Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H
Gormley


Brute Facts - do they really exist?
 
DEFINITION:

A brute fact is something that is true just because it is true. The best way to understand it is that a brute fact is true and has nothing to do with any agent causing it knowingly. So we are talking about blind force as opposed to what an intelligence might organise or do.
 
ESSENTIALS
 
What do you mean by the reason for something’s existence? Just existing can be a reason. It is a reason. Whether or not we believe in God we believe even more that things happen by chance or without reasons.
 
There are brute facts as in what is real. Or there are abstract brute facts. For example, God is a brute fact and said to be real. Another example is how 1 and 1 cannot be 100. The latter is an abstract fact.

If something exists it is stupid to ask why. There does not have to be a why for everything. Even religion says there does not need to be a plan for everything in the universe. A plan in some things is enough to prove there is a designer God.

The reason for something's existence can be part of it or outside of it.

Some say that, "Nothing is really random. To be truly random, an event needs to be totally uncaused." Can it be partly random? No.  The event is not an event - it is events that you just treat as a set.  Each cause is really a set of causes. There are direct and indirect causes working together but they are not giving rise to an event.  They are events in their own right.
 
PRINCIPLE OF SUFFICIENT REASON
 
The principle of sufficient reason which states, “Everything that happens or exists has a sufficient reason for happening or existing.”
 
There has to be something without an explanation.

That would mean that the something is just a brute fact.

It is forgotten that a brute fact IS an explanation. It usually is not but there are exceptions.
 
The Church says the existence of anything at all needs an explanation.
 
But we all know that if there were nothing that would be a brute fact and need no explanation. There would be no question of why nothing rather than something?
 
THINKERS SAY THE UNIVERSE IS JUST THERE
 
Philosopher Bertrand Russell stated that the universe is just there and that is all there is to it. Others say that he could be right but that maybe it is not just a brute fact. Russell was saying not everything needs an explanation. He says the existence of all things does not need an explanation.
 
It is not just philosophy that says it. Sean Carroll is an extremely gifted theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He stated, “There’s certainly no reason to think that there was something that ‘caused’ it; the universe can just be.” Christians water down what he said by saying he is only saying what he thinks. He does not sound like he is merely giving an opinion. He is a scientist and trained to avoid opinion.
 
So is the existence of the universe explainable, even if we do not know what the explanation is, or not explainable ? Neither stance accepts that the universe is self-explanatory so they are thought to be denying The Principle of Sufficient Reason. The principle claims that nothing can exist unless there is a sufficient reason for it to exist.
 
Some think the truth could be in the middle, maybe a combination of brute facts and explanations were at work which is why we have the universe. 
 
BELIEF
 
What about the thought, "The universe may have an explanation or it may not. The question is that if there is no scientific evidence either way then should we believe there is an explanation? Yes for not having one does not mean there is none. We are not rejecting the possibility of an explanation but the believability of an explanation"? If correct then we are left with agnosticism.
 
THE HIDDEN PREMISE
 
Nobody wants to think that all things just popped into existence from nothing. Why? The reason it is hard to think that is because the universe seems so well organised. Do not be mistaken. Believers would have no problem with a scenario where nothing existed but one atom. They would say it was a brute fact and easy to believe it was. So when they say the universe is not a brute fact and cannot be they are really thinking of the design argument which says design means a designer.
 
If one atom is not a problem then why should billions of them be? Again we see their concept of a designed universe is getting mixed up in their arguments against a universe that is a brute fact. It is there subliminally.
 
Religion does not really believe God is the explanation
 
Oddly enough, with the doctrine of creation by God out of nothing religion is saying the existence of all things is a brute fact though it is reluctant to admit it. If God uses nothing at all to make things then there is no making. Religion says all God did was tell things to exist. That is magic. That is not making in any meaningful sense at all. As magic is irrational, then if doing magic brings you money that is down to luck and not the magic. The magic might not have responded at all. So if God just told things to exist and they came into being we should STILL not say God had anything to do with it. Magic makes its own choices.
 
God is alleged to be the explanation for the universe and for life. But how do we explain God? If God needs no explanation then the universe might need no explanation and so there would be no need for God. Plus what if there is something which is not God but almost spirit like that sustains the universe? It does not matter if this needs explanation or not for you cannot understand God well enough to say he needs no explanation anyway. But what does explanation mean? It means something to us. Religion says that only God understands how to explain God but he cannot really share much of that with us. So what we really have is, "Man cannot explain God. Only God can do that. Therefore God is the explanation for himself and for the universe." That is a misuse of the word explain. To say God needs no explanation is to speak without understanding - which makes it only words - or to speak with understanding - which makes you unique for nobody even claims to think they understand.
 
If God makes himself maybe the universe made itself and was made from a substance like God but impersonal that transmuted into all things.
 
WHO IS THE WORST?
 
Why is God a brute fact? Nobody has an answer!
 
The believer who says God is a brute fact and the atheist who says the universe is a brute fact seem to be as bad as each other. Are they really?
 
No!
 
What is the most important? God being explained or the universe? In practice religion and science treat the universe as what needs explanation. That is dishonest of religion for if God really cannot be explained then the universe cannot be explained either. For science, if God is the cause of the universe then it will not do if we explain why one exists and not the other.
 
