And I'm asking why it can't be done and will carry on asking why until someone comes up with a decent answer. It's the WHOLE point. WHY is it down to faith?
Sigh. I thought I already explained this...
It's down to faith because God is not a physical being. He is not subject to physical laws, cannot be experimented upon, doesn't have physical characteristics.
Let's make my position even clearer: I am not stating that the existence of God can be proven with apodictic certainty. You may choose to believe or not believe in Him, as you see fit. Indeed, Christians understand that the certitude they possess as to the existence and personality of God is a gift from Him. It is faith. It is completely subjective. And for those of us who have that faith, it is undeniably real.
If you refuse to believe that nothing exists that cannot be put into a box and experimented upon, that is your privilege. I might point out, however, that even if God were a part of the physical universe, it is not likely that you would be able to access Him to do your experiments. He is, after all, God. Most of us can't even get in to see the President. Seriously, though, the scope of One who created the universe would be far too great for humans to do physical experiments upon. To get Biblical for a moment, Moses was told that man cannot see God's face and live. His presence would be overwhelming.
Incidentally, I might point out that all of what we call science is also based to a large degree upon faith. After all, is there any more of a faith-based statement than, "The universe is rational and orderly, and, given sufficient data, can be completely understood"?
If god made the Universe, then he went to an effort to hide. He could have been more apparent if he wanted. If he's that smart, he would have known the issues that his lack of substantiality or demonstrability would cause to humankind. Under such circumstances and in view of all the problems that this has caused, again, is it moral or reasonable? He made it this way, the problems are his to answer or resolve, the buck stops with him.
The Christian response to this would be twofold.
First, the entire universe exists as evidence of a creator. Clearly, something exists. Reason tells us that something did not come from nothing. Since the universe appears to operate under orderly laws, the implication is that it was created by an intelligent source. There really are only three basic options: 1. "Something from nothing" - Everything sprang into existence from nothing for no reason. This one seems absurd to me, and, I would think, to most people. 2. "Something from non-intelligent something" - Matter and energy themselves are eternal, and somehow organized themselves - without intelligent direction - into what we see in the universe. Better than the first, but still lacking in credibility. 3. "Something from intelligent something" - Some eternal intelligence brought the universe into existence and established its laws. This one makes the most sense to me.
Second, God does not hide Himself from us; we have separated ourselves from Him due to sin. In His love, He made provision for us to be reconciled to Him. Those who have accepted this provision have testimony in themselves through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Again, a matter of faith.
As there is no evidence god exists, and lots of evidence that show that most of the ways god has been conceived by people are provably wrong,
We keep going back to that essential premise that you and others seem to be operating under, namely that nothing can exist outside the physical realm. Everything we are talking about really boils down to that. The "evidence" you want is physical, scientific evidence that cannot be explained in any other way than that God exists. You aren't going to get that. Even if you did, would you accept it, or would you immediately begin to search for ways to explain the evidence without the existence of God?
Some individuals - foolish ones, in my opinion - might actually deny dogmatically that God exists, speaking as they do from their lofty position as earthly humans, which clearly qualifies them to know everything about the universe.
Ad hominen. Strawman.
Ad hominem? Well, yeah, maybe a little. But note, please, that I was polite enough not to direct it at you, but at the generic "some individuals".
Straw man? No, I don't think so. Notice that I referred to those who "deny dogmatically that God exists". Anyone who feels that he can state categorically that no God exists is foolish, in my opinion, because, as humans on this small planet, we see far too little of the universe to make such sweeping generalizations. Youi might just as well state dogmatically that there is no intelligent life on other planets. How would you know? I find that I can have much more respect for an agnostic, who admits that he doesn't know, than for one willing to be dogmatically atheistic. A dogmatic atheist, in my book, is no better off than a dogmatic Jehovah's Witness.
Where is this list you have of what is and is not comprehensible about god, or is this your opinion?
Of course it's my opinion. This whole discussion sprang from a sidelong comment (and swipe at the JW's) that I made about 'putting God in a box'. I never said that I was God's prophet, here dispensing eternal truths. Everything I state in this forum is my opinion, just as everything you state is yours.
