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God, Santa, The Tooth Fairy... What's the difference?

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    When you were a child, you were told stories:

    Jack and the Beanstalk: A story in which Jack is a poor boy who trades a cow in exchange for some magic beans, these beans grow into a beanstalk all the way up to the clouds where a giant lives, etc.

    Santa: The idea that a man from the north pole flies all over the world on the night before Christmas, delivering presents to all children.

    The tooth fairy: You were told that if you put a tooth under your pillow over night, a magical fairy would replace it with money.

    God: A supernatural being who impregnates a virgin girl without even touching her, created the universe in 7 days, and lives in a mysterious place called heaven, somewhere in the sky.

    If you were told that they were all true events, would you continue to believe them all as an adult? It seems to be that we only stop believing in Father Christmas because we are told that he isn't real as we get older. But because we were never officially told that God isn't real, people continued to believe in him. This must be the case, as all the stories seem equally as unbelievable to me.
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    (Original post by Snorrrlax)
    When you were a child, you were told stories:

    Jack and the Beanstalk: A story in which Jack is a poor boy who trades a cow in exchange for some magic beans, these beans grow into a beanstalk all the way up to the clouds where a giant lives, etc.

    Santa: The idea that a man from the north pole flies all over the world on the night before Christmas, delivering presents to all children.

    The tooth fairy: You were told that if you put your teeth under a pillow over night, a magical fairy would replace it with money.

    God: A supernatural being who impregnates a virgin girl without even touching her, created the universe in 7 days, and lives in a mysterious place called heaven, somewhere in the sky.

    If you were told that they were all true events, would you continue to believe them all as an adult? It seems to be that we only stop believing in Father Christmas because we are told that he isn't real as we get older. But because we were never officially told that God isn't real, people continued to believe in him. This must be the case, as all the stories seem equally as unbelievable to me.
    So the difference is can they be part of a coherent worldview and are there (remotely compelling arguments for their existence either historically or philosophically). Given thousands of years of apologetics for God but not for santa the tooth fairy or our dear friend Jack and his giant I would be inclined to say that saying there are no compelling arguments is a bad shout. Now this is a far cry from saying the arguments are CORRECT, but they are at least sufficiently persuasive to make the view plausible.

    I mean to argue that it's intellectually equivalent may make a great circle jerk for the atheist community to make itself feel more comfortable but in reality it's little more intellectually compelling than Christians telling us as atheists that our real reason for not believing in God is fear of owning up to what we've done.

    Undue and undefended speculation on the psyche of others because we don't see how they can genuinely hold views we don't because we don't find arguments credible that they do is simply something I don't see the purpose of in this context.
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    I believed in santa because then I'd get presents.

    I don't believe in god because then I get sundays to stay in bed until noon.
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    Intelligent Design, or more specifically, the "cosmological mechanics" that represent fine tuning in the Universe; is one amongst many evidences people believe is the work of a;

    - Designer
    - Creator
    - Whatever you want to call it.
    - God (as most refer to Him as).

    I think you're undermining this subject by making poor comparisons.
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    (Original post by Perseveranze)
    Intelligent Design, or more specifically, the "cosmological mechanics" that represent fine tuning in the Universe; is one amongst many evidences people believe is the work of a;

    - Designer
    - Creator
    - Whatever you want to call it.
    - God (as most refer to Him as).

    I think you're undermining this subject by making poor comparisons.
    You do know every single fine tuning argument has been thoroughly destroyed, so much so that no Theistic debaters worth their salt actually bring it up in debate with Atheists these days.
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    This is going to be a very heated arguement... People do not like when their views are questioned, especially their religious views. I don't think any subject is being undermined, it is a very valid and fair comparison. There is as much proof of a god existing as there is that Jack ever planted a magical beanstalk.
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    Oh...this thread again. I'll just wait here and watch the war brew itself.

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    (Original post by Snorrrlax)
    When you were a child, you were told stories:

    Jack and the Beanstalk: A story in which Jack is a poor boy who trades a cow in exchange for some magic beans, these beans grow into a beanstalk all the way up to the clouds where a giant lives, etc.

    Santa: The idea that a man from the north pole flies all over the world on the night before Christmas, delivering presents to all children.

    The tooth fairy: You were told that if you put your teeth under a pillow over night, a magical fairy would replace it with money.

    God: A supernatural being who impregnates a virgin girl without even touching her, created the universe in 7 days, and lives in a mysterious place called heaven, somewhere in the sky.

    If you were told that they were all true events, would you continue to believe them all as an adult? It seems to be that we only stop believing in Father Christmas because we are told that he isn't real as we get older. But because we were never officially told that God isn't real, people continued to believe in him. This must be the case, as all the stories seem equally as unbelievable to me.
    Lots of witness testimoney for a deity of some form, not so much for the others. That's a big difference right off the bat.
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    (Original post by Hylean)
    Lots of witness testimoney for a deity of some form, not so much for the others. That's a big difference right off the bat.
    There is lots of witness testimoney for many things - UFOs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster etc. - but that doesn't necessarily make them more real that any other being: god or otherwise.
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    (Original post by Hylean)
    Lots of witness testimoney for a deity of some form, not so much for the others. That's a big difference right off the bat.
    Oh yes, people who claim that pure coincidences are miracles.

