Why can’t we prove there isn’t a god?

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Pirate Jack's picture
Why can’t we prove there isn’t a god?

The Bible tells us many times that anyone with faith can have prayers answered! That is a fact. Jesus says he wants a relationship with us! I myself, when I was young and trying to figure this part of my life out, used to ask Jesus to appear to me. Make a candle flicker, or make a curtain move while no air was blowing. I wanted proof! That’s all I wanted! He had no trouble appearing after he resurrected, but nothing happened. Over the past centuries, how many times have people prayed to have diseases removed from Earth? Fucking billions! Nothing happened. We prove things based on research and experimentation. We can all pray for Jesus to appear, we know he won’t. With this said, isn’t that proof enough?

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Cognostic's picture
@Pirate Jack: "Prove" would

@Pirate Jack: "Prove" would not be the operational word. Science does not 'prove' anything. It builds models based on the best possible evidence it can find. A hypothesis is tested over and over and when it holds up to investigation, inquiry, criticism, and the rest, it can become a theory. The God hypothesis has never held up and it certainly can not be called a theory.

As for prayers being answered, we have no evidence at all that prayers are ever answered with a greater frequency than chance. There is no reason at all to assume prayer does anything.

ISN'T THAT ENOUGH EVIDENCE?
You would have to argue that an "Absence of evidence is evidence of absence." There is a difference between asserting there is a god and asserting that there is not a god. Most definitions of God are non-falsifiable. (God is beyond time and space with divine hiddenness.) The claim that there is no god is a falsifiable claim. All the theist need do is produce their god to falsify the claim.

What you need to argue to falsify the God claim is that there is "Evidence of Absence." This is a completely valid position to take and science uses it all the time.

Imagine a cave on a mountain. The villagers living below the cave insist that there is a man eating bear living in the cave. You make some inquiries as to who had been eaten recently and no one can remember. There are just ancient stories. We have no evidence of anyone being eaten as no one can validate the stories. So we decide to find out if there is a bear in the cave. We set up trail cameras. We sprinkle the ground with fine powder. We place food in front of the cave. We blow smoke into the cave. We search the mountain for other entrances to the cave. Nothing we do produces any results. We listen to the cave. We yell into the cave. Still nothing. We do this for 2000 years and we still have no evidence of any bear living in the cave. No footprints, no droppings, no sounds, NOTHING. We can be fairly certain that there is not a God ....errrr.... I mean bear... in the frigging cave.
But, it can never be 100%

Even if we walk into the cave and examine every crack and crevasse, the bear might be hiding, it might be an invisible bear, it could be a magical bear, it might be a ghost bear, it could only show up when we are sleeping, it might be shy, it could live in another dimension and only manifest when no one was looking..... YES THESE ARE UTTERLY STUPID ARGUMENTS ... don't they sound like the one's the Christians use? "But you have not looked on every planet in the universe so a god could exist." "God lives where you can't possibly see, beyond time and space." We obviously can not falsify these claims but we can certainly call them "Absurd."
We can also add them to the "Lack of Evidence for the existence of a god."

In addition to a complete lack of evidence for the existence of a god, we have hundreds of debunked theist claims and hundreds of thousands of debunked claims for other spirits and gods. The argument from a "A lack of evidence is evidence of absence" is a pretty good argument in my view. I can say with 99.999% certainty that there just isn't a god out there. If there is one, the burden of proof is still on the theist. I am happy to change my mind as soon as some evidence is presented that supports their claim.

Pirate Jack's picture
I really like the “bear in

I really like the “bear in the cave” analogy. Thank you for your reply. I am a simple man. I believe strongly in common sense, and I love being educated on topics of which I am ignorant. I am thankful I live in a country that supports my freedoms. I just find it difficult to believe that religion can still manipulate people today, when most of us have universal access to information in our hands! It’s an old topic, but sometimes it overtakes my thoughts. People are free to worship whatever they choose. I respect their rights to do so! Atheists are usually not granted that same respect from religious people.

Kafei's picture
The quote is "Absence of

The quote is "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." I believe it's attributed to Carl Sagan. Christopher Hitchens also used it.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Kafei - I believe it's

Kafei - I believe it's attributed to [C̶a̶r̶l̶ ̶S̶a̶g̶a̶n̶]

Martin Rees

LogicFTW's picture
@Kafei

@Kafei
I think a disclaimer should be added however.

If millions upon millions of people over many thousands of years of looking still have found zero evidence, extreme absence of evidence IS evidence of absence.

Kafei's picture
I'm going to have to disagree

I'm going to have to disagree. Millions of years exploring .0000000001% of the universe/multiverse is really nothing, and the number is probably much lower than that. It also assumes God is some kind of monotheistic entity, an "object" that's "out there" for science to potentially discover. This view denies a panentheistic understanding of God (not to be confused with pantheism).

Talyyn's picture
@Kafei

@Kafei

There is a weak and strong form of panentheism, but i should check it before i adress more of it. The question is why a panentheistic god would not be detectable by science?

