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Do you believe in God? vs Does God exist?: Some can't understand the difference.

#1Barenziah Boy ToyPosted 7/13/2011 10:50:55 AM
Is it that hard to differentiate between the two?

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#2BtVSFanPosted 7/13/2011 10:57:20 AM
Why did this need a new topic?
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#3Barenziah Boy Toy(Topic Creator)Posted 7/13/2011 10:58:37 AM
^ because this topic deals solely with explaining the difference.

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You don't need a treaty to have free trade. M Rothbard
{Self-Hating Token Asian of the Ivory Tower's Zionist Elite}
#4OzymandiasIVPosted 7/13/2011 11:29:33 AM
^ Except you didn't explain the difference. If you made it because people can't differentiate between the two... this isn't going to do it for them.
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#5Barenziah Boy Toy(Topic Creator)Posted 7/13/2011 11:32:32 AM
^ No. I haven't myself. I want to see what people say about it first. That doesn't mean that I don't intend for this topic to deal with it.

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You don't need a treaty to have free trade. M Rothbard
{Self-Hating Token Asian of the Ivory Tower's Zionist Elite}
#6OzymandiasIVPosted 7/13/2011 11:34:26 AM
Well, a lot of people do understand the difference, and, as you pointed out, the people this is directed at do not understand the difference... which would lead me to think that they think they mean the same thing. It seems like you already know what people will say about it, so why not just explain the difference for the people this was directed at (those who think they mean the same thing)?
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In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.
You musn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.
#7Faust_8Posted 7/13/2011 12:12:04 PM
"Do you believe in god?"

Answering yes does pretty much mean you think god exists. However, answering no means you simply don't believe in one. You're not saying you believe in his absence.

"Does god exist?"

This is clear cut. Saying yes is pretty much the same as answering yes to the above, you think a god being exists. Answering no this time, though, means you believe the exact opposite. You think there is NO god. You are a making a negative assertion.

Take, for example, the coelacanth. A few decades ago we hadn't discovered that they still lived. So back then, you could ask does the coelacanth exist, and saying no means you think there are absolutely none alive anywhere--they are extinct, and you think this is fact. If you asked do you believe the coelacanth is alive today, saying no just means its likely they are extinct and we don't have a reason to think otherwise, but the ocean is a big and unexplored place so you COULD be wrong--but you're not going to entertain that possibility given the current info you have because it's pointless.
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#8Zero_Saber_XPosted 7/13/2011 12:23:18 PM
One of the questions I wonder is what athiests think. The whole, "If there is an all-loving God, why does he condemn sinners to eternal punishment?"
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#9kozlo100Posted 7/13/2011 12:27:35 PM
Answering no this time, though, means you believe the exact opposite. You think there is NO god. You are a making a negative assertion.

I agree with your point, but there has always been something that rubs me the wrong way about the phrase 'negative assertion'. I understand what it means, but I think some of the confusion on the issue might stem from that particular phrase.

Specifically, I don't think a negative assertion is fundamentally different from a positive assertion, so perhaps we ought to just drop the modifiers.

For example, the negative assertion that God does not exist can be rephrased to be a positive assertion. God possesses the trait of non-existence. That's a little clunky, but technically works. Better perhaps is that reality possesses the trait of containing no gods. Both positive assertions that say the same thing as the negative one.

True that both are awkward and less clear, but the point is that they function the same. I think this implies that an assertion is just an assertion, and positive or negative, should be treated the same way.

Anyway, just some thoughts I'm hashing out here.
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The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication. -- Philip K. Dick
#10RetrotasticPosted 7/13/2011 1:02:52 PM
The question is also dependent on which God you mean.