Bethrick’s Unsuccessful Case Against Christian God

Imaginary

Though Dawson Bethrick judged my critique: Bethrick: A Proof that the Christian God Does Not Exist? of his case: A Proof that the Christian God Does Not Exist, as failed decisively, his ca. 8400 words counter response is a model of civility, which both atheists and theists would do well to emulate. It is an honor to offer my critique of his counter response and comments, as I expound more why I think his case is unsuccessful.

Before I begin, it is of first importance to define our terms. Concise Oxford English Dictionary defined the verb imagine as:

1. form a metal image or concept of. [often as adjective imagined] believe (something unreal) to exist.

2. believe to be so; suppose.

And Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defined an adjective imaginary as existing only in the imagination: lacking factual reality.

What I think is the core error in Bethrick response, Prayson Daniel vs. the Imaginative Nature of Christian Theism, is his failure to disguise between epistemological status of subject and ontological reality of an object. He was unhappy with my dismissal of his 13 points, even if all 13 points were assumed to be true, as irrelevant on this ground.

Example to justify my dismissal: Jane Doe asked John Doe, how many people did John think were in the library. John looked at his watch and saw 2:10 p.m. and creatively imagined 210 people. He replied Jane: “There are 210 people in the library.”

Is John’s imagining imaginary? Is John’s imagining existing only in the imagination: lacking factual reality? Yes if the amount of people in the library is not 210, because his belief lacks factual reality, and no, if the amount of people is 210, thus John’s belief does have factual reality.

Thus I did not have to address Bethrick’s 13 points because I assumed that even if all his 13 points  were true, they are all irrelevant. As from my example, showing how John creatively imagined the amount of people in the library, even if true, is irrelevant to decide whether it is true or false that there are 210 people in the library because what matter is not the epistemological status of subjects but the ontological status of an object. If John’s imagined amount lacks factual reality then it is imaginary, if it does have factual reality then it is not imaginary.

Simply put, it is not about subject’s epistemology [i.e. John’s creative way of knowing or Christians power of imagining things] but object’s ontology [amount of people in the library or existence of God] that decides whether or not a subject’s imagined object is imaginary.

To claim that John’s imagined amount is imaginary, we need to show that the amount of people in the library is not 210, and thus John lacks factual reality to his belief. With a similar reason, for Bethrick’s case to succeed, he need to show that Christian God does not exist, and thus Christians lacks factual reality to their beliefs.

Bethrick denies this distinction in his comment:

I would say that if John “imagined 210” people, he imagined 210 people regardless of how many people were there, regardless of whether or not he later found out how many people were there, regardless of whether or not it turned out to be in fact 210 people. Imagination is still imagination.[sic] (Bethrick 31.1.13 2:52 PM)

Bethrick’s reasoning redefines, the dictionary meaning of imaginary, something existing only in the imagination: lacking factual reality, to  something existing in the imagination: regardless of it lacking factual reality or not.

To illustrate the absurdity of  Bethrick’s position: It is 1880, John Doe imagined that his pregnant wife, Jane Doe is going to have a baby boy, while Jane Doe imagined a baby girl. Even thought both imagined, both imagined gender cannot be said to be imaginary since either John or Jane imagined gender  lacks factual reality. If it is a boy, then John’s imagined gender is not imaginary, while Jane’s is and verse. For Bethrick, it does not matter, both Jane and John imagined gender are imaginary: existing only in the imagination:lacking factual reality, which I find absurd.

It is for this reasons I reckoned Bethrick’s  proof  against existence of Christian God unsuccessful until he succeeds to show that it is the case that Christian God does not exist, thus Christian God is imaginary.

I will encourage you to read and reread Bethrick’s case and responses to my critique. Try to understand first before you agree or disagree with his argument. Think. Think. Think.

Question: Is showing how John Doe got to know there are 210 people in the library to discredit his belief that there are 210 a genetic fallacy?

Update: I added an illustration John and Jane imagined gender to show absurdity in Bethrick’s understanding of imagine and imaginary.

