Do you talk to GOD?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by sculptor, Oct 6, 2021.

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

    I'm saying you don't seem to have a coherent, understandable idea about God.
    So you do know what God is? Or only lots of things that it isn't?

    You're incoherent.
    There's no content to your belief, as far as I can tell, so nothing to make a choice about.
    What I wanted you to do was to try to articulate your own belief. Maybe this is the first time that somebody has asked you to do that, and you're suddenly finding that you don't actually know what you believe, yourself.
    Don't worry about me. I'm confident that I'm at least coherent in my beliefs.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Science does not deny, nor can it prove, God does not exist.
    sculptor likes this.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    And so... ?
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Your response to the original question was
    ; it sounds like something a character playing a shrink in a 50's movie would say.

    I don't believe it, though, and neither do I believe that you believe it.

    Why we're having trouble here with understanding each other, is that I don't need to articulate any belief, coherently or otherwise. I might just as well articulate what I believe about breathing, or seeing or hearing.

    I know what the word God is supposed to mean to many people; indeed, mostly people are only too happy to display or communicate their understanding of the meaning of the word. I prefer a word that you can't give a meaning to, a word that isn't, if you will.
    sculptor likes this.
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    But God is a word with meaning to humans. Humans believe that they are made in the image of God and that they are able to communicate with God.

    According to Scripture that belief itself is a mortal sin. The sin of "vanity".
    If God created the universe, then all things are made in the image of God.
    All living things are made in the image of God.
    Whosoever believes that they are exclusively made in the image of God are committing the sin of vanity, hubris.
    A Mortal Sin!
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    When you talk to God, does God talk back to you?

    If so, how does that happen? If it all happens in your head, how do you know it's God doing the talking and not your own head? How do you tell the difference?
    I absolutely believe it.

    The only slight softening of my previous statement that I might make is to suggest that some people, who in most other respects are reasonably sane, are really bad at working out what comes from outside themselves and what comes from inside, and/or they aren't really interested in knowing which is which.
    Does your God do anything? If so, what does he/she/it do? How do you know he/she/it is not just an invention of your own mind?
    What use is a word if it doesn't denote anything?
  10. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    That's a really loaded question; it might be that you didn't intend it to be, but, it is what it is.
    Firstly, I can't be sure that you mean the same thing I do, when I "talk to God". I've noticed though, that I don't get a reply if I do this thing.
    I'm also fairly sure I understand why there's no answer. But that's me.
    Well, it doesn't really "happen", the conversation is remarkably one-sided, in my experience.
    I have to ask; have you ever been in close contact with people who are hospitalised because of a diagnosed mental condition? If you have, did you observe any behavior that supports your suggestion?
    Hmm. That's another loaded one. I suppose "my God" does keep me breathing, keeps me awake and so on, when I should be awake; asleep when I should be asleep, etc. but I don't bother to question why (well, I sorta do if I can summon the humility) . . .
    But then of course I have to remember that my question can be asked, but I won't get an answer from you-know-who.
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I'm fairly sure I understand why you don't get an answer.
    Then what are you complaining about? That's what I said initially!
    I have had contact with mentally ill people. But how is that relevant to this?
    How do you know that your God keeps you breathing etc.? Why is a God necessary to keep you breathing? How do you know that this isn't just something that your body does on its own?
  12. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Wow. So I'm complaining. Thanks for letting me know.
    When you said it initially, Tiassa asked you if you were speaking from personal experience.
    That is, how do you know it's true? Was it something you read, or something an authority figure told you?
    Contact. I see.
    I do know it's something my body does on its own. I also know that there's more to breathing than some people realise; especially if you learn how to control it. Control of breathing gives you a certain amount of control over your thoughts.
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    It sounded to me like you were taking issue with what I said. If I'm mistaken and we're actually in agreement after all, that's all good. I guess anything is possible, given how vague you are about this.
    Did you read my reply?
    You asked about contact. I answered you. I asked you about relevance. You have yet to answer me.
    And again you avoid addressing the questions I asked you. Why?
  14. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Yes. And I understand why Tiassa gave up, after pursuing you with further questions about your personal experience and expectations.

