• Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    Well.. what do you believe?

    What do you mean when you say God? or gods..?
    1. Do you believe in a creator? (41 votes)
        Yes - 1 God.
        29%
        Yes - 1> gods
          2%
        No - 0 gods
        56%
        not sure.
        12%
  • T Clark
    3k


    I didn't vote because I didn't like the choices. Here's from the Tao Te Ching:

    The Tao is like a well:
    used but never used up.
    It is like the eternal void:
    filled with infinite possibilities. It is hidden but always present.
    I don't know who gave birth to it.
    It is older than God.

    I believe that the concept of god or gods is a reasonable approach to understanding the world. The concept is created by humans. More accurately, it is a reflection of an interaction between the world inside us and the world outside us. The question of whether this kind of god exists is not a question answerable with a yes or no answer. This is one of the themes you will hear over and over in my posts.

    As for whether or not a living or sentient God who takes or has taken an active role in the physical world, which is a question answerable with a yes or no, I don't have an opinion.
  • NKBJ
    316
    Nope. Not even a little bit. I put gods in the same box as Santa, chimeras, and Atlantis. Useful perhaps as allegories, but nothing more.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    It is older than God.T Clark

    If God is something that had no beginning, would the Tao not be God?



    What do you mean by God though? How do you define the thing you don’t think exists?
  • T Clark
    3k
    If God is something that had no beginning, would the Tao not be God?Mr Phil O'Sophy

    I think the quote from the Tao Te Ching is pretty clear. The Tao comes before god..

    What do you mean by God though? How do you define the thing you don’t think exists?Mr Phil O'Sophy

    I discussed two types of god/God, a sentient, living God, and a god created by humans in interaction with a world outside ourselves. I didn't say I don't think and I didn't say either one or both exist.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    The concept is created by humans.T Clark

    Could one now say that is something that rests upon faith? Also, If there is a God, that is infinite etc, that wouldn’t be something which could be encapsulated in a concept, so the concept itself wouldn’t be God, and whether or not humans came up with a flawed concept to represent something inconceptualiseable, that would not be a proof that God doesn’t exist would it?
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    I think the quote from the Tao Te Ching is pretty clear. The Tao comes before god..T Clark

    I know that’s what the Tao says, but I guess what I’m asking is what does the Tao define as God? As something that has a beginning, and so is created by the Tao? That doesn’t sound like a God. But also, doesn’t that mean the Tao is More of a God than the thing it says came after it? It uses all the attributes that are used to describe the abrahamic God (it is eternal etc which would imply no beginning)

    It sounds awfully like Tao has more right to the word God than the thing that came after it or from it. The Tao is in a sense being described as the infinite creator of all things.
  • T Clark
    3k
    Could one now say that is something that rests upon faith? Also, If there is a God, that is infinite etc, that wouldn’t be something which could be encapsulated in a concept, so the concept itself wouldn’t be God, and whether or not humans came up with a flawed concept to represent something inconceptualiseable, that would not be a proof that God doesn’t exist would it?Mr Phil O'Sophy

    Again - I've described two different ways of seeing god/God. Little g god's existence is not a matter of fact, it's a way of organizing our understanding of the world like, for example, the Tao as opposed to, perhaps, objective reality. This is not a matter of faith.

    As for big G God, a sentient, living entity, as I said, I don't have an opinion. If I remember from church, many years ago, don't Christians say YHS because the true name of God is un-nameable? I may be wrong about that.
  • Furon
    24
    An active belief in a God? No.
    But I don't have an active belief in the nonexistence of God, gods, etc.
  • Noble Dust
    3.1k
    As for big G God, a sentient, living entity, as I said, I don't have an opinion. If I remember from church, many years ago, don't Christians say YHS because the true name of God is un-nameable? I may be wrong about that.T Clark

