Why would a creator god need a creator god?

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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby daverupa » Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:23 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:Why should we try to budge them away from their position?


Yes, and my experience is that trying to often leads to a digging in of heels - perhaps because people have a strong emotional investment in certain beliefs?


True, in large part, as far as I can tell. Onlooking equanimity is worth cultivating.

But which Xians et al here were being argued against? None, I think. It was a discussion of how the First Cause argument works, and what its problems are - at least, the OP thread title seems to suggest this.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:17 pm

daverupa wrote: None, I think. It was a discussion of how the First Cause argument works, and what its problems are - at least, the OP thread title seems to suggest this.


Some modern Christians equate the big bang with creation, arguing that it must have been caused by something, ie God - but as mentioned that argument could well be flawed. In any case science now seems to be moving in the direction of saying that was something before the big bang, and that possibly time is beginingless - so removing the need for a first cause of any sort. It sounds a bit Buddhist actually. ;)
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby Sherab » Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:51 pm

Here's an interesting video on why we believe in gods:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMmvu9eMrg
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby Sherab » Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:53 pm

Here's another good video: God is not a good theory. (I think I posted this link before.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew_cNONhhKI
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:03 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:Some modern Christians equate the big bang with creation, arguing that it must have been caused by something, ie God - but as mentioned that argument could well be flawed. In any case science now seems to be moving in the direction of saying that was something before the big bang, and that possibly time is beginingless - so removing the need for a first cause of any sort. It sounds a bit Buddhist actually. ;)


I've been watching Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos series and in the last episode he discussed the big bang and the beginnings of the universe. He said it is not that the big bang was the beginning, just the beginning of this universe and it is just to the point that current science can show us. In all probability the big bang was born out of the gases and elements of the previous universe, which does sound very Buddhist.

The Buddha wrote:"He recalls to mind his various temporary states in days gone by – one birth, or two or three or four or five births, 10 or 20, 30 or 50, a 100 or a 1,000 or a 100,000 births, through many cycles of cosmic contraction and cosmic expansion . . . Now there comes a time, when sooner or later, after the lapse of a long, long period of contraction, this world-system passes away. And when this happens beings have mostly been re-born in the World of Radiance, and there they dwell made of mind, feeding on joy, radiating light from themselves, traversing the air, dwelling in glory; and thus they remain for a long, long period of time. Now there comes also a time, friends, when sooner or later, this universe begins to re-evolve by expansion.
(Digha Nikaya, Brahmajala Sutta)
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:19 pm

binocular wrote:Why would the Creator need to have a creator and so ad infinitum?

I've often seen it claimed that a creator god needs a creator god and so into infinite regress, but never seen it explained why this would necessarily be so.


Because a creator god is usually posited as a solution to the question "How could all this exist without a creator?"

So the response is "If nothing could exist without a creator then how could God exist without a creator?".
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:58 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
binocular wrote:Where are those members of the Abrahamic faiths who are asking this?

Everywhere.

??
I do meet some theists. The conversation typically lasts a few seconds.

When Buddhists encounter members of Abrahamic faiths and the discussion is religion or the person finds out you are Buddhist, it typically goes something like this or similar to this:


Spiny Norman wrote:A lot of people believe in God, so the subject does come up. A problem I've often experienced in conversations with theists is that of definition. There are so many different ideas around about "God" around that it's become an almost meaningless term. Some people think in terms of a traditional Abrahamic God, but many people now seem to think in new-age terms, "God" meaning some sort of creative energy ( or something ), more like pantheism. I find it all rather confusing!

Well, there's that old instruction not to discuss religion and politics in polite society.

:o
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:18 pm

culaavuso wrote:First, the nature of gratitude. Why must a feeling of appreciation be expressed as gratitude?
And why does it need to be expressed to a person?

On both counts: Because this is what we usually do.
Of course, you are welcome to present a different conceptualization.
Are you able to be grateful to things?

And why can't the universe for which one is grateful simply be given a "person" label for these purposes?

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here.
The idea of gratitude I'm working with just logically extends notions of gratitude back to what is regarded the first cause or the source, ie. God.

E.g. Thomas is grateful to Peter that he picked him up from the airport. This is where we usually stop. But to be precise, since Peter didn't make the car he is driving, nor the roads, we also have to thank all the people involved in making cars and building roads. But, to be precise, these people also didn't make cars and roads out of nothing, there were other people before them providing resources, knowledge etc. So we trace back the credits, and in a theistic explanation of things, the credits go back to God. Ie. God created the Universe, provided time, space, materials, so that people can build cars and roads, so that then Peter could pick up Thomas from the airport.

Why is making up a "God" label any better than just applying an extra "person" label?

For one, it's not about "making up a "God" label." Unless we are to posit that all those people who claim to be theists, are in fact just making stuff up. But if we do posit such a thing, then there's no point in discussing this topic altogether, as it becomes moot.

