Common (And Not So Common) Arguments Against Atheism (Please Collate)
#11
(08-02-2015, 01:50 AM)Renatus Frater Wrote:
(08-02-2015, 01:21 AM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: Some might argue that atheism and conventional philosophical theism are two sides of the same onto-theological coin.

Can you elaborate?

Both conventional atheism and conventional theism, at least in this view, think of Being in essentially causal terms. Even when God is said to be Being itself, he is still implicitly thought of as a larger being who founds or causes the being of other beings. This standard view of being fails to take seriously the real distinction between Being and beings, and thus, when it is theistic, falls into idolatry, worshiping Descartes' causa sui rather than the living God who reveals himself in Christ crucified. Many attempts to "prove" the existence of God fall into a belief that God must be this idolatrous concept-god. Perhaps this is unfair, but I do think there is something to it, and it is why we should take seriously the apophatic theology of writers like Dionysius.   
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#12
Well, in a sense God does causes and founds the being of beings, and Pseudo-Dionysius grants this (in fact, in a sense he is pretty insistent upon this point; the One as cause and source and foundation/condition).

And of course, proper natural theology can only work apophatically (and I do see some of it in Pseudo-Dionysius), creation being also a revelation, an icon, from whence we can have glimpses of the Creator. And yet, because He is transcendent, He is nothing here (and yet not merely negation—not simply not-this, as this would also be a form of immanentization).

Anyway, I guess I'd agree with you, but I wouldn't call what you called “conventional theism”.
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#13
Dionysius does sometimes use causal language, but I think it is more clear in his work than in that of many later writers that the sense in which God causes us to exist is not at all comparable to any sort of causal relationship with which we are familiar (even keeping in mind that in Dionysius's time causality had not yet been reduced to mere efficient causality). For instance, when Dionysius talks of God's beauty bringing us into existence by our desire for it, one cannot mistake this for a simple relationship in which one larger being acts on another. Of course, Dionysius also speaks of God being beyond being, which I think is key, as it emphasizes the difference between the divine and the realm of created things, making clear that God cannot be studied and comprehended by metaphysicians, as most "trads" would have it. 
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#14
Who are you talking about? St. Thomas Aquinas?
I suppose I'm a bit confused by your protests since you're just reiterating the classical Catholic position that survived into modernity--famously, in the dispute Przywara vs. Barth, Barth said the analogia entis is the very thing that marks Catholic theology as Catholic; Protestants go from univocity to equivocity (so, basically, idolaters or iconoclasts, respectively).
It is only in light of this--of the famous condemnation in the Fourth Lateran Council--that the causes arguments as found say, in the Summas, are to be understood: we can say God causes our being, not that God is the thing at the end of a causal chain. Yet, we can say this. Its like when we talk of the example you gave: we understand what is God's transcendent beauty because we understand beauty and how it attracts us and forms us--as the Portuguese poet Camões put it, ”transforma-se o amador na cousa amada”--and by knowing this we can make sense of what is the eternal Beauty.

Even though I very much like Pseudo-Dionysius, frankly his language gets boring after the first few chapters. Alright, we got the idea that God is not-being, supra-being, fullness of being, etc. No need for a new litany every paragraph.
But I guess that's why he is known to be the apophatic guy. Still, I much prefer other Fathers who are not so repetitious.

Anyway, I have the impression we are talking past each other.
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#15
Quote:...making clear that God cannot be studied and comprehended by metaphysicians, as most "trads" would have it. 

