Does faith imply a false religion?

Assuming the theory/scenario that “life is a test,” and that there is and always was a single God, then we must question if he would be offering a list of life’s “answers” to at least one group, while allowing deception to many other religious groups.

Defining the will of God is absurd for many reasons, mainly because it assumes that defining his will is in fact his will in the first place. One God could only be a god of justice if all the available versions of religions were vain attempts, thus making the true test of life to be the avoidance of all interpretations of God. This would be logical in order for him to determine who would fall for his imitations in order for him to make a fair and necessary judgment. So, a deliberately absent or hidden God would agree with atheism, deism, or agnosticism from the point of view of honesty, fairness, and integrity (following one’s own God-given reasoning within free agency or will).

Furthermore, it is vain to develop a useless faith by assuming God’s will. What good is faith in God in the future presence of God? It requires no intelligence or any other character attribute, and in fact signals a potential lack of both. Only integrity and honesty would matter to a supreme being, who by definition would be able to alter human intelligence and faith at will to suit his tastes–but not be able to alter honesty or integrity within a state of doubt (without assuming the programming of human robots). As such, loyalty would never matter to God, assuming he doesn’t need it to be God. Loyalty thus assumes a state of weakness in both humans and God, and any religion that demands loyalty for the sake of loyalty is avoiding the issue of the necessity of loyalty to God, who would only require loyalty if he is a jeolous or false God. So, faith is false religion.

The alternative argument to assuming a hidden but fair God is that there is no God, or that we can make no assertions about him whatsoever, which stems from and leads back to the same behavior–honesty and integrity (accountable to reason). So, only deism or atheism or agnosticism will be able to save us under these assumptions, by living our lives in accordance with how we think it should be lived in a vacuum and not pretending or repressing behavior for the sake of reward, punishment or tradition. So, organized religion is partial proof that there is either no God, or that he despises organized religion and uses it obversely, because the price of having one God for many churches and cultures is strife over who is correct about his will. Devotion is then measured in violent conquest, needless defenses of tradtion, and forced or persuaded conversion. The engraven flip side of this coin is victimology, self-pity and persecution.

Conclusion: faith and loyalty is a uniform political psychology (not a universal religious experience) that seeks and dictates conformity through strife, and not the religious state of co-existence. God is irrelevant because that is the only assumption we can make in his absence under terms of ambiguity, which implies that self-determined behavior is relevant.

Sorry, Brian, I can’t get any further than, “If life is a test, then what are the questions?”

I can’t make heads or tails of what the OP is driving at, but I did want to point out that “faith” is not at all limited to organized religion, but is a factor in just about every decision we make in everyday life. Boiled down to its essence, “Faith” is making decisions based on facts that are not 100% knowable.

For example, the tightrope walker has faith in the person who sets up the tightrope. He puts his faith in the unknowable idea that the person who set up the tightrope did so with maximum attention to safety. He may know this person well enough to assume that his faith in the person’s ability is justified enough to risk his life by walking out on the rope. Yet he cannot be 100% sure that this person wasn’t out drinking last night, and set up the rope improperly. Or that there’s an undetectable defect in the rope that causes it to snap in mid-walk.

How faith applies to religion is accepting as fact what is unknowable and unprovable. Specifically, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the way to salvation is to accept Him as your Lord and Savior. There is no way to prove or disprove this idea as fact – if it were provable, or disprovable, it would be science and not religion.

On the other hand, there are religious tenents that reject scientific fact in place of hastily written-up dogma (i.e. creationism.) This kind of situation isn’t faith, it’s ignorance.


Not necessarily. I could attempt to divine teh will of God irrespective of my desire to follow that will in all particulars. I could also begin the attempt under the assumption that gaining such knowledge accords with God’swill, but then revise my assumption (and perhaps my attempt) if investigation reveals such knowledge to be contrary to my revelations.

There is nothing absurd, on its face, with gaining understanding of God’s will if such an understanding is possible.

For this to be correct you would have to demonstrate:

  1. That you can define an absolute standard of justice.
  2. That all versions of all religious beliefs contradict that standard.

I do not feel either of those cases are necessarily impossible to make, but I am certain that neither is self-evident.

I missed the part of your assumption where you determined that God was deliberately absent or hidden. That seems quite a bit like “defining God’s will”, which you declared to be absurd. For that matter, a thing might be hidden with the explicit hope that it would be discovered by another. That, in fact, is an idea that underlies many of the mystery religions throughout human history.

In short, even if we assume a “hidden” God, it does not logically follow that such a God would “disagree with” a religion predicated upon the search for and revelation of Gods will.

What good? If, in fact, it presents the most accurate ppicture of reality and the human condition then it is of supreme benefit to the individual. As to the potential lack of character or intelligence: please explain why. In my own experience, faith has seemed entirely independent of both intelligence and strength of character. If you mean that intelligence and character are demonstrated only in taking the position that no idea should be taken seriously which defies complete reduction through rational investigation, then I suppose we shall have to include love, art, and metaphsics among those pursuits counterindicative of intelligence and character.

Hmmm, yet another definition of God’s will. Still absurd?

More assertions of God’s will. Equating loyalty, and the desire for loyalty, with weakness is unfounded in the above. Until the nature of the relationship between God and man is defined, it is irrational to assign value judgements to potential aspects of said relationship. I can certainly conceive of a singular power who finds value in the loyalty of subjects, though said loyalty has no practical consequences on the existence of said power. This can be called “weakness” only if we make some strong assumptions about the value of certain character traits on an absolute scale. Is it weak to find pleasure in the good will of a fellow? Is it weak to find value in another person finding you trustworthy? Are all things weaknesses which contradict absolute self-reliance and independence from community? Such values would seem to raise sociopaths to the heights and declare the rest of us “weak”.

The consequence of such a structure upon historic views of God, of course, is an entirely different discussion. :wink:

  1. Well, you leave out: hidden but unfair God, God hidden to some yet revealed clearly to others, and God dependent upon (taking form from) human conception. Probbly a few others, too.
  2. Honesty and integrity are not the only values which can be derived from an ethos lacking God.

Organized religion is proof of nothing except the existence of organized religion. For a trivial counterexample, God might in fact smile upon the structures of a particular religion yet value free will sufficiently to humans to also follow contradictory paths.

