The Divine Comfort (The Word of God Encyclopedia Book 9)

Heaven and Hell in Christian Thought
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http://eywaapps.dk/I/wp-content/expression/the-lover-the-lunatic-the-poet-thoughts-of.php Elkanah also sought to comfort Hannah with words, as in I Sam. Why are you so sad? Would Rebekah, who was barren, not eat? Would Rachel, who was childless, sit by herself, depressed? With these examples, Elkanah tried to infuse Hannah with hope and cause her to eat of the sacrifice and stop crying.

The Rabbis note that the entire Hannah narrative in I Sam. This A type of non-halakhic literary activitiy of the Rabbis for interpreting non-legal material according to special principles of interpretation hermeneutical rules. Some traditions portray her trying to arouse heavenly mercy, while others present the stubborn and daring stance of a woman who refused to accept the divine decree.

Eyes with which to see, ears with which to hear, a nose with which to smell, a mouth with which to talk, hands with which to do work, feet with which to walk, and breasts with which to nurse. These breasts that You placed on my heart—what for? Give me a son and I will nurse with them!

The heavenly host neither eat nor drink, are not fruitful and don't multiply, and do not die, but live forever.

Jesus: The Divine Light (John 1:6-13)

The earthly host eat and drink, are fruitful and multiply, and die. I do not know to which host I belong, whether to the heavenly host or the earthly one. If I am of the heavenly host, for I do not give birth, then I do not eat or drink [as Hannah did at Shiloh], and I shall not die, but live forever. As in the previous midrash, Hannah wonders about her destiny as a person, but views herself as part of humankind as a whole, different from the angels. Hannah tries to persuade God to give her a son by playing upon her merits.

You have created three death tests [a wordplay based on the similarity between amatkha , Your maidservant, and mitah , death] for woman [You have given women three tests, and transgressing one of them is liable to result in her demise]: Menstruation; the menstruant woman; ritual status of the menstruant woman. Have I violated any of these? Hannah compares her situation to a woman who is sentenced to death, which is how she feels since she has no children. She asks God to let her become pregnant by merit of her being His maidservant, a woman who is scrupulous in her observance of the commandments that are reserved exclusively for women.

The Rabbis derive from the unusual wording of v. Abraham did Your bidding, and You gave him a son when he was a hundred years old, while Ahab, who was a sinner and idolater, begot seventy sons! Sarah did Your bidding, and You gave her a son when she reached the age of ninety, while the wicked Jezebel bore seventy sons!

Yet another midrash shows Hannah as forcing God to heed her prayer. How so? I will go and be alone with another man with the knowledge of my husband Elkanah. Thus I will be suspected of infidelity, and in order to test me, I will be given the water of the Suspected adulteress sotah to drink. Since I will emerge innocent from this test, I will be blessed with a child, for it is said in Num. And so I will have the child that I wanted. Will You make of Your Torah she-bi-khetav : Lit.

She is even willing to be suspected as a sotah and debase herself in the humiliating ceremony of being forced to drink the water of bitterness, so that the Lord will give her children. An alternate tradition incorporates the above approaches. This is comparable to a king who made a banquet for his servants. The beggar does not merely ask the servants at the gate; he manages to enter the royal palace and stands before the king, demanding his help. Hannah did not ask Eli the priest to act as an intermediary; she enters the sanctuary of the Lord and she herself addresses God.

According to one view, she asked for a child who would be especially prominent among men. This came to pass, because Samuel anointed both Saul and David as kings. Another opinion has Hannah asking for an offspring who would be accounted as two men; and Samuel was accounted as both Moses and Aaron, as it is said Ps. There have been many thinkers in history who have lacked a belief in God. Some ancient Greek philosophers, such as Epicurus, sought natural explanations for natural phenomena.

Epicurus was also to first to question the compatibility of God with suffering. Forms of philosophical naturalism that would replace all supernatural explanations with natural ones also extend into ancient history.

Bible, the

After Darwin makes the case for evolution and some modern advancements in science, a fully articulated philosophical worldview that denies the existence of God gains traction. In the 19 th and 20 th centuries, influential critiques on God, belief in God, and Christianity by Nietzsche , Feuerbach, Marx, Freud , and Camus set the stage for modern atheism.

It has come to be widely accepted that to be an atheist is to affirm the non-existence of God. Anthony Flew called this positive atheism , whereas to lack a belief that God or gods exist is to be a negative atheist. Agnosticism is traditionally characterized as neither believing that God exists nor believing that God does not exist. Atheism can be narrow or wide in scope. The narrow atheist does not believe in the existence of God an omni- being. A wide atheist does not believe that any gods exist, including but not limited to the traditional omni-God. The wide positive atheist denies that God exists, and also denies that Zeus, Gefjun, Thor, Sobek, Bakunawa and others exist.

