Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Existence Dilemma

WARNING AMATEUR PHILOSOPHY FOLLOWS

I've always thought that one of the best arguments for the existence of god runs as follows:

"Nothing comes of nothing. How could the universe come into existence if something wasn't there to create it? There has to be something bigger than existence or existence itself couldn't exist."

To me this is a pretty convincing argument for some form of deity.

But there's a counter argument that runs like:

"If nothing comes from nothing then who created our creator? Your paradox is just as true for her/him/it as it is for us."

Which is rather hard to come back from.

And, ultimately, the debate just ends up being ontologically disturbing. If you believe that nothing springs from nothing then our existence seems impossible.

Yet here we are - existing.

Which all goes to show two things:

1. Somehow, something can spring from nothing

and

2. That there are some problems too great for reason alone...

or at least the reasoning of this amateur philosopher.

7 comments:

sagenz said...

That is about the most succinct rebuttal of the Intelligent Design/Hawking - "Whats before the Big Bang?" theory that I have read. Now I can go back to being an atheist rather than a woolly agnostic. Thanks! Not bad for a self described amateur philosopher if you can convince people that easily.

Terence said...

thanks!

tussock said...

Technically, time was created in the beginning along with everything else, there is no "before" the big bang because there is no time without space and energy.

The only place for an omni-creator is outside of time and space, which goes along nicely with the whole thing about god allowing you free will and knowing what you'll chose, or us being at the centre of creation along with everything else.

Then again, flying spaghetti monster. It does all that stuff too, you just need faith.

Terence said...

hi tussock,

I don't think that adding time into the equation changes anything in my initial dilemma.

I'm with you (the sphagetti monster and Kirkegaard) though - there's no reasoning one's way to (or from) god - that requires a leap of faith.

tussock said...

It's just another way of seeing the meaning often hidden in our language. "Creation" implies a lot of things to people that can't be true.

Sure, an unknowable, unchanging, and omniscient god is a valid concept, it'd just be nice if people payed attention to the meaning of "unknowable", and saw their "faith" for what it was.

tussock said...

By which I mean a private paternal/judicial personification attached to the modern practice of written moral and legal codes from historical cultures.

Terence said...

Sure, an unknowable, unchanging, and omniscient god is a valid concept, it'd just be nice if people payed attention to the meaning of "unknowable", and saw their "faith" for what it was.

hallelujah (I couldn't agree more)