While I agree that religion has often been used as a justification for human strife, I think it absurd to suppose that human strife would disappear if there were no churches. It is possible that the anoubt of conflict would lesse, but cultural, ethnic, economic and political differences have proven more that sufficient to set men against each other.

One God, many churches might, in fact, be an ameliorating factor in human strife depending upon the doctrine of the churches involved. It is entirely conceivable, for example, that many paths are in accord with God’s will: an idea that seems harmonious with the myraid and variable natures of men.

The argument presented does not warrant this conclusion.

FIRSTLY: You seem to have equated God’s will with God’s assumed abilities which are by necessity to be the creator. Much of your critique follows this error. Also, I don’t need to define absolute justice, I merely assumed God was just and absolute for argument sake. Also, one needn’t show that all religions are false to a standard, which assumes a standard, but that faith in one religion over another is a false standard if we assume a just God–who could not favor one religion over another without betrayal (in other words, God would be the devil 99% of the time). Also, if we assume God hides in order to be discovered, this is arbitrary both to human endeavor and God, and is the same as saying that our duty is to look for God, who may be moving his hiding place, therefore his will is what is to be discovered–which is looking in my own head by reasons and not faith. Also, if I say he hides everywhere to avoid the search, I could pick up a rock and call it God and worship it as such (this is fairly common).

Note: Faith used here and previously as faith in God’s will assumed from his existence, ie, that he has a will we can know and conform to, and receive reward (hence loyalty).

SECONDLY: Your assumption is that you can determine or divine the will of God without knowing the existence of God.

I allowed that assuming the existence of God is valid if it ends there, since we cannot assume God’s specific will through absence but only assume that his will is moot. In other words, God must be using a humanistic standard to measure us for testing purposes if he exists because we can deduce no other necessity. This does not assume his will, it merely disassumes his will matters, or that is would be any different in his absence as in his presence, which would mean that God would be judging us not from the point of view of faith, but if he likes us and agrees with our definition of integrity by our experience. If we assume otherwise, we assume a jealous master, and in light of many versions of this jealous master, we assume that if knowing his will matters, God is jealous by his own impotence, which would contradict the idea of God.

Why is God necessarily not religious? Well, we are corrupted in a religious context by definition that many organized versions present themselves as a pure devotion to the exclusion of others by ritual (ritual assumes will), and this makes us fallible because if we assume a public religion and actual ritual, it places us in the position to NECESSARILY DETERMINE GOD’S WILL BY FAITH, which is a contradiction in terms (we presume to suspend all faith to investigate anything objectively).

Also, there is the famous loyalty error in arrogantly asserting via each culture a different version of God for public consumption, which causes wars by assuming that one must be right, which is necessarily the one that survives (assuming the death of competitors and their slaughter). Surprisingly, this includes the new charlatan religions within a culture who thrive by inner cultural persecution as a way to promote the awareness and pity (victimology is passive aggression without real power). Not coincidently, assuming God’s will most often assumes that God fully employs Satan and his deception to enforce loyalty–this is again a detraction from loyalty since it is based on demonization to enforce, and those are the religions that have survived the longest to date.

Example of lowered expectations: If adultery is wrong according to God’s will, I am tempted to follow people around to see if they are adulterers to gain favor with God, and then stone them when I find them, and I don’t notice that my judgment is clouded as a jury member, because I want God’s favor and need to punish the sins of others to please God.

An example of faith lacking intelligence: If a simpleton avoids God’s wrath for sin because he is unaccountable to sin, it implies that being pure is via natural ignorance of God and God’s will. But, this assumes that faith has anything to do with intelligence. In fact, none can know God exists (even if he appears to one alone, because it may be a hallucination) nor can we therefore know his will, except that he is absent (willful absence is assumed by assuming absence). Therefore, we are all pure because we are all ignorant of God’s will. So, conversely, the one with faith is the true simpleton that will incur God’s wrath.

Note: God testing those against his non-will would in fact be a profound test of character if there was a God.

CONCLUSION: God needs no revealed or known will for us to proceed. We need not curry his favor, seek his will, assume he loves us, assume he has any will regarding us whatsoever, he may not even care if we succeed according to his test, but is only interested in quality over quantity, who knows, we can’t even say if more than person can win such a contest arbitrarily (say, the one who gets to Pluto first). As such, if we make the assumption he exists, it can be said that this changes nothing as per the human condition. To assume he has one true will over another in competition for us to discern is not a valid assumption based on his absence and results in the negative qualities of loyalty and faith–toad-eating and ignorance of reasoned alternatives. It also assumes God needs people to have faith in him–a slavish assumption of devotion that is common to humans in order to demand inequality and masterhood, when a real God would need not demand slavish devotion to be a God.

Brian, stop telling God what to do!

Apparently it pleases God for my posts to be misread.

[li]I did not equate God’s will with God’s abilities. I simply pointed out the error in your initial characterization and the self-contradictory nature of your later assertions.[/li]
The first point, which apparently is still unclear to you, migt be illustrated with this analogy: It is not absurd for me to attempt to understand your posts, though you may in fact not wish to have your posts understood. Before I make the attempt, I can have no knowledge of your communicative intent. I do not need to assume that your will is to be understood; I need only assume that the posts can be understood. After all, I am under no obligation to follow your will, even if I do understand it.

