• Maureen
    51
    Just think of it like this. Before the Bible or any other religious text was written, or more specifically before its respective religion came about, did that religion have a God as far as humans knew? You could argue that no one knows the answer to this, but more than likely the answer is no, since the God of any religion only necessarily came to fruition or came to be recognized in conjunction with the onset of that religion. In other words, before Christianity came about, there may as well have been no Christian God. I will not argue that there could have been a Christian God even before Christianity came about, but unless humans were aware of His presence before the onset of Christianity (which is impossible to determine, but again very unlikely), then no one among us can argue that He existed before then. The conclusion that we would have to draw, therefore, is that this God is only a result of the development of the Christian religion, or in other words only exists in conjunction with the Christian religion. The same argument could be made for the God(s) of any other religion, in that they only exist in conjunction with their respective religions. Like I said any of these Gods could exist and could have existed without respect to their given religion, but it is impossible to make that argument unless humans were aware of the presence of any of the Gods before their religion came about, which in itself cannot be proven.
  • Maureen
    51
    To add to what I have said, consider that Islam was founded as recently as the 7th century, and Christianity only 600 years prior. From this it should be relatively easy to establish that humans were not aware of the presence of a God for either of these religions specifically until the religions themselves were founded, which means that no one among us can prove that the Gods don't exist solely in conjunction with the founding of their religions. This would indicate that they in fact only exist as a result of their religions.
  • PoeticUniverse
    592
    This would indicate that they in fact only exist as a result of their religions.Maureen

    The particular God definition, as a Christian-type God, didn't exist before it was defined, but that type of God might well exist before anyone defines Him.
  • Maureen
    51
    The particular God definition, as a Christian-type God, didn't exist before it was defined, but that type of God might well exist before anyone defines Him.
    In that case, let's assume for instance that the object that we know of today as the Rosetta Stone was not defined as such until the 7th century, even if it existed and was known about prior to the 7th century. The stone could have existed and humans could have been aware of it prior to it being defined as the Rosetta Stone, but it cannot be assumed that the stone does not exist or it was simply made up as a story regardless of whether humans had witnessed or were aware of it prior to its defining, because the stone is tangible and can and has been witnessed by multiple humans since its defining, and therefore it does clearly exist in spite of anything. But the same argument cannot be made for any God. Unlike the Rosetta Stone, it can indeed be assumed that any God does not exist or was made up in conjunction with their respective religions, and the reason why is because Gods are not tangible and cannot be physically witnessed, and for this reason we also don't know if humans were aware of or considered the presence of any given God before the God was defined in conjunction with its religion. On the other hand we have to assume that this was not the case, because I don't know how anyone could be aware of something that cannot be seen or witnessed physically unless this thing (God) is defined. How else would any human have been aware of its presence?
  • PoeticUniverse
    592
    How else would any human have been aware of its presence?Maureen

    As you say, God cannot be witnessed, so, no one is aware even now, in any way that can be proved; so, then, even religions say that in lieu of fact, there is but 'faith' that the unknown unshowable intangible is God.

    Remember that the most often asked question is something like "Where did everything come from?".
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    In other words, before Christianity came about, there may as well have been no Christian God. I will not argue that there could have been a Christian God even before Christianity came about, but unless humans were aware of His presence before the onset of Christianity (which is impossible to determine, but again very unlikely), then no one among us can argue that He existed before then.Maureen

    Christians certainly believe that God existed before their religion did. He created the world. If you don't believe that, you're not really a Christian. If you don't believe in God, or at least a God, your question doesn't make any sense.

    Although I don't think this affects the substance of your question, the Old Testament of the Christian Bible was written long before the birth of Christ. Judaism has been around for ~4,000 years.

    Also, it would be very helpful if you would put more paragraph breaks in your posts. Without the breaks, they are much harder to read.
  • Reshuffle
    27
    Let’s say, arguendo, that religion x is a necessary condition for any god(s) or for ( big G) God’s existence. We then must grant, per that defining religious script(ure), that God is transcendent and omnipresent.

    No point in being or creating a god if it’s the same as being a citizen.