The narrow atheist does not believe that God exists, but need not take a stronger view about the existence or non-existence of other supernatural beings. One could be a narrow atheist about God, but still believe in the existence of some other supernatural entities. This is one of the reasons that it is a mistake to identify atheism with materialism or naturalism. Separating these different senses of the term allows us to better understand the different sorts of justification that can be given for varieties of atheism with different scopes.

An argument may serve to justify one form of atheism and not another. For Instance, alleged contradictions within a Christian conception of God by themselves do not serve as evidence for wide atheism, but presumably, reasons that are adequate to show that there is no omni-God would be sufficient to show that there is no Islamic God.

We can divide the justifications for atheism into several categories. An asymmetry exists between theism and atheism in that atheists have not offered faith as a justification for non-belief. That is, atheists have not presented non-evidentialist defenses for believing that there is no God. Not all theists appeal only to faith, however.

Evidentialists theist and evidentialist atheists may have a number of general epistemological principles concerning evidence, arguments, and implication in common, but then disagree about what the evidence is, how it should be understood, and what it implies. They may disagree, for instance, about whether the values of the physical constants and laws in nature constitute evidence for intentional fine tuning, but agree at least that whether God exists is a matter that can be explored empirically or with reason. Many non-evidentialist theists may deny that the acceptability of particular religious claim depends upon evidence, reasons, or arguments as they have been classically understood.

Faith or prudential based beliefs in God, for example, will fall into this category. The evidentialist atheist and the non-evidentialist theist, therefore, may have a number of more fundamental disagreements about the acceptability of believing, despite inadequate or contrary evidence, the epistemological status of prudential grounds for believing, or the nature of God belief. Their disagreement may not be so much about the evidence, or even about God, but about the legitimate roles that evidence, reason, and faith should play in human belief structures. It is not clear that arguments against atheism that appeal to faith have any prescriptive force the way appeals to evidence do.

The general evidentialist view is that when a person grasps that an argument is sound that imposes an epistemic obligation on her to accept the conclusion. Failing to believe what is clearly supported by the evidence is ordinarily irrational. Failure to have faith that some claim is true is not similarly culpable. Justifying atheism, then, can entail several different projects. There are the evidential disputes over what information we have available to us, how it should be interpreted, and what it implies. There are also broader meta-epistemological concerns about the roles of argument, reasoning, belief, and religiousness in human life.

The atheist can find herself not just arguing that the evidence indicates that there is no God, but defending science, the role of reason, and the necessity of basing beliefs on evidence more generally. Friendly atheism; William Rowe has introduced an important distinction to modern discussions of atheism. It seems that the atheist could take one of several views.

Rowe , But whether or not C is justified is not directly tied to its truth, or even to the truth of the evidence concerning C. That is, a person can have a justified, but false belief. She could arrive at a conclusion through an epistemically inculpable process and yet get it wrong.

Ptolemy, for example, the greatest astronomer of his day, who had mastered all of the available information and conducted exhaustive research into the question, was justified in concluding that the Sun orbits the Earth. A medieval physician in the s who guesses correctly that the bubonic plague was caused by the bacterium yersinia pestis would not have been reasonable or justified given his background information and given that the bacterium would not even be discovered for years.

We can call the view that rational, justified beliefs can be false, as it applies to atheism, friendly or fallibilist atheism. See the article on Fallibilism. What could explain their divergence to the atheist? The believer may not be in possession of all of the relevant information. The believer may be basing her conclusion on a false premise or premises.

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The believer may be implicitly or explicitly employing inference rules that themselves are not reliable or truth preserving, but the background information she has leads her, reasonably, to trust the inference rule. It is also possible, of course, for both sides to be unfriendly and conclude that anyone who disagrees with what they take to be justified is being irrational. Atheists have offered a wide range of justifications and accounts for non-belief. Flew argues that the default position for any rational believer should be neutral with regard to the existence of God and to be neutral is to not have a belief regarding its existence.

Beyond that, coming to believe that such a thing does or does not exist will require justification, much as a jury presumes innocence concerning the accused and requires evidence in order to conclude that he is guilty. We shall call this view atheism by default. The atheism by default position contrasts with a more permissive attitude that is sometimes taken regarding religious belief.

The notions of religious tolerance and freedom are sometimes understood to indicate the epistemic permissibility of believing despite a lack of evidence in favor or even despite evidence to the contrary. One is in violation of no epistemic duty by believing, even if one lacks conclusive evidence in favor or even if one has evidence that is on the whole against. This sort of epistemic policy about God or any other matter has been controversial, and a major point of contention between atheists and theists.