For the second point, need I really point out that phrases like “a deliberately absent or hidden God” and “Only integrity and honesty would matter to a supreme being” and “loyalty would never matter to God” are direct assertions of God’s will. I said nothing about God’s abilities. If you think that the discussions referenced above concerned abilities and not will, then you are mistaken.
[li]You do need to define absolute justice if you are going to declare that a particular element is contrary to it. Element A cannot be shown to contradict property P unless property P has been defined [sub]or bounded explicitely, but you haven’t done that, either[/sub].[/li][li]You cannot use a “just God” to declare faith in one religion over another a “false standard” unless you have demonstrated that the existence of free will violates an absolute standard of justice (which, of course, you again need to spevify or bound). Barring such a demonstration, you have no basis for making claims about “all religions” unless you induce the result.[/li]
Once you do that, we can deal with the issues raised by your particular conception of “just God” [sub](ref: a just God–who could not favor one religion over another without betrayal)[/sub].
[li]“if we assume God hides in order to be discovered, this is arbitrary both to human endeavor and God, and is the same as saying that our duty is to look for God, who may be moving his hiding place, therefore his will is what is to be discovered–which is looking in my own head by reasons and not faith.” Arbitary? It, like your own assertions, is an assumption about God’s will. All such assumptions are “arbitrary” by definition, unless such will is “discovered”. As to your final sentence – it is unjustified. Whether the discovery of God’s will is through reason or faith is an open question.[/li]
Your rock example does not bother me. I am not the one declaring that the possibilities for God/God’s will can be reduced to a single path.
[li]I have at no time assumed or asserted that it is possible to determine the will of God without knowing the existence of God. Please tell me where you got the idea that I was taking such a stand.[/li][li]The argument that God must be using a humanistic standard to judge us because we can deduce no other necessity is unsound. Our abilities to understand place no bounds upon God’s criteria for evaluation.[/li][li]“we assume that if knowing his will matters, God is jealous by his own impotence . . .” This is known as circular reasoning. Why not simply assume that God’s will can have only the properties that suit your argument and tighten the whole argument to a single tautology.[/li][li]Determining God’s will through faith is a contradiction in terms only if you assert that God’s will can be known only through reason. If you make that assertion, then it is absurd for you to declare that choosing between opposing religions must be done on faith alone – you have just asserted that reason can determine God’s will.[/li]
Alternatively, you can allow that God’s will might be discernible, even solely discernible, by faith. In either case, the contradiction you imagine is not present.
Have to run, now – I’ll get to the rest, or your reply to this, later.

From your first post:

There is nothing absurd, on its face, with gaining understanding of God’s will if such an understanding is possible.

From your last post (begins by quoting me):

“we assume that if knowing his will matters, God is jealous by his own impotence . . .” This is known as circular reasoning. Why not simply assume that God’s will can have only the properties that suit your argument and tighten the whole argument to a single tautology.

Both posts are circular. In the first, it is a vicious circle. In the last, it is tautological about tautology itself and explains the qualities of religion which I am trying to expose (more on this below). I qualified my brief statement with an assumption, then assserted that if his will matters, then he is making an impossible demand because he is the one hiding–the premise did not assume the conclusion. If it is an impossible demand, then we can know it is because if God exists, he is impotent (without mis-assuming evil or fake), and jealous of his inadequacy explains the demand. This is cutting God alot of generous slack for his absence and impossible demand, if assumed to be valid.

You suggest that we can know his will by first assuming he has a will. I claim we can know his will by assuming he wills to be absent, which is the same condition as being non-existent (ie, God is willing to be non-existent for some reason–who are we to assume it is a sign to beg or look for him?). In other words, God must want us to ignore him, otherwise he is an acutely coy and jealous God offering an impossible demand, because he is powerless or fake or non-existent (which is all we are free to conclude–I don’t see how a loving God follows from his complete emotional distance).

My defense here is that if I assume knowing God’s will matters for my survival without knowing God, by a leap of faith or whatever twisted logic, then I have assumed a quality of God that can only be described as jealous/envious or otherwise coyly demanding special attention by definition, which implies God is either impotent, false, evil, or non-existent, not loving or gracious.

Impotence follows from assuming he exists, and not problematically assuming evil or falseness (which implies more than we can know). If avoid non-existence for now, since we assumed for the moment God exists.

Note: A hidden God that we assume needs/wants us to discover his will is more than jealous actually, there is barely a word that covers this demand since it is the domain of psychosis, or autism and is passive-aggression and is a good counter-argument that God either does not care or exist, or does not care to exist (because anyone can claim his will and he does not care, so why should we?).

Note 2: Jealous is THEIR word for it, quoting God no less.

Note 3: I use the words “would or wouldn’t matter” because they imply that it wouldn’t logically follow and would contradict itself from assuming God will unless God’s will was known, ie, wouldn’t logically matter. I assumed that his absence is willed (“deliberate”) because I am not free to assume otherwise without making infinitely more assumptions under the loose definition of creator. But that is not the same as assuming his will regarding humans.

You wrote:

I can have no knowledge of your communicative intent. I do not need to assume that your will is to be understood; I need only assume that the posts can be understood. After all, I am under no obligation to follow your will, even if I do understand it.

This is a false analogy if I am not assumed to be a hidden creator pretending to judge, and we are discussing the lack of communication. Assuming I was creator, then I would not will you to make an error, nor would I will you to succeed and defeat my own test. This is why we are free to assume life is a test–which can be true with or without a God, because it assumes no intention of the test itself). The only free assumption we are able to make about God if imagined to exist is that we are on our own, free to choose, and should just be ourselves regardless. If we were religiously inclined, it should be taboo to talk about God or his will. The silence from God is the message itself.

If a parent leaves a child and never comes back, we assume it has been abandoned and that child owes no loyalty or search mode to that parent because either they willed to be absent or they are dead. We are likewise free to assume God does not exist without changing the direction of our lives one bit–because his will is unknown.

Also, I don’t assume we can know God’s will through reason, I only assume that we can’t know his will through faith, and can understand his non-will, or moot will, through reason, yet you say this is defining his will–which I assume is also saying there is no difference between defining his will and not defining his will (although I disagree). I assume faith to be an error (or anti-reason itself) which allows a mistaken action to follow from a mistaken assumption, ie, see your first quote above at the top of this post.

Aside: The burden of proof is not upon me to find a standard of justice to assign God absolute justice. I was saying that God would not be just if we assume only one attempt to define him was correct (which means he gave it to them, which is unfair, since God is now punishing the other vain attempts by not correcting them). In other words, God wills confusion unjustly.

Really. I may abandon this discussion, my patience with grand pronouncements backed by tenuous logic is not what it once was.

I should have used the more precise “seeking to gain an understanding”, true. I was guilty of following the same shorthand you used in saying, “Defining the will of God is absurd”.

The second example, the one that you feel explains qualities of religion does nothing of the sort at present. You would have to develop a much more rigorous and signigficant argument for your “tautology about tautology” to be interpreted in such a way. As it stands, it says far more about your preconceptions and assumptions concerning God than it does about the nature of religion.

  1. if knowing his will matters God is jealous by his own impotence
  2. which would contradict the idea of God.

Assumption: A is true only if God is jealous
Unstated assumption: God cannot be jealous
Conclusion: ~A

Reasoning: entirely circular.
Logical value: nil.

