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Posted by Harvey on July 11, 2003 20:06:52 UTC

I guess that depends on what we mean by "meaningful". Some people are actually disturbed by the prospect of our lives having some type of design and overall purpose - it gives them a sense of not being in control, or something of the like.

However, most people for the most part prefer a world where there is a God versus one that there is not.

But the reason I said any statement about God is either false or meaningless has nothing to do with how one feels regarding one's life. The concept "God" is an abstraction, and statements about abstract concepts cannot be proven true except via logic. And the problem is that, aside from people who enjoy playing language games, no one is interested in logical proofs about God. What people really want is solid proof, the kind of proof that has the power to convince a skeptic, but no such thing can be produced for any abstract entity.

Externalist proofs are very misleading. Any so-called logical proof at the end of the day does not prove the existence or non-existence of anything. Just because you can logically prove that four exists using peano axioms, does not mean that four exists. On the other hand, we believe in things we cannot see all the time because our concepts are non-sensical without this kind of approach. For example, many of us wisely believe there is logic to the world, yet no one has seen logic and no one has ever tasted it either. We can't use logic to prove there is logic, since that would be like proving that God exists by using God exists as our premise. In short, we just start out the process of agreeing that there are 'abstact' concepts that we have to believe in order to make the world a meaningful place, and things like logic, truth, possibility, existence, God, etc, represent some of these abstract concepts. Of course, no one is required to assume there are such things as logic, truth, possibility, existence, God, etc, but this is no justification for those things being non-existent. Unless we eliminate all abstract concepts such as these from our vocabulary (which I don't see as feasible), we are stuck treating that at least some abstract unproven concepts in order to make the world meaningful to us and those whom we communicate with. But, if it is meaning that pushes us to treat at least some of these things as existing, then why not include those things which make the world ever more meaningful such as God? It makes no sense, in my view, to avoid a belief which makes most people generally happier - especially when it comes at no sacrifice at all.

It's like trying to prove that the number four exists. I can show you four pebbles, four trees, four houses, and you can always tell me I'm proving that pebbles, trees, houses exist, not numbers.

If the concept of four as existing made life significantly happier, then why not believe in four? I believe in logic existing, I think everyone must to some extent (since whatever reason they choose not to do so would itself be a logic that they choose to believe as sound reasoning - so why not logic?). That doesn't mean that it is impossible we are wrong, it just means that we recognize the fallibility of human knowledge and that we go with beliefs that deliver the best punch for the dollar so to speak. That is, we are economical in our beliefs, but are willing to spend our money economically when the rewards are high. Believing in God is a good buy for the buck.

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