• Strange Notions Strange Notions Strange Notions

The One Cause Behind Everything Else in Reality

Bernard Lonergan2

(NOTE: This it the second of a three part series on Bernard Lonergan's philosophical proof for God. Read the first part here. We'll share the third part on Friday.)

III. A Reality which is Unrestricted in Intelligibility Must be Absolutely Unique

The general argument is as follows: If there were more than one unrestrictedly intelligible reality, there would have to be a difference between the one and the other, and if there were such a difference, then one of the supposedly “unrestricted intelligibles” would have to be restricted in its intelligibility—and obvious contradiction. This proof can be set out in two steps:

Step #1

Suppose there are two unrestrictedly intelligible realities – UI1 and UI2. There would have to be some difference between UI1 and UI2. If there were not some difference in intelligibility (difference as to activities, space-time point, qualities, etc.) between the one and the other, then the two would be the self-same, which means there would only be one of them (a priori). Therefore if there are two or more unrestrictedly intelligible realities, there would have to be a difference between them.

Step #2

If there is a difference between UI1 and UI2, then one of them would have to be somewhere, be something, or have something that the other one did not. This “not having or being something or somewhere” implies that one of them would not be unrestricted in intelligibility – because one of them would not be intelligible in some way that the other one is. The one that is not intelligible in a way the other one is would have to be restricted in its intelligibility. This means that every second or third (etc.) hypothetical unrestrictedly intelligible reality would have to be restricted in its intelligibility – an obvious contradiction. Since every second or third (etc.) hypothetical unrestrictedly intelligible reality is intrinsically contradictory, it must be impossible. Therefore, there can be only one reality that is unrestricted in its intelligibility.

Prior to this point, we only showed that there must be at least one uncaused reality existing through itself. But in view of the fact that an uncaused reality (existing through itself) must be unrestricted in both its explicability and intelligibility, and the fact that there can be only one reality that is unrestricted in its intelligibility, we must now acknowledge that an uncaused reality must be “the one and only uncaused reality” – it must be absolutely unique.

Let’s review where we have come so far in the proof. We began by showing that there must be at least one uncaused reality existing through itself in “all reality” – otherwise nothing would exist (proved in the Minor Premise). We then proved that an uncaused reality would have to be unrestricted in its explicability – otherwise we would argue an intrinsic contradiction – “a reality that exists through itself that cannot fully explain its existence” (proved in Section II, Step 1). We then showed that a reality unrestricted in its explicability would also have to be unrestricted in its intelligibility – because the answer to the question “Why is it so?” must ground the answers to all other questions – “What is it?” “Where is it?” or “How does it operate?” etc. (proved in Section II, Step 2). We then showed that there can be only one reality unrestricted in its intelligibility because every second, third (etc.) hypothetical unrestricted reality would have to be an intrinsic contradiction – “a unrestrictedly intelligible reality that has restrictions to its intelligibility” (proven in Section III). We are now in a position to assess two other attributes of the absolutely unique uncaused reality which is unrestricted in its intelligibility – it is a Creator and an unrestricted act of thinking.

IV. The One Uncaused Reality is the Ultimate Cause of Everything Else in Reality

This proof comes from a simple combination of two conclusions given above:

  1. Every caused reality and every cause-effect series must ultimately be caused by an uncaused reality – otherwise they would not exist (proved in the Minor Premise – Section I).
  2. There can only be one uncaused reality (proved in Section III). Therefore, the one uncaused reality must be the ultimate cause of the existence of all caused realities (and cause-effect series).

We can now add one other deduction from the Minor Premise (Section I) to complete our conclusion. It comes from a simple disjunctive syllogism – in “all reality there must be either caused realities or uncaused realities.” This means that if there can only be one uncaused reality, the rest of reality must be caused realities. We may now complete our conclusion. If the one uncaused reality must be the ultimate cause of the existence of all caused realities, and all reality – except for the one uncaused reality – is constituted by caused realities, then the one uncaused reality must be the ultimate cause of the existence of everything else in reality – it is the ultimate cause of everything else that exists.