    Well, if God is transcendent or omnipresent according to the same religion which you submit was alone responsible for God’s origin, de novo, then exactly when did the whole transcendent quality unfold?

    I’m pretty sure there’s no start or expiration date. Just saying.
  • Maureen
    51
    For those of you who don't want to read the entire post and just want a summary, it basically comes down to you would have no way to know about any God if they had not been defined by anything (such as religion), since you also cannot physically see them. So therefore how would you know they existed in the absence of religion? If you would not know that they exist in the absence of religion, then defining/connecting them religion only shows that they supposedly exist, but you still have no way of knowing since you can't see them.
    It would be like if I said a creature exists and I called him Seymour but Seymour cannot be physically seen, you would not have any concept of Seymour or any way to know about him if I had not defined him since you can't see him.
  • PoeticUniverse
    592
    So therefore how would you know they existed in the absence of religion?Maureen

    One might likely suppose that the Earth got made by a larger version of us, since we make smaller things.
  • Reshuffle
    27
    Also, I think you’re 1) conflating atheism and agnosticism and b) presupposing that atheism is an argument for God’s nonexistence. The latter would be limited to “hard” atheism; atheism (a-theism) per se is simply (defined as) an absence of theistic belief (theism), not an affirmative belief that God doesn’t exist.

    That is, everyone is born an atheist.
  • fresco
    434

    You are correct from the pov that 'existence' is relative, not absolute.

    i.e.. Nothing 'exists' before it is conceptualised/languaged/ thinged by humans within their socially evolving language. Even the 'thing' we call 'time' only 'exists' relative to human planning purposes, such that 'things existing before human observers' is a useful process we operate NOW, in which we picture a primative world in our mind eye.

    This relativistic principle can be applied to any 'thing' conceptualised, from 'rocks' to 'gods', but the problem with 'God' (capital G) is that its psychological and social function rests heavily on its eternal connotations, thereby making it a potential exception to the rule. Of course the sub-properties of such a 'God' tend to be defined with particular religions according to their needs.

    NB.The axiomatic antithesis/denial of 'thinging' by humans is expressed by the biblical adage...
    'In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God'.
  • god must be atheist
    574
    @Maureen, I often wonder how there are two different One and Only Gods, or three, at minimum. If you ask any truly believing Christian, Muslim or Jew, they will say: There is only 1 god, and my god is the one and only true god.

    I could never get my head around this. If there is only one god, how can the one god be different from himself? Truly, the Christian god is not the same as the Jewish god, and the Muslim god is just yet different from the two. In fact, all three are different from each other, yet only one god exists, these followers insists.

    BRRRZZ. (Shakes his head as if to get a buzzing bug out of his brain via the ear canal.)
  • Maureen
    51
    Also, I think you’re 1) conflating atheism and agnosticism and b) presupposing that atheism is an argument for God’s nonexistence. The latter would be limited to “hard” atheism; atheism (a-theism) per se is simply (defined as) an absence of theistic belief (theism), not an affirmative belief that God doesn’t exist.

    That is, everyone is born an atheist.

    This is actually indeed part of the point that I was trying to make. As you say "everyone is/(was) born an atheist," and that includes those who were born prior to the founding of any religion and the defining of their subsequent God.

    On the other hand, if, as you say and as I agree, everyone is born an atheist, then it automatically follows that no one has or will have any concept of a defined God without being introduced to the concept, and from this we can conclude that no human was aware of any Gods before they were defined or identified by their respective religions, and as such Gods as we know them may as well have not existed prior to that since existence is relative, not absolute, and there is nothing to define Gods other than their alleged existence (I.E. they cannot be physically seen).

    Of course this does not eliminate the possibility that Gods could still have existed prior to being defined by their respective religions, but this argues against the relative existence theory, as this theory also necessarily applies to and does not forgo the people who defined or introduced the concept of Gods in the first place. These people, in other words, could not have truly had any concept of Gods to give them identities, since it has been established that no human could have been aware of a God's hypothetical presence in order to define them or give them a name/identity, and so it follows that the presence of Gods is itself undefined/undetermined for that reason.

