Thursday, April 12, 2012

On philosophy and religious arguments

For this post I will refer to my trusty Sage dictionary and thesaurus by first defining the word philosophy.

Philosophy: The rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics.

Although the study of philosophy is supposed to be a rational means of obtaining knowledge, I feel that it is an inappropriate methodology when it comes to the study of God and religion. My main reason for this conclusion is simply that all beliefs about God are based entirely on assumptions and not facts. So, technically they cannot be fairly assessed through the use of reason.

If we are to say that revelation does not count as an adequate means of obtaining knowledge, then we must begin by discarding all that we claim to know through the reading of so called divinely inspired ancient texts. The Bible, the Koran, and other holy books are just a bunch stories collected by a bunch of superstitious people in an age where science was either limited or non-existent. Of the little science that did exist most of it was tainted by superstition as are the many forms of pseudo-sciences that are prevalent today.

I have participated in forums where people spend hours debating about the existence of God or gods in general. When it comes to the biblical God they talk about his attributes and so on and so forth and I always intervene with something like: "How do you know what the attributes of God are?" I think that is a reasonable question. They either ignore me or start telling me how weak and inept my arguments are. But when you really look at the question; everything they claim to know about God is based on the biblical "revelation" of God.

Paraphrasing Thomas Paine from 'The Age of Reason' he said loosely that a revelation is only a revelation to the one claiming to have received it, but that to the rest of us even the first person he shares it with, it is just hearsay and as such they are not obligated to believe it.  It's interesting to note that yesterdays religions are today's myths. I wonder what Christianity or Judaism will look like say two thousand years down the line. Will it still be as strong and prevalent as it is today, or will it be added to the section of ancient myths in the futures digital libraries?

Another word I would like to briefly define before I continue is apologetics.

Apologetics: The branch of theology which is concerned with the defense of Christian doctrines.

As per the definition which I obtained once again from my Sage dictionary, the problem I have been pointing out in this post is made clear. The Sage dictionary defines the word doctrine as: 'A belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school.' In this case that system of beliefs is Christianity and every other popular and not so popular religious myths.

Christian arguments are all flawed and doomed from the beginning because they all start with the presupposition that God exists, based entirely on their personal beliefs and convictions as taught to them by their churches doctrines. As with Creationism and ID they start with their conclusion and try to make the pieces of the puzzle fit their conclusion. In other words, their so called examination of the evidence is biased. It's the scientific method in reverse which is no surprise considering that apparently everything theists do tends to be in reverse.

There is nor has there ever been any evidence to support the existence of God or gods objectively, all so called proofs are of a subjective type. God has in no time made his existence known to man in an irrefutable and conclusive manner. There is no way to defend assumptions based on ancient myths and the so called divine revelations of a bunch of mostly anonymous authors. That is why I abhor the use of philosophy as a means of defending Christian beliefs. Theology and apologetics are both fields of study that are entirely based on assumptions and therefore a waste of time and effort to try to refute.

Through apologetics you can pretty much invent arguments for God to no end, since in the world of the imagination there is no room for reason and logic has no place. Making a bunch of assumptions based on lack of knowledge does not an irrefutable argument make. That is why people like William Lane Craig and company can continue to seem intellectual by defending what appears to be sound philosophical arguments. When the truth is that everything that could be said about God based on the so called revelations of ancient texts and myths of the past is nothing more than assumptions. There is not one shred of fact in all of the so called "holy texts" in the world.

The reasons I have stated in this post is why I refuse to get caught up in so called philosophical arguments for or against the existence of God. I don't like circular reasoning or question begging and it seems that the field of apologetics is chock full of both.

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