“I Think I Just Proved There is No God, Again”, or “Being Omniscient pt. II”

INTRO

Ok, so I thought I disproved God before in a previous posting.  I got really good feedback from the one person who gave me feedback…so thank you.

But it turns out when I say that I disprove God, often I am talking about a particular notion of God, not necessarily the POSSIBILITY of some thing or force or *other* that created us, intentionally or not. No, I am talking specifically about the more commonly held ideas about what God is, concepts that can be found right here in my American home town.  Previously, in pt I of “Being Omniscient” I did little more than set the stage for what I wanted to say in THIS post.  Truly, for many people, particularly the sort of people who might read my blog, what I am about to say might not be controversial, or novel.  I hope that at the very least I cause people to think some interesting new thoughts on the topic, but certainly I am not the first to have figured this all out.

If you’ve not read my last post, this one my lack a lot of clarity.  By all means, read part one first.  This is a piece that can stand on it’s own if you already think like I do, but if you think like I do, why are you reading what you could write yourself?  So, if you’ve done the first part then let’s carry on.  I discussed minute fragments of time, and I now move to the next point:

THE MEAT OF IT

An omniscient being is one who knows all.  It knows THE future; it is able to calculate ALL possible universes, meaning that it MUST have access to ALL information, so It knows the past.  Admittedly it is tough to make the claim that a being knows EVERYTHING if there is an infinite number of things to know.  After all it is impossible to encompass that which has no end, so if there is an omniscient being then we might suppose that the universe is finite and that there is a limited number of things that can fit in it, due to the limitations of the universe itself, and a limited amount of ways that things can interact with eachother.  Were the universe infinite we would then have to say of an omniscient being; “It knows ALL POSSIBLE FUTURES; it is able to calculate INFINITE possible universes, meaning that it MUST have access to INFINITE information…”  This case would only be possible if “God” was actually the universe itself, all matter-energy-space-time, a set which includes us, and that hypothesis sort of takes all of the meaning out of the term “God,” and it doesn’t matter much here anyway.

Now, this being, this creator created each person, including you, or at the very least started a chain of events that led to you.  It knew this could happen.  It knew this would happen.  It knew and it still created, and it is therefore responsible for the outcome.  It knew what your name would be, when you would be born, when you would die, what you would do at 10:14:27 am mountain standard time on October 22, 2003, and every other possible moment of your relatively short life.  Not only would it know what you did at 10:14:27 am, but also 10:14:28 am, AND the state of you and every other thing in existence at all of the nearly 10 billion tick marks in between 10:14:27 am and 10:14:28 am.  Truly astounding.  It literally stupefies the mind, but it is nevertheless an implication of omniscience.

This has powerful implications for the idea of free will and for the problem of evil, as well as for any relationship a human might hope to have with a being of this magnitude.  They can pretend it doesn’t, but they only bury their heads in the sand when they do.

FREE WILL

If God has already conceived each and every second of your life, and each and every micro-, nano-, AND picosecond in between, then what can you do that could possibly surprise, anger, or disappoint this being?  Honestly what can you do that would MATTER to this being, but we’ll stick to the former question;   What could you do that could possibly surprise this being or experience the emotions borne of surprise, like anger and dissapointment?  What would make God sit up (assuming that God sits) and say,

Whoa, I didn’t see THAT coming!

This being has already conceived of every prayer that you will say next year and has set it up so that the answers will come to you in the culmination of everything that will have happened from the beginning of time right up to that fateful moment when you asked God to help you locate your car keys sometime next July.  Everything has already been conceived of and is therefore already mapped out, even if only in God’s crystal ball or his cosmic dvd player.  There is nothing that you can do to escape this path, THE path.  God would have foreseen it and accounted for it before the Earth even existed.  Your destiny and your path are set.  You are on a cable car and you are most definitely NOT the driver.  You can not possibly make a move, not even the flaring of a nostril, that God has not already watched happen in his flawless, omniscient Mind’s Eye.  There is no free will in this scenario, only you playing the part you were born to play until you die the death you were born to die.  And everything that happened in between was “all part of God’s plan.”

EVIL

This also means that it’s not the d-d-devil compelling you to do all those nasty things that people are compelled to do.  God saw it.  God saw it and still created THIS universe, THIS reality, having seen all possible universes and all possible realities, having foreseen your nastiness aeons ago.  You are, in this scenario, in no way responsible for your own actions.  But God certainly IS responsible, knowing perfectly in full detail each and every consequence of the creation of THIS universe.  In effect you are God’s robot, and God will send you to burn in hell for executing your program to PERFECTION.

In fact, assuming God’s omniscience, It is responsible for EVERY act of sin that ever occurred on Earth.  Every attrocity that God’s robots ever committed are God’s attrocities. If you program a computer to carry out a function, then you provide it with the data, and it executes the function, is this the computer’s fault?  To give blame to the computer would be to glorify it above even the man who programmed it, and in this way giving men credit or blame for their deeds places them as equals to God, or perhaps GREATER THAN God, through their defiance of It’s infinite power. In essence the doctrine of evil is PURE blasphemy!