Atheists have argued that we typically do not take it to be epistemically inculpable or reasonable for a person to believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or some other supernatural being merely because they do not possess evidence to the contrary. Nor would we consider it reasonable for a person to begin believing that they have cancer because they do not have proof to the contrary. The atheist by default argues that it would be appropriate to not believe in such circumstances.

The epistemic policy here takes its inspiration from an influential piece by W. Clifford in which he argues that it is wrong, always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything for which there is insufficient reason. There are several other approaches to the justification of atheism that we will consider below. There is a family of arguments, sometimes known as exercises in deductive atheology, for the conclusion that the existence of God is impossible.

Another large group of important and influential arguments can be gathered under the heading inductive atheology. These probabilistic arguments invoke considerations about the natural world such as widespread suffering, nonbelief, or findings from biology or cosmology. Another approach, atheistic noncognitivism, denies that God talk is even meaningful or has any propositional content that can be evaluated in terms of truth or falsity.

Rather, religious speech acts are better viewed as a complicated sort of emoting or expression of spiritual passion. Inductive and deductive approaches are cognitivistic in that they accept that claims about God have meaningful content and can be determined to be true or false. Many discussions about the nature and existence of God have either implicitly or explicitly accepted that the concept of God is logically coherent.

That is, for many believers and non-believers the assumption has been that such a being as God could possibly exist but they have disagreed about whether there actually is one. Atheists within the deductive atheology tradition, however, have not even granted that God, as he is typically described, is possible. The first question we should ask, argues the deductive atheist, is whether the description or the concept is logically consistent. If it is not, then no such being could possibly exist. Since logical impossibilities are not and cannot be real, God does not and cannot exist.

Consider a putative description of an object as a four-sided triangle, a married bachelor, or prime number with more than 2 factors. We can be certain that no such thing fitting that description exists because what they describe is demonstrably impossible. If deductive atheological proofs are successful, the results will be epistemically significant. Many people have doubts that the view that there is no God can be rationally justified.

But if deductive disproofs show that there can exist no being with a certain property or properties and those properties figure essentially in the characterization of God, then we will have the strongest possible justification for concluding that there is no being fitting any of those characterizations. If God is impossible, then God does not exist. It may be possible at this point to re-engineer the description of God so that it avoids the difficulties, but now the theist faces several challenges according to the deductive atheologist.

Is that the God that she believed in all along? Before the account of God was improved by consideration of the atheological arguments, what were the reasons that led her to believe in that conception of God? Secondly, if the classical characterizations of God are shown to be logically impossible, then there is a legitimate question as whether any new description that avoids those problems describes a being that is worthy of the label.

It will not do, in the eyes of many theists and atheists, to retreat to the view that God is merely a somewhat powerful, partially-knowing, and partly-good being, for example. Thirdly, the atheist will still want to know on the basis of what evidence or arguments should we conclude that a being as described by this modified account exists? Fourthly, there is no question that there exist less than omni-beings in the world. We possess less than infinite power, knowledge and goodness, as do many other creatures and objects in our experience.

What is the philosophical importance or metaphysical significance of arguing for the existence of those sorts of beings and advocating belief in them? Another possible response that the theist may take in response to deductive atheological arguments is to assert that God is something beyond proper description with any of the concepts or properties that we can or do employ as suggested in Kierkegaard or Tillich.

So complications from incompatibilities among properties of God indicate problems for our descriptions, not the impossibility of a divine being worthy of the label. Many atheists have not been satisfied with this response.

It is not clear how we could have reasons or justifications for believing in the existence of such a thing. It is not clear how it could be an existing thing in any familiar sense of the term in that it lacks comprehensible properties. It is not clear how it could be reasonable to believe in such a thing, and it is even more doubtful that it is epistemically unjustified or irresponsible to deny that such a thing is exists. It is clear, however, that the deductive atheologist must acknowledge the growth and development of our concepts and descriptions of reality over time, and she must take a reasonable view about the relationship of those attempts and revisions in our ideas about what may turns out to be real.

Deductive disproofs have typically focused on logical inconsistencies to be found either within a single property or between multiple properties. Philosophers have struggled to work out the details of what it would be to be omnipotent , for instance.

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It has come to be widely accepted that a being cannot be omnipotent where omnipotence simply means to power to do anything including the logically impossible. This definition of the term suffers from the stone paradox. An omnipotent being would either be capable of creating a rock that he cannot lift, or he is incapable. If he is incapable, then there is something he cannot do, and therefore he does not have the power to do anything.