    Since you haven't been very forthcoming about that, I'll assume you probably think you don't need to--it's obvious (to you) that if you talk to someone who isn't there, and you tell yourself it's God, then you and any sane person shouldn't expect a reply, right? Obviously.

    This is your assumed personal experience and expectation level; you won't clarify so what choice do I have except assuming something?
    You'll just have to assume it was connected to your claims about talking to God, and the personal experience thing. Put it on the same shelf as your response, overall, to Tiassa's questions.
    Which ones? Why should I address them? Why should I do something that you don't seem to want to do?
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    arfa brane:

    Let's see if you can be more direct. You say you have questions for me that I haven't answered to your satisfaction. Please make a short list, and I'll try to answer them for you.

    And you can answer the unanswered questions that I asked you:
    How do you know that your God keeps you breathing etc.? Why is a God necessary to keep you breathing?
  16. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    James R:

    I do have questions; so does Tiassa. Your responses so far indicate that you aren't really interested.
    I suppose we could trawl back over old ground, but I'm not really into the tedium.

    How do you know that "my" God corresponds to your idea--a necessary thing that keeps me breathing? Would it surprise you if I said I can't associate that idea with what I actually experience?

    Which "result" I can only surmise, supports my contention that "God" is not an idea. And in fact, I don't need any idea to experience, to appreciate in a satisfactory manner, what happens when I breathe.

    Breath is one aspect, but there are others; ergo God is not a single kind of experience. I could elaborate more about what I'm talking about, but I don't want to bore you and the history of "discussion" on this topic suggests it would be another tedious exercise.

    So, no.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2021
  17. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    That is the reason I find discussions about "God" to be frustrating. When someone asks me if I believe in God, my usual response is to ask them to define the word. I usually get, "You know... God". Things don't generally progress much beyond that.
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Two Cents

    The problem here, Arfa Brane, is that James has some very particular standards about what God is allowed to be, and how people are allowed to discuss it, and you are failing to satisfy those needs.

    One way of looking at it starts with thinking about any number of ways you or I might discuss religion, God, and perceptions thereof, and it will range through history, anthropology, psychology, and even art; we've had discussions like that, before. But we can also wonder what those discussions are to anybody else, in this case, James. And this is the next thing.

    Because those discussions aren't really what he does. Rather, we might recall something I say more generally°, about letting people we know are wrong set the terms of discussion. James is a particular sort of example; the detritus is littered all over the subforum. He has a thing, for instance, about asking religious people↗ to say something↗ so he can disagree with them↗, and the results are, shall we say, interesting, like the "one thread to rule them all"↗, that required a companion thread↗ because the one thread couldn't deal with the breadth of diversity brought by halfassed insincerity.

    Those examples share the actual common trait of asking religious people to say something, in order that he might judge their answers. And these are more the sort of discussions he prefers. Quite literally, he is asking people he believes are wrong to establish the terms of discussion. James will even invent fake religions and religious people to say something, in order that they be wrong, in order that he might criticize. While creative in its way, it is still the same basic formula; his main method of discussing religion is judging the human frailty of particular ranges of belief and behavior.

    In our moment, this reminds that you are talking about something else entirely: James pursues particular quarry, and you are not it. Compared to what he is after, you're irrelevant at best, and he considers his contempt justified by your failure to satisfy.

    Like the complaint↑ about how, "You seem completely unable to articulate whatever it is you're trying to say"; this is something I've actually discussed this with him before↗, and even included it in a basic sketch of his method↗, so he already knows he is dismissing you for a bogus standard, that his particular demands of articulation are known artifice.

    When James checked in at #7↑, he was after very particular and not unfamiliar notions of God and what it might mean to talk to God. And while I might be able to offer at least three other versions just off the cuff, they are not the sort of discussion he is accustomed to having.

    Colloquially, we might suggest the discussions he seems prepared to have about God or religion are some sort of fight he thinks he can win. More functionally, he has very particular standards about what God is allowed to be, and how people are allowed to discuss it; and in judging particular human frailty, this is the God he needs.

    It is a strange irony.

    If I hem and haw about four hundred or so words that might go here, there's a two-word joke that would explain it all, except timing is everything and good luck with that. Meanwhile, it seems worth recalling↗ that often we are presented with not so much a discussion of religion as a political argument about religion. James needs you to play a particular role in his political debate; you seem to be talking about something else entirely.


