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AtlantisRises

'It's just my opinion'

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'Divinity' is the general concept of the divine. Not a specific, defined deity that is worshipped via religion, but the overarching concept of the divine. It is similar in this way to how we use 'humanity' to describe the concept of humans.

How can a overarching concept of the divine actually be defined as nothing? 'Divine' does have some content and some definition, doesn't it? If it doesn't, then why are you even discussing a word that has no definition? This is not analogous to 'humanity', that has a much more succinct definition and, no, cannot and does not mean 'nothing', 'anything', nor 'everything'.

I don't think you should be stating it as divine having no 'known' characteristics; again, we're addressing claims and propositions, whether we conclude that there is any actual knowledge supporting or not supporting those claims is a separate issue. Theists make claims, and those claims are not that the divine is nothing.

Every definition I can find refers to atheism being the disbelief in gods or supreme beings, not just a nebulous entirely undefined 'divine'; maybe we're not even agreeing on what atheism actually is since I think you think it is the rejection of the undefined 'divine', when atheism is apparently narrower than that, since the divine can mean anything. As I said before, it's pretty hard to assent or dissent from something that has no definition. And I find 'can be anything, everything , or nothing' to be equivalent to having no definition.

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How can a overarching concept of the divine actually be defined as nothing?

Because of the possibility that the divine does not exist.

Every definition I can find refers to atheism being the disbelief in gods or supreme beings, not just a nebulous entirely undefined 'divine'...

And what are all those various concepts of "gods or supreme beings" lumped under?

Could the label for that be "divinity"?

Edited by Leonardo

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Liquid Gardens, pardon the interruption. I am curious about the meaning of "belief" in this context. Does belief imply no fact or evidence at all? I have always thought of "belief" as accepting an alleged fact either with or without proof. For example: I believe in the law of gravity, just as I belief that a God exists.

Good question J.K.; I use belief to mean just something that someone thinks to be true, no matter how well it is actually supported by reality. It doesn't imply no evidence or facts to support it, and I think it has general and specific meanings, I usually differentiate it from 'facts', although one could validly say using a general 'belief' definition that facts are also just ultimately beliefs. Tough to be specific, but I think 'beliefs' can be based on facts and evidence, but that usually those facts and evidence also support other interpretations and are not what we usually call direct evidence. If you have enough direct evidence, at some point we move from mere belief to knowledge, although I don't think there's some clear cut line when that exactly happens.

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There are a number of places around the world that are seen as somehow "holy," (whatever that might mean) and, interestingly, have remained so even through changes in the culture and prevailing beliefs. This may be just cultural influence of the earlier culture on its successors, or maybe there is something real in this concept and these places really are in some way different from the mundane world.

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I tend to prefer the word "holy:" over "divine," as the latter implies gods while the former is not limited that way and could be special in some other manner. A "divine person" is a god of some sort, a "holy person" is not.

Since I don't believe in any of the Western "Gods" and am agnostic about other gods, calling something "divine" carries Western assumptions that I don't care to make.

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Because of the possibility that the divine does not exist.

I think then we have stumbled on the crux of the issue then and why I'm struggling to understand your point. I asked how the divine is defined; whether or not it actually exists is orthogonal to that and does not result in the definition of it now being 'nothing' if it is shown to not actually exist. Dragons, hobbits, elves, Paul Bunyan, Bugs Bunny all have some qualities and characteristics and thus, definitions; those definitions do not change to 'nothing' if/when we find they don't exist.

And what are all those various concepts of "gods or supreme beings" lumped under?

Could the label for that be "divinity"?

Yes, that sounds right, but then we have the start of an actual definition then don't we? And if gods are lumped under 'divinity', then it is nonsensical to say that the divine may then be simultaneously defined as nothing. Things don't have to actually exist in order to possess content and have some definition.

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I think then we have stumbled on the crux of the issue...

No, we stumbled across that quite some time ago when you conflated divinity with leprechauns.

then and why I'm struggling to understand your point.

You struggle to understand my point because of your insistence that "definition" has to mean "has a beard, wears red trousers, etc". Existence and/or non-existence is part of a definition.

