Provable?

Within this website I explore whether there is a spiritual realm, a supernatural realm, containing God, mind, souls, consciousness with its contents (ideas, emotions, love, reason, etc) — this, from a purely philosophical and unreligious point of view.
In this article, I first assume there is a spiritual realm so as to explore the implications; then I present my conclusions elsewhere.

Some (many?) atheists admit you can't prove there is no God. But it is so unlikely that it's justified to believe there is no God.

Some (many?) atheists seem to think it's a proven fact that there is no God. But, of course, they are using scientific proof of the kind they use to prove things about matter, where you can perform repeatable experiments. The spiritual realm (if there is one) doesn't work like this. They assume materialism/physicalism and then, voila, no God. Is this surprising?

Even so, I would become an atheist if I was convinced it's the correct view. (But I might prefer pantheism, which is merely the physical world of atheism; but divine or sacred. In other words: pantheism = atheism + divine.)

And so, I finally did become non-theist.

(1) God is good. (2) Suffering exists on the planet earth. (3) Any conception of God has to include the fact of suffering. This has implications and limits the kind of God to the following:

  1. No God (atheism or pantheism.)
  2. God is both good and bad.
  3. God is good, but he/she created free will creature(s) who can choose to be bad.
  4. God is not in total control and, therefore, various kinds of created creatures can create universes having suffering. (But is this kind of God even God at all?)

In this article I explain my musings about atheism. I've been studying it in great detail because there is so much information about it — atheists are energetic proponents of their view.


Atheism is merely the belief that there is no God. Atheists have no obligation to prove this; it is theists who must prove there is a God. This, because revealed religions and revealed spiritual paths are untrustworthy sources of knowledge and truth.

Agnosticism is merely not knowing whether there is a God or not. Some atheists claim science demonstrates clearly that there is no God and, therefore, there is no justification for being agnostic (and they mock agnostics). Other atheists claim you can't prove there is no God. I think this second view is the proper one.

I think you can disprove the Christian claims about God and his nature; this, because God's activities intersect with the physical functioning of the universe in ways provably false.


Problems with God

Those promoting God make egregious errors. Here are some:


Intelligent design

Merely claiming intelligent design by God without demonstrating a possible mechanism for God to interact with the physical atoms and molecules to implement his/her design; this is not science, nor is it responsible. Examples:

  1. You might suppose that God fiddles around with the motions of atoms. But would he/she violate the laws of physics in doing so? And there is no known mechanism for this fiddling (except miracles).
  2. And how could anyone, even a super-intellect, possibly know the consequences of this fiddling? The biochemical systems of life are simply too complex for this kind of analytical or predictive power.
  3. And why would God even want to micromanage the universe at the atomic level anyway?

Morality

Claiming that God provides a moral basis for society is false. Especially when the holy books of the revealed religions and revealed spiritual paths are fiction; and clearly and provably contradict science, archaeology, document analysis, and logic. The Gods of these revealed religions command the most immoral of activities such as genocide, slavery, subjugation of women, mistreatment of foreigners, conversion through violence, and much more.


God is good and bad

This world contains pain and suffering. Claiming that God is good but created badness is illogical. And claiming that God is good but allows for pain and suffering implies God is not so good after all. Even worse, claiming that people being tortured to death and animals eating each other alive is desirable for a higher good is an offensive idea. Finally, claiming that God is both good and bad means God is not God.

Why should we want a God unless he/she is good?


No utopia?

Why would we want a God unless we can pray to him/her for miracles and he/she does miracles for us? But why wouldn't this God merely place us in a utopia to begin with so we don't need to pray for miracles (which never happen) all the time?


Other views of God, please

Some (most) atheists emphasize objecting to the Christian God or to other views of God from revealed religions or revealed spiritual paths. They never comment on my concept of God.

The problem with God is: it's always discussed in terms of some religion. But there are other views of God, non-religious views. For example, philosophical idealists admit there is such a thing as "mind" which space and time spring out of.

Maybe 99% of the arguments of atheists against God are directed against the Christian view of God (and other religions). Since I consider revealed religions and revealed spiritual paths to be untrustworthy sources of truth and knowledge, none of these arguments against God are of interest to me. (And therefore, atheists are dull too.)


Atheism = spirituality

I wonder if materialistic atheistic science and my view are not really so different?

We both admit the universe is bizarre, strange, and unexplainable beyond the mere physics. Why is the universe here? And who can answer this for sure? It's beyond the domain of science, a philosophical question really. Any answer given could never be proven. These are questions residing within the spiritual realm, within the soul or mind.