Since intelligibility follows existence (see Section II, Step 2), the one uncaused reality must be the ultimate cause not only of the existence of everything else, but also the intelligibility of everything else. It must be the ultimate, sufficient, correct answer to all questions about everything that exists.

In conclusion, the existence and intelligibility of every reality must be ultimately caused by the one – and only one – “uncaused reality existing through itself” which is unrestricted in its explicability and intelligibility. Inasmuch as “Creator” refers to the ultimate cause of reality and intelligibility, the one unrestrictedly intelligible uncaused reality is the Creator of everything else that exists.
 
 
(Image credit: LonerganResearch.com)

Fr. Robert Spitzer

Written by

Fr. Robert Spitzer, PhD is a Catholic priest in the Jesuit order, and is currently the President of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith and the Spitzer Center. He earned his PhD in philosophy from the Catholic University of America and from 1998 to 2009 was President of Gonzaga University. Fr. Spitzer has made multiple media appearances including: Larry King Live (debating Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow, and Deepak Chopra on God and modern physics), the Today Show (debating on the topic of active euthanasia), The History Channel in “God and The Universe,” and a multiple part PBS series “Closer to the Truth." Fr. Spitzer is the author of five books including New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy (Eerdmans, 2010); Ten Universal Principles: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues (Ignatius, 2011); and Healing the Culture: A Commonsense Philosophy of Happiness, Freedom and the Life Issues (Ignatius, 2011). Follow Fr. Spitzer's work at the Magis Center of Reason and Faith.

Note: Our goal is to cultivate serious and respectful dialogue. While it's OK to disagree—even encouraged!—any snarky, offensive, or off-topic comments will be deleted. Before commenting please read the Commenting Rules and Tips. If you're having trouble commenting, read the Commenting Instructions.

  • David Hardy

    This article seems bases some of its conclusions on the idea that the uncaused cause must be fully intelligible and explainable in itself. I commented on the last article than basic particles in the universe may be uncaused in terms of their existence, but influence each other in terms of organization, in which case they may not be fully intelligible and explicable, per the author's definitions. If this were the case, it would not be impossible that more than one type of particle exists with these properties, making the premise that there can be only one uncaused cause less than certain.

    I would agree with the premise that an uncaused cause is likely at the base of existence. However, I continue to find his efforts to prove things about the nature of that cause less than conclusive. Given our limited knowledge of the most foundational levels of existence, uncertainty about its nature is to be expected.

    • fergalf

      But that raises the question what are these laws that govern how these basic particles influence each other in terms of organization? Right now our present knowledge makes the existence of unintelligible uncaused basic particles rather unpalusible.

      • David Hardy

        What do you mean? What specific knowledge are you referring to that makes the existence implausible, and what alternative explanation does this knowledge suggest? Also, to make sure it is clear, I am using the author's definition of "fully intelligible", not proposing we could not make sense of these particles and their nature, should they be discovered.

        I will agree that we still have many questions about the basic foundation of the universe, but that does not indicate my idea is wrong, only that it may be wrong and should not be assumed to be true, which I fully accept. My goal in offering it is as a possible explanation that would not conform to the author's argued assumptions, demonstrating that his assumptions, and therefore any conclusions he draws based on those assumptions, are not certain.

  • Raymond

    "This “not having or being something or somewhere” implies that one of them would not be unrestricted in intelligibility – because one of them would not be intelligible in some way that the other one is. The one that is not intelligible in a way the other one is would have to be restricted in its intelligibility."

    I content that this statement is not logically valid. If there were two unrestrictedly intelligible realities it would not follow that one that is not intelligible in a way the other one is restricts its intelligibility. It could mean that they have specific differences that are themselves intelligible. There is an unstated and false assumption that an unrestrictedly intelligible reality encompasses the complete entirety of intelligible things and concepts.

  • Steven Dillon

    I think this makes for a good argument against the Trinity:

    1. Each person of the Trinity is intelligible in some way the others are not.
    2. If each person of the Trinity is intelligible in some way the others are not, then none of the persons of the Trinity are unrestrictedly intelligible.
    3. Therefore, none of the persons of the Trinity are unrestrictedly intelligible.
    4. God is unrestrictedly intelligible.
    5. Therefore, none of the persons of the Trinity is God.

