I'm thinking about posting this to a few more religious forums, but I'd just like to hear what people have to say on here.

So, playing Devil's Advocate, and hopefully without a bunch of straw man replies, what is the best argument for God you've heard? And, if you really can't stand it, why is that argument not good enough?

My favorite is Descartes' Ontological argument- but since I don't have a clear and distinct perception of God, this one still isn't enough for me.

Excited to hear replies!

Tags: God, advocate, argument, devils, for

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Thank you for attempting to establish a bond with me by complementing my question.

RE: "Why did the Declaration of Independence say 'Nature's God' instead of just 'Nature'?" - because many, if not most of those who signed the Declaration were Deists, in the late 1700's - many of us, since then, have put aside such childish things.

I've yet to find any conception of god which is not blatantly false. The term, "god" is like a worn out shoe, no longer of any value and needful of being discarded. To equate Nature with god, is to denigrate Nature and a pitiful attempt to keep on life-support, a word that has outlived it's time.

BTW, who is "Bop" Emerson, and what, if any, is your relationship to Mark? I won't even ask what kind of name is "Bop" - Shakespeare nailed it when he asked, "What's in a name --?"

Thank you for attempting to establish a bond with me by complementing my question.

Not sure what kind of a "bond" you're talking about, but I figure it is tangential to the discussion at hand.

I've yet to find any conception of god which is not blatantly false. The term, "god" is like a worn out shoe, no longer of any value and needful of being discarded. To equate Nature with god, is to denigrate Nature and a pitiful attempt to keep on life-support, a word that has outlived it's time.

And this is precisely where we disagree: for me, God is a name which inspires awe and beauty in minds and hearts - and, through countless many other names, has done so all over the world for time immemorial. If the word Nature does that for you, then that's great! But you're not going to get anywhere by trying to limit people's vocabulary.

If the Deist concept of God is identical with your concept of Nature, then isn't that a conception of God which is not blatantly false?

what, if any, is your relationship to Mark?

Mark is my father. Bop is the name by which most of my friends know me, and hence the name on my facebook account which I am using to interact on this forum.

RE: "If the Deist concept of God is identical with your concept of Nature, then isn't that a conception of God which is not blatantly false?" - no, for two reasons, 1) the Deist concept rejected all of the trappings that went with the Christian religion, but still acknowledged the existence of a god, 2) there was never any effort on anyone's part, to the best of my knowledge, to connect Deism to a worship of Nature.

Well, I will have to apologize, in that at one point, I called you "Bob," believing you may have typed, "Bop" by mistake - at no point, was I trying to make fun of your name. I make fun of a lot of things, but names are too personal.

Yes, people very often make that mistake with my name, and I don't mind. Thanx anyways for being respectful.

Perhaps we can agree to use a term such as the Good or the Absolute rather than God/Nature.

Interesting that you bring up the practice of worship. Worship is a highly personal practice. I don't recommend it for anyone who doesn't feel some inner yearning, some deep gratitude towards the mysterious source of life (no matter whether you call this source your ancestors, your sustenance, the sun, Mother Nature, love, or something with religious/spiritual connotations). The entire purpose of worship is, after all, to express love and gratitude from the heart, analogous to what one would do for a romantic lover. Indeed, worship without these beautiful feelings is like wooing a woman who doesn't attract you!

This is precisely the reason the concept of a personal deity is so popular. A bachelor seeking a wife does not envision bedding an androgynous, indifferent, lukewarm hag. He wants a hot, lively, compassionate woman! No guarantee that he will get what he wants - that's not the point. The mere vision helps motivate him to become a better man: a man worthy of his ideal woman's attraction.

In the same way, envisioning the Good as a "higher being" - whatever each individual imagines that to mean - can inspire morality and growth of character. So what if this imagined "higher being" is illusory or impossible? If just the vision itself, just the power of the mind without "divine intervention" can make us better people, then there is benefit in worshiping even a deity that does not exist outside of the mind!

