Thank you for taking the time to read my lengthy & convoluted post & responding to it. You are right. In one sense I am a theist.
On one hand I consider myself an Atomic Realist. Our day to day world is really made up of atoms. "God" is an arrangement of atoms in the brain therefore "God" can be said to exist in this sense. Of course we can also apply this definition to gods like Thor & Odin who are currently being worshipped by neopagans. They maintain that both of these gods "exist"as well.
My point is that gods exist in the brain in the same way that other fictional characters exist in the brain. The brain is a physical object which you can see & hold. The mind is a function of, & is utterly dependent on, the brain. Memories & concepts are physically encoded into the matter of the brain. Ergo they have a kind of existence.
Do gods & goddesses exist in any other way? No.
I think I've been too round about in all this. I should have stated my definition right up front but I was trying too hard to be clever. Indulge me & I'll try again.
God's are part of the shit that people make up. Whether they "exist" or not depends on one's definition of existence. I say that in one sense gods exist & in another they don't. It all depends on my point of view. I can see both points as valid. Assigning probabilities to all this is pointless.
Again, thank you. I welcome any further comments.
This sounds like you are saying that since the idea exists, the object of the idea must also exist. Or that you conflating the idea as the object itself.
He's simply saying that God(s) exist as an idea in people's minds.
There's an aspect of people's religious perceptions that is common for different people.
So you can always ask "what would it mean for the object of those religious perceptions to exist?"
What does "existing" mean? Wouldn't it imply interactions with the physical world? A miracle of some sort?
Either the object of an idea exists or it doesn't. Asking what does existing mean is rather pointless if you understand the definition of existence and that latter opposite "non-existence".. This point of discussion seems to be subject regarding "non-entity"
: something that does not exist or exists only in the imagination
Many religious people get the idea that if it exists in their mind and have an emotional and psychological attachment to it, that it must be true or actually exist.. Hence I believe and therefore it must be true. This in convincing themselves of their own self directed fallacy arguments. This is basically the inability to tell the difference between fiction and reality, or the difference between an idea and the object (or supposed object of an idea).
As an example, I can use 4 descriptive words to create an idea
:One eyed green monster
My mind can play with these words and create an object of the idea to which is just an imagined object. Here it would seem the religious theist would take this and actually convince themselves that this supposed one eyed green monster actually exists beyond being just an idea, or figment of the imagination when in fact it does not.
Either the object of an idea exists or it doesn't.
I take it you are thinking of "existence" in the usual physical sense.
This actually assumes the conclusion that there is nothing supernatural.
There could be situations where "existence" is questionable, though.
For example, abstractions. Do abstractions "exist"? Platonists might say they do. What does it mean for an abstraction to "really exist"?
How about another universe that doesn't interact with our universe? Does it "exist"?
How about a God that doesn't interact with our universe and never interacted with it? Does that God "exist"?
Existence in the non-physical? Physical implies having being made of something.. Pretty difficult to be made of nothing (that which doesn't exist and can't by definition) and exist.. Immaterial things don't actually exist.. Hence things made of nothing do not exist.
If you really want to disprove immateriality.., all you need to do is say this
:If nothing existed, not even nothing would exist.
Thus one would have to prove and show that nothing exists in order to even start with an argument claim that something made of nothing somehow can.. Immateriality is a self-refutation, it's wrong by the consequence of definition alone. Hence I don't need to even address self-refuting concepts, ideas, or arguments.. Assumption is not required to dismiss them.
on abstractions, they are just patterns of information if the object doesn't exist. One thing you might not be aware of , in science here in the modern era, is that energy and information are two sides of the same coin. Your computer screen demonstrates this if you need a simple example. Now the image of one eye green monster in my head is a physical image constructed by my mind, but it's real in the sense of there actually existing a one eyed green monster.. Hence the relevancy to reality doesn't exceed being a figment or construct of my imagination. There isn't a one eye green monster actually running around my neighborhood..
So the one eye green monster is a physical pattern of information in my head, it doesn't go beyond that unless I either make it, draw it, or convert it into some form of media ect.
but it's real in the sense of there actually existing a one eyed green monster..
But it isn't real...
I had to fix that error.
Physical implies having being made of something.
But that does not imply the converse. The converse is that being "made of something" implies being a material object - which is what you think.
It seems you are not a Platonist. But Platonists exist :)
Here's an article on mathematical Platonism.
Independent of us? Are we not all a part of existence itself? What exactly is independent, mathematically or otherwise of existence? We are all subsets of existence itself, and products of. We are all made of what existence itself is made of.. Existence is a Universal Set of All Sets. Hence could you explain for me something in which is separate from Existence?
This is irrelevant if you think this deals with Plato or not, as I am going by the actual definitions of the words being used and what they actually mean.
Platonism is the idea that abstractions exist. If you wish to understand the idea of what it means for God to "exist", you need to understand the philosophy around the concept of existence. You are trying to walk in deep waters, as if they were a shallow stream.
For example, the article on mathematical Platonism that I linked to, mentions "epistemological access" involved in something "existing".
If the existence of something is undecidable by us, can it actually exist?
That would make existence a relative concept. For example, another universe would be physical and real to the beings who inhabit that universe. But it would be unknowable to us. For us, it would not exist. For the beings in that universe, it would exist.
The existence of God is in that category, so far as I can tell. Nobody can prove if there is or isn't a God.
So perhaps you could say that God doesn't exist so far as we're concerned.
A lot of people want to trivialize and dismiss philosophical questions - like the meaning of something "existing". But they are real and difficult questions.
At that point you are dealing with appeals to ignorance.. The point I made regarding materiality and immateriality is a dichotomy just as is Existence vs Non-existence. This is irrelevant to Plato, or mathematical abstractions as either is subject to these dichotomies. You can however argue the possibility of X being existent even if we can't decide or verify it.. However again, there is limits to that such as immateriality to which is literally impossible by definition. Hence self-refutations do not require further contemplation as they are false by their very premises.. As in self refuted..
To the point, there can only ever be a physical existence simply because nothing cannot by definition be an existing person, place, object, substance, or thing. It's a descriptive word that at best is a place card for the absences of something else in which you are inferring to.. Such as
:There is nothing in my coffee cup.
Well, nothing is a place card for the coffee that is not in the cup while you can never actually or literally have nothing in the cup. Proper use of terms is important when addressing such issues so one does not confuse themselves.. Thus abstractions separate from us, if existent, will be relative within the Universal Set (Existence).. Likewise there maybe hundreds or billions of Universes within Existence relative to us, but they would all be subsets of Existence as Existence is the totality of all that exists by definition to which is the totality of "Where"... Essentially there isn't any place of where outside of existence, or anything else for that matter. This is why I am asking you to clarify by what you mean in terms of "separate from us".. Even Platos Mathematics is subject to this issue, and the specific dichotomies outlined.
So you can contemplate whether abstractions exist beyond the concept or idea, but I would argue one must show they do to be taken seriously in my opinion. It's fun to fantasize, or come up with ideas ect, but unfortunately for some, they end up as self-refutations or logical fallacies by their own premises while others lay open for debate. And unfortunately immateriality is a self-refuting concept by definition.
So for something to Exist, it must be in and of existence as we all are. It must be made of what existence is made of, and be subject to the rules (whatever those are) of existence.