If God existed, how would it be possible for us to know God?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Jan Ardena, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Hi, this is a spin-off from a discussion
    Oli and I were having in the "A god we know nothing about"
    thread.

    If God did exist (for the sake of argument), how could we know he
    exists without his/her dictate?

    This is not a debate on whether God exists or not.

    jan.
     
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    We can't.

    It is not possible to know about something that has absolutely no interaction with us (direct or indirect).
    Such a thing would be logically consistent with something that did not exist.
    This is not to say that it does not exist as part of an objective reality, but subjectively it is consistent with the non-existent.

    For example, I am sure there is someone in Japan that you have no knowledge of... precisely because you have never interacted with them directly or indirectly. To you, that person is logically consistent with someone that does not exist.

    It is only through interaction - direct or indirect (e.g. in this example you might know someone who knows someone who knows this person etc) - that we can garner knowledge.

    And by "interaction" I don't just mean person-to-person - e.g. we know there are stars because we interact with the photons they emit that impact on our eyes etc.


    If, on the other hand, he does interact with us but just doesn't let us know it is him, then we can only know him once we have identified an interaction that does not fit with the rest of the workings of the universe... i.e. an interaction that not only defies the laws of the universe as we know them currently, but defies them at an objective level as well.
    If it doesn't then we can not separate "God" from nature.

    Unfortunately this introduces a "God of the Gaps" - between current understanding and the objective reality.

    And the only way around this is to define God as the Universe/nature, or as existence itself etc... but then we have words for that already.

    And if you wish to define God beyond that (e.g. benevolent) then you're back to square one in terms of how you would know that.



    Meh, just some ramblings before supper.

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  5. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Since the common conception of God is something that doesn't appear to exist at all without direct communication, I agree with Sarkus. Unless we discovered something that had no other rational naturalistic explanation, such as the obelisk from 2001 on the moon. Even then, one could suppose that intelligent aliens did it.
     
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  7. PsychoticEpisode It is very dry in here today Valued Senior Member

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    God would have to do something no man could do, like shoot a round of 18 at any golf course with a putter and then to prove it was no fluke, do again and again. That would be good enough for me.

    Before He does these deeds He could, with a wave of His hand, put into every Bible of every religion known to man the exact date and time He will come to Earth with only one club in hand. Or He could print this prophesy in big letters in the sky that the whole world understands.
     
  8. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    agreed

    but since god is commonly understood as the summum bonum, cause of all causes, etc etc , this is obviously not the case.
    I think you miss the point of the OP.

    Since it makes a clear effort to avoid the whole "does god exist" issue (which you are most welcome to bring up in any of the other 85% of the threads on the board) by opening with the premise that god does exist, I guess it would be safe to assume that your premise about god is not true (namely that he does in fact, directly and/or indirectly or, interact with us).

    (in fact I think it would rare to encounter a theist who would suggest that god doesn't in/directly interact with us)
    Actually I would argue that we interact with them indirectly.
    Many people, outside of japan, understand that they are now are out of work due to a slump in the japanese export market.
    no more than we interact with japan through trade, cuisine, culture etc etc.
    Golly.

    We can even read translations of 13th century japanese poetry and find that we can relate to the themes of it.

    Ok

    so you could say that one aspect of god's nature is to transcend standard laws of nature.

    The question is whether we could discern such an aspect of god's nature with or without his dictate.
     
  9. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    If God existed, how would it be possible for God to know us?
     
  10. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I'd day we'd have to reach a state where we would be able to perceive God. We'd have to aim for it, work towards it, same as we'd work towards any solution of anything we knew was there but unable to perceive.
     
  11. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    You surprise me.

    This is ONE understanding of God - not all.
    The OP does NOT state whether we are considering a theistic or, for example, a deistic God... and so I merely start with God who does not interact. One can still assume this God exists - but as I have explained, it is not possible to know this God.

    Theist, sure. But then you are assuming a theistic God rather than others. I make no such assumption, as the OP does not state which God - only that we should assume that God does exist (i.e. objectively).

    I can only assume either you are being deliberately obtuse, or that you have failed to understand the simple example.
    The example is with a specific individual as opposed to the country / cuisine / culture etc. I.e. if this specific person did not exist - how would your life be in any way different? It wouldn't. Therefore this person is logically consistent with someone that does not exist to you. To start raising the question of interaction with the entire nation of Japan is thus a logical fallacy (strawman) as it is not countering what the example raised.
    Please have the decency not to make counters to arguments that were never raised.

    For the theistic God, sure. Although I am not sure what you are inferring when you say "standard laws" - either they are laws or they are not... are there any "non-standard laws of nature"?

