• Art48
    150
    To begin, “personal God” means a God who is a person, either a human person like Jesus or Krishna, or an entity with personal attributes like Yahweh and Allah, who have wishes and wants (wishes us to be happy; wants us to behave morally). Some verses attribute anger to person Gods.

    By “mold theory” we mean mold like a cookie mold, not like the fungus. Let’s imagine an infant. After the infant learns there are people and objects external to herself, in time she naturally attributes certain properties to the parent(s), qualities such as source of comfort and protection, as source of knowledge and instruction, as able to do wonderful things (feed her, give her toys, take her to the ocean or mountains for vacation). As she grows, she learns that the parent isn’t ideal, that the parent doesn’t fit the mold perfectly. Sometimes the parent makes her go to bed early, eat her spinach, takes her to the doctor for a needle.

    If the parent ceases to occupy the mold, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the mold collapses. Quite the contrary, the child has built the mold in her mind where it may continue existing. But it’s empty.

    In time, the person fills the mode with Jesus or Allah or Krishna. The mold is filled, complete. There’s no room for anything else. If a skeptic or atheist presents evidence which seems to argue against the idea that the mold-filler is truly God or God-like, there’s just no room for the evidence. The present God-filler would have to be ejected from the mold, as the parent was, to make room for anything else, like evidence. But that would leave the mold essentially empty because a little bit of fact doesn’t fill a God mold.

    Of the many examples which could be given, I’ll describe one. There is a story in the Bible of King David conducting a census, which so angered Yahweh (God the Father, to Christians) that Yahweh had an angel kill 50,000 Hebrews. Bad, but it gets worse. The story occurs in two places in the Bible. In one account, Satan “provoked David to number Israel.” In the second, Yahweh provoked David.

    I think it’s natural to doubt the stories are genuine stories about God. I’d say it’s natural to see them as ancient fables. Of course, I might be wrong. Maybe they are genuine, but then who provoked King David? Was it Satan or Yahweh? I once heard a Christian answer, “Both!” So, both Satan and Yahweh worked together to interfere with King David’s free will so that David would order a census? And then Yahweh had an angel kill 50,000 Hebrews to punish David for doing a census? Anything is possible, I suppose. But another explanation is that there just isn’t any room in the God mold for the story. So, devise an explanation, believable or not. Offer it and then quickly change the subject.

    I think what I’ve written has some similarity to memes and meme complexes, but I’m no expert. Maybe not. In any event, I think these ideas apply in a lot of cases.

    A final thought: the last major God mode filler is now about 1,500 years old, in that about 1,500 years ago, Allah became known and assumed the position of a major God. I say “became known” to avoid the question of if Allah (and other person Gods) are fictions or not. In either case, Allah entered history about 1,500 years ago; Jesus entered history about 2,000 years ago; etc. Is it time for another God, perhaps a God that breaks the mold?

    More info: https://adamford.com/NTheo/NewTheology.pdf
  • T Clark
    9.8k
    You clearly don't believe God exists. In this and other posts you look for psychological reasons why people believe as they do. E.g. Pre-science and scientific mentality; Dormant mind; Faith vs. Intelligence. Your ideas are expressed in condescending language which shows a lack of respect for religious believers. They also show a lack of understanding of human motivation and belief and don't provide any evidence beyond "seems to me."

    Just wanted to point that out.
  • Art48
    150
    1. I clearly do believe that God exists (as a reading of the document at the link shows) but not a God who is a person.
    2. Moreover, a Christian might view the OP as explaining how a "God-shaped hole" arises in individuals.
    3. I respect people but don't respect ideas which I believe to be false, some of them obviously false. A talking serpent, God drowning the entire world - babies, the elderly, kittens and puppy dogs - everyone except Noah & Company, God stopping the sun in the sky so the Hebrews could finish killing their enemies? Get real. I do not respect such ideas.
    4. The last 3 lines of your 5 line paragraph are ad hominem. Just wanted to point that out.
  • I like sushi
    3.9k
    Your OP is fine. Ignore those looking to smear you rather than offer any kind of constructive criticism.

    ‘Religious believers’ do not deserve any kind of special respect above others.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    Intresting post by my standards.

    Perhaps we should look at the issue taking into account the following.

    1. Regarding the Hebrew God any inconsistences having to do with God (omnibenvolence) and violence (as recorded in scripture to have been divine commands/permitted by God) were either absent (God is good)/ignored (it made zero sense, but the matter was swept under the rug)/unnoticed (no one checked).

