God as an axiom

In a recent discussion i claimed that if theology presumes the existence of god before investigation it disqualifies itself as a science. The counterargument was that science itself starts with assumptions it cannot prove.
So my question to you guys is:
Is there a fundamental difference between presuming the existence of god and then building up from that starting point on the one hand and using axioms in science or presuming things like the existence of an objective world on the other?


Correction. Science starts out with a hypothesis, the truth- value of which is unknown before it is tested. Then sets about devising tests aimed at finding said truth value.

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Yes, a world of difference.

In science, the only sacred truth is that there are no sacred truths, and every fundemental assumption is subject to review . . . and this means that–every so often–there are drastic changes.

As an example, the Euclidean geometry of Classical Greece (based on five axioms) never failed us, and has never been wrong for over 2,000 years.

Even so, mathematicians like Paul Dirac and Lobachevsky pioneered a branch of mathematics called “non-Euclidean geometry” by discarding Euclid’s fifth postulate, which concerns parallel lines. Einstein made use of non-Euclidean geometry in describing the structure of space-time, and both general and special relativity were the result.

There are many more examples that I can give from medicine, chemistry, physics, and biology.

In order to answer your points, I would say that science is refined over time as we learn and understand more, while religion seems to see the world in terms of absolutes (although I can see potential arguments about a few exceptions).

I–personally–don’t really believe in absolutes, as the only thing that seems constant is change.

Because change is constant, the absolutes of religion is at odds with the realities of human existence, and this has been becoming more and more obvious as we learn and understand more.

As an example, consider the Biblical idea that there are only two genders . . . which is an idea relevent today with all of the anti-LGBTQ legislation that being pushed in the USA.

Well . . . it turns out that boys have an XY chromosome arrangement, while girls have an XX arrangement, and this is just as (if not more!) relevent to gender as a penis or a vagina.

Some “boys” are born with an XXY arrangment, or even XXXY chromosomes, and such boys exhibit many feminine traits. The 80’s era super model, Playboy bunny, and James Bond girl Tula has an XXXY arrangment of chromosomes, and is a women in every respect except for the existence of a penis.

Also, we can look at this in another way: People who were exposed to the drug thalidomide while in utero can be born with extra appendages in odd places on the body. Please see below:


So, if a girl was born with a penis growing out of her forehead or shoulder, no one would bat an eye if it was surgically removed as soon as possible. And–if you agree with this–then what’s the difference if someone like Tula undergoes transition surgery to become more physically female? And why do we look at XXY or XXXY boys as being “boys” with feminine traits, rather than looking at them as girls with a few masculine traits?

And if we choose to make an exception for this circumstance (which is called Kleinfelter Syndrome), then why can’t we make exceptions for other forms of “gender dysphoria”?

This is an example of where science and religion are at odds, and where religion does not reflect reality. It is also an example of how religion hurts people by being unable and/or unwilling to change.

I hope this addresses your points, and I hope that you get back to me.

Below, see pic of Tula:


BTW, another point occurred to me after I wrote the above post: It says in the Bible that everything was created as male and female, and religious culture often sees this as an absolute truth.

Well . . . it’s a truth that miscarriage and infant mortality were much, much higher in Biblical times. A frequent cause of miscarriage are chromosomal and other genetic abnormalities. I believe (and please note that I said “I believe”, and not that “I know”, as I’m an RN and I don’t want to misrepresent my educational accomplishments with misleading claims) that more people like Tula are born in modern times because of better medicine and better prenatal care.

So, I believe that such people were much more rare in Biblical times because more of them wouldn’t have made it out of the womb. This means that I’m arguing that modern medicine and prenatal care may have made such people much more common than in Biblical times, so the idea that there are only two genders may have actually been much more correct in the distant past.

Again, please note that I don’t have statistical evidence to support this claim . . . I believe this idea because of my experience in the medical field, and I don’t have specific numbers to back me up on this.