    • Raymond

      I think you just won the Internets.

    • Steven Dillon

      I suppose a Christian could reject (4) on the grounds that while God is unrestrictedly intelligible with respect to his essence, he need not be unrestrictedly intelligible with respect to his 'personhood'. It would then follow that (3) is not a contradiction of (4) and the inference is invalid.

      But, this would be to say that nothing is unrestrictedly intelligible in an unrestricted way, in which case we could iterate the author's reasoning and reject the objection.

      • Chad Eberhart

        Brandon do you want to weigh in on this?

        • William Davis

          If you click on Brandon's profile, you can see his actual disqus profile name, and invoke it like this @bvogt1

    • Hi Steven,
      Can you please just summarize how point 1 flows into point 2?

      It seems to be stepping away from the premise that God is 1 and there are 3 aspects to 1 God. While there are many analogies, the trinity being like the parts of an egg is pretty common. The egg has three parts: a shell, the yoke, and the white/albumen. If I understand this argument correctly, and please correct me if I'm making a mistake, these aspects can be intelligible on different levels (e.g., I know that the yoke eventually becomes the chick, but I might not really know what the white is for)... You can separate each part of the egg and talk about what you know about each one, but only the parts together makes an "egg" if you will...

      With God, you can discuss the different aspects of God such as what is known about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, but ultimately they are all one. Although certain aspects are known and unknown about each aspect of the Trinity, they are all ultimately one. That's why I'm having difficulty with the logic used in the above argument...

      • Steven Dillon

        Suppose that there really are three aspects of God and not just three different ways of thinking about God. Then, each is intelligible in a way the others are not; namely, in the respect of being itself. Since their intelligibility is restricted to themselves and from each other, it follows that none of these aspects of God is intelligible in an unrestricted way.

        • Thanks for your thoughts Steven, but I'm still having some difficulty with it...

          Can't individual human beings have more than one aspect even though it might not be physical (e.g., ideas such as the ID, ego and superego?). When dealing with this thought process, isn't it possible to separate the parts of an egg and still be able to acknowledge that the egg all together is one unit and that although I might not understand everything about all the aspects of the egg, it is still one egg? I'm not seeing how talking about God in different aspects effects the intelligibility. While aspects of God are known, much remains unkown. How does there being different aspects of God restrict the parts of the Trinity to themselves and from each other?

          • Steven Dillon

            James: All kinds of things figure into the composition of an egg, and none are strictly identical with each other: the yolk, for example, has an intelligibility as a yolk that the shell does not have, and vice versa. This is because you can only have an intelligibility as an x if you are an x. Your intelligibility can only be restricted if you are restricted. But, the doctrine of the Trinity requires the divine persons to be restricted. Why?

            Because no one person of the Trinity is another, so no one person can be intelligible as another.

            We might wonder how anything can be unrestrictedly intelligible then, since God is not any one of his creations. Doesn't it follow that God is not intelligible as any one of his creations, and therefore restricted in his intelligibility?

            No, not on Classical Theism at least. Why? Because everything other than God on Classical Theism is subsequent to and dependent upon God. So, God's intelligibility precedes creation and cannot arise from or be restricted by it.

            On the doctrine of the Trinity, however, the intelligibility of God that precedes creation is divided between three persons, and that is a restricted intelligibility.

          • Thanks for your thoughts Steven... I think I'm just having a little bit of difficulty wrapping my mind around this topic... So... What are your thoughts on subsistent relations as brought up by Thomas?

          • Steven Dillon

            I think Aquinas' theory of subsistent relations is brilliant, but disagree with it on several grounds. Here's a few, and Thomas does address these, at least indirectly. I just don't think his responses hold.

            1. To say that there are three really distinct x's in God is to say that there are three instances of x in God. But, that is to introduce composition into God and sacrifice his ultimacy. The rule of thumb here is that there cannot be one or more of something unless there is something of which to be one or more.