    2. Coming to the OP's main thrust, I'd say what we're looking at is inconsistencies were absent. God is both good and violent was the position adopted and the genocides committed were probably viewed as campaigns in a just war (ordered/permitted by YHWH Himself).

    To get straight to the point, God fitted like a glove with reality.

    3. That said, it's worth noting that God as an idea is one of the most powerful in the ideaverse. Imagine if God implied all swans are white. People see a black swan. Rather than admit God isn't real people would prefer to believe the black swan only appears black, but is actually white!
  • T Clark
    9.8k
    The last 3 lines of your 5 line paragraph are ad hominem. Just wanted to point that out.Art48

    I made comments referencing your arguments, not you personally. So they are not ad hominem arguments. You shouldn't use jargon you don't understand.

    Your OP is fine. Ignore those looking to smear you rather than offer any kind of constructive criticism.I like sushi

    As I noted, I said nothing about Art48, only his arguments. Perhaps I smeared his ideas, but not him personally. The argument in the OP is weak, as are both of your responses to my comment.
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    I think it’s natural to doubt the stories are genuine stories about God. I’d say it’s natural to see them as ancient fables. Of course, I might be wrong. Maybe they are genuine, but then who provoked King David? Was it Satan or Yahweh? I once heard a Christian answer, “Both!” So, both Satan and Yahweh worked together to interfere with King David’s free will so that David would order a census? And then Yahweh had an angel kill 50,000 Hebrews to punish David for doing a census? Anything is possible, I suppose. But another explanation is that there just isn’t any room in the God mold for the story. So, devise an explanation, believable or not. Offer it and then quickly change the subject.Art48

    Humans create narratives to explain the world. Some of these stories are less persuasive than others. Today the Judeo-Christian god story isn't one of our more convincing tales, especially if one takes a literalist view. A literal account of Yahweh points to this deity as a grubby Mafia-style boss who uses intimidation, slavery and mass-murder to maintain control. If true, this is a god to boycott. This view is hardly an original position.

    But many Christians see the Bible as a vast completion of allegories. I grew up in that tradition and we were taught that the stories of the Old Testament were myths - stories designed for teaching larger truths. Truths I might add I happily ignored as superfluous to requirements. There's a reason many Christians ignore the OT and focus on the ethical teachings of JC.

    Overall I think to pillory the Bible for being taken as some kind of positivist text is too easy and for atheists, highlighting the absurdity of fundamentalist's beliefs and interpretations is also undemanding work. This is the shallow end of the pool. There is much more sophisticated theology by people like Paul Tillich or David Bentley Hart one could consider.
  • ThinkOfOne
    124
    But many Christians see the Bible as a vast completion of allegories. I grew up in that tradition and we were taught that the stories of the Old Testament were myths - stories designed for teaching larger truths. Truths I might add I happily ignored as superfluous to requirements. There's a reason many Christians ignore the OT and focus on the ethical teachings of JC.Tom Storm

    What tradition was that?

    Were the mythical stories of the NT - literal resurrection of Jesus, literal healing of a blind man, literal raising of a dead man, Jesus being literally born of God, etc. - similarly taken as myths?

    Was the focus on the ethical teaching of JC to the exclusion of the Pauline gospel?

    I'd genuinely like to know.
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    I grew up in the Australian Baptist tradition, which does not have a centralized system of dogma or authority, so individual churches varied. Some were evangelical. Some people in our group took the NT as literally true, but it was often seen as metaphor. The focus was on ethical teachings but there was also some contemplation of transcendence and mysticism. It's 40 years ago, so the memory is hazy.
  • ThinkOfOne
    124


    Interesting. Sounds like rather than an Australian Baptist tradition per se, it was the tradition of the individual church that you attended? Perhaps more accurately, the tradition of a subset of its congregation? Do I understand you correctly?