If he can create such a rock, then again there is something that he cannot do, namely lift the rock he just created. So paradoxically, having the ability to do anything would appear to entail being unable to do some things. As a result, many theists and atheists have agreed that a being could not have that property. A number of attempts to work out an account of omnipotence have ensued. It has also been argued that omniscience is impossible, and that the most knowledge that can possibly be had is not enough to be fitting of God.

Everitt , Grim , , , Pucetti , and Sobel See the article on Omniscience and Divine Foreknowledge for more details. The logical coherence of eternality, personhood, moral perfection, causal agency, and many others have been challenged in the deductive atheology literature. Another form of deductive atheological argument attempts to show the logical incompatibility of two or more properties that God is thought to possess.

A long list of properties have been the subject of multiple property disproofs, transcendence and personhood, justice and mercy, immutability and omniscience, immutability and omnibenevolence, omnipresence and agency, perfection and love, eternality and omniscience, eternality and creator of the universe, omnipresence and consciousness. The combination of omnipotence and omniscience have received a great deal of attention. But knowing any of those entails that the known proposition is true.

So does God have the power to act in some fashion that he has not foreseen, or differently than he already has without compromising his omniscience? It has also been argued that God cannot be both unsurpassably good and free. Rowe When attempts to provide evidence or arguments in favor of the existence of something fail, a legitimate and important question is whether anything except the failure of those arguments can be inferred.

The Mayan Pantheon: The Many Gods of the Maya

That is, does positive atheism follow from the failure of arguments for theism? A number of authors have concluded that it does. They taken the view that unless some case for the existence of God succeeds, we should believe that there is no God. Many have taken an argument J. Findlay to be pivotal.

Martin , Sobel If a being like God were to exist, his existence would be necessary. And his existence would be manifest as an a priori , conceptual truth. The view that there is no God or gods has been criticized on the grounds that it is not possible to prove a negative. No matter how exhaustive and careful our analysis, there could always be some proof, some piece of evidence, or some consideration that we have not considered. God could be something that we have not conceived, or God exists in some form or fashion that has escaped our investigation. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

The general principle seems to be that one is not epistemically entitled to believe a proposition unless you have exhausted all of the possibilities and proven beyond any doubt that a claim is true. Or put negatively, one is not justified in disbelieving unless you have proven with absolute certainty that the thing in question does not exist.

There are a wide range of other circumstances under which we take it that believing that X does not exist is reasonable even though no logical impossibility is manifest. None of these achieve the level of deductive, a priori or conceptual proof. The objection to inductive atheism undermines itself in that it generates a broad, pernicious skepticism against far more than religious or irreligious beliefs. That follows at once from the admission that the argument is non-deductive, and it is absurd to try to confine our knowledge and belief to matters which are conclusively established by sound deductive arguments.

The demand for certainty will inevitably be disappointed, leaving skepticism in command of almost every issue. The atheist can also wonder what the point of the objection is. When we lack deductive disproof that X exists, should we be agnostic about it? Is it permissible to believe that it does exist? Clearly, that would not be appropriate. Gravity may be the work of invisible, undetectable elves with sticky shoes. But surely someone who accepts the sticky-shoed elves view until they have deductive disproof is being unreasonable. It is also clear that if you are a positive atheist about the gravity elves, you would not be unreasonable.

You would not be overstepping your epistemic entitlement by believing that no such things exist. On the contrary, believing that they exist or even being agnostic about their existence on the basis of their mere possibility would not be justified. So there appear to be a number of precedents and epistemic principles at work in our belief structures that provide room for inductive atheism.

A substantial body of articles with narrower scope see References and Further Reading can also be understood to play this role in justifying atheism. One of the interesting and important questions in the epistemology of philosophy of religion has been whether the second and third conditions are satisfied concerning God. If there were a God, how and in what ways would we expect him to show in the world?

Would he be hidden? Martin argues, and many others have accepted implicitly or explicitly, that God is the sort of thing that would manifest in some discernible fashion to our inquiries. Martin concludes, therefore, that God satisfied all of the conditions, so, positive narrow atheism is justified. The existence of widespread human and non-human animal suffering has been seen by many to be compelling evidence that a being with all power, all knowledge, and all goodness does not exist. More recently, several inductive arguments from evil for the non-existence of God have received a great deal of attention.

See The Evidential Problem of Evil. Questions about the origins of the universe and cosmology have been the focus for many inductive atheism arguments. We can distinguish four recent views about God and the cosmos:. Naturalism: On naturalistic view, the Big Bang occurred approximately Various physical non-God hypotheses are currently being explored about the cause or explanation of the Big Bang such as the Hartle-Hawking no-boundary condition model, brane cosmology models, string theoretic models, ekpyrotic models, cyclic models, chaotic inflation, and so on.