Bibliography:

Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Photocover credit: Imaginary Transit ii Copyrighted Citylab 2013

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32 thoughts on “Bethrick’s Unsuccessful Case Against Christian God

  1. Beckwith actually begins running into trouble with his second paragraph, by showing a misunderstanding of Christian theology. He says this:

    “Reasoning like this ignores the broader context of theism, namely that the theist’s god is said to exist outside the universe, that it is not just some item existing within it, like a rock, an asteroid, or particle of dust.” (emphasis mine)

    This misinterprets one of Christianity’s most basic premises, which is not that God exists outside of our Universe, but that the Universe exists within God. This will have significant bearing later in the discussion.

    A bit further down, Beckwith next makes this assertion:

    “Even worse, given this kind of reasoning, one would have to have searched the entire universe to reject the notion of a square circle.”

    This is a logical fallacy. All one needs do to assume that a square circle does not exist, is realize that a “square circle” violates the Law of Contradiction. A square cannot be a circle, because a square consists of four linear sides of equal length which meet to form right angles, while a circle is a curvilinear form in which all points of its radius are equidistant from the center point. Beckwith is using a self-defeating argument by attempting to turn the burden of proof for non-existence onto the party arguing for existence. The atheist stance in relation to the ontological argument here is that square circles do, in fact, exist—despite all of the proofs to the contrary—we simply have not yet found a set of circumstances in which that proof is conclusively shown to be irrelevant. It’s a ridiculous assertion.

    Beyond that, moving to his premises and conclusion, it is easily demonstrated that none of his premises hold up under scrutiny, and that his conclusion therefore cannot be true.

    “Premise 1: That which is imaginary is not real.”

    This is an a priori assumption, and isn’t even accurate on its face. To whom is it not real? What are the conditions for “reality?” I think we can all agree that leprechauns are not “real,” but if I were to draw a leprechaun on a sheet of paper, it would exist in reality despite the fact that it did not exist elsewhere. If I write a story to accompany the illustration, the leprechaun becomes even more real in that its character, actions and interpersonal relationships are described in detail; the more detail I add to either the drawing or the story, the more “real” the leprechaun becomes. The story and the drawing are limited in scope only by my imagination, not by the constraints of empirical reality; even though leprechauns do not exist in “the real world,” there is, clearly, one leprechaun which does exist– mine.

    In light of this, the more accurate premise would be: That which cannot be imagined is not real. However, since our leprechaun can be imagined, it has been given reality. So to say that God, Who can be imagined, is not real based on the premise that He is imaginary begs the question.

    “Premise: 2: If something is not real, it does not actually exist.”

    This premise again begs the question. Not real for whom? If I am experiencing pain, the pain itself is, for me, quite real. However, a bystander would feel nothing (at least, would have no physical perception of my pain), and so would only experience it in an abstract, imaginary way. To the bystander, my pain is only real in the sense that he can empathize with the pain that I am experiencing. In the event that the bystander had never in his life experienced physical pain, my pain would lack reality even at the empathetic/ imaginary level, but would be no less real to me.

    “Premise 3: If the god of Christianity is imaginary, then it is not real and therefore does not actually exist.”

    This assumes that the God of Christianity is in fact imaginary: this is an a priori assumption, and a weak one at that, not even supportable by the first two premises. We have already demonstrated that the idea of “imaginary” is impossible to substantiate. However, Premise #3 has problems of its own outside of the difficulties shown with the first two premises.

    Premise #3 assumes that since something has not yet been proven to be true, beyond any shadow of a doubt, it should follow that: nothing not already proven to be true, can be true. Einstein proved that physical particles are incapable of moving faster than the speed of light; this “proof” is part of the theory that enabled mankind to harness the energy of suns. However, despite being “proved,” and despite this “proof” being part of the foundation of a very real result, it was later discovered that not only is it possible for physical matter to travel at speeds faster than light, but that there are cosmic particles already in existence that do just that. In other words, what was “proven” to be imaginary (faster-than-light travel), was, in fact, real.