            2. There can be no relation without at least one relatum. So, if a relation is subsistent, its relatum is too. But, then, rather than a Trinity, there are three subsisting relations in God and however many subsisting relata.

            3. Thomas' theory of subsistent relations in God hinges on there being processions in God: but there is nothing in what is perfectly simple to call 'procession'.

          • Thanks for your thoughts Steven. It was a very in depth and thorough response. Very much appreciated :) Much of it goes over my head, but from reading your comments, here would be my questions... You've already spent quite a bit of time answering, so if you don't have the time, I understand

            From 1: How does introducing composition into God sacrifice his ultimacy?

            From 2: Isn't one of the essences of subsistent relations that each member within the relationship is also a relatum to the others? From what I've read about it, while people can give themselves somewhat to those around them, they cannot give themselves in the same way that the members of the Trinity give themselves to each other.

            From 3: I just read up on the meaning of divine simplicity and some of its critiques. Could you elaborate on the idea of processions and how this goes against divine simplicity? I've tried looking it up and I've been able to find mentions here and there within certain writings, but nothing that elaborates.

          • Steven Dillon

            No problem James, good questions!

            1. Every whole is subsequent to and dependent upon its parts insofar as it just is the outcome or result of the parts combining. If God is a whole composed of parts, his parts would be more ultimate than he.

            2. The persons of the Trinity are either relations or relata of relations. If they're relations, then their relata figure into God on top of them. If they're relata, then their relations figure into God on top of them.

            3. "Procession" is defined as "a coming forth" by the Dictionary of Scholastic Philosophy (p. 99). Thomas says various Biblical texts give to God names which signify "processions", and uses philosophy to unpack this concept. He distinguishes between two ways of "coming forth" from something: inward and outward. An obvious example of an outward procession is when a child comes forth from its parents. This kind of procession is incompatible with divine simplicity, and Thomas accordingly denies it of God. This leaves him with inward procession to make sense of Scripture. Paradigmatically, inward procession occurs in our minds when understanding comes forth from the operation of our intellect: it is inward because it begins and terminates within the agent, rather than in something outside of it. Thomas says the divine processions are like this.

            Aquinas is aware that people will have various difficulties with this position and he anticipates the objection that "everything which proceeds differs from that whence it proceeds. But in God there is no diversity; but supreme simplicity. Therefore in God there is no procession." He responds by saying that what proceeds within an "intelligible procession" needn't be distinct, and that "the more perfectly it proceeds, the more closely it is one with the source whence it proceeds." This depends on his understanding of the operation of the intellect, the details of which needn't concern us here. What's important is that Thomas says because of how perfectly the inward procession of God is, it is "perfectly one with the source whence He proceeds, without any kind of diversity." And here, I contend, is where Aquinas' thought first goes wrong, for because there can be no diversity in God between what inwardly proceeds and what is inwardly proceeded from, there is simply nothing in God to call procession. He's really stretching here, in other words.

            Thomas' thought on the matter is extremely deep and intricate, so I'd recommend reading his treatise on the Trinity in the Summa Theologica, especially P.1, Q. 27, A. 2; as well as Gilles Emery's The Trinitarian Theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

          • Wow, thanks, this is very in depth. I'm the librarian for my church, so maybe I will have to get Summa Theologica in there :) Will look closer at your responses later. Spanish class in one hour and still haven't finished homework :P Thanks again!

      • OverlappingMagisteria

        I was thinking along similar lines when reading the article but thinking about gods instead of persons. Couldn't we have 2 (or more) gods who are each intelligible on their own level but together provide full intelligibility? It seems that Fr. Lonergan would reject this because, in his view, you need to have full, unrestricted intelligibility which cannot be divided amongst separate gods or similarly separate persons.(though I confess I'm not entirely sure why they can't be separated.)

        But at a side note, regarding that egg analogy.... That's the heresy of paaartialism, Patrick! C'mon Patrick! ;-)
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLfgaUoQCw

        (Note: partialism may not be historical heresy, but does seem theologically iffy. Either way... it gives me an excuse to share that video.)

