The Logical Impossibility Conundrum
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09-04-2015, 02:53 AM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2015 04:29 AM by Mirewood.)
The Logical Impossibility Conundrum
I've identified as an atheist for about 3(ish) years now, but began my journey away from the Christian Faith about 5 years ago. During that 2-year gap I became very talented at wearing different 'social masks' when interacting with my religious friends and family members (and still can to this day). In simple terms, I'm a good bullshitter and could pass as a Christian if I needed to.

As a result, some of my christian friends have been shocked and offended when they discover that I've 'deconverted' from the faith. On occasion, this has resulted in some very hostile and accusatory emails, phone-calls and in-person confrontations. One particularly religious associate demanded an explanation as to why I didn't believe in God and didn't accept any response that pointed out the lack of evidence to support such a position. He assumes God first and everything else follows. Even though he shoulders the burden of proof and I do not have the responsibility to prove a negative I thought I'd have fun with it.

The Forward:

To set the stage I discussed the concept of justice: True justice is fair and impartial. It respects people, and assigns awards and/or punishments based on what is merited. We would both agree that it would be unjust to show favouritism, provide undeserved punishments or rewards, or hold others accountable for someone else actions. And for the heck of it, I suggested that Matthew 7:11 could imply that despite being imperfect begins we still have a basic grasp on things like right & wrong, Good & Evil, Just & Unjust, etc. We know how to give good gifts to our children - and our father in heaven can surpass us on all of these things because of his perfection.

I then explained what a logical impossibility was:

A logical impossibility/paradox is a thing, statement or condition which evokes a contradiction or absurdity. For example: he asked me to draw a Triangle with 4 angles and 4 sides, which is impossible because it wouldn't be a triangle, it would be a square or rectangle because a triangle by definition requires 3 sides and 3 angles, nothing more, nothing less. I pointed out that people have attempted to use logical impossibilities to disprove god before: like [i]"Can your all-powerful god create a rock that he cannot lift? - if he can then he is not all-powerful because he can't lift the rock, but if can't then he is not all-powerful because he cannot create the rock."
And pointed out that this is a paradox, a logical impossibility - because of this we know that this rock could not exist, just like a 4-sided & 4-angled triangle.
*At this point my associate had no disagreements*

Agreeing on Definitions:

I started off by listing what I believed were necessary qualifiers for 'the christian faith'

(1) Belief In Salvation through Christ's sacrifice, and as a personal saviour who bore your sins so you could have a chance to repent and be with God for eternity in heaven.
(2) Belief in the immutable character of god the father - a Wholly Just, Perfect moral and unconditionally loving creator.

The Argument:

After achieving consensus on these [/i]"qualifiers of faith" I suggested that I cannot believe in God because he is a logically impossible being. As a christian my associate believes that God is perfectly Just, but his salvation hinges on Jesus Christ's Sacrifice - which is an example of an unjust action.

A just being, by definition, must treat all people the same - demonstrating fair and impartial judgment. He must prescribe the merited awards or punishments to individuals based on their actions. Even we, as supposedly flawed begins can recognize justice and injustice, it should stand that God (who is supposed to be a perfect being) must understand it too.

For instance: A child was brutally beaten and murdered and the agressor was brought before a court of law we would expect (depending on your geography) either imprisonment or capital punishment from an impartial and fair judge. If the judge offered his own child up as a scapegoat so the criminal could avoid imprisonment and/or capital punishment on the condition that he said he was sorry and repented - we would recognize this as a bastardization of the justice system - a wholly unjust act because an innocent person is being punished for a guilty persons crimes who can now walk free.

Christ is the Christian's scapegoat. Even if we assume that the bible's standards of morality and punishment for sin is fair, the wages of your sin is death and torment. An impartial and just God must give you what you are merited, accepting Christ as an innocent scapegoat is an unjust action because it perverts the justice system God created.. and because he is perfect, he should be capable of creating a better justice system than our own and even we can recognize the flaw here...