    “Premise 4: The god of Christianity is imaginary.”

    Again, this is an a priori assumption that is, in fact, far from being proved. The fact that something is unseen does not militate against the fact that it is real. I cannot see the cliffs of Dover from where I am sitting, and have never seen them in my life—but this does not mean that the cliffs of Dover do not exist. And in the exactly the same way that things too small to be perceived by the human eye (atoms, neutrons, electrons, quarks) actually exist, the same is true of Things (God) too large to be observed by the human eye. The Universe, because it exists within the infinite God, is wide enough that we can only guess at what exists on its edge but there is no question that it has an edge. God, being infinite, is incomparably broader than a universe that we are still unable see in its entirety. But the fact that He is unseen does not make Him imaginary.

    More evidence—philosophical, historical, archaeological, anthropological, psychological, medical—exists to support the idea of an Intelligent Creator, Moral Lawgiver and Uncaused Cause than exists to support the notion that there is not. To state categorically that the Christian God is imaginary is to assume that the preponderance of evidence can simply be ignored out-of-hand.

    Now, having made that statement, on first blush it may appear that I am contradicting myself in that I said (in my response to Premise 3) that despite “proof” to the contrary, faster-than-light particles actually exist. The only way this could be possible is if we ignore the “fact” that matter cannot travel faster than light. However, in the response to Premise 4, I stated that one must assume that God exists based on the preponderance of the evidence. This is not a contradiction, however.

    The assumption that faster-than-light particles could not exist was held to be true until empirical evidence to the contrary (faster-than-light particles) was discovered. The Theory of Relativity was accepted as an article of faith by physicists; this does not mean that the Theory was not questioned and tested, only that it was accepted on faith until a more plausible theory (or an empirical refutation) of the assumptions could be found. Interestingly, God encourages Christians to question and test their faith, because He knows what our questioning will yield: a broader, deeper, more intimate understanding of Him and His sovereignty.

    Since atheists have not proved Premise 4 (nor can they), this premise fails as well.

    “Conclusion: Therefore, the god of Christianity is not real and therefore does not actually exist.”

    Having shown that all of the premises presented by Mr. Beckwith are false, disingenuous or unsupportable, this conclusion fails utterly.

      • Beckrith? Is that this cat’s name? And he’s griping over a typo?

        Meh, whatever. I’m just gonna call him “fella” for the sake of clarity. For the record, I have no problem with stating my name; there is a purpose behind this blog being written anonymously, and it has nothing to do with being afraid of ridicule, open debate, or being proven wrong in a theological discussion.

        First of all, Fella takes exception to the fact that Christians (presumably, me) are disputing his Premise #1, namely: that which is imaginary is not real.

        This is an unprovable—and therefore, insupportable—assumption. More accurate ways of making the statement would include, “That which is imaginary is not known to be real,” “that which is known to be real, is not imaginary,” “that which is imaginary has not yet been proven to exist.” Being imaginary is not mutually exclusive from being real. As an example of this, a round Earth was imaginary to people in the First Century, but we now know that the Earth is, indeed, round. Well, ovoid. Same diff. The Earth did not change its shape in the intervening centuries; it was merely demonstrated that the Earth was round after centuries of people believing it was flat. The world still existed; it just didn’t exist in the manner in which it was previously believed to have existed. This is the simplest example I can think of (I’m not going to exert my brain too much for Fella, since I believe that this argument is more about his ego, than it is about God) but there are many, many others. I’m certain that everyone reading this can come up with several examples of their own (provided they aren’t snorting Haldol by the bucket load and chasing it with bleach).

        Granted, this is a divergence from my first argument, but Fella seems to have trouble with seeing things three-dimensionally (a common problem with atheists). In my original argument, I demonstrated that anything, which can be imagined, could be real.

        Failing the first premise, Fella’s entire argument collapses.

