Social Question

KateTheGreat's avatar

Is there actually any good proof of the existence of a god?

Asked by KateTheGreat (13615 points ) May 14th, 2011

The question is pretty self explanatory.

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67 Answers

Ladymia69's avatar

If that were to be answered, it would be only provable in someone’s experience, and therefore, not outwardly provable. does that make sense?

Blackberry's avatar

No. Their biggest argument is one from irreducible complexity, which has been dealt with numerous times.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Not really, at least not in the omnipotent, omniscience, and omnibenevolent version we hear about from certain people reading a certain book. The existence of evil is the biggest mark against it. Personally, I find the argument for numerous limited spiritual entities far more likely. The world has many interlocking and sometimes competing forces in it. Makes sense for spiritual entities, too.

flutherother's avatar

If a watch is proof of a watchmaker.

WasCy's avatar

Well, no. And no one knows the origin of life, either. But I keep looking at all of the “stuff” in the Universe (including the living stuff) and wondering where it came from, and why. That may be as close to “proof” as I ever get. It had to come from somewhere or something, didn’t it?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Because nothing greater can be thought?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Define God and give two examples.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@flutherother If a wild-flower is proof of a gardener? :P

Mikewlf337's avatar

Well this is an easy one to answer for both believers and atheists. The definition of faith is the belief and trust in something or someone without material evidence. I am a christian and I believe for my own reasons. To me a religion is a personal thing. I keep my religion to myself because my views are for me. My spirituality is the relationship between me and God.

GladysMensch's avatar

About the only proof possible is life itself. Humans know a lot about life and how it works, but we cannot create even the most primitive life form. Once we cross that line, there really is nothing left to argue about.

auntydeb's avatar

We can’t prove ‘God’ exists until we understand whether we do or not.

dabbler's avatar

Any definition of God worth the stardust it’s written on would be beyond the capacity of regular ‘proving’ type activities to tackle. (think/think/figure/figure/think/think/figure/figure…pop!)

crisw's avatar

No, there isn’t.

FutureMemory's avatar

Yes.

(boobs)

poisonedantidote's avatar

@FutureMemory And the saggy ones prove satan!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I just spoke with God, and it requested me to ask a question before I stop following this thread.

“What Lord?” I asked “What question could exist that you didn’t already know the answer to?”

“Verily I say unto you…”, the Lord replied, ”... never mind”.

lloydbird's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies You ”..spoke with God,..”?
Can I follow you?

mazingerz88's avatar

Uhmm… :-(

Kardamom's avatar

Of course not. If there was, then we’d all believe in God.

ragingloli's avatar

@Kardamom
I would not be so sure. Obama has released both his birth certificate, and there are still people who believe he was born in kenya. (they rationalise it by saying he faked both certificates)

gondwanalon's avatar

No that’s why faith is so important.

Pandora's avatar

It really depends on what you consider as good proof. I believe there are billions of things and lives on this planet that are good proof in my mind. However; it may not be good proof in your eyes. The existance of this planet and the extremely complicated things that had to happen to make the millions of things on it alive and functioning, both big and small is almost an impossibility and yet here we are in all our glory.
For myself, that is all the good proof I need. But as @ragingloli stated. Some people are going to believe what they want to.
So I always wonder, why do people ask if they already know the answer they want to hear?

Kardamom's avatar

@ragingloli I’m afraid you are right : (

heavy sigh

Ladymia69's avatar

Perhaps atheists and agnostics are people who simply have not experienced any sort of state of mind or internal episode that felt to them like they were close to “God” a.k.a., the ultimate feeling or highest expression of love imaginable in their minds.

What do you think?

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I was touched with the noodly appendage of the FSM when I was 12. Then I woke up and I realized that it was my cat hitting my face while I was asleep.

Kardamom's avatar

@ladymia69 That is absolutely true.

That is why the question asked if there was any good proof that God exists. For those of us who don’t believe, there has never been any proof, good, bad or otherwise.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

No. If there was good, solid proof, atheists would not exist.

@ladymia69 I have experienced love beyond what I ever thought I could, but that made me feel close to my partner, not any god(s). I’m not sure I would believe even if I had such an experience, since experience is not proof, and our perceptions are inherently erroneous. For me to believe, the existence of god(s) would have to make sense.

Tuesdays_Child's avatar

Is there any good proof that God doesn’t exist?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Tuesdays_Child While I personally believe that there is, the burden of proof rests on the theist, so that question is irrelevant at best.

Kardamom's avatar

@Tuesdays_Child That’s kind of the same as asking if there is any proof that Pink Unicorns who play hockey don’t exist. It doesn’t matter one way or the other if they exist or not. They only matter to the people who have faith that they do exist (even though no one can see them). The burden of proof is always going to be on the ones who think something does exist, because the other people don’t care.

