HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

What is a basic belief and is God a basic belief?

What is a basic belief?

We all have beliefs that are the basis for the rest of the stuff we believe. If we believed nobody could be trusted at all we would never be able to learn and develop true beliefs. Trusting some people at least, is an example of a basic belief. It means we trust ourselves enough to trust others. It is only you who can decide if others should be believed and to what extent. Trust of yourself first and then trust of other people is belief and the foundation of your other beliefs.
 
Philosophers agree that we can give no reasons why reason and the senses and the memory and science can be true so they hold that they are believed in without reasons and because we need to believe them for if we don’t we will psychologically know and believe nothing. Plantinga thinks that God is a basic belief because if there is a good God who has made us then we can depend on reason and the senses and memory and on science for he is honest and has made them reliable. But to believe in a force that made things evolve and which is as impersonal as electricity and which cannot mislead us would be a better idea for it is simpler and there is no need for a good God. This power would not be God. One can simply believe that the senses are real and have taught us reason. You know that when you see blue you really see blue even if the blue object does not exist and is an illusion so you know you should trust the senses that far. This is wiser than complicating things with a God you cannot give evidence for. God is a complication and therefore CANNOT be a necessary or basic belief. If there is a need for basic belief then belief in God violates that need though it tries to look as if it sorts it.

"God is a Basic Belief" No he is not!!
 
Plantinga believes that the only way that belief in God can be rational if there is no evidence for God is if God is a basic belief. In other words God can be a belief that leads us to believe in other things reasonably. He of course insists that belief in God is a basic belief.
 
Is it right to argue, “My reason and senses are right for God gave them to me and God doesn’t deceive”? The senses and reason of an insane person are not right. Faith in God does not guarantee that you are sane and right.

Why not just assume that your senses are right? It is a leap of faith - faith in yourself. To assume there is a God who never deceives that confers your senses on you is bringing in another assumption. So why make two assumptions when you can simply make one? Keep things simple. Logic demands it. If you need the God assumption before you will trust your faculties then you are not very confident in them or yourself. Also, if you don’t trust your reason and your senses how do you know you can trust your power to assume? You are only kidding yourself that you trust yourself. You end up deluding yourself that you trust God and yourself. God is a delusion. Ultimately God is only believed in or assumed because people want a sense of comfort and trust.
 
Bizarrely, Plantinga gives evidence for why it is sensible to believe in God without evidence! That is an abuse of evidence. It is what people would do if they wanted you to believe in nonsense and to stop you finding out. A truly proper God will be reflected in his creation and thus in evidence. And nothing can justify asking people to totally to commit to something that there is no evidence for! It is simple, belief in God is bad in principle where there is no attempt to get evidence. Even the Bible operates by the principle that faith involves belief and is based on the knowledge and the evidence that comes from testimony. Committing yourself to what you do not know is irrational. If you know something and do not commit yourself to it much then you don't really know it. Belief and commitment are inseparable.

If you need to imagine there is a supernatural force that supports truth and not lies, then it does not matter what you think the force is as long as you believe in it. So you can think your keyring is a manifestation of this force, God, Muhammad or anything. In fact, Plantinga is only using the need for a basic belief as an excuse not a reason to believe in God. It does not respect either God or truth at all.

Steps

Suppose you want to think there is a God. Suppose you want to do this by seeing that God is a basic belief. You are not saying right now if there is evidence for or against. You are only wondering if you need to believe in God to believe in truth.

You need to go on a journey and take some steps. Here are the steps.
 
- to assume that the idea of God makes sense and could be true. But the believers just want to assume God makes sense! That demands evidence and reasons. Why assume God makes sense? Why not just anything? Why not assume something that does not seem to make sense and just say that it does make sense but you don't know how?
 
- to assume that God cannot be refuted. But believers cannot just assume that. You cannot assume there is no evidence against God for what if some tribe in the Third World has this god-free-zone evidence that nobody really has heeded yet? You only see if there is no evidence by looking. Evidence and assuming are not friends but enemies. Evidence is to be used to help you refrain from assuming and guessing. If God is based on opposing and dismissing evidence contrary to God and refusing to look for it because you don't want to trust it then God cannot be a basic belief but a basic unbelief. Fear of evidence is a sign of fear of truth.

If evidence for God cancels out evidence against or vice versa then you can assume there is no evidence. But that is looking and assuming. It is not just assuming. Assuming could be ignoring evidence or an argument that he can be refuted. You can't just say something cannot be refuted - it is up to the evidence to say that not you.

It is clear by now that the steps don't let you go to the target. You cannot assume that God is a basic belief.

Other issues

Suppose hypothetically that you must assume that God makes sense and that there is no evidence against God to pave the way to assuming God exists for God is a basic belief. There are two steps, two assumptions to make to let you believe without using evidence.

Do those assumptions matter equally? No. The first one matters most for the rest cannot happen without it.

Showing that God is not ridiculous would matter more than the others. Showing that does not mean he probably exists. You cannot say God exists though there is no evidence for him or against him unless you have made sure God is a coherent and possible idea in the first place. There is no point in trying to get evidence that a man despite being paralysed from the neck down strangled somebody to death!   It is looking for proof of the impossible!

