First, sorry about delay. I am out on a barge off the coast of India, with a lot going on and with rather sporadic internet connection. So just trying to keep up with the discussion here as best I can.
Next: The post of yours that I was referring to in mine of a few days ago was actually from March 7th (!!) and started with "I agree with the definition of the scientific process; no argument there."
To the question of whether [in CBP's Step 1] I could accept 'faith' as justification for a theist's specific knowledge proposals, the answer is that I'd be very happy to as soon as he or she could explain to me how it actually works. In particular: how it selects their proposals (say, existence the God of Catholic Christianity) in preference to similar but logically exclusive proposals (say, existence of the pantheon of Greek Gods). I would have to confess to them that from my present understanding 'faith' seems to be 100% non selective. It seems to be precisely as capable of justifying Russel's Teapot, and/or The Flying Spaghetti Monster, as it is of the proposals for which they would claim it as justification. From which, I'd have to say, I can't actually understand it to be able to justify anything. I'd note that they seem to be offering me something as a selection gate that we can both understand in theory to be able to 'select' any proposal whatsoever, and both see to have been claimed for thousands of years as support for an almost infinite number of logically exclusive proposals. But then of course I'd reiterate the likelihood of misunderstanding from my side, and reluctance to assume that they might be suggesting anything so silly. From which, my confident expectation of their ability to clear up my little problem.
It seems reasonable to me the question postulated falls in the trap of a False Dillema (black and white) fallacy. Any attempt to discern a "absolute" on something existential which has so very little perceptual evidence other than a word "God" (regardless of definition) must fruit in two conflicting categories: belief vs knowledge
On the one hand I can say I BELIEVE 100% there exists no God or Gods manipulating the expanse of all existence - like some solipsistic, separate individual entity.
On the other hand I can say I KNOW so very little about the existence of separate objects beyond what I have perceptually experienced (in my own short life here on this tiny planet), it would be better to leave off absolute certainty of anything in a 100% manner so as to guard against appearing arrogant in communicating with other people - as if I were unwilling to remain open to concepts/ideas/perceptions of which I have not yet experienced.
On the first hand, I perceive so little in evidence on the plethora of definitions of "God". My KNOWLEDGE is so very lacking of everything which could be, my BELIEF says: it's so unreasonable (based on all observable data), I can't believe such far fetch notions... even to 100% certainty.
On the other hand: because we have identified, by scientific method, only a finite amount of existence; it would be unreasonable to assume with absolute certainty notions beyond which only a data/object-inspired perceptual methodology would presume. This latter being to the extreme of saying: As a world intelligence we have observed and recorded a finite amount of stars and planets in the universe; therefore, there exists no other stars and planets unless we observe and record them. Or saying: As a world intelligence we have not encountered (observed and recorded) intelligent life beyond our planet in the universe; therefore extraterrestrial intelligent life does not exist because we have not observed and recorded it. Both examples have scientific proof and can be extrapolated to reasonable conclusions. But the tendency of scientific methodology refuses to bend on 100% results based on absolute observable and recorded data. Scientific methodology remains specious (and potentially dangerous) for any one individual to pursue. Time and object interactions do appear linear; however, human learning (the thinking mind) is not linear. There are constant examples of "things" humans have learned that were wrong in the past. The excuse of "Well, that's the best decision we could make at the time because it was the best knowledge we had." does not excuse the individual/group of having made that past wrong decision.
Thus, we return to this False Dilemma question.
I am dissuaded by any absolute notion for or against the existence of a "God". Further, I remain skeptical and defensive to any individual asserting absolute existence for or against anything. Both for differing reasons on concepts of BELIEF and KNOWLEDGE.
I am willing to state that I believe in no god I have ever heard of, and have seen no evidence to indicate that such an entity exists or has ever existed. I feel that I can state with greater than 99% certainty that the god of the Christian majority doesn't exist, and even with my limited understanding of Judaism and Islam, I feel just about as confident with any of the major monotheisms.
If you simply want to equate god with first cause (as in pre-Big Bang) and drop the rest of the nonsense, then fine believe in god all you want, (but then what really would be the point?) but add any of the rest of it and we have a problem.
Oh I understand the concept of infinite regression, I simply find that most people that try to prove the existence of god fall on extremely vague definitions in order to avoid the easy counters and so are basically left with the word god meaning basically any origin one could fathom. The word is rendered entirely meaningless in these contexts and the debates become pointless and frustrating.
That or it becomes a case of special pleading where god is the one exception to the everything has a cause rule.
Congratulations, nearly 70 pages and no end in sight ... normally you have to be a really cute girl with a provocative photo to get this much attention !! ;-)
Let me float this suggestion : is it possible you have received so many responses becasue folks aren't as sure as they purport? To paraphrase ol' Will Shakespeare: " methinks [they] doth protest too much
That is an interesting hunch. As many of us were reared in religion, there might logically be a bit of it still taped upon us. I for one always found the notion rather heinous. I didn't like the idea of an all knowing being watching me while I slept, or carried on the rest of my existence. I especially detested the idea that the master of the universe was a spectator to any private... exertions, shall we say.
But I think a lot of people find comfort rather than offense in the idea that there is a galactic gastapo and that it is somehow working in their favor. For my own part, my mother proposed reincarnation from a tender age as if it were a given. While I don't believe it for lack of evidence of both the process and a soul to endure the process, were we to vote, I would certainly choose for reincarnation to be real.
But reality is not a democracy.
I am reading a most refreshing book : The Atheist's Way - subtitled Living Well Without Gods by Eric Maisel.It is a wonderfully empowering and inspiring read for anyone going through religion withdrawal and rebuilding their worldview. I'd recommend it highly to all