Author Topic: Proofs of God  (Read 370 times)

Offline henchris

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Proofs of God
« on: April 08, 2017, 02:36:49 PM »
Dear people,

I feel my faith wavering. Sometimes it is really strong and I feel the presense of our Lord. At other times it feels like I am a complete atheďst. I was wondering if you could reccommend me some books or texts that could help me through the dark times when my mind is only rational. So rational works "proving" the existence of God.
In de naam van de Vader, de Zoon en de Heilige Geest, amen
 

Offline Hat And Beard

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Re: Proofs of God
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2017, 03:20:51 PM »
As a mathematician, I have never come across what I would consider a legitimate 'proof' of the existence of God. I've seen people attempt them, but they normally still require an element of faith or the resolution of a paradox in a way that isn't necessarily rational.

I think what you really need is prayer, the only thing that can help you feel God's presence. That's why monks pray all the time- to take them away from a world that can feel godless(I think it was St. Benedict that said this/acted on it).
 
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Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: Proofs of God
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2017, 04:11:41 PM »
You can go study Aquinas?

Feser's book on Aquinas is good.
Wie dein Sonntag, so dein Sterbetag.

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Offline martin88nyc

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Re: Proofs of God
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2017, 04:15:28 PM »
If you really feel His presence then how could you feel like an atheist. Perhaps it's just a  temptation or spiritual lethargy. I often experience spiritual sluggishness and most of the time do nothing about it. I should certainly pray more but with fog in my brain it is really difficult. I know I am a miserable catholic, I should try better.
 However I could only assure you that God is real as day and night, even more so because he is the origin of everything. I've experienced so many little miracles in my life that even if I try hard to become an atheist I could never succeed. Not even once has God left me without signal graces, not even once. He makes Himself known and present especially when I become disinterested or negligent. May God illuminate your mind my friend. best of luck man.
"These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world." John 16:33
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Proofs of God
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2017, 10:27:23 AM »
I'll first point out, you're placing too much importance on your feelings. The reality is, if you have the faith then you have the faith, even if you feel like a complete atheist.
Secondly, be careful to avoid falling into rationalism. The existence of God can be proven through reason alone. But most other dogmas cannot.

As for writings, I'll second what Kaesekopf said: read up on Aquinas's five proofs. (I haven't yet read Feser's book though.)

Another interesting proof is Pascal's wager. (It doesn't prove that God exists, but what it does prove is that even if God's existence were unknowable then it would still be a good idea to be Catholic.)

I also know that Gödel had a proof for God's existence, but I do not recommend that one. Perhaps I just don't understand his argument, but much of what he's doing just doesn't seem to make sense. And it relies on modal logic (the modern idea of things possibly occurring in multiple "possible worlds") which I say is complete nonsense, or, at least a bad way to approach this problem.

As a mathematician, I have never come across what I would consider a legitimate 'proof' of the existence of God. I've seen people attempt them, but they normally still require an element of faith or the resolution of a paradox in a way that isn't necessarily rational.
I think Aquinas's proofs are as good as you can get. They do require that you accept the axioms. But doesn't every proof do that to some extent? I mean, you can't even rationally prove that 1 + 1 = 2 without first accepting that addition is a valid mathematical operation that follows a strict set of rules, that equality is also a valid operation that follows a different set of rules, that each number has its own objective value, etc.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 10:30:00 AM by Daniel »
 

Online An aspiring Thomist

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Re: Proofs of God
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 07:19:59 PM »
I would recommend reading the first part of the Summa and St. Thomas' five proofs. They are irrefutable IF properly understood. Here is a little primer:
 http://www.thesumma.info/reality/reality8.php
 
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Offline Habitual_Ritual

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Re: Proofs of God
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2017, 08:01:46 PM »
Evidence for God by Dembski. 50 essays from different areas of science and philosophy

  Revolt Against Reason by Arnold Lunn
" There exists now an enormous religious ignorance. In the times since the Council it is evident we have failed to pass on the content of the Faith.”

(Pope Benedict XVI speaking in October 2002.)
 
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Offline LandOfConfusion

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Re: Proofs of God
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2017, 02:31:48 PM »
As a mathematician, I have never come across what I would consider a legitimate 'proof' of the existence of God. I've seen people attempt them, but they normally still require an element of faith or the resolution of a paradox in a way that isn't necessarily rational.

I think what you really need is prayer, the only thing that can help you feel God's presence. That's why monks pray all the time- to take them away from a world that can feel godless(I think it was St. Benedict that said this/acted on it).

I just wanted to make a correction and say your first sentence is patently false, although you might believe so in ignorance. God isn't proven through mathematics despite Spinoza's attempts. If you reply you weren't saying that math is the solution you shouldn't mention your background in mathematics as it's superfluous. The proofs of God are metaphysical and require no elements of faith or the need to develop the construct of a paradox.

