Please note that this is an original work. Not necessairly the ideas or arguments, but the composition of the essay, was done by me personally.
Please read before you slate it, the discussion in there is quite widely held by philosophers.
Stephen F. Roberts
“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why
I dismiss yours.”
I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the
gods of Olympus, or of
ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge,
and therefore there is
no reason to consider any of them.” [Bertrand Russell]
Issues in Philosophy with Relation to God
God. If we define him using the traditional view of an infinite being whom is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful, then we come up with many
flaws and contradictions.
I will analyze each of these qualities in term and from there reveal the flaws.
God is traditionally thought of as being 'outside time', and unaffected by time. Thus, if we asked God what the time was, how would he respond? Even
if God did know the
time currently (thus implying he is inside time and in itself causing further issues), he would not KNOW the time in other parts of the world. Another
issue, is that if
God knows EVERYTHING, then this flaw comes up: I have the knowledge that "I am sitting in this chair". Does God know "I am sitting in this chair"?
Surely not, as he is not.
God may know that there is "a person sitting in this chair" but he most surely does not know "I am sitting in this chair" or else that lays claim
that I am God, which has
more flaws than I particularly feel the need to go in to, as it is easily dismissed. The standard dualist issues come up, for example, Does God know
what the emotion of
maddness is? Or does God know the effect and direct feeling of testosterone in the body? Or does he know the taste of food, the smell of coffee,
Because if he does, then he must surely have a body, which means he must be inside time. I will discuss the flaws of being inside time later.
Futhermore, if God is all-powerful, does he have the ability to make a six-sided pentagon? Or make 2 + 2 = 6? Surely it is impossible to make a
six-sided five-sided shape,
this is just a pathetic contradiction in terms. Some people may argue that God can make 2 + 2 = 6, but by definition of 2, 2 + 2 = 4. This is perhaps
easier to illustrate
with the six-sided pentagon. For God to be able to make a six-sided five-sided shape, he has to completely go against the meaning of the words.
Next, we use the example of lifting rocks. If God is truly all-powerful (and therefore all-capable), he will be able to create a rock that he can lift
regardless of it's
weight. Yet, we can only lift up to a certain weight in rocks, so we have the ability to not lift a rock (through no fault of our own). So, from this,
can God create a rock
that is too heavy for him to lift? For if he can, then he cannot lift it, and he cannot be all-powerful. Yet, if he cannot make a rock that is too
heavy for him to lift,
then once again, he cannot be all-powerful. Thus, we have an ability that God does not.
Returning to the issue of whether or not God is inside time, both are problematic. Since it seems logical that God exists and operates inside time, we
must look at this
God, if inside time, will, by definition, have a past that has happened, a present that is happening, and a future that will happen. If God has a
future that will happen
and a past that has happened, then this presents dangerous limitations on him. It means that he has no control on whether or not something will
happen, or the flow of time.
However, it is dangerous to switch the arguments to that "God is outside time", if we use the traditional Christian/Western theological views. The
Bible has many cases
where God is performing an action, e.g. "God spoke" or "God appeared", etc. The use of a verb here means that God was at a moment in time, and
instantly gives him a
specific location inside of time.
The main flaw of being inside time, is this; "God created the universe". This is a very widely accepted view. The Bible preaches that God "created
all existance". If this
is true, then god simply must be OUTSIDE of time. It is now believed that space and time are directly linked, and therefore, before the universe, time
did not exist at all.
The Bible constantly attributes some actions to God, and since to perform an action always requires a tense, God must have been inside time at a
certain point. So, for
sake of argument, we will allow God to modulate and fluctuate in and out of time as necessary. Yet this is a flawed idea. After all, how can a being
who is outside of time
pick a specific moment inside of time for him to appear, or otherwise perform actions. Furthermore, once inside time, how can God leave time? The lack
of ability for God
to pick a specific moment can perhaps be resolved by saying God randomly enters time and from there can travel freely forward and backwards. Yet this
means that God has to
live a past that he should have already been through. This is similar to the Grandfather paradox in time travel philosophy, and is totally
contradictory in terms.
If, we accept the fact that God has a history, present, future, then this will limit his powers.
If we now analyze his all-lovingness, consider the evil in the world. If we couple the qualities of "all-loving" with "all-powerful" it is only
logical to say that God
intended for evil to occur. Yet if this is true, he is not all-lowing, and hence, not perfectly good, or perfect.
In fact, if God plans the future (which can be debated through ideas of fate and destiny), then he plans evil to happen. An all-loving God certainly
would not PLAN evil to
occur. Furthermore, there are many contrary statements in the Bible. It says that God destroys cities and people if he pleases (eg Babylon), thus not
everyone can be
"redeemed" despite their sins. The Bible is quite inconsistent about this point.
In short, we can only conclude, that God is either all-loving but most certainly not all-powerful (e.g. willing but not able to destroy evil), or
all-powerful but certainly
not all-loving (e.g. able but not willing), and this leaves us with the problem of God not being perfect. After all, what sort of God would you want,
one that cannot stop
evil, even if he wanted to, or one that causes evil? Both have disturbing implications.