        There is one other point that I’d like to address. Fella consistently states throughout his post that Christians, being unable to agree on certain specifics of Christian theology, are proof unto themselves that God doesn’t exist. Atheists don’t agree on how the world began, either; nor do they agree on whether or not there is extra-terrestrial life, ghosts, etc., etc. What they do agree on is their notion that there is no God (or god). In the same way, despite some differences in the particulars, all Christians believe that God exists, that man lives in a state of condemnation because of sin, that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to fulfill the Law and die as propitiation for the sins of mankind; that Jesus rose from the grave on the third day, ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father, and that the only way to avoid condemnation and eternal suffering in Hell is to accept the gift of Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice.

        There are also a great number of people who claim to be atheists, who are, in fact, agnostic or pagan, depending on their particular notions of what constitutes atheism. This does not, however, make them atheists. In the same way, many people who claim the Christian faith are not, in fact, Christians; further, too may people who claim to be practicing Christians have never actually had the experience of genuine salvation, for whatever reason.

        Focusing on denominational differences within a faith he doesn’t share is a red herring, and merely underscores the weakness of his arguments.

        So, moving on, more self-aggrandizing insults from the author… claim that anyone willing to refute his argument point-by-point is a fool… (he’s right, actually; refute the first premise, and the rest off the argument fails. I’ve refuted it TWICE, yet here I am, still typing…)

        Wait, actually, I really DON’T need to spend any more time on this. Aside from the fact that the insults and self-righteousness of Fella’s posts are painful to read (I immediately find myself thinking that this is a lonely, bitter person, and the fact that his insults are arousing not anger, but sympathy, is just more reason to feel sorry for the guy) he has yet to prove his first premise. I mean, seriously. I could go on for the next two hours, refuting every coherent phrase in his post but to be honest—I have better things to do.

        I will say this however, since Fella seems to be under the impression that apologetics is about winning souls for Christ; some apologetics may actually take that position. Assisting in accomplishing that end is certainly the purpose of Christian apologetics. However, the Bible—my sole source of reference when it comes to my responsibilities as a Christian—says only that I should give the Gospel to all creatures. Not that I should “sell” God, or Christ, or salvation. See, the point is that once a person has been pointed in the right direction, it is their responsibility as individuals to either embrace the gift of salvation by faith, or to reject it. I have no responsibility to anyone, other than to love and treat them as I would want to be treated in return. The idea here is that once a person is given the Gospel, they have no excuse for their failure to accept Christ by faith (try reading Romans, or any of Paul’s epistles, really—even without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, one should get the gist of how salvation works. Fella, if you’re reading this, I recommend that you pick up the NIV or ESV version—they’ll give you less trouble with comprehension).

        If he can come up with plausible, credible support for his first premise, I’ll consider moving on to the rest of the discussion, but as it stands he’s living in a house built on sand, and the waves are rollin’ in…

      • There is no need to refute Premise #4, when Premise #1 doesn’t pass muster. You (or Dawson, or whomever) hasn’t even gotten to Premise #4, yet. The entire argument is a house of straw. Saying that I’m stupid does not prove the premise, but if it makes y’all feel more important, go on ahead wit’ yo bad selves.

        Henceforth, anyone that wants to comment on what I have to say in this thread and expects an answer, can comment here. I have neither the time nor desire to surf the web looking for comments from “Dawson’s” sycophants.

        Attempting to insult me is doomed; it just makes me (and, I suspect, most of the other adults reading this) feel sorry for you, but here’s the thing: if y’all spent less time trying to insult Christians and more time trying to prove Premise #1 is tenable (which it is most assuredly not) you might actually get somewhere. So far all I’ve seen is a Premise that isn’t, a lot of self-righteous posturing, verbose insults from people so clearly wrapped up in doubts about their own intellect that they feel a need to attack others’, and puerile back-slapping.

        Until you can offer a concise, persuasive and civil argument in support of Premise #1, there is no further need for me to respond despite protests to the contrary. In other words: Grow up, try harder, and pretend that this is a discussion about something that people actually take seriously. Absent that, this will be my last comment on the matter. I will, however, continue to pray for you.

