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. lightgigantic Banned Banned


    but piety alone can simply sit on the shelf for as long as it isn't catalyzed by these three factors
    the point is that being "blind" anything is not reconcilable with reality so sooner or later the paradigm comes crunching down

    I think the issue of piety can be detailed as somewhat separate from issues of blindness and doubt. For instance, ajnata sukriti, pious credits accumulated unknowingly, which plays a very important role in the development of the bhakti-lata-bija
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  3. swarm Registered Senior Member

    I've always liked this quote -

    To know god you must be god, but to be god you must give up being who you thought you were. - Ram Das
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    How else would you identify them... yet again you state an objection without offering an alternative.

    The President is only able to be identified due to those things that separate the President from other people. Yes, if you pick a specific thing then he might not be identified through that specific thing, but it will be through something else that only the President does. Is he identified from his hair colour? The way he walks? The way he waves? No - it is through things that others can not do.
    So taking a specific ability of the President and claiming that you don't need to see him do that thing to identify him is flawed and irrelevant as you are still identifying him through other things that only the President can do.

    So I ask... how else would you identify the President?

    God must therefore defy the laws of the Universe for us to identify it as God...
    Anything else is indistinguishable from the mere workings of the Universe itself.

    And yet you still don't explain how he can operate within those laws and be identified.
    Yes, God is quite possibly able to work within the laws of the Universe - but if he does so he will not be identified... until he acts outside of those laws.

    The President can act as a normal person, or as a President - the President being potencies above that which a normal person has.
    Until he acts as a President (i.e. using a potency that exceeds those of a normal person) he is indistinguishable from a normal person.

    No, I don't. That you think so is due to your misundertanding.
    Saquist claimed two items that he felt were evidence of direct/indirect interaction.
    I provided a rebuttal to those claims. If you wish to counter my rebuttals, feel free.

    For the last time:
    Does a deistic God have a dictate or not? No - we're agreed on that.
    In order to answer the OP fully one must first assess if such a God, lacking a dictate, is knowable. If such a God is knowable then one can answer "yes" to the OP without even needing to consider a God that has a dictate.
    Thus I started with Deism.

    Seriously, if you're still having issues with this then it is purely to sidetrack the argument.
    Move on.

    We both seem to agree that it takes a dictate from God to know a God.
    So now we are merely arguing what form that dictate must follow.
    There is no need to rehash stuff on which we both agree.
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  7. wise acre Registered Senior Member

    I noted the caveat, but I don't see why it must fit with the rest of the workings of the universe, so I took this as still a blanket rejection. It could be perfectly natural, but not something charted yet by current science.

    (I just did some exhausting work in the Philosophy forum, it was so quiet there I started a few threads to get some action, and, well, I got it. So will take up more of your post when I can)
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Clarification: it must fit outside the rest of the workings of the universe.
    God could act within the workings, sure... but we can only know it is God once we have discounted more rational possibilities, otherwise we make assumptions that it is God, and that way leads to "God of the Gaps".

  9. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    So a complacent pius person (there are many people who seem like that, even when they seem to suffer) simply won't actually begin to render service unto God, but will stick to the religious rituals?

    And why do you say three factors - there are four (distressed, desiring wealth, inquisitive or searching for knowledge of the Absolute) ?

    Is there a way to speed up the crunching down of this paradigm?
  10. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Mayavadi quotes are a barrel of laughs.

    You can get a few more on "how to convince a monist" in the philosophy forum
  11. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    that's why sattva guna, while certainly elevating it is still yet another component of avidya (ignorance)
    sorry my bad

    I meant 4

    Other people are god's mission impossible, not ours.
  12. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    I go over it in the analogy of the president

    But those same things are (generally) not called upon when a person successfully identifies who the president is.
    Yet how many people have personally witnessed such feats?

    On the contrary, hardly anyone identifies the president due to directly witnessing what he can accomplish. Nor is the validity of his identity diminished by a lack of such direct witnessing.

    Through a social network in which he is accepted as the ultimate authority of course.

    By the same logic, the president only becomes a knowable personality the moment he is directly witnessed as exhibiting potency above and beyond the average citizen.

    Yes I do.
    If you disagree, explain exactly what potent act Obama performed in the first 2 hours after the election that enabled 75% + of the american population to successfully identify him as the new president.
    By this logic, the president would be a practical state of anonymity if this was the case.
    On the contrary, the fanfare immediately following the election (or even leading up to it) tends to suggest otherwise.
    Or even better, given that only a handful of the citizens have witnessed the distinguishing potency of the president, its not clear how the remainder can determine his identity and vouch for his capacities.

