With our current set of evidence, I think there are no logical reasons to believe that God definitely exists, but that there are logical reasons to believe that God could exist.
Obviously, God could provide reasons to prove that He definitely exists, at least in the sense of a “God” defined as a being/intelligence with sufficient power to create our universe. For example, He could show up in a non-ambiguous show of power.
I realize that Christians will argue that the proof is already there — that the feeling of God’s Love is available to anyone who opens themselves to it, that the world is just too miraculous, etc. However, I believe that evolutionary theory is an equally sound explanation for all of that. Whether there is or isn’t a God is still ambiguous to me.
Note that there have been sci-fi shows, such as Star Trek and Stargate SG-1 that have explored the idea of significantly powerful beings faking being gods. But I think that distinction is sort of moot — basically our search for God would be satisfied by the discovery of any being that is significantly advanced in power, intelligence, awareness and/or evolution.
Even if you believe in God, the argument is still moot, since there exists no decision procedure to get ‘there”.
Let’s take yet another aspect of Godel’s theorem, the second part, which says that no system of sufficient complexity can prove its own consistency from within itself.
The reason for that is very basic. First, Godel demonstrated mathematically that in any consistent axiomatic system, there exist statements which are true, but can’t be proven within that system. Why in any consistent system? because it must be concluded that in any inconsistent system, anything can be proven, which means nothing can be proven. Godel’s thereom, the first part, takes it as an axiom that arithemtic in its totality is consistent. If the system is consistent, therefore, it can prove certain things, and one of those things proven from a consistent system is that it will generate true statements unprovable within that system.
If we accept Godrel’s first proof, we must conclude that the system is consistent, or it proves nothing. However, we cannot prove the system is consistent, because we have already proven that any such consistent system will generate unprovable statements!
Let us assume, therefore, that “God” whoever or whatever “God” may be, is consistent in every aspect of truth, that there is no inconsistency to be found within God. The proofs for such existence would not and could not exist, simply because every formal method we have for proving truth falls short of consistency.
In order to conclude that Godel’s proofs for his first part of the incompleteness theorem is true, we must conclude it arises from a consistent system, simply because of the results. But in concluding it is consistent, we must conclude it is incomplete by its very consistency, which will never be proven.
Just as there is no decision procedure for arriving at truth, there is no decision procedure for arriving at “God”.
Whether God exists or not is therefore irrelevant to our questions.
Actualy, one can assume that the proof is necessary of a greater reality we might equate with God, simply because such consistency is necessary, even an axiomatic presupposition, in order to demonstrate that there exist statements which cannot be proved within the system.
IOW, there must first be a presumption of consistency in order to show there is incompleteness, but the proven incompleteness remains firm on the foundation of a consistency which can never be formally proven!
For example, our earliest truths of mathematics rest on the axioms of Euclid. An axiom is a self evident truth that is so because it can be no other way. In order for Godel to demonstrate his incompleteness, he had to conclude axiomatically that undecidable propositions would always emerge from an axiomatic foundation! In Godel’s case, the axiom had to be a self evident assumption that could never be proven, since the very attempt to prove it would lead to continual undecidable propositions
So, if you look for “God” as proof extending from Godel’s theorem, you can conclude without doubt that “God” exists, simply because Godel’s first theorem depends on the consistency of truth. The proof, however, can never lie within the first theorem. You are, therefore, partially correct in the statement that Godel need not be consulted, yet by consulting him on this theorem, there is an axiomatic conclusion that “God” exists, to use a bit of predicate calculus, if and only if God is completely consistent with the foundation of arithmetic., since Godel’s first theorem is dependent on that foundation.
Proof of God, like the proof of consistency, will always lie outside the proofs yielded by Godel’s theorem, which can only mean that there exists no formal decision procedure to get from “here” to ‘there”. Even assuming an Omega point, as Chaitin showed, we cannot determine the decision procedure to get there.