Kafei's picture
It would be. For Einstein,

It would be. For Einstein, his study of nature was an attempt to understand quote, "The mind of God." However, it's very easy to confuse panentheism with pantheism, that's a very common misconception, that God is synonymous with nature or the universe, and that's not what panentheism entails. If you'd like, my friend, Leo, does a very good job explaining these differences.

Talyyn's picture
If such an entity where to be

If such an entity where to be discovered, would Humanity drop all its wishful thinking in magic?

Sheldon's picture
Einstein was using the word

Einstein was using the word God as metaphor, he never used (or possibly liked) the term atheism, but everything he wrote about the subject strongly suggests that is what he was.

What objective evidence can you demonstrate for any deity?

LogicFTW's picture
@Kafei

@Kafei

Millions of years exploring .0000000001% of the universe/multiverse is really nothing, and the number is probably much lower than that.

Yep agree probably much MUCH! lower than that.But what does it really matter? If we can not "find god of any sort" in our solar system why then what the hell does such an entity have to do with us any way? Why would we even remotely care about it? Why discuss it, and certainly why worship it or really give it a 2nd thought it would be completely powerless to effect our lives even in the remotest.

Such a "remote" and hidden god would have the same general status as the 1001 different gods I just made up this instant in my head and never even bothered to name or explain.

It also assumes God is some kind of monotheistic entity, an "object" that's "out there" for science to potentially discover.

It does. But that is because nearly all religions and indeed the very agreed upon definitions of god actually makes god a "monotheistic" entity. If you or I said at the very least "godS" I doesn't have to be discovered by "science" although that would certainly help the "case" for god.

This view denies a panentheistic understanding of God (not to be confused with pantheism).

With your other post below this one that I am responding to here, you mentioned Einstein. Einstein believed in pantheism. Not Panentheism. Which I think is what you are trying to talk about.

To me a pantheism concept/god is just further defining "god" into basically nothing. You have developed religions and their god ideas explained high detail, then you have more modern "god of the gaps" gods, when those fine details are proven hilariously wrong. And then below the vague "god of gaps" you have panen/pan theism, further pushing the god idea to complete obscurity. Seriously these "god" concepts have become so vague they are pretty much irrelevant even proving such an entity exists would advance pretty much nothing (except maybe get people off the more defined god ideas.)

I will say at least the pan/panen theist gods are at least not as ridiculous as the full blown god/religion ideas many people have. I would say its like saying "santa claus is not real" so lets worship the parents that tricked us into believing santa claus instead.
 
 

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I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
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Kafei's picture
Yep agree probably much MUCH!

@LogicFTW

Yep agree probably much MUCH! lower than that.But what does it really matter? If we can not "find god of any sort" in our solar system why then what the hell does such an entity have to do with us any way? Why would we even remotely care about it? Why discuss it, and certainly why worship it or really give it a 2nd thought it would be completely powerless to effect our lives even in the remotest.

Yes, that's what deism is, it's the notion that there is a creator "entity" God, but that it's unconcerned with human affairs. It made a creation, then abandoned it, but that's only if you're thinking of God in a deistic fashion.

Such a "remote" and hidden god would have the same general status as the 1001 different gods I just made up this instant in my head and never even bothered to name or explain.

I absolutely agree. That's why I'm 100% in agreement with Einstein in that description of God is childish and naïve. Sure, you can make it up this instant in your head, so can a 4-year-old, and yet this is how most atheists imagine God.

It does. But that is because nearly all religions and indeed the very agreed upon definitions of god actually makes god a "monotheistic" entity. If you or I said at the very least "godS" I doesn't have to be discovered by "science" although that would certainly help the "case" for god.

If you don't study comparative religion, or religion at all for that matter, you might naïvely assume and interpret Hinduism as a polytheism, as though it had various Gods that they believe. No Hindu sage regards the pantheon as true individual divine entities, rather the dancing Shiva is seen as an archetype or symbolic expression of the duality in nature, even the OM “ॐ” is symbolic of the ultimate divine concept in Hinduism which is Brahman, which for starters, isn't an entity at all, and this boggles the minds of atheists who've spent their entire lives thinking of God as an "entity."

Googled "panentheistic" god that is not to be confused with "Panentheism" and all i got was well... panentheism. If you are going to use such an obscure term (for all I know you just made it up) you are going to have to define it.

If you are talking about a "pantheistic god" (you did mention Einstein, and he does mention pantheism.) then would you consider our sun as a pantheistic god? It fills all the criteria. And once again why is a pantheistic god even worth discussing? There is no answers or solutions to be found in such a god. Maybe if we could actually prove the existence of some sort of pantheism god/entity we could squash all the other religions, but as it currently stand pantheism is still just another idea in peoples head with zero relevance in reality.