Conclusion:

So how does this make God logically impossible? At this point my associate had recognized that as a foundation of his faith God is perfectly just, but his salvation depends on God doing something unjust. A perfectly just God cannot do unjust things, therefore he is logically impossible and cannot exist.

Refusing to recognize this contradiction/absurdity means that the Christian is evoking special pleading - a logical fallacy and an obvious double standard. This is like a trick or illusion of though that is used dishonestly to fool people which is in spirit a lie - thus a sin. In essence the only way a christian can hold to their faith in light of this logical impossibility is to sin this way so that they can maintain this cognitive dissonance. If this is the case, they don't care about what is true and any hope of a reasonable conversation is over.

The Evangelical Response:

Occasionally I am told something along the lines of [i]"God is the judge so he can define what justice is! So he's incapable of being unjust. If you disagree then you want to sit in God's place and call yourself the judge.. You just want to be in God's place."


In essence I am told that as a man, I have no right to judge the judge. If I think something is unjust - too bad. I am not in the position of authority and have no right to point out judicial inconsistencies.

This typically devolves into a conversation about morality. This is a Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. I am typically presented with the false dichotomy of "Devine Command" vs. "Subjective Morality" and am told that without God I have no basis for my Morals. And Since the Christian has the law-maker who sets the standard of right and wrong on their side, they have the upper-hand. If I attempt to describe how my Combination of "Virtue Ethics" and "Utilitarianism" provide me with an objective standard I am told I am mistaken.

The hypocrisy is interesting because despite the former agreement that we have the ability to comprehend what justice is - the Christian make excuses to avoid the apparent injustice and inadvertently bastardizes Justice and places god above judgment.
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09-04-2015, 04:22 AM
RE: The Logical Impossibility Conundrum
I agree, it's bollocks. It comes down to "God can do whatever he likes". Well, perhaps he can, but that doesn't mean I have to say I think it's moral or just. If the bible is any indication, he is an insane psycopath. Why anyone is so desperate to worship that thing out of anything other than fear is beyond me. But let's face it, fear is probably religion's biggest weapon.

God is clearly not all loving. The ridiculous mental gymnastics christians have to perform to try and get round the blatant evidence of this in their own book is painful to watch.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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09-04-2015, 04:36 AM
RE: The Logical Impossibility Conundrum
(09-04-2015 04:22 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  God is clearly not all loving. The ridiculous mental gymnastics christians have to perform to try and get round the blatant evidence of this in their own book is painful to watch.

One of my old high school friends apparently forwarded this argument to Living Water Ministries (or whatever Ray Comfort Calls his organization). Rather than using their own brain - they essentially outsourced their thinking to 'professional evangelicals' and then forwarded the response to me.

More of the same shit: Blatant violations of the 9th commandment (thou shalt not bear false witness) via use of logical fallacies to enable cognitive dissonance.

Living Waters' Responce <email@livingwaters.com>

We greatly appreciate you taking the time to email us. I am a member of Ray Comfort’s ministry team. He has entrusted me to answer some of the e-mails that come into the ministry.

Thank you for your e-mail and in answer to your question, the problem comes in with part of what you “agreed” to, in that you agreed that your Athiest friend has the ability to have a basic grasp on things like right & wrong, Good & Evil, Just & Unjust, etc., which he does, but on the basis of what? I am positive that if you were to ask your Athiest friend where he gets his sense of morals from, there would be another disagreement in what you each base your standards of right, wrong, good, evil, just & unjust. Christians have God as the stardard pf all that is right, good & just, while Athiests & especially your friend here in this case certainly does not.

So instead of your friend submitting to God as GOD WHO AS JUDGE DEFINES WHAT JUSTICE IS, he tries to sit in God’s place and “judge” the JUDGE, making himself to be god…

So again, man has no right to judge the JUDGE. God is JUDGE weather your friend likes it or not and that really is all that’s to it.

Hope that makes sense & with that, you might want to visit & point him to the following links:

- http://www.ProofThatGodExists.org
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKwsZKMrsY8
- http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/multimedia-video.php
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09-04-2015, 04:43 AM
RE: The Logical Impossibility Conundrum
What a pathetic response they gave you. God can come down here, randomly kill people, order genocide, he can rape a bunch of children, and then say it's all just because he did it. What's the difference between this and a fascist dictator?

