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Author Topic:   A Working Definition of God
arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 166 of 332 (200861)
04-21-2005 2:28 AM
Reply to: Message 165 by Faith
04-21-2005 2:26 AM


Re: taxonomy: It's WAY off topic
[edit] double post

This message has been edited by Arachnophilia, 04-21-2005 01:28 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 165 by Faith, posted 04-21-2005 2:26 AM Faith has not yet responded

arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 167 of 332 (200863)
04-21-2005 2:28 AM
Reply to: Message 165 by Faith
04-21-2005 2:26 AM


Re: taxonomy: It's WAY off topic
deal. feel free to look up some stuff on taxonomy on your own though.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 165 by Faith, posted 04-21-2005 2:26 AM Faith has not yet responded

Mammuthus
Member (Idle past 4400 days)
Posts: 3085
From: Munich, Germany
Joined: 08-09-2002


Message 168 of 332 (200867)
04-21-2005 2:57 AM
Reply to: Message 139 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
04-20-2005 5:00 PM


Hi MD,
Thanks for your response. I have meetings all day but will try to squeeze a response in sometime today. Thanks for taking the thread subject seriously unlike mike or Faith. I think your post provides a beginning for dialogue on the actual thread topic.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 04-20-2005 5:00 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

Phat
Member
Posts: 11322
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 169 of 332 (200878)
04-21-2005 5:00 AM
Reply to: Message 87 by Percy
04-19-2005 5:41 PM


Re: To Whom are you asking this question?
Hi, Percy...you were asking the Wizard of Irrefutabilty some basic questions such as:
Percy writes:

Try to answer this question: How would the world be different if God didn't exist, and explain why in concrete terms.

My answer to this question is that from a rational perspective of mere observation (unaffected by emotions) the natural world around me would be just the same as it is now.

I read a good excerpt from Historian Will Durant where he commented a bit on religion. His words are thrown together so well that I thought I would share an excerpt:
Religion is the last subject that the intellect begins to understand. In our youth, we may have resented, with proud superiority, its cherished incredibilities; in our less confident years, we marvel at its prosperous survival in a secular and scientific age, its patient resurrections after whatever deadly blows by Epicurus, or Lucretius, or Lucian, or Machiavelli, or Hume, or Voltaire. What are the secrets of this resilience?

The wisest sage would need the perspective of a hundred lives to answer adequately. He might begin by recognizing that, even in the heyday of science, there are innumerable phenomena for which no explanation seems forthcoming in terms of natural cause, quantitative measurement, and necessary effect. The mystery of mind still eludes the formulas of psychology, and in physics the same astonishing order of nature that makes science possible may reasonably sustain the religious faith in a cosmic intelligence. Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance.

Now life is rarely agnostic; it assumes either a natural or a supernatural source for any unexplained phenomenon, and acts on the one assumption or other; only a small minority of minds can persistently suspend judgment in the face of contradictory evidence. The great majority of mankind feel compelled to ascribe mysterious entities or events to supernatural beings raised above "natural law."

Religion has been the worship of supernatural beings -- their propitiation, solicitation, or adoration. Most men are harassed and buffeted by life, and crave supernatural assistance when natural forces fail them; they gratefully accept faiths that give dignity and hope to their existence, and order and meaning to the world; they could hardly condone so patiently the careless brutalities of nature, the bloodshed and chicaneries of history, or their own tribulations and bereavements, if they could not trust that these are parts of an inscrutable but divine design. A cosmos without known cause or fate is an intellectual prison; we long to believe that the great drama has a just author and a noble end.
Moreover, we covet survival, and find it hard to conceive that nature should so laboriously produce man, mind, and devotion only to snuff them out in the maturity of their development.

Science gives man ever greater powers but ever less significance; it improves his tools and neglects his purposes; it is silent on ultimate origins, values, and aims; it gives life and history no meaning or worth that is not canceled by death or omnivorous time. So men prefer the assurance of dogma to the diffidence of reason; weary of perplexed thought and uncertain judgment, they welcome the guidance of an authoritative church, the catharsis of the confessional, the stability of a long-established creed. Ashamed of failure, bereaved of those they loved, darkened with sin, and fearful of death, they feel themselves redeemed by divine aid, cleansed of guilt and terror, solaced and inspired with hope, and raised to a godlike and immortal destiny.

All of us here at EvC continue to lob the same topics back and forth at each other in our online verbal tennis game.

We seek to understand why each other thinks the way that we think and feels the way that we feel. Common agreement is not necessarily our goal. Respect, understanding, and tolerance are more achievable for the moment.