For the mystics, panentheism is a recognition. The unitive mystical state of consciousness which is a direct experience of the philosophical Absolute which is essentially Paul Tillich's "Ground of Being," it is the underlying infinite gamut of all possible permutations that could ever manifest in the material world. For the mystic, the mystical experience is a moment in which all time collapses into what the mystic perceives as a divine unity. So, the term "panentheism" was coined to reflect this understanding.

LogicFTW's picture
I apologize I edited the back

I apologize I edited the back half of my post a few minutes later after I read up a little bit more on it.

and yet this is how most atheists imagine God.

I don't really imagine a god, because I am very confident that: no "god" exists. But! I do have an idea of what other people think god is, and when we discuss a god, I know what their "god" idea is, at least to some extent I am most familiar with abrahamic based gods as that is what I have been most exposed to.

Anyways I am left with a few questions:

What is the point of "mystics" and the mystical experience? Why do mystics rely on the word "divine"? When the word "divine" is so heavily used in relation the more standard religious god affair, if I was a mystic I would avoid using the word like the plague due to its heavy connotation with the standard religious affair.

Mystics don't really believe time, (events measured by movement) collapses, but perhaps the notion of time in their own heads? Which does make sense, because time is just a measurement tool humans made and refined in their own heads, so the human "notion" of time collapses.. did I get that right?

Kafei's picture
I don't really imagine a god,

@LogicFTW

I don't really imagine a god, because I am very confident that: no "god" exists. But! I do have an idea of what other people think god is, and when we discuss a god, I know what their "god" idea is, at least to some extent I am most familiar with abrahamic based gods as that is what I have been most exposed to.

Yeah, AronRa says this, too, that he "knows" there is no God, but then he goes on to compare his understanding of God to the tooth fairy, leprechauns, etc. You know, "entities." Which I emphasize Einstein rightly referred to as the childish interpretation of religion.

Anyways I am left with a few questions:

What is the point of "mystics" and the mystical experience? Why do mystics rely on the word "divine"? When the word "divine" is so heavily used in relation the more standard religious god affair, if I was a mystic I would avoid using the word like the plague due to its heavy connotation with the standard religious affair.

Well, if you listen to mystics at all, they do avoid that language. They understand the connotations involved, and the ideas and misconceptions that people attribute to what they would otherwise understand as God. I don't think it's that they rely on the divine, it's rather that this is the original etymology of the divine that has been obfuscated from what a mystic might call false spiritual knowledge. And so the mystic or the guru for the spiritual seeker attempts to slash away at these misconceptions. The source of the mystic's wisdom is not an intellectual striving, it doesn't arrive from their scriptural understanding, but from their direct experience, Theoria in Christianity (direct perception of God) or what a Hindu might call "samadhi" which gives them insight to Brahman, what a Toaist might call "wu wei," etc.

Mystics don't really believe time, (events measured by movement) collapses, but perhaps the notion of time in their own heads? Which does make sense, because time is just a measurement tool humans made and refined in their own heads, so the human "notion" of time collapses.. did I get that right?

Yes, there is a very literal impression within a phenomenon in consciousness of there being no time at all, because all things, in a way are happening at once. So, the mystic does have this static interpretation of time. I'm not too sure that I'd say it's merely the human "notion" of time that collapses, yes, it no longer makes sense in that state, because there is no duration of time. You see, if everything were to happen all at once, then there wouldn't be any time, because there's nothing to unfold in time. That is the content of the CME which is universally reported. María Sabina, the shaman woman of Mexico who introduced western culture to magic mushrooms by dosing Gordon Wasson described the experience as the place where "everything has happened" and "everything is known." Here's how Terence McKenna put it once:

"The shaman visits the end. All that precedes the end, in other words, it's like turning to the last page of the novel and finding out how it all comes out, once you know how it all comes out, you're free from the ordinary anxiety of worry and concern, you return to your place in time more like an actor on a stage rather than a person caught in a universe they can't understand. That's the key thing, they shaman understands the universe in which he or she is living and the rest of us are only provisionally groping to understand, and this understanding is achieved through this higher dimensional view point. The shaman literally looks down on time as a king looks down on his kingdom from his castle." - Terence McKenna

LogicFTW's picture
@Kafei

@Kafei

Yeah, AronRa says this, too, that he "knows" there is no God, but then he goes on to compare his understanding of God to the tooth fairy, leprechauns, etc. You know, "entities."

I will take a quick bit of writing to clarify my personal stance on "god."

First: I follow the standard definition of god across 3-4 widely recognized english dictionaries. Key words keep appearing across all these definitions to describe the word "god":
creator, ruler, supreme being, ultimate, perfect, power, wisdom, worshipped, infinite, source of moral authority.

Now the word god has many definitions really, and is one of the most ambiguous or perhaps "abused" words out there. For instance my stance on the word "god" is very different then say my stance on: "some sort of entity that may have played some sort of role in the creation of the universe." Or perhaps down the more mysticism path, some sort of force that describes how the universe is connected and how we are connected to it. (Okay I probably got that wrong, but that is the impression I have been given so far on mysticism.)