Well screw that! Might does not make right. He gave me a brain capable of seeing what is good and what is evil, then gives me lots of evidence he is evil. Blame him for the conclusion I draw!

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09-04-2015, 09:07 AM
RE: The Logical Impossibility Conundrum
So, basically your theist friend tried to "win" the argument by devolving into circular reasoning; if you define justice as whatever god wants, then it's trivial to come to the conclusion that god is just, but you haven't proven anything, and you certainly haven't justified trying to force your new, self serving definition of just on everyone else.
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18-04-2015, 08:52 PM
RE: The Logical Impossibility Conundrum
Believers take it as a personal affront if you don't believe as they do. I literally think it frightens them. That's the look I see in their faces, fear. It's not fear for me but of me. They get that Deer in the headlights look.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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18-04-2015, 09:03 PM (This post was last modified: 19-04-2015 07:30 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The Logical Impossibility Conundrum
It's all well and good, but the premise of this entire thing is that ultimately "truth" is discovered by what appears to be "logical" to human brains . That has been demonstrated to be false. Logic is necessary, but not sufficient. Bullshit is bullshit, whether it's logical bullshit or not : there are many "logical" systems which do not obtain in reality. The idea of a god is not true because there is no EVIDENCE for any god, not because statements about a particular god are thought to be illogical by someone.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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19-04-2015, 07:23 AM
RE: The Logical Impossibility Conundrum
(18-04-2015 08:52 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  Believers take it as a personal affront if you don't believe as they do. I literally think it frightens them. That's the look I see in their faces, fear. It's not fear for me but of me. They get that Deer in the headlights look.

In my more cynical moments (OK, most of the time) I think it's not that they fear the atheist but rather that the fear the idea that without god they'd actually have to be responsible for themselves. It's like taking away the blankie from a toddler.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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19-04-2015, 07:30 AM
RE: The Logical Impossibility Conundrum
Logic inevitably leads to paradox; so to be a philosopher you must add more bullshit to make it seem less like bullshit. I think they called that justified true knowledge.

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20-06-2015, 06:35 PM
RE: The Logical Impossibility Conundrum
There is a new 'counter-argument" to the logical impossibility I've presented.

Some theists have learned to "attack the entire premise" of the argument by disputing the definition of Justice. The rebuttal goes something like this:

"Ok, you're claiming that a Just System must be fair, impartial and treat individuals based on their merit, but can you demonstrate that this is true? Can you provide any evidence that this is the definition/qualification of a just system? If there is more than one recognized definition of justice then you have no grounding in your definition. In fact, we will find many forms/perspectives of justice so unless you can demonstrate that your definition is 'more correct' my notion that Justice is Whatever God says it is cannot be subordinate to your way of justice.

Yes, many of these definitions share things like 'fairness' and 'equity' but I'm sure they all don't. But, so what? Many humans share the same eye color, it doesn't mean that you have to have this eye color to be human. Therefore a Just system does not require fairness and equity to be considered Just.

The fact that there are justice systems which do not live up to your requirements seems to nullify your claim completely, in the most poetic of ways. And before you ask, I am not going to suggest an alliterative version of justice for you, you have to come up with that."

I find this 'rebuttal' to be utterly asinine, and apart from bashing my opponent over their head with a dictionary, I don't have many good ways to combat such idiocy. This conversation was somewhat Ironic because prior to going down this line of though, the theist claimed that " Justice, to be truly just, has to take into account not just the act perpetrated, but also the environment, the context, the motive, and the intent." To suggest that "Justice isn't always just punishment based on one's own merit" (which is a fundamental misunderstanding of merit). They even went as far as to say that "If someone raped my daughter, and his mother offered to serve the jail time instead of the perpetrator, so that her son could go free, I'd scream, "No fair!" --> which is exactly what Christ's sacrifice provides: A way for sinners to escape the punishment they merit.
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