On 1/11/2013 11:54 PM, Jason Resch wrote:

On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 12:30 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

    On 1/11/2013 9:41 PM, Jason Resch wrote:

    On Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 4:42 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
    <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

        On 1/11/2013 2:17 PM, Jason Resch wrote:

        On Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 11:25 AM, <spudboy...@aol.com
        <mailto:spudboy...@aol.com>> wrote:

            In a message dated 1/11/2013 2:27:33 AM Eastern Standard Time,
            jasonre...@gmail.com <mailto:jasonre...@gmail.com> writes:

                1) Choose some religion, it doesn't matter which
                2) Find an idea some adherents of that religion put forward but 
                no one seriously believes in or is easily shown to be 
                3) Assume that because you have disproved one idea of one 
                that all ideas found in all religions are false and/or 
                4) Bask in the feeling of superiority over those who are not so


            Ok, so in Darwinian fashion you sort through hundreds of faiths, so 
            happens when you cannot dissprove a religion? You sort them down 
till you
            hit a toughie, does that make it automatically correct, or is it the
            intellectual limitation of the sorter? Your Basking, is angering 
            non-believers, even. Witness Higg's criticism of Dawkins. Believers,
            Jason, I suppose will merely, pray for your soul (poor lad!).
            Perhaps if you decided to create your own religion, that couldn't be
            disproved, based on physics, or math, you would be coming up with 
the best
            faith? Then we could all be converted to being Jasonites. Or
            Reschers-whichever you prefer?

        I'm nor sure I understand your point.  My point was only that John's 
        to atheism, which he defines as belief in no Gods, is less rational than
        someone following his 4-step program to become a liberal theologian.

        In particular, it is the above step 3, rejecting all religious ideas as 
        without giving the idea a fair scientific evaluation, which is 
        problematic.  John is perhaps being prescient in turning a blind eye to 
        other ideas, as otherwise we might have the specter of a
        self-proclaimed atheist who finds scientific justification for after 
        reincarnation, karma, beings who exercise complete control over worlds 
        their design and creation, as well as a self-existent changeless 
        object responsible for the existence of all reality.

        He would rather avoid those topics altogether and take solace in denying
        specific instances of inconsistent or silly definitions of God.

        But your parody fails as a serious argument because the ideas put 
forward by
        *almost all theists* include a very powerful, beneficent, all knowing
        superbeing who will judge and reward and punish souls in an after life 
and who
        answers prayers.

    Please provide some reference showing almost all theists use that 
definition of
    God.  I find it unlikely that most theists would incorporate every facet of 

    "Every facet"??  It's only the standard, three omni's of Christianity, 
Judaism, and
    Islam except I left the requirements even weaker, plus answering prayers.

To fit your definition God must: be very powerful and be beneficent and be all knowing and be a super being and judge souls and give an afterlife to souls and reward some and punish others and answer prayers.

Many of these attributes may be commonly mentioned, but few will have all of them. Many Jews don't believe in an after life, as the Torah says next to nothing about one. Many Christians reject the idea of a punishing God. And of course, this says nothing of the concepts of God in Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, or Bahá'í Faith.

      You're just being obtuse.  You know perfectly well that's what theism 

I don't.  There is no universally agreed upon definition.

: belief in the existence of a god or gods; specifically : belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world

The Free Dictionary:
Belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in a personal God as creator and ruler of the world.

1. the belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation ( distinguished from deism ).
2. belief in the existence of a god or gods ( opposed to atheism ).

Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.

You seem to be a fan of a hyper-specific definition of which all but defines it as inconsistent. I noticed that none of the above definitions requires omniscience, omnipotence, omni-benevolence, answering prayers, punishing souls, etc.

    Even between various sects of Christianity and Islam, views differ regarding
    whether or not God is all knowing.  An all-knowing God implies 
    which is contested between various groups.

        Now some, far from powerful, humans with far from complete information,
        eliminated smallpox from the world.  God therefore must have had that 
power and
        simply chose not to do it.  So if any very powerful, very knowledgeable
        superbeing exists, it is not beneficent and not an acceptable judge of 
good and
        evil.  These are not just a peripheral idea of theisms and it's 
falsehood is
        not a minor point because all theism insist that these ideas are 
definitive of
        their religion.

    It doesn't matter if 95% of theisms are ones you find fault with; it only 
takes one
    correct theism to make atheism wrong, which is why I think it is an 
untenable and
    illogical position.

    But there can't be even 'one correct theism' as I pointed out above, the 
    definition of theism

I think you mean *your* very definition of theism, not *the* definition.

    allows it to be empirically falsified by the appearance of unnecessary 
evil, in my
    example evil that mere human beings had the power to eliminate and did 

How have you proven it is unnecessary? If you require that God be omniscient, then all universes and all outcomes necessarily exist in that omniscient mind. Further, if God knows everything, he knows what it is like to experience every possible conscious sensation, including that of a human living in a world where evil things happen.

What can you say about a superbeing who can eliminate an evil but chooses not to. You can't say he's the beneficent God of theism.

Here you validate my point: picking something no one believes exists and calling it God is common for atheists. It is essentially the reflection of what John said liberal theologians do: pick something everyone believes exists and call it God.

There is nothing to gain from such black and white word games: either we narrow the definition of God until it cannot point to anything that exists, or expanding the definition until it is self evidently extant. What good is that?

I suggest we do something a little more challenging: see how narrow a definition of God we can use without running contrary to our models of reality. You might find that your perfectly rational and scientific model of reality permits or suggests an eternal, uncreated, immutable, transcendent, immanent, infinite, entity that is responsible for all our existence.

But that's exactly what John was mocking: Let's see if there's *anything* we can find that we can stick the appellation "God" on, any crack we can caulk with the tube of divinity. That may be fine if you you're intent on inventing a religion that has a "God"; it's worked in the past. But "God" either has a meaning or not. The meaning assigned by the majority of theisms, e.g. Catholicism, Baptists, Islam includes those I gave above. That Judaism doesn't include the idea of justice in the afterlife, doesn't let it escape the problem of theodicy.

This definition is pretty much identical to that found in some schools of 

Right.  Hinduism isn't theism.

We might also envision an omega-point civilization creating simulated words containing life forms over which it is omnipotent and omniscient. In fact, if reality is hugely or infinitely varied, e.g., many worlds, eternal inflation, string theory landscapes, then it becomes highly probable if not guaranteed that there are many explanations for your current moment of awareness. You simultaneously exist in many versions of this universe, and some proportion of which may be created by superbeings as part of their exploration of reality.

That doesn't mean they are beneficient. Theism =/= deism. Deism is logically and empirically possible - but so it Pastafarianism. And there's no reason to believe either one of them.

What would the atheist who believes in a plentitude say then?

If he wanted to be a liberal theologian he'd say, "The Plentitude is God."

Perhaps something like: "I believe God(s) rule(s) over the universe I am in, but only with a relatively small measure across all the universes I am in". What does the statement even mean at that point?

Peter: What would you say if I told you that the universe is
the creation of an all powerful, all knowing being, who commands
our obedience and worship.
Curls: I'd say you were about to take up a collection.
      --- Johnny Hart, in B.C.

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