• uncanni
    273
    It would imply that one couldn't discern intervention from no intervention as they would be functionally the same.Shamshir

    That's the idea, and thus we can eliminate the anthropomorphic and somewhat parental notion that God causes this and that to happen--like maybe global warming is simply God's latest version of the Flood because humanity has become so irritating and noxious again.

    As I've stated somewhere above, I eliminate completely the image of God in the patriarchal, gendered image. It seems sophomoric, naive, to me.
  • uncanni
    273
    Quantum entanglement far apart in space shows that connections are more primary than distance.PoeticUniverse

    That is so cool; I read that and I got really happy.
  • Wayfarer
    8.6k
    In one sense, the question only makes sense in a 'community of discourse'. And that community of discourse no longer exists, or rather, culture and society have fractured into many communities of discourse. And as these communities of discourse no longer have a sense of shared understanding, their conception of such questions are essentially incommensurable, i.e. there is no common standard by which to define them.

    So in order to make sense of 'God talk' at all, one has to first be able to imaginatively enter into the community of discourse within which it is meaningful. But as can be seen in this and many other such threads, there is often an unwillingness to do even that.

    But the second issue, and a more profound one, is that any description, if it amounts to an image, really amounts to a form of idolatry. Idolatry sounds such a remote and archaic fault, something that the ancients would be found guilty of. But for the grand tradition of theism, any idea of God whatever, and so anything which can be described, must be hopelessly mistaken, and a projection or a phantasm. God is known, according to the mystics, by unknowing, by plunging into the 'abyss' or the 'desert' or 'the cloud of unknowing'. Trying to communicate that reality by description can only ever amount to a platitude - better not to try!
  • Fine Doubter
    97
    Poetic Universe, and Uncanni, the interesting scenarios you describe are only part, in my view, of the panoply of different theologies that peoples and cultures worldwide, and during history, have and have had.

    To some peoples it is as you have variously described and to others "god" is a quite small bit player. The elements Zhoubotong lists only refer to a subset of candidates for "God" even with a capital G.

    In my opinion the word "god" is a job title (like "cook" in the "great houses") and the variety pans out from there, never to be exclusively pinned down.

    The questions you Uncanni are asking are in cosmology, and physicists are doing a lot of maths on this, which is based somewhat on observations, albeit with rather sophisticated equipment. They feed into branches of philosophy like ontology, while philosophy of science (e.g in the need to continually pose more hypotheses) feeds into it. For those who are interested in religions which include these matters there is additionally a philosophy of religion angle.

    The statement by Poetic Universe on quantum entanglement is inspiring, in the light of what (littlish) I know about it having dropped out of physical science for too many years, the features of reality give me much joy also.

    Necessity, eternal, and existence (Poetic Universe), are vital and exciting questions, that come into "god" questions for some people, as well as having far wider relevance anyway.

    Uncanni, we can and must choose what images to accept or not, nonetheless I took the OP as inviting a general survey. To my mind the answer is staggeringly general and diverse. Wayfarer touches on this and I would further add that in those religions which are supposed to be deeper, there may sometimes be a duty on leading members to help members to not obscure truths from the public when or if they would be helpful.
  • Shamshir
    856
    I don't think that leads to the elimination of anything; influencing this and that is still a possibility.

    As for personification - completely eliminating any imagery won't do.
    The image that has affronted you, though it be no exact representation - is valid.
    It's good to consider that the notion of father, does not directly imply the semblance of an earthly father; though it's easy to see how that could be manuevered as a political design.
  • uncanni
    273
    We can also devolve if low-life's have more children than better people, but, of course, what happens pretty much has toPoeticUniverse

    I think that's what we've been doing for thousands of years--perhaps throughout our existence as a species--which, as we know, is a lil drop in the bucket of time as regards life on this planet. So sometimes I imagine this micro-second of our existence as homo sapiens in the broader context of all the golden star dust exploding out of the big bang which we were a part of, molecularly speaking. And of course, our molecules were around for all the previous big bangs; I mean, we've always been around in some form or another;