    I'd like to find a church with a tradition that believes in the gospel preached by Jesus rather than the Pauline gospel. But from what investigation I've done, there are none.
  • Hanover
    8.8k
    In time, the person fills the mode with Jesus or Allah or Krishna. The mold is filled, complete.Art48
    This is an empirical claim, not a philosophical claim. You are attempting to summarize human spiritual development, but you've offered no sources or studies, so why should I find your musings persuasive?
    So, devise an explanation, believable or not. Offer it and then quickly change the subject.Art48
    Again, this is an empirical claim as to how people react when faced with Biblical inconsistency, yet you offer no sources showing that this is how they react. It's in fact plainly wrong. If you're interested in how the various traditions have responded, you may look it up, as you may also look up how secular biblical scholars have addressed those issues. You act as if no one has taken more than a cursory glance at the text and has taken seriously the challenge of interpretation.
    A final thought: the last major God mode filler is now about 1,500 years old, in that about 1,500 years ago, Allah became known and assumed the position of a major God. I say “became known” to avoid the question of if Allah (and other person Gods) are fictions or not. In either case, Allah entered history about 1,500 years ago; Jesus entered history about 2,000 years ago; etc. Is it time for another God, perhaps a God that breaks the mold?Art48

    You act as if the attributes of God haven't varied over time and over denomination,, as if the Mormon concept of God is the same as the Southern Baptist, the Branch Davidian, the Hasid, and the Universalist God. You also act as if Allah is easily definable and you've been able to distinguish that definition from various other God definitions.

    Just a very simplistic post.
  • I like sushi
    3.9k
    An empirical claim is a philosophical claim nitwit.
  • T Clark
    9.8k
    An empirical claim is a philosophical claim nitwit.I like sushi

    You should take a look in the Shoutbox. @Hanover and I were just discussing a right wing commentator who wrote that casting a black woman as the lead in "The Little Mermaid" was scientifically inaccurate. I think your comment is almost as dumb.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    You should take a look in the Shoutbox. Hanover and I were just discussing a right wing commentator who wrote that casting a black woman as the lead in "The Little Mermaid" was scientifically inaccurate. I think your comment is almost as dumb.T Clark

    To be fair, this "right wing commentator" has a point. Not a lot of sunshine in the depths and that would translate to lighter skin tones.

    I have seen black fish though.

    :confused:
  • I like sushi
    3.9k
    In my sin bin for a month. Bye bye.

    You will get no response from me again until mid-October.
  • Cuthbert
    999
    this "right wing commentator" has a pointAgent Smith

    Only to the extent that there are no black mermaids because there are no mermaids. But that's probably not what the commentator meant. There was a view that women should not be allowed to become bishops in the Church of England because there should be no bishops. That gay marriage is wrong because marriage is wrong. Etc.

    The idea that God is not a personal being is widely debated:

    Among philosophers and theologians today, one of the most important dividing lines is the one separating those who advocate a personal conception of God (personal theism) from those who embrace the idea of a God beyond or without being (alterity theism). There is not much dialogue between these groups of scholars; rather the two groups ignore each other, and each party typically believes that there is a fairly straightforward knockdown argument against the other. — Stenmark

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272037572_Competing_conceptions_of_God_The_personal_God_versus_the_God_beyond_being

    Islam is another matter again:

    The most striking difference between Christian and Muslim theologies is that while, for Christians, God is a person, Muslims worship an impersonal deity. — Legenhausen

    https://www.al-islam.org/articles/god-person-muhammad-legenhausen

    God as not a personal being is not a new concept. These thoughts leaped out to me from the OP link:

    New Theology aspires to be a universal theology. [...] New Theology values a different type of faith: faith in the facts, faith in the truth no matter how unattractive truth may be. — D'Adamo - link in OP

    Which makes it, from point of view of epistemic attitude, the same old theology as most others. "I have the truth. Believe it or be a fool."
  • Art48
    150
    New Theology aspires to be a universal theology. [...] New Theology values a different type of faith: faith in the facts, faith in the truth no matter how unattractive truth may be. — D'Adamo - link in OP

    Which makes it, from point of view of epistemic attitude, the same old theology as most others. "I have the truth. Believe it or be a fool."
    Cuthbert

    If you read further, you'll see no claim that "I have the truth" is made.For instance, the section "The Nub" has "If and when it is shown that no fundamental entity, in fact, exists, New Theology will have to be abandoned or seriously revised." And the section "New Theology: Way of Knowing" has "To find the truth, New Theology would employ, as far as possible, the best epistemological method known today, science’s way of knowing. Like science, New Theology could have no beliefs above question, no eternal, unchangeable dogma."
  • Cuthbert
    999
    It claims to be against dogma, but it shows itself to be as dogmatic as the rest. The author actually typed "New Theology aspires to be a universal theology" and "..faith in the truth...etc" without apparently hearing the echoes of theological fanaticism and whilst apparently sincerely believing himself to be undogmatic. "New Theology values a different type of faith: faith in the facts, faith in the truth no matter how unattractive truth may be." I substitute as follows: "Christianity values a different type of faith: faith in the fact of Christ's death for us upon the cross, faith in the truth of salvation, no matter how thorny the path might be." It's the same rhetoric driven by the same conviction that the speaker has right on his side in a benighted world of delusion.
  • Art48
    150
    Cuthbert, I don't agree with your assessment but there no point arguing. The link to the document is in the OP. People are free to accept your opinion of the article, or to read it themselves and draw their own conclusions.
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    There is much more sophisticated theology by people like Paul Tillich or David Bentley HartTom Storm