I make no such claim. I say a search for God’s will can be justified simply with the assumption that said will exists. i.e., it is not absurd to make the attempt. In fact, I can think of other assumptions which might also lead to a non-absurd attempt to divine God’s will. Unlike yourself, I do not pretend that by listing one idea I have exhausted all possible alternatives.

I will note, however, that your stated position is actually a subset of the one I offered, since it assume not only that God has a will but that the will has a specific characteristic.

God must? On the basis of what? Do you lack the imagination to think of another alternative? Do you lack the ability to recognize another alternative when it is raised? You casually dismiss, either through ignorance or arrogance, thousands of years of religious and mystic literature. More than one explanation for a hidden God is possible. If you wish to build a case that your explanation must be the correct one, then do so. But simply asserting that your position as the only possible conclusion speaks volumes about yourself and little about God.

This result may indeed be all that you are free to conclude. Not everyone, however, is restricted by your particular subset of hidden assumptions and preconceptions.

This is a flawed defense.

  1. Survival is not the only aspect which God’s will might impact.
  2. Your prejudice betrays itself through the use of the word “twisted”.
  3. You have yet to demonstrate a causal relationship between “God’s will matters” and “God is jealous/coy/envious/impotent”. You have stated that conclusion many times as if it were a self-evident truth. It is not.
  4. Even if you manage to support your assertion of jealousy, the causal connection between that characteristic and lack of potency/truth/good/existence/loving/graciousness would need to be drawn rigorously, as would the consequences of any such attribute. Remember, the only qualities you assumed for God in the beginning were singularity and (implied) creativity.

Nonsense. I can hardly imagine the number of prejudices and assumptions which must underlie this “conclusion”. Allowing a possiblity for discovery, perhaps even with a hope that the possibility is realized, hardly equates to psychosis.

It requires no pathological jealousy to hide painted eggs or candies in the yard with the idea that some children might find them.

THEIR word? When did you declare this to be an argument specific to any particular religious volume/ideation?

I use the words “would or wouldn’t matter” because they imply that it wouldn’t logically follow and would contradict itself from assuming God will unless God’s will was known, ie, wouldn’t logically matter. I assumed that his absence is willed (“deliberate”) because I am not free to assume otherwise without making infinitely more assumptions under the loose definition of creator. But that is not the same as assuming his will regarding humans.


What you actually said is: integrity and honesty would matter and loyalty would never matter. Apparently you feel that both of these ideas follow inescapably from “assuming God will unless God’s will was known”. If so, please do me the courtesy of demonstrating the logical chain. Simpy stating that one implies the other is insufficient.

You are, as I pointed out, making statements about the specific characteristics of God’s will. Apparently, you feel that these characteristics are inevitable if we assume that god has a will. I will be very surprised if you are able to develop a logical support for such conclusions based upon you rsingle assumtion.

If you are able to support these positions, it will also be a clear refutation of your statement “Defining the will of God is absurd”.

The additional assumption that you have deliberately obscured your intent in no way invalidates the analogy. We are not discussing the lack of communication. We are dicussing, in the limited focus of this particular analogy, whether it is absurd for me to seek meaning in your posts.

Yet more specific assertions about God’s will. I find these particularly amusing since they imply that a creator is simultaneously incapable of desiring us to pass or fail our assumed test. I am perversely curious as to the leaps of logic you used to arrive at such a point.

Your stated assumptions support neither conclusion.

You have made any number of assumptions about God in order to declare this “one free assumption”. You were of course “free” to make them, but it might have been better if you had made them explicitely instead of hiding them behind boldly asserted “conclusions”.

If we were religiously inclined, we would probably not feel that God was silent.

Okay, so you have a third possibility other than faith and reason through which you think it is possible to know God’s will. Please state it explicitely.

It really makes little difference. Since you have explicitely admitted that you assume that it is impossible to determine God’s will through faith, it makes your declaration that determining God’s will through faith is “a contradiction in terms” empty. It would have been more honest for you to simply state the assumption, rather than couching it in terms of logical consequence.

Must I again repeat all of the statements you have made concerning specific characteristics of God’s will. Are you really of the opinion that declaring, “Only integrity and honesty would matter to a supreme being” is a statement of non-will or moot will?

Lest you remain confused, allow me to specifically state that I am not saying that defining a thing is the same as not defining a thing. The apparent fact that you cannot recognize when you do the one does not imply that I confuse it with the other.

I see. If you had simply added this assumption to the proposal in your OP I might have saved considerable time. Really, though, I do hope you realize that reason also allows mistaken action to follow from mistaken assumption. If I were in a playful mood I might link back to this thread as an example.

The burden of proof is upon you. You have made the claim.

Your second sentence is ridiculous. (The paranthetical reasoning depends upon so many assumptions that I am loath eto list them. Briefly: it is unjust to allow someone to fail a test, the only way to pass the test is to be explicitely given the answer, allowing a freely chosen mistake is equivalent to punishment, religious views are static {thus vain if incorrect}, our assumed “life as test” rewards only a single answer and punishes all others.)

Apparently, you feel that justice is contradictory to specific definition. I cannot imagine why.
Listing all characteristics of a thing defines the thing correctly.
Listings of characteristics which do not match all characteristics of a thing are not correct definitions of the thing.
A just God exists with specific characteristics.

List all characteristics of the just God.

A single correct definition for a just God/*

The method might, of course, not be humanly possible. But that is a far cry from declaring that a God with specific characteristics cannot be just. In fact, I can see no way for you to suport such a position without declaring that “just” and “defined” are contradictory attributes for God.

That would, of course, simply be another circle. But perhaps you have a chain of reason in mind that I fail to anticipate. If so, please share it.

That’s all for now
I don’t think I will go back to the faith/character/intelligence digression until these other issues are cleared up. It seems pointless and unnecessarily inflamatory. (And also deserving of its own thread, which stands a high chance of ending up in the PIT.)

I remain curious, however, about where you got the idea that either one of us was talking about god’s abilities.

You wrote:

You casually dismiss, either through ignorance or arrogance, thousands of years of religious and mystic literature. More than one explanation for a hidden God is possible.

I gave several possible reasons for a hidden God, mainly that he exists to be impartial, or by default exists in an infantile state of jealousy (wanting humans to fight over him–a mythical God), or is impotent/incompetent (messiah), or is evil/fake (aliens?). All these assume his existence.

