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Author Topic:   Can You define God?
Straggler
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Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 301 of 318 (676512)
10-23-2012 1:04 PM


Summary
Without definition or attribute the term GOD is literally meaningless. Any discussion about such a non-concept is doomed to be incoherent gibberish. This we have seen in this thread.

Jar's much cited position of "nuance" is simply a self-serving extended expression of his irrational beliefs. Nothing more. And at the root of that is this same non-cogent notion of a non-concept. A non-concept that he apparently believes (along with demons but not Allah or Thor) would be supernatural if it existed. The only consistent criteria being applied to qualify as supernatural being 'Does jar think so'.

The esoteric believings of a particular individual are, of course, not a sensible basis for defining anything. Definitions as a basis for communication require common conceptual meaning to be applied to terminology. With that in mind...

I have seen nothing in this thread to deter from use of the term god (or God or GOD) as referring to a supernatural conscious being that is responsible for the creation or overseeing of some aspect of reality. Something like the following dictionary definition:

1. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) a supernatural being, who is worshipped as the controller of some part of the universe or some aspect of life in the world or is the personification of some force Related adj divine

And on the related subject of what we mean by "supernatural" - Again if you want common conceptual meaning the dictionary is your friend:

1.of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena

The idea that hijacking commonly used terms and redefining them (such that the object of one's own belief is elevated by definition above all those other human-construct-god-concepts) is the path to clarity and nuance rather than a method of imposing one's assumptions into discussions about the existence of a certain type of supernatural creator - Is ridiculous.


  
jar
Member
Posts: 29423
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 302 of 318 (676561)
10-23-2012 6:06 PM


Summary
Let me quote the opening post to refresh the topic and to place my summary within context.

2ndReign writes:

I don't believe in God personally but for the sake of discussion, I will concede that he does exist for the simple fact how can there be any kind of in-depth discussion on God if we are still arguing weather God exists or not.

Poe said...

quote:
If we cannot comprehend God in his visible works, how then in his inconceivable thoughts, that call the works into being? If we cannot understand him in his objective creatures, how then in his substantive moods and phases of creation?

As humans,we like to understand things. We feel the need to put them into some type of category, to name them. This has been a good thing for our species in many circumstances but in the case of God the ability to define or even name him is an impossibility. Yet that does not mean that it is not worth the attempt to gain some understanding of what God is, only that we must understand before we begin that defining something limits that something, and describing something often gets confused with defining something. You try to define your love of someone by describing why you love them. You attempt to define the sky by describing its properties,etc. So based on this,can you define God? Some if most would say that God is good, merciful, just, loving, and all powerful. All of these are words to describe him. It doesn't make them untrue, it simply avoided the bigger challenge, and that is defining him.

As pointed out in the OP, humans are the labeling species. We seem to need to place a label on everything, create definitions even when the definitions really tell us absolutely nothing about the object being defined.

Consider the oft quoted definition in this thread of "supernatural".

quote:
1.of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena

Does that really tell us anything about the object being described as supernatural? I don't think so. What does "of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural" even mean beyond being a handy label we can stick on something to make us satisfied.

We also know as a fact that when we actually look at things claimed to be supernatural, they turn out to be just plain natural and not supernatural (whatever that really is) at all. The list is long, thunder, lightning, wind, sun, moon, earthquakes, floods, fire, famine, disease, seizures, dreams, hallucinations, eclipses, witches, hurricanes, tornadoes and yes, Gods and gods.

Look again at the oft quoted definition of a God:

quote:
1. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) a supernatural being, who is worshipped as the controller of some part of the universe or some aspect of life in the world or is the personification of some force Related adj divine

Again, what we see here is that word supernatural; an assertion that some people or group asserted that a supernatural being exists and is worshiped and that controls something.

That tells us about the people, that the group specified worships and assigns attributes, but tells us nothing about the object itself other than (as we see in the definition of supernatural above) that it is "unexplainable by natural law or phenomena"; an unknown.

It appears we are still no closer to being able to say what "supernatural" is, but we can perhaps say that some things are NOT supernatural.

We know for a fact that people have labeled things as supernatural that we have later found were totally natural.