    As a child, I was certain I saw Santa fly over my roof, is that good enough evidence to say he exists?
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    (Original post by big-bang-theory)
    So the difference is can they be part of a coherent worldview and are there (remotely compelling arguments for their existence either historically or philosophically). Given thousands of years of apologetics for God but not for santa the tooth fairy or our dear friend Jack and his giant I would be inclined to say that saying there are no compelling arguments is a bad shout. Now this is a far cry from saying the arguments are CORRECT, but they are at least sufficiently persuasive to make the view plausible.

    I mean to argue that it's intellectually equivalent may make a great circle jerk for the atheist community to make itself feel more comfortable but in reality it's little more intellectually compelling than Christians telling us as atheists that our real reason for not believing in God is fear of owning up to what we've done.

    Undue and undefended speculation on the psyche of others because we don't see how they can genuinely hold views we don't because we don't find arguments credible that they do is simply something I don't see the purpose of in this context.
    It can be argued that stories like Jack and the Beanstalk and others are mere adaptations of far more ancient stories - and hence have a valid historic background and so on.

    I am mentioning this because the story of the ark and other Old Testament tales are INCREDIBLY similar to older tales from Middle Eastern cultures.
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    (Original post by Snorrrlax)
    Oh yes, people who claim that pure coincidences are miracles.

    As a child, I was certain I saw Santa fly over my roof, is that good enough evidence to say he exists?
    I saw him too... :P
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    (Original post by Steevee)
    You do know every single fine tuning argument has been thoroughly destroyed, so much so that no Theistic debaters worth their salt actually bring it up in debate with Atheists these days.
    If you believe the usual "going in circles" means destroyed then whatever makes you feel high and proud

    And I said, one of many, even from the Academic debating perspective, I don't think either has a foothold on the other when it comes to the arguements for and against God. The point of my post was that the OP was undermining the reasons why people believe in God, to brush this away shows ignorance.
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    (Original post by Hylean)
    Lots of witness testimoney for a deity of some form, not so much for the others. That's a big difference right off the bat.

    I always find it odd that god appearing to humans and communicating with us declined around the same time as the invention of the camera and other recording devices.
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    Do you know, this thread actually made me realise that the first time I questioned God, having been bought up a Christian, was actually when I found out Santa wasn't real.

    Anyway, there are numerous differences between God and the examples you gave. The flaw in your argument is that not all religions believe in a God in the way that you described. Not even all Christians. It is very easy to fall in to a trap of considering God a man in the sky with a fluffy white beard, in which case, yes - it is absurd. But the existence of an omnipotent, benevolent, omnipresent being? Arguably more plausible.

    Having said all of that, I do think you make a valid and interesting point, if slightly unoriginal. I certainly agree with you to a large extent
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    (Original post by Perseveranze)
    If you believe the usual "going in circles" means destroyed then whatever makes you feel high and proud

    And I said, one of many, even from the Academic debating perspective, I don't think either has a foothold on the other when it comes to the arguements for and against God. The point of my post was that the OP was undermining the reasons why people believe in God, to brush this away shows ignorance.
    I think one rather does. As with most Theistic arguments, 'Fine Tuning' assumes the conclusion and fits the evidence to it.

    The OP has a very valid point, all have equal amounts of emperical evidence in their favour really...
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    (Original post by MillyPixie)
    There is lots of witness testimoney for many things - UFOs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster etc. - but that doesn't necessarily make them more real that any other being: god or otherwise.
    No, it doesn't, but it does mean we can't dismiss them out of hand. Given the three you specifically mentioned have been hunted for and chased after for decades, at least, that should tell you something.


    (Original post by Snorrrlax)
    Oh yes, people who claim that pure coincidences are miracles.

    As a child, I was certain I saw Santa fly over my roof, is that good enough evidence to say he exists?
    I'm sure once Santa has the same number of witness testimonies that the Christian God alone has, along with numerous texts depicting his life and even a certain number of historical texts which mention him, then yes, your witness testimony will count. However, just on its own, makes it a bit less likely. Especially as you seem to have changed your mind since then.


    (Original post by BabyfacedDom)
    I always find it odd that god appearing to humans and communicating with us declined around the same time as the invention of the camera and other recording devices.
    Do you think so? I personally know a good many people who commune with deities on a regular basis.


    (Original post by Steevee)
    I think one rather does. As with most Theistic arguments, 'Fine Tuning' assumes the conclusion and fits the evidence to it.

    The OP has a very valid point, all have equal amounts of emperical evidence in their favour really...
    However, deities have a lot more circumstantial evidence in their favour. Witness testimonies, etc.
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    the tooth fairy doesnt have a beard and people promoting the tooth fairy dont tend to groom small boys
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    Mutually exclusive eye witness accounts of deities + no hard evidence = no case for the existence of Yahweh.

    It doesn't mean we can dismiss Yahweh, as you said, but there is no reason to believe right now, and most likely there will be no reason to believe ever.

    The only difference between the credibility of Yahweh and the fairy tales you have just mentioned is that more people seriously believe in Yahweh. When you look at it from an impartial viewpoint and take into account other factors, such as peoples' fear of their own mortality, the backwardness and ignorance of the culture that started off Christianity, and the influence of tradition in today's society... it does not add any credibility to the claims of the religion but it helps us understand the reason why so many people believe in such rubbish today.
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    (Original post by BabyfacedDom)
    I always find it odd that god appearing to humans and communicating with us declined around the same time as the invention of the camera and other recording devices.
    Someone clearly needs to read up on Catholic mysticism

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