Some Reasons Why Atheism is Logically Incoherent

Atheist philosopher, Bertrand Russell

Atheist philosopher, Bertrand Russell

  1. Strictly speaking, the proposition “God does not exist” is self-contradictory, as “God” in order to be the subject of predication necessarily exists, as indeed all things exist. An assertion dealing with the nature of the kind of existence God has, on the other hand, is not self-contradictory. For instance, a proposition like “God is an imaginary being” is false but it is at least rational (i.e. not self-contradictory). This seems to be what most atheists mean when they say “God does not exist.”
  2. However, this raises the question: What does it mean for something to have more than an imaginary existence? Typically, when the word “imaginary” is used it has reference to a supposed object’s capacity to be apprehended by means of one’s senses. If this is what is meant by the atheist, then this also poses a problem, for it entails a category confusion. God is not a material object, He is Spirit. Therefore, God cannot be apprehended by means of sensation. Rendering the proposition logically coherent does not solve the atheist’s problems. For if God by definition cannot be apprehended by our senses, then it is categorically erroneous to demand sensory proof that God is more than a figment of one’s imagination.
  3. Moreover, granting that demanding empirical proof that a spiritual being is not simply an imagination of one’s own construction is not fallacious (although it definitely is!), the atheist cannot say that his or my own inability to prove that God is not an imaginary being entails that God is an imaginary being. To argue that God is imaginary because theists are unable to prove that He is not an imaginary being is to argue fallaciously.
  4. Additionally, by means of limiting himself to that which he assumes is knowable by sensation, the atheist is likewise removing his ability to speak of absolutes. Hence, his identification of God as an imaginary being due to the lack of empirical proof to the contrary is not only fallacious in the ways mentioned above, but it also is further shown to be irrational in that his own method of reasoning precludes him from making any absolute judgments. Consider the nature of the objection: The atheist claims that God is an imaginary being, which presupposes that the atheist is able to differentiate between what is “real” and what is “imaginary.” However, if one’s knowledge is dependent upon one’s experiences, then knowledge of what is always the case is unknowable. And if knowledge of what is always the case is precluded by the atheist’s epistemology, then knowledge of reality and imagination is also precluded. And if this is the case, then the atheist cannot say that God is either real or imaginary – the atheist cannot even say that he himself is or is not simply an imaginary being! Such terms are without any meaning if we grant the atheist his assumptions.

We can order the above reasons more formally.

  1. a. All logical contradictions are false.
    b. The proposition “God does not exist” is a logical contradiction.
    c. Therefore, the proposition “God does not exist” is false.
  2. a. All arguments that confuse categories are fallacious.
    b. Evidential arguments against the reality of God confuse material and spiritual categories.
    c. Therefore, evidential arguments against the reality of God are fallacious.
  3. a. No absolutes are validly inferred via inductive reasoning.
    b. The concepts of reality, the imaginary, and the distinction between these two are absolutes.
    c. Therefore, these concepts have not been validly inferred via inductive reasoning.
  4. a. Consequently, the atheist either (a.)holds these concepts to be heuristic principles which evince some value relative to their utility, or (b.)holds that these concepts are true and truly obtain.
    b. Atheists do not hold that these concepts are heuristic principles evincing some value relative to their utility.
    c. Therefore, the atheist holds that these concepts are true and truly obtain.

Thus: In the first instance, the statement “God does not exist” is self-contradictory. In the second instance, we have shown that the proposition “God is an imaginary being” is a conclusion drawn from a fallacious argument that rests upon a confusion of spiritual and material categories. In the third place, we have shown that the theist’s inability to provide evidence for his beliefs does not entail that his beliefs are false. In the fourth place, we have shown that the atheist’s concepts of reality, the imaginary, and their essential mutual exclusivity, since they are necessarily arrived at via inductive reasoning, cannot be arrived at by means of valid logical argumentation.

Soli Deo Gloria

-h.

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10 thoughts on “Some Reasons Why Atheism is Logically Incoherent

      • Hiram says:

        If you carefully read what I’ve written, you’ll see that I’m not assuming or dealing with the so-called ontological argument. I am arguing, along with Kant who opposed the Ontological Argument, that “existence” is not a predicate.

        Because existence is not a predicate but the copula between a logical subject and its attendant predicates, propositions of the form “x does not exist” are self-contradictory and, therefore, false. Assertions like “God is an imaginary being” or “God is a conceptual being with no humanly perceivable correlate” are actually intelligible.

        But that opens a can of epistemological, logical, and metaphysical worms atheists cannot deal with.

        -h.

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  1. Steven Hoyt says:

    there can be no evidence for god; a being which transcends reality.

    there can be no evidence for god; a being which is imminent in reality, ordinary and indistinguishable from it.

    there are no absolutes aside from logical absolutes, which are all trivial; axioms, tautology, truism. all else are propositions which are labeled true, not via any means of assurity in knowing, but through warrant and justification; deliberation.

    logic doesn’t entail truth in itself. its predicate is reasonableness and it isn’t something about logic itself that leads us to accept any premise, relations of premises, flow of premises to conclusions.

    sound arguments for and against the existence of god are easily had. given their acceptance is not based on evidence, not based on logic, there is only a basis of abduction. in other words, what makes the most sense to say, given one’s experiences and impressions of the world.

    so, god and any debates about god, are merely, in all cases, assertions that “my impression is better than yours”.

    a theist and an atheist are best made distinct from one another by the single fact that one has an impression the other lacks.

    at the end of the pursuit of folks debating isn’t some truth discovered. what is owned is that god is a metaphysical proposition, and then by definition, neither true not false (though there is a case after all, of one is not an ignostic), but instead, only meaningful or meaningless, worth something or worthless.

    what matters, and the only thing that can, about these senseless debates is that one leaves them having said something worth hearing.

    sadly, including here, few times is this ever the case.

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  2. jcamachott says:

    Strictly speaking, the proposition “God does not exist” is self-contradictory, as “God” in order to be the subject of predication necessarily exists, as indeed all things exist.

    How? Is the statement “Unicorns do not exist” also self-contradictory? If I use my imagination to create a new animal and call it a Bobby-Boo, is “Bobby-Boos do not exist” self-contradictory?

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    • Hiram says:

      Yes, it is self-contradictory. Existence is not a real predicate, it’s the copula between a logical subject and its attendant predicates. If I say “John is good” I have asserted something meaningful about John. If I say “John is,” I haven’t said anything meaningful about John. Now “John” could be an idea, a fictional character, a human being, an angel, a dog, etc. So I can go on to say “John is a real dog” or “John is a fictional human character” or “John is an idea I have about x,” and so on.

      When we use the word “exist” in the assertion “Unicorns do not exist” what we usually mean is: “Unicorns are purely imaginary creatures” or “There is no material entity to which the word ‘unicorns’ refers” or “Unicorns are not real animals.” These are not logically incoherent assertions.

      Think about it: How can we predicate non-being of some ‘being’? See the problem? We have to clarify what we mean when we say “God exists” or “God does not exist,” since the first assertion says nothing and the second assertion literally says that there is a being that has the property of not being a being. That is absurd.

      So any assertion of the form “x does not exist” is self-contradictory. “x” is a logical subject, although it may not be a real object. “x” is a being, in other words, which may only be a word/idea/concept/fictional character, etc.

      If an atheist wants to say “God doesn’t exist” he needs to clarify what he means by “exist.” If he doesn’t, then he is asserting a logical contradiction.

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