I asked how the divine is defined; whether or not it actually exists is orthogonal to that and does not result in the definition of it now being 'nothing' if it is shown to not actually exist. Dragons, hobbits, elves, Paul Bunyan, Bugs Bunny all have some qualities and characteristics and thus, definitions; those definitions do not change to 'nothing' if/when we find they don't exist.

Consider, in analogy, a group of beings who are debating whether "humanity" exists. This "humanity" is alleged to be a different group of supposedly intelligent creatures, however no evidence for any intelligent beings (apart from the debaters) has ever been discovered. There are also factions within the debaters who believe "humanity" exists, and who have rather specific definitions for what those "humans" are like, their natures and attributes. Not all of these definitions agree, and some are even contradictory.

Is the definition of "humanity" the concatenation of all the definitions those factions of believers have, or is it simply "supposedly intelligent beings who are rumoured to exist"? Are those who do not believe these undiscovered beings exist not entitled to issue a description of them which includes "does not exist"?

And so, in the objective sense the definition of "humanity" to that entire group of debaters is "supposedly intelligent beings who may, or may not, exist but for whom no evidence has been found."?

Edited by Leonardo

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Good question J.K.; I use belief to mean just something that someone thinks to be true, no matter how well it is actually supported by reality. It doesn't imply no evidence or facts to support it, and I think it has general and specific meanings, I usually differentiate it from 'facts', although one could validly say using a general 'belief' definition that facts are also just ultimately beliefs. Tough to be specific, but I think 'beliefs' can be based on facts and evidence, but that usually those facts and evidence also support other interpretations and are not what we usually call direct evidence. If you have enough direct evidence, at some point we move from mere belief to knowledge, although I don't think there's some clear cut line when that exactly happens.

I was (in truth) wondering this too, it is a good point. If we apply the rules of logic and start with deductive, the given cannot get off the ground simply because the premise is not based on a known fact(proven). So proving any g-d one way or the other is pointless/futile. What's left then is inductive reasoning and it is appropriate to arrive at some kind of conclusion based on observation, experimentation, or measurement. So I could say I had a personal experience that leads me to make a conjecture that there is a Christian g-d (for me) based on personal experience-- I can justify that this belief is possible/reasonable-- but what I cannot posit is that it is proof or a truth of the same g-d, nor could I then assume that all other g-d's exist because again I would have to do this deductively off a postulate. But I could to establish a belief in any g-d.

For this reason-- I do think one can legitimately have a belief in a g-d, based on the criteria allowed for inductive logic. I think it is valid to say I have a belief in such a such a g-d based on the bible, or based on a personal experience, or even based on choice--for that matter. But the most important aspect is these things are not proof of any g-d. but they can serve as reasonable to conclude/conjecture that my belief is valid/logical..

This is my logic flow on the matter and I conclude atheist(for me) based on this , but I could very well conclude agnostic or theist with the same darn argument. So, LQ I think that you were correct in pointing out that the distinction is really meaningless. But I could be wrong, I could have some errors in my logic mojo, of course I am open to corrections.

Edited by Sherapy

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Liquid Gardens, pardon the interruption. I am curious about the meaning of "belief" in this context. Does belief imply no fact or evidence at all? I have always thought of "belief" as accepting an alleged fact either with or without proof. For example: I believe in the law of gravity, just as I belief that a God exists.

J.K., great point!

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I continue to point out that a soon as you attribute any sort of "infinite" to such a God, you end up with self-referent logical contradictions. This is equivalent to proving the premise is false. Therefore I think intellectual honesty regarding that kind of "God" requires atheism.

Of course gods are conceivable that are not infinite in any way. That is a different discussion: maybe Alexander the Great was a god after all. Therefore I am agnostic regarding the existence of this sort of god.

"Personal testimony" is not affirmative evidence; indeed, it is negative evidence and only indicates indoctrination.

The Bible as evidence for God or gods is hard to approach with a straight face.

That one might "choose" to believe rather than not believe is also evidence of indoctrination, not evidence for God.

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No, we stumbled across that quite some time ago when you conflated divinity with leprechauns.

You struggle to understand my point because of your insistence that "definition" has to mean "has a beard, wears red trousers, etc". Existence and/or non-existence is part of a definition.