I don't understand your desire for a "list". You stated above that "not everything about my girlfriend is comprehensible". Do you maintain a list of the things about your girlfriend that are not comprehensible? Or do you simply recognize that, while you know an awfully lot about her, there are some things you don't know, will never know, and, in all probability, cannot know? If it works that way with your girlfriend, why does it have to be different with God?
Assertion that a theological doctrine that has never been proven requires disproving, which I'd be happy to have a stab at ONCE SOMEONE PROVES IT, unless of course the proof was acceptable. Ineffability is I can't explain this in fancy clothes.
Back to the "physical evidence" doctrine. See my comments above. My point was, again, that there are things in existence that are beyond human comprehension, and I think it is very arrogant of humans to say that there could not be such things.
Please read 1984 and then discuss the statement "But most Christians simply accept on faith that both are true. God does know all things, and we do have free will." from the view point of MiniTru. Then we can talk about doctrinal and stylistic differences between mainstream religions and cults.
I have read it. Numerous times. And, no, this is not an example of doublethink. It's not a case of deliberately setting up blockades in one's mind so as to accept contradictory beliefs. Scholars have debated these issues openly for centuries. It's a difficult question, but that doesn't mean it's an impossible one. As opposed to the JW's who think, on the one hand, "I have the absolute truth against which no falsehood can stand", and on the other hand, "I can't listen to any attacks on my beliefs, because my faith will be destroyed".
Fine. You can claim that. It's presuppositionalist. But are you saying that you can prove it? No. Are you saying that you can explain why you can't prove it? Well, you might to your satisfaction, but not to mine.
Never said I could prove it. That's why it's a matter of faith.
Science simply doesn't know, doesn't even have a plausible theory.
... Youre also wrong; there are plausible theories, but as neither of us dont have the maths to understand them, we can both perhaps to accept there is no satisfactory resolution of the first cause, as either way, it cant be proved.
This goes back to the three possibilities I mentioned above, i.e., something from nothing, something from non-intelligent something, or something from intelligent something. As I said, the last one makes the most sense to me. You are, of course, free to disagree.
I'm just saying that we, who live on Earth, have no proof of god existing that is verifiable, when it might reasonably be expected. That's all.
And I'm inclined to agree with you, for the most part. Except that I do accept the creation itself as evidence of an intelligent designer, and I believe that He has revealed Himself to all of mankind in that way. But you're right - as long as a plausible alternate explanation can be devised, the existence of the creation itself is not proof of God's existence. It just doesn't seem to me that the "something from nothing" and "something from non-intelligent something" theories are very plausible. But I'll repeat the point I stated above: I am not stating that the existence of God can be proven with apodictic certainty.
Or perhaps people become Christians because they are (for example) more moral people, rather than the other way around?
Do you want to be bludgeoned over the head with statistics until you withdraw that? Or will you then say that those Christians in jail arent real Christians? What about the majority of the world? Are they immoral or abandoned by god? Youre on dangerous ground for a Christian, so read James beforehand.
Errr...I wasn't really trying to say that Christians are necessarily more moral than other people. That remark was a response to funkyderek's suggested sociological experiment. He said, "Take a whole bunch of Christians, take a whole bunch of non-Christians. See if there's any significant difference between them." I was questioning the conclusiveness of such an experiment. If we could determine, for example, that Christians are more moral than others, would that be the cause or the effect? As a measurement of spirituality (which is what we were talking about), such an experiment would be inconclusive at best, and meaningless at worst.
Are Christians in jail not real Christians? Some are probably not. Remember the parable of the wheat and weeds? The phonies would be right in there among the real ones, until they are sorted out by the angels at the end. But there's no question that people I would consider to be real Christians (including me) engage in all sorts of sinful behavior. As the bumper sticker says, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." We all sin every day. Anybody who tells you differently is probably sinning as they make the claim. The true Christian life involves God working within us to make us more and more like He wants us to be, but we will never reach the goal of perfection in this lifetime. And not every Christian is cooperating fully with God in His work. So, no, you don't have to pull out the statistics. I wasn't claiming what you thought I was.
(edited to add absent apostraphes... they were there when I posted guv, honest... )
Yeah, I hate it when that happens...