What Do You Really Fear?

If God has an explanation, how does It remain God? If God has no explanation, then why all the fuss?

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10 thoughts on “What Do You Really Fear?

  1. Steven Hoyt says:

    god is insofar as it goes, a logical brute fact. not all things have nor need underlying explanations. if we expected such a thing, our reasoning would be incoherent and no explanation of anything would be possible. this is because of the problem of infinite regression and why folks in all inquiry presume there is a foundation on which all explanation hinges, be that the holy grail of a physicist’s “theory of everything” expressible in a very brief and elegant equation, or be that “god” as expressed by a theologian in response to the question “why anything at all?”; consequently in fact, the same conclusion as krauss in “a universe from nothing”, namely, that there never has been nothing and something eternal must have always existed. whether anyone calling that eternality “god” or not is inconsequential to what you’re asking, because the answer is, god is a brute fact and makes the question improper to ask, knowing how any proper answer would be derived and why.

    • keithnoback says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by ‘logical brute fact’. I’ll take a guess; correct me if I get it wrong:
      There is something about the world which permits logical interpretation. But what does that permissiveness entail? Could we speculate about a truly disorderly world? Such a world would preclude any knowledge by definition. In fact, we could not even hope to positively define such a world.
      So, a brute fact is no more or less than a brute fact. The ramification of truth’s transparency e.g. (famously) ‘snow is white if and only if snow is white’, is that we are stuck within our frame of reference and cannot orient ourselves further based on the knowledge which is contained within that framework.
      There is nothing to stop you from calling the framework necessary. But, so what? You could never know anything about that necessity.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        no, that’s a universe away from what i mean. since you imply frege with “snow white”, i trust you know what facts and brute facts are and how they differ. too, that when i say god is a logical brute fact, you can read that casually an interpret that formally into “logical necessity who by definition cannot have underlying explanations”.

        that better?

      • keithnoback says:

        Maybe. Though I’m pretty sure that logical necessities have an explanation, within logic, and also may or may not be true.
        At any rate, what does it matter?

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        sure, some logically necessary conclusions have underlying explanations. some don’t. it’s just a matter of fact some don’t.

        is it important? not to me. i think there’s a god, for instance, but i know i can’t know any more about god, however one defines it, than the fact i quite naturally have an impression of volition in the world. i can accept that disposition as a belief since that’s how belief is defined, but it’s completely a meaningless question to deliberate. and since there’s no sense in saying belief entails to choice except where there is no disposition at all and, one must choose something to believe because of moral implications, and given logic itself doesn’t entail truth and rational arguments can be made for and against, then it would be not only illogical to believe otherwise and atop that, immoral if one holds that beliefs and inquiry itself are morally predicated; and i do.

        is anything i’ve said important to you? i don’t know other than your questions were important in some way to ask, even if attempting to make a rhetorical point.

        my aim was simply give an epistemologically correct answer.

        i hope i have.

        as for the gods, i couldn’t care less if there are or are not.

      • keithnoback says:

        Yeah, I’m with you.
        You are right – to make a rhetorical point, and to see what people have to say about it. Curiosity, cats, all that. 🙂

  2. jrm says:

    Have you considered Aquinas’ thought on essence and existence? I suppose you could say it “explains” God by saying that God’s essence – the “what” of God – is existence. Nevertheless (for me at least and, I suspect, for everyone else as well) the explanation leaves the mystery pretty much intact. How do you explain colour to a person blind from birth? How do you explain pure existence to contingent beings even if they do have minds that can contemplate abstractions? It’s beyond the experience of any of us. So if we are to know God in any larger sense he will, somehow, have to reveal himself to us.

    It should at least be interesting that in Exodus 3:14 the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob gives his name as “I AM”.

    • keithnoback says:

      I think that’s the pickle a person picks when they assert such things. It isn’t something that’s out of the question, but it something that we could not really know about, at least in the way we know about anything else.
      So, the question remains: what is possibly relevant about the assertion?

      • jrm says:

        Well, I’d call it the result of a reasoning process rather than a mere assertion. Whether or not the reasoning is “analogical” in the philosophical sense of the word, I can’t say.

        But what is the way in which we “know” about things? I’ve read enough on epistemology to understand that there are arguments about how we know things. People talk about “justified true belief” and then argue about what that means. None of it helps us “know” the floor is really there before we get out of bed and stand on it, or that I can trust my spouse, or that King Canute commanded the tide not to come in, or that matter is all there is. Scepticism has its place but hyperscepticism is a dark tunnel to nowhere and we can’t, and don’t, live like that except, perhaps, for brief, dizzying periods of thought experimentation. Otherwise it’s a game people play when it serves them.

        What is possibly relevant about the “assertion”? Only that most of us ask the three big questions (Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?) and we generally start asking the first when we are very young. If we want an answer we have to start somewhere and if we don’t then maybe we should ask ourselves why not. Each to their own.

      • keithnoback says:

        That’s a little off-base. How do you apply reason to something which, at the very least, lacks discreetness? Isn’t the possession of some discreet identity required for logic to operate?
        Again, when people begin to speak of this “product of reason” God, they have begun to equivocate already.
        Another, applicable analogy would be the current status of the Bohm vs. the standard interpretation of QM. Ignoring any implications for future theoretical developments (which seem unlikely in theology or the basics of epistemology), one can pick their poison. And there is no difference in how QM works either way.
        I don’t see how hyperskepticism plays a role in any of this.

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