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Austin Cline

Discussion: Why Should God Make Sense?

By October 4, 2006

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A forum member writes: There are articles on this website about god's existence, or rather non-existence. But theists don't agree with them. People from all religions encounter arguments from atheists about non existence of god, but these arguments are simply dismissed as nonsense. Why? Should god be approached via logic and rationality? Or is it impossible to believe in him through that channel? If so, then what is the way to believe in god. Spirituality? Then why do religious organizations encourage thinking and logic? And when it comes to god, simply these tools are to be buried in an ocean of ignorance and blind faith. My point is, do religious people realize that god doesn't make sense and they still believe in him because it doesn't have to make sense or what?

It does seem as though the “god” people believe in doesn’t make any sense and that it isn’t possible to approach this “god concept” via logic and rationality. One has to wonder, then, why anyone believes in such a thing in the first place. Read More...

Comments
October 6, 2006 at 3:55 am
(1) Jeff says:

God makes a lot of sense. Avoiding sex before marriage makes sense, just watch sex in the city. The more you sleep around the harder it is to stay faithful during marraige. God says not to love money. Thank makes sense. Ever read about greedy people that spend their whole life trying to make as much money as they can? they ruin their life, that makes sense.

October 11, 2006 at 11:45 am
(2) Art Haykin says:

A belief in God and logic are mutually exclusive. This form of belief is really faith, and faith requires no logic, let alone proof. Everyday, people who have put their “trust” in God get their heads handed to them, but then “It’s God’s will.” How can you argue with that??!! Tertullian said it best in the 1st century, referring to Scripture “Quia credo absurdum est” (I believe BECAUSE it is absurd). Religion and faith are palliatives, and humans have always palliated that which they cannot cure or deal with effectively.

October 11, 2006 at 5:00 pm
(3) Yolanda says:

First of all, I hope I can make myself understand because I am Spanish (from Spain) and I am afraid my English is not too good.
I’ve found very interesting the point of view expressed as well as the comments. I myself am a Christian, and I am also a philosopher (well, at least I’ve got a Master in Pure philosophy).
It is true that Tertulian said that “I believe BECAUSE it is absurd”. But it is also true that others (I believe it was St. Agustin) said that I believe to be able to understand. The point is that many people have spoken and are still doing it about God, and everybody has his/her personal opinion. And it comes to that. You can’t go around just saying what others have said, you have to find your own answers.
Yes, it is possible that god doesn’t exist. But it is also possible that he does. How do we know? That is what I think means faith. You cannot prove one thing or the other, so you have to believe one thing or the other.
But faith doesn’t mean to believe just anything. I said I am a Christian. For me that means that I confess myself as a follower of one person: Jesus, known by his fellowmen as the Christ, the Messiah. And to believe in Him for me means that I accept as true everything He said, as I can beieve everything my husband or my friend says.
On the other hand, I know some things for certain.
1) I am alive in a planet that was already here when I was born.
2) I am going to die.
Science has some theories to explain how this planet came to be, and how humans appeared. But they are only theories, which mean that we don’t have all the certainties. If not they would be facts, not theories. I agree that science has to study them, and accept them as a starting point to work, because that’s the way science works and I think it´s fine. I’m not afraid of new discoverings. I think that there can only be one truth. If I am convinced of waht I beleve, I think that science will find the same answers that I already have. Some day, in the future.
If science proves that my believes are wrong, then I will leave those believes. I don’t want to live believing just anything, or things that are proved to be false.
Christians or believers in other religions cannot prove that God exists. It is true. But nobody can prove with total certainty that he doesn’t. But the worst thing for me is not that. For me the worst thing is not to live up to what one believes. And I am afraid we, Christians, don’t live up to our own words. And that IS a problem. How can I expect others to listen to what I have to say if I am not living by my own standars which I believe are the best?
Well, this is a very interesting thing to talk about, but I don’t want to be too boring.
I just want to thank all of you (the ones that write regularly and all the people who make comments). For me it means a way of growing. If I only heard those who believe the same as I do, I would keep always in the same place. So thanks a lot.

October 11, 2006 at 5:44 pm
(4) atheism says:

But it is also possible that he does. How do we know? That is what I think means faith.

If it’s “faith,” then you don’t know. Therefore, you can’t say that “we know because of faith.”

You cannot prove one thing or the other, so you have to believe one thing or the other.

That’s not true. Atheism, for example, is simply the absence of belief in gods.

But faith doesn’t mean to believe just anything.

Why not? On what basis can you or anyone claim to limit the boundaries of what a person can belief on faith?

Science has some theories to explain how this planet came to be, and how humans appeared. But they are only theories, which mean that we don’t have all the certainties.