    You might also consider that existence is binary, I.E. something either exists or it doesn't, even though existence is not contingent upon whether or not the thing has been defined.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k


    Why wouldn't your argument work for something like the sun, or Mount Olympus?
  • Coben
    770
    It seems like you are stating a conclusion. I read the post and it seems like it is presented as deduction, when in fact it is just a conclusion.Might be the correct conclusion, but it doesn't seem like an argument.
  • Maureen
    51
    Why wouldn't your argument work for something like the sun, or Mount Olympus?
    Because unlike Gods, the existence of the sun or mount Olympus can be established by their physical presence since they can be seen. There is no disputing their existence in spite of them being defined by someone at some point, because they can be said to have existed by pure nature of the fact that they can be seen, and therefore whoever identified them knew of their presence by seeing them. Meanwhile, because Gods cannot (and could never) be physically seen, this poses a challenge as to what their existence is contingent upon, or how their existence was conceptualized by those who initially defined them.
  • Maureen
    51
    It seems like you are stating a conclusion. I read the post and it seems like it is presented as deduction, when in fact it is just a conclusion.
    It is more like a deduction that is being used to come to a conclusion, but yes, you are correct.
  • Wayfarer
    8.2k
    Your questions all seem to revolve around the same issue, but, and pardon me for being blunt, your perspective is lacking depth.

    What we understand as ‘The bible’ was not, for most of its history, a printed text, let alone a mass-produced printed book, of which we now have vast numbers. It was handed down as memorised and recited accounts of witnessings, prophecies, and miraculous events (as was all the religious lore in the ancient cultures) whereby it was believed God revealed himself to mankind - specifically, the Jewish people.

    Now, don’t take that as an argument for why you should believe it - by all means, don’t. But the context of those early cultures, 'the word' was received with fear and awe, and with the sense that everything depended on it. At the time, it wasn’t ‘religion’ at all, at least not in the way we now understand it, but simply ‘the Law’.

    So to begin with, the reality of ‘the Lord’ was not a conceptual matter and didn’t become so until centuries later, with the advent of reading and philosophy. I suspect that the sense of the reality of what we now casually and hypothetically call 'God' was literally awe-inspiring. Religious rituals were ways of re-enacting these cardinal events, as scholar Mircea Eliade showed, it was a way of connecting to the 'sacred order' of the eternal which stood in sharp distinction from the ordinary time of the world

    In any case, ‘before the Bible was written down’, there was the recited lore of Moses going up to Mt Sinai and there witnessing a bush that seemed on fire, but was not consumed by the fire, and hearing the divine commandments, which he brought back. That was the context of the 'discovery' of what we now casually refer to, or dismiss, as 'God', the stuff of innumerable arguments.

    So, as I'm saying, don't believe it, but also don't believe that your (pardon me again) facile and not-even-undergraduate understanding of the phenomenon of religion, actually provides any basis on which to make the judgement you are seeking to arrive at.
  • S
    11.3k
    Before the Bible or any other religious text was written, or more specifically before its respective religion came about, did that religion have a God as far as humans knew?Maureen

    Your question actually makes no sense. You ask, before a religion came about, did that religion have a God. But obviously there was no such religion. So the reference fails.

    But there might still have existed a God, and that might have even been known, and that there was a God at that time might even be known by someone now, but obviously anyone actually claiming these things is deluded or a joker.
  • god must be atheist
    574
    But there might still have existed a God,S

    If there was a god, then perhaps it, as an entity, worshipped himself or herself. Therefore God as such can be a self-creating entity, or more precisely, a self-supportive enitity once it has come into existence.

    Carrying this over to the other side: if and when God has been around for ever in the past, then there is no creator needed for god's existenc, only a worshipper to sustain its existence; and the worship may come from an already existing entity, god himself or herself.

    , therefore the proposition by the OP is moot, inasmuch as human beings are not necessary to sustain such a god that is only sustainable by worship / faith.
  • god must be atheist
    574
    Your question actually makes no sense.S

    To me it makes sense. @Maureen is not asking if ANY god was in existence; the OP is asking if the particular god of the particular religion was in existence.

