A strange argument from a non-believer ( Christianity is atheism)

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jubalsqaud

Puritan Board Freshman
(i moved this here after i realized i posted it first in the wrong section)

So I heard a atheist debate a one of us.

The Christian representative presented Christianity to him with the doctrine of divine simplicity attached

The atheist wasn't philosophically sophisticated and learned a vast amount from the Christian's intricate explanation.

Only here is the thing.

Upon understanding what was meant the atheist declared victory on the bases that atheism is the position that "No Gods exist, Gods being personal beings in a univocal sense"

Upon reflection im having a hard time blaming the man for saying thinking this.

It seems your average person would say the greeks are polytheists, but if they believed in Zeus alone they would be monotheists.

It seems then that atheism wouldn't be concerned with a God who was only a person in a analogical/equivocal sense.

Even if we added more criteria like "Gods are disembodied minds" it seems what atheism is addressing are essentially really powerful ghosts.

Ghosts being things that only qualify as ghosts in virtue of possessing the qualities of not having fleshly bodies and being persons in a univocal sense.


Never the less clearly our agenda is hostile to the social policy of atheists, so they still oppose us.

However it seems on a purely theoretical grounds it seems atheism doesn't comment on God in divine simplicity.

Just like how abatism "bats do not exist"(flying rats) isn't concerned with "bats" (sports equipment)

Its not clear what the christian's next move should have been.

What should he have done next?
 

jubalsqaud

Puritan Board Freshman
That if God is analogically a person hes not a person in the normal sense therefore atheism is true.

Sense Christianity says God is a analogical persona Christianity is atheism
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
That if God is analogically a person hes not a person in the normal sense therefore atheism is true.

Sense Christianity says God is a analogical persona Christianity is atheism

Who is saying God is analogically a person? What does that even mean and why is that a problem? Part of the deal is defining what a person really is. Why should we privilege modern definitions?
 

jubalsqaud

Puritan Board Freshman
The atheist i heard debating, and the Christian, both said "God is a person"

The atheist meant it univocally, meaning the word predicate "is a person" asserts the same facts about God as it does a human

The Christian clamed "is a person" was used analogically, thus the predicate " is a person" does not assert the same meaning when applied to a human

Just like "Bat" can mean "Winged rodent" or "Baseball bat" in to identically spelled sentences but these two sentences do not have the same truth conditions.

In fact:

"I own a bat" is false sense its about the animal

"I own a bat" is true sense its about a baseball bat.

These sentences express different propositions.

The atheist assumed that the Christian God was like Zues.

Zues is a person in the same sense that I am a person.

Zues is a being who has preconditions for his existence, one of which is the possession of personhood.

We humans also have the precondition of personhood. Thus Zues and us can be called "persons" in the same sense.

God however is self existent, he doesnt have preconditions to count as what he is.

Thus the word "person" can't mean "a being that exemplifies the property of personhood" when applied to God and be true.

God having personhood would mean God depends on logically prior states of affairs in order to be God.

EDIT: here is a quote from the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy explaining better than i could

" If God had properties in the way creatures have them, however, he would be distinct from them and so dependent on them. This is the case whether one thinks of a property of x as a constituent of x, or as an entity external to x to which x is tied by the asymmetrical relation (or nonrelational tie) of instantiation. If the properties of x are constituents or ontological (proper) parts of x, then x will depend on them in the same way that any whole composed of parts depends on its parts. But if x is tied to its properties by the asymmetrical relation of instantiation, it is still the case that x will depend on them: if x is F in virtue of x’s instantiation of F-ness, then F-ness is a logically prior condition of x’s being F. In sum, the divine aseity would seem to require that God be rather than have his attributes."​

 

83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
In sum, the divine aseity would seem to require that God be rather than have his attributes.