Religion has to teach that as the universe is nothing in comparison to God, the infinite perfection and infinite intelligence, the explanation for God is what matters.
 
What about how the universe seems designed? Religion says that you cannot really explain much about a grain of sand but you can explain how the grains can be built into a sandcastle. That is irrelevant to the notion of God for God is spirit and is nothing like an atom or sand or anything we can imagine.

The scientist who sees the universe as the ultimate brute fact is the wise one. The religionist is not.
 
Some answer that believers do not think God is a brute fact. But there is no denying that most do. The argument that the reason God exists is because he is existence makes no sense to us. Nobody really believes it. Yet the argument is essential if you want to believe. It calls God a brute fact and hides it. A God who exists because he has to exist is a brute fact.
 
ORDINARY LIFE
 
If you find a loaf in your oven you don't say it it is possible it just popped into existence ready made and its a brute fact.
 
Or what if it is your perception that the loaf just appeared that is the brute fact? If a loaf can come from nowhere so can your perception of something.
 
Our answer is that there is no need to assume brute facts other than the origin of the universe. The origin of the universe is wholly different from any loaf in your oven.
 
And God can surely create brute facts? If God controls everything there is no randomness and we are puppets. If he creates randomness then he can create brute facts because randomness and brute facts are the same principle: it just happened that is all.
 
DEPENDENCE
 
Creation is based on the notion that all that exists depends on something to exist. It would be nothing without it.
 
Every dependent thing needs something to depend on. The universe is a dependent thing. Therefore the universe needs a power to depend on. This power is non-physical - it is God.
 
Talk about God as creator of all things when there was nothing at all before, is based on the doctrine that all things exist for a reason. The Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) enunciates that idea.
 
"The PSR is closely related, if not fully identical, to the principle “ex nihilo, nihil fit” (“From nothing, nothing comes”). One of the most interesting questions regarding the PSR is why to accept it at all. Insofar as the PSR stipulates that all facts must be explainable, it seems that the PSR itself demands an explanation just as much. Several modern philosophers attempted to provide a proof for the PSR, though so far these attempts have been mostly unsuccessful." 
 
 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sufficient-reason/
 
Thus the notion that we need God to account for our existence is just a guess. It rings true to many but it is not as simple as they make it out to be.
 
Why are we told about the Principle of Sufficient Reason? Why is not the Principle of Necessary Reason? Sufficient gives it away that they are not as sure as they let on. While chicken is sufficient to keep a dog fed it does not follow that chicken is necessary to keep it fed. Any food would do.
 
BOTTOM LINE

Believer or not, you believe in brute facts. You know they exist even if you don't know what they are.
 
The universe then could be a brute fact. Even if it is not, the fact remains that goodness is factual whether God or anything exists or not so there is still no ground for faith in the Christian God. If there is nothing it is good that there is nobody about to suffer. So goodness is the ultimate brute fact.
 
God would have to be the ultimate brute fact but he cannot be so there is no God.
 
Hume affirmed that if the universe did start it does not mean anything started it.
 
Thomas Aquinas argued that the universe came into being and so must have had a cause.
 
David Hume argued that we were not there and there is too much mystery about the origin of all so nobody is entitled to say they know a cause was involved.
 
The two men are actually in agreement. Aquinas uses the word cause wrongly. A God who does not make but who simply commands things to exist is not a cause. Commanding is not causing. Aquinas uses the word cause where he means magic. Magic is defiance of cause and effect.
 
Read page 38 of Philosophy of Religion for A Level for OCR, Anne Jordan, Neil Lockyer and Edwin Tate, Nelson Thornes Ltd, 1999).
 
The objection to Hume is that science shows that the universe did have a beginning. Religion despite pretending to have nothing to do with science swallows this up. It pretends because it is afraid of science disproving or challenging it.
 
PHYSICS
 
Is there a personal Creator God? The theory of everything seeks to reconcile the theories of physics. The theories make sense on their own but taken together they seem to contradict one another. Maybe we will never be clever enough to think up a theory of everything. Maybe we will just have to settle for saying the universe and its origin and how it is here is all a paradox. If so, then the existence of all things will be seen as a paradox. It would make as much sense to say that an impersonal intelligence made all things as to say that a personal God did it if not more. Why go as far as saying it was a personal God?
 
The notion that creation is not a brute fact
 
Do you want to believe in random?
 
There would be no comfort in a universe ruled by blind fate or blind randomness. Nobody cares if it is fate or not for its being blind is the problem. Some go as far as to hold that if there is no God sustaining and running all things that is all we have. But if God can create randomness then it is possible that the forces in your life are still blind or as a good as.
 
People have room for comfort and optimism for we know that if all is blind we are not blind and that is what counts. And the luck of the draw can come to you and often does. The desire to bring God into it to assuage anxiety is just exploitative and greedy. You find a random world too scary so you are willing to blind yourself to its blindness. That is just stupid.

Conclusion
 
Blind facts or forces are real.  Its a blind force that lets God be God for God did not design or make himself.  Once you admit blind facts or forces exist you are admitting that whatever causes the universe might not be a God and be a brute fact.