Let's take a look at some Gods and gods. First let's look at the Hebrew god found in Genesis 2&3. Here we get some pretty specific information, it is a male, it walks, talks and looks like a human. It is unsure at times, seems to be learning on the job, proceeds by trial and error, creates by hand and magic but is a powerful ruler that commands a powerful army, interacts directly with its creation and is intimately involved.

So let's examine that concept. Is there any reason other than the fact that humans are writing the stories to think that a real GOD, if it existed, would be human like, would be unsure, would create by hand and magic, would be male, would walk and talk like a human ...?

We see they same characteristics in the Greek and Roman and Norse gods, a human that is powerful and can do magic but that in essence is just a powerful human often with very human weaknesses and failings.

In the Greek sagas there were the Younger gods and then there were the Titans but we have very specific information in the stories about where each lived and what each was like. The tales are filled with very human characteristics, fear, infidelity, jealousy, patricide, matricide, tricks, wars, incest, and all the characters even when symbolizing things like heavens (Uranus) or earth (Gaia) are human in form. Uranus is a male and gets his balls cut off and Gaia is a woman who has children.

Eventually though we have fully explored the places where these two groups lived and there are simply no traces of there ever being any habitation in those locations.

It seem clear that like the god character found in Genesis 2&3, The Olympians and Titans were simply characters in a story.

We can identify it seems with a fairly high degree of confidence things that are not supernatural.

But if there really was a supernatural critter, what can we label it?

I chose the term GOD since that is a term many people are already familiar with but in all caps to differentiate between that which really is supernatural and those things we just label as supernatural. But since I can't even describe or define or show or test or verify anything that really is supernatural, I cannot define, describe, show, test or verify such a critter.

If there really is anything that is supernatural I can say some things about what it is not but nothing about what it is.

I have a very high degree of confidence that it would be unlike anything I can experience in this natural world as a human; it would not be just another human, even a really powerful human, it would not be male or female or any gender we could assign. It would not be material, not live on Mount Olympus, not be human centric, not simply reflect human emotions, morality, customs, behaviors ...

I believe such a GOD exists, but it is simply a personal belief.

But I worship something I can wrap my mind around, not GOD but rather a God, a path, a map, a caricature, a human creation that is translated, labeled and defined in terms I can relate to. I also understand though that what I am worshiping is NOT the reality but just a placeholder.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

Replies to this message:
 Message 305 by Phat, posted 09-15-2017 12:04 PM jar has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9881
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 303 of 318 (718311)
02-06-2014 12:44 AM
Reply to: Message 213 by Straggler
10-12-2012 10:29 AM


Re: HOLD THE PRESS
Straggler writes:

How can you believe in the existence of something without having any idea what it is?

And is there any reason at all to give this GOD concept any more merit, consideration or credence than any other "unknowable" entity I can conceive of or is your reason for doing so entirely personal irrational belief?

I think I understand this argument.
jar,in the previous post writes:

I chose the term GOD since that is a term many people are already familiar with but in all caps to differentiate between that which really is supernatural and those things we just label as supernatural. But since I can't even describe or define or show or test or verify anything that really is supernatural, I cannot define, describe, show, test or verify such a critter.

If there really is anything that is supernatural I can say some things about what it is not but nothing about what it is.

I have a very high degree of confidence that it would be unlike anything I can experience in this natural world as a human; it would not be just another human, even a really powerful human, it would not be male or female or any gender we could assign. It would not be material, not live on Mount Olympus, not be human centric, not simply reflect human emotions, morality, customs, behaviors ...

I believe such a GOD exists, but it is simply a personal belief.

Lets say that jar is, in fact, proposing that he believes that GOD exists and is beyond definition.

You claim that this belief should be given no more merit,consideration, or credence than anything you could conceive of. His point, however, is that God by definition is beyond conception. Everyone can share that belief. There really isn't an argument...except whether to choose to believe or not.

Your thought process demands that a concept be well defined so as to be accepted or refuted. His reply is that the concept may be real and if so...an actuality...beyond acceptance or refutation.

At this point you are of course free to not share the belief.

What you cant do is to demand that jars concept be defined well enough so that you can refute it. It simply can't be done.

At best you can claim that the argument fails due to either logical inconsistency or illogical claims and assertions.

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 213 by Straggler, posted 10-12-2012 10:29 AM Straggler has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9881
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 304 of 318 (819950)
09-15-2017 11:56 AM
Reply to: Message 259 by Straggler
10-18-2012 8:36 AM


Re: BLOP is hubbuluteral
Straggler writes:

It doesn't even make any sense to ask if X exists unless X is defined as something which can exist. So I ask you - Does BLOP exist?

