Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Starting points

The reason that there is so much obscurity and lack of understanding in discussions of God (one of them anyway, and an important one) is that each side assumed it is the other that has to prove the truth of its position, and this causes a complete separation of ideas which is responsible for the not getting anywhere. To the believer, the existence of God is so obvious that it is the atheist who has to give well-founded reasons to challenge it, while the atheist finds the idea of God so strange that it must be the believer who provides the arguments. Each assumes that theirs is the default position and that the other has the greater responsibility to defend his position. (In the case of Arthur C. Clarke’s teapot the default position is unquestionably the assumption of non-existence.) thus they argue past each other, each expecting the other to provide evidence which will not be forthcoming, because the need for it is not understood. This is the nature of belief, it is based on what strikes us without examination as obviously true, and we like to imagine that our belief is reasoned and the other chap’s is not.


Vincent said...

I don't know what business the atheist has to discuss God. He knows there is no God. Nothing to discuss, if he is prepared to leave others alone.

CIngram said...

That is a very good point, but many people are not prepared to leave others alone, and even those who are (who seems to include the people mentioned in the earlier post) will react when they feel that the beliefs of others are affecting them in some way. As a species we love to tell others what to do, and we love to argue about minutiae. Between these two traits I fear your very valid assertion will fall on stony ground.