cannot expect a person to defend the non-existence of 'god', unless
that god is sufficiently defined, as working definitions of key terms
are mandatory for all meaningful dialogue. Unfortunately, what
possesses is a subject of intense disagreement among not only theists
and Christians in general, but specific sub-sets of Christians (i.e.,
classical theists [god is omniscient], and open-theists [god is not
that the members of this forum were counting on the atheist's opening
post being something less than the 950,000 words it would take to defend
the non-existence of all known gods of traditional religious
conception, it makes sense for the atheist who denies a specific god, as
I do, to provide reasons why
"atheism is true" with respect to that particular god.
Narrowing these debates to focusing on one god at a time clearly helps
the participants to focus on areas of the most substantial disagreement.
proposition I agreed to defend is "atheism is true". But there are
many different gods offered by theism, and the weaknesses of one god's
attributes that allow me to argue for its non-existence, are not
necessarily found in other gods. For example, the god of unmodified
classical theism has foreknowledge that is both exhaustive and
infallible. The god of open-theism does not have these qualities. So
it is no injury to the atheist position to note that arguments in favor
of the non-existence of the god of classical theism, wouldn't
necessarily show the non-existence of the god of open-theism. This post
is limited to showing "atheism is true" with respect to the god of unmodified classical theism.
If you worship a different god than this, wait your turn. I'll likely
be defending "atheism is true" with respect to your particular god, in a
I start with rebuttal to the classical theist god since this is the god most likely worshiped by Catholics. See http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06612a.htm#IID
you be sure that married bachelors do not exist in the Andromeda
galaxy? Yes. How could that be, given that you have never been there
to check? Easy, because the concept of 'married bachelor' is
self-refuting (i.e., the problems with its existence are intrinsic and
do not arise from considerations outside the entity itself). "Married"
means at least "not
single" among other things, and "bachelor" means at least "single" among other things. The law of non-contradiction (i.e., a
cannot be both a
at the same time in the same way) thus prevents the existence of such a
person. So if the god of classical theism possesses the kind of
attributes that are just as contradictory to each other as the
attributes of a married bachelor are, we will be justified to advocate positive dogmatic atheism
toward this particular god.
unmodified classical theism advocate the existence of a god who
possesses mutually contradictory properties? Yes. First, as with
pretty much anything in religion or the bible, there are capable
theologians who defend everything from the most extreme form of a
doctrine, to the most liberal form, and
modified forms in between. For purposes of this post, I will argue
that atheism is true with respect to the god of unmodified classical
theism (i.e., god is both omniscient and omnipotent). Unmodified
classical theism says god's omniscience requires that his foreknowledge
is both exhaustive and infallible. Unmodified classical theism says
god's omnipotence means god is capable of doing anything that is
Suppose God infallibly foreknew from all
eternity that in A.U.C. 747, God would cause Mary to become pregnant
with Jesus. Does God have the power to actually delay said
impregnating of said Mary until A.U.C. 748, given that there is nothing
illogical about God choosing to cause a pregnancy in A.U.C. 748?
the qualifying word "infallibly", the answer is 'no', which means this
god cannot exist as described, anymore than a married man described as
"bachelor" can exist. Here is the argument stated in syllogism:
Major premise: Whatever is infallibly foreknown, is 'incapable of failing'.
Minor premise: God infallibly foreknew he would cause Mary in A.U.C. 747 to become pregnant with Jesus.
Conclusion: Therefore, God's causing Mary to become pregnant with Jesus in A.U.C. 747, is 'incapable of failing'.
conclusion prevents God delaying the pregnancy
of Mary with Jesus until A.U.C. 748, since the pregnancy beginning in
A.U.C. 747 is "incapable of failing". In other words, although God
getting Mary pregnant in A.U.C. 748 is within the realm of logical
possibility, it is something that God cannot do. In other words, if
God's foreknowledge is exhaustive and infallible, he cannot actually do
something that is logically possible, delay said pregnancy until A.U.C.
748, and this inability shoves his "omnipotence" off the table of
possibly true descriptions of god. As long as the theist insists that
god has exhaustive infallible foreknowledge and also retains real
ability to do anything logically possible, the theist is advocating a
god that qualifies as self-contradictory, and thus cannot logically
only ways to attack a deductive logical argument are 1) show that the
major premise is false, 2) show that the minor premise is false, or 3)
show that, even if both premises are true, the conclusion derived from
them does not logically follow (i.e., show that the conclusion is
missing information found in one of the premises, or the conclusion
includes information missing from either premises, or the conclusion
uses a term from one of the premises in a way different than as used in
the premises [i.e, equivocation]).
I cannot see how Dr. Maundy will achieve any of these 3 goals.
1 states the dictionary definition of 'infallible' which also happens
to be the definition accorded to it by unmodified classical theism. It
is safe to assume therefore that theists who espouse unmodified
classical theism will not have problems with a premise that correctly
states what they believe. And I explained earlier why theists cannot get
out of this by saying "well maybe god's foreknowlege is infallible but not exhaustive". I qualified that this argument would be set forth to refute no other god except the one of unmodified classical theism,
i.e., divine foreknowledge that IS exhaustive. Lots of different gods
require lots of different atheist arguments. One argument at a time,
one god at a time. If you believe god's foreknowledge or power is
limited, wait your turn, I'll get to your particular god in a future
post, not this one.
Premise 2 cannot be attacked as false since
Dr. Maundy, a Christian (and as Catholic, likely espousing unmodified
classical theism) would not disagree with the premise that God had
infallible foreknowledge that God would make Mary pregnant with Jesus.
the beliefs of unmodified classical theists, they have no rational
reason to disagree with either premise, hence, they must agree with me
that said premises are sound.
conclusion combines the premises without adding or substracting
information, and without requiring a different understanding of a word
used in either premises, hence, the conclusion is deductively valid.
all these reasons, we can be sure that, among all gods that various
theists allege to exist, the god of unmodified classical theism is
plagued with the same fatal self-refuting consequences that "married
bachelor" is plagued with, and as such, not only "doesn't" exist
(rational justification to deny his existence), but "cannot" exist
(positive certitude in denying his existence). Therefore, positive
atheism is true with respect to the god of unmodified classical