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deuteros
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« on: November 05, 2010, 09:58:14 AM »

This is a question I've heard from skeptics and atheists. The notion is that if we can understand the world around us without God then why believe in God? Or to put it another way, why is God necessary to understand our existence?

I know why God is necessary for me but I have a hard time giving a meaningful answer to someone who asks this question since so much of it is wrapped up in my personal experience. I'm not looking for convincing reasons or logical proofs for the existence of God, since I ultimately think those are an exercise in futility.

What would the Orthodox answer be to a question like this? Or at the very least, why should one consider God?
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2010, 10:21:09 AM »

If I can just throw out some random thoughts... I sometimes hear atheists and agnostics say that asking questions like "why is there anything at all" isn't really a valid question. I think the same could be said for "why is God necessary?" Or course, I do think God is necessary in that he gives coherence to the universe, and is the creator and sustainer of the universe. But the real question behind this is, of course, "why believe in God?" And that's something that's not easily solved, and not solved at all if you are relying completely on reason.

On another topic--not sure if this is relevant, but it just came to mind--even when I didn't believe, I always found it a bit off to ask questions like "Well if God made the universe, then who made God?". It's really a failure to engage with the idea being presented by the theist. You may question the sense or verifiability or accuracy in belief in God, but at least engage the theist on the claim that he or she is making.
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2010, 10:45:54 AM »

This is a question I've heard from skeptics and atheists. The notion is that if we can understand the world around us without God then why believe in God? Or to put it another way, why is God necessary to understand our existence?

I know why God is necessary for me but I have a hard time giving a meaningful answer to someone who asks this question since so much of it is wrapped up in my personal experience. I'm not looking for convincing reasons or logical proofs for the existence of God, since I ultimately think those are an exercise in futility.

What would the Orthodox answer be to a question like this? Or at the very least, why should one consider God?

Noted Christian apologist, Dr William Lane Craig, has an article on his website entitled "The Absurdity of Life without God." Despite being from a Protestant source, I believe the article quite succinctly sums up why God is necessary.

It is hidden behind a (free) subscription wall I think, but here is the link anyways: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5389

"If God does not exist, then in a sense, our world is Auschwitz: there is no absolute right and wrong; all things are permitted.  But no athest, no agnostic, can live consistently with such a view.  Nietzsche himself, who proclaimed the necessity of living beyond good and evil, broke with his mentor Richard Wagner precisely over the issue of the composer's anti-Semitism and strident German nationalism.  Similarly Sartre, writing in the aftermath of the Second World War, condemned anti-Semitism, declaring that a doctrine that leads to extermination is not merely an opinion or matter of personal taste, of equal value with its opposite.8  In his important essay "Existentialism Is a Humanism," Sartre struggles vainly to elude the contradiction between his denial of divinely pre-established values and his urgent desire to affirm the value of human persons.  Like Russell, he could not live with the implications of his own denial of ethical absolutes."
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2010, 10:52:50 AM »

Where did we get our belief from that slavery is bad?
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2010, 11:04:08 AM »

This is a question I've heard from skeptics and atheists. The notion is that if we can understand the world around us without God then why believe in God? Or to put it another way, why is God necessary to understand our existence?

I know why God is necessary for me but I have a hard time giving a meaningful answer to someone who asks this question since so much of it is wrapped up in my personal experience. I'm not looking for convincing reasons or logical proofs for the existence of God, since I ultimately think those are an exercise in futility.

What would the Orthodox answer be to a question like this? Or at the very least, why should one consider God?

Quite simply, without God, our foundational values undergo revaluation as well.  Our understanding of right and wrong, good and evil, is heavily rooted in our understanding of God and our relationship with God.  God is the perfection of Goodness; goodness, virtue, wisdom, etc. obtain their value insofar that they are similiar those of God.  The degree of something being evil is determined by how much it is a deviation from the Good.

Many secular humanists in Britain and America (in particular) essentially advance that we can expunge God and Christian "superstition" and be all the better people for it.  They generally do not acknowledge, however, that things like natural rights and absolute values (e.g. integrity, humanitarianism, self-sacrifice--i.e. being the hero, for the sake of humanity, etc.) and disvalues (e.g. egoism, hypocrisy, murder, genocide, rape, etc.) become more or less subjective and arbitrary when divorced from God, or from an objective standard.  

Also, God gives greater credibility to free will, which is foundational to how we approach law and societal order.  Atheists who do not believe in God or gods generally reject any kind of dualism between the material and the spiritual; they only believe that exists which can be discerned through the senses.  It is for this reason that skeptics and atheists cannot well explain how free will is possible within a materialist metaphysic.  As a tidbit, several months ago I read a popular scientific article which states that  researchers have discovered human free will in the brain.  It goes on to explain how the brain has a process of weighing decisions.  The unstated fact in the article, however, is that this process and the decisions made are the outcome of chemical reactions in the brain, without variable outcomes given the same conditions.            

Several philosophers and writers (e.g. Nietzsche and Camus) have addressed the implications of life devoid of God and religious belief in the afterlife.  They offer insights that many popular atheists tend to gloss over.    
  