    ° See "On Discussing Religion" #11↗:

    While it might be impossible to describe something absolutely correctly, sometimes it is clearly observable that a description of something is wrong, and while it is important to pay attention to what people say, we ought to be cautious about letting just anyone tell us how the discussion goes.

    It is one thing to work the field and play the words and try to wring some living result out of logic, but here again we find ourselves treading familiar but precarious ground; if we consider that it is more important for a believer that God works than makes sense, recall that theological method in an idiosyncratic and eccentric idea of religion came to rely on propositions self-evident to the believer, and observe that people act on what they believe to be true, then it might more easily become apparent that there is only limited value in lexical games and sleights of rhetoric.

    While we cannot attend absolutely every aspect of particular religious discourse, there are some manners of discussion that preclude any real hope for resolution. That is, sometimes it doesn't matter how well one works the field and plays the words to build whatever logical wringer, because the important thing for the believer is that God works, the meaning of which is defined according to what is self-evident to the believer. Within this range, attending the stations of discourse we already know to be wrongly founded is at best a futile endeavor; it also has the potential to behaviorally reinforce erroneous, dysfunctional, or otherwise problematic arguments and decisions.​
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I invited you to list them. You have not done that. Why?
    How can I respond to something you have yet to put to me? Bizarre.
    I can only go on what you tell me about what you believe. The alternative would be to assume that you're lying about your beliefs.

    You told me:
    I suppose "my God" does keep me breathing, keeps me awake and so on, when I should be awake; asleep when I should be asleep, etc. but I don't bother to question why...
    So does your God keep you breathing, or doesn't it? Or are you not sure, either way? You said you "suppose" that it does. Were you not being entirely honest about that. Did you feel obliged to try to give God credit for something you're not sure he does, perhaps?

    If you can't associate ideas about God with what you actually experience, then what is God, to you? How can you tell that anything you experience is down to your God? If God isn't something you associate with experience, then what is it?
    You're telling me you have no concept of God? Why use the word at all to describe your beliefs, then?
    I think I understand. What does breathing have to do with God, then? Why did you mention God in the context of breathing?
    Breath is one aspect of ... what? God?

    Is your label "God" just a substitute for "everything I experience", perhaps? Everything is an "aspect of God", maybe?

    Does your God have any existence independent of what you experience, then? Or is it just a strange choice of synonym?

    Also, I must comment at this point that you appear to have said things that directly contradict one another, in the same post. You started with "God is not an experience", essentially, and you're ending with "God is all experience", if I understand your meaning. Maybe I'm missing something?
    Your choice, of course. Remember, you chose to post in this thread. You are also free to bow out at any time.
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I have never prevented anybody here from discussing their particular notion of God, so please don'It try to put that lie out there.

    I have, on many occasions - including this one - invited theists to tell me what they believe (and, more importantly, why they believe it). I have never tried to tell what God is "allowed to be".

    I don't know where you get these ideas about me.

    Of course, I admit that back when I was a theist myself, I had specific ideas about what I thought God was, but I wasn't ever telling anybody else what they should think about it. And these days, I have some ideas about what God might be, were it to actually exist in the sorts of guises promulgated by major world religions and religious practices. Those ideas are mostly based on what theists say God is. But, again, this has nothing to do with me "allowing" only one kind of thing and not another.