We are each in awe of the universe. I see God in it. They don't — and that's the only difference really. And the words we use to talk about it. (Also, I admit the possibility of something other than the material/physical.)


Kinds of objections

Here are the objections from atheists: (I disagree with some of these, but then, I am not an atheist.)

Actually, I am now a non-theist, and so, I disagree with all these except maybe #5.

  1. The material/physical world is all that exists. Therefore, there is no God.
  2. The Christian concept of God is incoherent. (I agree. I out-of-hand reject all arguments by theologians and, therefore, do not wish to waste my time discussing them.)
  3. If God is good and all-powerful (as he/she must be), then the fact of suffering proves there is no God.
  4. There is no need to postulate an intelligent designer to explain biological complexity; natural selection explains it all.
  5. There is no evidence that consciousness or mind have a component beyond brain function.
  6. Explaining the origin of the universe via God's creative power implies that you have to also propose a super-God to create God, and on and on.
  7. If you think it's too unlikely that, by randomness, the odds that: (1) life came to be, and (2) complex biological structures appeared via natural selection; then it's even more unlikely that God created all this. He/she would have to be far more complex than the complexity he/she created.
  8. The moral ideas of good and evil, right and wrong, do not require a moral God as the source.
  9. There is no evidence of any kind of Godlike interactions with us such as: miracles, answered prayer, true revelations from God, accurate predictions of the future.
  10. Religious people throughout history have caused untold suffering in the name of religion. Also, even today, they ignore, for example, the threat of climate change.

God is good

God should be, at the very least, the standard of goodness and beauty, even if he/she is not in control of everything nor the creator of everything. The fact we think good is far superior than bad means, I think, there is an absolute standard of that fact.


God unfolds

Atheists object to the Christian concept of God, a God who is capable of ending slavery, for example, but doesn't do it. And they are correct to deny the existence of this kind of God.

This atheist argument doesn't work for other conceptions of God in which he/she allows pain, suffering, death, and evil, but doesn't intervene to correct the problems; a God who is good, but who doesn't micromanage the creation.

And so, what if God unfolds along with the events of the creation, all the while interacting with the souls of those who inhabit it? Atheists seem unaware of a God like this.

They might object that God doesn't interact with humans at all. But who can say for sure whether our experiences of awe and our recognition of things as good and beautiful; whether these appear at moments when our individual conscious experience merges temporarily into God's sublime divine nature?

If there is a God, he/she must be something like this.


Intelligent design

Intelligent design by God. If there is an intelligent designer who is complex enough to create and design the irreducibly complex biologically structures, then this God would need to be more complex than those; in addition to having powers sufficient to create the universe. If it's unlikely that such irreducibly complex structures can form by randomness plus natural selection, then therefore, it's even far more unlikely that there could be a God having the powers to create these.


Philosophical arguments of atheism

A theist argument for God is: since every effect has a cause, God must exist as the first cause of it all. The objection by atheists is that postulating a creator God would require yet another preceding creator God to create this God (since every effect has a cause). This leads to an infinite regress of Gods.

Ontology: Why is it more satisfying to assume there is a good and personal God who created all of reality, rather than merely assuming (as atheists do) that reality just is, having no explanation at all? (And why do theists find it more satisfying to accept an unexplainable God rather than an unexplainable universe?)

Objections to atheism:

  1. Materialism/physicalism is merely assumed, not proven. (But the existence of a spiritual realm can't be proved either and is, therefore, also merely assumed.)
  2. Scientific inquiry must include everything, including phenomena of the social sciences such as, for example, the economic law of supply and demand. But these kinds of things seem to be beyond the scope of science.
  3. Explaining the subjective experience of consciousness in terms of materialism/physicalism is unsatisfying. Such explanations as: (1) it's merely an illusion, or (2) it's merely the process and functioning of the neural network of the brain, or (3) it's merely an emergent property.
  4. Materialism/physicalism incorrectly assumes that a spirit being simply can't interact with the physical without violating the physical laws of nature. But there is a way.
  5. It must be assumed that things appearing to have purpose (teleonomy and teleology) in fact, have only the illusion of purpose.
  6. It is assumed that information embedded in physical systems is purely physical, not requiring a non-physical source.
  7. It must be assumed universe just is, for no reason.
  8. It is assumed that biological systems can arise randomly. But it can't be proved that this is what actually occurred.

Atheism can't explain...