Well, yes. This is the doctrine of divine simplicity: all that is in God is God. There's nothing logically contradictory about that. It is an inherent part of Christianity that God is a different sort of being than creatures, specifically because of divine aseity (and by implication simplicity). That God is a different sort of being is the necessary implication of the doctrine of creation. The atheist doesn't have any right to demand that God in Christianity be treated like a creature, or not exist. That is a false dilemma.

The Bible describes God analogically all the time. God is not a literal rock. Yet, God is our rock (Psalm 19). This doesn't require univocity, which would be taking an extremely literalistic approach to interpreting Scripture. The atheist's argument sounds like sophistry to be laughed at. It's assuming something that Christianity denies - namely, that God is the same kind of being as creatures. The Christian doesn't need to buy that assumption, but rather should point out that the atheist is assuming their conclusion in making their case (their conclusion being the denial of the biblical God, who is not a creature).

More fundamentally, if the atheist is defining atheism as you put it in the OP, then he's defined it in a really weird way, and isn't actually addressing the question of whether or not the biblical God exists. So it's a bit of a red herring too, in that he's answering a different question than the one at hand. The one at hand is "does the Triune God of Scripture exist?" The one he answered is "does a god who is a creature exist?" Not only are they two different questions, but the question he is answering is incoherent by reason of its implicit premises (that God is the same kind of being as creatures).
 

jubalsqaud

Puritan Board Freshman
Im not sure I agree that his usage is strange.

People tend to agree that the greco roman pantheon count as gods conceptually.

It doesn't appear to be the case that they are thinking "a God is a ultimate simple creator of the universe" then falsely attributing this feature to Zeus.

In fact even when Christian verbiage is mimicked the atheists definition appears to still have univocal predication in mind.

For example new atheists are fond of arguments like the argument from poor design.

"If God is so smart why did he make people's reproductive system reliably result in dead babies"

Such a argument implies god is stupid.

Not analogically stupid, for real stupid, as in "the property of having a lower ability to track the truth compared to others"

It just weird to me that a atheist has anything to complain about if divine simplicity is taken as true.

He might want to argue that matter is all that exists, thus he becomes your intellectual enemy.

However that argument isnt motivated by atheism, its motivated by the need for non-material things to be fictions.

The materialist atheist is equally enemies with atheist's who believe in abstract objects.

It seems like a basic atheist could grant the divine simplicity God exist and that's not different from saying there is no "personal creator"

Below it seems are a list of statements that you have to agree are false on simplicity.

1. "God is loving" when love means "the attribute wishing well being on another"

This is not true when applied to God

2." God has Knowledge" when "knowledge" is defined as "beliefs that have the property of being justified and true"

God does not have this property, normally this would mean God is ignorant because ignorance is defined as "when beliefs do not have the property of being justified and true" in fact its not clear what knowledge even is here.

3. "God is a person" when person is "a being exemplifying personhood"

God doesn't exemplify anything so the above is false.

It just seems like the above concedes everything a atheist would want.

Its not clear that a normal atheist would really want to challenge that Christian i met .

What should I say to a atheist who responds "That is what I believe you just have a weird insistence on using personal language on a impersonal being"
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Well, if they reject our language about God as personal, that's on them. I really don't see the problem. I'm also having a hard time tracking your discussion.

#1. I don't define love that way.

As to #2. God has at least one belief that is true: I am fairly certain God knows he is God.

#3. That definition of personhood is singular, and that holds for theist or atheist. It's like defining a circle as the shape that exemplifies circularity. True, no doubt, but it doesn't say much. I would reject that definition of personhood.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Im not sure I agree that his usage is strange.

People tend to agree that the greco roman pantheon count as gods conceptually.

It doesn't appear to be the case that they are thinking "a God is a ultimate simple creator of the universe" then falsely attributing this feature to Zeus.

In fact even when Christian verbiage is mimicked the atheists definition appears to still have univocal predication in mind.

For example new atheists are fond of arguments like the argument from poor design.

"If God is so smart why did he make people's reproductive system reliably result in dead babies"

Such a argument implies god is stupid.