    Given that this is not a thread for discussing how/if god exists, it would probably be out of place.

    not really.

    Its not clear why you opt for a "yes", much less the grounds for introducing ideas that violate the parameters of the OP.

    Perhaps I overlooked something but I haven't heard a thing from you about why you are in agreement with the part in bold
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Okay, then I amend my question to: When you say that the President is identifiable "through qualitative models as opposed to quantitative ones", please explain what you mean by "qualitative models" and provide examples of such?

    The person can only identify the President through things that separate the President from us mere mortals.
    Perhaps you are not sufficiently identifying those things that separate the President from us, and are merely concentrating on such things as wielding of power?

    Personally? I would say millions at least.
    And further witnessed through material processes (supported by evidence) by billions of others.

    He is only known by what only the President can do - such as win a Presidential campaign, hold Presidential rallies, live in the White House, appear on News Broadcasts as the President, hold Presidential Press Conferences.
    If any Tom, Dick or Harry could do those then how could we distinguish the President from anyone else?
    We couldn't.
    It is through the things that the President does that noone else can do.
    I would suggest you expand your understanding of those things that identify the President.

    No. Otherwise any social network that held someone as the ultimate authority would result in that person being deemed "President" - and this blatantly is false.

    If your social network of, say, 100 people all held you as the ultimate authority, you would be President? Or would believing your social network as truth be an appeal to their authority?

    The social network itself, as an identifier to others, is an appeal to authority - nothing more, nothing less.
    And if that is all that the President has to identify his position, then those within the social network are doing nothing more than "believing to believe" - as they also would have nothing on which to base their position other than the social network which they are part of.

    Yep - and that moment is when he wins the Presidential ballot.
    But if you feel this is not above and beyond the average citizen to do... :shrug:

    He wins the election. That is the first thing. That is generally sufficient to identify him for the rest of his tenure whether he does anything else or not.
    You do realise that only a President(-elect) can win a Presidential election?

    You are arguing from personal incredulity again.
    With regard being the President... yes, anonymity.

    If, prior to the party nominations, you had lined up each of the nominees (so Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Ron Paul, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Barack Obama) and asked which one was the next President... you could not have said. As far as being the President is concerned they were anonymous, yes.
    UNTIL the person does something that ONLY a President can do... such as win a Presidential election.

    As said, winning the Presidential election is the first demonstration of his potency.
    Can anyone else do this?
    Other people witness this, as well as demonstrations of his other potencies, through observable and testable material processes.

    Probably. I didn't pick up Saquist on his points being a red-herring, which I should have done.
    As they were, does it not behoove you not to refer to them, lest you are also guilty of such?

    Then I suggest you leave this thread for those that can actually understand the OP. After all, if you still feel that raising the question of the deistic God is a red-herring in response to the OP then you have misunderstood the question asked in the OP.

    Probably because it is not particularly relevant to this thread / OP, and is the first time I have stated it explicitly.

    You need to remember that the OP does not ask if it is possible to know a God WITH his dictate. It asks if it is possible to know a God WITHOUT his dictate.
    "If God did exist (for the sake of argument), how could we know he
    exists without his/her dictate?"

    One could thus assume that the OP makes the assumption that it is possible to know anything WITH that thing's dictate. Either way, the OP does not ask the question regarding WITH dictate, only WITHOUT.

    You do see the difference in these two questions, don't you?

    If you wish to start a topic on whether it is possible to know a God WITH his/her dictate, then feel free.
    Otherwise, please stick to the thread as given, and please do not question the relevance of points made until you fully understand the question asked in the OP.
  14. theobserver is a simple guy... Registered Senior Member

    We cannot; unless we first address the most important question of "What the hell do we mean by GOD?" a person? a living being with at least one cell? a force? etc etc. once humans sort that out, rest will reveal by itself.
  15. wise acre Registered Senior Member

    This assumes one comes from an objective standpoint from which one can judge liklihoods. But there is no such objective starting point.

    For all you know there is a multiverse and most universes have deities because this is more stable.

    We cannot assume that our current levels of knowledge are objective and good predictors of liklihood. This is practical if one's experiences also fit with current knowledge, but we must also remember that current knowledge always contributes to the way we edit experience.

