Statesboro, GA, USA
I can't speak for others. For myself, however, I refuse to be muscled into an either/or position on this point. There are more possibilities than fictive or not fictive, and you should know that. One of the major pre-suppositions in your case is that the discussion is one that yields to logic and a yes or no outcome.
I'm not saying that "fictive/non-fictive" is the only possible category. I am saying that given what Christian Theology says about God, there would be no meaningful distinction between atheism and a merely literary god. Your categories don't feel that the objectivity of God is important, and I'm merely pointing out that both Christianity and Atheism (in their own ways, one affirming the other denying) disagree.
I say that the evidence is insufficient either way to make a logical decision. If a decision can be made at this point, it needs to be made on the basis of faith. That may be something you can pray for, if you are so inclined.
But faith is not merely a "gaps" phenomenon. Since no knowledge is comprehensive, I daresay faith is simply the power to believe what is best and true in the absence of the most rigorous certainty. That's why objectivity is never left out of the equation, though it's also never the whole picture.
That also is a matter of faith, not logic, since God is by definition, something too large to be comprehended by man anyway, and any understanding a person has must, by its nature, be fragmentary and incomplete at best.
By definition? According to Christian Theology, God, though transcendent, is a God who has made himself known in History, for whom there is evidence, and who may be ascertained by the human reason. So, while I certainly accept your appraisal of being “fragmentary and incomplete at best”, I can’t accept a philosophy which artificially divorces God from the objective world altogether.
Romans 1:19,20a “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made ...”
2 Peter 1:16 “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
The one agreement that most surviving religions seem to have settled upon is that it's been worth killing believers who don't agree with them.
The only problem with that statement Bob, is it doesn't account for the many "religions" who believe nothing of the kind, in particular those Christians who take Jesus' statements in the Gospels as historically accurate, all those statements about loving and praying for your enemies.
Vilification by Generalization has little weight, when we have the kinds of "tracks" that I'm talking about.
In itself, this would suggest that members of these religions have a faulty understanding of the notion of God, or that the whole notion of God has something basically divisive and contentious about it, or that the notion of God is itself basically a very flawed reflection of whatever whatever actually exists, and that all our attempts to actualize it so far have been at best partial successes.
And I somewhat agree with all but the second statement, since human nature (religious or not) is what "has something basically divisive and contentious about it". So I think you've left out the possibility of sin ... of "knowing the right, and not doing it", because violence in a Christian context is hardly defensible given the sayings of Jesus Christ. And we've had many good examples of peacemakers in this regard (though not nearly enough).
This begs the question of the God that Christian Theology describes. You fail to distinguish it as not being an "imaginary God" here and expect that your readers will simply agree with your pre-supposition. Why should you expect that after disposing of somebody else's notion of God as "false?"
I only dispose of somebody else's notion of God as "false" in the same sense that fairies are "false" ... something which, in this conversation, was ceded from the start. If you say that you believe in God in the same way you believe in fairies, then the rest is semantics. We've clarified things somewhat.
As far as "begging the question" is concerned, that's not quite true. I have been reticent about an in depth discussion of evidential apologetics, when objective evidence has been philosophically neutered from the get-go.
The kind of god Essorant describes in his intro, the kind who has no footing or claims in the objective world, akin to fairies, would rule-out a serious discussion of evidences. Neither am I saying that he can't call it "god". What I am saying, in a Chestertonian way, is that this god is a small god, since for most of us, the objective world means a great deal, as well as our subjectivity. The Christian conception of God, who touches objectivity and subjectivity, is more in line with all that it means to be alive.
How bizarre! Simply because Stephanos and Essorant have not agreed on a standard of evidence for what constitutes objective proof, then Essorant must be an Atheist! This doesn't seem to follow.
That’s a misrepresentation of Essorant’s argument. It’s not that we’ve disagreed about what constitutes objective proof. Essorant has made the objective world hermetically separate from God altogether. There can be no agreement as long as Essorant says the whole subject matter doesn’t apply. For him, speaking of objective evidence for God is like asking how the color red smells. Do you disagree, that this is what Essorant is saying? You’re saying my response to Ess is wrong, and yet I don’t think you’ve understood his argument.
Unless Stephen is suggesting that all men are Atheists who do not believe in Stephen's version of God. And I don't think Stephen would do that intellectually, though he might have strong feelings about the matter.
Of course I'm not saying that Bob. I am saying that all men are essentially atheists who believe God is wholly imaginative. And thus far, since Essorant has necrotized objectivity as it relates to God, I can't understand Essorant in any other way. And all of this is coming from a poet, a C.S. Lewis Fan, and someone who places GREAT value in the subjective, even the mythological.
Why do you feel muscled into any position?
I don't feel trapped by my position, I doubt if Stephen feels trapped as well.
Thank you, Brad. I think it’s important to recognize the lines drawn in all of our beliefs, there’s no escaping the fact that we think one way is “better” than another. That doesn’t have to be bad if we treat each other well.
And Ess, I’ll try and respond to you soon. Been quite busy.