I wanted to put this question out there to see how strongly everyone feels on this subject. Being that most of us trust in scientific fact and reasoning, I was wondering if everyone is absolutely, undeniably, 100% sure that a god doesn't exist.  I personally take into account that there is no proof of any cosmic creator so therefore I am about 99.9999% sure that there is no god. However we all agree that science is an ever evolving field and I don't think that there will ever be any proof to support the existence of a supreme being, but I can't be 100% sure until there is concrete proof against one. I would like to know what all of your thoughts on this.  

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In 1277, three years after Aquinas' death, the Bishop of Paris and the Bishop of Oxford issued another, more detailed, edict which condemned a series of Thomas's theses as heretical, on the grounds of the orthodox Augustinian theology which considered human reason inadequate to understand the will of God. As a result of this condemnation, Aquinas was excommunicated posthumously (a landmark in the history of medieval philosophy and theology), and it took many years for his reputation to recover from this censure.

Source: http://www.philosophybasics.com/philosophers_aquinas.html

I suppose Copernicus didn't start any serious controversy, just inspired many clerics to write about his work, and condemn it as almost heretical.

Galileo died under house arrest, after an inquisition by the roman catholic church, I would consider that some serious opposition. Especially considering they banned his books and wouldn't even allow them to be printed for quite some time after his death.

The Church was not overly fond of people using reason, especially reason which differed from their theological conclusions. There was also something about them destroying a few of Archimedes books by scraping them down and using them as hymnals, because awesome church songs are more important than math. As much as I would have liked to agree with that concept in high school, it sure is impressive that his work was much more advanced than we could really believe.

As a result of this condemnation, Aquinas was excommunicated posthumously (a landmark in the history of medieval philosophy and theology), and it took many years for his reputation to recover from this censure.

This is based on a mistaken interpretation of Bishop Etienne Tempier's Condemnation of 1277 in which he condemned 219 propositions based on Aristotelian philosophy, but named no individuals. The notion that Aquinas was excommunicated posthumously has been around for some time without any basis in fact. Here is a comment on a repetition of this rumor by Dorothy Day:

In the November 1949 Catholic Worker, Dorothy Day wrote of a priest she knew: "He is no St. Thomas [Aquinas], who was excommunicated at one time for drawing so many truths from Aristotle, a pagan philosopher brought by Moslem scholars from the East to the West."

Aquinas was not excommunicated. He died in 1274, and "in 1277 Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris issued a denunciation of . . . twenty Thomistic [Aristotelian] propositions. But later this condemnation of  Thomas would be reversed by Bishop Tempier's successor, and all trace of doubt would be removed in 1323, when Aquinas would be made a saint" (Dinesh S'zousa, The  Catholic Classics, 1986, p. 71).

[This also contains errors: the Bishop was Etienne Tempier and the errors condemned numbered 219, not 20.]

Dead people are not excommunicated; excommunications are done partly to call the excommunicated person to repentance and a return to participation in the Church. But even when Aquinas was alive, he could not have been excommunicated by these  bishops, as neither had  authority over him.  Aquinas died in union with the Church; he was able to administer the sacraments to others and to receive the sacraments himself.   If Day was trying to justify disobedience to the hierarchy, she failed in this inaccurate and sloppy example.  (Unfortunately, a "Google" search reveals that this erroneous labeling of "excommunication"--and "excommunication after death"--is alive and well on the Web--usually with no source cited.)


The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, an exceptionally reliable source has an article on the Condemnation of 1277 and does not mention anything about Aquinas being excommunicated.

Wikipedia has a list of excommunications, organized by century and does not list Aquinas.


Thank you for correcting me! Now, should I attempt to contact my source and let them know of their error, or leave it be...

I hate it when my sources let me down T.T

But your main point is correct even if blurred a bit in detail. Aquinas's main thrust was reconciliation of reason and faith—in particular, he attempted to reconcile Aristotle and the traditional dogmas of the church. That is what Tempier found objectionable in doctrines promulgated by Paris theologians. And it was clear to them that the work of Aquinas was condemned by implication. Several rallied to his defense and it is now claimed that Rome ordered Tempier to stop his separate investigation of Aquinas.