    I've read essays on topics like the history of childhood which make it so painfully clear what a primitive and savage species we are. We still haven't figured out how to raise our offspring. I conclude that most if not all human beings are emotionally damaged, and I often wonder if the majority is more like Hitler and the nazis, or less like them and more like their victims. Alice Miller, the German psychologist, wrote a book detailing the parental behavior which was the norm in Germany prior to Nazism's rise, and she basically says the Germans had been reared for generations to be completely seduced and enthralled by a character like Hitler. They were ripe for fascism. People are incredibly cruel to children because they were treated cruelly and abused, and it seems like a perpetual inheritance for our species so far.

    I think the species will most-likely self-destruct before it comes to a place of self-understanding and control over and sublimation of aggressive behavior into truly constructive behavior.
  • uncanni
    273
    I don't see how ideas like those listed above can possibly lead to any type of consensus.ZhouBoTong

    I don't seek consensus--especially not about God. I explain my terms as best I can and will be glad to expand and clarify.
  • uncanni
    273
    It's good to consider that the notion of father, does not directly imply the semblance of an earthly father; though it's easy to see how that could be manuevered as a political design.Shamshir

    Which I believe it always has been. It's the essence of patriarchy. I've been studying a little about Isaac Luria's kabbalistic system and its sexism broke my heart. He couldn't have subordinated female to male any more thoroughly. This is why I'm working on a genderless understanding of God, except that metaphorically, I see the cosmos as a womb. Luria saw semen as the most sacred fluid in the cosmos, but I ask, what good is semen without an egg? The egg and the womb are nowhere to be seen in his mysticism. I'm moving beyond that. Perhaps all God is is Mother Nature on the cosmic level...
  • Shamshir
    856
    Luria saw semen as the most sacred fluid in the cosmos, but I ask, what good is semen without an egg? The egg and the womb are nowhere to be seen in his mysticism. I'm moving beyond that. Perhaps all God is is Mother Nature on the cosmic level...uncanni
    The reason he, and others before him tend to put it at the front - is because of its active role in conception. It's transmutation versus substance, or in simpler terms - player vs piece.

    I wonder, though, if he supposedly omits the extensive female imagery throughout Hebrew literature, why study him?
  • fresco
    549

    You correct about your 'community of discourse', and that is why the OP 'atheism' issue is a straw man since atheists by definition are not members of those communities.
  • hachit
    214
    well normally God is defined as the best thing you can imagine but better.
    But if that doesn't work we could try a transcendent being that is in "the world" but not of "the world".
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    And @Pattern-chaser, let me know if us atheist-types are supposed to butt-out of this one...ZhouBoTong

    Not at all, but I think the privilege of describing God should be offered first to theists. That makes sense, doesn't it? :chin:
  • uncanni
    273
    The reason he, and others before him tend to put it at the front - is because of its active role in conception. It's transmutation versus substance, or in simpler terms - player vs piece.Shamshir

    I don't buy that for a minute as a justification, as if the sperm were any more active than the egg. Your statement comes from inside the philosophy that I'm trying to stand outside of. The sperm is futile without the egg; the egg is empty without the sperm.

    Why study Luria? If I don't study Luria and other kabbalists, how will I be able to add my voice, present my argument, create a non-sexist, non-gendered Jewish mysticism??? If I can't take the heat, I'd better stay out of the kitchen; but I can take the heat, so I'm in the fray.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    "All knowing" and "All powerful" (with both power and knowledge being unconstrained by the laws of physics) seem to be the minimum requirements...right?ZhouBoTong

    It is generally agreed that 'God' with a capital 'G' denotes a being who has at least the following attributes essentially: perfection, omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence and the creator of everything. [...] surely that those attributes are essential is not seriously in dispute?Bartricks