I never claim to know everything and that is the whole point. However it is important that we can make conclusions on things so we know whether we need to deal with them or not. I put my confidence that there is no "god" at about the same confidence interval that the sun will rise from the direction we call east tomorrow morning. Or in other words, all the evidence, (and/or complete lack of,) is so compelling to me that for all intents in purpose I absolutely operate that there is no god, and I think I am extremely well served by operating that way. Just like I am well served assuming the sun will rise from the east tomorrow. I consider it madness to consider and act upon any idea that cannot be proven in anyway, especially when much MUCH! effort has been done to try and prove the idea and still came up empty.

I actually for some time considered the possibility that there is some sort of entity as described above. But I realized later that this definition, is so washed out and vague that it really does not amount to much. The big bang could maybe described as this, or our sun, or our planet, or carbon unique ability to interface in a way that creates incredible complexity. Or even part or all of the above, in any combination plus thousands of other possibilities I have not covered or considered. I realized that this line of thinking to me, really adds up to not much beyond simple curious thinking.

Which I emphasize Einstein rightly referred to as the childish interpretation of religion.

I fully agree the abrahamic religions, and really even all the rest of the major religions practiced in the world are childish. But how do we know or not that the more mystic stance is really any less childish? Sure they don't claim crazy things like Noah ark story, flying horses etc. But then mysticism, pantheism, panentheism while shedding much of the ridiculous story telling of say abrahamic religions still suffers from a complete lack of "real" evidence. What separates these thoughts from any other idle thought of the human brain capable of creating fiction?

Well, if you listen to mystics at all, they do avoid that language. They understand the connotations involved, and the ideas and misconceptions that people attribute to what they would otherwise understand as God.

Well that is good to hear. Your ideas here might have been met with less hostility if you too avoided the word "divine."

The source of the mystic's wisdom is not an intellectual striving, it doesn't arrive from their scriptural understanding, but from their direct experience

That is good, trying to base things on personal experience instead of what others have said (we can't know if other people say is true w/o evidence and anything where the other person gains from the sharing of this stance should be doubly suspect.) But how do we separate say someone with a major chemical imbalance in their brains ranting and raving about soylent green, from someone else's answers found in drugs and/or meditation? Without that anchor into reality with real evidence how can we possibly separate fact from fiction?

So, the mystic does have this static interpretation of time.

Does that mean the mystic believes we, (nor anything else,) does not have "free will?" Just like the characters in a movie or a book do not have free will? And if "replayed" all the their "decisions" will be exactly the same? I actually tend to believe in the opposite, not because of any special evidence available to me, but simply because that is a more pleasant thought that we have control over our own actions and destiny. Do you believe you had zero free will to choose to make post here? To respond to me?

To me the "static interpretation of time" where all events are happening at once is: simply taking the human created notion/definition of time, and saying: "nope time only exists in our head and it is perhaps the wrong view of our reality." And then heaping conclusions upon this revelation.

I am well aware that "time" is a very difficult concept that even I struggle with when you try to look at "time concept" finer details. Made worse by popular fiction/hollywood/mass media that makes completely laughable fictional stories around the not well understood concept of "time." (Back to the future, marvel's end game, etc.) Infact, comparing time to a recording (like film or a book) is also, to me a highly misleading way to try and interpret time.

I still struggle with this and it took me a long time even get to the point in my head that: "time" is simply a human created measuring tool of comparing "movement" to other movement.

That is the content of the CME which is universally reported.

CME?

"The shaman visits the end. All that precedes the end, in other words, it's like turning to the last page of the novel and finding out how it all comes out,

I am guessing I am interpreting your last quote wrong, but this is what I got out of it:
The shaman through deep thought (aided with or without drugs) can reach a point in their own mind where "ego" is lost and in that they find answers that allows them to free themselves from anxiety, worry and concern because they are now able to realize that everything has already happened, everything is already predetermined and they should just sit back and enjoy with their new found understanding of the way things are?

Especially with that last part, does it ever worry you that this may be a form of narcissism? "looks down on time as a king looks down on his kingdom from his castle." Sounds an awful lot like a very "superior" attitude over others that are not accomplished shaman/mystic/etc. Although at the least, it does sound like you are trying to share this finding of yours, (and others that think similar to you.) But to what end? What is your motivation? To educate others that might be open to these ideas? Can we trust that?

Realize that on the debate boards we regulars are constantly bombarded with people of all types of various beliefs trying to convince us we are "wrong."

 
 

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I am an atheist that always likes a good debate
Please include @LogicFTW for responses to me
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Kafei's picture
Now the word god has many

Now the word god has many definitions really, and is one of the most ambiguous or perhaps "abused" words out there. For instance my stance on the word "god" is very different then say my stance on: "some sort of entity that may have played some sort of role in the creation of the universe." Or perhaps down the more mysticism path, some sort of force that describes how the universe is connected and how we are connected to it. (Okay I probably got that wrong, but that is the impression I have been given so far on mysticism.)