        • Thanks for the comment and the video. Will watch the video later :)

        • OH MY GOSH!!! That was amazing!!!

    • Christians could deny Premise 1,since the persons are subsistent relations, not individuals.

      • Steven Dillon

        Premise (1) doesn't say the persons are individuals, it says they're each intelligible in ways the others are not. To deny this is to deny trinitarianism & affirm unitarianism.

        • That's not the case. The Father isn't intelligible except as Father, i.e., apart from filiating the Son and Spirating the Spirit. The Son cannot be understood except as begotten of the Father; the Spirit cannot be understood except as proceeding from the Father. This is just the basics of classical Trinitarian orthodoxy.

          In order to accept your position, you have to posit that subsistent relations can be understood without being related, which is obviously self-contradictory.

          • Steven Dillon

            "Classical" Trinitarian Orthodoxy maintains that the persons of the Trinity are not identical with one another. Each is intelligible in a way the others are not because each is identical to itself and not to the others. That doesn't mean that any of the persons can be understood apart from the others: that's non-sequitur.

          • The problem is that relations are not intelligible at all without the terms to which they relate. The Father is not intelligible at all apart from his relation to the Son and Spirit (and so on around the circle). If you attempt to think of the Father apart from the Son and Spirit, you're not thinking of the Father at all, you're talking about something else. What the Father is is his relation to the Son and Spirit.

            So it's not just the case that we cannot understand the Father apart from the Son and the Spirit; it's the case that the Father is only intelligible as related to Son and Spirit. That by virtue of which we know the Father and in virtue of which the Father is intelligible immediately includes the whole of the Son and the Spirit. Or, put differently, the Father, Son and Spirit are mutually porous in a way that the one does not restrict the other (precisely, again, because they are not individuals). Subsistent relations don't necessarily have a restricted mode of being as do substances or relations between substances.

          • Steven Dillon

            Sure, but insofar as the persons are not identical to each other, no one person is intelligible as another: their intelligibility as themselves is restricted to themselves and from everything else, even if it is mutually porous.

          • Ged Eduard Narvaez

            But it is said (1 Cor 2:10)
            this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
            For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, event the depths of God.

            And it is also said (1 Cor 2:11)
            Among human beings, who knows what pertains to a person except the spirit of the person that is within? Similarly, no one knows pertains to God except the Spirit of God.

            It is to be said that God is spirit. The Trinity one God. Thus simple knows HIMSELF.

  • William Davis

    The general argument is as follows: If there were more than one unrestrictedly intelligible reality, there would have to be a difference between the one and the other, and if there were such a difference, then one of the supposedly “unrestricted intelligibles” would have to be restricted in its intelligibility—and obvious contradiction. This proof can be set out in two steps:

    If we really think about where this leads, we get Spinoza's monism. I'll quote the proof, but I'd like to see it discussed as it seems directly relevant here, and does not lead where Christians want it to lead. Basically it shows there is nothing but God, whatever God is.

    Proposition 1: A substance is prior in nature to its affections.

    Proposition 2: Two substances having different attributes have nothing in common with one another. (In other words, if two substances differ in nature, then they have nothing in common).

    Proposition 3: If things have nothing in common with one another, one of them cannot be the cause of the other.

    Proposition 4: Two or more distinct things are distinguished from one another, either by a difference in the attributes [i.e., the natures or essences] of the substances or by a difference in their affections [i.e., their accidental properties].

    Proposition 5: In nature, there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute.

    Proposition 6: One substance cannot be produced by another substance.

    Proposition 7: It pertains to the nature of a substance to exist.

    Proposition 8: Every substance is necessarily infinite.

    Proposition 9: The more reality or being each thing has, the more attributes belong to it.

    Proposition 10: Each attribute of a substance must be conceived through itself.

    Proposition 11: God, or a substance consisting of infinite attributes, each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists. (The proof of this proposition consists simply in the classic “ontological proof for God's existence”. Spinoza writes that “if you deny this, conceive, if you can, that God does not exist. Therefore, by axiom 7 [‘If a thing can be conceived as not existing, its essence does not involve existence’], his essence does not involve existence. But this, by proposition 7, is absurd. Therefore, God necessarily exists, q.e.d.”)