    • Hello bethelbaptistchurchblog,

      I post excerpts from Dawson’s blog entry here because I could not locate a “reply” button to post them below your more recent comment. In any event:

      “I know what is real by applying reason to what I experience, by identifying and integrating what I perceive by means of concepts, and I know what it is to imagine something because I have experienced imagining things. I also know by comparing and contrasting these two types of experiences – perceiving and identifying things which exist independent of me, and imagining things – that they are not the same types of conscious activity. Moreover, I can observe an object while I imagine it undergoing any kind of transformation I can think of, and watch to see if my imagination has any effect on it. I can, for instance, observe a book sitting on my table while I imagine it levitating and flying around the room I’m in. When I observe that the book is not in fact doing what I imagine it is doing, I can see firsthand from this complex experience that the book and what I imagine are distinct from each other. I can, from such observation, formulate the general principle that (a) imagination and reality are distinct from one another, and (b) the imaginary is not real.

      So, contrary to what the author baldly asserts, my Premise 1 is not an a priori assumption after all. It is a general principle anyone can draw from experience.

      …it is puzzling that the author [bethelbaptistchurchblog] might genuinely think that if he draws something he has imagined, what he imagines therefore exists. Surely the drawing exists – as lines on a piece of paper, for instance. But when the author imagined a leprechaun, did he simply imagine a piece of paper with a drawing on it, did he? Is that all that “leprechaun” means? What exactly did the author imagine? I can draw a giant bunny rabbit doing pushups on the lunar surface, but this would not be the same thing as saying that what I imagined is actually real. Again, the author only exposes his root-level confusions here.

      What’s also clear is the fact that the author believes that imagining something gives what is imagined “reality,” for he states explicitly that “since our leprechaun can be imagined, it has been given reality.” Stated as this has in the context of defending one’s god-belief, the implication that imagination is in fact the type of conscious activity involved in apprehending the Christian god is inescapable: Since the Christian god can be imagined, goes the author’s reasoning, it has been given reality. The author in turn seeks to use this reversal of reasoning as the basis for leveling a charge of circular reasoning against the view that the imaginary is not real. Unfortunately, like the god the author worships, the fallacy he feigns to have detected in my Premise 1 is clearly a figment of his own imagination. ”

      http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-case-in-point-part-i.html

      There’s plenty more Dawson has written (and no doubt will write) on this. But I would say that what I’ve posted above meets your criteria of being a “concise, persuasive and civil argument in support of [his] Premise #1,” i.e., “That which is imaginary is not real.”

      Ydemoc

      • Actually, I would hardly call that a “concise” response. In any case, it fails utterly to defeat this:

        “Being imaginary is not mutually exclusive from being real. As an example of this, a round Earth was imaginary to people in the First Century, but we now know that the Earth is, indeed, round. Well, ovoid. Same diff. The Earth did not change its shape in the intervening centuries; it was merely demonstrated that the Earth was round after centuries of people believing it was flat. The world still existed; it just didn’t exist in the manner in which it was previously believed to have existed.”

        In other words: the fact that it can only be imagined does not necessarily preclude the fact that it can, indeed, be real once the proper observational methods are engaged.

        In order to engage God, one must believe through faith. Faith is a conscious act. Failure to choose to have faith is akin, in this case, to failure to use a telescope while observing a distant moon. You MIGHT catch a glimmer, but you won’t get anything of use out of it. This is the Christian view.

        Notwithstanding the Christian view, in order to be a premise something must be universally accepted, or nearly so; in any case, it must be well-nigh indisputable, and Fella’s premise comes nowhere close to meeting that criteria. He also seems incapable of understanding that in this conversation, he must be able to defend his statements; attacking the statements of others does nothing whatsoever to bulwark his arguments. It is his premise, and therefore, his responsibility to defend in a debate. He is clearly unable to do that– or unwilling to put forth the effort to try– so his response is to demean and belittle those who disagree (amongst his company of like-minded souls) rather than engage in intelligent, civil discourse. I also find it amusing that he has you trying to keep me engaged; is he afraid of addressing the problem personally? It would seem so.