    Thats only in the Torah, and conservative Jewish sects. Evangelical Protestantism in the West, to the contrary, is all about proclaiming the name of Jesus incessantly.
  • T Clark
    3k
    Thats only in the Torah, and conservative Jewish sects. Evangelical Protestantism in the West, to the contrary, is all about proclaiming the name of Jesus incessantly.Noble Dust

    Yes, well, my grasp of religious history and theology is not extensive. I was probably mixing up two stories. I also checked - the word I was using is meant to refer to Jesus and is "IHS" not "YHS."
  • Noble Dust
    3.1k
    IHST Clark

    Interesting, I wasn’t familiar with that; looks like it’s Eastern Orthodox. I thought you were thinking of YHWH, the Tetragrammaton.
  • Maw
    1k
    Nope
  • Ciceronianus the White
    760
    "IHS" used to be seen at the tope of crucifixes. I don't know if it's still; I haven't seen one in quite a while. I'm not sure why it's there. According to the Bible, the darkly witty Pontius Pilatus had "INRI" put there, for Iesus Nazaenus Rex Iudaeorum, Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews (the Latin "j" is an "i").

    As for a creator, no. As to God, the nearest thing I can think of that would mean to me what most mean by it is what the Stoics called "Nature" when speaking of the cosmos, the embodiment of the divine.
  • T Clark
    3k
    Interesting, I wasn’t familiar with that; looks like it’s Eastern Orthodox. I thought you were thinking of YHWH, the Tetragrammaton.Noble Dust

    Yes, I think that is what I was mixing up. IHS was on the crosses in the Methodist church I went to when I was a boy.
  • NKBJ
    316
    Any definition of a god is unsatisfactory to me. I don't have or need a definition of a deity, because I don't believe in one. Most definitions are self-contradictory, like anything containing the word "omnipotent." Others are at odds with Occam's Razor--there is simply no reason to believe in any sort of deity beyond merely wishing it were so.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    because I don't believe in one.NKBJ

    fair enough, I'm not saying you need to believe in one, was just interested what it is you don't believe in.

    Most definitions are self-contradictory, like anything containing the word "omnipotent."NKBJ

    How is it contradictory? are you referring the the stone conundrum? if so i think i can explain that in a way that shows it to be an unsatisfactory criticism.

    Others are at odds with Occam's RazorNKBJ
    which ones?

    there is simply no reason to believe in any sort of deity beyond merely wishing it were so.NKBJ

    I disagree.
  • NKBJ
    316

    I'll bite: what's your solution to the stone conundrum?

    Since science has a perfectly reasonable explanation to, for example, the creation of the universe, I would be violating Occam's razor trying to come up with a fantastical creator who made it all happen in the first place.

    Also, who or what created the creator? If you're going to say the creator always was, it's just as reasonable to say the particles of the universe have always existed--more so, since I can put my hand on the result of space dust, and have no proof of any being worthy of the label of a deity.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    I'll bite: what's your solution to the stone conundrum?NKBJ

    :P awesome.

    Ok so the stone problem is presented as the following question: Can God create a stone that is so big he can't lift it?

    God - is an infinite being without limits

    Stone - by its very definition is a finite being (or thing that has beingwith limits).

    So if you take into account the nature of the subject (God) and the object (the stone) the question can be reformulated to the following:

    Can something without limits create something with limits that is bigger than the thing has no limits

    For the stone (a finite thing) to be so big that an infinite being couldn't life it, it would have to be bigger than the infinite. Which doesn't make sense, because things can't be bigger than the infinite.

    It's like asking God to make something white (the whitest thing there is) that is more black than the blackest thing there is. Or Something the wettist thing there is that is more dry than the driest place in the universe. The question itself breaks the law of non-contradiction, and so any answer that comes from the question is going to contain contradictions as a result. Not because the concept of omnipotent is contradictory, but because the one asking the questions isn't realising the problem with asking an omnipotent being such flawed questions.