    Proposition 12: No attribute of a substance can be truly conceived from which it follows that the substance can be divided.

    Proposition 13: A substance which is absolutely infinite is indivisible.

    Proposition 14: Except God, no substance can be or be conceived.

    This proof that God—an infinite, necessary and uncaused, indivisible being—is the only substance of the universe proceeds in three simple steps. First, establish that no two substances can share an attribute or essence (Ip5). Then, prove that there is a substance with infinite attributes (i.e., God) (Ip11). It follows, in conclusion, that the existence of that infinite substance precludes the existence of any other substance. For if there were to be a second substance, it would have to have someattribute or essence. But since God has all possible attributes, then the attribute to be possessed by this second substance would be one of the attributes already possessed by God. But it has already been established that no two substances can have the same attribute. Therefore, there can be, besides God, no such second substance.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spinoza/

  • Kraker Jak

    Really? Do any of you think the average Catholic relates to any of this steaming pile?, as put forward here.

    • VicqRuiz

      Got that right. My guess is that for 90% of the world's Catholics, it amounts to "Confess, take communion, tell the beads, and you'll go to heaven."

      • Galorgan

        And this lack of understanding only becomes a major problem once they start to disbelieve.

    • Mike

      eeek you are brave! a real ATHEIST! Whoop whoop Cracker! Bravo comrade!

      • William Davis

        I guess the rest of us are fake atheists?

        • Mike

          Yes, an atheist who isn't a prick is a christian in disguise LOL...just kidding.

  • VicqRuiz

    If there was one proof for the God of the OT and NT that was ironclad.
    Bulletproof.
    Irresistible.
    Atheist Kryptonite.
    we would not keep seeing new "proofs" here, almost ad infinitum.

    • Mike

      What happens to you after you die?

      • VicqRuiz

        I'm not sure what that has to do with my comment. If it means anything to you, I expect that after I die I will be in the same state I was in before I was born.

        • Mike

          ie in no state at all correct?

          • VicqRuiz

            Correct.

          • Mike

            ok, thanks for a straight forward answer.

            1. so if that's true what is the point of existing in the first place?

            2. how can anything matter at all if we're all going to disappear in the end and cease to exist?

          • William Davis

            2. how can anything matter at all if we're all going to disappear in the end and cease to exist?

            We leave the world smarter and better off than when we got here. We do it for our children and future generations as it's now their turn. I've always thought this was obvious, but that's just me.
            "Things mattering" is in the mind, you are in control of your value system (to a certain extent) via what we call free will. Some people live for things like hobbies, enjoying life, specific goals, but I think what I started with is the best reason why things matter. If you are bound up in selfishness, and everything being about you, then of course you won't think anything matters after you're dead. Selfishness ruins the self and causes misery, one of life's fascinating paradoxes. Needing to be immortal is a form of selfishness, in my opinion. The "self" is transient, you can adjust if you change your thinking ;)

          • Mike

            i am sorry but that is mere psychological projection...it's all in your head then? it's a vast psychological conspiracy?

            that may psychologically help certain folks deal with "the nothingness" that's coming but it is really weak philosophically and really kinda sad bc what you're in essence pitching is: hey yeah it's all meaningless but try to pretend otherwise, do whatever gets you and yours ahead and screw the rest.

            plus again i think that that totally eliminates any hope of morality as by dying say after i rob a bank and kill say 12 children and their parents in the process and go on to live in a mansion before killing myself just as the cops are about to bust down my door i don't actually go somewhere to see my effects or feel guilty or even understand anything that happened but i COMPLETELY and utterly disappear in which case well nothing.

          • George

            Please start using punctuation. Now on topic: on what basis can you say the holocaust was wrong? Assuming the Nazis went to hell and the victims went to heaven?

            Actually even assuming the victims went to hell too, what would be the problem in the Christian view? The damned kill the damned, and the damned deserve what they get, right?

            People in fact choose hell don't they?

            How is any of this better than materialism?