        In any case, I honestly don’t care how much more bloviating your mentor does; for him, this is purely an ego-driven power trip, and to be honest this conversation– and all those involved in it– are no longer worth my time or attention. I think that giving him four opportunities to answer a challenge– and seeing him four times ignore or completely fail to address it– constitutes quite enough waste of my time when there are other people both willing to engage in, and capable of intelligent discussion. For all of “Fella’s” verbose arrogance, it’s clear that he falls into neither category.

        God bless you.

    • Hello again, bethelbaptistchurchblog,

      You wrote: “I also find it amusing that he has you trying to keep me engaged;

      Your amusement is ill-founded, since postings I make here, over on Dawson’s blog, or anywhere else are — and have been — done so of my own volition, without any encouragement from Dawson whatsoever. And I derive great value from doing so.

      You continue: “is he afraid of addressing the problem personally? It would seem so.”

      And your baiting query as to Dawson being “afraid” of addressing what you call a “problem” really wouldn’t be worth commenting on, if not for the fact that it provides me the opportunity to perhaps direct other more rationally-minded individuals to Dawson’s voluminous archive, where he has, since at least 2005, not only addressed Premise 1, but has, throughout, interacted with all-comers, never neglecting to provide, in detail, a rational basis for holding his worldview. Quite unlike theism. Quite unlike faith.

      So, even If people like you have no interest in examining what a rational worldview has to offer, perhaps others who happen to stumble onto Prayson’s site, might. If so, they can go here:

      http://www.katholon.com/

      You wrote: “In order to engage God, one must believe through faith. Faith is a conscious act. Failure to choose to have faith is akin, in this case, to failure to use a telescope while observing a distant moon.”

      I find it interesting that you bring up “faith” in a discussion about imagination. Dawson has an interesting blog entry entitled: “Faith as Hope in the Imaginary.” Rationally-minded individuals might want to check it out. Here’s the link:

      http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2008/06/faith-as-hope-in-imaginary.html

      Perhaps more later.

      Take care,

      Ydemoc

    • Hi again, bethelbaptistchurchblog,

      Dawson has posted Part II of his response to comments you’ve made in reaction to his Proof that the Christian God Does Not Exist.

      I realize you may no longer be interested in these matters, so I post this primarily out of my own self-interest, and, secondarily, for any rationally-minded individuals who maybe be lurking here on Prayson’s blog. Here’s the link:

      http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-case-in-point-part-ii.html

      Ydemoc

  2. Oh, no, not Dawkins again….
    Why does this guyhave to always get his nose into everything, like he was there when it all happened! My atheist and agnostic friends won’t love me for these, while my theist and allgnostic friends would misinterpret ’em…
    I’ve explained evolution in my blog…. Next time watch out for omelette a la S. Jay Gould.
    You know, you creationists would have much more credibility by thinking about how the world happened, instead of repeating what lunatic theologians tell you about it! Because something/someone did it, but could you please stop the Pauline non-sense about the wannabe Jewish “Messiah” argument built on actually one verse?
    And you, my fellow agnostics, would you stop fooling around with the dino egg hatching chicken bullpoo (notice Daniel, I’m being a gentlemen)?

    (Rev.) Rom…

    • Arkenaten, you are so welcome but I hope we stay on topic, avoid ridicules so that we bring light instead of heat.

      I want my blog to be a place where we can agree to disagree with love, respect and gentleness.

      You so welcome to contribute Arkenaten on the topic at hand.

    • Sadly same atheist, like Richard Dawkins, would go far to say love is just an evolutionary chemical byproduct to help pass our selfish gene further.

      Thanks Edith.