If you choose to believe that Blop exists, He, She or It most certainly could exist within the context of your personal belief. Perhaps not in mine, however. And visa versa

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
"as long as chance rules, God is an anachronism."~Arthur Koestler

This message is a reply to:
 Message 259 by Straggler, posted 10-18-2012 8:36 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 312 by Straggler, posted 09-17-2017 1:15 PM Phat has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9881
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 305 of 318 (819951)
09-15-2017 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 302 by jar
10-23-2012 6:06 PM


Re: Summary
jar writes:

Look again at the oft-quoted definition of a God:

quote:
1. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) a supernatural being, who is worshipped as the controller of some part of the universe or some aspect of life in the world or is the personification of some force Related adj divine

Again, what we see here is that word supernatural; an assertion that some people or group asserted that a supernatural being exists and is worshiped and that controls something.

That tells us about the people, that the group specified worships and assigns attributes, but tells us nothing about the object itself other than (as we see in the definition of supernatural above) that it is "unexplainable by natural law or phenomena"; an unknown.

It appears we are still no closer to being able to say what "supernatural" is, but we can perhaps say that some things are NOT supernatural.

So when you say that I create the God that I want, would you argue that it is impossible for me to describe the GOD Who may or may not exist, even if I claim that Jesus is GOD?


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
"as long as chance rules, God is an anachronism."~Arthur Koestler

This message is a reply to:
 Message 302 by jar, posted 10-23-2012 6:06 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 306 by jar, posted 09-15-2017 12:24 PM Phat has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 29423
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 306 of 318 (819962)
09-15-2017 12:24 PM
Reply to: Message 305 by Phat
09-15-2017 12:04 PM


Re: Summary
Phat writes:

So when you say that I create the God that I want, would you argue that it is impossible for me to describe the GOD Who may or may not exist, even if I claim that Jesus is GOD?

I would be more likely to point out that your claim has no real meaning in anyway related to the question of defining God.


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios My Website: My Website

This message is a reply to:
 Message 305 by Phat, posted 09-15-2017 12:04 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 307 by Phat, posted 09-15-2017 12:34 PM jar has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9881
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 307 of 318 (819964)
09-15-2017 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 306 by jar
09-15-2017 12:24 PM


Re: Summary
jar writes:

I would be more likely to point out that your claim has no real meaning in any way related to the question of defining God.

The main reason I brought this thread back is after reading your exchange with Straggler regarding ones individual right to believe in GOD versus the argument that GOD is a concept without a definition. To me, it all seemed to be about framing the definition.

You always ask me what do I mean. I say that Jesus is alive. You reply with "what does that even mean?"

What would you expect me to say...except that it is a belief that I have?


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
"as long as chance rules, God is an anachronism."~Arthur Koestler

This message is a reply to:
 Message 306 by jar, posted 09-15-2017 12:24 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 308 by jar, posted 09-15-2017 1:09 PM Phat has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 29423
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 308 of 318 (819979)
09-15-2017 1:09 PM
Reply to: Message 307 by Phat
09-15-2017 12:34 PM


Re: Summary
Phat writes:

I say that Jesus is alive. You reply with "what does that even mean?"

What would you expect me to say...except that it is a belief that I have?

No one doubts you have the belifs you claim to have.

The question is "What does Jesus is alive even mean?"


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios My Website: My Website

This message is a reply to:
 Message 307 by Phat, posted 09-15-2017 12:34 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 309 by Phat, posted 09-15-2017 1:22 PM jar has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9881
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 309 of 318 (819983)
09-15-2017 1:22 PM
Reply to: Message 308 by jar
09-15-2017 1:09 PM


What The Story Says
jar writes:

The question is "What does Jesus is alive even mean?"

Depends how you interpret the story.

For some it means that GOD had a son who took on the sins of the world and was raised from the dead.

For others it means that surviving death is possible.

