Please do your best to respond to this post. I won't insult you if you don't insult me.

Cause and effect. How can something come out of nothing? How could the very first thing that happened to start the universe not be effected by anything? It has to go back and back and back until one thing that effected something without being caused. That, I believe, was a god. Can somebody please prove this point wrong?

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As I said, I am willing to stipulate to this possibility.  But again I ask "And......?"  This "something can't come from nothing" inquiry can only get you to a very vague, non-specific deity. (And, of course, it doesn't even have to get you there at all as others on this thread have ably demonstrated.) A deity to whom no attributes necessarily attach.  All powerful, perhaps, but one could propose a creator who exhausted all its power in the act of creation.  So if there is or was such a vague, non-specific creator deity why should we care about or pay attention to or worship said deity?   How does this vague, non-specific creator deity relate to the very specific god(s) that religious people believe in and structure their lives around?  To use a timely example how does this vague, non-specific creator god relate to the god whose birth Christians celebrate tomorrow?  What is the argument chain that leads theists from "vague, non-specific creator god" to Jesus?   

 

@ Cecilia - I totally agree with your point - the Christian idea of God is riddled with holes, inconsistencies and logical impossibilities. 

Especially -

why should we care about or pay attention to or worship said deity?

Damn right.  He's not going to give a monkey's ding-dong who loves Him and who is an atheist.  All He wants to know is do we live a good life.  

How does this vague, non-specific creator deity relate to the very specific god(s) that religious people believe in and structure their lives around?  

You got it.  Take our cues from the world.  That's what good Christians do anyway.  

how does this vague, non-specific creator god relate to the god whose birth Christians celebrate tomorrow?  What is the argument chain that leads theists from "vague, non-specific creator god" to Jesus?   

That's a separate issue.  Jesus was the among the best that humanity's ever had to offer, so I can understand if people who believe in God think he's the son of God or whatever. 

I have to differ with you when you say "All He wants to know is do we live a good life."  Exactly how do you get from the vague, non-specific creator god to which I stipulated to this god who cares if we live a good life???  No, it doesn't follow on at all. You could have have said he wants us to live a bad life or a purple life or a key lime pie life or a Barbie life and made just as much sense.  Also, totes don't agree that "Jesus was among the best that humanity's ever had to offer."  Seriously?  But more important it is not really a separate issue - Christians offer this "how can something come from nothing" argument to prove the existence of their god(s), so it is relevant to ask how a "vague, non-specific creator god" proves the existence of a divine Jesus.  It simply doesn't follow. 

how do you get from the vague, non-specific creator god to which I stipulated to this god who cares if we live a good life???  No, it doesn't follow on at all.

You're right - I was just following the Christian idea of God. 

it is relevant to ask how a "vague, non-specific creator god" proves the existence of a divine Jesus.  It simply doesn't follow.

Also right - same answer. 

Also, totes don't agree that "Jesus was among the best that humanity's ever had to offer."  Seriously?

Whoever else thinks it, I think it. 

@ Kir  - that's OK!  If I couldn't take being ragged around, I wouldn't be here. 

...and adumbrates only natural events, your god cannot exist.


@ Kir - you're assuming a narrow definition of "natural".  Why are you saying "adumbrates"?  What does that mean? 

a cause must have preceded the first natural event, or effect.

"Preceded" implies the passage of time.  We believe that time started at the beginning of the universe: before that, time either did not exist, or it may have been different to the time we have now. 

Ah! The age old "First Cause" argument!

The basis of this argument is this:

Premise:

Everything that exists in our world is the result of some sort of "first cause" which brought about its existence. Therefore, there must have been a force which created the universe. That "first cause" is what we call God.

The cosmological argument could be stated as follows:

  1. Every finite and contingent being has a cause.
  2. Nothing finite and contingent can cause itself.
  3. causal chain cannot be of infinite length.
  4. Therefore, a First Cause (or something that is not an effect) must exist.

According to the argument, the existence of the Universe requires an explanation, and the creation of the Universe by a First Cause, generally assumed to be God, is that explanation.

Critique:

The problem with the First Cause/Cosmological Argument is the claim of "creation". The idea that something comes from nothing, or the nature of "non-existence" is incapable of being observed or scientifically studied. Theists misrepresent the concept of "creation" by suggesting that in the process, something is brought into existence (i.e. "a watch is created by a watchmaker") but in reality the watch was merely fashioned from existing material that were already present. There was no actual creation in the manner in which theists imply something came into existence from nothing.
Like many arguments of this nature, theists make a special pleading to exempt God from their argument. If everything that exists must have a cause, who created God? Variations of this argument employ the first law of thermodynamics to imply that God has always existed because the first law of thermodynamics says matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Nice notion, but it still doesn't prove there's a God. It merely suggests there's more for us to understand, and every day scientists get closer to addressing these issues without referencing God or anything supernatural.
If there's a recurring theme in any of these arguments, it's that theists pick and choose which tenets of science they want to embrace (the ones that help prove their claims) and ignore all the rest as if they don't exist. These theories are part of a complex interconnected system. It's intellectually dishonest and unethical to ignore evidence that counters your supernatural claims. The First Cause Argument ignores huge amounts of contradictory evidence, as do many of the arguments herein.

The idea that something comes from nothing, or the nature of "non-existence" is incapable of being observed or scientifically studied.

But it's capable of being thought about.  Why bury our heads in the sand? 

the problem is that the conclusions you reach in that abstraction on the matter .......cannot be generalized to reality.

we are discussing a real god who has real impacts on this universe. And that is what constrains us thus

@ Kir -  I completely agree with what you say.  However, it's necessary to do abstract speculation. 

Not sure what came from nothing.  I tend to think the 'causes' that led to us being here regress infinitely.  If there is a stopping point, where there truly is nothing, except some magical being, then I would be surprised if it actually was anything like the gods imagined by men.  Why do you think we came from nothing/a magical being?

I just don't understand why theists think the  "first cause" argument gets them anywhere.  Because even if you accept it it only gets you to a "creator."  Period.  Nothing about the argument gives you any basis to say anything about that creator other than that it created.   So, sure, I suppose if you are a deist it is an okay argument.  But if you are, e.g., a Christian who believes in the Holy Trinity and the Bible and the resurrection and sin/redemption and all that I wish someone would explain how all that would follow from merely establishing (if you could) the existence of a "creator."  It would be like seeing a watch and instead of just saying that you can establish the existence of a watchmaker from seeing the watch you then go on to say that you know what he had for dinner last night, how he treats his kids, what his favorite movie is, who he took to the senior prom, who he voted for in the last election, etc, etc, etc

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