What Constitutes Proof of God?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Namaste Jesus, May 22, 2014.

  1. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    It is often said that the existence of God can neither be proved nor disproved.

    Some say that in matters of faith, no proof is necessary. Others, such as myself, see God in all things and say that proof is all around us.

    So I ask primarily the Atheist and Agnostics out there and even those cautious believers among us, in your eyes, what would be proof positive that God exists?
     
  2. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    I'm going with your first statement, NJ. Can neither be proved nor disproved. Bummer.
     
  3. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    Yup, that's what a lot of people say, but that wasn't the question. So I ask you GK, what would it take to prove to you that God exists?
     
  4. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    You would first have to define specifically what it is. If it's purely conceptual then it doesn't have to be existential. If it is existential, then we have to know exactly what, of itself, it is. I can envision a strictly metaphysical application for a Prime Mover, as it were, but I can't think of a necessary physical application. We don't actually need a god to explain the nature of physical existence.
     
  5. Quirkybird

    Quirkybird Granny to five

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    If the deity exists, surely it could make its presence felt in an undeniable way to the population of earth. The fact it doesn't means it either doesn't exist or it enjoys playing games with the human psyche, imo.
     
  6. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    Okay so we're talking a hypothetical here. We are talking about the God of western Christian traditions I suppose, yes? So which variant are we talking about, the Jewish, the Christian or the Islamic God.

    Your question is too vague. Though coming from you, it is my thinking you are talking about the Christian variant.

    I suppose my answer would be the same as Bill Nye's in his debate with Ham. When asked what would consider him to change his mind he responded 'Evidence'.

    Not belief. Not theological arguments. Not readings from a book of mythology. Solid, factual, testable, provable, evidence that could be proven through multiple separate tests that all come up with the same answer time and time again.
     
  7. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    Yes the question is hypothetical, but we're just talking about God, not the way God is worshiped by a particular religious group or how God is perceived by that group. That's irrelevant.

    All I'm asking is, whatever your concept of God may be, what would it take to prove that existence?

    As you see God not in human terms as I do, your scientific approach to answering that question is perfectly valid. Thank you.
     
  8. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Existence isn't a natural phenomenon. It is prior to any physical cause. Anybody who believes a natural explanation is possible doesn't fully grasp what existence is. Existence requires a supernatural explanation, so what are you talking about?
     
  9. Aerist

    Aerist Member

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    My friend and teacher DC Vision - who used to post on here under the name "pseudonymous" - said that he was a spiritual atheist, and he had plenty of experience of spirit, having practised as both a healer and a medium.

    He came to believe that each one of us was on a path which would culminate in us having the power and will to create a universe, to be, as it were, a local god.

    He saw no reason to posit the necessity of a supreme deity to have started the process however many universes back.

    For me: I see no reason why the universe need be other than a mental construction, which would mean that the proof of its creator is simply in reading these words.


    After all, I watch films, I read books, I create universes, for a time.

    "Undeniable" is the tricky word, here. For some of us the evidence is overwhelming. For others, non-existent. It is what it is.
     
  10. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    Wow. Existence requires a supernatural explanation? What is it you are talking about?!?!?!?
     
  11. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    I should modify my question, because it can come off as rude to other readers, which was not my intention. What is CCS talking about when he writes we don't need a god to explain the nature of physical existence? There, that's better.

    Nature--the physical--already exists, so it can't account for its own existence, but existence itself, on the other hand, is hyperphysical. David Hart explains it best:
    "This means not only that at some point nature requires or admits of a supternatural explanation (which it does), but also that at no point is anything purely, self-sufficiently natural in the first place. This is a logical ontological claim, but a phenomenological, epistemological, and experiential one as well. We have, in fact, no direct access to nature as such; we can approach nature only across the interval of the supernatural. Only through our immediate encounter with the being of a thing are we permitted our wholly mediated experience of that thing as a natural object; we are able to ask what it is only in first knowing that it is; and so in knowing nature we have always already gone beyond its intrinsic limits. No one lives in a 'naturalistic' reality, and the very notion of nature as a perfectly self-enclosed continuum is a figment of the imagination. It is the supernatural of which we have direct certainty, and only in the consequence of that can reality be assumed, not as an absolutely incontrovertible fact but simply as far and away the likeliest supposition."
     
  12. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    That's how I feel too! I would have included an exclamation mark!

    :D
     
  13. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    No truer words my friend...;)
     
  14. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    I would love to answer the question, but first it is essential to define what it is that needs proving isn't it? Therefore, please define "God".

    But even this becomes problematic doesn't it? As soon as a definition is given there is something listed and other things not listed, thus God becomes limited by the very definition itself. So, given this, how does one prove the existence of something that by its very nature cannot be limited to definition? In other words how would you know what a proof is, if you don't know what God is?
     
  15. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    See post #7
     
  16. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    Hey Paladin, good to see you back. My first response to the question still stands. It is not possible to prove, or to disprove the existence of a God(s).
     
  17. DavidMcCann

    DavidMcCann Hellenist

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    You can't have proof in the sense that you can prove "2+2=4". If the existence of God were to be written in flaming letters in the sky, where's your freewill? If incarnation has any value, it's surely to enable us to learn and develop, and we couldn't do that with God obviously looking over our shoulders, as it were. Like parents with their children, he has to give us some space.

    Gordian Knot misses the point. Firstly, we don't have to say "which God". If we are talking about the supreme being, then there can only be one. Statements about the precise nature of that being are, of course, another question, but deciding about the existence of God obviously precedes deciding whether that being is better described as the Trinity or Vishnu. As for the sort of evidence demanded, we know many things without "Solid … evidence … through multiple separate tests". Try proving that you love someone in that way! And how do you apply repeated tests to, say, an historical event? If you define evidence as the sort used in physics, then naturally all you are going to accept is the sort of material dealt with by physics.

    We have two types of evidence. religious experience and philosophical argument. The latter can show that God is probable, but the fact that something could probably exist is naturally no proof that it does. But such arguments can underpin those from religious experience: they can show that the concept of God is coherent and so reports of religious experiences can't just be classed with hallucinations, as Dawkins does. And if you read reports of mystical experiences, they are consistent. One can find the same sort of experiences reported from all over the world and throughout history.
     
  18. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Not really the point I was trying to make. Any "proof" that isn't empirical is subjective and not really a proof of anything. Don't you see that proving and defining are both really absurd when it comes to ultimate reality? If the proof you seek is the understanding of another person what does that tell you but the subjective process of that person. Nothing is settled, and nothing is resolved. If I don't see ultimate reality as being the result of a linear idea of creator and created, why do I need proof of anything?
     
  19. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Thanks GK finally got a breather from all that schooling! I agree with your perspective and would add that the concept of a god at all may be very limiting in itself. Not to say that there is not some really wonderful reality underlying the physical reality we see, that would be fun to posit, but it seems so jejune to just say "god". Some see this perspective as atheism but that is very limiting too. When I think of the essence of the universe, the underpinnings of life itself I feel comforted and joyful as well. Alan Watts used to posit that intelligent life cannot evolve from an unintelligent universe. Given that I think we still have plenty of exploring to do, and just pushing this motivation away by blithely invoking a god as the ultimate cause is just pure laziness.
     
  20. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    I agree that religion is an important part of the greater human experience, as it is so pervasive, but some of us never have religious experiences. That's why when asked "what constitutes proof of God" we ask for "evidence" and "definitions." I don't think we can prove the existence of God one way or another and I don't think it's something we need to agree upon.
     

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