David Ramsay Steele wrote the book Atheism Explained, a popular outline of all the most important arguments for and against the existence of God. In this talk for the College of Complexes, David will present some interesting aspects of the God question which are often overlooked.
God is defined as a spirit, but which came first, God or spirits in general? David will maintain that the more fundamental question is the existence of spirits in general, and the question of whether there is one big boss spirit is much less important.
The Tanach (the Old Testament) is, practically speaking, the foundation of both Christianity and Islam. If we read the Old Testament we meet a God who is an active and passionate person, a dynamic being with ambitious plans which don’t always work out, swayed by strong emotions and changes of mind. But the God of the theologians, or most of them, is a static entity which feels no emotion, does not act within time, and perhaps cannot even think.
The theologians have a point: someone who was indestructible, eternal, all-knowing and all-powerful could not develop emotions or any feeling of affection, and would be unable to give his life a serious meaning. Hence the common view that God has committed suicide. From God’s point of view, what’s the point of it all?
If there is a God, it’s absurd to suppose that this God would care whether people believed in him or worshipped him. Do you care what ants think of you? Obviously, a super-intelligent, super-powerful being would be way beyond vanity or pride.
The most popular argument for God’s existence is the claim that the natural world must have been designed. However, David shows that if there were a design input into nature, this would do little to provide evidence for God. The designer couldn’t have had a coherent plan, nor any clear idea of what he was doing, but must have been extremely limited in both knowledge and power. Therefore the hypothesized designer (or more likely, several squabbling designers acting at cross-purposes) could not qualify as God.
David Ramsay Steele, PhD, has often spoken at the College of Complexes. As well as Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy (2008), David has written The Mystery of Fascism: David Ramsay Steele’s Greatest Hits (2019), Orwell Your Orwell: A Worldview on the Slab (2017), and From Marx to Mises: Post-Capitalist Society and the Challenge of Economic Calculation (1992). He also co-authored, with Dr. Michael Edelstein, Therapy Breakthrough: Why Some Psychotherapies Work Better than Others (2013) and Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life (1997; second edition 2019)
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