    What do you see as the advantage of Tillich's use of what Heidegger called the ontological difference, the difference between Being and beings, the claim that God is the non-existent ground of what exists? Perhaps "God" is an attempt to ground what needs no ground.

    Hart seems to make a similar a priori assumption. He makes the distinction between what is necessary and what is contingent and applies it in toto to existence, as if what is true of the relationship between things that exist must be true of the relationship between what exists and God. Since everything in the world is contingent, there must be something non-contingent which they rely upon. There is here a shift from ontological necessity to logical necessity.
  • Art48
    150
    Overall I think to pillory the Bible for being taken as some kind of positivist text is too easy and for atheists, highlighting the absurdity of fundamentalist's beliefs and interpretations is also undemanding work. This is the shallow end of the pool. There is much more sophisticated theology by people like Paul Tillich or David Bentley Hart one could consider.Tom Storm

    I agree. But the “shallow end of the pool” is occupied by, let’s say, 100 million people whereas the Tillich and Hart end is occupied by, let’s say, 100,000 people (using arbitrary numbers to make a point). I’d say addressing the shallow end is worthwhile, especially because such people vote.
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    I’d say addressing the shallow end is worthwhile, especially because such people vote.Art48

    Well put and I agree. But perhaps here on a philosophy site it's a little rudimentary.
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    What do you see as the advantage of Tillich's use of what Heidegger called the ontological difference, the difference between Being and beings, the claim that God is the non-existent ground of what exists? Perhaps "God" is an attempt to ground what needs no ground.Fooloso4

    You tell me - I don't claim to understand it. To argue, as Tillich and Hart seem to do, that God is being itself but not a being leads us where? For me the notion that God is not personal but 'the ground of all being' is where you end up when the mainstream 'fairytale' no longer has traction. Is this a retreat into a type of symbolic mysticism, or is it a more sophisticated, existentialist construction of old ideas? For Tillich, when one tries to argue that god exists, you are denying him - I think that's the quote. I come to atheism as someone who has no sensus divinitatis (with apologies to Calvin). Arguments like this are fun but often seem to be like a pissing competition to redeem the idea of god by embracing greater and greater abstractions.

    What do you make of Bentley Hart?
  • Art48
    150
    To argue, as Tillich and Hart seem to do, that God is being itself but not a being leads us where? For me the notion that God is not personal but 'the ground of all being' is where you end up when the mainstream 'fairytale' no longer has traction.Tom Storm

    I don't claim to know what Tillich or Hart have in mind, but "God is being itself but not a being" suggests to me that God, like the Hindu Brahman, is existence itself, the ultimate ground of all existent beings, not a "being" in the sense of a separate, individual entity.
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    Indeed and the speculative constructions and reinventions can go on forever. But why?
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    ... to redeem the idea of god by embracing greater and greater abstractions.Tom Storm

    That is how it seems to me as well. It is as if he looks at all the problems that arise when claims of God are made and ends up defining God out of existence.

    What do you make of Bentley Hart?Tom Storm

    From the little I know of him, he looks to me to be a classical theist, although I am aware that he is frequently at odds with the classical theist Edward Feser. As I mentioned above I do not find his use of the classical argument based on the distinction between contingent beings and a necessary being at all convincing:

    Hart seems to make a similar a priori assumption. He makes the distinction between what is necessary and what is contingent and applies it in toto to existence, as if what is true of the relationship between things that exist must be true of the relationship between what exists and God. Since everything in the world is contingent, there must be something non-contingent which they rely upon. There is here a shift from ontological necessity to logical necessity.Fooloso4
  • Gnomon
    2.6k
    ↪Art48
    Indeed and the speculative constructions and reinventions can go on forever. But why?
    Tom Storm
    Finally, at least that's a philosophical question, not a physical "how" question. So, it's appropriate for The Philosophical Forum. It's so important to humans that sages have been trying to answer it for thousands of years. But, it's even more difficult than a moon-shot, because we know exactly where that shining orb is located. So maybe, Art is trying to suggest a new way (a logical extension ladder?) to get closer to that ancient quest. Remember, "they said it couldn't be done". But then, someone said we'll do it, "not because it is easy, but because it's hard".