Consider, in analogy, a group of beings who are debating whether "humanity" exists. This "humanity" is alleged to be a different group of supposedly intelligent creatures, however no evidence for any intelligent beings (apart from the debaters) has ever been discovered. There are also factions within the debaters who believe "humanity" exists, and who have rather specific definitions for what those "humans" are like, their natures and attributes. Not all of these definitions agree, and some are even contradictory.

Is the definition of "humanity" the concatenation of all the definitions those factions of believers have, or is it simply "supposedly intelligent beings who are rumoured to exist"? Are those who do not believe these undiscovered beings exist not entitled to issue a description of them which includes "does not exist"?

And so, in the objective sense the definition of "humanity" to that entire group of debaters is "supposedly intelligent beings who may, or may not, exist but for whom no evidence has been found."?

Leo, you are using divinity and it really doesn't have a common understanding, that I am aware of( maybe where you are it does but here U.S. it doesn't.) It is appropriate and fair to you, for the sake of moving the conversation forward to ask you how you are defining divinity. I believe that is all LQ is asking and I am wondering the same thing. Thanks for your help.

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Thank yourself lucky, because normally when the odd religious person cannot address a valid and logical point, they usually toss a bible verse in your path, and think that may distract you..I get that now and again. lol :P

Why do you assume I'm religious? My point was that the idea of God is unfalsifiable and therefore non-scientific

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"Personal testimony" is not affirmative evidence; indeed, it is negative evidence and only indicates indoctrination.

The Bible as evidence for God or gods is hard to approach with a straight face.

That one might "choose" to believe rather than not believe is also evidence of indoctrination, not evidence for God.

Are you using the strict definition of "indoctrinate" - to teach - or are you ascribing sinister, cultic aspects of control to the word? At no time in my life have I ever been under any religious leader's control. I have always been free to incorporate any knowledge gained into my life in my own way, pick and choose. I think perhaps you are letting your own history color your statement a bit.

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Indoctrination into a religion or into a political belief system generally happens during childhood. It can be self-done via wishful thinking or hypnosis or meditation. I don't think people can come to believe irrational things any other way.

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I might add that propaganda can make the irrational seem rational -- techniques such as testimony, stacked deck, the Big Lie, appeals to our better selves and what we wish were true, and of course that old standby, cultural pressure and even legal pressure.

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No, we stumbled across that quite some time ago when you conflated divinity with leprechauns.

No, technically I analogized them, not conflated; I'm making a comparison, not merging them. The stumble seems to have occurred because you are using a non-standard definition of 'divinity' that I overlooked initially.

You struggle to understand my point because of your insistence that "definition" has to mean "has a beard, wears red trousers, etc". Existence and/or non-existence is part of a definition.

Yes, but it is impossible to determine or even discuss if something does exist or non-exist if it is not first defined. Tell me, do kerzuxes exist, do you find that to even be a meaningful question? You're not going to now be inconsistent and 'insist' on a definition are you?

I never insisted that a definition has to mean a complete description, but leprechauns and divinity do mean something. A leprechaun is not a Kraken and divinity is not bad breath, and we know that because both leprechaun and divinity do have some attributes or definition.

Consider, in analogy, a group of beings who are debating whether "humanity" exists. This "humanity" is alleged to be a different group of supposedly intelligent creatures, however no evidence for any intelligent beings (apart from the debaters) has ever been discovered. There are also factions within the debaters who believe "humanity" exists, and who have rather specific definitions for what those "humans" are like, their natures and attributes. Not all of these definitions agree, and some are even contradictory.

Is the definition of "humanity" the concatenation of all the definitions those factions of believers have, or is it simply "supposedly intelligent beings who are rumoured to exist"? Are those who do not believe these undiscovered beings exist not entitled to issue a description of them which includes "does not exist"?

If for some reason we must arrive at one 'definition' to rule them all, then I'd say it's the opposite, the definition of humanity is probably the attributes that most of these debaters agree on, which sounds like it's just a different group of supposedly intelligent creatures, who it has been proposed may possess qualities A,B, and/or C. In your scenario here, as soon as we have some agreement on what qualities these debaters agree humanity possesses, then it is not valid to then define it as having no characteristics at all and that it can be everything or nothing.

And so, in the objective sense the definition of "humanity" to that entire group of debaters is "supposedly intelligent beings who may, or may not, exist but for whom no evidence has been found."?