    This is contentious, because some religions claim their god has been in existence for ever (muslims, jews, christians); yet prior to their religion's beginning, there was no spiritual or worshipped evidence of THOSE gods precisely. A god which has been in existence forever, must have had some traces of himself or herself before a religion adopted it as its own.
  • S
    11.3k
    To me it makes sense.god must be atheist

    Yes, because you interpret it other than how it was worded. I can do that, too.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    Because unlike Gods, the existence of the sun or mount Olympus can be established by their physical presence since they can be seen.Maureen

    Then how about microorganisms. Did Lewenhook bring them into existence?
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    A god which has been in existence forever, must have had some traces of himself or herself before a religion adopted it as its own.god must be atheist

    Some trace, like the world, for example.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    Because unlike Gods, the existence of the sun or mount Olympus can be established by their physical presence since they can be seen. There is no disputing their existence in spite of them being defined by someone at some point, because they can be said to have existed by pure nature of the fact that they can be seen, and therefore whoever identified them knew of their presence by seeing them.Maureen

    First, the question is why we can't say this about the sun re prior to writing about it, the sun didn't exist, or at least there's no way to "prove" that it existed.

    If experiencing the thing in question sensorily is all that's required, surely some religious folks--and often the ones who wrote religious texts, claim to have sensorily experienced god.

    You could argue that most people do not, but then we can just change the question to "Why couldn't we make the same argument about subatomic particles?"

    Not that I'm religious, by the way. I'm an atheist. But what I care about is whether the argument works. It doesn't, but I want you to figure out for yourself why it doesn't work, which is what I'm trying to guide you towards.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    Truly, the Christian god is not the same as the Jewish god, and the Muslim god is just yet different from the two.god must be atheist

    That’s what the Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe, but what does God think?
  • S
    11.3k
    Then how about microorganisms. Did Lewenhook bring them into existence?T Clark

    No, because there's a difference between science and science fiction.

    But there's no reason to believe that God is like microorganisms.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    That’s what the Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe,T Clark

    I wouldn't be so quick to generalize there. I'd bet plenty believe that the god of different religions isn't any different. They'd think that the differences are relics of the "translations" basically.
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    i.e.. Nothing 'exists' before it is conceptualized/languaged/ thinged by humans within their socially evolving language. Even the 'thing' we call 'time' only 'exists' relative to human planning purposes, such that 'things existing before human observers' is a useful process we operate NOW, in which we picture a primative world in our mind eye.....This relativistic principle can be applied to any 'thing' conceptualised, from 'rocks' to 'gods',fresco

    I think this a valuable way of looking at things, but most people don’t. I wouldn’t call it “relativistic” though. I think it’s the least relativistic thing possible. As Lao Tzu wrote:

    “I don't know who gave birth to [the Tao].
    It is older than God.”
  • T Clark
    4.1k
    I wouldn't be so quick to generalize there. I'd bet plenty believe that the god of different religions isn't any different. They'd think that the differences are relics of the "translations" basically.Terrapin Station

    I think you’re probably right.
  • Maureen
    51
    If experiencing the thing in question sensorily is all that's required, surely some religious folks--and often the ones who wrote religious texts, claim to have sensorily experienced god
    This could very easily be the case, but to argue that is to say that those who wrote the religious texts had themselves only had ideas or witnessed things that would cause them to believe they had experienced God sensorily. This still does not change anything about my initial argument, though, which was that Gods are not tangible things whose presence has ever been physically seen.

    If those who wrote religious texts claimed to have experienced God sensorily, that is no different than them suddenly claiming that there is a being that exists which they decided to call God (or whatever name you want to apply), then writing texts over a period of time about this being and things that He supposedly did. But how does any of this make it any more likely that the being exists? In general, to experience something by sight is to prove that it exists, but God cannot be experienced in this manner, or any other manner for that matter. I.E. God cannot be heard, touched, smelled, etc. so by this logic no human could truly have experienced God sensorily in spite of their claims.
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