Most religions, curiously enough, do not define evil as an act that causes suffering, but rather they define evil as a failure to follow God’s commandments.   We have seen that if you believe in an omniscient, omnipotent God you can not possibly act in manner which God did not map out for you.  Clearly we need to look at the moral bankruptcy of this decree, but misplaced morals are not the only issue here.  Separating good and evil by the lines of “he who does as God says” and “he who does not” is absolutely meaningless.  According to this approach each and every one of us can only act in exact accordance with God’s will and are therefore not capable of committing sin. 

By contrast if we define good and evil in a way that emphasizes happiness as its goal and suffering in this world is the antithesis of good, then the only one we have to blame in this scenario is God Itself for knowingly and willingly setting in motion the events that would lead to this suffering.  If suffering is pre-ordained by an omnibenevolent God, then we must conclude that suffering is benevolent.  On the other hand if we want to say that suffering is bad, then that which caused it cannot be omnibenevolent, so either:

A) God did not cause it, so that God is not omnipotent, or

B) God is not omnibenevolent.

However, if we reject the hypothesis of God or of sin, then we can begin to mave forward.  At its base the doctrine of sin may appeal to humans, but it is baseless and wildly arbitrary.  If we instead recognize that happiness is good (a fact upon which all could agree) then we have something to work with. There are still many obstacles in the path of such a utilitarian ethic, but there is something solid at its root.

The fact is, the ideas that prop up religion are not intuitive, that is, the ideas are not conclusions that could be rationally deduced from the available empirical evidence that surrounds us.  The idea that there is a God and that this God had a son who came to Earth and died to save us all is not an idea which can be derived from careful study and observation of this world.  If this idea is not a derivitive of rational thought and careful study, if it is not a logical solution or product or property of the natural world then it can only be a product of the human imagination.

 Obviously it is logically impossible to disprove the existence of anything, as with Bertrand Russel’s Jupiter-orbiting teacup.  You can go to the North Pole, survey and photograph every square inch of ground, collect samples, send probes deep into the glacial masses, use infra-red heat detection to search for mammalian lifeforms, and in the end, though you come up with nothing but ice and an occasional polar bear, you still haven’t PROVED that there is no workshop filled with elves, flying reindeer, and a fat, toy-dispensing, time-defying, white-bearded man in a red suit.  Can I “prove” that there is no God? No. You can always move the goalpoast, always invent ad hoc a new property of God that allowed It to evade my investigation.  What we can examine are the specific claims made about God, and prove that they are logically impossible…let them move the goalpost again, if they like.  Soon there will be nowhere left to go.

 

Stay reasonable friends!

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3 Responses to ““I Think I Just Proved There is No God, Again”, or “Being Omniscient pt. II””

  1. Science Geek Says:

    It seems fairly well thought out to me. God is the Universe or there cannot be an all powerful God. A God such as you and I were taught to worship as children is logically impossible.

  2. Great questions/study. Perhaps the omnipresents, etc. of God is viewed in relation to ‘time’. The scriptures talk of ‘time’ being a created thing, which is difficult for us to imagine. God lives in an eternal realm. One could say God can view ‘time’ like someone viewing a map rolled out on top a table. He sees any given moment from the beginning to the end. This explains prophecy given to inspired men.

    I wouldn’t say we’re robots or that there is no evil. God created the possibility of evil in giving mankind free will or agency to choose. Yes, God knows us so intimately that He knows our decisions, but I don’t feel he predestines us for eternal life or hell. That would not be justice or explain His mercy.

    God wanted us to choose to seek Him out, love and follow Him without an obligation and a certain knowledge of His existence. The Earth is an objective environment and through exercising and growing faith, God is able to reveal Himself to us in more personal ways. This is where testimonies come in. We can’t give our experiences with God to someone else, though we can tell others. If people are truly open, the Holy Spirit will witness the truthfulness of the experience.

    Anyway, wanted to say hello and I hope for you the best. Don’t give up. Consider putting some effort into other aspects and attributes of our Heavenly Father found in the scriptures when pondering these things. It’s awesome how majestic God truly is.

  3. First, thank you for responding…both of you.

    Bradley, I do appreciate that you took time to write out a response, although I find it more than a bit puzzling. I suppose that you object to some of the qualities that I attributed to God, it’s just that there are so many Gods. And though you did suggest that I stick the one in the Bible, I think that it should be clear by the presence of nearly 40,000 different sects of Christianity alone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations…I know, I shouldn’t throw out wikipedia like that, it’s a guilty pleasure), that the Bible is far from clear about what exactly the attributes of God are. Thus when one discusses God, there will invariably be people who say, “that’s not what God is.” I try to stick to the things that MOST people seem to agree on, or at least most people in the group I am discussing, but it is impossible to say much, if anything, about God that will resonate with the majority of religious people.

    I know that you are hung up on free will, after all it would make no sense for God to punish you for executing your program, but set aside that hang-up for a moment and consider the implications of the fact that, if God is omniscient, TRULY omnicient as is the claim often made, then there is NOTHING that he has not foreseen. This means that time, for Him, really IS laid out on a table just like you said. The problem is in the fact that it has already been laid out. YOU, and all of your choices, have already been laid out. God knew the consequences of the creation He would make, and still made the creation. You have no more free will in this scenario than does one of the flecks of gun powder in the bullet of the gun whose trigger someone just squeezed.

    If I then condemn that fleck of powder for all eternity with no hope for a chance to make ammends, this is MERCY? This is divine wisdom? I remain uncompelled.

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