Well giving that Existence is the totality of all that exists Rick, it's also the totality of meaning and purpose as well. So what is the purpose of existence? Well, I would imagine it's rather simple really, and that is to exist. Now what happens after a living organism dies is not entirely known, but non-existence isn't going to be one of them as at best there can only be a change of purpose, meaning, state, form, order, or function.. To example this, please read below:
You have a message on a chalkboard, but if you erase the message, is there a loss of information or existence? Well the answer is no as all that which made the message on the chalkboard still exists, and the only loss is your ability to recover it. All the chalk is still there as it falls on the ground, smears on the board, and adheres to the eraser. What you have is a change of state, form, function, purpose, meaning, or order ect. Hence there is no loss of existence..
We like the chalk message are made of energy, and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. So the question is what purpose, meaning, form, state, function ect will we take on after we die. Even our very atoms, or even the water molecules we are made of could have been what made up of living Dinosaurs millions of years ago. So I agree that religious people feel uncomfortable in contemplating these questions since they likely fear death so much that they need to hold on to some fantasy ideology to give them some form of comfort not matter the cost of ignorance.
I would say the purpose of Existence is simply Existence. It does not need imply a "Creator".. But even if you wanted to imply a "creator", everything to which has cause is an emergent property of existence itself. Hence existence is every force to cause, it is literally Causality itself to which we are products of and literally a part of.. But you are correct in that Existence cannot be created to which is why Existence is most likely a self-generating system from itself to where you only can have a change of purpose, meaning, order, function, process, state, form, function, or position ect. Our atoms may be 13.8 billion years old, but the energy in which our atoms are made of is as old as Existence itself.. Hence we can only come from and be made from Existence itself whether if we understand how that happened or not.
This doesn't mean that intelligence wasn't involved in our making, it only certainly means that whatever the process was, it was existence itself doing the work as even consciousness cannot exist without cause, without the inertia and processing of information, or existence. Yep, even the conscious state is an emergent property of the processes that produce it to which requires a complex adaptive system with feedback. This further demonstrating the irrationality of the concept of a GOD.. Especially when one cannot pre-exist existence in order to create it so they themselves can be in and of existence.
I live in an apartment complex that is kind of a way station for people coming into Canada. My neighbours are Hindu, Catholic, Muslim, Zoroastrians, Evangelical Christian, Buddhist, anything you can imagine. Some worship gods & goddesses that I have never heard of. All have different concepts of divinity, some of which are mutually exclusive. Some have no concept of a "supreme" being. For others there is no "creator", only a re-arranger of formless matter. An engineer as opposed to an artist.
I was raised in a culture that takes the Christian "God" as a given. No Canadians that I know have ever discussed with me what is meant by the term "God". The Christian religion is so privileged that it is the default position for many Canadians, whether they are believers or non-believers. Even the terms I am using now are based on God vs. Not God as if Not God was a proposition that needed to be proved.
The Bible is of no help. No set definition of "God" there. I haven't studied the Quran but the many Islamic names for Allah reveal contradictory properties. The ancient Egyptians adopted a different strategy. By having many specialized gods & goddesses they avoided some of the logical inconsistencies which plague monotheism.
So, what is "God"? Recent research has shown just what parts of our very physical brain are involved when we talk to deities or feel their presence. When researchers ask subjects to talk to "God" particular areas of the brain show as active in functional MRI scans. These are the same areas that evolved to allow us to model the personalities of our fellow human beings & incidentally provide children with imaginary friends. Electrically stimulate the brain in the right place & subjects actually see & hear gods & goddesses.
So, based on the scientific evidence, divine beings are a result of activity in the brain that we misinterpret as real things outside of ourselves. Do they exist? In one sense no, as they are mental simulations. In another sense yes, as they reside as information encoded into the matter of our brains. They have an existence in the physical universe.
In conclusion I am absolutely certain that God exists. After a fashion.
I Am afraid Jay that you are not a true Atheist.....If you believe that god exists then you are a theist....You either believe or you don't believe..........
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.