    That doesn't work for me. Beliefs vary widely, of course, and the details of my personal beliefs aren't important here, but the God I venerate is not a creator-God, for a start; and I don't care to speculate on what omni-s She may or may not exhibit, when I know so little of Her nature (etc). Perhaps belief just spreads too far to accommodate in one description? :chin:
  • AJJ
    621


    It seems the most powerful descriptions of God are those made by the Aristotelian argument from motion or the Neo-Platonic argument from composition, to give two examples. Both get you to a purely actual actualiser (the ultimate ongoing source of everything) to which you can add for logical reasons the divine attributes of immutability, eternality, immateriality, perfection, goodness, omnipotence, omniscience and intelligence. To be an atheist for intellectual (as opposed to purely emotional) reasons it appears to be those descriptions you’re (speaking generally) up against in providing refutations, or at least compelling rebuttals, of theism.
  • Shamshir
    856
    I don't buy that for a minute as a justification, as if the sperm were any more active than the egg. Your statement comes from inside the philosophy that I'm trying to stand outside of. The sperm is futile without the egg; the egg is empty without the sperm.uncanni
    Why are you so aggravated over this? It's merely a lack of symbiosis.
    The sperm can do more than merely impregnate the egg cell; one is a producer, whereas the other is a container - and this is not a difference meant to insinuate superiority.

    Why study Luria? If I don't study Luria and other kabbalists, how will I be able to add my voice, present my argument, create a non-sexist, non-gendered Jewish mysticism??? If I can't take the heat, I'd better stay out of the kitchen; but I can take the heat, so I'm in the fray.uncanni
    There are other and better ways to perform what you wish to do. If you don't study Luria, you merely spare yourself Luria.

    Mind you, Jewish mysticism is not sexist - that would be merely some mystics.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    Alas no! Atheists like me DO NOT 'love to talk 'God' which they consider to be a useless concept for them.fresco

    Ah, a proper atheist. :smile: I apologise to you and your brothers and sisters. When I referred to "atheists", I referred to the majority of people who take that label for themselves, but they are really just God-deniers. True atheists, as you say, are indifferent to the concept (and actuality? :wink: ) of God. The deniers seek only to express their contempt for belief and believers, not realising that their active assertion of the non-existence of God places them alongside theists in a faith position.

    This topic is intended, if possible (and I suspect it isn't possible), to offer a description of God for these deniers to address. One that doesn't include some of the sillier parts of historical descriptions of God, like the omni-nonsense. She may or may not be omnivorous, but what does that tell us humans? Not a lot; nothing of note.
  • 3017amen
    745


    Excellent point, could not agree more with your analysis there!

    I'll take a stab at your OP though, a metaphysical proposition:

    The concept of God is a mottled color of truth.

    That 'nature' or description can be inferred from the Christian God. Meaning, Jesus had a human conscious. Our consciousness is not logical (finite).

    So the question for Atheists is how do they know the truth that the Christian God did not exist?
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    That 'nature' or description can be inferred from the Christian God. Meaning, Jesus had a human conscious. Our consciousness is not logical (finite).3017amen

    This bothers me a bit. To the extent that Jesus was God, he was not human. To the extent that he was human, he wasn't God. It's a bit of a puzzler (to me). I tend to think of Jesus as a human possessed by God. I'm sure many will disagree. :wink: I don't think much (anything?) about God can be inferred or deduced from what it is to be human. After all, if we were anything like God, we might understand Her - and what She is - much better than we do, no? :chin:

    So the question for Atheists is how do they know the truth that the Christian God did not exist?3017amen

    Yes; that question is aimed at the deniers though. :up: :smile: But maybe not here in this topic? :wink: This topic aims, if possible, to seek a common description of God, for us all to use in our discussions. Those discussions regularly (try to) consider how deniers come to their Truth....
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    Thanks to everyone for their contributions here. There are many comments worth responding to, some that I agree with, and some not. But there are just too many to reply to every one. So thanks all, for your contributions. They haven't been ignored. To have such a wealth of useful replies is great! [...even if we may never achieve the aim I have set...]
  • uncanni
    273
    Why are you so aggravated over this?Shamshir

    I'm not aggravated--not in the least.