Intelligent Design Theism: There are many variations, but most often the view is that God created the universe, perhaps with the Big Bang God supernaturally guided the formation and development of life into the forms we see today. Creationism: Finally, there is a group of people who for the most part denies the occurrence of the Big Bang and of evolution altogether; God created the universe, the Earth, and all of the life on Earth in its more or less present form 6,, years ago. Taking a broad view, many atheists have concluded that neither Big Bang Theism, Intelligent Design Theism, nor Creationism is the most reasonable description of the history of the universe.

Before the theory of evolution and recent developments in modern astronomy, a view wherein God did not play a large role in the creation and unfolding of the cosmos would have been hard to justify. Now, internal problems with those views and the evidence from cosmology and biology indicate that naturalism is the best explanation.

Justifications for Big Bang Theism have focused on modern versions of the Cosmological and Kalam arguments. Since everything that comes into being must have a cause, including the universe, then God was the cause of the Big Bang. Craig The objections to these arguments have been numerous and vigorously argued. Critics have challenged the inference to a supernatural cause to fill gaps in the natural account, as well as the inferences that the first cause must be a single, personal, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good being.

It is not clear that any of the properties of God as classically conceived in orthodox monotheism can be inferred from what we know about the Big Bang without first accepting a number of theistic assumptions. Infinite power and knowledge do not appear to be required to bring about a Big Bang—what if our Big Bang was the only act that a being could perform? There appears to be consensus that infinite goodness or moral perfection cannot be inferred as a necessary part of the cause of the Big Bang—theists have focused their efforts in the problem of evil, discussions just attempting to prove that it is possible that God is infinitely good given the state of the world.

Big Bang Theism would need to show that no other sort of cause besides a morally perfect one could explain the universe we find ourselves in. Critics have also doubted whether we can know that some supernatural force that caused the Big Bang is still in existence now or is the same entity as identified and worshipped in any particular religious tradition.

Even if major concessions are granted in the cosmological argument, all that it would seem to suggest is that there was a first cause or causes, but widely accepted arguments from that first cause or causes to the fully articulated God of Christianity or Islam, for instance, have not been forthcoming. In some cases, atheists have taken the argument a step further. They have offered cosmological arguments for the nonexistence of God on the basis of considerations from physics, astronomy, and subatomic theory.

These arguments are quite technical, so these remarks will be cursory. God, if he exists, knowing all and having all power, would only employ those means to his ends that are rational, effective, efficient, and optimal. If God were the creator, then he was the cause of the Big Bang, but cosmological atheists have argued that the singularity that produced the Big Bang and events that unfold thereafter preclude a rational divine agent from achieving particular ends with the Big Bang as the means. The Big Bang would not have been the route God would have chosen to this world as a result.

Stenger , Smith , Everitt Many authors— David Hume , Wesley Salmon , Michael Martin —have argued that a better case can be made for the nonexistence of God from the evidence. Salmon, giving a modern Bayesian version of an argument that begins with Hume, argues that the likelihood that the ordered universe was created by intelligence is very low.

In general, instances of biologically or mechanically caused generation without intelligence are far more common than instances of creation from intelligence. Furthermore, the probability that something that is generated by a biological or mechanical cause will exhibit order is quite high. Among those things that are designed, the probability that they exhibit order may be quite high, but that is not the same as asserting that among the things that exhibit order the probability that they were designed is high.

Among dogs, the incidence of fur may be high, but it is not true that among furred things the incidence of dogs is high. Furthermore, intelligent design and careful planning very frequently produces disorder—war, industrial pollution, insecticides, and so on. So we can conclude that the probability that an unspecified entity like the universe , which came into being and exhibits order, was produced by intelligent design is very low and that the empirical evidence indicates that there was no designer.

See the article on Design Arguments for the Existence of God for more details about the history of the argument and standard objections that have motivated atheism. Another recent group of inductive atheistic arguments has focused on widespread nonbelief itself as evidence that atheism is justified. The common thread in these arguments is that something as significant in the universe as God could hardly be overlooked.

The ultimate creator of the universe and a being with infinite knowledge, power, and love would not escape our attention, particularly since humans have devoted such staggering amounts of energy to the question for so many centuries. Perhaps more importantly, a being such as God, if he chose, could certainly make his existence manifest to us. Creating a state of affairs where his existence would be obvious, justified, or reasonable to us, or at least more obvious to more of us than it is currently, would be a trivial matter for an all-powerful being.