'

In the objective sense things are complicated because words can have multiple definitions and cover a spectrum of meanings; 'theory' in science is a well-founded explanation for a phenomenon and in colloquial conversation theory oftentimes means a guess. It sounds like each debater has their own personal definition of humanity, just like theists have of their gods. But you seem to be saying that the atheist shouldn't be basing anything concerning the existence of gods based on the ability to argue with these different conceptions, as it is failing to address general 'divinity'. When I ask you to clarify then what Leo's divinity conception entails, you say it has no characteristics and can mean nothing or everything, which means essentially that you don't actually have any definition of divinity, which since it's the case has nothing to do with atheism and the definitions of divinity that it disputes, so I'm not sure why you brought it up. Why exactly am I able to find definitions of divinity in any dictionary, why don't actual etymologists struggle to provide a definition if it really as you said has no characteristics?

I think I've largely misread part of your argument here. When you were first talking about how atheists are good at picking on the 'backwards' religions (that billions of theists actually believe in...) and how they really should be addressing some general 'divinity', I assumed there was something about this other more general definition of divinity that atheists don't have a good answer for or that are more sophisticated conceptions than the more defined gods. After asking what you mean though, the only reason I'm getting why atheists don't have a good answer for this other 'general divinity' is because there is no definition there to actually dispute; I don't see that as a strike against atheism at all, not much argument to be made against everything, anything, and/or nothing, but that of course is not what atheism disputes anyway. Yea, I'm lost.

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I continue to point out that a soon as you attribute any sort of "infinite" to such a God, you end up with self-referent logical contradictions. This is equivalent to proving the premise is false.

I'm not sure what you mean unless we're talking about God making a rock that he cannot lift or something like that. I don't know that I'm comfortable saying that an all-powerful God cannot violate the Law of Non-contradiction, since 'logic' only exists because God created it, by definition; he is not at all confined by what we puny humans can't understand or comprehend.

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I'm not sure what you mean unless we're talking about God making a rock that he cannot lift or something like that. I don't know that I'm comfortable saying that an all-powerful God cannot violate the Law of Non-contradiction, since 'logic' only exists because God created it, by definition; he is not at all confined by what we puny humans can't understand or comprehend.

You say logic only exists because God created it. Do you mean God could create a world where when A implies B and B implies C that A does not imply C?

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You say logic only exists because God created it.

It seems like the alternative is that God is not the ultimate creator and himself dwells in some realm with laws and rules like logic that he cannot violate. Then he is either not the ultimate creator of everything that is except himself, or is not omnipotent; I may be mistaken, but I thought he was typically defined as being both of those.

Do you mean God could create a world where when A implies B and B implies C that A does not imply C?

I'm not sure what else omnipotent could mean. No one said that God and what he can do would at all be comprehensible to us, quite the opposite. The alternative seems to be that we make the argument that, relative to God, our meager understanding of logic confines what God can do necessarily, an assertion that in the context we are referring to doesn't seem to have much to support it. We can understand logic much better than we can comprehend omnipotence, so I don't know on what grounds I can say that an omnipotence that I cannot understand cannot result in things beyond my comprehension. I don't know on what grounds I can say that God can't make an illogical universe, it seems to only be because I cannot imagine how it can be true, and I have no reason to believe that my brain should be able to comprehend everything that might be possible.

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I think people who use IMO are right to use it especially when it comes to the spiritual section. As nothing on the topics of god, afterlife etc etc is fact due to no proof. Ive read ALOT on these forums for last year or 2 when I accidently entered the site to which im Hooked.. Only recently I decided to share my opinions. Took long enough.

As for the poor spelling etc. Alot of people im sure use there phones these day dont you just hate doubling letters or even forgeting one?

If you understand what is being said Does it really matter? Not everyone attended schools, colleges, uni's. Id say let them at it

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Some things pass the test of reason and some don't. Those who continue to hold to beliefs that don't pass the test of reason can only be viewed as having been indoctrinated and having a childhood inserted desire to believe. It doesn't take much gyration to see that an illogical God is illogical.

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No, technically I analogized them, not conflated; I'm making a comparison, not merging them. The stumble seems to have occurred because you are using a non-standard definition of 'divinity' that I overlooked initially.

