There is no God

I went into DC this last weekend and found a place to stay on airbnb–I recommend it, save yourself some money and meet someone new. I met my new friend Chris, who is a thoughtful Catholic. We had a lot of nice conversations and hopefully both learned something new.

But I wanted to clear up what I see as a common misconception, that Buddhism denies the existence of God. Buddhism does not deny the existence of God. Buddhism denies the existence of an uncreated creator God.

I always teach in my classes that the first thing you have to do, if you want to debate with someone, is clarify your terms. It doesn’t do any good to debate with someone about the meaning of God, when one person thinks “God” is an old man in the sky and the other person thinks God is a divine formless principle; the debate will go nowhere.

But Buddhism does deny the existence of an uncreated creator God. Why? It’s a self-contraction. Anything that creates something, by the act of creation, changed: before you were something that hadn’t created something, but now you are something that created something. In the moment that you created something, you changed: you became someone who created something.

A syllogism would be:

Consider a creator God,
He/she must have changed,
Because he/she created something.

How do we know if this is true or false? We have to run the three tests:

Test #1: Did a creator God create something? Yes, they created the world.

Test #2: If someone created something, must they have changed?

Test #3: If someone did not change, must it be the case that they cannot have created something?

We would say “yes” to all these tests. What do you think?

Also, I’m in Doylestown so I’m going to randomly repost my event poster…


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7 thoughts on “There is no God

  1. Hi Eric, when you say ‘uncreated creator God’, do you mean a God created in the mind of man? and how does that connects with the arguement that when we create something we change? (I’m not familiar with it, and would like very much to listen about the logic of it).

    1. In Tibetan Buddhist logic, if you study categories of existence (Tib: gzhi grub) the first way you divide all existing things is into changing and unchanging. Then you learn the synonyms for changing: working, cause, result, and made/produced. Anything that changes does something (work, function). Anything that does something produces a result (a cause), and anything that produces a result also must have been caused by something else (a result). So any changing thing is a cause, result, works, and is produced; these are all synonyms.

      So a God that produces something functions/works, so he/she must also be a result, a cause, and changing. So the syllogism would be:

      Consider God,
      God changes,
      Because God produced something (the world in seven days).

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