Not analogically stupid, for real stupid, as in "the property of having a lower ability to track the truth compared to others"

It just weird to me that a atheist has anything to complain about if divine simplicity is taken as true.

He might want to argue that matter is all that exists, thus he becomes your intellectual enemy.

However that argument isnt motivated by atheism, its motivated by the need for non-material things to be fictions.

The materialist atheist is equally enemies with atheist's who believe in abstract objects.

It seems like a basic atheist could grant the divine simplicity God exist and that's not different from saying there is no "personal creator"

Below it seems are a list of statements that you have to agree are false on simplicity.

1. "God is loving" when love means "the attribute wishing well being on another"

This is not true when applied to God

2." God has Knowledge" when "knowledge" is defined as "beliefs that have the property of being justified and true"

God does not have this property, normally this would mean God is ignorant because ignorance is defined as "when beliefs do not have the property of being justified and true" in fact its not clear what knowledge even is here.

3. "God is a person" when person is "a being exemplifying personhood"

God doesn't exemplify anything so the above is false.

It just seems like the above concedes everything a atheist would want.

Its not clear that a normal atheist would really want to challenge that Christian i met .

What should I say to a atheist who responds "That is what I believe you just have a weird insistence on using personal language on a impersonal being"
Yeah I can't really follow your discussion either. It seems to involve, by way of analogy, many different things. Perhaps specifying the main point of the argument would make it easier to help out.
 

jubalsqaud

Puritan Board Freshman
The main point is this:

Given simplicity it seems that atheism is not the antithesis to Christianity.

For atheism seems to be about univocal persons.

It seems with divine simplicity the following sentence predicates are equivocal.

1. "God is a person"

2. "I am a person "

I don't understand why a atheist would care if the 1. is true.

Atheism at minimal rejects the existence of some agent.

But "agent" doesn't mean "agent" (univocal) on simplicity

Simplicity seems compatible with his worldview.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
I believe when they agree "God is a Person" it is presupposing that all things can be compartmentalized into our scientific black box. Anything that had the ability to create would be God to us. As an example, the movie Prometheus presents the alternate superior race that created humans. They were superior and therefore Gods to us, and the characters in the movie shared this same sentiment. It sounds like he is playing word games.

As a side note, Christians during antiquity were considered atheists for similar reasons. Since they rejected all gods except the one true GOD they were atheists.

*** EDIT ***

Using the Prometheus example, the creator being and created generates a constant regression. Some race doesn't have a 'creator' in this atheistic approach and came about through natural evolution/selection. They always have the problem of answering the origin of the universe. How can something in our natural world come from nothing? You would need something supernatural.
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Analogies still equivocate

P1 my cow is a beast (animal)

P2 my wrestling coach is a beast (good at wrestling)

C1 my cow and is the same thing as my wrestling coach

That's not an equivocation. It's the fallacy of the undistributed middle premise. Your major premise should be universal with regards to beast. Your minor premise should distribute the major. Your argument does nothing.
 

jubalsqaud

Puritan Board Freshman
Since only man [human] is rational. And no woman is a man [male].Therefore, no woman is rational.

Better?

Edit:" The fallacy of equivocation occurs when a key term or phrase in an argument is used in an ambiguous way, with one meaning in one portion of the argument and then another meaning in another portion of the argument"

You might be right that there is another fallacy here, but it seems like it still equivocates
 
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jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Since only man [human] is rational. And no woman is a man [male].Therefore, no woman is rational.

Better?

Edit:" The fallacy of equivocation occurs when a key term or phrase in an argument is used in an ambiguous way, with one meaning in one portion of the argument and then another meaning in another portion of the argument"

You might be right that there is another fallacy here, but it seems like it still equivocates
Jacob is right, an analogy is an analogy not equivocation. I think another way of defining equivocation is that the terms have completely, or near completely, different meanings. An analogy is same word with qdifferent kinds of meanings. A good dog is not exactly the same thing as a good person. Different kinds of good.