Well, yes, the mystic's understanding is more of a Source, or a Force, if you want, but also synonymous with what I've explained is also referred to as an Absolute in philosophy, and which mystics claim direct experience of, and which you will invariably find as the original conceptions of the divine if you examine the scriptural etymology of the major religions, especially within an exegetical and hermeneutical context.

I never claim to know everything and that is the whole point. However it is important that we can make conclusions on things so we know whether we need to deal with them or not. I put my confidence that there is no "god" at about the same confidence interval that the sun will rise from the direction we call east tomorrow morning. Or in other words, all the evidence, (and/or complete lack of,) is so compelling to me that for all intents in purpose I absolutely operate that there is no god, and I think I am extremely well served by operating that way. Just like I am well served assuming the sun will rise from the east tomorrow. I consider it madness to consider and act upon any idea that cannot be proven in anyway, especially when much MUCH! effort has been done to try and prove the idea and still came up empty.

Well, this is precisely my argument, that you have a conception of the divine of which you've conjured, which is ultimate a misconception, but nevertheless you've accepted it as your idea of God. And then you've proceeded to reject the very notion of God you conjured, whether it was influenced by a theist or inherited through a set of parents or something you've construed by reading dictionaries, and announce yourself an atheist. I could say quite likewise that my understand upon these things helps me precisely in the same way I will expect the sun to rise, and so forth. Because as a Perennialist, I see the fundamental metaphysical truth which all major religions share, which has been called "divine" because of its attributes, because it's something eternal, something timelessness, something omniscient, etc. But it's not an "entity" in the form of an anthropomorphic God with the long white beard which aims to punish you after you die. Rather, it's a state of consciousness in which "everything has already happened." Everything is already there, and this is why it's considered omniscient. It's a powerful intuitive omniscience within this phenomenon in consciousness. It's not necessarily going to help you find your car keys. In other words, Michio Kaku talks about that the original location for the LHC being built in Texas, U.S.A., but in a conference, when a physicist was asked the key question by a congressman, "We will find God with the super collider?" The physicist's response was, "We're going to discover the Higs Boson." Jaws dropped and it was cancelled. It would've been 3x bigger than the current LHC. Kaku said that he would've answered that question like this:

"God, by whatever signs or symbols we ascribe to the deity, this machine will take us as close as humanly possible to his greatest creation: Genesis. This is a genesis machine. It's a machine designed to probe the greatest event of the history of the universe, its birth."

Now, this is just Kaku, if you're familiar with his work, just pleasing the crowd there to get a project like that going using such words as "deity." But the point is that the LHC, aside from describing the birth of the universe and fulfilling mathematical hypothesis concerning "higher dimensions," its fruits couldn't solve your city's drought problem or find your keys. Billions of dollars would've have spent, yet its practically doesn't really affect your life very much except in that you'll have certain questions answered regarding the Big Bang. Well, this experience I'm referring to is something like that, it's an insight so deep, for lack of a better word, that the only thing that it will bring you in the here and now is peace of mind. Of course, there's other benefits, like more patience, more open-mindedness, a memory of unconditional love, etc.

I actually for some time considered the possibility that there is some sort of entity as described above. But I realized later that this definition, is so washed out and vague that it really does not amount to much.

Well, for the mystic, it's nothing vague or misty, it's quite concretely defined. You know, it's funny, 'cause I've heard atheists like Tracie Harris describe precisely what I understand of God, but she fails and falls back to this argument of, "Oh, well, but that's the universe." However, that is not the understanding of the mystic or Spinoza, for that matter, that's simply how Tracie justified her atheism against it. For Spinoza, it wasn't merely a relabeling of nature or the universe as "God."

The big bang could maybe described as this, or our sun, or our planet, or carbon unique ability to interface in a way that creates incredible complexity. Or even part or all of the above, in any combination plus thousands of other possibilities I have not covered or considered. I realized that this line of thinking to me, really adds up to not much beyond simple curious thinking.

Okay, perhaps you've considered it, but a mystic has experienced it directly. That which you've thought about, and that which you've not covered or considered, the entire gamut makes the Absolute; and I'd say the only reason it only adds up to "curious thinking" is because you've not had an experience like this. If I hadn't, I'm sure I'd be quite curios myself. After all, it was my curiosity that led me to this experience. I mean, you mentioned the Big Bang. The mystic's perceive the Absolute as a seamless Totality, so that it makes no difference between the moment you consider as "now" and that you're a human being or the event of the Big Bang. The whole entirety is seen as one process. Another way Alan Watts would put this is that you will not find flowers where there is not bees, and vice versa. They are ultimately one organism in such a way that they are symbiotic to one another.

I fully agree the abrahamic religions, and really even all the rest of the major religions practiced in the world are childish. But how do we know or not that the more mystic stance is really any less childish? Sure they don't claim crazy things like Noah ark story, flying horses etc. But then mysticism, pantheism, panentheism while shedding much of the ridiculous story telling of say abrahamic religions still suffers from a complete lack of "real" evidence. What separates these thoughts from any other idle thought of the human brain capable of creating fiction?

