the Reason for Making God Arguments


this was written in 2013 when I still posted on CARM


 I know I promised I would stop talking about the CARM atheists on this blog. Still when they prompt something I should give credit where credit is due right? There things have been happening there that prompt this piece. First a poster callign himself   "Occam" has been putting up God arguments every day for over a month. He's up to  like no 40? Then there's this other guy called "HillyBilly" (well, I didn't name him--I'm still trying to get over "Metacrock") who incredibly argues that God arguments are not effective because of the phil papers survey shows that only about like 18% or so of the Philosophy of religion people are believers. Thus he assumes (1) if you are in philosophy of religion you have read a God argument and (2) you go into that field because you are a believer and thus you are going to dicide belief based upon a God argument. Thus no God argument is very effective. Only 18% believe them and they are probably the stupid ones.

First of all that's not fair to judge a God argument by how many converts it makes. That assumes that the reason for making an argument is to convert people I have never assumed that. I don't think anyone does. There are other reasons to make them I'll get to that in a minute. There's also a tradition in philosophy that Hume and Kant beat the God arguments and in liberal theology its assume Schleiermacher made them unnecessary so there's a large body of philosophers and theologians who don't like God arguments. It's a false assumption to think that philosophy of religion is filled with believers. If you are a believer and you want to make a living off your belief (nothing wrong with that it's a matter doing what you love) you want to be hired by the chruch becuase they are the one's people to talk about how they bleieve in God. The defense department doesn't do it. Private industry doesn't. why would they? You are pretty much need to be hired by the chruch to talk about god for a living; either preach or teach at a seminary. Philosophy of religion is a secular gig. It's not or believers it's not ran by the chruch it's at Sate universities just like religoius studies. It purports to appraoch religion from a nuetral view point and it's not about proving religion is true. Too often those in the field approach religion with animosity and they are there to destroy religion (witness Hector Avalos).

I don't argue to a standard of "proof." When I make a God argument I don't say "this is proof that God exists." There are numerous reasons but the most improtant one is it's not possible to prove something that is beyond empirical data. It's not that God is not real, God is not within the domain of scinece. God is not given in sense data and thus we can't "prove God" empirically. Now that doesn't excluding proving god logcially but I don't even take on that burden because it's unnecessary. I argue to the standard of warranted belief. That is proof that the idea is ratinoal and there's good reason to believe it and that's all we need.

Another reason that I woldnt' argue to prove has to do with the nature of beilef. Or waht I think is the nature of belief, with what I think it means to be a believer. One must give one's life to Christ. that means we come to understand out place in being (the reason we are in being and where we stand as beings) as creatures of Go redeemed by Christ. when we understand that we have to give our lives to Christ. that's a decision of heart. It can't be made by forcing logic on people.

It's too easy to ignore logic or to rationalize it away. You can't prove stuff to people. That's the fallacy the atheist makes you can't assume that you must believe X because the proof for X leads you to belief. No people are far too duplicitous for that. Like the skeptics of Bigfoot says "no one ever sees them." you say "what the 20,000 sightings" O those aren't real. They didn't see them. So the facts disprove the allegation but I refuse to accept the facts. (not doesn't mean I believe in Bigfoot, I believe in logic).

the same happens with skeptics of miracles.

skeptic: Miracles never happen

believer: here are 67 that have been seen and proved by medical records.

skeptic: but they are misconstrued.

believer: prove it

Skeptic: they must have been because miracles don't happen.

people will rationalize anything. We believe what we want to believe.

So what is the purpose of a God argument? There are actually lots of them.

(1) not so much any one argument as the process of making them. The dialectic of arguing them leads us into truth: I am a great fan of the dialectic. Though the give and take, point-counter point of argument one comes to discard aspects of one's position that don't stack up and to adapt in ways needed for answers, that enables us to see around corners and get new concepts and perspectives.

(2) We sharpen our theological understanding in the face of the dialectical process and God arguments are the best source of that.

(3) they warrant bleief. They offer good rational reasons to believe. they detonate the ratinoal nature of belief. they are not proof so that function is limited but it's important.

 No one should look  to God arguments to brow beat people into the Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit still has to guide people and draw them in. Even I'm a big believer in free will I still think that without the drawing power of the Spirit there would be no process of seeking that leads to leap of faith. True belief is is not based upon arguments but upon experience and upon leading. That doesn't mean that argument serves no purpose. It's helping to clear away the clutter so that people can face honestly the calling up the heart.