Yes, but it is impossible to determine or even discuss if something does exist or non-exist if it is not first defined. Tell me, do kerzuxes exist, do you find that to even be a meaningful question? You're not going to now be inconsistent and 'insist' on a definition are you?

I never insisted that a definition has to mean a complete description, but leprechauns and divinity do mean something. A leprechaun is not a Kraken and divinity is not bad breath, and we know that because both leprechaun and divinity do have some attributes or definition.

If for some reason we must arrive at one 'definition' to rule them all, then I'd say it's the opposite, the definition of humanity is probably the attributes that most of these debaters agree on, which sounds like it's just a different group of supposedly intelligent creatures, who it has been proposed may possess qualities A,B, and/or C. In your scenario here, as soon as we have some agreement on what qualities these debaters agree humanity possesses, then it is not valid to then define it as having no characteristics at all and that it can be everything or nothing.

'

In the objective sense things are complicated because words can have multiple definitions and cover a spectrum of meanings; 'theory' in science is a well-founded explanation for a phenomenon and in colloquial conversation theory oftentimes means a guess. It sounds like each debater has their own personal definition of humanity, just like theists have of their gods. But you seem to be saying that the atheist shouldn't be basing anything concerning the existence of gods based on the ability to argue with these different conceptions, as it is failing to address general 'divinity'. When I ask you to clarify then what Leo's divinity conception entails, you say it has no characteristics and can mean nothing or everything, which means essentially that you don't actually have any definition of divinity, which since it's the case has nothing to do with atheism and the definitions of divinity that it disputes, so I'm not sure why you brought it up. Why exactly am I able to find definitions of divinity in any dictionary, why don't actual etymologists struggle to provide a definition if it really as you said has no characteristics?

I think I've largely misread part of your argument here. When you were first talking about how atheists are good at picking on the 'backwards' religions (that billions of theists actually believe in...) and how they really should be addressing some general 'divinity', I assumed there was something about this other more general definition of divinity that atheists don't have a good answer for or that are more sophisticated conceptions than the more defined gods. After asking what you mean though, the only reason I'm getting why atheists don't have a good answer for this other 'general divinity' is because there is no definition there to actually dispute; I don't see that as a strike against atheism at all, not much argument to be made against everything, anything, and/or nothing, but that of course is not what atheism disputes anyway. Yea, I'm lost.

Lol, me too.

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I think people who use IMO are right to use it especially when it comes to the spiritual section. As nothing on the topics of god, afterlife etc etc is fact due to no proof. Ive read ALOT on these forums for last year or 2 when I accidently entered the site to which im Hooked.. Only recently I decided to share my opinions. Took long enough.

As for the poor spelling etc. Alot of people im sure use there phones these day dont you just hate doubling letters or even forgeting one?

If you understand what is being said Does it really matter? Not everyone attended schools, colleges, uni's. Id say let them at it

Welcome Cork Sniper and don't worry about your spelling. This is a forum not an English class. LOL

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Indoctrination into a religion or into a political belief system generally happens during childhood. It can be self-done via wishful thinking or hypnosis or meditation. I don't think people can come to believe irrational things any other way.

You know Frank, you do bring in interesting points.

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No, technically I analogized them, not conflated; I'm making a comparison, not merging them. The stumble seems to have occurred because you are using a non-standard definition of 'divinity' that I overlooked initially.

Yes, but it is impossible to determine or even discuss if something does exist or non-exist if it is not first defined. Tell me, do kerzuxes exist, do you find that to even be a meaningful question? You're not going to now be inconsistent and 'insist' on a definition are you?

I never insisted that a definition has to mean a complete description, but leprechauns and divinity do mean something. A leprechaun is not a Kraken and divinity is not bad breath, and we know that because both leprechaun and divinity do have some attributes or definition.

Yes, they do. Try looking up definitions of 'divinity' and find if it differs in meaning from how I have been applying the term. Then look up definitions of 'leprechaun' and note that it refers to a specific (even singular) type of being - not a class object.

If for some reason we must arrive at one 'definition' to rule them all, then I'd say it's the opposite, the definition of humanity is probably the attributes that most of these debaters agree on...

Try again after you have investigated the definitions of 'divinity', as that and 'humanity' (in the sense I used it within my analogy) are both class object identifiers.

Edited by Leonardo

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