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The Problem with GodWhy Atheists, True Believers, and Even Agnostics Must All Be Wrong$
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Peter Steinberger

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231163545

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231163545.001.0001

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The Impossible Dream

The Impossible Dream

(p.37) 3 The Impossible Dream
The Problem with God

Peter J. Steinberger

Columbia University Press

This chapter argues that it is impossible to believe in God and also impossible to disbelieve in God, because the question of God is impossible to ask. It first explains the meaning of “impossible” and describes two kinds of impossibility: Physical Impossibility and Conceptual Impossibility. It explicates the distinction between Physical Impossibility and Conceptual Impossibility and cites God as an example of the latter. It suggests that the impossibility of God is sui generis. Based on the logic of cause and effect, it asserts that there is not, and can never be, a concept of God. We can never have the idea of a world that didn't have a beginning. Something must have started everything—a First Thing, an Unmoved Mover. The concept of God would be the concept of something that must absolutely have existed and that—equally—cannot possibly have existed. There is simply no such concept. On the basis of these arguments, the chapter proposes a doctrine that it calls aprolepticism, which is not theism, atheism, or agnosticism.

Keywords:   God, Physical Impossibility, Conceptual Impossibility, Unmoved Mover, aprolepticism, theism, atheism, agnosticism

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