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Burden of Proof for God's Existence

Vox_Veritas
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10/20/2014 1:55:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Please excuse me if anything that I say here is offensive to anybody on this website. At the time that I am typing this my account has been active for less than 24 hours.

A common atheist claim is that there is no proof of God, and thus if theists cannot back up their positive claim that God exists, then God probably does not exist.
Setting aside the countless claims throughout history of experiencing miracles by various people who probably are not all lying or of unsteady minds, which would support the idea that God exists, does no evidence of God really disprove His existence?
For instance, if we turn to 2 Corinthians 5:7 according to the New International Version, the text reads "For we live by faith, not by sight."
Atheists and intellectuals have attached a stigma to the word faith. They believe that if there is no evidence for a claim, it must be false, or that it is foolish to believe without evidence.
Faith is not particularly debatable. If one has faith that something is true, then a lack of evidence (setting aside whether or not there actually is no evidence of God's existence) is not valid reason to stop believing. Those who believe in reason may be disgusted by what they deem blind faith, but their disgust changes nothing.
This is why through reasoning religion will never be totally eradicated. Somebody will always believe, unless by force you make them stop believing, which is what will be done one day.

Likewise, atheists, believing that all claims of miracles can be explained through natural causes or that ever creator of such a claim is either lying or mentally unstable also takes faith. I personally know somebody who said he has experienced a miracle several decades ago. I do not think that he is lying, and there is no evidence to suggest that he is mentally unstable. The miracle that he described may or may not have an explanation, and any explanation given, no matter how rational it may seem, might not be the explanation to what was a supernatural event.

That will be all for now. Thank you for reading.
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bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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10/20/2014 2:56:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/20/2014 1:55:59 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Please excuse me if anything that I say here is offensive to anybody on this website. At the time that I am typing this my account has been active for less than 24 hours.

I, for one, was not offended, so no worries.

A common atheist claim is that there is no proof of God, and thus if theists cannot back up their positive claim that God exists, then God probably does not exist.

This is generally the case. I know of nothing that is proposed without evidence, which is accepted. Whether the evidence presented is sufficient is, of course, a matter of some contention. But that, in order for a position to be reasonable, it should have some measure of reasonable support, is to my knowledge wholly uncontroversial...except in some discussions of theology.

Setting aside the countless claims throughout history of experiencing miracles by various people who probably are not all lying or of unsteady minds, which would support the idea that God exists, does no evidence of God really disprove His existence?

The failure to accept a claim is not the same as claiming the inverse, though. If I held up a bottle and said "The liquid in here cures cancer", people would almost certainly want some proof of the claim. If I said "I have no proof whatsoever", I wager the overwhelming majority would not accept the claim. People wouldn't necessarily accept the inverse (though I suspect most at least tentatively would), but they wouldn't accept the claim itself. That I have no evidence doesn't disprove that it's a liquid that cures cancer--it might. But the vast majority of people wouldn't accept my claim that it does without some evidence that it does.

For instance, if we turn to 2 Corinthians 5:7 according to the New International Version, the text reads "For we live by faith, not by sight."

If the god claim is true, that's all well and good. If the god claim is false, however, then it's just a dodge of the question. That it says there isn't evidence is not evidence in its favor.

Atheists and intellectuals have attached a stigma to the word faith. They believe that if there is no evidence for a claim, it must be false, or that it is foolish to believe without evidence.

This is generally the case with most things. I have yet to see a reason to think that it's different for the God question.

Faith is not particularly debatable. If one has faith that something is true, then a lack of evidence (setting aside whether or not there actually is no evidence of God's existence) is not valid reason to stop believing. Those who believe in reason may be disgusted by what they deem blind faith, but their disgust changes nothing.
This is why through reasoning religion will never be totally eradicated.