I want to sidestep the attitude that we need arguments to believe or that one dare not believe something if it's not backed up by empirical data. That's a scam and a propaganda slogan because when atheists say that they turn right around and argue for things for which there is no empirical data, such as multiverse and string theory. We need to get back in touch with the major overview of thought, ideas such as existentialism and phenomenology that enable us to think about ideas from the summit not crunch numbers to set up justifications for ideology. Belief in God will be based as Tillich said, upon understanding the depth of being and our place in it.



Comments

im-skeptical said…
people will rationalize anything. We believe what we want to believe.

- So true. The point of skepticism is to try to overcome biases, and to base belief on evidence. You point out these 67 miracles "that have been seen and proved by medical records" as if they are fact. But they haven't been proven at all. That's just what you want to believe. The doctors on the bureau are believers, appointed by the church, and the most they can say about these cases is that the medical explanation is unknown. These are the cases that then go on to become certified by the church as genuine miracles. And isn't it interesting that such cases in recent years have dwindled significantly, as medical science has improved? But no problem. The church has decided to loosen the definition of miracles, allowing for cures with medical intervention. Keep those miracles coming, because people need their "warrant for belief".

If you ask a skeptic whether there is good reason to think these cases are real miracles, he will probable answer something like this: Show me a certification process that truly unbiased. Show me cases that are not just spontaneous natural cures. Show me something that we can all agree has no natural explanation, like re-growing a limb. Until these things happen, you are just believing what you want to believe.
Joe Hinman said…
Once again you totally ignore the point of the piece and impose your own propaganda.I say "I don't argue to prove. you go"You can't prove' God!" I am not claiming o]to prove God you go "NO you can't! you can't prove it!!"
im-skeptical said…
I am not claiming o]to prove God

- I didn't say that. But you did say "here are 67 that have been seen and proved by medical records." You do think those miracles have been proven, and that's all I'm talking about.
Joe Hinman said…
I say skeptics of miracles rationalize the evidence away then I show various ploys they use

the same happens with skeptics of miracles.

skeptic: Miracles never happen

believer: here are 67 that have been seen and proved by medical records.

skeptic: but they are misconstrued.

believer: prove it

Skeptic: they must have been because miracles don't happen.

people will rationalize anything. We believe what we want to believe.



Skep uses all of these. Instead of dealing with evidence he asserts that I am rationalizing because I don't see things his way which is obvious rationalization.

He says absolutely nothing about the point of the piece that there are reasons to make
God arguments even if you can't prove it,

That you can;t prove God is their only defense,they have nothing to say otherwise so he has to make that the issue.
im-skeptical said…
Oh, I get it now. The point isn't that believers are credulous and uncritical of their reasons for believing. The point is that skeptics are skeptical without reason, and you can make up a straw-man argument argument to prove your point. Sorry, it didn't get what this was about. So we can just ignore what I say, because that wasn't your point.
Joe Hinman said…
still totally missing the boat. Here's a clue ,you keep making blame statements, believers do this, skeptics do this, which is wrong? someone has to be wrong according to your thinking. The topic was not about blaming anyone for any thing it was about why we make God arguments,It had nothing to do with skeptics, had nothing to do with some group being wrong.
im-skeptical said…
The topic was not about blaming anyone for any thing

- Well, excuse me. I just figured that since you made a point of throwing around the blame, then I should set the record straight. And that is exactly what you were doing:
That's the fallacy the atheist makes you can't assume that you must believe X because the proof for X leads you to belief. No people are far too duplicitous for that. Like the skeptics of Bigfoot ...
the same happens with skeptics of miracles. ...

Those damn skeptics just won't believe my wild claims of invisible beings and miracles, as my straw man clearly proves. But despite the fact that I just made these accusation against atheists and skeptics, that's not my main point. So I can dismiss anything a skeptic might say to dispute these accusations I just made on the basis that it wasn't my main point. In fact, I can double down and repeat my accusations in reply, but still dismiss whatever he says in protest.
Joe Hinman said…
The topic was not about blaming anyone for any thing

- Well, excuse me. I just figured that since you made a point of throwing around the blame, then I should set the record straight. And that is exactly what you were doing:
\
I did not introduce the idea of blame at all There is no blame you can't comprehend a discussion with two sides without attaching blame because you are ingrained in an ideology


That's the fallacy the atheist makes you can't assume that you must believe X because the proof for X leads you to belief. No people are far too duplicitous for that. Like the skeptics of Bigfoot ...

those particular atheists made that fallacy, that's not the same as assigning blame. being wrong is not a crime.



the same happens with skeptics of miracles. ...
Those damn skeptics just won't believe my wild claims of invisible beings and miracles, as my straw man clearly proves.