For two, we're just working with some common theistic definitions of "God." I don't quite see the point of making up our own definitions of God.

Second, Why wouldn't there be an indebtedness and appreciation for God's existence?

It might be; but as long as God is defined as "First Cause," such indebtedness and appreciation for God's existence is not logically possible.

This is because there is a person who does a kindness, and so repaying a kindness is rightly to the person who performed the kindness. There is no need to impute a creator who performed the kindness of creating the universe.

I suppose it depends on how precise, how consistent one wishes to be.
The person who performed a kindness could do so because a thousand circumstances had come together so that he could perform that kindness.
For example, giving someone food is a kindness; but unless the giver has produced the food himself, out of nothing (!), there are obviously numerous other beings and factors involved in the production of food - and strictly speaking, they, too, deserve credit.

A "God" that is merely a convenient conceptual invention is a different thing from a "God" that is actually the creator of the universe.

Obviously, but I'm not sure what your point is with this?
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:32 pm

daverupa wrote:Not if we're trying to come to terms of mutual understanding.

Are we trying to come to such understanding?

A language of one is no language, and someone who insists that contradictions aren't contradictions is speaking a language of one. Getting a bunch of those people in a room together doesn't actually remove the problem.

It seems to me that you are decontextualizing the whole God discussion out of it's native theistic discourse. As if you are taking the position that words necessarily speak about objects "out there".
Would you describe yourself as a realist?
Also, are you a semantic atomist?

In short, the argument is that everything needs a cause except a special thing, but the rejoinder is manifold: "why not many causes?"; "why not random flux?"; and so forth. It become one metaphysical proposition among many, and one that falls to contradiction (no forthcoming reason why everything needs a cause except the special thing).

Are you famliar with the concept of pramana?
Depending on which pramana one regards as relevant/authoritative, one's notions of valid/invalid, true/false are shaped.
On principle, meaningful communication between two people is impossible, if each of them holds a different pramana as authoritative.

That isn't preposterous. But claiming to know a red blue is preposterous.

I have never heard a theist claim a red blue.

Anyone insisting on First Cause argumentation is necessarily saying this, in some form.

I suppose that from a position of a decontextualizing realist and semantic atomist, this is in fact so.

daverupa wrote:So to say that things needs causes except Special Thing is to say that one color cannot be another color except for Special Color. It broaches an exception just for the sake of making an argument work - as I said earlier, it's a deus ex machina.

No, trying to understand theism from an atheistic perspective makes God a deus ex machina.
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:50 pm

Goofaholix wrote:Because a creator god is usually posited as a solution to the question "How could all this exist without a creator?"

So the response is "If nothing could exist without a creator then how could God exist without a creator?".

greeneggsandsam wrote:The way I have heard this god theory approached was along the lines:
The universe is so complex that there must be an intelligent design out there (more intelligent then humans as human technology and knowledge is incomparable to the complexities of the universe. i.e. we can't even create a human cell).
Then falls the assumption that whatever created the universe must be at least as complex as the universe itself.
Hence, you would need a creator, equally as intelligent as the latter creator or more superior to create that creator.
And then of course this goes on > infinity

I've been trying to understand my confusion around all this ...
I would not ask "How could all this exist without a creator?", it just doesn't occur to me. I suppose this could be why the usual historically famous lines of reasoning connected to that question don't occur to me either ...


beeblebrox wrote:The idea of God stopped making sense because the point was missed altogether, over the time.

Things make sense, or don't make sense to a person.
You seem to propose that a thing can make sense on its own somehow, regardless of people?


Spiny Norman wrote:Yes, and my experience is that trying to often leads to a digging in of heels - perhaps because people have a strong emotional investment in certain beliefs?

Or maybe because they know they are right, so they see no need to budge!
:)


Jetavan wrote:Even a "creator person", in order to create, would have to change, and would thus be subject to change and origination via causes, and conditions (including a different "creator person").

From an atheistic perspective, yes ...
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby daverupa » Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:05 pm

binocular, you're taking a question about first causes (the OP) and now using it to broach the differences between foundational & descriptive semantics. I'll not be joining you on this wild, argumentative tangent.

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    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:18 pm

daverupa wrote:In short, the argument is that everything needs a cause except a special thing, but the rejoinder is manifold: "why not many causes?"; "why not random flux?"; and so forth. It become one metaphysical proposition among many, and one that falls to contradiction (no forthcoming reason why everything needs a cause except the special thing).

There is fallacious special pleading, and then there are definitions that have an exception clause in them.

"All beings except God are contingent" is not fallacious pleading, it's a definition; "God" is usually defined as that one being that is not contingent, while all others are.

Are you suggesting that you know God, but people who claim to be theists, do not?
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:19 pm

daverupa wrote:binocular, you're taking a question about first causes (the OP) and now using it to broach the differences between foundational & descriptive semantics. I'll not be joining you on this wild, argumentative tangent.

