What do we really mean by "God"?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Magical Realist, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Why should they be given absolute credence - especially psychology?


    That's presuming that the belief is wrong, unfounded, that that which is being believed in does not exist.

    Strong atheism is impossible to support.
     
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  3. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    So when they adopt their traditional clothing of pirate outfits, you think its a gesture of sincerity?

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    and just to clarify, you do understand whether it is about italian cooking or subjects of divinity, right?
     
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  5. Neverfly Banned Banned

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    They should not be granted absolute credence nor did I claim they should.
    However, they can be granted the Merit Of Their Studies, given the strong evidence in support of psychology theories.
    Not at all; hardly presumptuous- it's based on the lack of evidence of divine creation and the very strong and heavy evidence of Evolution. This carries weight- there is no guesswork involved as you suggest. Rather- an informed opinion.
    I will do my best.

    ETA: Some posts- responses- are in Moderation queue. Please allow those posts to make it to the thread. No sense in demanding more work on the Mods during this time is necessary- taking a break from the thread to allow some buffer time there.
     
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  7. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    It's only those posts with links in them that don't seem to work.
     
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I think they sincerely think that theism is a hoax.


    It's not clear how this is a pertinent dichotomy.



    I think that you are the one who refuses to understand or consider how some people could genuinely doubt what theists say on the topic of "God."
    You seem to think that all such doubt it artificial, and that "in their heart of hearts," even the most vocal atheists believe in God.
     
  9. Neverfly Banned Banned

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    I had zero links in any post that was forwarded to the queue.
    The posts that had links posted just fine.
     
  10. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    unlike, say, the FSM?
    Or do you think that they an engineered a parody to establish their sincere notions about theism?




    If one is engineering a parody one requires a clear definition of the subject. This is why foreigners cannot understand subtle elements of humour in the countries they are visiting.

    IOW if one is clear why and how the FSM parodies god (and doesn't think it is offering slant on italian cooking or whatever) they have a clear definition of god to work with.



    I wasn't aware teh subject suddenly moved from defining god to believing in god ...
     
  11. PsychoTropicPuppy Bittersweet life? Valued Senior Member

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    Although there seem to be "many more rational explanations available" ....still looks like plenty of people are like sheep when it comes to gods and religion.
     
  12. Neverfly Banned Banned

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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I think that to the FSMers, God (as proposed by traditional theisms) is as foreign and as ridiculous as the FSM.

    Of course, this is based on how the FSMers understand God as proposed by traditional theisms.
    The understanding of the FSMers may be incomplete, or the traditional theisms may be incomplete or incompletely presented.


    But the FSMers are not doing a parody; at least from their perspective and intention, it doesn't seem to be a parody.

    It sure looks like a parody from the perspective of the theists (or just some theists). But arguably, the FSMers do not have the perspective of the theists, so the FSMers are not in the position to parody.


    Look. Try placing yourself in the shoes of the people who later become FSMers:
    They are simple run-of-the-mill people who one day are approached by theists who tell them to believe in God.
    Being simple run-of-the-mill people, they have no idea what to do with the request; they are neither able to simply reject it, nor to simply accept it. So they grapple with it, in any way they can. They certainly don't like the fact that they are expected to "just believe," and on top of that, to just believe a group of people who have a known history of violence associated with belief in this God they are supposed to place their trust in.


    Consider that a notion like that of the FSM most likely could not emerge in relation to some other theistic traditions, like, say, to Hinduism, possibly not even in relation to Islam or Judaism.
    It's only in relation to mainstream Christianity (and its proselytizing strategies) that those really absurd notions on the side of atheists developed.



    You know, I heard from an ex-devotee that "Hare Krishna men tend to be emotionally challenged."

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  14. Balerion Banned Banned

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    It's a parody.

    So one must be the thing they parody? Does a political cartoonist need to be a politician, then?
     
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Then you're making LG's case, and agree that just like theists, atheists are well-versed in issues of divinity?


    Uh. Read again.
    For a parody, one has to know what one is parodying.
     
  16. Balerion Banned Banned

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    I have LG on ignore, so I have no idea what his case is. All I'm saying is that the FSM is a parody. You'll have to fill me in on the rest.

    Uh. Read the history of the FSM. It's a parody of the Creationist movement. If you (or someone else) is suggesting that someone must have an intimate relationship with a mythological creature (or to put it more kindly, to assume the position of a believer) to parody God, you--or someone else--is wrong. The concept of God as it pertains to the major monotheisms is well-defined.
     
  17. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Because it's an easy shorthand for "the thing at the head of the universe." Of course, once the conversation achieves any depth beyond the superficial, continuing to use "God" as a catchall only muddies the matter, as evidenced in many conversations here at Sci. So I agree that if we're actually having the discussion, we should leave the generalities behind.
     
  18. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    That's commonly known as "special pleading".
     