"It's too easy to ignore logic or to rationalize it away. You can't prove stuff to people. That's the fallacy the atheist makes you can't assume that you must believe X because the proof for X leads you to belief. " that sentence means that just because we argue for God does't mean we think we have proven God exists. It's the opposite of what you think I'm saying,I'm not saying the evidences obvious they have to believe it. I'm saying the evidence is a good reason to belie but it;s not proof.


But despite the fact that I just made these accusation against atheists and skeptics, that's not my main point.

I am analysis the logic of skepticism, you make it it into an accusation. Accusation means guilt. I never said they are guilty of being wrong,you think it's a crime to be wrong because your ideology tells you must never be wrong. It's not a crime. You can never analyze your own logic with that attitude,



So I can dismiss anything a skeptic might say to dispute these accusations I just made on the basis that it wasn't my main point.

we can dismiss it if they are using the kind of logical fallacy those atheists were using.

again now you have worked it away from the reason for making God arguments, why? because your ideology teaches you to fear God arguments,



In fact, I can double down and repeat my accusations in reply, but still dismiss whatever he says in protest.

apparently what you can't do is reason logically without attaching blame.
im-skeptical said…
This is a strange conversation. Every time I respond to something you gave said, your reply is "That's not what I was talking about. Every comment I made here was directly responding to what you said.

You started out with a screed against atheists and skeptics that includes a straw-man ridiculing their position on belief in miracles. I responded to that by giving a more realistic description of skepticism. Your reply: you go"You can't prove' God!" I am not claiming o]to prove God you go "NO you can't! you can't prove it!!" But I didn't say anything about proving God. I was directly answering your claims about skepticism.

I noted that you did make a claim about "proof" of miracles. Your reply: Instead of dealing with evidence he asserts that I am rationalizing because I don't see things his way which is obvious rationalization. ... He says absolutely nothing about the point of the piece that there are reasons to make God arguments even if you can't prove it. But again I was responding directly to what you wrote, and it is you who are not engaging with what I said.

I pointed out that you are ignoring my responses to what you said. Your reply: Here's a clue ,you keep making blame statements. Up to this point, nobody had used the word blame, but you did make a number of accusations against atheists, and I was trying to answer your accusations. Once again, you have diverted away from engaging with what I say, and now you are accusing me of making "blame statements".

I said that it was you who were making accusations, and I was only replying to those. Your reply: I did not introduce the idea of blame at all. Yes, you did.

those particular atheists made that fallacy, that's not the same as assigning blame.
- I was only answering the accusations you made. If that's about "blame", it was you topic that I responded to. If you weren't talking about blame, then it's not something I introduced, because I was only responding to your accusations.

It's the opposite of what you think I'm saying,I'm not saying the evidences obvious they have to believe it. I'm saying the evidence is a good reason to belie but it;s not proof.
- I didn't say your argument is about proving God. I did not say anything about proving God. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Why do you keep accusing me of making a claim that I haven't made?

I am analysis the logic of skepticism
- Now go back and look at my first comment. It is an answer to your "analysis" of skepticism. But you said I missed the point.

you make it it into an accusation. Accusation means guilt. I never said they are guilty of being wrong,you think it's a crime to be wrong because your ideology tells you must never be wrong. It's not a crime. You can never analyze your own logic with that attitude
- Your "analysis" is a straw-man. I gave you a more realistic picture of the attitude of skepticism, and you have utterly ignored it.

we can dismiss it if they are using the kind of logical fallacy those atheists were using.
- I'm trying to tell you that's not a valid depiction of a skeptical argument.

again now you have worked it away from the reason for making God arguments, why? because your ideology teaches you to fear God arguments
- And again, you have diverted away from answering the objection that I made to what you wrote.

Joe Hinman said…
im-skeptical said...
This is a strange conversation. Every time I respond to something you gave said, your reply is "That's not what I was talking about. Every comment I made here was directly responding to what you said.

I am tried of the way you ignore the meaning and purpose of all my essays and you only address the odds and ends that serve your propagandistic interest,

You started out with a screed against atheists and skeptics that includes a straw-man ridiculing their position on belief in miracles.

that's the way you interpreter it because it serves your ideological interest to see it that way. I used the atheists to led into the topic but they were not the point of the thing. you can;t think about religion apart fro the "then vs us" thing

I responded to that by giving a more realistic description of skepticism. Your reply: you go"You can't prove' God!" I am not claiming o]to prove God you go "NO you can't! you can't prove it!!" But I didn't say anything about proving God. I was directly answering your claims about skepticism.

your alleged more relativistic version of skepticism is merely down playing the hatred and circular reasoning but it's there under the surface

Joe Hinman said…
I noted that you did make a claim about "proof" of miracles. Your reply: Instead of dealing with evidence he asserts that I am rationalizing because I don't see things his way which is obvious rationalization. ... He says absolutely nothing about the point of the piece that there are reasons to make God arguments even if you can't prove it. But again I was responding directly to what you wrote, and it is you who are not engaging with what I said.

