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24 Nov 2013, 12:52 am

A 9th century philosopher believed that God did not exist. He believed that God was outside of existence. That he was superexistent.

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The 9th century Catholic theologian and philosopher, John Scotus Eriugena, shocked his contemporaries when he claimed he believed in a non-existent God. He believed in a non-existent God because he believed God transcended existence. In other words, for John Scotus, God was a super-existent being who created existence along with the universe and everything else. This is, I believe, a profound metaphysical position. Rather than a binary classification of things into existence and non-existence, he uses a trinary classification into super-existence, existence and non-existence. Like all metaphysical statements, it is unverifiable (and meaningless) but is it impossible?



ruveyn
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24 Nov 2013, 4:35 am

Any transcendent being is strictly the product of an overactive imagination.

Nothing is transcendent. Everything that really exist is a manifestation of matter and energy operating in space-time including imaginary ravings about gods, devils, spirits, ghosts, angels, demons and such like


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24 Nov 2013, 6:46 am

Funny, I was just reading a post about Schroedinger's Cat.

A supernatural being could be said to exist in a third state relative to physical existence. He simultaneously does not exist and yet still exists (temporally). Ruveyn's definition of real is limited only to the physical world that we're aware of and have the capability to measure and observe--it doesn't allow for anything else.

Physical reality forms a veil that separates our physical world from the spiritual world. The soul exists, like God, in a third state that is simultaneously both spiritual and physical and neither spiritual nor physical. If the curtain were to be torn between this world and the next, our spiritual state would move from the third state to the purely spiritual state. In short, we'd be dead. Simultaneously, physical death would also serve to change our state from a third both/neither state to a spiritual state.

The opposite is also true. If the soul can die, i.e. a person can choose to remain spiritually separated from the purely spirit world, then physical death functions to leave the spirit in the third state. Remember, with the living, the state of the soul is both/neither. Our experience as living beings only reflects the "both alive and dead" aspect of the third state. A spiritually dead person would only experience the "neither alive nor dead" perspective. Welcome to hell, boys and girls!



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24 Nov 2013, 12:14 pm

If you take that philosophy about God being neither existent nor non-existent, and add to it that idea that God is neither sentient nor insentient, the result is Ignosticism or Taoism. Can this force even be called "God" at this point? Some people would say yes, other people would say no. Because of this, this philosophy can't be clearly described as being either Theism or Atheism, so it is described as being Transtheism. There is debate among Transtheists about the abstract qualities of this "God" force, but we all agree on the idea that "God" cannot be described by conventional terms.



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24 Nov 2013, 12:15 pm

This philosopher's thinking makes me think he was a Yahoo News editor in the making, just 12 centuries ahead of his time. Say something scandalous, make people click the link, and then see there was nothing all that interesting to see in the first place.

I tend to think that the need to believe in a God as being completely separate from and outside of physical reality leads in a couple different directions that are equally unfortunate. The most obvious is the Manichaean, Cathar, and 'Christian Gnostic' direction of material pessimism - ie. evil demiurge. Any craftsman, artist, or engineer worth their salt would argue that matter is what you make of it, whether for bad or for good, and hence our own thoughts, both in design and direct application, quite often serve as a great example of it's neutrality vs. its good or evil based on how it is utilized by larger systems of intelligence.

The other way of seeing it is purely as a 'God of the gaps' and usually due to the idea or concept of God as taught to the particular author or speaker not performing up to expectations in physical reality. It also seems like something someone does by conceding inability to 'prove' that God is in physical nature but then confusing the inability to prove for his necessary absence.



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24 Nov 2013, 6:17 pm

I think God is just plain non-existent.



ruveyn
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24 Nov 2013, 9:51 pm

CSBurks wrote:
I think God is just plain non-existent.


You would have a hard time proving that. The only way to prove that something does not exist is to show the assumption of its existence leads to a logical contradiction. Lack of evidence for something is not proof of its non-existence. As the old saying goes: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

ruveyn



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26 Nov 2013, 2:07 pm

i think god is a state of mind.



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26 Nov 2013, 3:52 pm

What Eriugina said makes sense.


