Posted: Mar 08, 2010 2:10 am
by Sween
dyet-b wrote:
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.


Yes assuming Christian or Muslim theism, that's true. I don't find the evidence to be so ambiguous though.

, 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?


I mean participation in a volitional sense. I'll let Moser explain it, he does a better job than I: see page 61 http://books.google.com/books?id=JZCepAbVk7kC&pg=PA92&dq=volitional+paul+moser&cd=1#v=onepage&q=volitional%20paul%20moser&f=false

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?


As to the first two questions, I'm sure that's right. As to the third one, you seem to be talking about Calvinist Christian theism, according to which there is no free will. That's not my view at all, nor is it compatible with God's being morally perfect (because it makes him the author of evil). And to the forth, it's not as if receiving volitional evidence doesn't make use of our critical faculties, only a different way of using them; and it may just be that it's not logically possible for God's purpose in that regard to be achieved through the same kind of evidence that we attain in other inquiries.

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?


Neither ;) . God is omniscient, and we have free will (God has full knowledge of all counter-factual truths).

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?


Yes, we don't have perfect knowledge, so when we ask whether God exists, we have to clarify the terms we're using and what we mean by them, and then ask what follows regarding the sort of purposes such a God would have - that's the only way we can proceed. God as a being worthy of worship must be morally perfect, and as such he must be perfectly loving, willing what is best for everyone. Moral perfection would require the accomplishing of that end while respecting our freedom, which would mean without coersion. See pages 32, 43, 61 of Elusive God, they're all on the google book preview.

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"?


God's perfection doesn't entail that we don't have freedom - why would it? Well if someone only knows about God but doesn't know God volitionally, then that would be an improper relationship yes. Propositional knowledge is not the point, "even the demons believe, and they shudder" etc.. There may be tangible evidence (I think there is, I don't share Moser's dislike of natural theology), but it's not sufficient.

"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:

:cry: that's understandable, but it goes both ways - somebody's gotta be wrong, and whoever is is "blind" to the truth of the matter.

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".


No, there's enough evidence, but it's of the volitional morally-authoritative sort. And I said that if God exists, we shouldn't expect evidence of the spectator sort, but there may in fact be such evidence to a limited degree; theism may in fact entail at least some such evidence, such as the existence of the universe, with conditions necessary for life to exist, and so on. but more or less, the P(spectator evidence/theism) = P(~spectator evidence/theism)

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"?[/quote]
No I mean testable for you. If there is any morally authoritative evidence to be found, you can find out whether there is such a call: 93

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...


The victim? Whether or not there are any eternal consequences is an entirely separate question from whether God exists. I may be a Christian myself, but as far as this sort of inquiry goes, religious doctrines are not part of it.

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

Answered above I think, and in the cited pages

which requires an honest intention

Again, blaming the victim... :roll:

This would be akin to saying that in order to see whether it's cloudy outside, one has to open the blinds and look outside his window; people that don't see the clouds outside must not have opened their blinds. Ah, but that's blaming the victim!

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.


Because the knowledge in question is relational, it's an I/Thou sort. Say you knew all the third-person propositional knowledge about somebody, but never met them personally. Then you meet them, spend time with them and get to know them personally, from a second-person perspective; knowledge would have be gained there, but it would not be of a propositional sort, it would be relational. Eleonore Stump explains this in the beginning of this lecture: http://70.182.176.35/Media.aspx#/v/620