If you ask which god, then you know you’re already wrong. If God is consistent with truth, from ther Godelian perspective, then “he” esixsts or does not exist consistent with truth. But “truth” is different from “proof”. While a proof results from a specific mathematical system of theorems, “truth” is absolute in nature, and therefore transcends theoremhood. To ask “which god?”, therefore is to ask “which formal system explains god?”. In fact, since no formal system to explain god.
As SET points out, this is neither proof nor disproof. It merely establishes that IF proof is to accept, we must accept the consistency of arithemetic “a priori”. Reason being that if we assume Godel’s theorem to prove that the system is inconsistent, then nothing at all can be proven, which would not be logically compatible with physical evidence.
From the judeo-christian perspective, the implications regard life beyond this life, predicated on correct choices. However, since we know there is no way to make the correct choice, the implication is reduced simply to believing. But believing in what? If we can define what is to be believed, then we have the algorithms for determining god as truth, and if god is consistent with all truth, then we have an algorithm for determining truth itself, which means that we could simply consult our computer for truth, and forget about god.
If you “only believe”, therefore, nothing is gained by the pursuit of truth, since by believing whatever seems right will bring salvation, which eliminates the need for any division whatever within the various denominations, cults, sects, etc, of christianity.
From the Judeo-Christian perspective, therefore, if it matters not what we believe, only that we believe, and we “inherit eternal life”, then truth is irrelevant.
I can kill people and believe in God, and then go to heaven. People do it now in Afghanistan(assuming they actually do go to heaven).
Any action, under such conditions, can be justified by statistical probability. If it amounts to the best estimated preservation of acertain way of doi ng things, then killing is certainly permissible if one is to go to heaven. This would apply for other beliefs with which we disagree.
In terms of proselytizing, our security is preserved by having more believers and better technology than the other guys.
However, if we actually DO connect the idea of God and etetrnal life with truth, then we are forced to conclude that any belief in God and subsequent rewards cannot be contained within any human formal system of organization. In fact, we would have to conclude that “straight is the way, and narrow the path, and few there be that find it(Matt 7).”
Godel’s theorem seems to indicate that if one wishes to believe in God and truth, then one must “come out and be separate”.
KNAAK SAYS: “Jesus” is an ancestral meme that is one the parents of the entire cultural family of Western culture. Jesus puts the “cult” in culture, you might say. It is at the root of your soul… as demonstrated by schizophrenics and psychotic or borderline personalities that begin to enact the archetype itself. Your personality is nothing more than a bullion cube of concentrated cultural meme. When you spoon the meat and potatoes out of the gaullimaufry that is your psyche, you might find that the mirepoix that is “Jesus” has lent it’s flavor to the entirety of your existence.
REMI SUSSAN SAYS here is my short proposal for a “scale of multiple personality phenomenon”:
1)involuntary and non-controlled multiple personalities ( commonly and
perhaps falsely called “MPD” in psychiatric manuals like the DSM).
2)”demonic possession” (probably the same as before but in an other social
3) involuntary, but community controlled, possession (possession cults in
africa, india, and elsewehere, where people become suddenly “possessed”
during a festival or collective ceremony). Frequently the beginning of 4.
4) voluntary controlled possession. frequently the consequence of 3): after
being involuntary possessed, the person become a priest/ess of the divinity
and learn to “control” his or her possession.
5) shaman incorporating spirits . I don’t have a lot of info on this. Seems
more “controlled” than 4. Perhaps between 4) and 6).
6) greco-hermetic “magical voice” or “assumption of god-form” (book of the
dead, greek magical papyrii, Golden Dawn). Ceremonial, frequently short,
identification with a god in a specific purpose (“I am Osiris and spirits
obey me now”).
7) indian tantric puja or tibetan deity yoga. Begin as 6, but longer and for
the purpose of 8) or even 9)
8) mystical identification with a personal deity. May be the consequence of
a long training, but most of the time, not really “controlled” or
“voluntary” when it occurs.
9) same thing as 8, but this identification is pursued so that everything in
the world is identified with the deity. Bhakti. Al-Allaj sufism, etc. (i
exclude non-theistic doctrines such as Zen or Taoism from this description,
because their path doesn’t include the preliminary identification with a
personal deity or spirit, even if the final result seems to be identical)