As I said you responded to side issues that I wrote but not to the point,


I pointed out that you are ignoring my responses to what you said. Your reply: Here's a clue ,you keep making blame statements. Up to this point, nobody had used the word blame, but you did make a number of accusations against atheists, and I was trying to answer your accusations. Once again, you have diverted away from engaging with what I say, and now you are accusing me of making "blame statements".


As long as you are not responding to the point of the essay you are not responding to the essay,


im-skeptical said…
your alleged more relativistic version of skepticism is merely down playing the hatred and circular reasoning but it's there under the surface
- So you read what I said, and you can find no reason to say that it is hateful (because there was nothing hateful in it), and no reason to say that it uses circular reasoning (because it doesn't). So now your claim is that all this imagined hate and circular reasoning lies beneath the surface. Because in your mind, that's just the way atheists are. You would rather believe your own straw man than something that an actual atheist tells you, because your straw man fits your idea of atheism better than the reality does. And if they should try to convince you that you're wrong about them, you will insist that THEY are playing the "us vs them" game. Good move, Joe.

As long as you are not responding to the point of the essay you are not responding to the essay
- I was responding to a significant point you made in your essay, because it is patently false. And YOU have still not addressed my objection.


Joe Hinman said…
im-skeptical said...
your alleged more relativistic version of skepticism is merely down playing the hatred and circular reasoning but it's there under the surface
- So you read what I said, and you can find no reason to say that it is hateful (because there was nothing hateful in it),

Yea the relentless drive to constantly fight "them vs us" and to constantly discredit all religious views without examining them on their own merits is just fueled by pure intellectual curiosity.


and no reason to say that it uses circular reasoning (because it doesn't).

yes the standard rejection of miracles upon which naturalism is predicated is based upon circular reasoning,

So now your claim is that all this imagined hate and circular reasoning lies beneath the surface. Because in your mind, that's just the way atheists are. You would rather believe your own straw man than something that an actual atheist tells you, because your straw man fits your idea of atheism better than the reality does.

Only a fool would try to deny that hatred has fueled new atheism since it's inception. Anyone who has been on a message board knows it.

the circular reasoning is demonstrable in the argument I used as as a springboard above




And if they should try to convince you that you're wrong about them, you will insist that THEY are playing the "us vs them" game. Good move, Joe.

face reality,

As long as you are not responding to the point of the essay you are not responding to the essay
- I was responding to a significant point you made in your essay, because it is patently false. And YOU have still not addressed my objection.

look we are not talking about it now, we are taking about your thing

you have chosen to waste all of these posts, they could have dealt with why we make God arguments but you can't allow that you need to subvert the issues so you can get in your ideology,
im-skeptical said…
Well, we can plainly see that what I've been saying smacks of hatred and circular reasoning, while you have remained cool-headed, unbiased, and perfectly rational. So I must concede that I can't possibly win this exchange.

OK, Joe. Why do you make God arguments?

1. Because you know the evidence doesn't support your belief, and you need some other way to convince yourself that you have justification, or "warrant for belief". You can construct an argument to support any belief, regardless of the evidence.

2. Because religious arguments are never subjected to testing or verification, or any kind of correspondence to reality.

3. Because by turning to religious philosophy, you don't have to answer to critical scrutiny of your arguments, as you would with science. You know perfectly well that in philosophy, there is never universal agreement, but any kind of vapid argument will be taken seriously by some. The attitude seems to be that one argument is just as good as the other, and you can pick which one you choose to believe.

4. Because religious arguments can be worded in such a way that they have the air of intellect, even in cases where they contain serious logical flaws, and that air of intellect serves to overshadow the logical incoherency. In many cases, those flaws are cleverly hidden. In others, they are blatant. But it doesn't matter. (To you, that is.)
Joe Hinman said…
Once again you flunk the test. Just can;t get your brain to think in any other way but the them vs us, fight the enemy prove enemy wrong.
im-skeptical said…
Still no answer to the points I raise - this time, specifically addressing your "main point". I thought as much.

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