  3. But Prayson, you have to read beyond those words and understand what is said. I see a problem with the way Dawson presented the imagination is still imagination part, precisely because I could predict what you would do with it (as you did). But his point still stands that your god is, by all appearances, merely imaginary. Look at this part of his answer to you:

    So even if one wants to say that what he imagines is real in the case of objects of which he has awareness by means other than imagination (e.g., he has perceived his wife, his cat, pizzas, trees, etc.), we see already that a profound dissimilarity obtains between such objects and something like the Christian god. For since we do not perceive what Christians describe as their god, we cannot form our imagination of the Christian god based directly on what we have perceived. So to say that what we imagine when we imagine the Christian god might have some reality because when we imagine a person we personally know, the person we know actually exists, constitutes a failure to integrate the fact that the two cases are profoundly dissimilar. We have knowledge of people we know by means of direct perceptual awareness, a means of awareness that is not imaginative in nature. But we do not have such awareness of the Christian god or any god. We have to imagine it first and only then pretend that what we imagine is real.

    Why is this so hard for you to understand? Then the 13 points only come to show that the only way anybody “knows” about your god (or any other god), is by imagination and imagination alone. Thus, your god is imaginary, as in your definition: does not exist except in the imagination, thus it is not real. Simple and clear regardless of the part you concentrated in. I see no justification why you would not get it if you read the whole thing carefully. Your examples about people having lucky guesses don’t help your case one bit.

    • Hej Physics,

      Thank you for your input. I think you miss the point of why I think epistemology, how we got to know x, is irrelevant to show if that x is true or not(ontology).

      From my example, if you have read and understood my critique, I showed that showing how John Doe knew there were 210 people in the library, which was by looking at his watch and saw 2:10 p.m., is irrelevant. What is relevant is, are there 210 people or not in the library.

      So we could show that John is a myth superstitious reader of an ancient book, with fairy tales , and that led John to look at his watch to imagine 210 people in the library. Even if true, this does not show that there are 210 people in the library or not.

      To show that John’s 210 people imagined amount is imaginary, namely only existing in imagination, lacking factual reality, then we have to show that there are no 210 in reality. That is what matters.

      • 210 people are imaginary until proven to be a fact. Until then it is not knowledge, and thus it is imaginary. It’s that simple. John’s is not epistemology, it’s imagination. Epistemology comes only when he can verify and actually know.

      • If that was true, then we would have redefined “imaginary”, from the dictionary meaning: “existing only in the imagination: lacking factual reality” to “existing only in the imagination: until proven to be a fact.”

        Remember what making something imaginary is something only existing in the imagination: lacking factual reality. If it has factual reality, then it does not only exist only in imagination. Guilty until proven innocent, is a tough position I think.

        Plus, multiverses, blackholes, etc theories given by eminent scientist would be called imaginary in your definition which I think is an uneasy position.

        Thank you though.

      • Wrong, multiverses and such are based on prior knowledge, not just imagination. They are not fact though. They are hypotheses. Scientists are finding them to help explain some phenomena, which puts them into testing grounds. Thus they might be real. Not definitive though. I don’t see anything wrong with my position. Yours seems untenable though. Why give any imaginary thing any other status unless we could test it. Knowledge is knowledge. Imagination is imagination, unless proven otherwise. What could possibly be wrong with that?

        • I agree that imagination is imagination. My case was not all imagined objects are imagination, lacking factual reality. Something imagined is only imaginary if it exists only in imagination, lacking factual reality.

  4. I read it. To me, I think the fallback, when you lose on logic, is the argument God is in our imagination, that God is something which we can only imagine is real. But is that true? It isn’t for me, and I’m sure God has touched many countless people lives. Miracles happen, prayers are answered, the sick are cured and the addicted set free. God’s Spirit, know as the Holy Spirit, is a powerful, real force, and those that feel it, have it living inside them, will adamantly disagree that it is in their imagination.

    “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,”
    I Peter 1:8

    When I enter into prayer, my alone time with God, I enter into His Courts with Praise, and come before him in worship, honoring, loving him, and bowing in complete humbleness. All I want to be, is in his presence and feel His Spirit.