It is entirely up to the individual to judge whether the Good, or anything else, is worthy of worship. Of course you can always worship yourself instead - if you want to be a Narcissist.

Actually the only reason the word "worship" was used, was to express the motivation of the Deists, nothing more than an answer to your question, so all of the paragraphs relating to worship should be directed to any Deists, living or dead, but not to me.

Choose "the Good," or, "the Absolute" if you like, I'm fine with Zork, because it contains no subliminal connotations whatsoever.

In the same way, envisioning the Good as a "higher being" - whatever each individual imagines that to mean - can inspire morality and growth of character. So what if this imagined "higher being" is illusory or impossible?

Here's the 'so what', Bop.

I conjure a vision of that illusory or impossible "higher being" in my imagination. I already know it is not real. I know it is not true.

A false vision does not inspire me to morality and growth of character. Neither would telling others to believe in a false vision, even if I disclosed that the vision was false.

If just the vision itself, just the power of the mind without "divine intervention" can make us better people, then there is benefit in worshiping even a deity that does not exist outside of the mind!

You can take me out of that "us", Bop. The false vision itself is not going to make me a better person, likewise for lucky rabbit's feet or magic 8-balls. You may believe it works placebo-style, but I don't.

You'd be essentially the same person, for good or ill, with or without the lucky rabbit's foot, with or without the imaginary God. If you doubt that, show me an ethical statement made or a good deed done by a believer that could not have been made or done by a non-believer.

Now envision this, Bop.

We are made of elements created by thermonuclear fusion inside of stars billions of years ago. The stars exploded, the leftover debris and gas collected in another region of space, and then formed our star Sol and the planets. All life and energy on earth is because of Sol and stars that preceded it.

I find this one truth more awe-inspiring than any imaginary God or religion ever fabricated on earth: we are made of stars. The stars have enough majesty in them exactly as they are and they are quite literally in all of us.

That truth is splendid enough. Telling myself that an imaginary God made the stars doesn't add any wonder to them or make me a better person when I know full well that it isn't true.

RE: "likewise for lucky rabbit's feet" - I'm sure the rabbit would agree that they didn't bring him a lot of luck, and he was carrying four of them!

Knowing we are finite, that there is no god, no hereafter, for me at least, leaves me with the awareness that if I'm going to do anything, commit a kindness, an act of mercy or generosity, I have only a limited time to do it, and that once the moment passes, it will never come again. There will be no future time, in which I can say, "You know, I'm sorry about what I did (or didn't do) back on earth, but we're OK now, right?"

Thank you for attempting to establish a bond with me by complementing my question.

"Not sure what kind of a "bond" you're talking about, but I figure it is tangential to the discussion at hand."

It's an old negotiation trick - I've spent a few years in sales. Start the conversation by thanking your potential customer for doing something a blithering idiot could do with his eyes closed, and that helps establish a rapport that makes it easier for you to put your thoughts in his head - unless, of course he's NOT dumber than a bag of Bibles, and can see through it --

So if I alter that slightly, and say:

"Finally, define Zork* = Nature. By this definition, Zork* must exist, unless science is completely wrongheaded and no natural forces exist. Assuming that natural forces indeed do exist, we conclude that Zork* exists, and unless something Supernatural exists, Zork* is both omnipotent and self-causing."

*(Substitute your nonsense word of choice.)

God probably has more names collectively from all the world's languages than any other concept. Go ahead and add Zork to the list if you like.

Insanity involves believing your delusions, religion involves believing other people's delusions. There's no way you're going to suck me into your delusion by asking me to equate the fictional name, "Zork," with the fictional name, "god."

Zork fits your equation as well as god, as does unicorn, leprechaun and flying spaghetti monster, or any other word one chooses to use - as it's worded, the equation is open-ended.

So you admit that your issue is entirely semantics. What I don't understand is how my use of the word "God" in this case makes me delusional.

Is my delusion that I can choose a name for the causal origin of everything in the universe?

Or am I deluded in suggesting that "God" is in fact the most common, best established name for this origin?

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