  19. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    actually its known as common sense, unless you think it doesn't really matter whether one engages the skills of a bone surgeon or a tree lopper (since they both use saws)
     
  20. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    We can define what a tree lopper is and what a surgeon is. What was that definition for "god" again?
     
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    That depends on who "we" refers to, I guess. Different people often intend the word to mean very different things. Even individual people will often seem to use the word inconsistently, intending it to mean different things at different times, in different rhetorical circumstances.

    People will often use the word "God" to refer to the central supernatural characters in religious myths. When the word "god" is capitalized as "God", it's usually expected to imply a monotheistic deity, which is imagined as being the only one of its supernatural kind. There's usually some unstated assumption at that point that monotheism is better than polytheism, but there's rarely any attempt to justify it.

    People who use the word may or may not privilege a particular tradition or text (the Bible, the Quran, the Gita) by assuming that it uniquely reveals this singular supernatural character and describes the details "his" (these mythological characters are almost always imagined as if they were a "person") interactions with particular chosen human beings. People will often just assume that "God" possesses purposes, desires and commands, and that "he" has revealed these to humans. People will assume that particular books, traditions and churches know about these things and exist to further the divine purposes. But while the general pattern is fairly consistent, the actual details are often all over the map, depending on who we are asking. (A Roman Catholic layperson in Nicaragua, a Shi'ite cleric in Qom, a Biblical Baptist in rural Mississippi, a Vishnaivite devotee in Southern India.)

    I think that even atheists will typically, and often unconsciously be assuming lots of this stuff, whenever they use the word "God". What atheists intend the word to mean often depends on their own individual circumstances. Atheists are often reacting against the traditions of their families and of their surrounding cultures, and not every atheist comes from the same place.

    And then there's the so-called "God of the philosophers". This is the God transformed from a blustering super-person thundering on a Middle Eastern mountaintop, into a set of abstract quasi-technical functions and qualities. God is imagined as embodying perfections, as being omniscience, omnipotence, supreme goodness, as being that which is eternal (as opposed to transitory) and necessary (as opposed to contingent). God becomes the universe's first-cause and its continued sustainer. This way of thinking ultimately derives from the ideas of ancient Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, and from the Christian (and Muslim) philosophical theologians that adoped the philosophical way of thinking in late antiquity and early medieval times. It isn't always clear what relationship this "God" has to the characters of Biblical (or Vedic or Quranic) mythology, or even whether it's always consistent with that much older and far more literary mode of imagination.

    I think that when people in the Western world use the English word "God", they are usually kind of implicitly assuming all the diverse and not-always-coherent cultural baggage that's become attached to the word over the last 2,000 years of mostly Christian history. People, even professional theologians and philosophers of religion, will veer back and forth between the various ways of thinking about the meaning of the word "God", assuming without much attempt at argument or justification that their philosophical arguments about first-causes, necessary-existents, supreme perfections or apparent design, are somehow connected-with and relevant-to the Bible and to Jesus Christ's saving incarnation. People in other cultures will assume just as easily that very similar philosophical arguments are somehow connected with their own culture's Quran, Allah, Vishnu and/or Krishna.

    I don't believe that there's any hidden connection tying all of it together, any underlying logical framework of mutual-implication there for scholars to discover, that ties all of the many usages included in the meaning of the word "God" into one single consistent and coherent whole.

    Traditions on the scale of religions more closely resemble thought-tsunamis, waves of fragmentary and often unconnected intellectual debris washing down through time.
     
  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    No. It's commonly known as "understanding terms as they are used in their specific fields of application."

    For example, we don't use terms like "mass," "force" etc. just like that. When we are speaking in the context of physics, these terms are specifically defined, and we would be remiss to use them in the context of physics the way they are used in some other context (say, in art theory, where they are also used).

    If we are talking about the GOD of the theists, then we have to go with the definitions of "GOD" as they are provided by theists; we cannot make up our own definitions and impose them on the theistic contexts.

    If, however, we are talking about the GOD of the philosophers, scientists and non-theists, we may be working with other definitions of "GOD" than theists use them, and we cannot just assume that the GOD of the philosophers, scientists and non-theists is the same as the GOD of the theists, so that what seems to apply for the GOD of philosophers, scientists and non-theists, would then also automatically apply to the GOD of the theists.
     
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Back in the day there was Carl Sagan. He hosted a very good astronomy TV show for several years, and became kind of famous (in a humorous way) for showing very beautiful photographs of nebulas and galaxies, while intoning "Billions and Billions..." in his deep and reverent voice. He was trying to communicate the scale of the universe... but there was something else being communicated too. The almost religious awe that Sagan personally felt.

    Sagan was an atheist, and nobody would have used the word "God" to refer to it, but I definitely got the impression that astronomy was something very much like a religious quest to him. There was an emotional aspect to it, a hint of transcendental mysteries waiting out there that have some ultimate meaning for mankind.
     

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