    Perhaps we tackle the hard questions, because we like challenges. Maybe it's because you and I exist, and we have no better explanation for temporal contingent existence, than something self-existent, hence not subject to space-time attacks. If the god-question does not interest you, perhaps an empirical science forum would suit you better. Philosophy is about immaterial Ideas, not material objects. It's reasonable to be skeptical of unsupported ideas, but the only support for philosophy is logical reasoning (i.e. other ideas).

    Is philosophy a pointless pastime? Or is human Reason a way of seeing without eyes, and Knowing without direct experience? Are the posters on this forum just talking cartoon animals? Or, is there a good reason for speculating beyond the limits of the senses? Are we on this forum just pounding words, for no better reason than a quick snack?

    I know you know better than that. And you have seen plenty of tired Old arguments before. But Art's argument is philosophical, not empirical, rational, not religious. It's not necessarily true, but maybe, he has some good points, that are not easily defeated by tired old "show me the money" retorts. Logical relationships can only be deconstructed by better logical arguments. Admissions of exasperation don't count. Just sayin. :cool:

    15870.jpg

  • Tom Storm
    5k
    When I ask questions it’s often to discover what others think and why. I may already have a tentative ‘answer’ and may be personally satisfied, despite the perceived tone. I come here mainly to see how people manage ideas and perhaps augment my own views along the way. I have an interest in philosophy while science doesn’t much interest me. I don't think there is a correct approach to philosophy or subjects that don't count.

    Are the posters on this forum just talking cartoon animals? Or, is there a good reason for speculating beyond the limits of the senses? Are we on this forum just pounding words, for no better reason than a quick snack?Gnomon

    I think we are just pounding words, and testing ideas we are cartoon animals and searchers for truth.
  • Gnomon
    2.6k
    Are the posters on this forum just talking cartoon animals? Or, is there a good reason for speculating beyond the limits of the senses? Are we on this forum just pounding words, for no better reason than a quick snack? — Gnomon
    I think we are just pounding words, and testing ideas we are cartoon animals and searchers for truth.
    Tom Storm
    OK. Fair enough. Though dismissive of word-pounding Philosophers. But, when philosophical searchers go looking for truth, is there any good reason to explore beyond the limits of human senses, and their mechanical extensions? That's what Art seems to be doing with his "mold theory of personal gods". I'd never heard of that particular argument, but it seems reasonable enough. Not necessarily true, but worth thinking about.

    Ancient humans knew nothing about modern Science, so they depended on Intuition for answers to questions that were not obvious. The only causal actors they were familiar with, were intentional animals & humans. So, they could be forgiven for assigning personal intention to the invisible forces of Nature. We now call it "Energy", but the ancients called it "Spirit", using an analogy with invisible breath, that can leave the body at death, with no measurable physical changes.

    We now know more about internal physical changes at the precipice of death, but none of them individually accounts for the undeniable difference between a living willful human and an inanimate inert physical body. So, what is that difference? Is it some physical Quanta, as Reductionists tend to assume? Or some non-physical Qualia, as Holists postulate? If the latter, then the notion of an "invisible bodiless spirit" animating & directing Nature might make sense.

    In my own postulate-pounding, I propose Enformed Energy (Enformy : energy + information) as a meaningful description of how the random directionless accidents of Evolution, chosen & collated by Natural Selection, eventually produced intentional creatures who wonder about their own origins. That's how Evolutionary Programming works to design things that are difficult to define in advance. And that may also be the kind of abstract/mathematical/logical Creator (empty enforming mold) that Art is proposing. So, let's hear him out. :smile:


    In terms of application, Evolutionary Programming is most commonly used in constrained environments such as scheduling and routing, power systems, and designing systems
    https://towardsdatascience.com/unit-5-evolutionary-programming-cced3a00166a
    As a designer myself, I am acutely aware that design is an open-ended art. Hence difficult to define, except by describing a desired end-state (teleology). Computers are much better than humans for pounding-away at seemingly pointless mathematical computations of value & probability.

    We mold clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that makes the vessel useful. We fashion wood for a house, but it is the emptiness inside that makes it livable. We work with the substantial, but the emptiness is what we use.
    ___Tao Te Ching
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