Posted: Mar 08, 2010 12:06 am
by dyet-b
RichieDickins wrote:I don't speak for Ray, but I would argue (following Paul Moser and Kierkegaard) that God is "hidden" from disinterested observers.

And I would argue that God cannot be hidden from disinterested observers forever unless there is no divine judgement. But according to the Christian and Muslim mythologies, everybody will be judged one day, and that would be a very tangible evidence even for the unbelievers and the disinterested observers.
Also, this God is not only hiding, but deliberately makes it harder for us to find evidence even for the interested observers. We do know that people are prone to fantasies, wishful thinking and delusions, and God so far made it impossible for outside observers to distinguish delusion from believing in him.

If we are talking about a perfect being

You are only assuming a perfect being, but for the sake of the argument, let's see where does it get us.

, there is no reason to suspect that such a being would limit himself to or even take part in spectator evidence (which doesn't require any commitment or participation on the part of the observer).

Say what? Don't you think critical inquiry doesn't require commitment or participation?

A perfect being (in virtue of his moral perfection) would will what is best for all moral agents.

Wouldn't this perfectly moral being not want every single one of his/her/its creation to make it to heaven? Isn't that what is the best for all?
Would a perfect being set up a rigged test the result of which determines eternal consequences? Would a perfect being make it beneficial for us to use our critical faculties for every question around us except for the one are of his/her/its existence?

This would include our coming to know him freely (because moral perfection requires respect for freedom), and freely consenting to align our behavior in accordance with his will (because he wills only what is good).

I'm confused... Are you saying that this perfect being doesn't know in advance what every person will choose? That would mean the this being is not omniscient, and thus is not perfect.
Or are you saying that there is no free will? In that case, how can anyone freely consent to aligning behaviours with his will?

Spectator evidence would not accomplish these ends, and it would (as Kierkegaard suggests) establish an improper relationship between us, and create tension between God's moral perfection and our freedom.

"Improper relationship"? How do you know what a perfect being with its perfect and infinite wisdom and knowledge considers proper, if you don't have perfect and infinite wisdom and knowledge? Why should I take your word for what is a "proper" relationship with this deity?
I think the tension between this alleged god's alleged moral perfection and our alleged freedom is that if God is perfect then we don't have freedom. Not my fault...
What should those believers do, who claim that there is tangible evidence for their belief? They are interested, and they believe. Is their relationship with God "improper"?

"There is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't" (Pascal)

Firstly, I find it insulting to compare disbelief to diminished capacity. :naughty: :nono:
Secondly, this analogy seems to go completely against your previous point. It says that there is enough evidence for us to believe, but you seem to have previously argued that there should be no such evidence. If it were to support your previous point, it should say that there is no light (as an outside aid to discover "spectator evidence"), but if you honestly wanted to believe, then some non-spectator light would be given to you, which cannot be perceived by others, because then it would count as "spectator evidence".

dyet-b wrote:Yours is not an argument for god, it is rather a "No True Scotsman" logical fallacy mixed with blaming the victim, followed by a bad analogy.

As I've suggested before, I think one could understand it as more of a testable claim than an argument.

Testable claim? Isn't that "spectator evidence"?

It's the claim that through honest inquiry you will find evidence that God exists.

And if you don't find evidence, you were not honest enough. As I said: blaming the victim. Very nice, especially bearing in mind the alleged eternal consequences. Moral perfection... yeah, right...

When one asks whether X exists, one must ask what sort of evidence would we expect to find if X exists, and what sort of evidence would we not expect. In this case it will be volitional, morally authoritative evidence

Please define "volitional, morally authoritative evidence". Can you give an example? Has such evidence been discovered? Is it robust enough?

which requires an honest intention

Again, blaming the victim... :roll:

to participation on the part of the inquirer, as opposed to the reproducible, empirical sort which would afford belief alone without requiring any meaningful commitment or investment in the question, and thus without any transformation of the will. The reason for this is explained above.

Isn't belief the point?
Also, how can a transformation of the will take place if this perfect God knows in advance what my will is before I know it?
Are you saying that one has to be committed to participation in the inquiry, or in the belief? Belief is supposed to be the result of the inquiry. Otherwise it is just rationalising a belief. That would be rather silly.
Why is it important to have a "meaningful" commitment or investment in the question? You are blaming the victim again, btw.

The whole thing seems to be something like this:
"You can have evidence to believe in me, all you have to do is believe in me. And if you don't see the evidence, than your intentions are not honest enough. And you will be punished for disbelief. And of course, I didn't just tell you all this, since that would count as tangible evidence, but you are not supposed to have tangible evidence, because then we would have an improper relationship. And I'm morally perfect. But I never told you this either. And I'm perfect in general, but again: you didn't here it from me. Remember: the evidence for belief is belief. And now forget everything I said: no evidence!"