Thursday, March 12, 2009

The return of the breakdown: Number of Gods Issue

This is a summary of the number-of-gods subject. I sincerely apologize for neglecting this subject and this whole blog for months. Other things were going on.
Here is the outline, approximately.

Number of gods issue:
If one is most powerful:
And if they always agree
then the result would be indistinguishable from the effect of one god
If one is most powerful
And if they disagree
then the most powerful could annihilate or restrain or diminish the others; there would then be just one God
or the most powerful could freely choose to compromise or mitigate the effects of the actions of the others, but the results would include a universe with compromised, varied laws and patterns that don't hold. This is not the case. Conclusion: There are not many gods of unequal power and in disagreement among themselves.
If all are equally powerful
and if they always agree
then the effect would be indistinct from that of one God
If all are equally powerful
And if they ever disagree
then they would always agree to disagree and compromise
or there would be an endless war among them, resulting in a disjointed and chaotic universe with laws hostile to intelligent life anywhere due to constant breakdown in the laws of nature. This is not the case. Conclusion: There are not multiple gods of equal power unwilling to work together.
If there are many gods who always agree
Either they would work as a harmonious team
and then there would be no way of distinguishing the result from that of one god
or they would have specialized domains and functions in the universe.
In which case the universe would be disjointed and its rules and patterns would vary from domain to domain.
This is not the case. Conclusion: There are not multiple gods controlling the universe together with separate domains.

The evidence says there are not:
Multiple gods with varying domains and conflicts (Classical paganism).
Apathetic gods with major areas of domain.
Anti-human gods with major areas of power.
A single apathetic god.
A single anti-human god.
An impersonal force (God as something that{whatever}; God as a way of {whatever}; God as the best aspects of our emotional lives etc.)
No God.
An incompetent or error-making God.
A totally controlling God.
A limited God.
However many gods there are, we know we have:
At least one, loving, pro-human, involved, conscious, individual, limitlessly powerful and wise, freedom-giving, eternal, uncreated, either lone or fully cooperating, gods or God of everyone and everything all the time forever.

Let us now bring Occam's Razor to the situation. This is a principle that one must not assume entities beyond those necessary to explain all the data. Though it isn't an infallible law of reason, the Razor is used because it tends to produce right answers more often than the opposite principle. People argue all the time without resolution about how many and which entities are necessary to account for all the data, so it can't really even be defined whether one is using the Razor correctly.
However, suppose a house stands in a field with the door open. Knowing nothing else about the case, should we assume someone has a home in a meadow and has opened the door to air out the house? Or should we decide that there is a Cub Scout meeting inside a house that is really just the upper story of a much bigger, mainly subterranean, clubhouse with the meadow around it a sprouting alfalfa field by which the meeting house is supported? Well, the data of a house in a field with the door open can be accounted for by the first hypothesis. If we then learn that there are many signs pointing to the house, the meters say it consumes several times more electricity than a normal house of the apparent size of it and a Scout's badge has been found near the road, say the neighbors, then the second makes sense.
Likewise, the laws of nature and the patterns in the universe suggest no more than a single God of the description I've given above. One, loving, intelligent, individual, rule-making, rule-keeping, rule-giving, life-loving, creative, humanity-sustaining, humanity-helping, humanity-teaching, communicating, merciful, caring, involved, conscious, eternal, almighty, wise-beyond-any-possible-mortal-wisdom, unchanging, consistent (and therefore consistently good, consistently wise, consistently right) God exists.
In the next segment (sorry once again about the delay) I'll start discussing the Incarnation.
Let me summarize a few of the major fallacies and frauds the New Atheists and New Age Movement seem to be competing to put forth as fast as they possibly can. These are just some of the common ones, so don't fear the end of the fallacy record. It will go on a long time.
Straw man
a. "The Bible didn't fall from the sky."
b. "Science shouldn't be forbidden."
c. "Didn't you know there are other belief systems?"
d. "Priests/ministers/pastors aren't perfect."
e. "Sex isn't a bad thing."
f. "Why have you decided against reason/thinking for yourself?"
g. "Why do you base your life on hatred and bitterness against non-believers?"
h. "Do you really think you're the good people and we're all bad people?"
i. "Why do you want everyone else to go to Hell so badly?"
False dichotomy
a. "What this comes down to is blind faith versus clear independent thinking."
b. "Do you believe in acceptance of everything anyone wants to do or are you a hatemonger who wants to control everyone's life?"
c. "So you admit there are different beliefs, and now you're abandoning yours at last? Make up your mind; either your beliefs are the only ones to exist or someone else is right and you are wrong."
d. "There are two kinds of people in the world. There are people who think for themselves and believe in freedom of thought and there are people who join cults to escape from the pain of thinking. The first are atheists and the second are religious people. Which are you going to be?"
e. "So you would side with people who torture and kill for inquisitions and crusades and conquests, not with peaceful indigenous peoples who just want to worship nature and be let be? Why?"
a. "Over ten million/ 40 million/ 330 million/ a billion women were killed by the Church in the witch hunts, which targeted intelligent independent women, Gnostics, nature lovers, surviving Wiccan herbalists, healers, midwives…all to solidify the Church's male-dominant control over the whole world."
b. "Didn't you know that the pagans were the ones being killed for saying the earth is round into the early Renaissance? And the Church has never officially retracted. To be a Christian is to side with people who think the earth is flat and the sky is a bowl and the sun and moon fly overhead every day. How can you be so ignorant?"
c. "Over ten million/ 40 million/330 million/ a billion people were killed in the Inquisition for disagreeing on trivial theological issues."
d. "The Crusades and Inquisitions were frenzies of anti-semitism."
e. "The Church persecuted and murdered Copernicus and Galileo for saying the earth wasn't at the center of the universe, because they were threatened by the challenge to the what the Bible says about man being the only intelligent being."
f. "Why do you support the Church when it breeds more child abuse and domestic violence than any institution in any culture on earth?"
g. "You don't see child molesters working for Buddhist/ pagan/ New Age/ Hindu/ skeptic/ atheist groups, only for Christians."
h. "Atheists don't start wars or kill those who disagree with them."
i. "If religion is so great, how come atheists give more to charity?"
j. "Islam and Christianity are the same religion, and look at the record of Islam in human rights"
k. "The Bible was written in the Fourth Century to preserve the political power of a tiny secretive group of men who wrote it in a highly secret council. They killed all the witnesses to the previous belief systems and took over the world by brutal bloodshed. A remnant of Gnostic/ Manichean/ pagan/ other people hid in the woods and passed on their secret knowledge. All the religious wars in history have been an attempt to wipe that fragile remnant off the planet, but NOW the truth can be told at last."
l. "Why doesn't God heal amputees?"
m. "How come no one has claimed any of the prize money for proven miracles? It shows there are no miracles, doesn't it?"
n. "Atheists have higher IQs."
o. "Religion put Europe into the Dark Ages and it is now what keeps the Third World poor."
p. "Without religion, the Middle East would be at peace."
q. "Religion promotes unhappiness."
r. "No reputable scientist is a Christian and few are religious in any way."