Mike the Wiz writes:

Your problem is that you think science "owns" evidence and "owns" the universe. You have it wrong my friend :) God got to both first.

Think about this, however! If God does own all of the evidence, He has apparently put evidence that is not conclusive at all. Perhaps He wishes that humanity approach the topic as if no conclusion is evident.
paraphrase of Percy writes:

How would the evidence be different if God didn't exist, and explain why in concrete terms


If God is the foregone conclusion of a Believer, how would any evidence be any different if there were no conclusion?
The answer in my mind is that the evidence, whatever it may be, would be no different. The inner passion to find truth would be the same and would cause humanity to ask even more questions and climb even higher mountains than we now do. To have no conclusion does not mean that the true scientist gives up on his experiment.

This message has been edited by Phatboy, 04-21-2005 02:10 AM

This message has been edited by Phatboy, 04-21-2005 02:11 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by Percy, posted 04-19-2005 5:41 PM Percy has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 172 by contracycle, posted 04-21-2005 7:32 AM Phat has not yet responded

Mammuthus
Member (Idle past 4400 days)
Posts: 3085
From: Munich, Germany
Joined: 08-09-2002


Message 170 of 332 (200881)
04-21-2005 5:31 AM
Reply to: Message 139 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
04-20-2005 5:00 PM


Hi MD,

Taken in the context that at the end of your post you say

quote:
This is all my own belief of course. I'm not saying that anyone has to accept it. But since you asked...

This is perfectly fine. The thread was posted by Dan with the intention of getting information from people about what they think and why. You have done so even if I don't necessarily agree with your beliefs.

Just to touch on a few things you said

quote:
Sure. I'll offer my own thoughts on the matter. I'll admit ahead of time that it will probably be lacking in many areas -- probably distorted too -- but I'll try my best to submit to the Spirit in order to present a basic concise definition that others can then examine against the backdrop of nature.

I started before saying that God is love. But, to be more precise, it seems to me that God is actually the substance of that which is good (and that evil is the absense of God) -- or, stating it in the negative, that God is the absense of evil.

I'd also mentioned before, in conjuntion with the God is love thought, that God was also spirit -- spirit in the sense of an "inspiration" that has a very tangible exitence beyond the material world -- but that could also manifest periodically and even be felt at the points were he contacts his creation.

In order to see an example of this within the real world, look to the very theoretical nature of mathematics itself. Many will tell you that mathematics exists independantly of reality -- they realise that pure maths exists independently of the observable universe.


Two things you said in this part of your post seem contradictory to me. First, you equate love with a "substance" and claim that there is a "tangible" existence beyond the material world. However, something without physical properties or something outside the material world is niether tangible nor has a substance. If they did, you would be able to characterize it more precisely. could you elaborate a bit on what you mean?

With regards to Savants and autistics, though in the early stages of study, there is reason to believe the origin of their abilities and deficiencies have a genetic component...and the ability to count is present in other animals so I would not put too much weight on even remarkable abilities of such people. There are extremes in cognitive traits just as there are for height, weight and any other traits that vary in populations.

Your concept of science (particularly math and physics) as metaphors for your concept of god is interesting. I would say that from what I have seen on this board it would converge a bit with Percy's stated view of his beliefs though he seems to hold no belief in the bible.

Your position should also mean you would be less inclined (or less threatened) by science including evolution if you view the natural world as an expression of god. Though perhaps I am misinterpreting what you are saying.

We are not quite at a working definition of god yet but I thank you for trying and hope you will continue to elaborate.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 04-20-2005 5:00 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 182 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 04-21-2005 2:00 PM Mammuthus has responded

macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1853 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 171 of 332 (200893)
04-21-2005 7:23 AM
Reply to: Message 134 by Faith
04-20-2005 12:18 PM


Re: God wants to be known by us
a known god as fickle as the one described in the bible is not as worthy of worship as an unknown being of omnipotence, which as far as i can tell is not a trait of the god of the bible as he is described. however, the way people talk about the god of the bible entirely contradicts the way he is described in the bible.

my only conclusion must be that one is wrong. i choose to think it's the book.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 134 by Faith, posted 04-20-2005 12:18 PM Faith has not yet responded

contracycle
Inactive Member


Message 172 of 332 (200895)
04-21-2005 7:32 AM
Reply to: Message 169 by Phat
04-21-2005 5:00 AM


Re: To Whom are you asking this question?
quote:
Think about this, however! If God does own all of the evidence, He has apparently put evidence that is not conclusive at all. Perhaps He wishes that humanity approach the topic as if no conclusion is evident.

Then he has only himself to blame for our lack of belief.