?? How is it a tangent??
Whatever happened to self-reflexive criticism?
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby daverupa » Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:09 pm

wiki wrote:Special pleading (also known as stacking the deck, ignoring the counter-evidence, slanting, and one-sided assessment) is a form of spurious argument where a position in a dispute introduces favourable details or excludes unfavourable details by alleging a need to apply additional considerations without proper criticism of these considerations.


So:

binocular wrote:"All beings except God are contingent" is not fallacious pleading, it's a definition; "God" is usually defined as that one being that is not contingent, while all others are.


Why should we accept that definition? To be clear, we can accept it for purposes of conversation if we want to pursue the consequences of this claim's truth-value, but to take it as a piece of evidence for what we ought to believe is a step that does not yet have support.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmologic ... rarguments

binocular wrote:
daverupa wrote:binocular, you're taking a question about first causes (the OP) and now using it to broach the differences between foundational & descriptive semantics. I'll not be joining you on this wild, argumentative tangent.

?? How is it a tangent??


It's moving from a specific argument about the existence of God to a broader discussion of the linguistic turn and what the consequences of that are for truth-claims generally (you reference pramana, but this topic is vast).

So, that's probably worth an OP. Discussing e.g. Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge and so on would be quite interesting.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby Jetavan » Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:52 pm

binocular wrote:
Jetavan wrote:Even a "creator person", in order to create, would have to change, and would thus be subject to change and origination via causes, and conditions (including a different "creator person").

From an atheistic perspective, yes ...

...or from a Mormon perspective.
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby culaavuso » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:34 pm

culaavuso wrote:
binocular wrote:
culaavuso wrote:It might be informative to consider the question "if the creator doesn't need to have a creator, why does the universe need to have a creator?"

I think that the whole issue around The Creator is a matter of acknowledging the credits so that people know whom to express gratitude to.

I've never thought about it in mere ontological terms stripped of any reference to credits, gratitude and indebtedness.


If the universe needs a creator as a means for expressing gratitude for the universe, then to whom should we express gratitude for the creator?


binocular wrote:It's that we cannot express gratitude to anyone but persons. We can appreciate things, but gratitude can be expressed only to persons, not to things. Indebtedness can be felt only toward persons, not to things.

So if we are to cultivate gratitude, if we are to acknowledge our indebtedness, we can only do so in reference to persons, not things.


So there seems to be three possible understandings:

1. The existence of a creator is an ontological proposition and the gratitude is a consequence of that, in which case it is worth investigating the grounds of the ontological claim. In this case, not thinking about the ontological proposition on its own does not help the validity of the claim, but rather constitutes willful ignorance.
2. The existence of a creator is a way to express gratitude in situations where a person to whom gratitude should be expressed is unknown. In this case, the idea of a "God" is a fiction invented to allow acting on a habit in circumstances where one of the necessary elements for the habitual action is not present. If this is the case, the idea of "God" is useful in allowing the habitual action to be acted out but it is not useful in terms of making decisions and predictions about cause and effect. In this case it is also a means for avoiding questioning the habitual behavior in the first place, since it is possible to feel appreciation without expressing gratitude to a person.
3. The expression of gratitude is taken as so fundamental to the nature of the universe that every feeling of appreciation must be followed by an expression of gratitude to a person, and that it is fundamentally impossible for a situation to arise where there is no person to whom gratitude can be expressed. In this situation, the existence of God is proven by feelings of appreciation which have no attributable personal source. In this case, the idea that gratitude is fundamental to the nature of the universe needs to be evaluated on its own if the conclusion is to be taken as a logically consistent truth.

binocular wrote:The idea of gratitude I'm working with just logically extends notions of gratitude back to what is regarded the first cause or the source, ie. God.

This seems to support the idea that #1 above is the case in discussion. If that's true, then it could be beneficial to investigate the question of why the universe itself can't be the first cause, which would eliminate the necessity of "God", or why there should be a first cause at all. If there is no concern about whether the concept of "God" is logically consistent or useful for understanding cause and effect, then there seems to be no purpose to the OP.
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:44 pm

binocular wrote:I've been trying to understand my confusion around all this ...
I would not ask "How could all this exist without a creator?", it just doesn't occur to me. I suppose this could be why the usual historically famous lines of reasoning connected to that question don't occur to me either ...


No doubt that's one of the reasons you're not a theist.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:50 pm

binocular wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:The idea of God stopped making sense because the point was missed altogether, over the time.

Things make sense, or don't make sense to a person.
You seem to propose that a thing can make sense on its own somehow, regardless of people?


Hi Binocular,

Does that interpretation of what I said make sense to you?

:anjali:
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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:59 pm

"Why would a creator god need a creator god?" In reading through this fly-paper thread, I have yet to see an explanation of why there needs to be a god to explain anything.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Why would a creator god need a creator god?

Postby manas » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:12 pm

The creator god does indeed have a creator. To see him/her, just go to the bathroom and take a look in the mirror. As was said by Voltaire,
“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”
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