    And if you bothered to read the post fully I have explained the only way we can: by identifying something that goes against the laws of this universe... not just against our current understanding of them but the laws in an objective sense.
    Do that and you will have demonstrated the existence of something that transcends nature.
     
  12. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    The issue with this is that you are making the assumption that you already know God exists. The assumption in this thread is that God does exist, but not that we know God exists. There is a distinction.
    And if we do not know God exists, how can we work toward it as though we know it is "there but unable to perceive"?
     
  13. SnakeLord snakeystew.com Valued Senior Member

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    This is one of the things I find truly amusing about christians. They're both agnostic and not-agnostic at the same time, (I mean agnostic in it's genuine form: a god is unknowable).

    To start with they assert a personal god - a god that gets involved in personal relationships, speaks to your internal organs, answers your prayers and so on. A personal god that one can know and converse with.

    When you ask then why this god doesn't just come down and say hello, they assert that if such god did that, it would remove your free will, (a rather pathetic argument but one very common for christians)

    One asserts personal relationships, the other asserts the inability of having personal relationships, (unless of course we adopt the theist understanding of 'personal relationship' which actually means 'no personal relationship at all').

    I find it very amusing. The minute the christian asserts that his god is unknowable, he is declaring to the world that he is in fact an agnostic, (genuine definition).
     
  14. Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado! Registered Senior Member

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    Funny, one of the things that I find entertaining about non-christians, is that as much as they hate evangelism, they turn around and evangelise their belief or lack thereof.

    Now THAT's amusing.
     
  15. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    It's the supernatural aspects and unsupported nonsense of what they are evangelizing that I don't like, not the act of promoting one's point of view.
     
  16. Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado! Registered Senior Member

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    Amen, then spider. I'm a theist, but when an evangelist of any kind comes to my door or gets in my face... Well, I don't react well either. Maybe christians should be reminded that once the info is given, the "spirit" does the rest. I live in the US and, well, I doubt seriously that anyone is here that has not heard the spiel. If you go to the ghetto, you'll see homeless, and if you go to a church, you'll see "shiny, happy people holding hands" and face their foolishness.

    Of course that's why I like ghettos better. Just a thought.

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  17. Saquist Banned Banned

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    Sarkus is kinda wrong.

    Creation itsself is a direct contact, So is communication, which the bible would fit under. Although in terms of being able to directly observed him is impossible so that sort of direct contact , Sarkus would be right. That means if you're going to come to decision that God exist you're going to have to determine whether everything around you is the process of random events and choatic forms or construction, design and purpose.
     
  18. MysteriousStranger Banned Banned

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    I'm assuming that you make these assumptions:

    A. God exists
    B. He doesn't interact with us: no miracles, Bibles, angels sent to Earth etc.

    If such is the case then I can only think of one way to know that he exists. To observe the Universe and prove either:

    A. The only way for the Universe to exist is if it was created by a God. There is no other explanation.
    B. The Universe has properties that can only be explained by the presence of a God.
     
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I'm kinda not.
    You merely start with a logical fallacy - an unsubstantiated assumption - one you have conveniently built into your definition of God, I'm guessing (e.g. if you define God as the cause of all causes, it makes the inherent assumption that there was an initial cause... and thus requires there to be a God - through definition.) We call that a logical fallacy.

    If, however, you can prove that the universe, that existence itself, was created / caused, then you might be on to something.

    If you wish to go down an unassumed position, then the best you can achieve is through a definition of God that is self-evident - such as "God = the Universe" or "God = existence", neither of which add anything to our understanding by renaming to "God", and thus makes "God" a redundant term given that we have adequate terms already.


    Incorrect. The Bible is not proof of any communication with God, as it can easily be, rationally so, explained through purely natural means... the same way that, say, "The Lord of the Rings" can be.

    To think otherwise requires the a priori assumption that we know God exists, and the a priori assumption that the Bible was a result of God communicating to Man.
    And thus the OP would ask of you how you know these assumptions are valid.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  20. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Saquist is kinda wrong. The Holy Babble, being the muddles mess it is, is hardly communication.
    IF everything was designed, it was designed very poorly.
     
  21. swarm Registered Senior Member

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    Existence implies physical extension. If god actually existed here, where we could find her; then it would just be a matter of finding her.

    Even really elusive stuff, like neutrinos, can be found eventually because of how anything with physical extension interacts with the rest of the universe.
     
  22. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Now THAT's amusing!
     
  23. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    SAM
    If the object of perception has a consciousness greater than ourselves, does it bring anything new to the standard issues that surround investigation?
     

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