Thinking about God
Nathan SchneiderEditor, Killing the Buddha
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The notion of proof for or against the existence of God has come to be used for a very specific purpose in this day and age: to convince other people that someone called God either does or doesn't exist. But actually that's just about the least of what these so-called proofs have to offer -- whether one believes any such proof really proves anything or not.
While writing "God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet," I found that proofs about God through history reveal a lot more than they're given credit for. Like artifacts from a lost time dug up from the ground, these proofs offer glimpses into how people imagined their place in the universe and their chances of knowing anything meaningful about the divine. For some thinkers, a new proof brought on a sudden, emotional fit of ecstasy; for others, it was a long, slow, grueling effort to carve out a new way of conceiving of God.
Despite today's unending debates about whether God exists or not, few of the classic proofs were meant to convince anyone one way or another. More often, they served to pose more interesting questions: What do we really mean by God, or what could count as proof? As many of these attempts at proof reveal, also, the line between God and no God has often been thinner than we're now led to believe.
(Excellent points, btw.)
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