You don’t understand what “theory” means in science. For science, “theory” isn’t a “guess” like it is in vernacular. Instead, it’s a well-tested and well-understand explanation that have proven itself over and over. A well-tested theory in science is about as reliable and certain as a human being can hope for.

Christians or believers in other religions cannot prove that God exists. It is true. But nobody can prove with total certainty that he doesn’t.

It’s not necessary to prove that your god doesn’t exist. All that’s necessary is for Christians to not be able to provide any good reason to think that their god does exist. So far they haven’t, and this means that it’s not worth believing in it.

October 12, 2006 at 6:37 am
(5) Yolanda says:

It’s true. If it is faith, I can’t know. What I meant was that there are some things in live we cannot be certain about. If we want to have an answer for them we can only believe. And, of course, it is posible not to believe at all. Just know what we can know and that’s all. But I think that is a very difficult point of view to sustain. Everyday we have to believe: believe that our parents are what they say, that our friends are telling us the truth…
I humbly think that everybody needs some kind of faith, wich doesn’t necessarilly means faith in a god.But it’s faith anyway.
You are also right in that nobody can’t limit waht a person believes. I was just speaking as a Christian. I should have said that if I am a Christian, then I can’t just believe what I want. I can’t choose something from Christianity, something from somewhere else. I know we do it all the time, but then, I think we should call ourselves some other word and no Christians. It’s like if you are an atheist, then I wouldn’t expect from you to believe in god.
I am sorry, but I don’t agree with you about science. We all know it doesn’t have all the answers. And that it changes. Precisely that is one of the things science has against believers, that it changes when there is new information and it’s needed, and Christians don’t. For example, when I was young we studied at school that matter was not created nor destroyed, it only transformed. But now we know that that is not true. It is energy which has those properties, but not matter.
I know science is not a guess. But true scientist would never tell you they have the truth about everything, because one of the basis of science is that we hope we are getting nearer to the truth every day, but that we don’t have it.
And you are right again in that you don’t need to prove that god exists if you don’t believe in him.
I think I didn’t get to the point because I didn’t want to be boring.
What I wanted to say is that we don’t know for sure, without doubt, that this Earth comes from a Big explosion. We don’t even know what was it like it before, or what happened to start it. We don’t know neither if there is life after death or not. No one knows. But because of that, again, it is possible that there is, and it is possible that there isn’t. I myself don’t make too much of that thought, because I think we won’t know after we are dead. Or, if there isn’t anything, then, that’s it.
To me, and I speak personally, to be a Christian is not to be thinking all the time about another life, but to live this life in a certain way.
Thank you very much for your answer.

October 12, 2006 at 6:49 am
(6) atheism says:

I humbly think that everybody needs some kind of faith, wich doesn’t necessarilly means faith in a god.

Depends on what you mean by “faith.” As used in a religious context I have no faith.

You are also right in that nobody can’t limit waht a person believes.

So, absolutely anything can be based on faith. This means that faith is completely unable to help you distinguish truth and reality from falsehood.

I am sorry, but I don’t agree with you about science. We all know it doesn’t have all the answers.

I didn’t say that science has all the answers. I said that you were wrong in your belief about what “theory” means in science. Theories are not a guess. They qualify as knowledge in normal context.

I know science is not a guess. But true scientist would never tell you they have the truth about everything, because one of the basis of science is that we hope we are getting nearer to the truth every day, but that we don’t have it.

Yet that’s exactly what “faith” often does.

What I wanted to say is that we don’t know for sure, without doubt, that this Earth comes from a Big explosion.

We know that as well as we know anything. The Big Bang is the best support scientific theory we have in physics. If that’s not “knowledge,” then you standards for what qualifies as “knowledge” are much too high for normal usage.

We don’t know neither if there is life after death or not.

Who I am is dependent upon memories and personality. That’s a known fact. My memories and personality are dependent upon my physical brain. That’s also a known fact. So, when my physical brain dies, then so do my memories and personality – everything that I am. That’s as well known as anything can be – as well known as that the sun will appear tomorrow, that the planets orbit the sun, and that if you stick your bare hand in a fire then it will burn.

November 28, 2009 at 1:10 am
(7) sheldon says:

I doubt very much that there are any gods. I am absolutely positive that there is no god listening to peoples’ prayers. We are so insignificant in the whole universe, just a dot or probably an atom in a larger system. Why would any being be interested in what we do or think? We are just like a flower: we come from a seed, grow, drop our own seeds and then whither away and die. Once we are dead, all the energy that the body produced is gone so there is nothing left for any part of us to go anywhere. People are brainwashed into the particular religion that they are born into. All teach different credos so we know that they cannot all be right. There is absolutely no way that logic can be applied to peoples’ beliefs so it’s a waste of time trying.

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