Wittgenstein on God

In Culture and Value, Wittgenstein notes that believing in God is not "craving for a causal explanation" of empirical events, but is "expressing an attitude to all explanations."

Exactly right, and why the whole "God of the gaps" dispute is silly on both sides.

Comments

  1. The problem with all the apologist arguments for God is that these are arguments made after the fact of belief in God, not prior.

    What do I mean?

    Abrahamic religion is really Canaanite religion. Elohim or God was just the main deity, among other deities such as Asherah (his wife) or Bhaal (his son). However, after a dispute among Hebrews regarding worship of Elohim or other gods, the faction which supported Elohim won. The God worshipped by Jews, Muslims, and Christians is just Elohim.

    Had Jews, Christians, and Muslims started out believing in ELohim after coming up with apologist arguments for ELohim's existence, it would make sense. But what really happened was that a polytheistic religion was turned into a monotheistic religion, and the apologist arguments for existence of Elohim as the sole god were made in posterior, not prior to the belief.

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    1. "Elohim or God was just the main deity, among other deities such as Asherah (his wife) or Bhaal (his son). However, after a dispute among Hebrews regarding worship of Elohim or other gods, the faction which supported Elohim won. "

      Man, I have never seen a sillier explanation of the evolution of monotheism! Try Eric Voegelin's "Israel and Revelation" for an actually serious look at this period.

      "But what really happened was that a polytheistic religion was turned into a monotheistic religion, and the apologist arguments for existence of Elohim as the sole god were made in posterior, not prior to the belief."

      If this nonsense were actually true, so what? The validity of an argument for X in no way depends on whether I believed in X before or after the argument. Your line is like saying "The proof of Fermat's last theorem doesn't make sense, because mathematicians already thought it was true!"

      But here's the worst thing about your comment, Prateek: you made it about a post THAT CONTAINS NO ARGUMENT FOR GOD'S EXISTENCE!! W's point is that arguments are beside the point. You are so obsessed with arguments that you took a post noting apologetic arguments are beside the point as an excuse to attack apologetic arguments!

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    2. I suppose I would better express myself saying, "If mathematicians already thought Fermat's last theorem to be true, then the person trying to prove it may have been manipulating results to find the solution he wanted."

      Which by itself would not disprove that proof, but may make you raise your eyebrows and wonder if the proof is correct.

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    3. Prateek, mathematicians DID already think Fermat's last theorem was correct, long before it was proved!
      But you are correct in noting we should be more careful when our proof gets us the result we already believed in than when it doesn't.

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  2. Early bits of the Bible are indeed polytheistic. You can find references to gods plural. The Documentary Hypothesis lends support to Prateek's speculation. And Preteek's speculation is a historical one, inferred from critical scholarship, and archaelogy (evincing support for the struggle he mentions) about the beliefs of certain identifiable, small groups of people. Not clear why we should accept the word of philosophers on such a question.

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    1. "Early bits of the Bible are indeed polytheistic."

      No kidding.

      It is not that the Jews did not move from polytheism to monotheism. THAT is perfectly sound. It is that his meta-narrative as to WHY is silly.

      "Not clear why we should accept the word of philosophers on such a question."

      Not clear why we should listen to a computer programmer's opinion of the historical and archaelogical evidence... which Voegelin was *massively* immersed in. He produced *12* large volumes of historical analysis of human spiritual history, and read the original texts in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Sansrit, and Mandarin in order to conduct this research. So, maybe if you actually *examined* the book I recommended, you would see *why* we might listen to Voegelin. (And, BTW, not "accept his word"! What, do you think I'm recommending him as dictator or high priest?)

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    2. And here's what is silly: Prateek's narrative is not even a narrative about a move from polytheism to monotheism! It would explain why one polytheistic god might come out as top god. And we'd get a narrative like Zeus defeating Cronos. Jeez, for my god to be the super dude who whipped the other gods, there have to BE other gods!

      In Prateek's narrative, it's as though the Patriots, to celebrate winning the Super Bowl, denied that any other NFL teams existed!

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    3. In other words, every concrete event Prateek mentions could have happened exactly as he described.

      And it would not explain the rise of Hebrew monotheism at all!

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  3. I think Prateek's argument, or a sensible argument if it’s not his, is that the claim of being the only god was a factor in the win. If we Ginger fanciers do battle against the Maryann crowd we must reckon with Maryann's very real (if lesser) charms, and worry about not just defectors but those dreaming of a threesome. If we can convince people that Maryann is actually just the Professor in drag, not a true sexpot at all, our task of world conquest is easier.

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    1. Raising this to top level.

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    2. OK, imma lift this up to the top level, Ken. Post soon.

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  4. Oh, and by the way, Ken, our discussion here doesn't even address the fact that the original post was not even presenting an "apologetic argument"!

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    1. This was a mistake from my part, and betrayed I was clearly looking for an opening to say that somewhere.

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