Definition of God - one thread to rule them all

Discussion in 'Religion' started by James R, Apr 11, 2020.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I've seen lots of arguments in the Religion forum drag on for hundreds of posts because religious people can't agree on a definition of God (or explain what definition they prefer).

    So, believers, here's a dedicated thread where you can post your preferred definition of God. We'll keep them all in the one place so we can refer to them later and avoid repetitive arguments about definitions.

    We can, of course, discuss whether the various definitions are reasonable, and if necessary we can dig down to find out what is and is not encompassed by each definition.

    Generally, I have found that religious people aren't very good at explaining what their God is, except in very vague terms, so let's hope this helps clarify things.
     
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  3. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

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    So, I would define God as being all things--including you, James.
     
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  5. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Could the Sun be called God?

    It created our solar system.

    It is powerful and big.

    It keeps us warm.

    It gives us light.

    It gives us all we need to grow food and live.

    It gives us energy to power our machines.

    It will finally end our world and scatter our dust to start again in the future.

    I bet it does more for us than any other God defined here.

    Alex
     
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    The word "God" then becomes a superfluous synonym for "all things" in that case.
     
  8. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

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    Also consider, as per Carl Sagan, we are made of star stuff (beats mud)

    Made of at least some star stuff can be stretched to made in his image. Although sun / me can't see the resemblance

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  9. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

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    Not if you see God and yourself in all things. There are a lot of names for that which has no name, but "God" is probably appropriate.

    (I have all night and nothing to do in the morning.)
     
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    The Sun has historically been called a god.

    But unless you want to define God as nothing but the Sun, then we're getting ahead of ourselves. The idea is to define the word "God", then test whether the Sun fits the definition. That would be the logical approach, wouldn't it?

    We need an idea of the kind of thing described before we can instantiate it, don't we?

    On the other hand, I guess that naming things can work the other way around. I can point at something and say "I'm going to call that thing there 'a chair'", but after that I allow the definition to widen to encompass objects other than the initial one, so that "chair" becomes descriptive of a class of things, rather than merely describing a single object or thing. This is why some people use the word "god" with or without a capital letter. Little-'g' god describes a class of things, whereas big-'G' God is supposed to describe a single thing.

    However, already, we see in this thread a potential problem with the word "God". Bowser, just above, defined "God" to mean "all things". So, Bowser's God is that chair, and that rock, and me and you and Pythagoras's theorem and Bertie Beetle and the muppets and Monty Python's Life of Brian and the full stop at the end of this sentence. Bowser's God is a class of things that is the widest possible; it is literally everything. It's not a very useful definition because it does not separate God from anything else. We can't meaningfully discuss what such a God would want, whether the God is conscious, what the God can do, or whatever, because the boring answers are: everything, yes and no, and whatever all things can do.
     
  11. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

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    There is a mantra of thanks to the Sun for its light and warmth. Why not?
     
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    That doesn't make any sense. You defined "God" to mean "all things". Under your definition there is only God, not "God and yourself". That "yourself" becomes superfluous. Unless you're not really defining God to be all things, but actually something separate from (some) other things.
     
  13. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

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    Some would define God as abundant energy, which encompasses everything--the entire Universe--including You.

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  14. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

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    Hmm, God is trapped in a logic loop.
     
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Are you revising your preferred definition already? That was quick. Remember, I asked for people's preferred definitions. Surely you have one by now?

    Obviously "abundant energy" is not the same as "all things". So, which is it to be?
     
  16. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

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    All things are energy, are they not? You're on a science forum, after all.
     
  17. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

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    It is late, James. I'm gonna zap a chicken pot pie in the microwave while you give the last post some thought.
     
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    No. Certainly not!
    Now you're making me hungry! I'm likely to disappear to get some dinner shortly, too.
     
  19. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

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    They certainly are, James, and you know it.

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    Yep, back in a few. Hope to see you on my return.
     
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    *sigh*

    I've had this discussion with a number of different people on this forum. Looks like it is your turn now.

    Energy is an accounting system, essentially. Energy is not "stuff". Matter is not energy. Rocks are not energy. You are not energy. Energy can't be "converted into" mass, or vice versa. And yes, I know it's easy to find statements to the contrary on the web. Lots of people don't understand energy very well, even some people who are good at science.

    It follows from all this that "all things" are not energy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the vast majority of things are not energy.

    But we're already getting off topic, aren't we? Try to drag it back to your definition of God.
     
  21. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

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    And here I thought I was the only one full of it. Need I resurrect Einstein?

    E=mc2

    Dude!

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2020
  22. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Logic would dictate that we observe "something" and then name it and perhaps describe it using the observations and at that point it would be appropriate to use our description of our observations to construct an appropriate definition.

    Attempting to define God leaves out the most important first step.

    Given the cart before the horse approach I think we are well past any logical approach.

    My point exactly. Some sort of observation that gives rise to a name and description and then a definition.

    It matters not which hand you look at but the chair idea is certainly a good way to approach the matter...we first need to observe the chair, and all falls into place thereafter however to define God we have no chair to start with...

    At least we have our chair. Bowers definition of God becomes his definition. God is all things...end of story, and if he seeks to wander off we can remind him of his definition... so when he says God does this or that we can remind him that his God can not act alone for example...of course at this point he will wriggle because when we enquire he must as all theists must do introduce attributes that were never present or expected in the definition.

    Well do we need to enquire? No and we can be content that Bowsers God is just everything claiming the attributes of all things with a finite future as each individual thing can expect. He can not assign any magical powers and his race is over.
    Alex
     
  23. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Some may but your definition was God is all things..end of story.
    Alex
     

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