    Further it brings up the problem of other minds again in a slightly different way. Essentially here is the situation.
    Some says God has spoken to them.
    You saying they should not be convinced this is the voice of God.
    How could you know this from outside the experience?
    It implies that you know if you had the experience you would not find it convincing. That your response would be to assume it was fantasy, hallucination, etc.
    But you cannot know this would be your reaction.
    You also cannot know it is rational or not either.
    You can judge the information for you, the person who does not have the experience. This is obviously hardly compelling. But you can't really go beyond that since you have not had the experience.
  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Possibly - who are we to know

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    Of course, but if we can not assume out current levels are objective then would you not also agree that it is irrational to bridge the gap between experience and those current levels with "God did it!"?

    Someone can claim knowledge of God if they so wish. The question is whether their claim of knowledge is (1) true; and (2) sufficient to convince me of that same knowledge in the absence of their experience.

    Sure, if I had the same experience I would like to think I would go through the same process of analysis that I would of someone's claim. And I would like to think that I would reach a conclusion of "currently unknown" before "God did it".

    Of course I don't "know" that is what I would do. It is mere assumption based on prior actions.
    Plus, I am still an agnostic atheist rather than a theist.

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  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Actually, I had myself in mind when I asked that question.
    I don't consider myself pious, nor do I seem to be enough driven by misery, poverty, curiosity or the search for the Absolute to be seriously moved from the spot. At the same time, I don't feel like sitting around, waiting to chance upon a pure devotee to help me, much less do I wish to sit around waiting to become miserable or poor enough (because by then, it might actually be too late for this lifetime).

    IOW, in a way, I feel happy and complacent, but at the same time, I feel there is something terribly wrong with feeling happy and complacent. So the end result is that I am quite stressed out from this duality!

    So that made me wonder whether there is a way to speed up the process of blind doubt/faith crunching down.
    But please not by burning down my home!
  18. wise acre Registered Senior Member

    Or to put it in defense of my position...who are we to guess what is likely when dealing with cosmology? Hell, in my little lifetime I have seen them go from steady state to big bang was the beginning to more and more of them saying that there was stuff before the big bang. Let alone how many physicists now believe some form of a multiverse is the case. Past guesses by scientists about liklihoods for strange cosmologies ending up official theories should humble any confidence in 'I can estimate the liklihood of that cosmology' utterances.

    I'm not defending that position.

    Thats a different question. In your first response you are saying THEY CAN NOT. This is a stronger position than saying that someone making the claim does not (and should not) convince you.

    And again this is presuming you know what this experience would be like.

    Which may have nothing to do with this experience.
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Sure, but the "They can not" is in relation to the scenario of "without God's dictate".
    If the experience is such for them to "know" it is God, would this not be a case of "with God's dictate" - i.e. the experience is God's dictate.

    However, I would still argue that if the experience is entirely within the laws of the universe then one can not know that the experience is God and not just some part of nature. Any claim to knowledge by the individual in such circumstances is irrational, and possibly deluded - they can not know.
    They can only know if it differentiates itself from the norm.

    Nothing you have said thus far, even if merely still playing Devil's Advocate, would suggest otherwise.

    Shuffle a deck of cards face down without looking at the face - knowing which one is the joker when it hides within the normal is impossible. At best one can guess, or make assumption.
    However, if the back of the joker card was different it becomes possible to know that it is the joker.
    To know it is the joker requires not only there to be that difference between that card and the others, but also the ability by us to perceive that difference.

    Your "other minds" issue is one of perception, as far as I can tell... but is ultimately irrelevant unless there is that difference to begin with.

    Meh, it's late.
  20. lightgigantic Banned Banned


    You get a good general overview in the siksastaka

    #1 establishes the general outline for sadhana sidhi (means of practice for perfection)

    #2 explains where we commonly experience the problem - namely our attachments lie elsewhere

    #3 offers the solution to this situation

    #4 indicates how we can means test how well we are applying the solution

    and #5 and so on are probably better discussed elsewhere

    IOW what it basically boils down to is being sufficiently humble to do what it takes to re-establish the value system that determines our values.

    Easier said than done, of course .......
  21. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Qualitative simply means that we use models of quality to determine the nature of something. For instance, we understand that the president possesses certain unique abilities, is delegated through a certain democratic processes etc etc. IOW we begin with a "model" of what the president is, and work backwards from that to determine the individual who meets those criteria.