Aside: It is not circular to say that “…Therefore God is jealous, but if God cannot be infantile or jealous(?), then there is no God,” although that was not my example (it was your analysis, which assumed God needed a certain character ability to be God, which is letting a human ideal determine what God must be, when it is possible to say God is unjust if we assume this or that about him).

Also, ancient religious or mystic literature is an absurd claim to priority, so is slavery, alchemy, magic, whatever. More sane literature and oral traditions to the contrary of one God have been destoyed by the same people who pass the same old tradition along, denying us so much leeway to think, and if everyone believed it by tradition, all the more reason to dismiss it. Note: these traditions are what I’m talking about as per conflict.

Also, by the same reasoning, I am not able to dismiss the fact that religion leads to war via the many definitions of God’s will. So, if God wills confusion, he is unjust, because he prompts suffering by allowing the confusion over his will, so his will is injustice, however, this unjust will of God could have been deduced IN ERROR by assuming faith, not reason. (Have we forgotten that God is merely assumed here, not proven, and that it is modernly considered a psychotic fantasy to speak for God? Hence twisted logic. Anyone can claim to be a messiah for God, hence psychosis.)

I am biased towards reason, absolutely. It would be absurd to be biased towards knowing the will of God. Faith is not an objective state of mind. It is opposed to objective reason by definition. Just because all churches may preach one God does not lead us to conclude the fact that one God is absolute. They are all attempting the same mistake in the same tradition which succeeded by violence.

You also wrote:

Your second sentence is ridiculous. (The paranthetical reasoning depends upon so many assumptions that I am loathe to list them. Briefly: it is unjust to allow someone to fail a test,

I would never assume that it is unjust to allow someone to fail a test–it is unjust for an assumed “just” God to WILL success or failure either way, obviously. I thought I was pretty clear on that point. The only way to think we can pass any test is by assuming God has a WILL FOR HUMANS TO FOLLOW and to follow that imagined will, the test being faith (which is how stubborn one can be in the face of reason), which completely excludes reason, but paradoxically depends on pseudo-reasoning nonetheless.

[sub]Again: If we assume God’s absence is willed, we may also assume that he has no known will for us to follow–to calculate otherwise is to assume faith is necessary, which dis-assumes reason is necessary. When I suggest God has no will, it implies the one we imagine for us to follow, (due to the notion he is “willfully” absent).[/sub]

Why can’t an assumption of God lead one to conclude that God is powerless or impotent? We simply cannot rule it out if we insist on faith in his will. I agree that God sucks this way, but I was being open-minded here. Obviously the better conclusion is non-existence or impartiality, and the idea of impotence is to show that either he doesn’t exist by assuming his will for humans, or that he is incompetent to influence humanity directly, yet demands allegiance when he offers nothing to assist (God could also be evil or fake–all possible degrees or synonyms for impotent or non-existence). The two most obvious paths I can see here under the assumptions made of God is that god either does not exist, or that assuming faith in his will is in error and is working AGAINST our trial interests. Feel free to inform me of others.

Note: Jealous God is a generous description for the mind-boggling suffering and cruelty in the name of God. I am to imagine what possibilities by assuming we need to know his will? If his will is important, then this leads errantly led humans to murder entire cultures in his name–obviously human hierarchy of revelation of God’s will is a dangerous possibility.

GOD’S QUALIFIED “WILL”: he willfully does nothing to see who will make the error of faith and local religion and condemn them accordingly as per their trial. This assumes we cannot assign God an agenda (formerly known as “will”). Does this mean that God sees dogmatic religion as a form of blasphemy? It makes perfect sense.

[sub]By the way, you asked why I thought you were talking about assumed abilities (or qualities) of God. You used the word revelation, particulars, and knowledge describing the mystery of God. “Mystery” is often the single word used to convey God’s existence as quality–yet implying that it is somehow perceivable by mystery method. Here is yet more from your last post:

Listing all characteristics of a thing defines the thing correctly.
Listings of characteristics which do not match all characteristics of a thing are not correct definitions of the thing.
A just God exists with specific characteristics.

List all characteristics of the just God.

A single correct definition for a just God/

Define? Or we could just assume he is absolutely just/impartial by having no will, or hope that he doesn’t exist.

Yes, all of them variations upon a theme of pettiness, incompetence, dishonesty, etc. I repeat, you casually dismiss thousands of years of religious and mystic thought. If I decalred that you might do so from dishonesty, or because you were an imbecile, or because you were jealous of competing ideas . . . would you agree that I have fairly presented all alternatives?

True. But that is not what you said. However, it seems that I have also mischaracterized your argument on this point. Your conclusion that “God is jealous by his own impotence” is not necessarily circular, it is simply unsupported by any chain of reason. I doubt seriously that it can be shown to follow from “Assume knowing God’s will matters”, but I will suspend judgment until you make a detailed case.

Blindly dismissing an idea because of its heritage is every bit as fallacious as blindly following it. Moreover, since your argument purports to represent all possible cases it is incumbent upon you to deal with all known conceptions of God. To do less makes it impossible to support your conclusion.

Again, until you demonstrate an absolute standard of justice all of these arguments are empty. You could as easily assert that God would be unjust to reveal his presence unambiguously since it would greatly constrain the ability of men to act as free moral agents.

Your conviction that the existence of multiple religions is demonstrably unjust on an absolute scale does not make it so. Your continued willingess to declare things absolutely unjust without defining absolute justice borders on the perverse.

Pardon me? Is the standard for logic now identical to the psychological terminology of the day? In fact, men speak for God all the time without being judged either twisted or psychotic. Anyone can claim to be President of the United States. that does not imply that George W Bush is psychotic.

I am biased toward reason myself. However, I also recognize that reason serves best when objectivity is maintained. I see no objectivity (and little sound reason, for that matter) in your OP or in your support of the same.

Why? This is another unsupported assertion on your part.

No. It is separate from objective verification by definition. Separate from need not equal opposed to.

True. It also does not lead us to conclude that no church can possibly be correct.

This is a false generalization. Please exercise your absolute bias toward reason when you feel compelled to make blanket statements when you have neither deduced nor induced the result.

What you said was, God would not be just if we assume only one attempt to define him was correct. This statement, barring additional assumptions, says nothing about God willing success or failure. It speaks only to the outcome. I see no way to place the blame for human decisions on our assumed God short of reducing all men to God’s puppets.