So since our efforts have not yielded what we would expect to find if there were a God, then the most plausible explanation is that there is no God. There may be reasons, some of which we can describe, others that we do not understand, that God could have for remaining out of sight.

Revealing himself is not something he desires, remaining hidden enables people to freely love, trust and obey him, remaining hidden prevents humans from reacting from improper motives, like fear of punishment, remaining hidden preserves human freewill. The non-belief atheist has not found these speculations convincing for several reasons. Furthermore, attempts to explain why a universe where God exists would look just as we would expect a universe with no God have seemed ad hoc. Alternately, how can it be unreasonable to not believe in the existence of something that defies all of our attempts to corroborate or discover?

God would be able, he would want humans to believe, there is nothing that he would want more, and God would not be irrational. So God would bring it about that people would believe. In general, he could have brought it about that the evidence that people have is far more convincing than what they have. He could have miraculously appeared to everyone in a fashion that was far more compelling than the miracles stories that we have.

It is not the case that all, nearly all, or even a majority of people believe, so there must not be a God of that sort. Schellenberg has developed an argument based upon a number of considerations that lead us to think that if there were a loving God, then we would expect to find some manifestations of him in the world.

If God is all powerful, then there would be nothing restraining him from making his presence known. And if he is omniscient, then surely he would know how to reveal himself. He would wish to spare those that he loves needless trauma. He would not want to give those that he loves false or misleading thoughts about his relationship to them. He would want as much personal interaction with them as possible, but of course, these conditions are not satisfied. So it is strongly indicated that there is no such God. For days and days … the last time when a jaguar comes at you out of nowhere … but with no response.

What should you think in this situation? In your dying moments, what should cross your mind? Would the thought that you have a mother who cares about you and hears your cry and could come to you but chooses not to even make it onto the list? Like Drange, Schellenberg argues that there are many people who are epistemically inculpable in believing that there is no God. That is, many people have carefully considered the evidence available to them, and have actively sought out more in order to determine what is reasonable concerning God.

They have fulfilled all relevant epistemic duties they might have in their inquiry into the question and they have arrived at a justified belief that there is no God. If there were a God, however, evidence sufficient to form a reasonable belief in his existence would be available. So the occurrence of widespread epistemically inculpable nonbelief itself shows that there is no God.

The final family of inductive arguments we will consider involves drawing a positive atheistic conclusion from broad, naturalized grounds. See the article on Naturalism for background about the position and relevant arguments. Comments here will be confined to naturalism as it relates to atheism.

Bible Living

Methodological naturalism can be understood as the view that the best or the only way to acquire knowledge within science is by adopting the assumption that all physical phenomena have physical causes. This presumption by itself does not commit one to the view that only physical entities and causes exist, or that all knowledge must be acquired through scientific methods. Methodological naturalism, therefore, is typically not seen as being in direct conflict with theism or having any particular implications for the existence or non-existence of God. As Kukulcan, he is the great plumed serpent who glides down the steps of El Castillo at Chichen Itza on the spring and autumn equinoxes and is thought to bring positive energy to the earth and to those present at his descent.

He was the father of Cabrakan and Zipacna who were also overthrown by the famous twins. Hacha'kyum An astral god who created the stars by scattering sand into the sky. He was the patron deity of the Lacandon Maya. Hapikern An adversarial deity, Hapikern is the world-girdling serpent who is perpetually at war with his brother, Nohochacyum, the great god of creation and protection, and is fated to be destroyed by that god in a final battle. They were born of the virgin goddess Xquic after the severed head of their father, Hun Hunahpu, spit into her hand from a calabash tree in the underworld of Xibalba.

Once attaining manhood, they avenged themselves on the Lords of Xibalba, who had murdered their father and uncle, by accepting their invitation to the underworld where a series of traps and tests awaited them. They escaped the traps and snares set for them and defeated the forces of chaos and darkness. They then attempted to bring Hun Hunahpu back to life and, though they succeeded in putting his body back together and reanimating him, he could not return to the earth above. The twins promised him, however, that humans would pray to him for hope and comfort and he would be remembered and honored.

The promise was kept as Hun Hunahpu became the Maize god, a dying-and-reviving god figure, who appears on earth as corn. Ascending from Xibalba, they meant to stop in the middle world of the earth but continued climbing up the World Tree and into paradise where, even then, they desired to climb higher and so became the sun and the moon in another version the gods reward them for their victory by turning them into the sun and the moon.

The Hero Twins have been thought to represent the legitimacy of the Maya ruling class, though this theory has been disputed. There is no doubt that their story was very popular among the Maya as the twins are depicted in art work throughout the region, often playing their famous game. Based upon these paintings, it seems clear there were many tales concerning the hero twins which have been lost and the Popol Vuh is the only surviving text of their story. Hobnil A god of agriculture and prosperity and a member of a triad with the deities Ahluic and Chac.