          • Mike

            it's better than materialism first bc it at least means it is "real" rather than the random bumping into each other of trillions of atoms into other clumps of trillions of atoms.

            anything at all even withcraft even the most barbaric primitive pagan cult is better bc it at least means it's "real" whereas if materialism is true we are not even self aware but are like i said clumps of material that somehow think they are aware but are no more aware than a streetcar or a calculator.

            as long as there is judgement and an afterlife the ppl who want to be forgiven will be and the ppl who don't want to be will have to live with what they did but also the ppl who were victims will have to accept the forgiveness.

            it is at least real hope.

          • VicqRuiz

            Assuming for the sake of the argument that there is a good God, I for one refuse to believe that he would ever condemn any of his children to eternal torment. ANY of them.

          • Mike

            he wouldn't, they would; you have a choice in things don't you? plus he's a Perfect judge so don't worry no wrongful convictions.

          • William Davis

            The idea that nothing matters is completely in your head too. Why is that more true than other value systems? It isn't.
            Buddhists and other religions don't believe in judgement or an afterlife (some believe in reincarnation) and they do fine. From your comments, it's pretty clear the world is better off if you're Catholic, as you sound like a sociopath (no offense intended but seriously, murdering children). It's possible that religions like Christianity can help some, though obviously not all, sociopaths. Good luck with your mental health :)

          • Mike

            lol ok...look i just don't see how all of this can mean absolutely nothing how it can be a meaningless fluke some kind of cosmic accident totally bereft of meaning; trillions of atoms calling themselves william davis, typing, thinking ponder eternity infinity etc. but all without purpose without telos etc.

            call me skeptical of atheism...it takes too much faith ;) imho

          • George

            How can anything matter at all if you're just going to exist forever?

          • Mike

            it can't unless THIS life really is different than the next to come...as atheists always say this life really matters (without justification in my opinion but they say it anyway) and i agree make the best of it bc the truth i believe is that you will not disappear but will "Wake up" and have to live with it forever.

      • William Davis

        If you've never been dead, how can you possibly be certain of what happens after you die? Wait, as Vic indicates, you were dead before you were born. What was that like?

        • Mike

          "I" wasn't dead before i was born as "i" didn't exist before i was conceived.

          My point is that on your view "you" will cease to exist after your brain dies or whatever...not that you will be in some "state" that you were in before conception.

          And so if that is true then all of "this" is a crap shoot a waste of time...if what awaits all of us is eternal extinction then this life is a curse.

          • William Davis

            It's not a waste of time, its the only time we have, so we should make the best of it and savor it. You are apparently a nihilist at heart, lol.

          • Mike

            yes i am a nihilist if an atheist...this is why i stopped believing in atheism but i think that it entails nihilism as if it is taken seriously imho it must absolutely must end in total annihilation of self and meaning.

            If there is not only no christian God but no gods at all then we are literally trapped in a massive agglomeration of non-sense - the innocent victims of nothingness, massive, eternal, nothingness.

            EDIT: in fairness "stopped believing in atheism" is too strong as i was never a real atheist but did think through its implications very thoroughly i think.

          • William Davis

            See my other response. All of that is only true if you believe it.

    • I don't think that's true. Your last line certainly doesn't follow, logically, from your premises.

      Coincidentally, we'll have an article on this exact assertion within the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!

      • VicqRuiz

        As an analogy, additional proofs of the Pythagorean theorem, although interesting as curiosities, are superfluous. No one would need additional convincing that a2+b2=c2.

  • One issue I have with the language employed here, and in Carlo Broussard's writing, is the use of the word "reality".

    To me reality entails, well everything. That which is not imaginary. I don't see what is meant by realities, plural.

    What is meant by reality in this sense?

    • Im honestly not sure... Reality is such a huge topic within philosophy, and I'm not sure what direction he is going in... My guess is he is talking about the totality, but I'm not sure how one squares present physical reality with the reality of time espoused by RCC. For example, when celebratating Eucharist/last supper, we are not just celebrating in the present moment, we are celebrating with Jesus when the last supper occurred and we are not just celebrating with those physically around us, but all the saints that have gone before us.