Perhaps for others it means that we too can be alive and overcome death. (realistically or metaphorically)


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
"as long as chance rules, God is an anachronism."~Arthur Koestler

This message is a reply to:
 Message 308 by jar, posted 09-15-2017 1:09 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 310 by jar, posted 09-15-2017 1:39 PM Phat has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 29423
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 310 of 318 (819991)
09-15-2017 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 309 by Phat
09-15-2017 1:22 PM


Re: What The Story Says
Phat writes:

Depends how you interpret the story.

For some it means that GOD had a son who took on the sins of the world and was raised from the dead.

For others it means that surviving death is possible.

Perhaps for others it means that we too can be alive and overcome death. (realistically or metaphorically)

That's lots of words but still no meaning.

What does it mean to be alive?


My Sister's Website: Rose Hill Studios My Website: My Website

This message is a reply to:
 Message 309 by Phat, posted 09-15-2017 1:22 PM Phat has responded

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 Message 311 by Phat, posted 09-15-2017 1:42 PM jar has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9881
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 311 of 318 (819992)
09-15-2017 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 310 by jar
09-15-2017 1:39 PM


Re: What The Story Says
What does it mean to be alive?

It means that I can move, think, and do. It means that I am self-aware as well as aware of others.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
"as long as chance rules, God is an anachronism."~Arthur Koestler

This message is a reply to:
 Message 310 by jar, posted 09-15-2017 1:39 PM jar has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 315 by Rrhain, posted 09-17-2017 4:04 PM Phat has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 312 of 318 (820196)
09-17-2017 1:15 PM
Reply to: Message 304 by Phat
09-15-2017 11:56 AM


Re: BLOP is hubbuluteral
"Within the context of your personal belief" (AKA inside your own head) Leprechauns, unicorns and the great God JuJu could all be said to 'exist'. I can imagine all three of those things. Is that your definition of 'God'?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 304 by Phat, posted 09-15-2017 11:56 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 313 by Phat, posted 09-17-2017 3:28 PM Straggler has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9881
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 313 of 318 (820212)
09-17-2017 3:28 PM
Reply to: Message 312 by Straggler
09-17-2017 1:15 PM


Re: BLOP is hubbuluteral
We must first answer whether a definition must describe something factual and/or possible or whether a definition can include belief and a hypothetical. jar seems to think that he is free to believe that GOD could exist and does not expect us to agree. You, on the other hand, attempt to pin him down into saying that GOD is his own definition of a character that facts show does not exist. You thus attempt to frame the argument that GOD must be jars internal definition and not the framework for the argument. jar insists that he has a right to define the character or concept and thus attempts to make this character the frame of the argument.

So in reply to your question, I would respond that the concepts you mention originate in your mind and not mine. Hypothetically I could share the concept with you of a Great God while not so much leprechauns nor unicorns.

My personal definition of a Great God (whom you call JuJu and whom jar calls GOD) may name Him,Her or It differently, but again..I share the definition of Great God with you. You imagine JuJu. I could argue that JuJu could hypothetically exist despite neither of us imagining it. Thus I am attempting to frame the argument on the right to believe in something greater than human imagination can conceive or deny. You may attempt to frame the argument differently. (How ya been, by the way, Straggler? )


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
"as long as chance rules, God is an anachronism."~Arthur Koestler

This message is a reply to:
 Message 312 by Straggler, posted 09-17-2017 1:15 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 314 by Straggler, posted 09-17-2017 3:56 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 314 of 318 (820219)
09-17-2017 3:56 PM
Reply to: Message 313 by Phat
09-17-2017 3:28 PM


Re: BLOP is hubbuluteral
Not really.

My point (from absolutely ages ago) is that saying you believe in X without having the foggiest idea what X is, is nonsensical.

Hence the thread about defining/describing what is meant by GOD (or whatever label one wishes to apply).

It's about our old friend ignosticism.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 313 by Phat, posted 09-17-2017 3:28 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Rrhain
Member
Posts: 6168
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 315 of 318 (820221)
09-17-2017 4:04 PM
Reply to: Message 311 by Phat
09-15-2017 1:42 PM


Re: What The Story Says
Phat responds to jar:

quote:
quote:
What does it mean to be alive?

It means that I can move, think, and do. It means that I am self-aware as well as aware of others.


So plants, which do not think, aren't alive? Why does the specialness of god regarding life only refer to thinking things?


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can use mine.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 311 by Phat, posted 09-15-2017 1:42 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 316 by Phat, posted 09-17-2017 4:39 PM Rrhain has responded

    
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