God's rocks (was: Re: Good books generally)

Tue Feb 18 08:02:28 PST 2003

On Mon, 17 Feb 2003, Nytemuse wrote:

@> > >I stay as far away from most fundamentalists as I can, but I would think 
@> > >just the opposite.  Close textual analysis may indicate contradictions and 
@> > >inconsistencies, and the idea that there would be contradictions and 
@> > >inconsistencies is anathema to people who believe that God dictated the 
@> > >Bible and that its every word is law.
@> > 
@> > At the risk of touching off a flamewar, my experience with fundamentalists 
@> > would suggest that they do, indeed, read all of the passages most closely in 
@> > order that they might then explain all the inconsistencies away.
@> Not that I'm trying to add to a flamewar, but the fundamentalists I've
@> come across read a lot, but either don't read enough or don't think about
@> what they've read.  Personally, I prefer to use the "If God is omnipotent,
@> can he create a boulder too heavy for him to lift?"  And the variations
@> thereof.  Obviously it's nowhere near a good argument, but at least you
@> know that's one question they can never answer!

Honestly, Leibniz had a good argument for this one. His approach was that
the concept "a rock God can't lift" is a logical contradiction, and
therefore not a good measure of omnipotence. He actually may have
something here; would it make sense to ask whether God could create a red
green tuesday with brown hair? It makes a similar amount of sense to say
"a thing which a being that can do anything cannot do X to".

(I am not saying I endorse Leibniz's point of view, simply that this
argument is not bulletproof.)

Or there's this one: He could make a rock, then decide not to lift it.