This essentially posits god as the deceiver. If he is a deceiver, why should I take all the statements about his love at face value?

And of course, this frees me from any obligation or expectation to be a christian, read the bible, or attend church. God has to take responsibility for failing to declare himself.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 169 by Phat, posted 04-21-2005 5:00 AM Phat has not yet responded

Dan Carroll
Inactive Member


Message 173 of 332 (200904)
04-21-2005 9:07 AM
Reply to: Message 146 by nator
04-21-2005 12:04 AM


Re: What is this thread about anyway?
Your powers only work, a la The Invisible Boy, when nobody is looking.

That would explain the poor reception at the YWCA...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 146 by nator, posted 04-21-2005 12:04 AM nator has not yet responded

Dan Carroll
Inactive Member


Message 174 of 332 (200905)
04-21-2005 9:09 AM
Reply to: Message 139 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
04-20-2005 5:00 PM


Magisterium -

Your post requires a little more response time than a quick bang-out during work. Thanks for putting the effort in... I'll get my response to you soon.

Edit: never mind, there it is below...

This message has been edited by [Dan's Clever Alias], 04-21-2005 09:22 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 04-20-2005 5:00 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

Dan Carroll
Inactive Member


Message 175 of 332 (200906)
04-21-2005 9:15 AM
Reply to: Message 140 by mike the wiz
04-20-2005 6:22 PM


He wants us to bend over backward in a futile effort to define God, knowing that God must be - if he is real, pretty unfathomable and thereby the atheist knows that we will at best produce a hundred defintions from the bible that will make us look like a bunch of incoherent nonsense in a bid to meet their criteria.

And of course, if you're incoherent, it's my fault.

As always Mike, you're pure comedy gold. Don't ever change.

This message has been edited by [Dan's Clever Alias], 04-21-2005 08:19 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 140 by mike the wiz, posted 04-20-2005 6:22 PM mike the wiz has not yet responded

Dan Carroll
Inactive Member


Message 176 of 332 (200916)
04-21-2005 10:22 AM
Reply to: Message 139 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
04-20-2005 5:00 PM


But, to be fair to Dan's Clever Alias' initial question, we need to first present a basic working definition of God -- like a spirutal matrix or over-arching pattern which DCA can then compare and contrast against the claims of the evidence within nature that supposedly point toward God's existence.

Crimney, thank you. This seems to be the basic idea that Mike and Faith have been missing. As I said in the first post, "If we're going to be asking whether or not it exists, we might as well start by deciding exactly what it is we're wondering about."

I'm absolutely sure I've said it before, but here it is again... if anybody wants to believe in an abstract, subjective, unknowable God, then knock yourself out. However, if someone is going to say that God is an objective fact, with mountains of evidence supporting its existence, then they need to, at the very least, tell us what this objective thing is.

Okay, the re-cap's over, let's get on with the post...

I started before saying that God is love. But, to be more precise, it seems to me that God is actually the substance of that which is good (and that evil is the absense of God) -- or, stating it in the negative, that God is the absense of evil.

I'm actually really enjoying the metaphors you've been using over the course of this thread. But can we take things in a more concrete direction? There are many, many things on this planet that can be described as at least posessing an absence of evil, but I doubt they're what you're referring to here.

In order to see an example of this within the real world, look to the very theoretical nature of mathematics itself. Many will tell you that mathematics exists independantly of reality -- they realise that pure maths exists independently of the observable universe.

Can you clarify? Because the only way I know this to be true is in the same way as language... ie, there is no objective Fact Of The Universe that says that what I'm drinking as I write this is called "coffee". We just choose to assign that name to it.

I guess the Greek concept of the Logos could also be invoked here as well. In this sense, the Logos is believed to be the Supreme Will undergirding all of creation, the reason for all existence.

The Logos business goes on for a while, but I'm just quoting this part for my response to save space... you seem to be elaborating for the sake of clarifying what you mean by "spiritual substrate", without really specifying what it is about this spiritual substrate that makes it identifiable.

Does that make sense? I can clarify if need be.

God would be like a divine eternal law of physics which is very sentient and aware, nearly omniscient, nearly omnipotent, and fully omnibenevolent.

For what it's worth, I have absolutely no problem with this as a definition for God. Although I would personally not assign consciousness to it, because at that level, can you even really use the word "consciousness" in any recognizable sense?

An ex-girlfriend of mine defined God like this... she said that if you step back from the Earth, and look at everything... all the people, all the cars, all the aardvarks, down to every cell in every body and every stapler and everything else, and every sound wave bouncing through the air, and freakin' everything... then stepped back more and saw the whole of it in the galaxy... then in the universe... then back one more step and saw the whole of it laced through time... that thing you saw could reasonably be called "God".

