Originally Posted by Nicato
I'm sure there exists some liberal monotheists with less definitive conceptions of the god of Abraham, but it has been my experience that that is the exception and not the rule.
And the god which I defined is most definitely incompatible with the reality of the world. (Problem of Evil
Honestly Nic, if you think the Problem of Evil argument is an inescapable conundrum for the faithful, you need to do more homework. Counterarguments are littered all over religious apologist sites, and if you read Eastern philosophy, which is the perspective I generally align myself with, you'd see perspective that believes in a distinct need
for what you call "evil". Yin/Yang and the Buddhist concept of suffering might be good places to start.
Your examples are infinite regressions because any explanation for the origin of the universe are without evidence, thus equally plausible, thus all unfalsifiable. The big bang could just as well be the aftermath of a fart of a celestial bunny or the money shot of an alien unicorn as it could be the result of a "creative god."
I felt your points about chance were tangential, and not something I was really disputing anyway, but I thought this is worth discussing as I really think you're missing the point.
The notion of an eternal universe or a self-perpetuating universe is not a mere "God of the Gaps" argument; on the contrary, such a thing actively violates known laws of science. See for example the Oscillatory Universe and the Cyclic Universe of String Theory. The former has been abandoned entirely since the 50s, and the latter, introduced in 2001, is disputed not only due its inherent conundrums, but its roots in string theory which is itself controversial.
But if you're an atheist, you have no choice but to believe the universe is infinite. Otherwise, you're forced to explain how the universe just suddenly "happened" and spacetime just "popped" into being without cause. You'd still be stuck though, because that in itself would violate the laws of physics even more obviously than the idea of an infinite universe.
For the universe to bring itself into existence (self-causing) or exist infinitely (self-perpetuating) violates the laws of physics and mathematics. There had to have been something outside our universe, something that transcends any physical laws as we know them, that brought us into existence. If I postured some sort of theological musing that actively violated the laws of physics, you'd jump all over it in criticism. Yet you, the purportedly more "rational" person, would have me believe that the universe is either self-causing or self-perpetuating, two things which in themselves violate the laws of physics. I only ask that you hold yourself to the same standard as you would hold a theist.
All you're doing with the tired old "pink unicorn" stuff is ascribing meaningless and arbitrary traits to this creative being that brought us into existence. Maybe God is
a pink unicorn. It's irrelevant. Saying the pink unicorn brought the universe into existence is just saying that god is a pink unicorn, not that there is a magical pink unicorn but no god.
You've got my number, dead to rights even. I, however, would add that just because something is intuitive doesn't make it right. It may be perfectly intuitive for me as an adult male to fuck anything that walks (and it is), but it doesn't mean I should (yet I do).
Really Nic, is it necessary to fill every post with something about shitting, fucking and coming? Incidentally, I've posted a new blog that covers all this stuff in some amount of detail (including a lot of the stuff I've already said), from creation to purpose to the pragmatic value of faith. I believe the idea of creation is intrinsically connected to things we feel intuitively, which manifest themselves in common behaviors such as altruism. I'd explain it all, but between writing it all and being on the TOS forums all night, well... I can only take so much theological discussion in one day.
Since you seem to eat this stuff up, you might check out the theologyonline.com forums. It's fun, partly just to fuck with the biblical literalists. But you'd certainly find some company for your views.