I note in passing that you neglected to comment upon any of the other assumptions implicit in your statement.

Not if what you just said was what you meant to say before. Now you speak of God willing an outcome. Before you spoke only of God allowing an outcome. Here’s a hint: if you wish to declare your assumed God to be morally responsible for all human decisions, say so. It will make this conversation much shorter.

Yet another unsound conclusion. It is conceivable that God allows many paths to “pass the test”. It is possible that the “correct” answer has nothing to do with defining the will of God. It is possible that the test does require defining the will of God but has nothing to do with faith

  1. Please add the criterion “absolute” to God’s willed absence. That will make it clearer that you posit a case which does not match the conceptions of most major religions.
  2. Faith becomes necessary, under your (revised) assumptions only if you concomitantly assume that no path toward defining God’s will exists except faith and reason. (Earlier you implied the contrary, though you have yet to specify the third path I requested.)
  3. It does not follow that assuming reason is necessary dis-assumes reason is necessary. They are not mutually annihilating antiparticles.
  4. Sugesting God has no will implies only the absence of God as a free moral agent. I truthfully have no idea what you mean by, “it implies the one we imagine for us to follow”. Parsing the sentence plainly yields:
    [God has no will] implies the [will of God which we imagine we should follow]. I see no such implication. In fact, the idea seems contradictory on its face.

I never claimed that such a conclusion was not possible. I simply observed that you have provided no sound support for it. That remains true.

It is hardly the acme of open-mindedness to arrive at a conclusion which suits your bias.

Pardon me if I remain unimpressed.

sigh Impotence against what standard? The only characteristics you assumed for God were: existence, exercising judgment, and (implied) creative. Omnipotence was not assumed. For that matter, you have yet (despite repeated requests on my part) shown anything approaching a detailed argument as to what the specific limitations on God’s potency must be to allow humans to form multiple religions.

The levels of assumption which have to underlie your statement of incompetence, demands for allegiance, and non-assistance might be interesting, but to be perfectly frank it has become tiresome for me to point out these leaps while you refuse to offer substantial support for making them.

Inform you? You have only a few paragraphs ago blithely discounted thousands of years worth of alternatives simply because you did not like some of the actions taken by those who read them.

Nevertheless, in the interest of futility:[ul]
[li]God might value man’s freedom of choice above man’s obedience/worship/loyalty/devotion.[/li][li]God might have no particular interest in the outcome of the test, yet find some value in the process.[/li][li]God might reveal clues to his will which are available to men, though not unambiguously obvious to all men.[/li][li]God might have a far more expansive view of the “correct” answer than your argument implies.[/li][li]God might be unjust.[/li][li]God might be just on a scale which your argument does not apprehend. (Which, bluntly, is any scale external to your mind as it stands now.)[/li][li]God might be determinable through a purely rational process which we have yet to discover.[/li][/ul]

Men slaughter each other. Sometimes they do it for God. Sometimes they do it for country. Sometimes they do it for greed. Sometimes they do it for culture.

The only rigorous conclusion we can draw from that is that our assumed God allows men to kill each other.

Is that just? Is that jealous?
Define the first and you might have a case.
For teh second to be concluded it would seem that we necessarily need to assert that God favors at least one participant in the warfare.

(1) Your initial assumption was that God did judge. This certainly implies that God “does something” to those who “make the error”. Are you trying to draw a conclusion about God’s final judgment based upon the lack of immediate repercussions to people while they live?
(2) How does the first statement imply this assumption? You have demonstrated no such implication. I am so tired of typing that!
(3) You are not justified from (1) and (2) in making any assertions as to how “God sees” anything. You have not even begun to support any claims for what specific valuations God must give to human behaviors.
(4) Perfect sense? I can hardly agree. It certainly does not represent perfect reason, which is the standard we have both claimed to desire.


I used revelation only in relation to God’s will. I used particular in the sense of “specific”. I used knowledge to mean "knowledge. The only place I used the word mystery was in the phrase “mystery religions”.

I am amazed that you could spin those into the idea that I was talking about God’s attributes. Then again, you have managed to repeatedly make specific assertions about what God must or must not value while maintaining that it is absurd to define God’s will.

Do you consider that an answer to my argument that it having a single correct definition for God’s will does not imply God is unjust?

My presentation was relatively specific. Is this the rebuttal that your absolute bias toward reason inspires?

When you stand in front of the Mona Lisa, it is not she who is being judged. It is you.

You may want severely limit the scope of your conclusions. Perhaps the following would be appropriate: “The typical western-style God (omnipotent, judgemental, punitive of heathens) seems like a big jerk to me / does not mesh with my notions of justice or goodness.” It’s a perfectly valid statement (and one that I happen to agree with).

You are obfuscating the argument towards your standards. Examples: You offered a case where ancient literature was a possibility, I said that was spurious, you claim I was amiss for dismissing it, saying it was unobjective (it would be unobjective to argue against being able to fathom God’s will from his absence and to assume any faith based dogma).

Also, I claimed that faith (closed-subjective) is opposed to reason (open-objective) You simply claim that faith is not opposed to reason. How is it not opposed if one embraces a dogmatic belief based on the circular reasoning to need to embrace a dogmatic belief in order to be saved from God’s (undefined) will?

You also offered a case where you said I assumed that “God would be unjust if he allowed us to fail the test…” I took exception to that and explained what I really said, and then you said what I “really” said, then noted that I ignored the rest(!). You said I was circular for saying A, and when I said it was not circular to say A (and even disclaimed saying it), you then said it wasn’t circular, but that I didn’t say A. When I said that I offered lots of possibilities (after you said I didn’t) but that God happens to suck among the possibilities I imagined, you said this was not the acme of objectivity (???). Sigh.

If I leave out the word “absolute” to your disliking, or don’t define “will” to include “willed absence” this hardly constitutes the unsound conclusions you imagine, which cannot stem from a few missing qualifiers (by your standards, not mine). An argument is unsound when it contradicts itself, not merely when it lacks your desired standardized qualifier such as absolute, or infantile, or this word or that. (Specific lists or arguments as to qualities or abilities or definitions about God would be easily to refute, no wonder I don’t offer them).