Well, the literal interpretation was criticized even on The Atheist Experience. The original Christian mystics, the Cappadocian Fathers, the Hesychast ascetics did not construe religion in this literal fashion, nor did they think about God in such a childish manner which I believe is a misconception that arrived later. For the first thousand years of Christianity it was considered blasphemy to even attempt to depict God in pictorial fashion. So, I believe the consensus among historians, philosophers, theologians, people who actually study comparative religion, is that as we lost touch with mystical experience, the concept of God as depicted in the paintings as the old with the beard became prevalent by those who had no idea of mystical experience. You see, if you attempt to construe the writings of mystics who wrote on the nature of the divine by virtue of their direct experiences, then you might misconstrue those scriptures when you have no knowledge of the mystical experience. So, this "outside of space and time" the mystic describes is then anthropomorphized to an "entity" that is outside of space and time, an abstraction instead of a potential within yourself.

So, when did this schism happen? Where did this break off start? Vladimir Lossky attributes the biggest schism from the mystical theology back to the Great Schism which separated the original Roman Catholic which was founded upon mystical experiences or what the mystics called Theoria. The Great Schism was divided into what was then called the Latin West and the Greek East, the Greek East because they properly construed the mystical aspect of scripture, the mystical dimension of theology was maintained. Now, in the Latin west, because of these boundaries in language and so forth, and because they misconstrued the writings of mystics, then parsed itself into myriads of sects because instead of deriving their understanding of scripture by means of direct mystical experience, then instead understood through eisegesis. When this happens, then people high in places of clergy representing these branches of sects would then introduce their own biases into the scripture. So, what you have is what Ted Nottingham calls the "devolution of religion," of the "fragmentation of fragmentation." This would explain why there's so many sects of Christianity that contradict one another. Because each theologian in this western sense is left to each interpret, through their own intellect, the scriptures of the major religions, and so this leads to scholasticism, presuppositionalism, and ultimately what we may call today apologetics.

Well that is good to hear. Your ideas here might have been met with less hostility if you too avoided the word "divine."

I try to. A lot of authors I've read also emphasize the connotations of words like "God" or "divine" which are bandied about, and equivocated so often, etc.

That is good, trying to base things on personal experience instead of what others have said (we can't know if other people say is true w/o evidence and anything where the other person gains from the sharing of this stance should be doubly suspect.) But how do we separate say someone with a major chemical imbalance in their brains ranting and raving about soylent green, from someone else's answers found in drugs and/or meditation? Without that anchor into reality with real evidence how can we possibly separate fact from fiction?

Well, that's where the science comes in. That's what I believe they're attempting to do. I've explained how the professionals explain that their volunteers come back explaining that this experience was "more real than real" to them quoting Dr. Rick Strassman. Dr. Roland Griffiths has also pointed this out about his volunteers. Dr. Rick Strassman is involved in this very interesting research happening right now out of the Imperial College in London where they've developed an IV that will drip pure N,N-DMT to keep someone in the DMT state indefinitely. And they're not concerned with the therapeutic potential, necessarily, they simply want to explore these states of consciousness.

Does that mean the mystic believes we, (nor anything else,) does not have "free will?" Just like the characters in a movie or a book do not have free will? And if "replayed" all the their "decisions" will be exactly the same? I actually tend to believe in the opposite, not because of any special evidence available to me, but simply because that is a more pleasant thought that we have control over our own actions and destiny. Do you believe you had zero free will to choose to make post here? To respond to me?

To me the "static interpretation of time" where all events are happening at once is: simply taking the human created notion/definition of time, and saying: "nope time only exists in our head and it is perhaps the wrong view of our reality." And then heaping conclusions upon this revelation. I am well aware that "time" is a very difficult concept that even I struggle with when you try to look at "time concept" finer details. Made worse by popular fiction/hollywood/mass media that makes completely laughable fictional stories around the not well understood concept of "time." (Back to the future, marvel's end game, etc.) Infact, comparing time to a recording (like film or a book) is also, to me a highly misleading way to try and interpret time.

Have you read Kurt Vonnegut's jr.'s "Slaughterhouse-Five"? The Tralfamadorians there may have been inspired by an experience like this. Well, yes, this is sort of perspective the mystic sees at the very height of these visions. There's no time necessarily unfolding, so that you have "no free will' from the vantage point of the mystic. Everything has already happened. Another way mystics say it is that the "movie is already in the can." Whereas you have the impression that you're doing things and making choices, all that is happening is according to Cosmic law or as it's expressed in western religion "the will of God."

I still struggle with this and it took me a long time even get to the point in my head that: "time" is simply a human created measuring tool of comparing "movement" to other movement.

Sure, as is any human convention or measurement, including money.

"That is the content of the CME which is universally reported."

CME?

What these professionals are calling a "complete" mystical experience.

