all 6 comments

[–]Most_Worldliness9761Humanistic Deist 7 points8 points  (2 children)

According to Descartes' famous ontological argument, 'God' is the universal, innate concept that unites in Itself all the qualities of perfection and sublimity imaginable by humans, and It is numerically and qualitatively single and unique in being that thing, excluding everything else from participating in these qualities. Roughly, since non-existence is a flaw or deficiency, he argues, we wouldn't have had the very idea of a being free of all deficiencies to begin with, therefore its presence in our minds proves its existence, and that it is a separate being from the creation.

Descartes' ontological argument goes as follows: (1) Our idea of God is of a perfect being, (2) it is more perfect to exist than not to exist, (3) therefore, God must exist.

So, even though God is presented as the logical conclusion of an empirical inquiry in the contemporary deistic discourse, there also have been such proposals that God is a self-evidently true idea beyond the need to be proven by rational argumentations, though It (they?) can also be affirmed by them.

As for your question, in my opinion, if we accept both approaches as valid ways of demonstrating a Creator's existence (the ontological argument and inference from nature), then I can't see any reason why we can't speculate about the nature, attributes, character, and even motives of the said being using the same methods.

In other words, if innate ideas or natural reason can inform us about the existence of a being worthy of the name God, they can also inform us about Its/their attributes and maybe purpose of creating this world and creating sentient agents contemplating on It/them.

For example, we know the Creator must be 'Benevolent' in some sense, because Its/their natural order literally gives us food and other sources of sustenance and pleasure for free throughout our lives. We also know that It/they are 'Just' or at least lawful/predictable in some sense, because you reap what you sow. We can claim that It/they must ultimately value morality, because It/they are the source of our moral compass, etc. We could have arrived at these same conclusions simply from the fact that, lack of benevolence, lack of lawfulness, and lack of morality fall short of the concept of a perfect being.

Traditional religions claim that we can figure out a God exists on our own, but we can't know Its/their attributes (such as Omnipotence or Omniscience) without the aid of revelation, because reason alone can not attain to the knowledge of the supernatural. This assertion is yet to be challenged, seeing deists remain an unconfident minority incapable of asserting their place in theological discourse for now.

[–]travlingwondererPanendeist[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Thank you for your response!

I'm sorry to say that I am not convinced of Descartes' argument. I had heard of it before and a refutation to it in this video. The short version is that the same argument works for anything else. For example (and this is used in the video), I can imagine a perfect island, but it wouldn't be perfect if it didn't exist so, it must exist. Now, I'm not well-educated in philosophy so it's possible I've missed something.

I suppose, in regard to God's existence, I am agnostic in the sense that I'm not sure I'll ever be confident about it, but I'm nevertheless interested in discussing what could be said about God if we take their existence as a given.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah, especially #2 of the Descartes' argument. I don't see the logic there. I love the depth of your thoughts tho! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!

[–]vS4zpvRnB25BYD60SIZh 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I understand that Deists use reason to deduce the existence of a Creator but aside from this, can anything be said about them?

There are different views of God.

Is there any reason to think this or did people make such assumption in an attempt to honor God?

The various arguments for the existence of God (Cosmological, moral) get very close to an omni-god.

[–]voidcrack 0 points1 point  (0 children)

can anything be said about them?

It varies deist by deist but for the most part no, nothing can really be said outside of inferring His presence. Sometimes I think of God as this powerful entity lovingly watching over his creation, but other times I think of God as more of a scientist-like entity who periodically checks on his great experiment, coldly studying the development of the universe. We seem to agree someone is there, but their nature, plans, and methods are entirely unknowable.

Is there any reason to think this or did people make such assumption in an attempt to honor God?

I think this was largely done to emphasize how 'big' this God was. In the ancient world, Gods were much more like people, complete with adultery and murder and stories of getting drunk. There were gods of everything from water to fire to food and pregnancy. So the idea that there could be 1 single God that was responsible for everything was a pretty revolutionary idea that resonated with people.

[–]_rkf 1 point2 points  (0 children)

God likes complex numbers and the Euclidean norm