    Last night i was just soaking up that special time with God. He made me feel so loved. He never makes one feel to look down upon themselves. He is love, and what I experience is His complete love, no worry, no fear, no anxiety. Am I perfect? No. Do I make mistakes? Yes. But I pray I’m moving to the type of man, husband, and father, that He created me to be. Love builds up, love is slow to anger, loves gives courage, love gives a joy, that is totally unspeakable.

    Imaginary? No

  5. Think? What for? Your belief in your god derives solely from the biblical character of Jesus. There is no need whatsoever to concern oneself with any other consideration. Without Jesus there would not even be a claim of a Christian god.
    Thus, while he may have been an historical person, based on the evidence he was not divine, hence no Christian god.
    It really is that simple.

    • Arkenaten, I commend my readers to wrestle with Dawson Bethrick’s case. I would love to address the issue you rose but this article aims to evaluate Bethrick’s whether we share his conclusion or not.

      I will be so glade if we focus at exploring, evaluating, and offering positive critique of Bethrick’s interesting argument or my responds.

      Cheers Arkenaten

      • Spoilsport!
        Oh, well, if you insist. I’ll play nice for a bit and watch from the sidelines….for now.
        You and Pete can prop up your end and chew Bethrick’s response to tatters. No problem.
        Me, I think the whole argument is a bit silly and I still contend that underneath all Bethrick’s rhetoric he is having fun.
        But you go ahead and refute away.

    • Why think?…
      It’s rather comical that you state that belief in God derives solely from the person of Jesus. The resurrection argument is only one of the many arguments for Theism, an even one of a number for Christian Theism in particular.
      And nothing is “that simple” when speaking in terms of the God debate – NOTHING. Your crass dismissal of the entirety of theism based on the “evidence [Jesus] was not divine” still ignores the wealth of information out there.
      Perhaps you need to be a little more accepting of valid debate and actually explore some of the argumentation for both sides. That’s what this debate between Prayson and Bethrick is all about. Exploring different arguments and properly analyzing them, not just shunning rational discourse.
      …That’s why… now think think think!

      • Thank you Peter. The resurrect and deity of Jesus is quite an interesting and worthy examine issue. Perhaps in near future I will post an article exploring the historical data and best explanation of that data.

        In this article though, I focused on evaluating Bethrick’s and I hope we all engage with respect, gentleness and kindness as we address my critique and Bethrick’s case. It is to that we are to think, think and think.

        Thanks Peter.

      • “It’s rather comical that you state that belief in God derives solely from the person of Jesus”

        Nope. Wrong ,I’m afraid. I wrote belief in the Christian god. Please note. Christian. Okay? There are literally thousands of gods. The one you worship is nothing special, believe me, and the capital letter is unnecessary.
        The wealth of information you mention -but fail to list a single source, I note – is pretty much erroneous and you are merely showing a level of ignorance that is indicative of apologists and their like everywhere.
        This ‘debate’ is a non-starter and has been flogged to death (crucified?) by interested parties since granddad fell off the bus.
        The Christians claim their god IS Jesus. And yes, it is this simple. He may have been an historical figure, but the jury is still out on this.
        Furthermore, there is no evidence for the Resurrection – none.The Trinity which is not even alluded to in the bible is a construct of the early Church Fathers and the divinity of the Christian man-god was established and written into law by the same Church with the help of Constantine and,later, Theodosius.
        If you are going to label my dismissal as crass then i suggest you go away and do some thorough homework on the subject before you decide you want to play with the grown ups .
        Next…..

        • Arkenaten, I would ask you to focus on the topic at hand. I do not have comment policy and never thought I will need one.

          I would kindly ask again not to straw away from what is at hand. Could you be kind and do that Arkenaten?

          I wrote this article to address Bethrick’s case, lets deal with that.

  6. Pingback: Bethrick: A Proof that the Christian God Does Not Exist? « With All I Am

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