Zao Thanatoo responded: “Special pleading fallacy.”
Agreus’ position could occasion the special pleading fallacy only if the word “God” refers to some cognitive aspect of man’s consciousness, just as the concept ‘logic’ does. In this sense, logic is self-evident (at least its fundamental principle of identity) in the same sense that consciousness is self-evident. Consciousness is axiomatic, just as the law of identity is (i.e., the most fundamental law of logic).
But the Christian god is supposed to be an independently existing entity, not a cognitive aspect of man’s consciousness. So there is a fundamental distinction here which Zao is missing, and the fact that he’s missing it tells us something that Christians do not want to admit.
The reason why Chris Bolt thinks there’s “an opportunity to reply with the same statement substituting ‘God’ for ‘Logic’” is because the Christian god is actually imaginary, not real. It’s all in the believer’s mind, not an independently existing entity. This is precisely why apologists continually point to cognitive phenomena – such as logic, universals, moral principles, and the like – as if they were in the same class of objects as the Christian god. While logic, universals, moral principles, etc., are components of conscious operations, the Christian god seems so close to these in the believer’s understanding precisely because it is imaginary – i.e., residing in the believer’s mind.
The only way that “God” would be “self-evident” in the same sense as logic is, is that if “God” were cognitive or psychological in some sense, available to man’s awareness by means of introspection. But Christians tell us that it is a real entity, existing independent of human conscious operations. So Zao’s charge of fallacy here doesn’t stick. In fact, it is a tacit admission of the fact that the Christian god is imaginary in nature.
Agreus: “God’s existence is not self-evident.”
Zao Thanatoo: “Ipse dixit fallacy.”
I think Agreus is simply making an honest observation here. After all, by what means is he supposed to have direct awareness of the Christian god? Even the bible tells us that it is invisible, that it has no body, that it is incorporeal, immaterial, non-physical, etc. Certainly Agreus cannot perceive the Christian god through his senses. But, Agreus could *imagine* it, just as Christians do. Then it might seem “self-evident” if one subscribes to a metaphysics which allows for the distinction between the real and the imaginary to be blurred (as Christianity does).
Agreus: “The fact that Christian apologists attempt to argue for the existence of God seems to indicate that God’s existence is not self-evident.”
Zao Thanatoo: “Enthymeme suppressing premise to conceal unsoundness.”
I would agree with Agreus here, and find no compelling reason to agree with Zao’s unargued counter-retort. Agreus is right: the apologist’s own actions speak louder than his words. We do not need to argue for the existence of something which we can perceive directly – i.e., for that which is self-evident. Argument is a vehicle for articulating inference from what is ultimately directly perceived to that which is not directly perceived. So just by trying to argue for the existence of their god, Christians are in effect conceding that its existence needs to be established by means of argument, and this would not be necessary if it were in fact self-evident. Again, by what means is Agreus supposed to be directly aware of the Christian god, if not by means of imagining it (as Christians do)? By “faith”?
Agreus: “I would have no problem with the theist stating God is self-evident, if that is how they desire to express their belief in God.”
Zao Thanatoo: “God is self-evident.”
Ipse dixit fallacy. Just by saying that “God is self-evident,” along with all the other characteristics that Christians attribute to their god, Christians are in fact conceding that their god is imaginary in nature.
by Dawson Bethrick