If I were to say that I was 99% sure, then I would be lying. However, I can say that I don't know and that I doubt it. However, my position is that I don't care.It is not even a topic I discuss because I see no merit in it except for providing fodder for religious debates, other than that I don't care. It is not something that I am for or against. It is just insignificant to me.

I think it's dangerous to say you are 100% sure of anything. It means your mind is closed and if you look at the fundies and zealots of religion, nationalism or (insert any us vs them community here), it seems to be what justifies many atrocities. Manipulative people throughout history have used this as a trick to get armies of fanatical followers. What is one of the first things religions do? Claim they have the 100% truth on everything. And the book is holy and sacred, which means if you question it you will be attacked!. (this tactic can also be used for national founding documents!)

If you had some real proof that there was a God I would be open to it. Thus far, every part of the god argument to me seems to follow what manipulative people would say to trick others into believing a made up story. There is no evidence of god, just excuses, distractions and logical fallacies.

Atheist: show me your god!
Believer: He's invisible! (which looks suspiciously just like if he wasn't real!)

Atheist: Let's put your god to a test to prove his existence and power!
Believer: He doesn't like to be tested!

Atheist: So you are an adult and you believe in magic tricks?
Believer: magic is hooey done by human con artists. Miracles are just like magic tricks in that they defy the laws of physics, but way more believable because they were performed by an invisible being


I agree with the "it's dangerous to say you are 100% sure of anything." in regards to things that are provable and disprovable. But for things like the Tooth-Fairy and Pinocchio, I say 100% defiantly not. They don't exist. I also include God in the same group as Pinocchio and the Tooth-Fairy.

After all these centuries of no credible evidence of the existence of god, the probability is so low that one exists, it is statistically unlikely there is one. It is easy to be 100% sure and a very low risk of doing so. If some evidence should occur, I would be the first to declare I was wrong. And, if I were wrong, a truly loving god would look at my record of achievements, declare me worthy and let me in the pearly gates. That is highly unlikely. In fact, it is virtually impossible to happen. So, I have chosen the preferable path to live a decent life, with some challenges squarely met, and maintained an ethical and moral level of living. I cheated no one, nor did I exploit or manipulate others. I raised my kids to be good citizens. When I die that will be the end of me and the ongoing of fine young people to replace me.  

Well said Joan.  I agree.

Beautifully put, Joan.

What? You sayin' there is no magical hooey man in the sky? Dem's fightin' words.

How do I assign a probability to something so ill defined as "god"? Without a clear & consistent definition of what is meant by the word "god" it is not possible to have a rational discussion on the matter.  Consequently, I think that "god" is a purposely vague concept designed to evade criticism. It looks to me like monotheists hit upon this formless abstraction as a way to confound the arguments of their pagan opponents.

When Christians & Muslims talk about "god" they usually mean "The Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnibeneficent God of the Bible/Quran". Because this definition leads to irreconcilable paradoxes this concept of deity is philosophically impossible & therefore irrational. However, that's fine when you are dealing with other irrational/religious thinkers or creating propaganda for the uneducated masses. It sounds very profound & gives you plenty of wiggle room to get around inconvenient facts. If really pressed you can simply say, with gravitas, "It's a mystery".

Up until the Enlightenment this strategy was very effective. However as rationalism became more prevalent people started pointing out the paradoxes, inconsistencies & contradictions of the religious world view. The theistic solution to this problem was simply to burn pesky free thinkers at the stake. Problem solved. Fortunately we are now protected by modern laws & ethics so we can examine & refute the claims of theists without ending up on the BBQ.

Christian & Muslim apologists are now actually having to defend their position in debate with rationalists. This is not easy because that position is logically indefensible due to the way they originally formulated it. In fact, due to the nature of their god concept the question "Does god exist?" can be reformulated as "Does the impossible exist?". Simple answer: No.




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