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Observing God

(Text as at 21/08/2007 15:04:19)

(For earlier versions of this Note, see the table at the end)

We won’t know whether God exists until he/she has been observed.

Well, in a sense I agree:

  1. I would have dismissed your “Schrodinger’s Cat” analogy as absurd, and it may indeed be so, but something like it seems to have been held by the mystics, or so it is alleged. This came up recently in another blog1.
  2. I do think that your suggestion that “God exists in both states” is absurd – how can something exist in a state of non-existence? But even there, some philosophers (Meinong and his followers) have held that non-existent things exist in some sense (they use the term “subsist”). These philosophers no longer exist, for the most part (though even this depends on one’s view of the reality of the past), but they were in error in any case. They were muddled about the reference of language. They ask “how can we refer to Father Christmas in the expression “Father Christmas doesn’t exist” unless Father Christmas exist (in some sense)?”. Bertrand Russell sorted all this out, though not all philosophers agree with his solution. But even those who don’t agree don’t usually agree with Meinong.
  3. The reason I broadly agree with you is that I also think that a priori metaphysical arguments about the existence of God (much of so-called natural theology) are a waste of time, and the only sound arguments are those with empirical content – ie. where God is said to intervene in human affairs. Since the alleged interventions in the various religious traditions contradict one another in many cases, we can be confident that a lot of these claims for divine intervention are bogus. However, this doesn’t rule out the theoretical possibility ….
  4. And, of course, the Christian contention is just that – that God has intervened in human affairs – firstly through the nation of Israel in Old Testament times, and supremely through Jesus Christ in the first years AD. Indeed, they would claim that God has been observed – that’s the whole purpose of the incarnation – “ … and the Word was God; and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us … (John 1:14)”. Of course, there’s a big leap from these claims to their acceptance.

Table of the Previous 3 Versions of this Note:

Date Length Title
20/08/2007 19:36:29 1819 Observing God
20/08/2007 19:27:50 1790 Observing God
16/08/2007 14:44:10 24 Observing God

Note last updated Reference for this Topic Parent Topic
21/08/2007 15:04:19 527 (Observing God) Simon - T1S1

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Jonathan Harrison        

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Summary of Note Links to this Page

Simon - T1S1, 2        

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