"The shaman visits the end. All that precedes the end, in other words, it's like turning to the last page of the novel and finding out how it all comes out,

I am guessing I am interpreting your last quote wrong, but this is what I got out of it:
The shaman through deep thought (aided with or without drugs) can reach a point in their own mind where "ego" is lost and in that they find answers that allows them to free themselves from anxiety, worry and concern because they are now able to realize that everything has already happened, everything is already predetermined and they should just sit back and enjoy with their new found understanding of the way things are?

I really appreciate your open-mindedness in your attempt to grasp this. Like I said, I visit many atheist forums, and these ideas are right off the bat ridiculed, criticized out of ignorance and close-mindedness. What you've said is quite close, and I've seen people, seekers, you could call them, asking Ramesh Balsekar, "If everything is predetermined, what do I do?" Ramesh replied, "Nothing. You haven't been doing anything, anyway. Whatever has been happening has been happening," and he'll usually say according to God's Will or, for the atheists in his audience, "Cosmic Law." So, according to Ramesh, Sanjay, which I think was the seeker's name, was going about his life thinking he's the author of his own "doership," and will continue to go about his life only now knowing he is not the "doer."

Especially with that last part, does it ever worry you that this may be a form of narcissism? "looks down on time as a king looks down on his kingdom from his castle." Sounds an awful lot like a very "superior" attitude over others that are not accomplished shaman/mystic/etc. Although at the least, it does sound like you are trying to share this finding of yours, (and others that think similar to you.) But to what end? What is your motivation? To educate others that might be open to these ideas? Can we trust that?

Yes, I am attempting to share what's been established by the science on all of these topics with people, I also like to hear people's thoughts, and I try to use that to sharpen my own ability to speak on these topics, and so forth. Yes, I agree, it can sound solipsistic, but fortunately, that's precisely what these insights dissolve. So that the "King" in this metaphor isn't simply pointing to a single person, but as I've emphasized, a potential in each one of us. Because what the ego dissolves into is the Absolute, the only ultimate reality there is. My friend Leo gets really into this stuff, and if you're interested at all, I recommend his talks. I also, of course, would recommend Alan Watts on this topic. Here's a couple of suggestions.

Realize that on the debate boards we regulars are constantly bombarded with people of all types of various beliefs trying to convince us we are "wrong."

Sure, but you won't run across much theists like myself discussing these topics. I talk to them, I do podcasts with those theists that speak on similar topics, I've also been on atheist streams talking about this stuff. I'm not here to convince you that "you're wrong." I don't think this is a chess game. I would never ask you to be convinced of anything unless you found the evidence convincing for yourself. You know, Sam Harris as spoken about the very term "atheism" being completely useless. Dawkins has also said that the term "atheism" may ultimately be a casualty in a political setting. Anyway, once again, I appreciate the discussion. By the way, I will never require to believe in anything, it will only ever be about how compelling is the evidence to you.

LogicFTW's picture
@Kafei

@Kafei
Reply tree was getting long again, so again I will do full response at end of this thread. (Last posting on last page.)

Diotrephes's picture
Pirate Jack,

Pirate Jack,

Christians have some especially weird beliefs but all of their beliefs are without substance. They are completely deluded. The main reason no one can prove the existence of his favorite deity is that Gods as depicted in literature are imaginary. Such creatures simply do not exist. Gods are simply men, most of whom were insane.

Pirate Jack's picture
Couldn’t agree more with you.

Couldn’t agree more with you.

Sapporo's picture
Gods that have properties

Gods that have properties that are contrary to the laws of nature and/or which contradict each other can be shown to not exist. With gods that are poorly defined, it would not be worthwhile attempting to disprove them. In all cases, it is only worthwhile to attempt to disprove valid hypotheses: i.e. possible explanations of observed phenomena.

Jo's picture
@ Sapporo

@ Sapporo

Your post just now caught my attention and I wanted to ask HOW "Gods that have properties that are contrary to the laws of nature and/or which contradict each other can be shown to not exist."

God is generally consider supernatural, so by definition not subject to the laws of nature. Are you saying gods that contradict each other? Just wondering how God can be shown not to exist.

Cognostic's picture
@JO: Go back and read the

@JO: Go back and read the posts. I already did that. (Cave Analogy.) Belief is allocated to the degree of evidence. Asserting god does or does not exist is a false dichotomy applied to a non-falsifiable claim. "God exists." You are attempting to shift the burden of proof. If you assert there is a god, you have the burden of proof, not someone else. Even with that said, we are completely justified in asserting 1. There is no good evidence (Evidence that can stand against critical inquiry.) for the existence of god or Gods. 2. Most gods are themselves defined "out of existence." 3. No attempt at defining a god into existence has ever been successful. 4. Evidence of Absence is in fact all one needs to justify the assertion that "No God appears to exist anywhere."

*"Absence of evidence " is in fact "evidence of absence." Especially when we have 6000 years of it and millions of failed (missing)(unreal)(non-existant) gods. You simply believe in "one god more." What is your justification?