For an atheist to insist on univocal meanings of words is ludicrous, I could be wrong but I think even open theists dont reject analogy completely. I'm open to corrections there though.
 

jubalsqaud

Puritan Board Freshman
Jacob is right, an analogy is an analogy not equivocation. I think another way of defining equivocation is that the terms have completely, or near completely, different meanings. An analogy is same word with qdifferent kinds of meanings. A good dog is not exactly the same thing as a good person. Different kinds of good.

For an atheist to insist on univocal meanings of words is ludicrous, I could be wrong but I think even open theists dont reject analogy completely. I'm open to corrections there though.
Wouldn't a good dog just mean a useful dog and a good person mean a moral person?

Those don't seem to be the same

Also a analogy is a comparison between to analogs

Wouldn't you agree that

Sarah is a loose cannon is a analogy, not to be literal.

If so then

P1 Loose cannons pose a friendly fire hazard

P2 Sarah is a loose cannon (analogical usage )

C1 Sarah is a friendly fire hazard

Is analogical and a equivocation
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Since only man [human] is rational. And no woman is a man [male].Therefore, no woman is rational.

Better?

Edit:" The fallacy of equivocation occurs when a key term or phrase in an argument is used in an ambiguous way, with one meaning in one portion of the argument and then another meaning in another portion of the argument"

You might be right that there is another fallacy here, but it seems like it still equivocates

You are making a leap from one example of language being ambiguous to ALL examples must necessarily be equivocating.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Wouldn't a good dog just mean a useful dog and a good person mean a moral person?

Those don't seem to be the same

Also a analogy is a comparison between to analogs

Wouldn't you agree that

Sarah is a loose cannon is a analogy, not to be literal.

If so then

P1 Loose cannons pose a friendly fire hazard

P2 Sarah is a loose cannon (analogical usage )

C1 Sarah is a friendly fire hazard

Is analogical and a equivocation
I honestly have no idea what your getting at. Since you already admitted to an analogical use of "loose cannon" in your syllogism your incorrect. The conclusion does not follow from the premises.
 

jubalsqaud

Puritan Board Freshman
Oh course they dont follow that's the point


The point there was to point out that analogies are equivocations

By definition anytime to predicates that are worded exactly the same differ in meaning in anyway that is a equivocation.

It doesn't matter if the terms are related or not.

Analogical language is just a subtype of equivocation

Bat the animal is not analogical to bat the baseball tool

However "Virus" as in biology and computer "virus " are analogous and equivocal.

In the end the ultimate point is this:

I don't know how to defend divine simplicity.

A lot of common Christian arguments have many ways to interpret them and that effects the validity.


For example: The Sye Ten Bruggencate knowledge argument can be taken at least 2 ways.


Number 1: ( invalid)

P1 In order to know (univocal) anything you must either know (univocal) everything or have a all knowing (univocal) being reveal to you what is real.

P2. God is a all knowing (equivocal) being who revealed to me what's real

C1 I have knowledge (univocal)

Number 2: ( valid logical structure, but knowledge (equivocal) has a vague or possibly inexpressible meaning.)

P1 In order to know (univocal) anything you must either know (univocal) everything or have a all knowing (equivocal) being reveal to you what is real.

P2. God is a all knowing (equivocal) being who revealed to me what's real

C1 I have knowledge (univocal)


Its not clear why a atheist would care if a being who knows (univocal) nothing exists.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
By definition anytime to predicates that are worded exactly the same differ in meaning in anyway that is a equivocation.

Nonetheless, there can be a similar meaning between the two in which both participate. If there weren't, it would be impossible to make analogies at all.
It doesn't matter if the terms are related or not.

Yes it does.
Bat the animal is not analogical to bat the baseball tool

That only works in English.
I don't know how to defend divine simplicity.

Probably because you made it difficult for yourself. Read guys like Geisler on how analogy works.
For example: The Sye Ten Bruggencate knowledge argument can be taken at least 2 ways.

That might be the problem.
 
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