Hozanek A god of the south, associated with the Bacab Cauac and the color yellow. He is a son of the great couple Itzamna and Ixchel. Along with his brother, he is the patron god of artists and writers. He is later killed by them. While some scholars have asserted his antiquity, he seems most likely a concept which arose following the Christianization of the Maya during the Spanish Conquest and closely resembles the Christian god. He is invisible and without form but can be apprehended through his aspect in the god Itzamna, referred to as his son.

Hunab-Ku is the husband of Ixazalvoh, the divine mother, associated with water, life, and weaving. Hun-Hunahpu Also known as The Maize God, Huh Hunahpu died but was regenerated by his sons, and returns to life as maize corn and so is identified as a dying-and-reviving god figure. The father of the great Hero Twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque.

The lords of Xibalba, beneath the earth, became enraged by the noise of the twins and so devised a plan to get rid of them. They invited the young men to the underworld to play a game of Poc-a Toc. Before the game could begin, however, the twins were tricked by the Xibalbans and killed. Hun-Hunahpu's head was placed in the axis of a calabash tree which grew heavy with strange fruit. The young virgin Xquiq came upon the tree and, reaching for the fruit, was asked by the head to open her palm.

The head then sent the girl to live with his mother, Xumucane. Hunahpu One of the great Hero Twins who feature prominently in the myths of the Maya and in the text of the Quiche work, the Popol Vuh. Son of Hun Hunahpu amd Xquiq, Hunahpu is the god of the evening who restores the stars to the sky and, with his brother, Xbalanque, defeated the lords of Xibalba and created order on the earth. He is associated with the sun and, in some myths, is the sun himself. Hunahpu-Utiu A deity among the original thirteen who assisted in the creation of human beings.

Hun-Nal-Ye A god of salt water and the sea who was the patron of sharks. In the Popol Vuh he is the supreme creator of earth who thinks existence into being, participates in the creation of human beings, and sends the great flood to destroy his inferior creations. He is further referred to as Lord of the Whirlwind and credited as one of the gods sometimes the sole god to give fire to humans. Itzamna Considered the founder of the Maya culture, patron and protector of priests and scribes, Itzamna is an extremely important and popular god.

Like Gucumatz, he taught the people the arts of literacy, medicine, science , art, sculpture , and agriculture. He created and ordered the calendar and instructed humans in the proper cultivation of maize and cacao. He is a creator and healer who can resurrect the dead. In later, post-Colombian writings, he is referred to as the son of Hunab-Ku and takes on many of the characteristics associated with the Christ figure.

He is associated with the prophet Zamna, who brought the sacred writings to the city of Izamal on the command of the great goddess and also with Kinich Ahau, the sun god. In one myth he is the father of the Bacabs. From its perch, Itzam-Ye could see all of creation and knew all the secrets of all three planes of existence.

Images of the bird god in the sacred tree have been found throughout many Maya sites and, usually, engraved on temples and shrines where the Daykeepers would chant and cast the spells which protected the world from chaos and maintained order. Itzam-Ye was considered a master of the spiritual world and well versed in what, today, would be considered sorcery and magical arts.

Ixazalvoh The Divine mother and consort of Hunab-Ku, Ixazalvoh is the goddess of water, life, and weaving. She also presides over female sexuality and childbirth and is known for her powers in healing. Her oracles were considered important conduits for divine messages for the people. See Xbalanque. Although images of her in modern times almost universally depict her as an attractive young woman with long, dark hair seated on, or near, a rainbow, ancient Maya images consistently portray her as an old, plump woman with sharp features and jaguar ears, often wearing a headpiece with a live serpent springing forth and carrying a water jug.

She is, however, also associated with war as she is sometimes depicted in ancient images with claws and surrounded by or adorned with bones. Diego de Landa reported that she was the "goddess of making children" and also of medicine. Evidence suggests that Daykeepers and physicians consulted with Ixchel in their arts but, at the same time, she is associated through other evidence with the moon and mutability and, further, with weaving and the arts. According to a Verapaz myth, she was the consort of Itzamna and bore him thirteen sons.

Whatever her main provenance was, it is certain that she was greatly venerated by women and, especially, those who were pregnant or wished to become so. Her shrine on the island of Cozumel was extremely popular and became one of the most important pilgrimage sites for the ancient Maya. The island which Cortez named the Isla Mujeres Island of women was so designated because of the number of goddess statues found there, Ixchel among them.

