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  #1  
Unread 28th September 2009, 11:04 PM
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The Falsification Debate

Philosopher Anthony Flew once said,

“What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you a disproof of the love of, or of the existence of, God?”

It is so easy to speak so generally, or to hold views that are designed to allow fast but superficial assimilation of any bit of knowledge out there. However, I suspect that such claims are of little relevance to what life throws at people on an everyday basis. In other words, if God (for example) is defined in such a way as to be unchallengeable, does such an idea constitute "useful knowledge"?

So, how would you respond to Flew?
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Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
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Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
- From The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
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  #2  
Unread 28th September 2009, 11:08 PM
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I don't understand the question in the long paragraph. To answer the shorter first sentence, I would say history would have to be erased.
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Unread 29th September 2009, 01:26 AM
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Unread 29th September 2009, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ittarter View Post
Philosopher Anthony Flew once said,

“What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you a disproof of the love of, or of the existence of, God?”

So, how would you respond to Flew?
The fact that Flew has to ask the question in the manner he does strongly suggests there IS a God - which effectively blows his whole thesis.
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Unread 29th September 2009, 10:13 AM
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Perhaps if I restate the OP's question, it will get more meaningful answers.

For a statement to have relevance, it must have meaning. For a statement about the existence of something to have meaning, there must be a difference between a world in which that thing exists, and a world in which it does not exist. If you know what that difference is, then you know whether or not the thing exists in this present world.

"Falsification" is the technical term for testing for this difference. If a statement can be falsified, it can be proven, or disproven.

I believe that God exists, and that He loves us. My belief is based on faith, not proof. I don't know whether those statements are falsifiable. I can't think of any objective tests that will show a difference, but that, in itself, does not mean such tests do not exist.

So the OP's question becomes: Do you know of a test that might offer hope of testing the existence of God and His love?
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Do I claim that I am never wrong in what I've come to believe from my study of the Scriptures? Of course not. Then I would not be open to learning the truth when I still have so much more to learn. If I ever believed I knew all of God's truth, I'd be claiming to know the whole of God's mind -- I'd be, like Eve under the Serpent's influence, and like Nimrod, or whichever early king of Babel ordered the building of the Tower, and like the mad emperor Caligula, trying to become God
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Unread 29th September 2009, 05:15 PM
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Thanks, OllieFranz. That's a good explanation of what I'm wondering.
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  #7  
Unread 29th September 2009, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by wayseer View Post
The fact that Flew has to ask the question in the manner he does strongly suggests there IS a God - which effectively blows his whole thesis.
But can't it be turned the other way as well?

"What could happen that would disprove the absence of a supreme deity over the universe?"

I realize this is something of a double negative. It assumes that "non-belief" or the rejection of a belief is itself a belief. I suppose I'd have to prove that first.
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Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
- From The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
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  #8  
Unread 29th September 2009, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by MrPolo View Post
I don't understand the question in the long paragraph. To answer the shorter first sentence, I would say history would have to be erased.
Do you mean this seriously? Do you mean the forgetting of everything that has happened before the present?

We would still need something in the present that DISproves God's existence. Taking away evidence for God's existence is not the same as disproving his existence, as far I understand it.
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...Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
- From The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
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  #9  
Unread 29th September 2009, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ittarter
In other words, if God (for example) is defined in such a way as to be unchallengeable, does such an idea constitute "useful knowledge"?
An unchallengeable God isn't necessarily a totally useless concept - but it's certainly a logically incoherent one. For example if you hold (as mainstream Christianity does).
(1) God is immutable.
(2) God became man.
Then your Doctrine of God is logically incoherent because these two statements contradict each other. But you're still a Christian, so your concept of God isn't totally useless. (By the way I accept #2 but reject #1 outright).

Philosopher Anthony Flew once said, “What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you a disproof of the love of, or of the existence of, God?”
The existence of evil proves that God, as defined in mainstream Christianity, doesn't exist. For it holds that:
(1) God is perfect in love.
(2) God foreknew the fall of Lucifer and Adam.
These two statements contradict each other. To see why, suppose you wanted to give birth to three kids, but were compelled to pick A or B below:
(A) Three kids foreknown to abstain from sin and thus make it to heaven.
(B) Three kids foreknown to condemn themselves, by sinnning, to hell.
Which would you choose? Obviously, if you are a loving person, you'd prefer choice A. If God is loving, He would only create those people and angels foreknown to abstain from sin. (Plenty of angels never sinned, for example). Therefore a loving God cannot be said to exist on the assumption that He foreknew evil. Well, I believe that a loving God exists, so I am forced to conclude that He did not foreknow all the evil seen today (He didn't know Adam would fall and was hoping that he wouldn't fall).

FYI: This doctrine that God lacks foreknowledge is known as Open Theism.
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Last edited by JAL; 29th September 2009 at 09:45 PM.
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Unread 29th September 2009, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by JAL View Post
An unchallengeable God isn't necessarily a totally useless concept - but it's certainly a logically incoherent one. For example if you hold (as mainstream Christianity does).
(1) God is immutable.
(2) God became man.
Then your Doctrine of God is logically incoherent because these two statements contradict each other. But you're still a Christian, so your concept of God isn't totally useless. (By the way I accept #2 but reject #1 outright).

The existence of evil proves that God, as defined in mainstream Christianity, doesn't exist. For it holds that:
(1) God is perfect in love.
(2) God foreknew the fall of Lucifer and Adam.
These two statements contradict each other. To see why, suppose you wanted to give birth to three kids, but were compelled to pick A or B below:
(A) Three kids foreknown to abstain from sin and thus make it to heaven.
(B) Three kids foreknown to condemn themselves, by sinnning, to hell.
Which would you choose? Obviously, if you are a loving person, you'd prefer choice A. If God is loving, He would only create those people and angels foreknown to abstain from sin. (Plenty of angels never sinned, for example). Therefore a loving God cannot be said to exist on the assumption that He foreknew evil. Well, I believe that a loving God exists, so I am forced to conclude that He did not foreknow all the evil seen today (He didn't know Adam would fall and was hoping that he wouldn't fall).

FYI: This doctrine that God lacks foreknowledge is known as Open Theism.
JAL,

Thanks for your thoughts. Flew speaks of a "death my a thousand qualifications." I think that's what you're talking about. If you have to qualify, say, God's love by saying "he will not act against the free will of a human being" (even though he regularly does so in the Bible! e.g. hardening Pharaoh's heart) and you must write giant theology books to explain why your basic principles (e.g. immutability and incarnation) are consistent with each other, after you have qualified it so many times, is your original thesis truly intact?
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...Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
- From The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
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