I know this sounds pretty strange, particularly coming from me … a lifelong atheist who was never indoctrinated into any religious belief.
You’re probably asking yourself why I, an atheist would make a case for the existence of gods instead of against the existence of gods given the fact that an atheist by definition has an absence of god beliefs.
Well, I’m just exploring a hypothesis. One that I’ve played with over the years and have decided to put to paper and see where it flies (or crashes and burns).
It came to mind recently as a result of a discussion I’m currently having with a friend who makes the claim that “gods are fictional”.
I don’t entirely disagree with the claim. It really is quite a good explanation for the concept of gods, however, one of the points that I’ve been making to my friend is that it’s probably not a good idea to make such statements absolute.
That is, a better statement or claim would be, “it’s probable or highly likely that gods are fictional”. The reason for this is that there are other good potential reasons why humanity adopted the god concept. In addition, not all of them are based on the non-existence of gods.
So, while this is a good explanation, it isn’t the only good explanation.
Since my friend offered up the challenge that I should falsify his claim which he defended and supported, I took up the challenge.
For the sake of argument, here it is:
It is known that in ancient times, human beings often considered their leaders (kings) gods. In some cases, they considered them representatives of gods but in many cases they were considered actual gods. This is evidenced in cultures like the ancient Egyptians who considered their rulers actual gods.
Given the above background:
- Ancient Egyptians considered their leaders gods.
- There is evidence these leaders existed both through historical documentation and objective evidence (mummies of the kings).
- Therefore gods exist and are not fictional.
The claim that “gods are fictional” has now been falsified.
Not to mention the fossil evidence for all the animal gods.
Thanks for the laugh!
That is, a better statement or claim would be, “it’s probable or highly likely that gods are fictional”.
Er, no. For that probability calculations have to be shown to be less than 1.0, before that becomes a better statement. How do you determine that "gods are fictional" is attributed a probability of 0.999999999... rather than 1.0000? If you cannot, it cannot be a 'better' statement.
As to the argument from nomenclature, we know that kings are human, and therefore not gods. That other humans call them gods do not change their properties. The use of metaphors is not evidence that there were gods, and certainly not evidence that these gods exist (they are dead).
Angela Bassett is a goddess, at least one person worships her, it does not make the case for the existence of gods.
C'mon, theists make a better case at times. Take a look at Penn Jillette's example of an elephant in your trunk.
Redefining established terms to something else does not make something else any more (or less) probable.
Ancient Egyptian history indicates that they did consider humans gods. Some gods have the property of being human. Those gods that are Pharoahs.
I'm not redefining anything. Over 3000 claimed gods exist all of which have different properties and attributes.
The ancient Egyptian gods include the property of being human.
And one doesn't have to have a measure for probable or likely to determine that something is probable or likely.
The case for the existence of gods as per the ancient Egyptians stands not only supported by historical documentation but with objective evidence of the existence of those kings (mummies).
Those facts allow me to assign a high probability or likelihood.
@Bretta. Glad you enjoyed it! :-D
One can't justify assigning a 1.0 to a claim like this because there is no way of knowing absolutely that it's true.
Therefore, the claim which includes a probability statement is better.
"The ancient Egyptian gods include the property of being human."
Then they are not gods. Gods are living beings, not dead, and violate laws of nature. Look up the definitions of the 3,000+, and find one that says is dead.
Besides, the dispute is not whether they are *called* gods, but whether they are gods.
Again, Penn Jillette addresses this very well, with the elephant in the trunk.
A god that I as an atheist claim does not exist is one that supposedly is living and capable of magic.
That does not prevent anyone from renaming his pencil to be god and worshiping it. It also does not change my position that gods do not exist.
"And one doesn't have to have a measure for probable or likely to determine that something is probable or likely."
Actually you do, if you are insisting that it cannot be one specific value. You cannot say that it cannot be 1.0 and claim that you do not have to show your work.
"One can't justify assigning a 1.0 to a claim like this because there is no way of knowing absolutely that it's true."
That is a classic logical fallacy ("Begging the question"), where you assume the conclusion in the premise. You are simultaneously starting with "a claim like this cannot be known" and then concluding that "because it cannot be known it cannot be 1.0"
If it cannot be known, then it is unknown. It could be ANY value. If it is NOT a specific value, then it is not unknown. It is known to be NOT 1.0. Which means it could 0.0, 0.25, and a number of infinite other values.
You cannot say "highly" probable.
Here, my position in detail.
Post a Comment