Shrines to Ixchel may still be seen throughout the Yucatan today, especially on Cozumel, where her image has become conflated with that of the Virgin Mary and the two now share the veneration and prayers of the women who continue to make the pilgrimage to the island.

Ixcuiname The goddess of the four ages of womankind though whether this means four time periods in which women have existed or the four stages in a woman's life of child, maiden, mother, crone is unclear. She has been associated with the four creator gods Alom, Bitol, Qaholom, and Tzacol and, through this relationship, became known as Chirakan-Ixmucane, one of the thirteen deities who created human beings. Ixmucane One of the thirteen gods who participated in the creation of human beings according to one version of the myth.

Also a version of the name Xumucane, the grandmother of the famous hero twins, who, with her husband, Xpiayoc, created humans from maize and are considered the oldest and wisest deities in the Maya pantheon. Also a variant spelling of Xpiayoc, the husband of Xumucane, who helped in creating humans from maize. She is depicted as the rotting corpse of a woman hanging from a noose in the heavens which appears in the Dresden Codex. As suicide was considered an honorable alternative to living among the Maya, self-inflicted death guaranteed one an instant passage to paradise, by-passing the dark and dangerous underworld of Xibalba.

Ixtab would escort the souls of suicides to paradise where they would enjoy eternal pleasure surrounded by other blessed souls such as those who died in battle, in childbirth, as sacrificial victims, or on the ball court playing Poc-a-Toc. Ix-Tub-Tun A serpent deity who spits precious stones and is associated with rain. Kan-U-Uayeyab A patron god of cities , guardian of urban communities.

Kan-Xib-Yui One of the creator gods, sometimes mentioned as one of the original thirteen who created human beings. Kianto Also known as Kiant, he is the god of unwelcome influences which were designated primarily as disease and foreigners. He was a god of healing and medicine. In some early myths, Kinich Ahau is the consort of the goddess Ixazalvoh whereas post-conquest stories place the divine mother with Hunab Ku.

Kinich Kakmo The patron god of the city of Izamal, a solar deity who was represented by a macaw. Maize God A dying-and-reviving god figure in the form of Hun Hunahpu who was killed by the Lords of Xibalba, brought back to life by his sons, the Hero Twins, and emerges from the underworld as corn. He is always pictured as eternally young and handsome with an elongated head like a corncob, long, flowing hair like corn silk , and ornamented with jade to symbolize the corn stalk.

The god known as Mam Maximon is a post-conquest god of travelers, merchants, witchcraft, and bad luck that was conflated with the Christian figure of Judas and in modern times is part of the celebrations surrounding Holy Week. Manik The god of sacrifice, of sacrificial victims, and of purifying suffering.

According to the Popl Vuh, Mitnal was a dark land flowing with rivers of blood and pus and populated by deities with names such as Bloody Teeth, Bloody Claws, and Flying Scab, among others. Nohochacyum A creator-destroyer deity, the brother of the death god Kisin or possibly another earthquake god also known as Kisin. He is the sworn enemy of the world serpent Hapikern and it is said that, in the end of days, he will destroy Hapikern by wrapping him around himself to smother him. In some versions of this story, life on earth is destroyed in the process. He is related, in some stories, to Usukan, Uyitzin, Yantho and Hapikern, all of whom wish human beings ill.

Also the brother of Xamaniqinqu, the patron god of travelers and merchants. A Daykeeper shaman would have to experience the Vision Serpent first hand in order to understand the realm in which he was dealing and finalize his initiation into the mysteries. Paddler Gods Two deities who paddle the divine canoe through the underworld and up into the sky. They participated in the building of the Cosmic Hearth for the gods at the beginning of creation and are thought to symbolize night and day, light and darkness, and the eternal dance of opposites.

They are also seen as representations of the Milky Way. Pawahtuun A calendar deity associated with the four Bacabs and the end of the year. He positions himself at the four corners of the sky and thus holds up the world. Qaholom One of the gods who participated in the creation of human beings along with Alom, Bitol, and Tzacol.

Tecumbalam The great bird sent to break the bones and rend the muscles of the human beings who displeased the gods and were destroyed in the great flood sent by Hurakan. Tlacolotl The god of evil, of those who practice evil, and of the dark places where evil plans are made.

The Maya also attributed earthquakes to him. Tzacol One of the thirteen gods who participated in the creation of human beings. After the successful third attempt, he split into two separate deities, Tzacol and Ixpiyacoc. Usukan A fearsome god who hates human beings and has the earthquake as his servant in his attempt to destroy human life.

His brother is Hapikern, the world-girdling serpent, who is also hostile to humanity. Xamaniqinqu, the god of travelers and merchants, is another brother.