Friday, October 15, 2010

God Needs A Quality Control Department 1.3

This is "God Needs a QC Dept," Part 1d, which is part 4 of my thoughts on the debate between William Lane Craig and Shabir Ally, held at York University in Toronto on March 5, 2002. The focus of the debate is this question: Which doctrine of salvation is correct, that of Jesusianismistism or that of Muhammadanismistism? In this video I address the beginning of Dr Craig's first rebuttal.

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A god that introduces logical incompatibilities is a god that does not exist? Let's have a brief look at some logical incompatibilities enumerated by Victor Stenger in his book, "God: The Failed Hypothesis". I'll add some details for each one of these in the love bar, for any philosophy geeks out there.
  1. A Supreme Being by definition cannot be virtuous, as explained by Douglas Walton in his essay on cardinal virtues and divine attributes.
  2. No being can be a fitting object of worship, as explained by James Rachels in his essay, "God And Moral Autonomy".
  3. The problem of evil, as discussed by Martin and Monnier in The Impossibility of God.
  4. Three points explained by Theodore Drange in his essay on incompatible properties: a perfect creator cannot exist, a transcendent being cannot be omnipresent, and a personal being cannot be non-physical.
  5. The paradox of omnipotence, as explained by J. L. Cowen in his essay, "The Paradox of Omnipotence Revisited".
Note that these writers are competent philosophers, and as such they use a definition rather different from that of Dr. Craig. Sure, he tries to talk about god as though he's a philosopher, saying stuff about how if you can conceive of something greater than god, then the thing you're thinking of is actually god and the thing that is not as great is not god. But he's cheating when he talks like this. Dr. Craig is a Jesusianismist, meaning that he believes god to be a specific being with a name, Yahweh, an individual with whom Dr. Craig has a personal relationship. When philosophers talk about god, they're  not talking about any particular god. I have to wonder how god feels about its followers whom it loves so deeply and with whom it can't wait to hang out non-stop for eternity when they refer to it in such cold terms.

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I can't believe that Dr. Craig can say this with a straight face, considering that the vast, vast majority of all humans who ever existed will indeed be condemned. This point is made obvious by the fact that Yahweh's followers have split into literally thousands of sects with flatly contradictory doctrines (Dr. Craig's religion vs Shabir's religion, as an obvious example); the number of such doctrines that can possibly be correct is <= 1, and my money is on less than. Also, what counts as "a wide number of people"? Jesus himself said in various places, such as Matthew 22:14, "...many are invited, but few are chosen." Will Dr. Craig claim that when Jesus says "few" he actually means "a wide number"? The so-called "good news" of the entire New Testament is indeed, by Dr. Craig's measure, a doctrine of condemnation, not salvation.

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We'll all be a lot better off when we can get rid of hideous concepts such as deserve. But let's say we grant your claim that it is impossible to make oneself deserving of infinite love. How is it, then, that anyone can make oneself deserving of infinite torture? Actually, according to most Jesusianismists, it seems that we haven't made ourselves deserving, but rather Adam's one transgression in the garden made every one of us deserving of infinite torture. There's something really ugly here. Dr. Craig  seems to be suggesting that we don't actually deserve infinite torture, but that it comes to us through Adam just as salvation comes through Christ. So we'll be tortured forever although we don't deserve it. Nice god you have there, Dr. Craig.

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