being an atheist? I certainly don't think so.

Just as it may very well be true that some religious people are religious because they are afraid of hell, death, or finding that life should be objectively meaningless (which is what Bertrand Russell said). Is this entirely indicative of the reasons for all religious people to be religious? Hardly.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 8:41:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 8:04:23 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Who created the subconscious?

This - unless the theist can conjure some argument showing that atheists are responsible for their own anti-God-subconscious, it seems hard to avoid the argument's potency.

For the sake of argument:

You'd still be responsible for how you act in response to your subconscious attitudes even if you're not responsible for the subconscious attitudes themselves.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 8:44:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 8:37:52 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 1/9/2011 7:25:57 PM, belle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 6:19:22 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 1/9/2011 6:13:28 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:

I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

Yup.

in that case, what would you say to this argument?

This and the PoE are the only philosophical arguments I take very seriously at all against God's existence. Not to say that I think they are sound, but just to say that I do consider them carefully and thoughtfully.

Going off on a slight tangent:

In any case, ascribing psychological motives to people who don't believe as you do has always makes me vaguely uneasy and unsettled. There's something far too easy about these "explanations" - and the problem is exactly that we are complex creatures that have motives that could plausibly be construed as reasons for religious belief or non-belief all at the same time. That simple fact should make people wary about using these type of "explanations". It's incredibly simplistic and naive to say that belief or non-belief can be explained by listing a couple of psychological motives. It may very well be true of a lot atheists that they are atheists because they want to sin or are willfully ignorant or whatever but to say that is simply the reason(s) and leave at that is the mark of not being a fair. The Golden Rule and all that.

I mean, seriously, Thomas Nagel himself (one of the best contemporary philosophers) has admitted to having a "cosmic authority problem":

"I believe that this is one manifestation of a fear of religion which has large and often pernicious consequences for modern intellectual life.

In speaking of the fear of religion, I don't mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper—namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and wellinformed people I know are religious believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, hope that I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that.

My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind. Darwin enabled modern secular culture to heave a great collective sigh of relief, by apparently providing a way to eliminate purpose, meaning, and design as fundamental features of the world."

Is that entirely indicative of his reasons (and others) for being an atheist? I certainly don't think so.

Just as it may very well be true that a lot religious people are religious because they are afraid of hell, death, or finding that life should be objectively meaningless (which is what Bertrand Russell said). Is this entirely indicative of the reasons for all religious people to be religious? Hardly.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
vardas0antras
Posts: 983
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 9:08:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 8:28:12 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 8:26:31 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

Not exactly, I do think that a big factor is sin, are you aware of it ? Most likely not.

Wait, we're atheists because of sin?
Never said that.
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 9:13:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 9:08:36 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
At 1/9/2011 8:28:12 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 8:26:31 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

Not exactly, I do think that a big factor is sin, are you aware of it ? Most likely not.

Wait, we're atheists because of sin?
Never said that.

Alright, so what did you mean?
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
vardas0antras
Posts: 983
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 9:56:35 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 9:13:27 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 9:08:36 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
At 1/9/2011 8:28:12 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 8:26:31 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

Not exactly, I do think that a big factor is sin, are you aware of it ? Most likely not.

Wait, we're atheists because of sin?
Never said that.

Alright, so what did you mean?

That sin is a big factor
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 10:02:25 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 9:56:35 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
At 1/9/2011 9:13:27 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 9:08:36 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
At 1/9/2011 8:28:12 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 8:26:31 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
I'm sure the more intelligent theists are open to the premise that atheists are so because they believe in their position, and not because they have some ill other motive.

Not exactly, I do think that a big factor is sin, are you aware of it ? Most likely not.

Wait, we're atheists because of sin?
Never said that.

Alright, so what did you mean?

That sin is a big factor

So someone becomes an atheist not solely because of sin but that is a big part of it?

I grew up with a family of Roman Catholics -- I know sin. So... What "sin" has played a crucial role in my non-beleif?
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
Freeman
Posts: 1,239
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 10:11:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 5:59:02 PM, belle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 12:45:20 PM, Freeman wrote:
Given these different forms of support, it would take something like willful blindness to fail to affirm that not all nonbelief is the product of willful blindness (even if some of it is). Being a generous sort, I will assume that none of my readers is willfully blind and accordingly take it as having been established to everyone's satisfaction that there is nonresistant nonbelief."

http://www.infidels.org...

heres the thing though. it makes perfect sense to you that perfectly openminded non-belief is possible. but to a theist, the opposite is true. it seems *obvious* to them that god exists; anyone who affirms otherwise must be willfully blind. even if they don't believe that atheists are consciously closed to the idea, its always possible that we are *unconsciously* closed to it. we don't have access to all of our mental processes. so the theist could hold that we may think we are open to the idea of god, but that we actually are not.