No. Science begins with observations. Things that are happening. And then it looks for explanations. While explanations are hypothetical, they are far from being unproven assumptions. The assumptions of science are based on solid foundations of facts and evidence. They are based on facts and evidence so they can be tested. Equating a scientific hypothesis with a religious assumption is like making a cherry pie out of mud. You don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

Absolutely. Science begins with observable facts and then attempts to explain the facts with measurable and observable experimentation. When you make an assumption first, “God Exists,” and then seek to find evidence in support of that. You are doing science backward.

This is called “The fallacy of incomplete evidence.” You commit it by seeking out information that supports your point of view and ignoring all other information. (This is not Science). A scientific theory must explain all the data… or as near as possible. all the data. And this explanation must be independently verifiable. (Others can test it and get the same results.)

Beginning with a God and then trying to justify the God you believe in, is fallacious to its core.


Why would anyone try to claim theology is a scientific discipline? If the claim provides no data to test, and is unfalsifiable then that alone would mean science would have to reject the idea as unscientific, but I have never heard of any theists claiming theology was a science?

Yes, the results we get from science reflect objective reality, simply put, it works. Scientists get the same results, religions do not, their spiel reflects the cultures and epochs from which they are derived. Also all scientific ideas must be falsifiable and remain tentative, and open to scrutiny, religions claims to have immutable truth, even when they are demonstrably erroneous.

If you assume the existence of X, and derive a set Y(X) of statements about X, then the validity of Y(X) will depend on the validity of X. If X is false, then the validity of Y(X) falls, no matter how appealing Y(X) may be. And you cannot go the other way, in assuming or wishing Y(X) and therefore argue that X exists. In other words, all the appealing statements about a god and the consequences of a god that theologians may derive about it don’t mean jack shit, as their validity will depend on the existence of the god, as determined by objective empirical tests. If the god cannot be shown to exist, the statements are only of academic value.

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Fundamentally there is no difference; however in practice there is a great difference. Ideally your axioms should be as non-controversial as possible. We are meant to accept axioms without question, so it is “polite” to keep them non-controversial.

Starting with the axiom:

  1. God is real.

is a slap in the face

When it often forms a premise in their arguments it’s also a circular reasoning fallacy. Though they wouldn’t usually word it like that of course. More like a none too subtle and unevidenced assumption, something along the lines of “creation needs a creator”. Note creation is just assumed to be true, they’ve added what they think is another axiom and moved god along, as if this makes it a sound argument.

So viewing that objectively or critically, the assumption that anything was created leaps out at us, to them it’s an “axiom”, they simply know it’s true. Now one would wonder why they’re bothering with a redundant tautology of course, but they probably are just amazed anyone has bothered to question their first axiom.

In science the end result must be testable, falsifiable, and repeatable. So a Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Christian etc etc scientists all arrive at the same result, this is in stark contrast to religions of course, and what does this suggest about the axiom god exists? To me it suggests it is unreliable, if it can be used to get wildly different conclusions.

Maybe I need to add faith, I mean we know this works if applied correctly, right? Except it doesn’t, as you can again get any result you want with faith, and feel confident that your result is the one that’s true.

Knowledge is a word often misused in religious apologetics, to simply describe subjective personal experience.

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God does not qualify as an Axiom:
Here is a difference you might consider. Science does not make claims about reality. Science builds models of reality and then uses them. These models are always subject to change and are based entirely on the observable, measurable, universe around us. That which is logical and sound comports with reality. So a scientific axiom, "Assumes something to be real,* Religious belief asserts something to be real. God is real. Spirits exist. These are not Axiomatic assumptions, but rather fundamental assertions, ‘Truths,’ that are not subject study and are completely unnecessary. We don’t need them to describe the world around us. When we run across something we do not know, we simply say “We do not yet know.” and not “God done it.” All scientific axioms are subject to factual evaluation. They are used because they work. They work consistently. They demonstrate their value by being consistently useful. (No god idea has ever accomplished the same.)


There are some that get most of the way there. The one that immediately comes to mind is the Church of Christ, Scientist (AKA Christian Science). One of their key books is titled Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.


What about the Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim young Earth science in their Watchtower magazines? They seem to claim that The Bible is a science textbook.

Or do I misunderstand you?

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