Also, in my thinking, you can’t assume any revelation, particulars, and knowledge about God–that is DEFINING HIM and his will, which is a whole set of assumptions that leads to theology. I only made a few basic assumptions about God and gave reasons as to why it was not sound to seek a will based on faith (but rather to merely assume absence is his sole will in the matter–not willing us to succeed or fail) which means to me that his assumed test is one of common reversal (ie, test in reverse from common dogmatic thinking). My conclusion: If God is the God of faith, then he is evil, false, or limited in power, or infantile (but I chose a monotheistic standard term to be more to the point: “jealous,” to mean a condition where God enjoys people to fight over him–that would also be the God of war, a definition offered by many scholars to describe the history of the notion of God).

What I see taking place here is your objecting to me not standardizing or defining the particulars. My argument may seem too brief and simple, but that is a two-way street–a complex argument for God is what I am arguing against. This argument gathers moss the minute we begin to define God’s attributes and abilities to judge them. I prefer to make a simple set of assumptions and expose the basic flaws between them (which are not infinite by the assumptions). Examine your list to also see that none include faith-based assertions:

*1. God might value man’s freedom of choice above man’s obedience/worship/loyalty/devotion.

  1. God might have no particular interest in the outcome of the test, yet find some value in the process.

  2. God might reveal clues to his will which are available to men, though not unambiguously obvious to all men.

  3. God might have a far more expansive view of the “correct” answer than your argument implies.

  4. God might be unjust.

  5. God might be just on a scale which your argument does not apprehend. (Which, bluntly, is any scale external to your mind as it stands now.)

  6. God might be determinable through a purely rational process which we have yet to discover. *

However, although they are not generally dogmatic, they are redundantly so: 1. is ambiguous (choice can lead to devotion and vice versa). 2. is unexplained. 3. is mysticism. 4. is unexplained. 5. is my argument under faith assumption. 6. is the same 2 and 4 and is likewise unexplained. 7. is the same as 2,4,6, and is open-ended.

We cannot assume God is incomprehensible without also assuming his will is unknowable–therefore specific faith in revelation and loyalty to particulars (dogma) is absurd. We can’t have faith (hope that God is a certain characterized way) without pseudo-reasons, or faith is unexplained without necessity. If we want faith that God is perfectly impartial and just, then we lose faith in an arbitrarily religious-based God. If we lost faith in such a God, we lose faith in all dogma. To even choose one organized mode of faith is to contradict the desire to avoid an arbitrary God here.

You are roundaboutly demanding I outline more details to continue. I don’t see the need for this, and even see the folly thereof. But it was enjoyable nonetheless.


The Western God also originated in/from Persia. I agree there are East and West modes, but not exclusive to God, more exclusive to dogma and soteriology (salvationism). I also note that one God is problematic for this reason.

Maybe I’m missing the point here, but why are we assuming that G-d is incomprehensible or His will is unknowable? What’s wrong with assuming that His will is knowable, that it is discoverable by everyone, and that there is a universal standard of “right behavior”…a universal moral system. If we assume this, then people who didn’t conform to this standard either 1. Know of the standard, and choose not to conform, or 2. Are ignorant of that standard of morality, and instead have adopted another, false, moral system. People are free to adopt whatever standard they desire, because they have freedom of will, and while it’s ultimately foolish to not adopt the “true” belief, there is still a value in allowing people that choice, because it is itself a moral action to freely choose to follow the correct moral path. That seems to be the viewpoint of the three big existing monotheistic religions…maybe I’m misunderstanding something, but it seems like Brian is making a straw man, by setting up an unknowable G-d who chooses to be unknowable in order to be confusing and tempt those people who believe in him. I don’t think that many people have that view of G-d.

I say that assuming God has a will is the straw man here, if that is how you are using the term. The fact that most people conclude to need “the” correct moral dogma is assuming the need to choose–a fallacy. It does not follow that if God is willingly absent that choosing a dogma is his will–that would make God unjust by being the straw man to everyone else. Even under your terms and conditions, so many people will find their god to be false or a betrayer. Straw God is doing nothing to correct this. Therefore he is willfully rigging failure and success–who then becomes a partial or “jealous” God, and one who plays games. I was saying that to avoid this type of God, we avoid faith and dogma altogether in hopes that God is not religious or jealous (arbitrary or unjust).

A straw man argument is when a person misinterprets an opponent’s position, and then shows that that (misinterpreted) position is false. And, yes, under the framework I set up, most people will find their belief system to be (at least somewhat) false, to the extent that it deviates from objective moral reality. G-d has done something to correct this…He’s made everyone capable of discovering and following the correct moral path.

Though I cannot imagine why I bother. I must have some deep-seated need for aggravation.

Yes, I said that if you wish your argument to be complete then you had to address all conceptions of God. Do you find that obfuscatory?
Yes, I said that discounting many centuries worth of mystics, prohpets, monks and scholars because you do not like the actions some churches have sponsored is not the mark of an objective study. Do you disagree?

Neither of hose positions is particularly radical, Brian. The fact that you object to them speaks volumes.

Well, because that is not a general definition of faith, for one thing. It is a diatribe based upon the particular requirements of your argument. Faith is not based upon circular reasoning. It is not based upon reason at all. It is a different epistemology. Humans are quite capable of functioning under more than one epistemology simultaneously. The acceptance of faith does not “dis-assume reason”. It simply acknowledges that reason is insufficient to fully dilineate truth.

That need not be assumed, BTW, the tools of reason themselves have been used to demonstrate the incompleteness of reason.

True. I pointed out that your orignal statement did not match your later clarification. Shall we repeat the two?
**God would not be just if we assume only one attempt to define him was correct. **
I would never assume that it is unjust to allow someone to fail a test–it is unjust for an assumed “just” God to WILL success or failure either way

I simply noted that the second statement does not accurately describe the first. If you intended the second to be an explicit modification of the first, that was unclear to me. It appeared, rather, that you were mischaracterizing the content of the statements to which I had responded. And, yes, I also noted that you had not addressed the many other hidden assumptions which underlie your statement.

I see little room for alternative interpretations in either of those issues. They are, except for your intent in changing the details of your position, issues of plain fact.

Yes. I admitted that I had misread that particular part of your argument. Thus, I explicitly withdrew my accusation that the passage in question was circular reasoning. I am flabbergasted that you would find fault with me for such behavior. Perhaps that explains why ou do not engage in a similar process of critical evaluation of your own arguments.

I did not say that you had never offered multiple possibilities. I stated, correctly, that you had failed to address many other possibilities. That is sloppy reasoning.