What you're saying here seems to be that because some people reject reason, therefore they have a valid position. I don't think it's unfair to say that if you have no reason for your position outside of "faith" (which is often a slippery term but will here be used to simply connote a belief without any evidence at all) that you're rejecting reason. I have yet to see a good justification for rejecting reason.

Somebody will always believe, unless by force you make them stop believing, which is what will be done one day.

What makes you think that someday people will be prevented from believing by force? (Or even that that's possible).

Likewise, atheists, believing that all claims of miracles can be explained through natural causes or that ever creator of such a claim is either lying or mentally unstable also takes faith.

You seem to be equivocating here. A position reached based on evidence is NOT a position of faith, as you used it above. Are you arguing that there is no evidence for natural causes, or for fraudulent/mad miracle claims?

I personally know somebody who said he has experienced a miracle several decades ago. I do not think that he is lying, and there is no evidence to suggest that he is mentally unstable. The miracle that he described may or may not have an explanation, and any explanation given, no matter how rational it may seem, might not be the explanation to what was a supernatural event.

That may be the case. But the question is, which is the most reasonable solution?

If I hear a crash in my bedroom, I can't really rule out that it was a poltergeist. But it's far more likely that it was my dogs knocking something over. If I go into the room and see my dogs sitting on the floor, and a glass on the floor, I still can't rule out that a poltergeist did it. But the most reasonable conclusion is that the dog did it.
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Vox_Veritas
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10/20/2014 3:15:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/20/2014 2:56:45 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 10/20/2014 1:55:59 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Please excuse me if anything that I say here is offensive to anybody on this website. At the time that I am typing this my account has been active for less than 24 hours.

I, for one, was not offended, so no worries.

Thank you for the feedback, Mr. President.

A common atheist claim is that there is no proof of God, and thus if theists cannot back up their positive claim that God exists, then God probably does not exist.

This is generally the case. I know of nothing that is proposed without evidence, which is accepted. Whether the evidence presented is sufficient is, of course, a matter of some contention. But that, in order for a position to be reasonable, it should have some measure of reasonable support, is to my knowledge wholly uncontroversial...except in some discussions of theology.

Setting aside the countless claims throughout history of experiencing miracles by various people who probably are not all lying or of unsteady minds, which would support the idea that God exists, does no evidence of God really disprove His existence?

The failure to accept a claim is not the same as claiming the inverse, though. If I held up a bottle and said "The liquid in here cures cancer", people would almost certainly want some proof of the claim. If I said "I have no proof whatsoever", I wager the overwhelming majority would not accept the claim. People wouldn't necessarily accept the inverse (though I suspect most at least tentatively would), but they wouldn't accept the claim itself. That I have no evidence doesn't disprove that it's a liquid that cures cancer--it might. But the vast majority of people wouldn't accept my claim that it does without some evidence that it does.

Yes, but that there is a cancer-curing liquid in the bottle is a statement that can be either proven or disproven. It involves something within this Universe, and one can simply check the bottle and analyze through a microscope and people with the proper training the liquid found within the substance.
The same cannot be done with God. If He exists, and fits the definition of God (all knowing, all powerful, all present), then God is not bound by this Universe. Searching the entire Universe and not finding God would not disprove His existence.

For instance, if we turn to 2 Corinthians 5:7 according to the New International Version, the text reads "For we live by faith, not by sight."

If the god claim is true, that's all well and good. If the god claim is false, however, then it's just a dodge of the question. That it says there isn't evidence is not evidence in its favor.

I am not suggesting that no evidence for God is somehow evidence for God. What I am saying is that by the very nature of God, evidence for His existence is not necessary, especially when religions claim that God intentionally conceals Himself from us physical beings.

Atheists and intellectuals have attached a stigma to the word faith. They believe that if there is no evidence for a claim, it must be false, or that it is foolish to believe without evidence.

This is generally the case with most things. I have yet to see a reason to think that it's different for the God question.