Traditional Catholic metaphysics does study God in His various relations to created being. The very culmination of metaphysical thought is an understanding of God in an apophatic manner. Read some Garrigou-Lagrange or Norris Clarke for example. Your very nebulous comment about making God off limits for metaphysicians sounds like anti-metaphysical cant to me, unless you'd like to further specify what you mean.
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#16
A strict equivocity ( as I read Dionysius ) destroys any kind of theology. It becomes impossible to say anything about God. It would be as right to say that God is a stone as it would be right to say that he is our heavenly father. Equivocity annihilates the possibilty of revelation because even the content of revelation needs to be expressed in words. I am really no adherent of Dionysius and I think that there is simply no good reason to assimilate his neo-platonic quasi-nominalism. Aquinas refers to Dionysius - I admit. But I do not believe that this influence is really helpful. As I read a great part of the neo-scholastic writers ( for example Gallus Manser in ,,Das Wesen des Thomismus" ) they try to reduce the importance of Dionysius for thomism.
Nonetheless it is right to say that God is not the subject of metaphysics. The subject of metaphysics is being as being. "Aristotle's study of the causes of being, far from beginning with God, studies first the substance, actuality and potentialty of physical realities, respecting by a comples articulation of proportional analogies the singularity of each being, the diversity of each of the genera of the categories, the uniqueness of each species within a given genus, and the uniqueness of each substance in act with regard to all others." ( Wisdom in the face of modernity, White, p.65 )Metaphysics allows you insight into the structure of being and manifests for example the division of being into potency and act, the absurdity to deny first principles or the meaning of substance and accidents. But these insights demand a cause. It is impossible to detect potency and act ( or the principle of causality ) and not to see the necessity of actus purus ( or a first cause ), the contigency of beings without the non-contingent cause. I would not call this onto-theology because it is just ontology but the subject of ontology points unmistakably to God because being actus purus or first cause or esse subsistens includes having/ or being some qualities.
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#17
(08-05-2015, 12:26 AM)richgr Wrote:
Quote:...making clear that God cannot be studied and comprehended by metaphysicians, as most "trads" would have it. 

Traditional Catholic metaphysics does study God in His various relations to created being. The very culmination of metaphysical thought is an understanding of God in an apophatic manner. Read some Garrigou-Lagrange or Norris Clarke for example. Your very nebulous comment about making God off limits for metaphysicians sounds like anti-metaphysical cant to me, unless you'd like to further specify what you mean.
And it is important to emphasize that the possiblity to know God by our natural reason is dogma. And as Garrigou-Lagrange explains in "Dieu-Son existence et sa Nature", the dogma includes some qualities of God. It does not suffice to say that the human mind is able to know God and to understand this knowledge separated from any kind of quality.
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#18
If we ignore pragmatic and obvious scientific observations against the Materialist ideology then there are no arguments against atheism.
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#19
(08-05-2015, 02:01 AM)Guingamp Wrote:
(08-05-2015, 12:26 AM)richgr Wrote:
Quote:...making clear that God cannot be studied and comprehended by metaphysicians, as most "trads" would have it. 

Traditional Catholic metaphysics does study God in His various relations to created being. The very culmination of metaphysical thought is an understanding of God in an apophatic manner. Read some Garrigou-Lagrange or Norris Clarke for example. Your very nebulous comment about making God off limits for metaphysicians sounds like anti-metaphysical cant to me, unless you'd like to further specify what you mean.
And it is important to emphasize that the possiblity to know God by our natural reason is dogma. And as Garrigou-Lagrange explains in "Dieu-Son existence et sa Nature", the dogma includes some qualities of God. It does not suffice to say that the human mind is able to know God and to understand this knowledge separated from any kind of quality.
Indeed, but I'm confused why you said above "Nonetheless it is right to say that God is not the subject of metaphysics. The subject of metaphysics is being as being." Has anyone here claimed that God is the proper subject of metaphysics? My response to Crusading Philologist was simply to his claim that metaphysics cannot study or comprehend God (but who even claims to comprehend God anyway?).
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#20
(08-05-2015, 01:47 AM)Guingamp Wrote: Nonetheless it is right to say that God is not the subject of metaphysics. The subject of metaphysics is being as being. "Aristotle's study of the causes of being, far from beginning with God, studies first the substance, actuality and potentialty of physical realities, respecting by a comples articulation of proportional analogies the singularity of each being, the diversity of each of the genera of the categories, the uniqueness of each species within a given genus, and the uniqueness of each substance in act with regard to all others." ( Wisdom in the face of modernity, White, p.65 )Metaphysics allows you insight into the structure of being and manifests for example the division of being into potency and act, the absurdity to deny first principles or the meaning of substance and accidents. But these insights demand a cause. It is impossible to detect potency and act ( or the principle of causality ) and not to see the necessity of actus purus ( or a first cause ), the contigency of beings without the non-contingent cause. I would not call this onto-theology because it is just ontology but the subject of ontology points unmistakably to God because being actus purus or first cause or esse subsistens includes having/ or being some qualities.
Very well-stated.
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