    I think the issue that theists often run into is that I ask them the sorts of questions that their co-religionists typically never ask, because they typically make unspoken assumptions about the ontology of their shared religious beliefs. When a theist finds that I am asking for some justification for those assumptions, they are often confused and stumped for an answer that makes any kind of logical sense. The knee-jerk response I often see is that theists throw out random deepities, speaking as if their descriptions are actually intelligible, with the simultaneous implication (and, no doubt, belief) that they are actually saying something deep and profound.
    Nobody here seems much interested in discussing religion in terms of history or art, here. Sometimes we touch on anthropology and psychology, but those kinds of explanations for religion are usually rejected by theists - at least by the more fundamentalist sort (e.g. the typical American evangelical types).
    It sounds like your own belief, Tiassa, is that I'm wrong about God (and probably religion in general, too). You'd be better off making a case for why I'm wrong, rather than spending your time engaging in this pseudo-psychiatry all the time.
    Thanks for the links, Tiassa. All of those threads generated interesting discussions. Well worth (re-)reading. The points I made in each one mostly stood up to the attempts by theists to avoid or strawman them. A lot of those discussions actually trailed off due to a lack of commitment to continue the discussion, rather than reaching a conclusion. (Some of that was on me, too. I'm a busy person.)
    This is how we find out what other people think, Tiassa. You ask questions. In the ideal case, they share their thoughts. You share back. There is reciprocity - a discussion of points of agreement and disagreement. We all make judgments about what other people say to us. You're hardly above the fray in that, so stop pretending you have the bird's eye perspective on everything. The fact is, you're down in the trenches with the rest of us.
    When it comes to theists, yes, I believe they are wrong. I'm an atheist; they are theists. We all know that we disagree on some fundamentals going into the discussion. Nevertheless, we each voluntary choose to have a discussion, or not.

    It is not unreasonable for me to ask people what they believe and why they believe it. In fact, the opposite is true. My approach is far fairer than for me to assume that I already know what they believe - something that I see a lot from the "other side" of the God debate.
    You know that's not what that was about. Why tell the lie?
    I am in the fortunate position of having worked my way through those particular frailties and having coming out the other side better for it. I hope I can help some other people. Apart from that, I'm honestly interested in what makes people tick. It's actually important, because you and I have to live alongside people who are at times irrational, belligerent, dogmatic, unreasonable, discourteous, intolerant etc. It is important to understand why they are that way, and to try to help them get to a better place.
    You claim that we've had a discussion about this, but as far as I can tell, we never had a discussion following the two posts you have linked here. We can have that discussion, if your still interested. Let me know. But please don't pretend that we discussed it and I now "know" that you were right and that my "demands" are "artifice" etc.
    No. I wasn't "after" anything, there. I expressed my own opinion about talking to God. It was a one-line post - food for thought, if you wanted to engage. Otherwise, just somebody's opinion that you could ignore.
    There are seemingly lots of things you might be able to do, hypothetically. Actually getting off your fence and doing them is another matter.
    Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that you're right. Then what? Would that be a terrible thing? Am I forcing people to engage with me in a discussion I'm prepared to have and they are not prepared to have? Am I holding a knife to their throat?

    I'm always interested to see people who need to make a whole lot of excuses for why they can't tell me what they believe and why they believe it. It's not just in these religious discussions, either. For some reason, some people seem to lack the bravery to say what they actually believe. Maybe they are concerned that their actual beliefs are a bit fragile, and they want to avoid what they anticipate might be difficult questions, because those kinds of questions make them uncomfortable. Maybe they just don't want to be pinned down, in case they're wrong about it. Maybe they are aware that their reasons for the belief are unlikely to stand up when exposed to the light, so they want to hide those away.
    No. And no. And no.
    There have been no replies to that thread, so far.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
    origin likes this.
  21. Holly-May Leslie Registered Member

    I think that most religion just started out because people interpreted metaphor literally, and then was used to manipulate them into compliance. For instance, when certain christian dictators told their subjects to do this and that and that otherwise said subjects would burn in hell.

    What bs.
    The metaphors probably weren't bs though. They were probably pretty legitimate teachings about how to be happy.
  22. Holly-May Leslie Registered Member

    For example, I read in the bible once a line which said: Remember the hand which brought you out of Egypt, and I interpreted that as a metaphor for being grateful for the ending of hardships, and maintaining the good things that one has.
  23. Holly-May Leslie Registered Member

    Once when I was crying I heard a very godly sounding voice tell me: Do not cry my child. I'm pretty sure that it wasn't god though. I'm pretty sure that it is just because I am bonkers. I hear lots of voices. When people tell me that there are more of them than there are of me, I laugh because it is so wrong. Despite the implication, I can generally take them all on at once as long as it doesn't get physical.

    Honestly though, to elaborate on the topic at hand, I think that the idea of there being a god, at all, and especially the idea of there being a god like the christian god, is a little bit far fetched.

    I might be wrong.

Share This Page