God is not a physical object. God is not bound by this Universe. God is outside of this Universe. Being omnipotent, God can prevent Himself from having His existence proven if He wants to. I think it's fair to say that the same rules do not apply to God.

Faith is not particularly debatable. If one has faith that something is true, then a lack of evidence (setting aside whether or not there actually is no evidence of God's existence) is not valid reason to stop believing. Those who believe in reason may be disgusted by what they deem blind faith, but their disgust changes nothing.
This is why through reasoning religion will never be totally eradicated.

What you're saying here seems to be that because some people reject reason, therefore they have a valid position. I don't think it's unfair to say that if you have no reason for your position outside of "faith" (which is often a slippery term but will here be used to simply connote a belief without any evidence at all) that you're rejecting reason. I have yet to see a good justification for rejecting reason.

Like I said, God is different, and religious texts such as the Bible state that God intentionally conceals His existence from us. The case I'm trying to make is that with faith in something like God, concepts like proving that God exists are not necessary. Most atheists would be uncomfortable about such a notion, and they'd have good reason to, if it involved something finite and within the confines of this Universe.

Somebody will always believe, unless by force you make them stop believing, which is what will be done one day.

What makes you think that someday people will be prevented from believing by force? (Or even that that's possible).

It is possible, if you can read people's minds and you can punish those who think about God in their private thoughts. Or with sufficiently advanced technology you can alter the human brain and somehow remove the capacity for belief in God.

Likewise, atheists, believing that all claims of miracles can be explained through natural causes or that ever creator of such a claim is either lying or mentally unstable also takes faith.

You seem to be equivocating here. A position reached based on evidence is NOT a position of faith, as you used it above. Are you arguing that there is no evidence for natural causes, or for fraudulent/mad miracle claims?

There is evidence for natural causes, but sometimes it isn't provable by science. When this happens (such as with some accounts of miracles), it takes some degree of faith to assume that nothing supernatural could've happened.

I personally know somebody who said he has experienced a miracle several decades ago. I do not think that he is lying, and there is no evidence to suggest that he is mentally unstable. The miracle that he described may or may not have an explanation, and any explanation given, no matter how rational it may seem, might not be the explanation to what was a supernatural event.

That may be the case. But the question is, which is the most reasonable solution?

You would need to hear about the circumstance of the incident to form a conclusion about it. Feel free to PM me to learn the details.

If I hear a crash in my bedroom, I can't really rule out that it was a poltergeist. But it's far more likely that it was my dogs knocking something over. If I go into the room and see my dogs sitting on the floor, and a glass on the floor, I still can't rule out that a poltergeist did it. But the most reasonable conclusion is that the dog did it.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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10/20/2014 3:32:51 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
This is generally the case. I know of nothing that is proposed without evidence, which is accepted. Whether the evidence presented is sufficient is, of course, a matter of some contention. But that, in order for a position to be reasonable, it should have some measure of reasonable support, is to my knowledge wholly uncontroversial...except in some discussions of theology.

The failure to accept a claim is not the same as claiming the inverse, though. If I held up a bottle and said "The liquid in here cures cancer", people would almost certainly want some proof of the claim. If I said "I have no proof whatsoever", I wager the overwhelming majority would not accept the claim. People wouldn't necessarily accept the inverse (though I suspect most at least tentatively would), but they wouldn't accept the claim itself. That I have no evidence doesn't disprove that it's a liquid that cures cancer--it might. But the vast majority of people wouldn't accept my claim that it does without some evidence that it does.

Yes, but that there is a cancer-curing liquid in the bottle is a statement that can be either proven or disproven. It involves something within this Universe, and one can simply check the bottle and analyze through a microscope and people with the proper training the liquid found within the substance.
The same cannot be done with God. If He exists, and fits the definition of God (all knowing, all powerful, all present), then God is not bound by this Universe. Searching the entire Universe and not finding God would not disprove His existence.