But there are also people who have never been exposed to theism. Surely, even the most entrenched theists would recognize reasonable non-belief in this setting.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 10:45:52 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 10:02:25 PM, annhasle wrote:
I grew up with a family of Roman Catholics -- I know sin. So... What "sin" has played a crucial role in my non-beleif?

if nothing particular... They can always get you with "original"

Remember... You were born evil and Damned..

maybe you just weren't humble enough to embrace that which is Greater than yourself.. to give yourself up to and Embrace your Lord Jesus Christ...

and so.. you remain damned.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
belle
Posts: 4,113
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 11:18:24 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/9/2011 10:11:11 PM, Freeman wrote:
At 1/9/2011 5:59:02 PM, belle wrote:
At 1/9/2011 12:45:20 PM, Freeman wrote:
Given these different forms of support, it would take something like willful blindness to fail to affirm that not all nonbelief is the product of willful blindness (even if some of it is). Being a generous sort, I will assume that none of my readers is willfully blind and accordingly take it as having been established to everyone's satisfaction that there is nonresistant nonbelief."

http://www.infidels.org...

heres the thing though. it makes perfect sense to you that perfectly openminded non-belief is possible. but to a theist, the opposite is true. it seems *obvious* to them that god exists; anyone who affirms otherwise must be willfully blind. even if they don't believe that atheists are consciously closed to the idea, its always possible that we are *unconsciously* closed to it. we don't have access to all of our mental processes. so the theist could hold that we may think we are open to the idea of god, but that we actually are not.

But there are also people who have never been exposed to theism. Surely, even the most entrenched theists would recognize reasonable non-belief in this setting.

honestly i never thought about this argument in the context of those that have never even been exposed to the idea. i'll have to think about it.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 11:25:35 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
For the sake of argument:

You'd still be responsible for how you act in response to your subconscious attitudes even if you're not responsible for the subconscious attitudes themselves.

Which brings up a bountiful discussion of how you conceive of such moral responsibility involving subconscious attitudes (i.e. talks about free will), the nature of the subconscious attitudes and how we respond to them, etc.
m93samman
Posts: 2,685
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/9/2011 11:42:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/7/2011 3:38:08 PM, Freeman wrote:
After coming across many different formulations of the argument from nonbelief, I can't help but feel as though none of them are simple in such a way so that a person with no training in philosophy whatsoever could easily understand them.

Many of the arguments are very long with up to 4 and even 6 different premises. They may be logically very strong, but they seem to be (at least to me) rhetorically unpersuasive -- i.e., their length makes them less understandable and thus less persuasive to a general audience. For example:


P1: If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God are in a position to participate in such relationships--i.e., able to do so just by trying to.
P2: No one can be in a position to participate in such relationships without believing that God exists.
P3: If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists. (from 1 and 2)
P4: It is not the case that all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists: there is nonresistant nonbelief; God is hidden.
P5: It is not the case that there is a perfectly loving God. (from 3 and 4)
P6: If God exists, God is perfectly loving.
C: It is not the case that God exists. (from 5 and 6) Schellenberg

P1: If God were to exist, then he would possess all of the following four properties (among others):
(a) being able to bring about situation where all humans capable of believing in God come to believe that God exists by the time of their physical death.
(b) wanting all humans to believe that he exists by the time of their physical death.
(c) not wanting anything else that conflicts with his desire to allow all humans to believe that he exists by the time of their physical death as strongly as it.
(d) always acting in perfect accord with what he wants.
P2: If a God had all four properties listed in (P1), then everyone capable of believing in God would believe in God by the time of their physical death.
P3: Not all humans capable of believing in God believe that He exists by the time of their physical death.
P4: Therefore, there does not exist a being who has all four properties listed in (P1). (from 2 and 3)
C: Therefore, God does not exist. (from 1 and 4) Drange

Like I said earlier, I can't help but feel as though these are all unnecessarily long. As such, I've come up with my own version that I think captures much of the spirit of these arguments, but that is also much simpler. Hopefully nothing important got lost.

P1: If God exists, then all otherwise rational human beings always have a fair opportunity to come to believe that God exists.
P2: It is not the case that all otherwise rational human beings always have a fair opportunity to come to believe that God exists: there is reasonable nonbelief; God is hidden.
C: Therefore, God does not exist. (from 2 and 3)

So, let me give a brief defense of (P1) and (P2).

Firstly, it seems quite clear that given God's desire for people to have a relationship with him, he would want all people to believe in him (or at the very least to always be given a fair opportunity to believe that he exists). Belief in God is, after all, a prerequisite to having a relationship with God. It makes absolutely no sense to say that God is all loving, all powerful, all knowing and wants everyone to have a love relationship with him, but yet some people are occasionally not given a fair opportunity to believe that God exists.

Secondly, it seems plainly evident that not all rational human beings have a fair opportunity to believe in God always availible. There is reasonable nonbelief (i.e., some people have reasonable doubts about God as a result of the sparse evidence for God's existence). On top of this, some humans living in remote parts of the world have never even gotten an opportunity to hear about God.

With both premises being fairly plausible, it seems like a good argument. Therefore, the conclusion seems to be valid. Of course, you are free to try and point out any flaws.

isn't that the argument from divine hiddenness?
: At 4/15/2011 5:29:37 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
: Pascal's wager is for poosies.
:
: I mean that sincerly, because it's basically an argument from poooosie.
:
: I'm pretty sure that's like a fallacy.. Argument ad Pussium or something like that.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
1/10/2011 3:59:57 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
The more fundamental the religion, the more they teach unbelief is not the result of good reason, but rather EVIL, evil in the person that is. If they admitted that their might be good reason for unbelief then their followers might start asking questions, what are these reasons, and we can't have that now can we.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12