Debate:Philosphy(Apologétics) question

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Debate.png This is a Debate page.
Feel free to add your own spin on the story. Please keep it civil!
Information icon.svg This debate was created by Your name goes in here.


So, I've been thinking a bit, and based on some basic epistemology I've read, I have concluded this:

Many Christians argue that it is impossible to get to know God from a rational viewpoint because the whole thing is not rational; it's about believing. In short, an empirical, or material way to know God is not possible. If this is true, then there is no material evidence of God, right? So, if we have no material, or physical, evidence for the existence of God, he has no injerence in this physical world, it would in the end be some sort of Deism, right? What are your thoughts on this?

I have often heard the above from theists in debates. That their deity is some entity that exists beyond the natural world (read: supernatural) presupposes the existence of the supernatural. In other words, you have to believe in the supernatural in order for their deity concept to make sense. And what evidence is there for this supernatural realm? Faith. The whole concept boils down to special pleading; that belief without evidence in the supernatural is justified because it needs to be.
But here is the question, if the supernatural cannot be observed within the material world, then that means the supernatural cannot interact with the material world, so is the supernatural a part of this universe? In other words, their deity would not be a part of this universe. Is not our notion of reality constrained to our own universe? If not, then an extra-universal deity may be possible, but would have no ability to affect our universe. If yes, then by all rights their deity is not real. Show-Me Skeptic 14:01, 19 September 2016 (UTC)
The idea of Non-Overlapping Magisteria attempts to handle this, by saying faith and reason are 2 different ways to understand the world. This avoids considering how they interact, but maybe they have a hidden underlying relationship that manifests as either physical or spiritual.
Another theological solution to dualism (rather than the spiritual being dependent on the material world) is that the physical world is somehow embedded in or dependent upon the spiritual world, so the physical world can have no knowledge of what's outside it but the spiritual world can manipulate it. (Just like if you were living in the Matrix! Metaphors of computer programs are sometimes actually used.) This is not entirely convincing, although a surprising number of people do entertain variations of this idea.
Yet another answer is found in some versions of dispensationalism which hold that "the time for miracles has passed". History is divided into periods in which God intervenes in different ways[1]. And today God isn't getting involved (this is actually close to some versions of deism). However, major branches of Christianity, e.g. Roman Catholicism, do believe in the power of prayer and in miracles today. So you have to wonder what you'd see if a seriously ill patient under constant medical observation was to undergo a miracle cure. Mumbles something about God moving in mysterious ways. Annquin (talk) 14:28, 19 September 2016 (UTC)
I'd like to interject that a personal sense of god is a measurable phenomenon. "Religious experiences" in the brain can be detected by FMRI in a region of the brain associated with social reward. So the sensation that they often like to set as distinct from empirical reality is not, in fact, separate from empirical reality in its entirety. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 15:20, 19 September 2016 (UTC)