Ladymia69's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Well, what i was really trying to put across is that when you experience a love of that magnitude, it puts you almost outside of yourself, to the point where the experience is bigger than you, or even you and the person you are having it with combined. That, to me, even though i wouldn’t call it “god”, would be the definition of a divine experience.

Kardamom's avatar

@ladymia69 I have experienced that kind of love before too. When two people come together and they are deeply in love, that love itself does become bigger than either one of them. But I“ve never, ever, ever associated that sense of great love with God or religion or divinity. It’s the circular argument. If you don’t believe in God, then you aren’t going to associate that kind of love with God. If you do believe in God, then you probably will.

It’s the same type of thing when people look at a beautiful scene in nature. Those that believe in God think that it had to have been made by God. Peolple that don’t believe in God tend to think that the idea that some type of God created our world is absurd, especially when people all over the world can’t even pin down what particular God they are referring to. Is it Allah? Jesus? Buddha? Druids? Since there isn’t even a definition for what or who God is, the whole idea about God creating our world doesn’t even make any sense.

And it doesn’t matter, because we all keep on keeping on whether or not we believe in God at all.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Kardamom One of the best posts I’ve ever read on Fluther.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@ladymia69 For the religious person, they have been told that God is the greatest love, the highest reality, the greatest thrill that it is possible for a person to experience. So when they experience the strongest emotions at any time in their life, they label it a spiritual experience and define God as the cause. For the non-religious person, when they experience this strength of emotion, it has another name and another cause. The feeling itself is no different, but the response to it is markedly different depending on the beliefs of the person who has the experience.

Symbeline's avatar

Once there was a dude, standing in a field. There was one, single tree in the field. The man screamed to the heavens, ’‘God, if you’re real, give me a sign of your existence! I want you to fell that single tree with a bolt of lightning!’’

After that, a blue butterfly came and landed on the man’s shoulder. He brushed it away and resumed his screaming, demanding God to prove Himself to him. Nothing happened.

I don’t believe in God no, but for some reason I always loved that little story haha.

ratboy's avatar

Perhaps the day is not far off when some computers become theists. Here is the opening of the article Deus Ex Machina in the current issue of COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM (MAY 2011 | VOL. 54 | NO. 5):

A famously tricky argument for the existence of God proposed by the British theologian Anselm in the the 11 century recently got simpler with help from an automated reasoning engine. In a forthcoming paper in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Stanford philosophers Paul Oppenheimer and Edward Zalta discuss how they used a program called Prover9 to not only validate Anselm’s ontological argument from its admittedly dubious premises, but also greatly reduced the number of premises necessary to reach that conclusion.
This result is one of the more interesting discoveries in the new field of computational metaphysics, which uses computers to reason through problems in metaphysics. “Lots of fields are using computers to explore outstanding questions, and that’s true in philosophy no less than in other fields,” says Zalta, a senior research scholar at Stanford University’s Center for the Study of Language.

ddude1116's avatar

I don’t believe in God per se, not in any Biblical sense at least, but there is too much beauty in the world for there not to be some sort of higher being. Yeah, there’s a lot of ugly, too, but to a trained eye, beauty can be found anywhere.

Cruiser's avatar

No and I will take on all comers.

choreplay's avatar

As has been explained, it ends up being a matter of personal experience and faith. I have experienced enough to not only believe but also begin to understand the capacity of love. You must seek and find though. What if I say that I don’t believe any one in this thread owns a car. I’m sure a lot of people would chime in with well, come and see it or I will send a picture, but if I decide not to seek, by not coming to see or not looking at the picure because its silly because I know it doesn’t exist, I would stay stuck.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Season_of_Fall The principle of “seek, and you shall find” assumes that there is only one thing to find out there, which is plainly false considering each individual comes to a different conclusion. If a person seeks without knowing where it will take them, it may take them anywhere.
Alternatively, seeking with a defined conclusion in mind leads to hallucinations of the expected conclusion. If you expect to see something with an extreme intensity, you will see it. If you expect evidence to lead to a particular conclusion, it will do so convincingly.

auntydeb's avatar

I beg to disagree with those who place extreme, or ‘peak’ experience at the top of the subjective proof-of-divinity pyramid. There is something small, weak, soft, gentle and constantly present, if we can take a little time out to feel or listen for it. Bungee jumping creates massive adrenaline shots; extreme sex, sport, ritual and danger also do this, with variously enjoyable results. There is something going on, that as Humans, we constantly try to explain and learn more of. It didn’t save the dinosaurs from extinction, because it doesn’t have that purpose.

E=MC², has helped with some technology, quantum physics also, but neither provide us with understanding our nature, which I believe is a matter of education and consciousness. Humans plainly have a huge influence on their own environment. ‘Nature’, though, will always have the last hand. Our wet, weak, squishy little bodies would survive extinction no better than the dinos and in our deepest, darkest moments, each of us knows this. When we learn that Death is not the end of anything, only part of the re-cycling of energy, we might have some more answers about how to understand the greater forces at work in the Universe. I think Physicists are probably closer to that than the religious.