Inability to explain mass hallucinations such as the dancing of the sun at Fatima. Of course, the sun didn't really dance. The explanation requires some sort of group psychic or spiritual communication. Similar for the sprit at charismatic church meetings and the archetypes of the psychologist Carl Jung. These are explained if people have souls residing in a spiritual realm that communicate with one another. (But I should note: such kinds of mass hallucinations can be explained without reference to a spiritual realm.)

Seems like the best evidence of God is that there needs to be something more to explain consciousness with its contents, and to explain mind. People claim humans are teleological (doing things from purpose) which requires a mind, but there is no such thing as mind in physics. There is no quantum field called mind and no law of nature called mind. Perhaps if atheists would introduce such a thing, I would be less resistant to their ideas.


Ignored by atheists

That there is a way for the soul to communicate with and to affect change in its associated body.

Yes, I agree that postulating the existence of a soul which can direct behavior; that this requires a way for a spirit being to interact with the physical realm. Atheists have not considered how this can be possible except to declare that it is impossible. But there is a way: two-way communication between soul and body.

The assumption that consciousness and mind are caused by electron flow in the neural network of the brain (or some variation of this). But mind seems to be a thing of its own, having unity. We think a tennis ball is a discrete object, but the natural laws know nothing about tennis balls; conglomerate objects are constructs of the mind. But how can the mind construct the mind? (See my objection to emergent properties.)


Evolution

Evolutionists assume there is a stepwise progression from simpler biological structures to more complex and intricate ones:

  1. There is no model explaining every tiniest mutation leading, for example, from a light sensitive spot on the skin to eyeballs having corresponding brain structures.
  2. Yes, simple stepwise progressions can be observed, but it is merely assumed that this "proves" all changes no matter how big are due to this. Science needs to demonstrate this, not merely assume it.
  3. It is merely assumed that replicating life was able to arise from random, without natural selection (which can only operate once you have organisms which replicate from generation to generation, passing on information).
  4. The jump to eukaryotes and then to conscious creatures, some think might have needed to be via randomness (and not natural selection) because the jumps are too extreme. I claim the eyeball example is like this too.
  5. If an intelligent designer was involved with large changes, the following: (1) ability of a spirit being to interact with the physical, (2) can only micromanage at the subatomic level (can't predict the final effect), and (3) many changes are not "good", in other words, bigger teeth to kill and eat each other alive. Why would a not-good intelligent designer exist at all? The point of having God is that he/she is good.

The soul of the universe

Perhaps if the universe has a soul which grows as the universe develops so this soul becomes tightly integrated at the subatomic quantum level (just as the brain neural network is incredibly complex and tightly integrated internally and with the rest of the body). Perhaps on the other side of the window of quantum mechanical randomness; perhaps the other side of this is a soul, residing in the spiritual realm?

And the same for the brain — the soul of the organism develops along with the brain of that organism becoming tightly coupled and correlated with it. Therefore, the soul (of the universe and the organism) will know how to affect changes by translating higher level ideas into specific quantum effects.

This doesn't explain God or the origin of reality, but it explains everything else needing explaining.


Is atheism a religion?

I realize atheism doesn't claim to be a religion. And I'm only referring to those activist atheists who feel they must convert God-believers to atheism, or else these God-believers will destroy civilization.

Weirdly, many atheists are offended if you claim atheists are activists, as if this is a bad thing. Yet these agree it is desirable that people are trained in critical thinking skills and that children are not indoctrinated in religious teaching. This seems like activism to me.

There is an intensity of emotion, an anger, an urgency in these atheists' interactions that remind me of fundamentalist religious adherents. As if the same religious impulses and zeal are operational in both.

That said, I agree of the bad effects on society when people reject provable knowledge about the physical universe obtained via the scientific method, especially when large groups do so.

Also, the kind of God you believe in matters. A God who commits genocide on innocents, and who commands angels and humans to do likewise; belief in this kind of God will obviously have bad consequences for society. Also, a God who judges small transgressions by torture and execution. Also, a God who promotes an infer role in society for women, for example. Or who promotes slavery.

So within these constraints, atheists should allow for belief in God. But note that such a God has no effect whatsoever on the physical world at all, and his/her influence can only enter into our minds to bring goodness and justice and beauty and joy and peace. Why should anyone object to a God like that?

I would prefer if atheists would limit their critiques of belief in God to critiques of the specific ideas such as I've outlined above. And that they would be calm and rational and polite in their demeanor. I was needlessly a Christian for 30 years because I was offended by the rage of atheists, and so, rejected their views out-of-hand.