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26 Nov 2013, 3:53 pm

Is God superexistent?

Does it really matter?



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26 Nov 2013, 4:26 pm

I not sure if this is directly related or not, but in the past I've often wondered about a philosophical question pertaining to whether the Christian God exists within the bounds of time or not. The question comes about because if God is limited by the timeline, then it seems that he he couldn't have created it (though he still could have existed before matter, and created the physical universe). Without God being able to create time itself, it seems like something that potentially existed without God in this case. The only way for God to have been able to create time is for God to be able to exist "outside" of time.

After some heavy research into the concept of the Holy Trinity a while back, I now suspect it's possible it may be refering to this issue, potentially describing one part of God ("The Father") as existing outside the timeline, and therefore unchangeable... while another ("The Holy Spirit") existing within the timeline, and therefore able to react to us.

But I know all of this will probably sound very dubious to people on both sides of the religious fence...



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26 Nov 2013, 4:28 pm

AngelRho wrote:
Funny, I was just reading a post about Schroedinger's Cat.


Please don't use Schrodinger's cat for this. Schrodinger originally used the example as a way to show the absurdity of trying to extrapolate things operating at a sub-atomic level to the larger world. The fact that so many have taken this anectdote seriously has given the world a very false impression of quantum physics.


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26 Nov 2013, 6:31 pm

Actually, QM gave rise to paraconsistant logic. (google paraconsistant stanford encyclopedia philosophy) At the subatomic level it is "A and not A"! Logic had to be tweeked because from a contradiction anything follows. X is a particle and not a particle." Either X is a particle or the queen of England eats gerbils" is true because X is a particle. The whole statement is true because of the word "or". However X is not a particle! (according to the first proposition). Therefore it follows that the queen of England eats gerbils! Of course such a logic cannot be tolerated. One that makes the contradictions of the quantum level manifest at our macro level.
This is where you (sonofghandi) and I differ. Even if a contradiction exists only at a micro level, the implications of that are astounding. For example, a square circle, if one can be proven to exist would destroy the foundation of our common sense logic (in particular the rule about the excluded middle).
The point Schrodinger was making is that the contradictions at the quantum level are truly disturbing because they violate the rule of the excluded middle. "A" can be true while being simultaneously not true!

Paraconsistant logic is similar to renormalization in that both sweep the weirdness under the rug. Feynman made the point that the infinities are not explained away,they are simply ignored in order to have practical equations, the infinities are swept under the rug. Similarly, the fact that the law of the excluded middle has been violated at the quantum level can be simply ignored by arbitrarily declaring that the principle of explosion (that from a contradiction anything follows) does not obtain.
I strongly disagree with this philosophy that knowledge is all about and only about practical considerations. A proposition (or equation) is accepted if it helps us create technology. I prefer understanding what is really going on.
Logical Positivists ( a universally rejected philosophy because it is self refuting. Its core principle must be rejected by logical Positivists because it is neither empirical or analytical ) are like someone that says who cares if a square circle exists, that does not effect the price of sandwiches. I find such people mundane,boring and silly.


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Last edited by wittgenstein on 26 Nov 2013, 7:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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26 Nov 2013, 6:47 pm

ruveyn wrote:
CSBurks wrote:
I think God is just plain non-existent.


You would have a hard time proving that. The only way to prove that something does not exist is to show the assumption of its existence leads to a logical contradiction. Lack of evidence for something is not proof of its non-existence. As the old saying goes: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

ruveyn


Absence of evidence when evidence should be there, (according to the premises of the idea) is actually evidence of absence.



techstepgenr8tion
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26 Nov 2013, 11:03 pm

AspE wrote:
Absence of evidence when evidence should be there, (according to the premises of the idea) is actually evidence of absence.

I think you've just nailed the exact reason why hardly any debate will ever go anywhere on the topic. No one can agree on a formal definition of valid evidence and goalposts are generally set on very well lubricated sets of wheels.



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26 Nov 2013, 11:13 pm

Asking if God exists is like asking if existence exists. Does existence instantiate? I have no idea how to answer that question! Seems to me that involves an infinite regress, similar to Plato's third man argument.


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