Now, we will experiment with the idea of God being wholly perfect and incomprehensible to the human mind. Basically, God is now ineffable. Yet if he
is truly beyond human
understanding, then why does the Bible constantly attribute qualities and give metaphors to God. It even says "God created man in his image".
So, let's take the converse. If God is iminent and a part of the universe, he must be limited, as previously demonstrated. It is now a no-win
situation, as often is the
case when describing God. It is simply too inconsistent.
Another issue is one of dualism. If God truly did create all existance, then at one point, he must jus thave been a mind. Yet his ability to violate
laws that hold true in any other situation is strange, to say the least. The only logical product from this negates the Bible and means that God is
physical, and has a vast
store of energy.
But, interestingly, if God is physical then he must occupy certain space and certain time, which raises previous issues. It only seems logical now
that God does not exist
in the traditional Biblical view.
Simply put, if God is physical, we can find him.
Historically, my personal belief is that when people thousands of years ago tried to explain all existance, for them, the only logical cause of this
was a Divine Being, or
perhaps beings. Yet in the modern age, with increasing scientific knowledge, many alternative explanations exist for how we came into being, and with
these exist evidence
and logical reasoning, unlike the concept of God.
The manifestation of imagination is a powerful thing, and people can be easily fooled by it.
Returning to the idea of God's all-lovingness, the Bible describes God as being a "just and merciful" God. Justice is being defined as "giving
people what they deserve",
and being merciful, is defined as "forgiving people/not giving people what they deserve". Both are clearly complete contradiction in terms if used
alongside each other.
Yet, God seems to be able to give justice to some people, and forgive others. It is a very confusing idea.
An interesting idea is relating to good things. There are two main thoughts here. Either "Something is good because God loves it" or "God loves
something because it is good
If we use the idea that "something is good because God loves it", then since there is evil, God cannot be all-loving. We also have to consider,
would murder be considered
Good if God commanded it to be? Clearly, this thought train is flawed.
So, we have to use "God loves something because it is good". This means the idea, and manifestation, of "good" already exists. This limits God
because it is thus external
to him. Either way, we have an issue of being all-loving or all-powerful coming up.
From here, I think it is fair to say that the classical view of God from the Bible has been completely broken apart and shown to be rather flawed.
In the modern age, we need a more contemporary view of God which fits our evidence.
Perhaps using an idea of God whom created the universe simply because he can, and who otherwise does not care about it (simply, because, he can), and
does not concern
himself much about it except to marvel at it's self-sustaining abilities, and would rather spend his metaphysical time in a metaphysical pub getting
where the laws of physics and nature simply occur because they are the most probable consequence from a host of causes (or perhaps by definition
true). Evolution, for
example, is a relatively logical process with out modern ideas of science, and is one of the main causes for our personal existance.
When, rather than if, we come into contact with extra-terristorial beings, an interesting part of the Bible will basically be ruined. For we will then
not be the only
"intelligent race" (perhaps we will not even be an intelligent race when compared to the aliens!). But most fundamentally, we will not be the only
race who have to toil
and labour, as described in the Bible, because we supposedly "ate fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge".
A more extravagant possibility that has previously been brought up is that we were seeded onto the earth, and for unknown reasons, (perhaps to create
a utopian society, who
knows), the "seeders" (lets say aliens for ease of argument), taught us morality, obidence, etc, and invented a fictional enforcer for us to be
afraid of, as a punishment
for violation of the lessons we have been taught.
I believe that the classical Gods are the product of irrationality, and lesser knowledge, and hav been antiquated and obseleted by virtue of modern
science. Perhaps the
only reason the ideas of them still exist are because people do not explore the possibility that they dont exist, as much as they should, and may be
due to the consistent
bombardment we have as children in Christianity (being taught at all schools, to children of 3+, how appalling and unsupportive of open-minded-ness),
to the extent that
we accept them as part of everyday life, and never truly do question the ideas. The theory of religion should be left undiscussed with children until
they are old enough
to examine the evidence for themself and make their own decisions! I no longer see any logical reason, at all, for belief in the concept of God.
Little factual evidence
has been produced for it (miracles, etc, are quite easily dismantled), and as for The Bible's account of Jesus Christ, well, we have no real unbiased
proof (except one very
biased book) that he preformed the actions attributed to him. In fact, if Jesus Christ was a man, as is often described as, similar to one of us, he
must have a DNA make up
and since he emerged from Mary, who was a virgin, we either have two things to draw from this. One, that Jesus was an exact replica of Mary, yet Jesus
was male and Mary was
female, or two, God has DNA. Potentially, we can use the argument that God 'edited' or 'genetically modified' Jesus' DNA as appropiate, but
surely it is just easier to
accept the fact that Mary and Joseph did what nearly the rest of mankind have done. Occum's razor is quite a handy tool in the analyzing of God.