If you just assume God is not ridiculous that is creating a bias. You become biased towards the assumption or belief that there is a God. Only evidence or proof for God can show that God probably or definitely is not ridiculous. It is not something you can just assume. Faith in God is faith in your biased self more than faith in God. Let the evidence speak for or against.

Translation

Is being unable to refute God sufficient reason for assuming he exists and believing? Is that what the basic belief believers are saying?
Inability to refute anything has nothing to do with inviting belief. It only makes it possible for there to be evidence and its up to the evidence if you should believe or not.
 
Though you don’t trust your mind or heart or intuition, you are still trusting more in your power to assume than God. The assumption is your creation. It is your idol. The God you have is not the real one if there is one. It is your idol.

Plantinga has no right to say that God is a basic belief when he has not dealt with the evidence against God. It is one thing to say that it is okay to believe in a God without reasons if it is a basic belief but it is another to say it is okay to do this and not look at all the evidences against God first. He declared that attempts to prove God did not provide evidence for God but warrant for God. He defined warrant as the inclination to believe in God and argued that this inclination was placed in us by God and it justifies belief in God for it is like God telling us through our needs that he exists. So if you are inclined to believe in God then you can rationally believe that God exists (page 70, What is Faith?). But most people have not believed in his kind of all-good God. And the same could be said to prove the existence of the tooth fairy. What about those who have no such inclination? It is more proper to say we have an inclination to believe in the possibility of a happy life after death. The more you doubt the existence of God the less inclination you have to believe in God so Plantinga’s theory does not help the case for God at all.

The conflict between the existence of evil and the existence of an all-good God which religion says is a mystery and cannot be completely solved means that God is beyond good and evil for he causes both not that it is a mystery. Why? Because there is no mystery for the creator to be beyond them or amoral. None at all. That gets rid of the mystery. Kenny agrees (page 88, What is Faith?).

This thing is ignored by Christians and Plantinga does just that as well. A God who doesn’t match up to the good that attracts us and that we value could disapprove of the happiness we want or most of it. The Church likes to hide these things in the interest of public relations. 

 

What matters?

 

If you want faith in God just to allow you to believe in science and reason then they are what matter to you not God. 

 

To argue that God validates them for you when you do not give a toss about him is to contradict yourself.  If he validates things that oppose him and are put before him then he is either not a God or stupid.    There is no validation.

 

Certain things that science and reason tell us are proven.  If God as a validator is more important than them then God should be proven too or as provable as those things.  But he is not.  It is absurd to say it is proven than plants grow and then to say you only think so because God is behind it.  A proof you think is true is not proven to you at all.  Proof is knowing not thinking.

 

Religion does not give up though with its lies.  It says, "Depending on science to prove or at least support God and refusing to believe without proof or support means you are also turning your back on love and the value of life not to mention God. You are banishing justice and mercy and equality and freedom. None of these can be proven to be good by using science or looking for evidence. There is no proof that we should believe something because our senses or experiments tell us that it is there."  What are they doing?  They are turning their backs on reason and science for if we need a truthful God before we can trust his gifts of science and reason then we need proof!  God and science and reason have to be as convincing as each other!  Also refusing to believe without proof is not turning your back on love and other good things.  Giving money to a baby you barely believe exists is still love.  God is not that important to love.

Finally 

God is too big of a claim to be merely assumed to be true. Assuming makes an idol of your assuming and assuming only leads to you programming yourself that you know the thing to be true when you do not. Habit and prayer are good at tricking you into forgetting that you don't know if God exists and have you thinking you do know. When you think you know you prove that you do not know.

 

It is said that we have faith that our brains can think and help distinguish between truth and error and truth and lie. We do not. Thinking is about trying to line up to the truth and discover it. It can be abused and be the enemy of truth but that does not alter the fact that it is for testing. You can see a pink elephant and tell yourself it is a blue one an even convince yourself that you are not seeing pink. That does not change the fact that your eye is for telling you what you see. We cannot avoid thinking. Thinking however badly done is behind all we do. It is implicit all the time. This explains why thinking works. We are not saying logic is true for it works or because we have faith in it. We are not arguing why it is true but explaining why it is true.

 

Arguing God is why we trust reason is trying to use God to argue why reason is true.  It misses the point.  It is irrational for that reason.

 

It is even trying to use God!  Now that is respect!

 

Even if there is a God, we have no choice but to let reason be judge even of God so God cannot be the be all and the end all that he claims to be.  We therefore oppose this God for we do not care if he is the only true good.  I am on the throne not God even if I say God is on the throne.  He is not on the throne for he cannot be put on it.  There is no greater pride than using God for self-centred reasons.  There is nothing wrong with the intrinsic self-centredness we all have.  It is only wrong when we become more self-centred than we need to be. It is wrong to have faith in God.  Faith in God is a mask for faith in yourself.  You are on God's throne as if you are God.  That is that.