    Since science has a perfectly reasonable explanation to, for example, the creation of the universe, I would be violating Occam's razor trying to come up with a fantastical creator who made it all happen in the first place.NKBJ

    Hmm, i'm not so sure about that. Here's a nice video that I think covers it (forgive the extremely cliche title of the video:


    Also, who or what created the creator?NKBJ

    The creator is by definition infinite. Infinite things have no limits. To have a beginning or an end is to have a limit and so if you're asking who created it, you're not asking about God but a finite thing (which can't be God), and is therefore only a refutation of a strawman version of God. - a Straw-God if you will. lol

    If you're going to say the creator always was, it's just as reasonable to say the particles of the universe have always existedNKBJ

    No because the particles are finite things. And so its unreasonable to say they always existed, and not unreasonable to say they have finite existence (as Science also says that the universe we exist in had a beginning, the particles within it began when it did)
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    Sorry for the length of that response. Look forward to your reply.
  • T Clark
    3k
    Since science has a perfectly reasonable explanation to, for example, the creation of the universe, I would be violating Occam's razor trying to come up with a fantastical creator who made it all happen in the first place.NKBJ

    I've never thought the scientific explanation of creation is any less "fantastical" than the theological one. The whole universe present in a dimensionless point with infinite density. That's certainly pretty fantastical. The only thing it has going for it is it seems to be an accurate view, at least within the bounds of current science.

    Occam's Razor is more an aesthetic standard than a rational one. According to Wikipedia it states "when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the one that makes the fewest assumptions." It doesn't say "when you have a perfectly reasonable explanation, you don't have to consider others."

    Also, the theological story only has one assumption - God did it.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    Also, the theological story only has one assumption - God did itT Clark
    @NKBJ
    so if we're following Occam's razor, that means we should just go with the 'God did it' theory...
    :joke:
  • NKBJ
    316

    Interesting hypothesis for sure. A couple of things I wonder though:
    1. What does it mean to be infinite versus finite?
    2. If the problem is that God is infinite while a stone is finite, why can't God create an infinite stone?


    As to the finite nature of matter in the universe-- according to our current understanding of things, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, therefore is infinite. Some people assume the Big Bang is scientists' theory of the beginning of everything, but really they consider it the beginning of the current version of the universe which has been going through series of Big Bangs, expansions, implosions, restarts for an infinity of time.

    God did it.T Clark

    Very cute! However, let's not conflate the ease of saying something with the total sum of assumptions, premises, and logical leaps which have to be made in order to get to that conclusion, or at least for that conclusion to hold water. Occam's razor doesn't state that we should go with the pithiest phrase, but that the whole rationale for it should be as simple as possible. The way I see it, the believer would have to believe pretty much everything I believe in (unless s/he sticks to the exact word of the Bible or other religious text) +1 (at least), that 1 being God.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    The only thing it has going for it is it seems to be an accurate view, at least within the bounds of current science.T Clark

    That seems like a bizarre method of judgement you've got going on there. The only thing it has going for it is it seems to be an accurate view. What other things might a theory have going for it? That it's quite nicely written? That it scans well?
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    This was a great video actually.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    What does it mean to be infinite versus finite?NKBJ

    They’re opposites. Like white and black. By definition they are opposed to one another.

    The infinite is that which has no limits (limitless).
    Finite is the opposite, it is confined to its limits.

    So to ask for something that is limited, to be made less limited than that which has no limits is a bit of a higeldy pigeldy question to be asking.

    Also the question itself, is anthropomorphic. To picture a scenario where you are asking God to pick something up you are presupposing that God would be affected by gravity, and that being unable to lift the stone means he has become limited by something which effects limited things living on limited planets. Also to pick something up again implies having a body, which is also limited. But if god is infinite His Being is beyond bodily form, which is for finite things alone.

    2. If the problem is that God is infinite while a stone is finite, why can't God create an infinite stone?NKBJ

    Because that again is a contradiction in terms. There can only be one infinite thing. If the infinite is that which has no limits, then if you say there are two infinite’s you are saying that infinite #1 is limited to infinite #1 and does not contain infinite #2 and vice versa. Which means it’s a limited being not a limitless being.

