Saturday, July 20, 2013

Is God necessary?

Is God necessary?

Bradley Bowen has a multi-part series (part 1, part 2 and part 3 so far) on this at The Secular Outpost - which I’ve just started to read.

Some preliminary thoughts:

merrily skippyYou hear the general argument that God is the “necessary” being without which the universe, or logic, or reason, or life (etc.) couldn’t exist. But this seems to be a bare assertion used by presuppositionalists and other apologist to skip merrily past the problem of not having an actual God in existence that might be capable of having these capabilities. It is a philosophical exercise. Nothing more.

1. First, to claim that “God is the necessary being for X to exist” requires that God, as I just mentioned, has to have a separate existence prior to associating him with the existence of something in the universe. This, of course, no one ever provides evidence for.

2. Second, no chain of logic or causality is demonstrated to establish that a God is “necessary” for these things. Natural explanations, although incomplete on the more fundamental topics of the universe and life, are not explained by asserting that they can’t exist without God. There’s no reason to believe a putative “being” is necessary for anything.

3. Third, assuming that God exists, how would one ascribe characteristics to God such as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, externality (etc.) without sound argument or evidence? This is never done either.

4. Fourth, these characteristics of omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, externality (etc.) are not such that we can prove that they exist. We have no examples of such things, and trying to bootstrap them into existence simultaneously with the assertion of God’s existence (the thing you’re trying to prove by ascribing these characteristics to) is not plausible, and undoubtedly not proven nor in evidence. We don’t even have coherent descriptions of them when they are considered simultaneously.

5. Fifth, there appear to be better alternative explanations for the phenomena that apologists believe that God is necessary for, even if he (it?) did exist.

So why is this train of thought considered worthwhile? If you’re a non-philosopher as I am, or a non-apologist as I am, it just seems stupid. It sounds harsh, dismissive, strident, whatever - it just seems stupid.

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