But, I have subjective proof of the presence of understanding that kindness, morality, humility and personal growth bring a kind of joy. It is not a big, breathtaking joy, but it helps prove to me that life has some worth in the living and that sharing non-judgmental time with others can deepen that joyful experience. I also have a potty mouth and am overweight, I do not hold god responsible.

choreplay's avatar

@firemadeflesh, Leave me alone, I gave my opinion and you, assuming you have some profound corner on truth are telling me my opinion is wrong. You appear to feel entitled to force your opinion with self righteousness considering your confidence of its ultimate truth, but isn’t that what the conservative Christians do and rub the world so wrong in doing so?

I am over participating in another ignorant endless debate of “I’m right and you’re wrong”. You and everyone else in this thread, counter any statement you want but leave my name off of it! I promise you I am no holier than thou self righteous entitled Christian, but I believe in God, I believe in his forgiveness and love and I have in my opinion, good reason. Why don’t you demonstrate a attitude of decency and tolerance for other’s opinions.

Again, counter anything you want but don’t direct it at me!

AdamF's avatar

@Season_of_Fall So let’s get this straight. You’re demanding the right to express your opinion, and no one is allowed to openly disagree it.

And if they do, you’ll label them self-righteous, arrogant, and intolerant (with presumably not the slightest sense of cognitive dissonance or irony it seems).

Okay. Fair deal.

I think your implication that those who don’t find god, aren’t seeking strongly enough, as convincing and filled with humility as you would find an atheist who argues that “Theists just aren’t thinking clearly enough, otherwise they’d be atheists.”

I find your demand that you be able to express your opinion and no one is allowed to challenge you on it as simply bizarre.

Feel free to call me anything you wish.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Season_of_Fall I never assumed I have some profound corner of truth, and I never told you that you are wrong. Please read my post again if that is the impression you got.

My point from the post above, in case it was not sufficiently clear, is this: “seek and you shall find” is a good principle, because greater understanding is always a good thing. However you must not expect people to come to any particular conclusions, because their seeking will take them in different directions depending on what they find. You must also go into the process without an expected end in sight, or you have not really looked.

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crisw's avatar

@ratboy

The link leads me to a page that doesn’t have an abstract of the article or any more info on it. I did find a longer excerpt here.

Apparently, the authors have been into the ontological argument for a long time, including the computer research.

I think the key here is a phrase from the first article cited- “Whether Anselm’s argument is sound, as opposed to merely valid, depends on whether that premise itself is true—a question that philosophers will continue to debate.” It’s possible to show that many untrue things are logical; simply showing that something is logically valid does not make it true.

auntydeb's avatar

Oh, and for what it’s worth I rather believe that the Devil resides in straight lines.

ratboy's avatar

@crisw, sorry about the link; the “excerpt” you point to is actually the entire article. A preprint of the paper described can be found here. Although I don’t find Anselm’s proof compelling, I harbor doubts about the discernment of computers which I believe to be rather gullible.

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KateTheGreat's avatar

I shall say this politely,
But please, keep those exchanges should be kept in private, unless they are clearly about the stated question.

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auntydeb's avatar

Poem:
it seems odd,
that whenever
man chooses,
to play God,
God loses

not my own, unsure of source

Ladymia69's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh You just articulated pretty much what i was trying to get across. Thanks. :)

dabbler's avatar

This catfight more adamant portion of the discussion proves that the whole thing hinges on one’s definition of “prove”.
If we’re talking a scientific approach then one has to prove to another that God exists with repeatable results that both agree show QED. And I don’t see a shred of that sort of provable info or exposition in the thread so far.
If we’re talking enough evidence that oneself is convinced then that’s an entirely valid approach to consider your conviction “proof” but it doesn’t qualify to prove to another.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Personal attacks, private messages, and discussion relating to them have been removed. Please keep it civil, folks.

WasCy's avatar

It must be time for pizza.

flutherother's avatar

There is a God and it is @augustlan (Sorry that should read Mod)

auntydeb's avatar

All hail Augustlan, the voice of the gentle and kindly mod… oh, rhymes with god…

What about permitting the possibility of something we simply cannot explain? What about the limits of language and experience? What about the fact that Humans have literally invented everything: the naming of things, the exaltation of themselves, scientific nomenclature…

How about the simple possibility that consciousness extends beyond ourselves. That actually, our named prophets and messiahs were not there to counsel the Dinosaurs as the died away and instead, the ancients touch our lives with the mysteries in their own footprints. We make up stories to accommodate them. I hold that the Dinos lived so long ago, that if they had invented space travel, there would be precious little evidence now.

Life goes on, it will continue after we go, energy and matter have their own patterns. We are privileged to be able to feel moved and inspired by these things. Getting lost in the labelling is as bad as shooting the messenger.

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