Randomness from Yahoo! Answers, part 3
Posted by Cory Tucholski
To let people know that I’m here and still blogging, I have taken on the top three results from Yahoo! Answers on the search phrase “Does God exist?” The third question, from user Iason Ouabache, “How does the fact that I exist prove that there is a God?”
In another question someone said “the fact that you exist proves that there is a God”. And then he called me silly. How does my existence prove that God exists? And how does this prove that the specific Christian god exists? Doesn’t my existence just prove that I exist?
Right, Iason, the fact that you exist proves only that you exist. However, it raises the question of why you exist.
Think of reality as a box that contains us. We can’t see beyond the borders of the box. We can only see what’s inside the box. However, outside the box is a whole world of possibilities that we can’t see with our eyes, but can perceive with our mind by looking at what we see in the box.
We can know what is outside the box by looking at what is inside the box.
Put another way, we are imprisoned in Plato’s Cave. We are chained, looking at a cold, gray wall that has dancing shadows on it. We can figure out a lot about the shadows, and a little bit about what causes the shadows, by studying the shadows.
Now let’s say that someone breaks his chains and is able to walk outside Plato’s Cave. Suddenly, he sees for himself the majesty of reality. He sees what was causing the shadows on the wall, those imperfect copies of reality, as reality. His first instinct is to go back in the cave and free as many people as possible.
Alas, most people are content to stare at the wall.
I call those people “naturalists.” They don’t think anything is casting the shadows; they think that the shadows are all that exist.
Naturalists are only looking inside that box we talked about earlier. They do not consider that which we cannot prove — the elements outside the box that are hinted (copied or shadowed) by items we find in the box. They don’t even think that these “shadows” hint at anything.
Surmising what is outside the box by looking at what is inside the box is the branch of philosophy known as metaphysics. Our thoughts on metaphysics shape our thoughts on the natural world.
You, as a human being, and your inherent worth and intricate design flow from God. You are not evidence of God, but you are a hint that he is there — one hint among many in the created world.
What happens without God? Since our metaphysics shape our thoughts of the natural world, the thoughts of the theist differ wildly from the thoughts of the atheist. And, I might add, the thoughts of the atheist (though perfectly logical based on his metaphysics, or lack thereof) are outright disturbing.
- The notion of “inherent worth as a human being” is tossed out the window. We are one animal among many, we just so happen to be smart and self-aware. But, there’s no reason that we shouldn’t behave as animals. Sexuality, therefore, shouldn’t be a slave to morality. The animals have sex with whomever they want, whenever they want.
- Building on the first, morality itself is invalid. Morality is a universal idea, abstract in nature, and that would exist outside the box. Nothing exists outside the box. All we have are particulars — the ever-changing ethics of various societies. When the theist refers to rape or torture or abortion as issues of morality, that’s nonsense. There are no morals, for nothing exists outside the box. Therefore, any of those things (yes, even rape) could be considered ethically valid in the right circumstances. [Don’t believe me? Peter Singer justifies cold-blooded murder here.]
- The idea of design becomes ludicrous. If there were a designer, there would be no design flaws like an appendix or a tail bone or a hanging scrotum that incapacitates the person kicked in it. Offensive body odor? Gone. Hair and toenails? Not necessary. These “flaws” are not viewed as the best possible trade-offs, rather as evidence of evolution by natural selection.
So, what are we to do here? As Schaeffer pointed out, nothing finite is of value without an infinite reference point. We are finite, and therefore have no inherent worth or value unless we have something infinite to point at. That means starting with God is the only valid starting point. Starting with naturalism in the absence of God leads to chaos and immorality.
About Cory TucholskiI'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!
Posted on May 30, 2012, in Apologetics, God, Morality, Religion and tagged atheism, Ethics, Existence of God, metaphysics, naturalism. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
Reblogged this on Sisonroel's Blog and commented:
The existence of God could be attested by the recipient of divine revelation or God’s words.
I am a recipient of revelation so I could attest to this fact that God indeed exists.
I should clarify your three points,
1) The notion of “inherent (objective) worth as a human being” is tossed out the window. “inherent (subjective) worth as a human being” exists.
2) Building on the first, (objective) morality itself is invalid. (subjective) morality exists.
3) If there were a (competent) designer, there would be no design flaws. Flawed design is consistent with an (incompetent) designer.
I don’t appreciate this in the least.
Do not presume to speak for me.
I’m tired. I’m also annoyed that YOU clarified what I “meant.” Therefore, I’m going to be a bit more scathing than usual. Don’t mistake this as being uncharitable, hateful, or mean.
(1) You have proven my point nicely. Thank you very much for that! Only from God can we have worth as a human being, and since you do not begin with God, you deny objective worth. From our own perspective (subjective), we feel we have some worth. But there is nothing to ground it in without God. Therefore, by even stating this the way you have, you have proven the point I was making all along. Thank you for doing that!
(2) You are totally confusing moral ONTOLOGY with moral EPISTEMOLOGY. The reason morality might appear subjective to some is that our understanding of it (moral epistemology) has changed over time. Universal morality (moral ontology) exists, universal ethics (our understanding and application of morality) do not.
(3) This is a mess. What a bunch of unproved assumptions. And way to miss my point — these are PERCEIVED FLAWS. They are trade offs to achieve the overall desired effect. You still treat them as flaws (as though that were self-evident) and ignore my actual point.
I was an asshole, but with your ARGUMENTS, not with YOU. I like you as a commenter; you have a lot of food for thought. This, however, is not your usual food for thought. This is nothing more than unproved assumptions and a crap ton of misunderstanding philosophical concepts. You usually do a lot better than this. Heck, I agree in principle with most of what you say even if we’re from opposite sides of the theistic and political fence.
The OP was speaking from an atheist/skeptic/materialist/evidentialist speaking position. In my experience, there are no atheists/skeptics that believe those three things. So, there is a risk of a charicature/strawman.
I thought you might be interested in more fully understanding the beliefs of friends.