« Last Edit: November 05, 2010, 11:14:53 AM by StGeorge » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2010, 11:25:37 AM »

Why are we necessary?
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2010, 02:33:34 PM »

We don't need God anymore than we need love. It is very easy to do without both and many people do choose to do without them. On the other hand those people who have accepted a life of Love do not seem to have any regrets regardless of the hurt and sacrifice involved.

God is not a necessity he is a choice. God's omnipotence gaurantees us free will in deciding whether we wish to accept Him or not.

Some have devised intricate reasoning for the necessity of religion, the Church, and hiearchical order inorder to impose their own will over other people oftentimes with brutal force. This is not God but rather Machievelli in action.
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2010, 03:19:44 PM »

This is a question I've heard from skeptics and atheists. The notion is that if we can understand the world around us without God then why believe in God? Or to put it another way, why is God necessary to understand our existence?

I know why God is necessary for me but I have a hard time giving a meaningful answer to someone who asks this question since so much of it is wrapped up in my personal experience. I'm not looking for convincing reasons or logical proofs for the existence of God, since I ultimately think those are an exercise in futility.

What would the Orthodox answer be to a question like this? Or at the very least, why should one consider God?
Why is there something rather than nothing?
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2010, 03:26:49 PM »

This is a question I've heard from skeptics and atheists. The notion is that if we can understand the world around us without God then why believe in God? Or to put it another way, why is God necessary to understand our existence?

I know why God is necessary for me but I have a hard time giving a meaningful answer to someone who asks this question since so much of it is wrapped up in my personal experience. I'm not looking for convincing reasons or logical proofs for the existence of God, since I ultimately think those are an exercise in futility.

What would the Orthodox answer be to a question like this? Or at the very least, why should one consider God?

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

From Gregory of Nyssa "The Catechism"

"..it would be well to make the ascertaining of this the commencement of the reasoning, i.e. whether he presupposes the existence of a God, or concurs with the atheistic view. Should he say there is no God, then, from the consideration of the skillful and wise economy of the Universe he will be brought to acknowledge that there is a certain overmastering power manifested through these channels."http://www.searchgodsword.org/his/ad/ecf/pos/gregoryofnyssa/view.cgi?file=npnf2-05-39.htm
stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: November 05, 2010, 03:29:09 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2010, 03:27:12 PM »

I'm still amazed over hydrogen. If you leave hydrogen, the most basic element, alone long enough, it'll long onto OC.net and make giant posts under then name Ialmisry.  Grin
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« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2010, 03:54:16 PM »

I do not know what the Orthodox answer is, but my personal answer (for what it's worth) is that making God "necessary" is yet another attempt to domesticate God.

I like the way Vladimir Losskiy says about God's creation in his "Dogmatic Theology": "творение - это свободный акт, дарственный акт Бога. Для Божественного существа оно не обусловлено никакой "внутренней необходимостью". Даже те нравственные мотивы, которыми иногда пытаются обосновать творение, лишены смысла и безвкусны" (http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/lossky2/Main.htm). (My English translation: "creation is a free act of God, God's gift. There is no "intrinsic necessity" for God's being to create. Even those ethic (or moralist) motivations that are sometimes used to justify creation, make no sense and are merely bad taste.")

I think along the same lines when I think about the "necessity" of God's being. God is. That's all. Smiley
« Last Edit: November 05, 2010, 03:54:58 PM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2010, 05:14:30 PM »

This is a question I've heard from skeptics and atheists. The notion is that if we can understand the world around us without God then why believe in God? Or to put it another way, why is God necessary to understand our existence?
What sort of God are they thinking about, when they ask these questions?
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« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2010, 05:26:21 PM »

This is a question I've heard from skeptics and atheists. The notion is that if we can understand the world around us without God then why believe in God? Or to put it another way, why is God necessary to understand our existence?
What sort of God are they thinking about, when they ask these questions?

A very anthropomorphized god, no doubt.
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« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2010, 05:29:35 PM »

This is a question I've heard from skeptics and atheists. The notion is that if we can understand the world around us without God then why believe in God? Or to put it another way, why is God necessary to understand our existence?
What sort of God are they thinking about, when they ask these questions?

Because people only believe in God to understand things like lightening and popcorn chicken.
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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2010, 10:16:17 AM »

To ask why God is necessary means that I am putting myself in the place where I own Him as an object - and am trying to decide whether He's really needed for any kind of use. . . .a lamp. . . a bed. . .food, clothing, shelter.  But if I look at it as if I am a newborn infant who knows absolutely nothing - not even that my very existence depends on my parents - then I can humble myself and know that I need something outside of myself and greater than myself - even out of my ignorance. 

He doesn't need us.  But we cannot exist with out Him.  In Him we live and have our being.  Aside from Him we simply do not exist.  Very abstract for most unbelievers.

A person of the Spirit understands Spiritual things - a person of the world does not understand Spiritual things and considers them foolish.  It is the Holy Spirit that gives this understanding and leads the once foolish to Christ Jesus.  We can't know anything unless it's given to us to know it.
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