I'll part company with you for the same pedantic reason I parted company with her on the subject... once we're defining God, essentially, as "the way things are", then what need do we have of the word "God"?

It seems to me that God would percieve evil as an inperceptible "void" that he cannot see into. This doesn't mean that he wouldn't be aware of a person who "sins" for lack of better words. Rather, as his love radiates otuward. it would be like a radar signal bouncing off all things good on both a phsycial and spiritual level.

I'm not going to touch this section with a ten-foot pole, for the simple reason that defining objective morality will take even longer than defining God, result in more petty fights, and probably just wind up turning into Yet Another Homosexuality Thread.

Just wanted you to know, it's not that it's not interesting... it just seems a bit off-topic. More along the lines of "once we nail down what he is, let's move on to what he does/how he interacts with us."

I believe that the ability to genuinnely forgive and really love your enemies is the most powerful and perplexing force humanity has ever faced.

Belief in God aside, can't say I disagree with you there.

Although I do find that a really good dick joke works just as well as forgiveness in some situations.

In seriousness though, wouldn't these just be statements on power and forgiveness that apply to any living being? The don't seem especially God-specific.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 139 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 04-20-2005 5:00 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

mikehager
Member (Idle past 4392 days)
Posts: 534
Joined: 09-02-2004


Message 177 of 332 (200923)
04-21-2005 11:08 AM
Reply to: Message 156 by Faith
04-21-2005 1:15 AM


Re: taxonomy
Please do not reply to this post. It is off-topic. --Admin

Right. That's the Politically Correct Answer. And woe be to anyone who knows it's false.
quote:
try again. the correct answer is "common ancestry."

Right. That's the Politically Correct Answer. And woe be to anyone who knows it's false.

Wrong, Faith, You don't know any damned thing of the kind. You have an opinion about it and are too thick headed and set in your theistic, closed world view to know the difference.

This message has been edited by Admin, 04-21-2005 11:05 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 156 by Faith, posted 04-21-2005 1:15 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 178 by Phat, posted 04-21-2005 11:48 AM mikehager has not yet responded
 Message 179 by Faith, posted 04-21-2005 11:55 AM mikehager has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 11322
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 178 of 332 (200927)
04-21-2005 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 177 by mikehager
04-21-2005 11:08 AM


Is It Science? How we think
mikehager writes:

...You have an opinion about it and are too thick headed and set in your theistic, closed world view to know the difference.

Your comment brought up a few points that I wanted to put out:
1) In addressing such controversial issues as proof of Biblical accuracy/inerrency, theistic reality or fantasy, and or theology and so-called closed world views: Does the fact that many otherwise respectible people throughout human discourse have said otherwise about facts indicate that there is not more than one conclusion to be drawn? Translation: Yes, I see where many educated archeologists, linguists, secular theologians (like our own Brian) and overall skeptics have made some conclusions. I have also seen and read books by professing Christians who are not all idiots, by the way..that defend the faith. The entire section of Christian apologetics is not written merely by illiterates. They state different conclusions and defend their "facts". How do I know that the conclusions drawn by one way of thinking are any more sound than those drawn by the opponent?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 177 by mikehager, posted 04-21-2005 11:08 AM mikehager has not yet responded

Faith
Member
Posts: 29844
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 179 of 332 (200928)
04-21-2005 11:55 AM
Reply to: Message 177 by mikehager
04-21-2005 11:08 AM


Re: taxonomy
Please do not reply to this post. It is off-topic. --Admin

Wrong, Faith, You don't know any damned thing of the kind. You have an opinion about it and are too thick headed and set in your theistic, closed world view to know the difference.

Is that anything like being too thick-headed and set in your naturalistic {edit: should have said "evolutionistic"} closed world view to know that the idea of common ancestry was simply imposed upon a simple classification system with no justification whatever?

This message has been edited by Faith, 04-21-2005 10:56 AM

This message has been edited by Admin, 04-21-2005 11:04 AM

This message has been edited by Faith, 04-21-2005 11:06 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 177 by mikehager, posted 04-21-2005 11:08 AM mikehager has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 180 of 332 (200936)
04-21-2005 1:26 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dan Carroll
04-14-2005 9:39 AM


What was wrong with the definition in message #10?

God: The name of the divine being.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Dan Carroll, posted 04-14-2005 9:39 AM Dan Carroll has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 181 by Dan Carroll, posted 04-21-2005 1:44 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 183 by dsv, posted 04-21-2005 2:06 PM New Cat's Eye has not yet responded

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