That may be so, but the question is whether belief in god is reasonable, isn't it? Believing in something without a reason to believe doesn't seem particularly reasonable, as a rule.

If the god claim is true, that's all well and good. If the god claim is false, however, then it's just a dodge of the question. That it says there isn't evidence is not evidence in its favor.

I am not suggesting that no evidence for God is somehow evidence for God. What I am saying is that by the very nature of God, evidence for His existence is not necessary, especially when religions claim that God intentionally conceals Himself from us physical beings.

Right, but then how can we say it's reasonable to believe in him? Assuming for this discussion that there really is NO evidence of any kind, what we have is a claim--a claim written by, as far as we know, men who claimed that they were given the information by god. If there is no evidence, then there's no reason to accept the claim, is there? And of course, again assuming there is no evidence for god, we can prima facie recognize that there are multiple competing claims, not all of which can possibly be true--but all of which could be false.

Atheists and intellectuals have attached a stigma to the word faith. They believe that if there is no evidence for a claim, it must be false, or that it is foolish to believe without evidence.

This is generally the case with most things. I have yet to see a reason to think that it's different for the God question.

God is not a physical object. God is not bound by this Universe. God is outside of this Universe. Being omnipotent, God can prevent Himself from having His existence proven if He wants to. I think it's fair to say that the same rules do not apply to God.

But first you have to establish any of these things--which you'd do by making a case for them. Until then, it's just a claim, no different than any other claim except that it seems to attempt to insulate itself, in this context, from its own lack of support.

At the risk of seeming flippant, there are a nigh-infinite number of claims of this sort that could be made, such as the immaterial invisible pink unicorn, that would meet the same criteria for why they might not have evidence, but which would not be accepted (because, being hypothetical claims made to make a point, they're usually patently ridiculous on purpose).

What you're saying here seems to be that because some people reject reason, therefore they have a valid position. I don't think it's unfair to say that if you have no reason for your position outside of "faith" (which is often a slippery term but will here be used to simply connote a belief without any evidence at all) that you're rejecting reason. I have yet to see a good justification for rejecting reason.

Like I said, God is different, and religious texts such as the Bible state that God intentionally conceals His existence from us. The case I'm trying to make is that with faith in something like God, concepts like proving that God exists are not necessary. Most atheists would be uncomfortable about such a notion, and they'd have good reason to, if it involved something finite and within the confines of this Universe.

I respectfully disagree. I think that it's unreasonable to construct a claim such that it can't be verified or disproved, and then claim it's reasonable to accept the claim.

What makes you think that someday people will be prevented from believing by force? (Or even that that's possible).

It is possible, if you can read people's minds and you can punish those who think about God in their private thoughts.

That doesn't mean that they'll stop believing, though.

Or with sufficiently advanced technology you can alter the human brain and somehow remove the capacity for belief in God.

That's different. Brainwashing might work, I suppose. But I was also asking what makes you think that's going to happen?

Likewise, atheists, believing that all claims of miracles can be explained through natural causes or that ever creator of such a claim is either lying or mentally unstable also takes faith.

You seem to be equivocating here. A position reached based on evidence is NOT a position of faith, as you used it above. Are you arguing that there is no evidence for natural causes, or for fraudulent/mad miracle claims?

There is evidence for natural causes, but sometimes it isn't provable by science. When this happens (such as with some accounts of miracles), it takes some degree of faith to assume that nothing supernatural could've happened.

That's not what's usually asserted, however. Usually it's asserted that the known-possible natural possible cause is more reasonable than the not-known-possible supernatural cause, and as such the supernatural cause is rejected. See my example at the bottom about the poltergeist vs. my dogs.

If I hear a crash in my bedroom, I can't really rule out that it was a poltergeist. But it's far more likely that it was my dogs knocking something over. If I go into the room and see my dogs sitting on the floor, and a glass on the floor, I still can't rule out that a poltergeist did it. But the most reasonable conclusion is that the dog did it.
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