I also noted that characterizing a possibility that accords with your obvious bias as “open-minded” is not the hallmark of objectivity. That you sigh when faced with such a plain observation does not change the accuracy of the statement.

An argument is unsound if the conclusion does not follow necessarily from the premises.

It would facilitate debate immensely if you understood that.

Yet you have offered them, repeatedly. You have simultaneously denied offering them (as you do here). In fact, the only things approaching structured argument that you have offered have relied entirely upon specific attributions regarding the nature of God–which you then deny that you have made.

I am weary of repeatedly cut and pasting the specific assumptions you have made about God. Plesae hit the “page up” button a few time. They should be easy to pick out; I know that I bolded some of them at least once.

You gave no reasons, BTW, why it was not sound to seek a will based upon faith. You explicitly admitted that you assumed, a priori, that faith was an error. Assuming a thing is not the same as “giving reasons”.

You are partially correct. I object to you not defining your particulars when th econclusions you draw depend upon the partiulars. I also object to your pretending that a result has been demonstrated when you have supplied no demonstration beyond assertion.

I care not whether your argument is brief or complex, so long as it is sound and well-formed. Your argument thus far has been neither.

Yes – that was the point, wasn’t it. You asked for alternatives. I offered them. You will now proceed, as I was certain that you would, to avoid dealing with them.

(1) Ambiguous? How do you imagine that this justifies ignoring the possibility? Do you restrict your argument only to ideas which lead to no complex analysis?
(2) Unexplained? How? Do you not understand process? Do you not understand apathy toward result?
(3) Mysticism? And this disqualifies it how, exactly?
(4) Unexplained again? What part of “more than one correct answer” is beyond your ability to comprehend? Or is it only beyond the ability of your argument to encompass?
(5) Is a possibility which you mentioned but dropped from the “two options” conlusion which prompted this list. I included it to point out that you had not even been consistent in preserving options which you had explicitely raised.
(6) Is not unexplained, and is not the same as 2 and 4. It is one way of addressing the conception of god as ineffable. If you wanted to label it for dismissal, you should have pulled “mysticism” out of your bag.
(7) Is not relatd to either 2 or 4 and is might be seen to explicitly contradict 6 if we broaden 6 to true ineffability rather than simply beyond the scale of the present argument. Gnosticism is perhaps the “classic” example. I suppose that you object to “open-ended” for the same reason that you object to “ambiguous”.

Ignoring possibilites because they are not simple to deal with is not a trait that I generally associate with a commitmnt to reason.


How could I have been more explicit? Given the character or your replies thus far I have little choice but to conclude that you are and will remain incapable of structuring your argument in a sound manner.

What enjoyment you get out of making foolish proclamations based upon flawed reasoning is beyond me, but you are certainly welcome to it.

I’m tempted to say: Explicit is as explicit does. Nevermind. I will admit to being hard headed when it can be said succinctly and others can get and I still don’t.

Anyway, arguments are valid and/or sound, hopefully both. Convincingness is synonymous with soundness, according to the text I am about to quote, and I’m just clarifying here, because I never made it clear to begin with and shouldn’t have used the word “contradiction” so lightly:

*Arguments can be criticized, then, in at least two ways. First we can criticize an argument by showing that it is not valid. We do this by constructing an argument of the same form that has true assumptions and a false conclusion (aka “counterexample”). Second, we can criticize an argument by showing that the argument is still not convincing, even if it is valid. (p. 16)

Principles of Convincingness:

  1. An argument is not convincing for the conclusion if the assumptions are not plausible.

  2. An argument is not convincing for the assumptions if the conclusion is not plausible.

  3. An argument is not convincing against the assumptions if the conclusion is plausible.

  4. An argument is not convincing against the conclusion if the assumptions are plausible. (p. 50-51)

Introduction to Logic, by Dennis J. Packard and James E. Faulconer, (D. Van Nostrand: New York, 1980)*

No need to debate this, I can accept variations on a theme, you obviously understand what logic entails.

Anyway, I do want to tackle one issue that has not been beaten to death. I still think, from your list, that 2,3,6,7 can be boiled down to one sentence, as I am wont to do. I can’t see how 7 contradicts 6, which assumes me or anybody, unless we define a new logic of God, which is again beyond the scope of the assertion. If God doesn’t want us to have this comprehension, then as you agreed to in your list, we assume no faith. That was my conclusion. My assumption was to assume that life was test and God was intentionally hidden, which signals us. Nothing wrong with mysticism unless it closes off the possibility that I concluded, which was that we proceed using reason and not worry about God. If mysticism says we need to meditate x-teen years to find the true meaning of God (which is assumed), then it is pure dogma.

Now, moving beyond for a brief minute. We never got around to the corollary of my conclusion, which is not that important if you don’t accept the conclusion. Anyway, for those reading this thread, it is:

If faith is a error which leads us away from God’s impartiality, then this implies that the faiths or dogmas with the most assumptions about God’s will are favored with advantage by the properties of pseudo-reasoning (which is that the more bluffs that are contained therein, then it confuses the issue more, and leads people astray farther from the obvious or most simple conclusion).

What I mean here is that the dogma with the most promises, rewards, punishments, proscriptions and scripture ends up attracting those who make the basic error to begin with because to make the error is to assume that the will must be known, and to “know” it more deeply (via dogma) is to pseudo-validate it. I might say this can apply to mysticism, which may lack dogma, but claims poetic depth.

I understand what a straw man argument is, of course. Now, how can you say that God corrected anything? You admitted he needed a correction, and you admit to know what it is. There is no reasoning to back this up. Not everyone is capable of discovering anything called “correct” because they often do as they are told. And, to complicate matters, if someone disagrees with you via dogma, which many would, this just illustrates my point all over again that dogma is arbitrary.

Oops, substitute 4 for 3 in the above, got them out of order. Thanks.

Why does it “prove your point” that dogma is arbitrary, because someone disagrees with me? It’s possible, I’m right, and they’re wrong, or vice versa, or we’re both right to an extent, or wrong to an extent. Also, the fact that people “often do what they told” does not mean that they aren’t free to change their beliefs, or that they must do what they’re told. Also, the correction I was talking about was of human error. You seem to be assuming that all points of view are equally correct, but, if you assume for a minute that that isn’t true, and there is an objectively true point of view, the system I sketched is plausable.