The argument that motion, material causation, and existence cannot be their own cause and cannot be reduced to infinite intermediaries is logical and does not require faith to understand why there cannot be infinite regression in causation. There is faith in saying there is infinite causation (like evolutionists), but not in the proofs of God since the idea the lesser can create the greater is in fact illogical and that things must come from something else and that being is God is also logical. Read the arguments in the Summa Contra Gentiles about the proofs of God, and if you want something with less technical jargon anything by Msgr. Paul Glenn (Apologetics, Theodicy, Ontology).

I do agree with your last sentence, it is about prayer and learning to look at the shortness of time and the length of eternity.
 

Offline Gerard

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Re: Proofs of God
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2017, 05:23:34 PM »
You can go study Aquinas?

Feser's book on Aquinas is good.

I just read yesterday that Feser is coming out with a new book on "Proofs for the existence of God" that are specifically geared towards today's readership that isn't versed in Aquinas.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/04/five-proofs-preview.html
 
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Offline MiserereDomine

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Re: Proofs of God
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2017, 08:40:13 PM »
As a mathematician, I have never come across what I would consider a legitimate 'proof' of the existence of God. I've seen people attempt them, but they normally still require an element of faith or the resolution of a paradox in a way that isn't necessarily rational.

I think what you really need is prayer, the only thing that can help you feel God's presence. That's why monks pray all the time- to take them away from a world that can feel godless(I think it was St. Benedict that said this/acted on it).

Boiiiii, whachu talking about? There are real proofs for God's existence in Thomas Aquinas' Five Ways. Of them all, I know the Fourth the best. What's funny is that the man himself, Mr. Aquinas, was almost too concise in wording his proofs in the Summa--he valued concision over exactness and mathematically. He often expounds on his proofs in other bodies of text. Here are the bare bones of the 4th way:

1. Things are more or less "good".
2. Where there is more or less, there is a most.
3. Therefore, something is "most good".
4. But the maximum in any genus is the cause of all of the other members of that genus (needs qualification).
5. Therefore, there exists a "most good" thing, which is the cause of all other "good" things, and we call this God.

If you like, I could expound on that premise 4. First off, the "good" we are talking about is that good which is exchangeable with perfection of existence. For example, a human is more perfect than a dog, because he possesses a power which is wholly on another level of excellence than anything a dog has, namely reason.

To talk about the 4th premise, we need to understand what a genus is. A genus is a name said univocally of many things differing in kind. That means it is a name applied to many different kinds things in the exact same way. An example of this is how a human being is an "animal". and so is a cat. They are quite obviously different kinds of things, but I mean the exact same thing when I call a cat an "animal" and a human an "animal".

Different "members" of a genus are the different things to which the genus characteristic applies.

We also have to understand what a "cause" is. A cause is that upon which something depends for its being or coming to be.

So, the 4th premise (whatever is the maximum in any genus is the cause of all other members of that genus) has 2 conditions that must be satisfied in order to be true:

a.) The other members of the genus need a cause
b.) A cause of the other members of the genus must exist *within* that same genus

Remember, as our genus in this case, we are considering the goodness which is exchangeable with perfection of existence.

To qualify the first condition a.) for this kind of goodness, we see that the members of the genus need a cause. This is so because they need a cause of their existence--if they were their own cause for existence, then they would be the fountain of existence (and therefore goodness) itself. That is, in assuming that something in this genus does *not* have a cause, we must also assume that it is essentially God.

To qualify the second condition b.), see that nothing exists outside of the genus of the "goodness exchangeable with existence", because nothing exists outside of existence.

Therefore, the conclusion follows--God exists.

To further drive the point, this "greatest good" is not merely a relatively maximum good, like the "guy who just happens to be the tallest" in the set of all things that currently happen to be tall. This is like, the maximum possible good.

How to prove this?

Well, if coffee is sweet only because of the sugar that is put in it, or in other words, if the *cause* of the coffee's sweetness is the sugar, then the sugar is truly said to be sweeter than the coffee.

More generally speaking, if the cause of some thing's genus-making quality also lies within that genus, then the cause possesses that "genus-making quality" to a greater extent than the thing which has the quality caused in it.

If you remember that earlier we proved that something exists which is the cause of all good things, then from the new logic above, it necessarily follows that it is necessarily the *ultimately* maximum good, no matter what.

Hope this helped :)

God bless, and feel free to ask questions--I like those.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 08:58:43 PM by MiserereDomine »
 
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Offline Matto

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Re: Proofs of God
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2017, 07:06:28 PM »
I am not intelligent enough to understand the rational proofs offered for the existence of God well enough to know whether they are valid or not. I have read the proofs of Saint Thomas Aquinas but I do not understand them that well because I am not as intelligent as he was. For me the best proof for God and the Catholic religion is miracles because I am a simple man. I know the existence of miracles has strengthened my faith.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 07:14:08 PM by Matto »
 

Offline Sempronius

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Re: Proofs of God
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2017, 03:26:27 AM »
For me it's been the lives of the saints