Kafei's picture
I would point out that just

I would point out that just because you haven't found evidence, doesn't mean evidence doesn't exist. And just because you think someone hasn't defined God, doesn't mean people have written books and books on defining God, just look at the work of Spinoza. To say "Absence of evidence = evidence of absence" is a complete misquote.

Cognostic's picture
@Kafei: "just because you

@Kafei: "just because you haven't found evidence, doesn't mean evidence doesn't exist" You may be correct. This is not the same thing as "an absence of evidence." When you have not found evidence for 6000 years. When all concepts of this God idea have failed. When nothing asserted can stand against critical inquiry. What you have is "EVIDENCE OF ABSENCE." Evidence of absence is a valid method of reaching a realistic and grounded conclusion. Evidence of absence does mean evidence does not yet exist. Absence of evidence is evidence of absence until evidence is actually produced. How frigging long do you need to produce some evidence for your version of God? Isn't 6000 years long enough. How is your god different from the millions of other failed gods? I have a million failed gods for evidence of non-existence of gods. I have 6000 years of failed apologetics and false arguments for the existence of gods. I have the failure of prayer studies. I have the utter and complete debunking of religious claims. All supporting the idea that there is no reason to believe in God or Gods. Please define your god and the evidence you have for its existence. Like your Mysticism and spirituality bullshit. You just want to make amorphous woo woo assertions, pretend you have some sort of "special understanding." You don't. Your God, just like the rest of your woo woo bullshit is pure speculation and you have no good evidence supporting your assertion.

Kafei's picture
@CognosticPlease define your

@Cognostic

Please define your god and the evidence you have for its existence.

This God, if it had to be defined in words, is the philosophical Absolute which can be directly experienced.

Like your Mysticism and spirituality bullshit.

That science I've referenced certainly isn't bullshit.

You just want to make amorphous woo woo assertions, pretend you have some sort of "special understanding." You don't. Your God, just like the rest of your woo woo bullshit is pure speculation and you have no good evidence supporting your assertion.

Well, this is just the narrative, I'd say, that you tell yourself as an atheist. You've probably heard Sam Harris or Matt Dillahunty, and so because Matt's never had a mystical experience, then spirituality as far as he's concerned is "gobbledygook." However, if he had, I'd wager these terms wouldn't be so meaningless for him anymore as they are to yourself.

Jo's picture
@ Cognostic

@ Cognostic

There is a big difference between believing in God and believing in gods. It is not just one more. It is a false analogy.

Claiming there is a God is non-falsifiable, but so is claiming there is not. Are you saying that the claim that God does not exist is falsifiable?

Evidence of absence only applies if your test can actually test for God. Claiming no water contains any lead because all tests for the presence of lead have failed, does not prove there is no lead in any water. It may be that your test is invalid and so you get a false negative. Lining up lots of claims of lead in the water, claiming those claims are invalid, does not prove there is no lead in the water. At best it proves the claims were wrong.

Using your line of reasoning I could say that life did not originally occur through natural processes on the earth. Thousands of brilliant scientists have been trying to figure out how life occurred through natural processes for decades. All of them have failed. Richard Dawkins recently stated that no one knows how life started. Does that prove that it did not occur through natural processes? There is lots of evidence of absence. Using your line of reasoning I could say that it did not occur through natural processes. All attempts to show that life originally occurred through natural processes have failed. Therefore, life did not occur through natural processes, is a valid conclusion, using our line of reasoning.

If you take distilled water, test it to show no lead, add lead, test it again, and it shows lead. You have a valid test for lead in water.
You have not demonstrated that your test for God is valid. Proving some claims about God are false, does not prove God does not exist. At best it only proves those claims are wrong. Or it could be that your test does not work.

Your claims are not falsifiable.
You have not shown how your absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence.
You have not given any positive test that can be performed for the non existence of God.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - Proving some claims

Jo - Proving some claims about God are false, does not prove God does not exist.

Actually it does. If I tell you I have a dog has 7 heads, and you have a proof that no dog has more than 3 heads; that proof is also a proof that the dog I described does not exist.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

I don't think your dog analogy is the same as the God claims. How does some false claims about God provide proof that God does not exist?

But lets directly address the issue. The below claims are just examples of claims people make. They can be phrased in many different ways, but essentially the same claim. Sophisticated people will phrase them in a way so as to avoid making absolute claims, but are essentially the same claim.

I believe God exists.
I believe God does not exists.
Science can be used to determine that God exists.
Science can be used to determine that God does not exists.
Science settles all questions about reality.
Truth is reducible to science
Falsifiability equals truth.
Empiricism can answer all questions.

Are all of the above claims unfalsifiable?
Are all the above claims faith claims?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - How does some false

Jo - How does some false claims about God provide proof that God does not exist?

You are overthinking it; it isn't that complicated:

I tell you the god Azathoth has property A. You have a proof that nothing has property A. Your proof is a proof that Azathoth (at least as described by me), does not exist.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

Do you have proof that nothing has the properties ascribes to, or indicative of God?

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