    If you have multiples of something, the particulars are not the infinite. The infinite contains all of the particulars, if that makes sense? If not let me know and i’ll try explain it a little better

    Infinite is everything and more, A+B+C+D.....(without end)

    Infinite is not (A but not B & B but not A)

    So if you ask an infinite being to make another infinite thing so there are two infinite things, you have misunderstood what infinite means. Which is a fault of the questioner, not a fault in God.

    As to the finite nature of matter in the universe-- according to our current understanding of things, energy can neither be created nor destroyed, therefore is infiniteNKBJ

    That conclusion doesn’t follow because you missed out the next part of that scientific statement. Energy can neither be created not destroyed, it can only change form an atom does not exist for eternity. It is not infinite, the energy that makes it up may not be destroyed, but it does change form. And each thing it becomes has a finite life span.

    The energy that makes up your body may not be destroyed, but that does not make you infinite. It means the source of your being (energy) is infinite (God) who is the source of all power, and he gives and takes it away from who He wills.

    Some people assume the Big Bang is scientists' theory of the beginning of everything, but really they consider it the beginning of the current version of the universe which has been going through series of Big Bangs, expansions, implosions, restarts for an infinity of time.NKBJ

    This is as much of a leap of faith as belief in God. It is not an empirical observation. And they are not sure because it can’t be proved via the scientific method. It is an untestable hypotheses. You’re welcome to hold it as a belief, but then you are holding a religious belief, one which contains no God, but religious none the less (in the sense that you are holding the untestable and unprovable belief based on pure faith)

    I will admit it is an incredibly interesting theory, it’s one I held myself when I was younger (I was a massive fan of ‘Through the worm hole with Morgan Freeman’) but eventually I gave it up.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    966
    This was a great video actually.Agustino

    Yeah it’s awesome isn’t it. I really like the physicist as well he explains things so clearly.
  • T Clark
    3k
    ....let's not conflate the ease of saying something with the total sum of assumptions, premises, and logical leaps which have to be made in order to get to that conclusion, or at least for that conclusion to hold water. Occam's razor doesn't state that we should go with the pithiest phrase, but that the whole rationale for it should be as simple as possible.NKBJ

    As I said in my post, Occam's Razor has no particular rational basis beyond "seems like a good idea to me." That doesn't provide any authoritative answer. So, you're really just saying that it seems to you a scientific explanation is better than a theological one.

    The way I see it, the believer would have to believe pretty much everything I believe in (unless s/he sticks to the exact word of the Bible or other religious text) +1 (at least), that 1 being God.NKBJ

    I don't see that at all, but that wasn't my point. I was saying that you can't legitimately use Occam's Razor as a rational argument. Also, for what it's worth, it only really makes sense when two opposing theories are otherwise equivalent, which I don't think is what you believe.
  • T Clark
    3k
    That seems like a bizarre method of judgement you've got going on there. The only thing it has going for it is it seems to be an accurate view. What other things might a theory have going for it? That it's quite nicely written? That it scans well?Pseudonym

    You are ignoring the context of my statement. NKBJ said that the theological argument is fantastical. I said I believe the scientific argument is just as fantastical. We don't choose one over the other because one is more or less fantastical than the other, we choose because one explains our observations better, which, in my opinion, the scientific argument does.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    I understand.The way you worded it confused me, it made it sound like accuracy was a minor benefit among a whole range of equally viable attractions. Apologies if I misrepresented you.
  • Sivad
    143
    I've always had trouble believing in a theistic creator because of the problem of evil as well as the flaws and imperfections in nature, but I'm also pretty strongly committed to the existence of a necessary being because brute facts just don't seem at all plausible to me. I guess I believe in something like a Divine Singularity that doesn't deliberately create but somehow unintentionally induces or inspires the world into existence.
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