    Compare this to a quantitative model, where one would investigate the various quality issues that surround an individual before one would determine that they are the president. IOW one would begin with the person who is claimed to be the president, and work backwards from that to determine the range of their activities. A person who might fulfill the requirements for this model could be the home defense secretary or someone who has numerous opportunities to professionally and personally interact with the president.
    My point is that a person (generally) doesn't witness the president restructuring national policy, but rather already has the knowledge that this is what the president, as a category, is capable of. IOW they identify with the qualitative "this is what this person should be capable of" as opposed to the quantitative "this is what I have witnessed this person is capable of".
    On the contrary, such witnessing is done through channels of authority and representation (like the media for example) ..... unless there is an exceptionally large (to the tune of housing "millions"),transparent and well attended facility for the public to sit it on of the regular daily goings on of the white house
    requires a qualitative model also, since there are numerous rallies in other areas that bear no influence on presidency

    qualitative - unless one is the next door neighbor of the residency or something
    qualitative, just like the rallies
    ditto above
    The point is that we, as a whole we don't witness the president wielding his prowess .... rather we call upon qualitative models to contextualize things like rallies, broadcasts, etc to determine that he is wielding his prowess.

    Even the leader of the opposition has recourse to rallies, broadcasts, etc, what to speak of sportstars and celebrities. The nuances between such personalities is determined by qualitative models.
    It is not any social network
    The american social network determines who is the american president.
    The french social network determines who is the french president.
    etc etc
    I would be the authority of those 100 people. The degree that it would be "ultimate" would be the degree that those 100 people are contextualized by other social commitments to a greater whole.
    The degree that I would be the "president" would depend if the social network recognized that this is the means of establishing the president (perhaps an oligarchy)
    I'm not sure I understand the point you are making here.
    Its not clear how we can entertain a dis/belief outside of our social network. (IOW all values/ethics/beliefs require a social medium, much like a soup order at a restaurant requires a bowl)

    hence there is a situation (namely social derivative scenarios) in which an "appeal to authority" is valid.

    If you don't believe me, try and claim that the policeman is guilty of a logical fallacy when he issues you a fine for driving on the wrong side of the road.

    That forms the essence of the qualitative model, and that is the model that people most readily call upon to identify the president.

    IOW we have a host of beliefs of what the president should be and the degree that a candidate can fulfill those requirements is what determines whether we vote for them.
    Through the channel of "appealing to the authority" of a news broadcast of course
    As already mentioned, this is an aspect of the qualitative model.

    IOW we have the knowledge, apriori, that whoever wins the ballot becomes president. Upon accepting the authority of a broadcast or whatever we determine who that is.
    From this we determine a host of other qualitative issues (namely that they can restructure national policy, etc etc).

    You do realize that awarding this post is an issue determined by the social network?
    What you don't appear to factor in is that the quantitative model disregards all issues pertinent to qualitative models.

    IOW all ideas of how the president is traditionally determined, what the president is traditionally understood to be capable of etc etc are all thrown out the door.

    Instead, the quantitative model demands that one have an "object" and that one determines its qualities personally, without recourse to representation or authority.

    Clearly, calling upon the quantitative model to determine the president is ludicrous. Similarly calling upon a quantitative model to determine god is equally absurd.

    You got the ball rolling in the red herring department by opening up with "god does not interact with us in/directly" in the second line of your first post
    If you feel you are one of those people, now would be a good opportunity to explain how you address the requirements of a god having a "dictate".
    On the contrary, it tends to indicate you have neglected it
    The obvious angle is that the OP is addressing an opinion that god is/should be knowable without his dictate.
    IOW common sense tends to indicate that having a dictate poses no hindrance when the benefactor is all for it.

    Consider "Is the president knowable with his dictate?"
    Can you see the difference between this and "how can we understand a god with NO dictate?"
    It still stands that this isn't quite the thread for introducing a god without a dictate, or the deistic conception.
  22. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member


    It's not a matter of knowing it's not gods speaking to them. It's a matter of them knowing it is gods speaking to them & proclaiming such to the world & taking it as proof that they should force/coerce their beliefs & behavior on others.
    It's a matter of jumping to the wrong conclusion when there are many other possible explanations.

    I know how I would react & whether it's rational.
    You seeing it as hardly compelling is not compelling.
  23. wise acre Registered Senior Member

    That's your issue. That is not the issue I am focusing on or discussing with Sarkus.

    This is the issue you just said it was not.

    You are jumping in and not understanding the context. I was saying that their (theists') experience is of course not compelling for others. I assume you agree with that. Or are you compelled by their accounts of their experiences?
    Last edited: May 1, 2009

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