    There are other and better ways to perform what you wish to do.Shamshir

    Here I must say that you are wrong, and that I know what my best course of reading consists of. I'm not asking for advice; I'm merely expressing my view on things. You can't appropriate my view.
  • S
    11.8k
    I am not trying to be anything: I'm expressing my thoughts and my continuously-transforming understanding. If it makes you uncomfortable or you disapprove, it's fine with me. I'm not seeking your approval of how I think and question. But I have no intention of limiting myself to what you may be familiar with. If you don't want to consider things from a different perspective--if I bore you--you know the drill...uncanni

    You're expressing your thoughts and so am I. That's what we do here. It goes without saying. And my thoughts are that your thoughts on this topic are airy fairy, unworkable, and all over the place. Stuff like God is love, god is a state of mind, the rejection of God is sexist and violent, etc. Pseudo-intellectual nonsense.
  • Shamshir
    856
    Here I must say that you are wrong, and that I know what my best course of reading consists of. I'm not asking for advice; I'm merely expressing my view on things. You can't appropriate my view.uncanni
    Very well, if you intend to battle it out with the sandbag, go ahead.
  • 3017amen
    745


    ...sure I get that! Aside from the various concepts of Christian Revelation/consciousness & phenomena, one can think of it another way if you will:

    Anytime you encounter things that seemingly are not true, illogical or half-truth's, including ineffable experiences and the like you've subsequently encountered a sense of wonder. (Do lower life forms need a sense of wonder, or self-awareness to survive, or is it instinct and survival of the fittest? My view is that it's another metaphysical 'extra' , abstract feature like math and musical ability. Another question altogether of course.)

    But back to half-truth's. I use the word 'mottled' because in logic that's a synonymous concept for things that are half-true (breaks the rule of non-contradiction). And so my theory is, since Jesus was recorded in history as being 'half man half God', it's not such a ginormous leap to infer that particular concept of God is real.
  • uncanni
    273


    It doesn't matter to me if you disagree; I feel sorry for you that you have the need to be nasty about it. You can try to insult, but it may be that you can't understand a discourse so different from your own. You don't even want to. That is sad to me.
  • uncanni
    273
    Very well, if you intend to battle it out with the sandbag, go ahead.Shamshir

    Sandbag? Are you the sandbag? I won't battle anything out with anyone.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    God is the terminus of explanation.

    For some this means explanation leads ultimately to God as the answer, but for others to God as the limit of human understanding, the unanswerable.
  • S
    11.8k
    It doesn't matter to me if you disagree; I feel sorry for you that you have the need to be nasty about it. You can try to insult, but it may be that you can't understand a discourse so different from your own. You don't even want to. That is sad to me.uncanni

    I'm not insulting you, I'm just given you honest criticism about your expressed thoughts, and apparently you don't like that. You're actually the one who is getting personal, not me.

    By the way, the original version of your reply was much better.
  • uncanni
    273
    I can't take you seriously at all. You are playing bating games. Pattern Chaser asked for
    a description of GodPattern-chaser
    ; I was responding to this request and I avoided using the terms he objects to in the initial post. You've disagreed with my thinking and dismissed it--which is your right. But you remind me of the kind of professors I observed in grad school who seemed to enjoy inflicting humilliation on graduate students.

    I have nothing to prove to you, and I don't care what you think of my ideas. That doesn't hurt me, but it makes me sad to see you behave in a hostile way. So you should stop or I will report you.
  • Bartricks
    1.1k
    but then you are just not using the word God in its normal sense.
    Someone who refers to their teapot as God and insists that on their definition the teapot qualifies is simply using a common term with a well understood meaning in a misleading way.
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