Does anyone have good and distinguishing definitions for theism and deism?
I always thought Theism means believing a God exists, Atheism and not believing in God, and polytheism as believing in many gods. Deism I think refers to believing in some kind of supreme entity but trying to be pinned down or believing a specific religion, which would include the denial of miracles, etc.
If anyone can clarify these two terms, that would be most helpful. Thanks.
I put together a little logical argument for the existence of God by piecing together a few separate arguments into one. Is the result logical?:
Premise one: All material effects have causes.
Premise two: The entirety of material existence is a collective effect.
Premise three: All material effects must be accounted for in the cause.
Premise four: Consciousness and individuality are part of existence.
Conclusion: Therefore, the original cause of existence must be a conscious individual whose personal existence is independent of any previous cause.
When searching out the cause of existence, one must invariably come to a point where there is an original cause, which itself is without a cause. If every material effect has a cause, this first ‘cause’ must be something which cannot be defined as material; it operates under a different set of principles from what we call ‘matter’. If that cause operates under a different set of principles than anything we are familiar with, how can we speak about it? Since we are familiar with the effect of that original cause, and that effect is subject to the material rule that all effects must be accounted for in the cause, i.e. an effect cannot posses more than what is found in the cause, then by looking at the effect, we can at least understand some details about the cause. Consciousness, individuality and personality seem to be intrinsic aspects of existence; one must assume their presence in the cause of existence. Therefore, the cause of all existence must be a conscious individual, whose existence is independent of any previous cause.
I know this is a simplistic question, but I don't understand what Aquinas means by "enunciable." Also, I don't quite know what to make of "belief by supposition" or of "necessity of supposition."
Any help will be appreciated.
Hi! This is basically a Christian entry on theism, but it can apply a bit to other forms of theism.
One of the questions I often grapple with is the balance between following a certain code of ethics and the power of faith and forgiveness. Basically, a big chunk of Christianity says that forgiveness is the key as no one is good enough to claim they deserve redemption. So, eventually, the question will be raised, does being ethical even matter? Again, eventually, connected to this is another question: can one remain unethical if one truly accepts and believes in forgiveness? Does an ethics of love come out from accepting forgiveness in its fullest and unconditional sense?
There are a lot of other items that should be discussed here, but it would take up too much space. But I'm wondering how God, again I am coming from a Christian interpretation of God, might decide.
I am also wondering if this entry should be here or somewhere else. Then I am reminded that whatever we say, we speak of God. So, what the heck. Let's take a gamble here.
I was listening to a lecture the other day given by a religious leader who was invited to give a talk in front of a university psychology class with the hopes of the students understanding better the influence of religion on ones psychology. The guest speaker ended up giving an incredibly logical and concise argument that the philosophy of psychology rests on the idea that the metaphysical exists in an absolute state, suggesting that there is actually something that must be referred to as absolute happiness. He then went on to say that having accepted this, one must then accept the concept of a personal God in order to proper justify an absolute metaphysical existance, because if absolute beauty has to exist it then suggests that there is a person who is able to possess such absolute qualities, and that person can only be a personal God. I won't get into the details of the argument because it was a 2 hour lecture, and it isn't entirely relevant for what I wanted to point out with this post.
During the lecture, a few things were said about the agnostic position. The first being that someone who is a 'soft' agnostic cannot reply to someones firm belief in God with the phrase "That's just your opinion", because to actually be able to logically say that firm belief in a specific concept of God is ONLY an opinion requires one to actualy know for a fact that it is ONLY an opinion, and since 'soft' agnostics claim that they don't know anything about whether God exists, or what His qualities are, they are not in a position to be able to claim that anothers convictions are just a matter of opinion.
After hearing this, I thought further, and realised that there are also aspects of the 'hard' agnostic view that are also self contradictary. A 'hard' agnostic is one that claims that they don't know whether God exists or not and also claims that it is impossible for others to know for sure of the existance of God. However, this stance starts in a position of already claiming to know what the qualities of God would be should he exist. One of the biggest theological issues is the question of the nature of the relationship between God and the world. Is it that God is entirely transcendant from all that we can experience, or is He entirely imminent in the world, or is He both transcendant AND imminent at the same time? This question is relevant because if God is entirely transcendant, then He is beyond all ability to comprehend, in fact his existance has little to no relevance in our lives. But if God exists in any way that isn't entirely transcendant, than it is possible to say that one can become aware of His existance and qualities (and the question of how is the matter of religious practice).
In order to actually hold the 'hard' agnostic view that 'I don't know if God exists, and you can't either', you must be certain that the qualities of God, were He to exist, are entirely transcendant. Yet, to claim that you don't know if God exists, but that you know what His nature would have to be for Him to exist is abit of a contradiction, which in the end renders the 'hard' agnostics argument completely invalid as a philosophical stance.
Furthermore, by adding the ontological argument for the existance of God into the equation this 'hard' agnostic stance further seems to fall apart. he idea that 'God is that being of whom there is no greater' means that if your idea of Gods nature does not describe a being of whom there is no greater, than you are not actually describing Gods nature fully. And techincally speaking, a being who is able to be both transcendant AND imminent AT THE SAME TIME is certianly a greater being than one who can only exist in trancsendance. Therefore, by the very definition of God you HAVE to be referring to a being who is able to be percieved in reality by one in this world. And in order to say that you absolutely have to abandon the 'hard' agnostic world view. And if you still claim to follow the 'soft' agnostic world view, you would be a fool not to search out that method by which knowledge of God can be obtained.